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Reviews > Clothing > Pants and Shorts > Stonewear Designs Compass Capris > Test Report by Theresa Lawrence

Test Series by Theresa Lawrence

Initial Report - August 31, 2015
Field Report - November 9, 2015
Long Term Report - January 18, 2016


Name: Theresa Lawrence
Email: theresa_newell AT yahoo DOT com
Age: 37
Location: Sparwood, British Columbia, Canada
Gender: Female
Height: 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)
Weight: 130 lb (59 kg)
Waist Measurement: 29 in (74 cm)

I have more than 15 years of backpacking experience. Day hikes and 2-3 day backpacking trips take place on most weekends throughout the year while longer trips are only occasional. I backpack predominantly in mountain terrain (Coast Range, Cascades and Canadian Rockies) with the goal of summiting peaks. Activities I use my gear with include mountaineering, ski touring, rock climbing, kayaking, biking, trail running, Search and Rescue and overseas travel. I like my gear to be reasonably light, convenient and simple to use though I would not claim to be a lightweight hiker.

Initial Report - August 31, 2015


Great Trango Holdings Inc.

Manufacturer's URL:
Year of Manufacture: 2015
Made in:
MSRP: $ 85 US
Sizes Available: XS, S, M, L, XL
Size Tested:  Medium
Colors Available:  Black
Measured Weight:
290 g (10.32 oz)
Listed Length: 24.5 in (62 cm) inseam
Measured Length: 24.5 in (62 cm) inseam
Materials Listed: 88% nylon, 12% spandex

DESCRIPTION & FIRST IMPRESSIONS                                                                          

To begin, I learned from the website that the Stonewear Designs label aims to make comfortable and flattering clothing for women for activities such as yoga, climbing, hiking and traveling. Given that I do all of those things, I am, well ... intrigued. The Capris arrived with limited information with regards to fabrics and function. There was a tag sewn into the seam of one leg, which indicated machine wash in cold water and line dry. It also indicated they were made from imported fabrics, but not which fabrics, which I thought was odd. The only other tag attached was a blurb about how great Stonewear Designs clothing was and the size and model. It wasn't until I went onto the website and found that the Compass Capris were made of nylon and spandex. And that they claimed to be both wicking, quick-dry and durable. This makes me feel a whole lot better about wearing them for backpacking trips! I cannot wait to get out in the field and test all these wonderful claims!

More on style, the stitching is white, which shows off the seams as a stylish contrast to the black pants. It also outlines a faux zipper and flattering waist line. The waistband is elastic and there is no drawstring of any sort to speak of, so I am hoping they won't fall down! As evidenced by the name, they are capris length and they feature five pockets. Two back pockets, two front pockets and a zippered (metal zipper) pocket on the side of the left leg. The website calls this a 'passport pocket'. I thought that was rather clever, and with the name Compass Capris, they were indeed meant for travel. I just may try out this passport pocket on an upcoming out of country trip planned for November.


When I put them on, they were very soft and felt like pajamas. They had a very pleasing fit, if not a tad big, but I don't think I'd want to go down a size. When I ordered them I didn't see a sizing chart, but I've found one now. On the bottom of the home page there is a small link. I see now that the medium is supposed to fit size 8 to 10. I'm usually a 6 or 8, with size 8 fitting more often than a 6. So, given this information I would probably still have chosen the medium. The slightly more roomy fit does make me curious about the size small though, but not enough to go through the trouble of re-ordering. I do agree that they look flattering and I feel I can wear them for all sorts of things. They are extremely soft and comfortable. I love the relaxed fit with nothing constricting or tight. It makes me just want to lounge in them all day. I have reservations on whether they will stand up to all my hiking and activities that I have planned over the next four months and whether they really are quick-dry and wicking.


At this point I would say the Stonewear Designs Compass Capris are incredibly soft and comfortable. They feel great against my skin and to move around in. They have a very relaxed fit, which I like and I think is very flattering. They fit quite well, though a little on the roomy side. They have a stylish look with the white contrasting seams and pockets. My reservations lie with the more practical claims such as wicking, quick-dry and durability, all the things that I would want in a pair of hiking pants.

