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Reviews > Clothing > Pants and Shorts > Red Ledge Thunderlight Pants > Owner Review by Doug White

RED LEDGE UNISEX THUNDERLIGHT FULL ZIP PANT
BY DOUG WHITE
OWNER REVIEW
December 11, 2014

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Doug White
EMAIL: bakpack215atyahoodotcom
AGE: 32
LOCATION: Boulder, Colorado, USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 6" (1.68 m)
WEIGHT: 170 lb (77.10 kg)

Backpacking Background: I've been backpacking for several years. I have tested a lot of different systems to find what works the best for me. I pack as light as possible without sacrificing comfort and functionality. I enjoy backpacking in all kinds of weather including winter. I also do snowshoeing and year round mountaineering as well. I backpack in Rocky Mountains just below treeline most of the time. My trips are normally at least a few miles (5 km or more). Anytime I can get out and enjoy the mountains, even for a day hike, I do.

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Red Ledge Unisex Thunderlight Full Zip Pant
Waist band and draw cord
Waist band and draw cord

Manufacturer website: www.redledge.com
Listed Weight: N/A
Actual Weight: 11.3 oz (320 g)
Size: Large being tested.
Sizes offered: XS, S, M, L, XL, 2XL
Manufacturer's MSRP: $54.99 US

Other Details:
The pants are manufactured with a rip-stop nylon shell that has been treated with a DWR (Durable Water Repellant) coating. The grade of nylon was not listed by the manufacturer on their website. The inner coating of the pants is Red Ledge's 'Waterproof / Breathable T-Core' coating. This coating is similar to other waterproof/breathable technologies that claim to use a membrane with pores that are small enough to not allow liquid water molecules to pass through, yet is large enough to allow water vapor molecules to pass through as one sweats and perspires. The pants have all seams taped with waterproof tape. The pants have an elastic waistband with hook-and-loop adjustments on the outside and inside of the pants near the waist, along with a front draw cord for even more adjustment. The pants have a full-length zipper on each side that unzips from the top or bottom to ease in putting pants on over boots or other layers. The cuffs of the pants also have hook-and-loop adjustments for proper fit around ankles and boots. The pants come with one rear pocket that can be closed with a zipper. The pants have also been manufactured with an articulated fabric design at the knees to aide in easier movement. Included with the pants is a stuff sack for storage or the pants can also be conveniently stuffed into the back pocket for another storage option.
Stuff sack closure
Stuff sack closure

Pants stored in stuff sack
Pants stored in stuff sack

Pants stuffed in pocket for storage
Pants stuffed in pocket for storage

CARE/MAINTENANCE

Per the manufacturer, the care instructions are as follows: Hand wash or machine wash gentle; Cold water only; Mild soap; Do not bleach; No heat; Line dry; Do not dry clean.

FIELD USE

I have used these pants about 30 times including rainstorms and winter snow expeditions including white-out conditions. I will say that I use these pants primarily for snow and wind. I have only used them on a few occasions for rain. With that being said, I have used them in very wet snowy conditions and very dry snowy conditions. During any overnight trip in the snow, I will have these pants on any time that I am outside my tent, including hiking in. I have used these on single day and multi-day backpacking trips. I have used these pants as low as 0 F (-17 C) and I have used them on summer days if it starts raining. I have used these pants for winter mountaineering in winds around 60 mph (96 kph). These pants have also been used above treeline at altitudes above 13,000 ft (4000 m).
All seams are taped with waterproof tape
All seams are taped with waterproof tape

MY EXPERIENCE

I primarily use these pants as a final layering piece (outer shell). I have a 34-36 in (86-91 cm) waist and have found the Large size to work perfectly for me. I have found these pants to be very waterproof and windproof. I do not wash these pants either to ensure maximum life of the product. I have not had any issues with water getting through the outer layer. Snow and rain shed off them fairly quickly as well, in my experience. I do not feel the pants are very breathable though. They are very stuffy when I sweat. I have owned these for about 4 years and am very impressed with the durability of them. I have not torn them or noticed any visible wear that would hinder their function. The outer nylon is very durable in my experience. The inner coating is a little rubbery feeling, but not uncomfortable. The inner coating has been very durable so far as well. The pants are very easy to use and to put on over boots in a hurry. The zippers are also covered with nylon storm flaps that stay in place to ensure maximum protection from water. I will say that the front and back of the pants are not well marked, and being that the pants are one solid color of black, they do take a little searching to ensure they are not on backwards. I have found the easiest way to remember the front is that that is where the draw cord adjustment is; front and center. I also find the elastic fit and hook-and-loop adjustments are easy to use and the adjustments stay in place during activities. The hook-and-loop adjustments at the waist are both on the inside and outside. This ensures a tight fit that stays in place. I find that the hook-and-loop does a good job to cover the zippers well so that they aren't snagged or caught and accidently opened. The hook-and-loop cover and adjustment on the bottom of the pants is only on the outside and not on the inside. The hook-and-loop is very durable and hasn't worn out or torn away from the pants in the time that I've owned them. The upper zipper pulls have cord lanyards on them that are very easy to grab a hold of, even with gloves on. The bottom zipper pulls do not have lanyards, but they could be added if one wanted to. I will say that when using gaiters with these pants, the mid-height of the pants poofs out like 1980s rapper pants, but comfort isn't affected.
The single rear pocket on the pants is a mesh pocket. It measures about 8 x 8 in (20 x 20 cm) when empty. It closes shut with an external zipper that is covered by a storm flap. The overall design of the pocket is very good in my opinion. With the pants stuffed into the pocket as a storage option, the stored dimensions are about 7 x 6 x 3 in (18 x 15 x 8 cm). When stored, the stuff pocket has a carrying/fastening loop on it. I'm not very happy with the back pocket location though. I feel that all I can really keep in it is a small wallet. If I put any other items in there, when I sit down, it is very uncomfortable. Being that this is the only pocket, the pants really lack storage for my hiking system. When I carry lip balm, a lighter, a knife, etc, I can't use the pants for storage. I would have liked to see the manufacturer take the same pocket design but put the pocket on the side of the pants. The other storage option for the pants is a separate stuff sack that they come with. The stuff sack with the pants in it measures 10 x 4 in (25 x 10 cm). The stuff sack does compress the pants well for a decent storage size. The stuff sack is mesh with a nylon bottom on it. It has a draw cord closure with a carrying/fastening clip as well. I however do not use the stuff sack. I don't use stuff sacks in general as I feel it is just one more thing to manage while out in the field. I store the pants by rolling them up to about the size of a water bottle and then store them in an outside pocket of my pack. Another downside to these pants, in my opinion, is that there is no fly in front. It would be a comfort item but would be nice to have when using the bathroom out in the field.
Hook-and-loop on cuffs
Hook-and-loop on cuffs
Hook-and-loop on waistband
Hook-and-loop on waistband
Pocket showing zipper open and closed
Pocket showing zipper open and closed

THINGS I LIKE

Durable
Dries quick
Waterproof
Windproof
Well-designed

THINGS I DON'T LIKE

Not breathable
Needs more pockets or different location
No fly in front

SUMMARY

Overall, I love these pants. In my opinion the pros far outweigh the cons. These pants have kept me safe and dry in many extreme environments that I have traveled in. These pants are always in my pack, even on day hikes.

SIGNATURE

Product reviewed by Doug White.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.

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