STONEWEAR COMPASS CAPRIS
TEST SERIES BY NANCY GRIFFITH
January 19, 2016
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Northern California, USA
5' 6" (1.68 m)
130 lb (59.00 kg)
My outdoor experience began in high school with a canoeing/camping group which made a 10-day voyage through the Quebec wilds. I've been backpacking since my college days in Pennsylvania. I have hiked all of the Appalachian Trail in Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina. My typical trip now is in the Sierra Nevada in California and is from a few days to a few weeks long. Over the past few years I have lowered my pack weight to a lightweight base weight of 15 lb (6.8 kg) and use a tent, stove and quilt.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: Great Trango Holdings Inc
Year of Manufacture: 2015
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.stoneweardesigns.com
MSRP: $85 US
Listed Weight: Not listed
Measured Weight: 11 oz (313 g)
Size Tested: M
Sizes Available: XS - XL
No other colors available
Made in USA of imported fabric
The Compass capris are made of 88% nylon, 12% spandex fabric. They have two open-top front pockets, two open-top rear pockets and one zippered pocket on the left leg. The pants are pull-on but there is faux fly stitching. The stitching all over is in a contrasting light color.
The top waistband has a wide double-thickness band. There is no elastic, drawstring or belt-loops so the pants rely on the stretch of the Spandex to hold them up.
They have a 24.5 in (62 cm) inseam length which hangs well below my knees but several inches (cm) above my ankles.
I found one tag inside the lower left leg that had washing instructions. The waist has printing with the size and origin.
INITIAL IMPRESSIONS & TRYING THEM OUT
My initial impression was that the capris seemed very much as expected based on the website listing. I tried them on and found them to fit just right. The spandex stretches slightly making a nice fit. They seemed really comfortable since there is no actual fly or restricting fabric anywhere. I announced that they were more like pajamas than backpacking gear due to the comfort. I'm curious to see how well the fabric holds up to serious use. Will they snag on brush, get abraded from granite or pill over time?
I wore the pants around town and to my physical therapy session. They were very comfortable but also have a stylish flair so I didn't feel like I was wearing workout gear. I noticed them attracting some light-colored lint that was obvious on the black fabric. I'm looking forward to getting these outdoors.
READING THE INSTRUCTIONS
On a small tag inside the left leg are the washing instructions which say to wash in cold water with like colors, to line dry and not to bleach.
The Stonewear Designs Compass capris are a comfortable and stylish pair of pants. I'm interested to see how backcountry-functional they are.
Zipped pocket on left leg
How durable is the fabric
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
I wore the pants on three backpacking trips including two overnight trips and one eight-day trip and for one overnight car camping trip. I also wore them four times for running, four times for tennis and eleven times for going to the gym.
McKinstry Trail, Northern Sierra Nevada, California: 2 days, 9 mi (15 km); 5,510 to 7,050 ft (1,680 to 2,150 m) elevation; 40 to 75 F (4 to 24 C). Clear with breezy conditions in late afternoon. Overgrown unmarked trail conditions.
Sun Rock Trail, Northern Sierra Nevada, California: 2 days, 10 mi (16 km); 6,200 to 6,600 ft (1,900 to 2,000 m) elevation; 38 to 68 F (3 to 20 C); half on-trail and half off-trail scrambling.
Pacific Crest Trail, Southern Sierra Nevada, California: 8 days, 87 mi (140 km); 6,299 to 12,126 ft (1,920 to 3,696 m) elevation; 31 to 89 F (-0.5 to 32 C). Mostly clear with some breezes and some afternoon thunderstorms.
Hike-In Car Camping:
Manresa State Park (Beach), Santa Cruz, California: 2 days
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
The Compass Capris have proven themselves to be very durable for backpacking. The fabric has been through rugged conditions and has excelled. The only sign of wear so far is some stitching on the hem being pulled out slightly. This happened while bushwhacking off-trail. I was literally crawling under and scrambling over fallen trees with a myriad of foliage grabbing my clothing and hitting my skin. In this case the short length of the pants was not desirable since I was seriously scratched and stung by a yellow jacket between the pant's hem and the top of my gaiters.
