HELLY HANSEN ODIN TRAVERSE PANT
TEST SERIES BY ANDREI GIRENKOV
September 21, 2013
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New York, New York, USA
5' 10" (1.78 m)
150 lb (68.00 kg)
I have been backpacking for 6 years, mostly three-season weekend trips in the Adirondacks, and other parks in the Northeastern US. Additionally, I try to take at least one 5-7 day trip each summer to other destinations in Canada, Western United States and Central America. I use lightweight gear on a budget. My multi-day pack weight is around 20-25 lb (9-11 kg). I enjoy sleeping comfortably and cooking a hot meal at night.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: Helly Hansen, Norway
Year of Manufacture: 2013
Country of Manufacture: China
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.hellyhansen.com
MSRP: US $300
Listed Weight: 16.2 oz (460 g)
Measured Weight: 13.9 oz (395 g)
Size Tested: Small
Color Tested: Ebony
* HELLY TECH® Professional
* Water resistant YKK Aquaguard® zip pockets
* Elastic in waist
* Belt loops
* Waterproof and breathable fabric, min. 22 000 mm / 25 000 g
* Bottom hem adjustment
* 3/4 WR side zips
* Minimal construction
True to the manufacturer's description, the Odin Traverse Pant (hereafter Pant) features a very minimalist design. The first thing that jumps out is that there is a lot of attention to detail in the construction of this pant. Every seam is very tightly stitched, there are no loose threads. Every button and zipper pull features a little Odin logo. The only color offered is "Ebony." I would describe it as more of a charcoal gray. The fabric has a slight sheen.
The material is "HELLY TECH® Professional." Between the manufacturer's website and the laundry tag on the pants I've been able to figure out that this is a three-ply material. The outside shell is Polyamide. It is reminiscent of ripstop nylon. The inner fabric is Polyester. Sandwiched in the middle is a waterproof breathable membrane. In addition inside the waistband and pockets is a fleece-like inner lining.
According to the tag, the waterproof rating for this material is 20,000 and breathability rating of 20,000 g/m/24h. According to the manufacturer's website, "10,000 mm is the same pressure you would experience diving to 10 m or equal to the pressure from a fire hose." 20,000 grams breathability indicates that the fabric is able to pass 40 liters (10.6 gallons) water in 24 hours. In comparison, our human body perspires 1 liter (0.26 gallons) per 24 hours.
The measurements were true to size. The measured weight for a size small was significantly less than the listed weight.
Working from the top of the pant down, there are five belt loops, and a built in waist band that is adjusted via hook and loop straps. The inside of the waist band is lined with fleece. The zipper is secured with a hook and two snaps.
|Waist Band and Top Pocket|
Below the waist are two front pockets and a front right cargo pocket with a Helly Hansen logo above it.. All three pockets are water-sealed. The two front pockets feature reinforced pulls. The pockets are just large enough to hold a men's wallet or a large smartphone.
|Weather Sealed Cargo Pocket|
On both sides of the pant there is a zipper running down the leg from mid-thigh down to the bottom of the pant leg. The zipper has two pulls - one at the top and one at the bottom. Zipping the top pull down opens the side of the leg for ventilation. Zipping the bottom pull up opens the entire pant leg up - see picture below. I have not found a use for this feature, and Helly Hansen customer support suggested this may be for fashion. Notably, these zippers are protected by a flap of fabric, but are not water-sealed. This makes me worried that the entire pant is no longer waterproof. I will test it in a future field review.
At the bottom of each zipper is a snap which secures the protective flap of fabric in place. Inside the ankle cuff is a nylon cinch cord. The cord follows the circumference of the ankle, and then turns ninety degrees and runs up the pant leg along the zipper. I believe the thought behind this design is that the loose end of the cord can be safely tucked away inside the pant leg rather than dangle on top of your boot.
Flipping the pant over, there is a "HELLY TECH® Professional" logo on the left buttock, and an "Odin" logo on the right ankle.
TRYING IT OUT
I spent about 30 minutes trying to figure out how to use the cinch cord. So far, it has been very awkward. In order to pull the loose end up I either had to reach inside the pant leg, or unzip the side of it, cinch the cord, and then zip it back up. I managed to cinch the pant legs up Capri style, but converting them into shorts doesn't appear possible.
|Unzipped Pant Leg and Cinch Cord|
PROS SO FAR
* Clean design
* The pant is comfortable
* Measurements are true to size
* Waist band adjustment is easy
* Manufacturer's claims on breathability and water resistance of fabric are impressive.
CONS SO FAR
* Side zippers are not water sealed - this may compromise the water resistance of the pant.
* I have been unable to figure out a purpose for unzipping the side zippers from the bottom. Perhaps it is to put them on over boots.
* Ankle cinch cords are awkward to use.
I will update this test series with a field review in approximately two months. At that time I hope to have completed an overnight hike through the Bavarian Alps including crossing rivers and glaciers, as well as a number of shorter hikes in eastern United States.
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
For this field report I was lucky enough to be in Bavarian Alps in the south of Germany. I spent two weeks in early June in the area around Oberammergau, Germany. Unfortunately during this time, there were 14 nonstop days of rain and massive flooding. This made many of the more remote destinations unreachable, but on the other hand I cannot think of a better test for the water protection of the Helly Hansen Pant.
