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Reviews > Clothing > Pants and Shorts > Montane Prism Mens Pants > Test Report by Derek Hansen


Photo courtesy Montane

Montane — Prism Pants

Test Series by Derek Hansen


NameDerek Hansen
Height5' 10" (1.78 m)
Weight170 lb (77 kg)
Email Address pix-obfuscated
City, State, CountryFlagstaff, Arizona, USA


I am a lightweight backpacker with a typical overnight pack weight of 15 lb (7 kg) and a multi-day weight of 20 lb (9 kg), each of which includes food and water. I prefer backpacking with a hammock as part of my sleep system.


Manufacturer Montane, UK
Year of Manufacture 2013
Manufacturer’s Website
Listed Features
  • PERTEX(R) Microlight outer fabric that is completely windproof, fast drying, and features exceptional durable water repellency.
  • 40g PRIMALOFT ECO insulation throughout the body is warm, packable, and exceptionally fast frying
  • Articulated knees and diamond crotch for high step movement
  • 1/4-length side YKK reverse coil semi-auto zips for access, ventilation, and the ability to pull over trail footwear
  • Press stud ankle adjustments for tight fit against footwear and to prevent heat loss
  • SCOTCHLITE(tm) reflective details for mountain safety
  • PEAQ Synthetic lining
  • Included stuff sack
Manufacturer Recommendations
  • The Prism Pants use PERTEX fabric which contains a Durable Water Repellency (DWR) as the first barrier in keeping you dry. Clean your garment in order to maintain this. *Machine wash in warm water at 30°C/86°F with a mild detergent. MONTANE(R) recommends that you use Nikwax Tech Wash.
  • Do not use fabric softeners or bleach.
  • Drip dry.
  • Your pants may need occasional re-proofing to restore the DWR. MONTANE(R) recommends Nikwax TX Direct.
Specifications What They Say What I Say
Weight There is some discrepancy between the website and the hang tag on my pants and my personal testing. The web lists the medium size as 11.6 oz (328 g), but the hang tag uses the large size as the standard, but lists a lower weight of 10.2 oz (290 g). 11.6 oz (328 g) for XL
Colors Black / Graphite lining
Accessories Includes stuff sack


21 Nov 2013


The Montane Prism Pants finely tuned for outdoor trekking with windproof PERTEX Microlight mini rip-stop DWR shell and a layer of Primaloft ECO insulation. The pants pack down to about the size of a 1L Nalgene bottle.


There are no pockets on the pants. The waist band has an elastic cord and a draw cord to cinch up the size. On each leg there is a zipper that comes up to my upper calf. There are two zipper pulls. This allows me to unzip the leg to make it easier to pull the insulated pants over other clothing while keeping my shoes on. With the zipper closed, I can then pull down the second zipper to allow me to vent the lower leg area.

The knees are articulated knees and the crotch has a diamond shape for easier movement.

Two small plastic snap positions allow me to close up the pant leg around the ankle area to seal up the pants.

Running alongside the zipper and dotted in areas on the pants are some SCOTCHLITE reflective material.

There is a small hang loop sewn in the back of the waist seam.


I'm a fan of black outer wear. It may not take the best photos, but I like it as a personal preference. Plus, in really cold situations, black helps absorb some heat. I'm sold on the design and overall fit. I requested the XL size so I could slip these insulated pants over my hiking clothes. I'm thinking that I'll use them most when I'm back in camp to keep my legs warm as I do camp chores and as additional insulation when I sleep.

The construction is basic, but all the trimmings are sewn to perfection. The leg zips work great and I was surprised to find the second pulls so I can vent the legs while keeping the ankle area closed around my lower leg.

The Pertex Microlight fabric is nice. I love the feel. It is soft and silky. The inner lining, PEAQ Synthetic, has a plain nylon weave and is very cozy, especially directly against my skin.

The waist has a sewn in elastic band and it has an elastic draw string and cord lock to tighten the waste further. The waist fits me just right, and I can stretch the sewn elastic band out a few inches, but the draw cord doesn't let me loosen it any more. This doesn't leave a lot of "expanding" adjustment, only tightening, which I don't think I'll need (it's snug enough with the elastic band). I have a 34 in (86 cm) waist and the XL size (36 in/91 cm) is just perfect.

The pants pack down nice and small. The stuff sack fit so nicely in my messenger bag that I took it to work thinking I might be able to take a photo of it during the day. The weather outside was a cool 40°F (4°C) with misty rain and wind. A quarter mile (400 m) into my walk to a meeting, about 1 mi (1.6 km) away, I could feel the cold cutting right through my dress pants. I figured I might as well be comfortable, so pulled out the Prism pants and they slipped easily over my shoes.


I felt instant warmth. The rest of my walk was very comfortable. On my way back, I again wore the pants but this time put them on before leaving the building. I was toasty. By the time I had walked 3/4 mile (1.2 km), the pants were a little too warm. I was walking briskly, about 4 mph (6.4 km/h).

The nice thing about these pants is that I can easily pull them off and store them on a hike. I'm really looking forward to testing these in the cold!


PRO—Packs down small. Very comfortable, soft fabric.

CON—No pockets.


4 Feb 2014


I've used the Prism pants on two backpacking trips, a few day hikes, and over the holidays while visiting relatives, totaling 11 days.

Nov 24-30: St. George and Orem, Utah. While visiting family during a funeral, I opted to camp outdoors multiple nights. Overnight, the low temperature was 25°F (-4°C).

Dec 26-27: Snow Canyon Red Mountain Trail, Utah. My annual Christmastime trip into Snow Canyon with my family. We backpacked a total of 5 miles (8 km) with an elevation gain of 400 ft (122 m) and an overnight low of 30°F (-1°C).

