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Reviews > Clothing > Pants and Shorts > Royal Robbins Alpine Road Pants > Test Report by Duane Lawrence

Royal Robbins' Alpine Road Pant

Initial Review - June 14, 2017
Field Report - August 22, 2017
Long Term Report - October 21, 2017

By Duane Lawrence

Tester Information
 
Name:                Duane Lawrence
Email:                duanesgear (at) yahoo (dot) com
Location:           Sparwood, British Columbia Canada
Gender:             Male
Age:                   45 years
Height:               5’9” (1.75m)
Weight:              160 lbs (73 kg)
 
I have been an avid outdoor enthusiast for over 25 years.  I enjoy a variety of outdoor activities including mountaineering, day hikes, multi-day backpacking trips, river and ocean kayaking, back-country skiing, snowshoeing, mountain biking and rock climbing. I have climbed throughout British Columbia, the United States and when opportunity presents itself in Europe and India. I carry a wide variety of gear depending on the type and length of trip.  I am a search and rescue team member in the Southern Canadian Rockies and am part of the swift water, rope rescue and avalanche technical teams and ground search team.


Initial Review - June 14, 2017


Manufacturer Royal Robbins'
Web Sitehttps://www.royalrobbins.com
MSRP$79.00 USD
Available Sizes30 - 42 in (76 - 107 cm) waist 
32 - 34 (81 - 86 cm) inseam
Tested Size32 inseam 34 in waist (81 cm leg 86 cm waist)
Meaured Weight423 g (14.92 oz)
Colors Charcoal, Khaki, Pewter
Manufactured InVietnam
Fabric66% Nylon; 31% Polyester; 3% spandex
FeaturesStretch for increased range of motion
Water resistant
Quick dry
Wrinkle resistant
Washing Machine Wash Cold; Delicate Cycle
Drying Tumble Dry Low

Royal Robins Alpine Road pants are designed as contemporary trekking pants that incorporate articulated knees, a four-way stretch and gusseted crotch for increased range of motion.  The fabric is comprised of 66% Nylon, 31% Polyester, 3% Spandex with water resistance, quick dry and increased durability in mind. The manufacturer also notes that the material used creates a wrinkle resistant product and with the slim fit create a fashionable hiking pant for all trekking or travel.  When reviewing the web site it actually states to consider sizing up an inch for the smaller sizes.  A zippered right thigh pocket is designed for a cell phone or other items that need to be kept safe.  Adjustable cords at the ankles allow the ankle to be tightened to help keep water and dirt out of hiking boots.  The pants are also listed as being made with eco-conscious bluesign approved fabric.

Royal Robins has a 100% satisfaction guarantee when purchasing online with a no charge return and exchange policy. 

First impressions

When I first received the Royal Robins Alpine pants I almost though I was received the wrong product.  These are very nice looking pants, almost dressy.  The fabric is what I would deem as mid weight for warmth and durability.  It seems like something I would wear for the shoulder hiking season, cool evenings and cooler overcast and windy days.  As for feel they remind me of wool.  They have some resistance to them and definitely have some stretch for increased movement.  They are not soft to the touch but they are not scratchy either. 

All the seams and zippers look to be well constructed with flat seems with Reinforced bartacks and flat fell seams for increased durability. The designers have included articulated knees and have taken great care to make sure these are an attractive looking pair of hiking pants.  There is an ankle cuff draw string which will allow me to cinch the cuff of the pant closed against my hiking boots which might help keep forest debris out of my boots.   The pants come with what I would call standard belt loops, something I will be using, and a two button front closure, one snap button and one traditional button. 

When I first tried them on I must admit I was not impressed.  The fit was odd, tight in the front across my quads and I was not sure where to place the waist.  It seemed that I would need to either wear them high up above my hips or feel like I was turning into a skater dude wearing them with the crotch quite low, both just felt odd.  I also felt very restrictive, when squatting they pulled in all the wrong places resisting my movements.  I actually had to hike the legs up a bit to allow me to comfortably squat down and pull up the back when sitting as the back was pulled down.

Looking at sizing I am very glad I read the web site and went up a size.  I picked up the 34-inch (86 cm) waist instead of my usual 32-inch (81 cm) and I am glad I made that decision.  The 34’s are even a little snug for my taste.  When hiking and I like the ease of mobility in what I wear and with these being snug I can only assume I would not have been able to wear the 32’s.  The inseam length is a standard 32-inch, long enough to cover the tops of my boots and not so long that they are dragging in the dirt.  

Overall Impressions

The Royal Robins Alpine Hiking Pants look to be well constructed with a lot of thought that went into the design.  Unfortunately I am not sure how well I am going to enjoy testing these out as the fit just seems off, especially in the quads and waist.  I am hoping that the design is something I need to get used to and will be able to bring back a glowing report for what looks to be a well-made product although uncomfortable for me. 

Field Report August 22, 2017

Test Conditions

The past couple of months have provided me with quite a few opportunities to test the Royal Robins Alpine Pants in a wide range of test conditions.  Testing conditions included about 150 km (93 mi) of hiking in a variety of terrain including valley bottom trails, hiking up scree slopes, a week of glacier travel and mountain climbing and a variety of mixed terrain.  I also spent about 12 days over the test period in a rock climbing harness undertraining glacier travel (mainly hiking), rock climbing and rope rescue training for search and rescue activities.  For weather conditions they have been fairly consistently hot and warm with not a trace of rain. Temperatures ranged from a low of 8 C (46 F) to a high of 35 C (95 F).  Even during my mountaineering trip at 7,200 to 9,000 ft (2,200 to 2,750 m) the weather was wonderfully warm and hot.  I did get to play on ice and snow but did not spend much time rolling around in the snow aside from some self-rescue exercises on a snowfield with an ice ax. 
 