This leads me to my first gripe about the pants. The capri length just isn't practical for rugged outdoor pursuits. I found myself wishing that I had long pants for protection from bushes and for warmth in cooler weather. I wore the pants in camp at night and to sleep in but found my legs got cold especially since the legs are wide and loose at the bottom so they could move up easily while sleeping.
The pants have been washed eight times over the test period so that means that they have been worn multiple times between washings. There was never any noticeable odor. However, the fabric does seem to attract lint and dirt so they would look fairly grungy before I'd get them in the wash. I usually washed them right-side out but sometimes washed them inside out to attempt to keep the black color from fading. I line dried them except for one time when they were accidentally thrown in the dryer on low heat. This didn't seem to cause any ill effects; they didn't seem to shrink at all.
One other small issue that I had was that since the pants rely on the stretch of the fabric for the fit, I found them to get loose over time and get baggy. This is common during backpacking for me since I lose a little weight and fabrics get stretched due to hard use. However in the case of these pants, I have no way to tighten them such as a drawstring or belt. So I had saggy pants until they were washed again.
If it sounds like I don't like these pants that isn't the case at all. They are extremely comfortable and do feel like pajamas. The durability is fantastic despite having slid across granite many times while sitting or kneeling. They are stylish and can be worn in a variety of situations. I absolutely love the zippered leg pocket and use it nearly every time I wear the pants to carry my wallet or other small items. The stretchy fabric is great for hiking and never binds no matter how extreme my movements are.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
I wore the pants on one four-day backpacking trip, three day hikes and for one overnight car camping trip. I also wore them three times for running, once for tennis, once for softball and eight times for going to the gym.
Marble/Cottonwood Canyons, Death Valley National Park, California: 4 days, 21 mi (34 km); 2,120 to 3,500 ft (646 to 1,067 m) elevation; 15 to 45 F (-10 to 7 C). Clear with breezy conditions. Overgrown unmarked trail conditions with mostly sand and rocks.
Bonanza Gulch, El Paso Mountains, California: 5 mi (8 km); 2,850 to 3,310 ft (869 to 1,000 m) elevation; 41 F (5 C); off-trail and 4WD roads
Two hikes: Gerle Loop, Auburn Recreation Area, California: 2.5 to 4 mi (4 to 6 km); 500 to 1,500 ft (150 to 450 m) elevation; 45 F (7 C); varying conditions of partly cloudy, rainy, and clear
4WD Car Camping:
El Paso Mountains, California: 2,850 ft (869 m) elevation; 14 to 41 F (-10 to 5 C); sunny and clear
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
With the weather becoming much cooler during this test period, I found it harder to find good testing opportunities for these capris. I preferred to wear them for indoor activity like going to the gym. I wore them outside for backpacking and hiking but found them to be less than ideal in the colder temperatures mostly due to the short length.
I wore the pants for running which were comfortable down to temperatures in the high 30s F (3 C) at which point my lower legs felt cold even with the high exertion. For backpacking the high temperatures were in the low 40s F (5 C) which was too cold for me to comfortably wear the pants for hiking but I wore them to sleep and was uncomfortable in the overnight lows approximately 14 F (-10 C). The pant leg is just too wide and short so it would ride up along my legs. I had to wear base layer pants underneath or very high socks so that the draft up my legs was covered.
They continue to provide excellent durability and the pants look very good considering the abuse that they have taken. They seem to attract lint and don't have the nice black color that they had when new but otherwise they are completely wearable. The one thread that got pulled during the Field Test period hasn't gotten any worse and the hem is intact.
The pants have been washed an additional five times over the test period for a total of approximately eighteen washings. Despite some stretching during multiple uses between washings, they come right back to size and shape after washing.
I love the comfort of these pants and the stretch fabric but would prefer if they were full-length.
The Stonewear Designs Compass Capris are a comfortable and stylish pair of pants which are durable in the backcountry.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2016. All rights reserved.
Zipped pocket on left leg
No way to tighten top
Capri length isn't practical for off-trail bushwhacking or cold weather
Attracts lint and dirt
This concludes my Long-Term Report and this test series. Thanks to Stonewear Designs and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this product.
Read more reviews of Stonewear Designs gear
Read more gear reviews by Nancy Griffith