Dec 17: Old Caves Crater, Arizona. I did a few day hikes around the cinder hills, each about 3 mi (16 km) long. The elevation change was 1,400 ft (427 m). The wind was very strong, gusting at times to 40 MPH (64 km/h), with temperatures around 40°F (4°C).

Jan 31-Feb 1: Cinder Hills, Flagstaff, Arizona. This was a quick overnight backpacking trip on the cinder hills surrounding Flagstaff. We've had a record-breaking dry spell with warm temperatures all winter (so far), but it began to snow this weekend so I decided to take advantage of the opportunity. Low temperature was 23°F (-5°C).



Appearance - Aside from a little mud collected on the cuffs around the ankle, the pants have remained very clean. I've brushed off dust and dirt and everything so far has remained clean and sharp.

Warmth and comfort - As I mentioned, Flagstaff is in serious winter drought, so I've only been able to test wind shedding, which works well. I really like how well the outer shell keeps the wind from penetrating. I typically pack a pair of fleece bottoms that I wear to bed, but they don't cut the wind as well. Speaking of the fleece, I feel that the Prism pants are warmer and more comfortable, especially when getting the pants on and off. My fleece pants are tights, so I have to remove my shoes in order to put them on, but the Prism makes it easy to add layers thanks to the zipped calf.

The pants add significant, immediate warmth to my legs. On my recent trip on the cinder hills, the temperature was at freezing. I was hiking in a pair of nylon pants, which kept me warm as I scaled the hill. However, after a few minutes of hunting for a camping spot near the top of the hill, I was feeling chilled. After getting my hammock shelter pitched, I slipped on the Prism pants and the effect was quick. As a test, I didn't pull the pants completely up to my waist, allowing them to "low ride" so I could slip my feet inside the pants while I slept. I also used an under quilt and top quilt (sleeping bag) as my primary insulation. I really liked the effect the pants had in the night as my feet stayed comfortable all night. Usually, I have to warm up my feet before going to bed, but the pants did the job! I was impressed.


In the morning, I kept the insulated pants on as I cleaned up camp. Outside it was around 20°F (-7°C) or possibly lower (the temperature was a few degrees warmer when I checked after hiking back to my car). I hiked a few miles before I felt comfortable enough to slip the pants off.

Packing - I normally shed stuff sacks, preferring instead to just use the backpack as one large stuff sack. However, I've found that the little stuff sack that came with the Prism pants has proved to be an effective way to keep the pants protected, organized, and used in the field. I've been rolling the pants before slipping them into the stuff sack.


My standard of measurement for insulated pants has been my tried-and-true fleece running pants. The Prism pants are only a few grams heavier, but have been by far warmer, more versatile, and pack down smaller than the fleece. I'm loving them!


9 Apr 2014


I've used the insulated pants on four additional overnight trips.

Feb 14-15: Fossil Springs, near Strawberry, Arizona. This was one of our annual backpacking trips with the troop, with an 8 mile (13 km) trail down into the canyon. The elevation was 5,500 ft (1,676 m). During the night, the temperature dropped into the upper-20s °F (-5 °C).

Mar 7-8: Mormon Lake, Arizona. This was a base camp near the lake at 7,000 ft (2,134 m). During the night, the temperature dropped into the low-20s °F (-7 °C).

Mar 21-22: Flagstaff, Arizona. The elevation was 7,000 ft (2,134 m). During the night, the temperature dropped into the low-20s °F (-5 °C).

Mar 28-29: Flagstaff, Arizona. The elevation was 7,000 ft (2,134 m). During the night, the temperature dropped into the low-30s °F (-1 °C).



I've had some interesting fluctuating experiences with these pants. Chilly temperatures coupled with higher humidity from the water made for a cold night in Fossil Springs, yet the pants performed like a charm. I hiked in shorts, and after the sun set and the temperature dropped, I slipped on the pants. I felt immediate warmth. I also slept in the pants, supplementing my sleeping quilt.

As planned, I pulled the pants slightly lower around my waist so the cuffs would pull over my feet. This helped immensely, and wasn't uncomfortable to me. My legs and feet were cozy. At this point, I was ready to sing Prism praises. However, on my next trip with the scouts at Mormon Lake while using the same set-up and equipment, I wasn't as warm. I wasn't freezing, but I definitely didn't feel as warm and cozy as before. It was curious because it was colder at Fossil Springs. It is curious to me to see how differences in activity level and caloric intake can affect performance. At Mormon Lake we were car camping, so my activity level was low and my body wasn't really working up enough heat.

During our morning hike the next day, I wore the pants almost the entire time, until the sun warmed up enough so that I could remove the pants and just wear shorts.

Most of the time I packed the pants in the supplied stuff sack and stored them in the bottom of my pack. For one trip I skipped the stuff sack and later regretted doing so. First, finding the pants among my other gear wasn't as easy and pulling them out tended to shift and disrupt everything else in my pack because of how the long pant legs were wrapped around some of the other gear. I think I prefer the stuff sack.


While I may not wear only shorts any more when temperatures drop into the 20s°F (-1°C), I think the Prism pants have found a permanent location in my pack and have replaced the running fleece I've been using.

PRO—Warm. Effectively blocks wind. Comfortable. I like the cuff snaps.

CON—No pockets.

I would like to thank Montane and for providing me with the opportunity to test this product. Please check back in approximately two months for my final report.

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Read more gear reviews by Derek Hansen

Reviews > Clothing > Pants and Shorts > Montane Prism Mens Pants > Test Report by Derek Hansen

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