Performance and Comfort


 The Royal Robins Alpine pants are very nice looking pants that after a fairly rigorous first two months of testing are looking like new. The material seems very durable with no sign of wear even though I have scrapped and dragged them over  lichen-covered rocks and with sharp edges on the way a few peaks in above the Nemo Glacier.  After being exposed to fairly high UV for a week, there is no sign of fading when comparing the inside fabric color to the outside.  This is quite surprising as my t-shirts show a substantial amount of fading.  Washing also appears not to have much of an effect on the pants.  There is no sign of adverse wear on stitching, fabric or zippers.  They also come out wrinkle free, not that I iron hiking clothes.  For fabric weight they are definitely warm for summer activities, especially this year with it being non-stop sun for weeks on end.  I am hoping for some cooler weather in the fall that will give me some good data on how warm they are in cooler temperatures and, sadly, inclement rainy weather.  For the first testing period the pants are, again, looking almost new.

      

If it were not for the cut of the fabric I would really like these pants.  Although they are articulated in knee and have a good amount of stretch in the leg which allow easy movement when walking and hiking or doing high steps and scrambling the cut is just off which makes me notice them for during almost any activity.  In the thigh they restrict movement when squatting or stepping up and require me to hike the pant leg up prior to each movement.  When squatting there is no choice but to pull the pant legs up or the seat of the pants is pulled half way down my backside.  The most annoying thing about the cut is that the back is exceedingly low which means I am forever pulling the back of the pants up so I am not showing off more than anyone would like to see. In a harness this is exasperating but sadly there is not much I can do about it while wearing a harness, the rise is just not enough for me.  If the reader is thinking I may have got the wrong size I can confirm that the size is about right in both waist and length. Normally I can pick up any appropriately sized pant and am good to go so am leaning towards the cut being the issue. One good thing about the cut is the length of the pant leg and the cuff.  The pant reaches down nicely over top of my boot top keeping snow, ice, rocks and miscellaneous debris out of my boots.  During the test period I have not once used gaiters to keep debris out as it was just not needed with these pants, a significant accomplishment in my opinion.

 

I did take the opportunity to wear these pants to work on a few occasions.  Normally this would not be a part of a test but they look almost like dress pants.  They looked good enough to wear to a civic meeting and presentation to the local council.  Even after two months of wear and tear I would still consider wearing these to work without hesitation as they look that nice.  

Overall I would really like these pants if not for the cut in the thigh and rise of the pant.  They are very comfortable, withstood all sorts of abuse, wash up nicely with no wrinkles, are not fading after being exposed to high levels of UV and have a good amount of stretch in the fabric which promote ease of movement.  The fabric is brilliant and I would have no problem wearing these out to a nice dinner or hiking for a week in the mountains.

Long Term Report - October 2017

So, after another 121 km (75 mi) of backpacking and hiking in Banff National Park, the Height of the Rockies and in the local mountains I think I have put the Royal Robbins Alpine Road pants through their paces.  I actually had a couple of days where it was nice and cool out, -2 C (28 F) at night and 4 - 12 C (39 to 54 F) during the day with a little bit of rain and some snow in the mornings and the pants did very well.  Wearing these in light rain and snow I found that they do indeed dry quickly, at least when they are only sprinkled or snowed on.  I did notice that light rain gradually soaked into the fabric so can only say that they have low ability to repel water.  For wind they did quite well, as I did not notice any wind penetration while hiking over a few windy mountain passes at about 1730 m (5700 ft).  

Around camp when the temperatures were dropping I was able to comfortably wear a thin insulative layer underneath without noticing any reduction in mobility.  Although the temperatures were only around 0 C (32 F) I did need to add a layer as the pants are fairly light for cooler temperatures. I was thinking during the summer that they were a little heavier than what I would have liked but at the end of this test I would say the weight is good for any summer or early fall day that I would want to wear pants and not shorts. 

After over 250 km (155 mi) of hiking, at least a dozen or more washes, over four months of use and a significant amount of abuse, the Royal Robbins Alpine Road pants look almost new. I am very impressed with this fabric as there is absolutely no evidence of staining, wear in the seat, pockets, knees or hems of the pant other than one spot where I think my crampon straps wore the fabric at the seam, I've included a photo to show the location.  I took absolutely no additional care when wearing these during my hikes over the summer, used regular detergent and hang dried them, I don't typically ever use a dryer so can’t say if they would fade after multiple runs through a dryer, and these pant still look great.  As I noted earlier in the testing period I wore them to work on a couple of occasions and would have no problem wearing them to work again or out to a nice dinner, pretty impressive for a pair of hiking pants.

There is not much else that I can tell the reader about these pants other than that they perform very well and look great.  The only thing I personally had a problem with was the low rise and the cut of the thigh, everything else about these pants was excellent.  The stitching is in outstanding shape with no evidence of threads coming undone, there are no signs of wear unless I count my crampon straps wearing one spot near the hem, and no staining at all.  Overall a great pair of trekking and hiking pants that can be worn out to almost any special occasion.

Likes

Fabric
Good Stretch
Wrinkle Free
Very durable
Look great

Dislikes

Too short of a rise

Thank you to Royal Robbins' and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test the Alpine Road Pant.


Read more reviews of Royal Robbins gear
Read more gear reviews by Duane Lawrence

Reviews > Clothing > Pants and Shorts > Royal Robbins Alpine Road Pants > Test Report by Duane Lawrence



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