I got a chance to hike around the base of Mt. Zugzpitze near Lake Eibsee, to explore the Partnach canyon near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, and to summit Mt. Kofel near Oberammergau.
Temperatures ranged from 5-25 C (41-77 F). Elevations ranged from 800-1200 m (2625-3937 ft). The weather was extremely wet and foggy. There was continuous rain. The trails were mostly mud or wet rock or scree. The summit involved a bit of rock climbing on a via ferrata, which is a mountain route equipped with steel cables affixed to the rock face, ladders, and/or bridges. In the canyon water continuously dripped on me from all surfaces.
I hiked with an infant, so due to the weather I did not camp in the field. All of the hikes were in the 4-8 mile (6-13 km) range and only a few hours long.
|Climbing scree on Mt. Kofel|
|Summiting Mt. Kofel in the rain.|
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
|Rocking the Capris!|
Let me begin by stating that this pant is made to the highest standard of waterproofing. After 3 hours of hiking my jacket, pack, and boots were all soaked through. Not so for this pant! In the initial review I expressed concern that the zippers on the sides of the pant legs are not weather sealed. These zippers did not compromise the ability of these pants to keep out water. There was not a drop of water on my legs. I am convinced that unless I actually decided to stick my legs in a river, this pant is going to keep them dry - period.
My second observation is that the temperatures in which I hiked for most of the trip, 5-12 C (41-53 F), are near the top of the comfort range for this pant. When walking at the approach trail, my legs were warm and comfortable. However when I started uphill with a pack, I worked up a sweat really quickly, and became less comfortable. At the end of my hike I very gladly unzipped the sides of the pant legs to let some cool air in. If it wasn't for the rain I would have done that on the trail.
Finally I wanted to mention the "Capri pant" mode. As I mentioned in the initial impressions section, it is possible to tuck the bottom of the pant legs up under the knees and cinch the ankle cord to make a Capri pant. Near the end of my vacation, there was a single bright sunny day with temperature reaching 25 C (77 F). I wore this pant in Capri mode for the entire day while hiking around the Breitach Canyon near Oberstdorf, Germany. The pant legs stayed up where I cinched them all day, and were sufficiently comfortable. However I did not like this mode very much. First of all, on a warm day, even cinching the pant legs up leaves most of the leg very hot, and second, the bunched up fabric under the knees looks a bit silly. I would have preferred to have a standard convertible system where the entire pant leg can be zipped off at the knee to leave shorts rather than a Capri pant.
The Helly Hansen Odin Traverse is a light, waterproof, warm, durable technical pant. It is very comfortable, fitted, and well made. Without hesitation this is now my go-to pant for spring and fall hiking.
- Very well constructed.
- Warm enough to be used without a base layer into late fall and early spring.
- Minimalist tasteful styling.
- Can unzip side to ventilate legs.
- Too warm to use above 15 C (59 F).
- Capri pant mode is awkward.
This concludes my field report. Please return in two months for the my long-term report.
I plan to continue to use these pants for the next several months on cool days on trails around the Pocono and Catskill mountains to determine how the durability will hold up over time.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
In the past three months I have worn the pants on a few day hikes and a few weekend trips. The total amount traveled has been around 10 days in the field, the distance hiked being around 50 miles (80 km). I spend my summer weekends at a seasonal cabin in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania (PA), so most of these have been day hikes with my family to the surrounding areas:
Tobyhanna State Park, PA
Gouldsboro State Park, PA
Delaware State Forest, PA
Worthington State Forest (AKA Delaware Water Gap), New Jersey (NJ)
Bushkill Falls, PA
Harriman State Park, New York (NY)
Bear Mountain State Park, ,NY
I also went on overnight trips to the following places:
Catskill Park, NY
Adirondack State Park, NY
Block Island, RI
With the exception of Block Island, which was beach camping, the environment was very similar - 60-75 F (15-24 C). Elevations of 0 - 2000 ft (0 - 600 m). Mostly rocky terrain, deciduous trees, lots of undergrowth. Walking with a child I generally tried to stick to overcast or sunny weather, but was caught by an unexpected shower a few times.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
In the past I have worn convertible pants in the summer so I could make them into shorts when the weather gets too hot and the undergrowth not too scratchy. This summer I stuck with the Traverse pants despite my earlier observations that they get uncomfortably warm above 60 F (15 C). I tried to compensate for this by cinching them up into Capri pant mode as needed.
Everything that I observed in my field review still holds true. The pants are very tough, very well made, and basically waterproof unless I stepped into a creek. After 3 months of use they don't show any new signs of wear and tear. There are no loose threads or holes anywhere.
I also still stand by my initial assessment that the Traverse pant is not made for summer weather. It feels awkward in Capri mode, and too hot in long pant mode. Now that October is almost upon us, I am looking forward to using them on fall foliage hikes.
I like these pants a lot. They are the highest quality made hiking pants that I've ever worn. They will get a lot of use for fall and winter hiking. However, they are too warm for summer use in moderate climates like continental United States. For colder areas, and higher elevations they would get year-round use.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2013. All rights reserved.
Pros: Good fit, high quality construction, tough materials, waterproof, stylish.
Cons: Cinch code mechanism is awkward.
I would like to thank Helly Hansen and BackpackGearTest.org for providing me with the opportunity to test this product.
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Read more gear reviews by Andrei Girenkov