HELLY HANSEN ODIN TRAVERSE PANT
TEST SERIES BY MIKE CURRY
September 24, 2013
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thefishguy AT hotmail DOT com
5' 11" (1.80 m)
190 lb (86.20 kg)
I've been backpacking, climbing, ski-packing, bushwhacking, and snowshoeing throughout the mountains of Oregon and Washington for over 25 years. I'm an all-season, all terrain, off-trail kind of guy, and enjoy everything from casual hikes with my children to mountaineering and alpine rock climbing in the Pacific Northwest. While I've carried packs (with winter climbing gear) in excess of 70 pounds (32 kilos), the older I get the more minimalist I become.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: Helly Hansen
|Photo Courtesy of Manufacturer|
Year of Manufacture: 2013
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.hellyhansen.com/
MSRP: US $200
Listed Weight: 16.2 oz (460 g)
Measured Weight: 15.9 oz (451 g)
Size tested: Large
The Helly Hansen Odin Traverse pants appear at first impression to be a well-constructed and good-looking pair of pants. The attached hangtag offers some basic information on features and benefits, among which are "waterproof and breathability ratings of minimum 20,000 mm and 20,000 g/m/24h." I don't know a lot about the ratings, but I do know these are definitely on the higher end of the spectrum I typically use.
The pants come with 3/4 length two-way side zips (which top out about mid-thigh for me) that are protected by a flap. There is an elastic drawstring with toggle at the lower cuff, which I presume is to gather the bottom of the leg (to adjust its length somewhat shorter). The waistband has what amounts to an integrated elastic "belt" of sorts, which can be used to cinch down the waist by adjusting hook-and-loop material located on each side. A slash pocket on each side is closed with water resistant zippers. The slash pockets and waistband are lined with a soft fabric, and aside from those locations, the pants are a nylon-like material. The tag inside describes these materials as "Polyamide" for the face, and "Polyester" for the back. There are also snaps at the bottom of the leg to keep the cuff closed.
All the stitching and sealed seams look great, and the pants appear very well made.
READING THE INSTRUCTIONS
A tag inside the pants states, "Machine wash in luke warm water. Mild Soap. Remove promptly from the washer. Use commercial size washer and dryer. Do not bleach. Do not tumble dry. Do not iron. Do not dry clean."
TRYING IT OUT
The pants are comfortable and overall fit me well. The length is spot-on for me, and I would describe the overall fit as "athletic." Not quite fitted, but certainly not baggy. I do find them to fit slightly more snugly through the hips than I usually care for, but I don't anticipate that being a problem, as I rarely wear any kind of insulating layer on my lower half that would cause a problem. There is enough room for me to wear zip-leg pants or a baselayer underneath, which is my usual climbing attire.
|Photo Courtesy of Manufacturer|
I must admit I was very impressed with the range of movement offered by the Traverse pant. Usually if pants fit me snug in the hips, I expect there to be range of motion problems, but there weren't. I was able to high-step in them very effectively, and felt no more restriction than with any other pair of pants I own.
The Helly Hansen Odin Traverse pants appear to be a well-made, athletic fit pair of pants that I look forward to testing on upcoming backpacking trips and climbs.
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
I've worn the Helly Hansen Odin Traverse Pant on 4 different climbing and backpacking trips, two in the Olympic Mountains of Washington State, and two in the Cascade range. They've also been in my pack on several other trips.
|Traverse Pant in Wet Snow|
Conditions when I've worn the pants have been, to put it simply, dismal. Heavy rain, wind-blown snow, sleet, high winds (to in excess of 40 mph (65 kph). Temperatures have ranged from approximately 25 F to 50 F (-4 C to 10 C).
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
Overall I've been very pleased with the performance of the Helly Hansen Odin Traverse pant's performance. My only real problem with them has been I don't care for how they fit.
Wow, these pants rock in this area. No water infiltration whatsoever, and good breathability, even when active. The side zippers offer great ventilations options for those times when the weather breaks, or when I no longer care about getting wet.
The side zips work great, and as I mentioned, provide a variety of ventilation options by opening or closing them to varying degrees from the top or bottom. I've generally worn them with gaiters, so I haven't really used the length-adjustments. The hook and loop waist adjustment works well, and the hook closure with snaps makes the waist seem very secure.
|Traverse Pant on Summit Approach|
Overall, comfort has been good, with the exception of some fit issues (see below). I have worn the pants without other layers underneath, even in cold conditions (my legs generally stay very warm, and I don't like more than a single-layer typically if I'm active). Even with the material directly against my skin, it has felt good (not "plastic-y" like some shells I own), and I've experienced no chafing or other issues.
Fit has been my only issue. I find the pants to be a little snug through the thighs and hips (though I suspect my thighs are on the large side for my other proportions), and while a larger waist size might remedy this somewhat, these are as long as I'd want them to be, so a longer leg would just swap one problem for another.
My biggest issue with fit, however, is the drop (the distance from the waist to crotch). I feel like I'm putting on a pair of women's low-rider jeans. The zipper is super-short, so if I need to stop and relieve myself I have to actually drop my pants (as opposed to other shells I've had with longer zippers). With a harness on for a glacier climb, this results in a major pain. I also simply find a waistband that is that low to simply be uncomfortable, always feeling like it is wanting to ride down off my hips (not that it does, it just feels like it will).
Overall, the Helly Hansen Odin Traverse Pants perform well, but I don't care for the fit at all. They fit like lowrider jeans, which I don't find comfortable.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
Long term testing included an overnight trip in North Cascades National Park and two days hiking (one in the southern Cascades and one in the Olympic Mountains). The pants also spent about a dozen days jostling around in my pack when the weather was too nice to wear them. In addition, they were worn for a number of conditioning hikes and other activities to better assess long-term wear.
Weather ranged from cool and clear to cool and rainy. Temperatures ranged from 36 F (2 C) to about 60 F (16 C).
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
There are no changes in performance to report during long term testing. I still love the performance of the material and the design features (such as the side zips) but don't care for the fit. The pants have proven to be more durable than I expected them to be. Despite some pretty heavy use and being stuffed into my pack alongside sharp object (such as, on one occasion, my crampons!) they still look pretty new. I would have to say the material strikes a good balance between weight and durability for my typical use.
Overall, the Helly Hansen Odin Traverse Pant is a good looking, durable, and versatile garment. I'm very pleased with the material and features, but the drop is a bit short for me, feeling more like low-rider jeans than I care for.
I think the Helly Hansen Odin Traverse pant will probably see use for me again, but mostly on alpine climbs where I'll be wearing a harness. The low waistline really drives me bonkers, but with a harness on it seems much more tolerable. I definitely like their performance and long side zips enough that they'll get used again.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2013. All rights reserved.
I would like to thank Helly Hansen and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test the Odin Traverse pant. This concludes my report.
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