Field Report - November 9, 2015


Over the past couple of months I have worn these capris on two overnight backpacking trips (total of 4 nights) in Fernie Provincial Park and Elk Lakes Provincial Park in British Columbia. I've also used them on four day-hike scrambles and as a staple to my wardrobe for day-to-day casual wear. I believe I've worn them on roughly 30 occasions doing various activities. Temperatures for this period have been between -3 C (27 F) and 15 C (59 F). I have encountered some nice and not so nice weather including dry and cold, and wet and windy. Maximum elevation encountered was 2845 m (9335 ft) with an elevation gain in one day of 1345 m (4410 ft). Trail conditions included mountain forest trails and alpine scrambling on scree, rock and sometimes ice and snow.


I have found these capris to be so comfortable that I wear them every chance I get. They are soft and feel like pajamas that I can wear outside of the house and look stylish. My only issue is that the size I have is slightly too big for me. And the longer I wear them the bigger they get because they get stretched out. Add to that wet weather or wet sweat and I've got some saggy baggy capris. Washing them returns them to their usual size, but they are starting to see some permanent stretch especially at the knees. I wish they had a drawstring as they slide down when I'm hiking in them. My overnight pack waist strap secures the pants in place for the entire duration that I'm wearing the pack, which works great. But, my day pack waist belt does not do the same thing and on all my day hike scrambles I spent the day hiking up these pants, which was really annoying. Apart from this they were great for scrambling, they gave me all the flexibility I needed for climbing.

They did get wet on a number of occasions while hiking and they dried out quickly. They do breathe well and are very cooling. The wide legs create airflow up from the bottom of the legs. This was great when it was hot, but when it was cold, which had been the majority of my outings, I was quite chilly. Capri length was nice for climbing and hiking in warm weather, but for cooler temperatures I would prefer to wear long pants.

The capris have proven to be durable. They have held up well, and apart from some saggy knees, after washing they always return to like-new. I've washed them about 10 times now and have thrown them in the dryer a couple of times on purpose just to see if they would shrink. I was actually hoping they would shrink as they are a bit big, but they didn't, which speaks to their higher quality. They get dirty quickly outdoors and do not hide dirt very well. Although dirty, they didn't exhibit any ill odors. All the seams are holding up well. There was not even a snag from climbing on rocks. I didn't use the side zippered pocket very much because when I did, the pants defied gravity even less, contributing to them sliding down more. And besides, I didn't like the way they looked or felt when there was something in the pocket. It was lumpy and uncomfortable for hiking or scrambling. However, I did like the pocket for flat and weightless items like a dollar bill or a credit card where the zipper kept it secure and went mostly unnoticed when hiking. And I do like the look with the pocket even if I don't use it as I find it makes the pants look more stylish.


Overall I would say that the Stonewear Designs capris are very comfortable and highly durable pants that can be useful for a number of activities. However, they do stretch with activity and don't return to size until they are washed. For this reason I highly recommend the manufacturer provide a drawstring. They have proven to be quick to dry and breathable. I am happy with the way they look, the pocket is stylish if not overly useful. I do plan to try out the pocket with my passport when I go to Belize in a couple of weeks. On this trip I also plan to test these pants on a caving adventure. Stay tuned for how they do in a setting where it is hot and humid. Aside from this trip, it may prove too cold for many more outdoor adventures here where I live in Canada, but I will see what I can do. 


- Style and look
- Comfortable and flexible
- Quick to dry
- No bad odor when dirty
- Breathable and drafty (great for warm/ hot weather; less so for cold)
- Durable
- Easy to wash


- No drawstring (pants slide down with stretch and activity)
- They stay stretched out until washing (saggy, baggy pants)
- Does not hide dirt

Long Term Report - January 18, 2016


The past two months have been very much a true winter here in Canada, which made it difficult to test these capris for backpacking overnights. I did indulge in a 3 day ski tour with 2 overnights in a backcountry hut. However, as the temperatures were well below freezing I didn't use the capris for the ski touring that I did, but instead wore them around inside the hut. Luckily, I had a trip to Belize planned for the end of November and beginning of December. The capris in this setting were mainly used for air and bus travel as the humidity and tropical temperatures lent to opting for beachwear and shorts. When our trip went inland, we spent time caving, but I opted for a more mosquito repellent pair of pants as the mosquitoes were atrocious and relentless. Overall though, I did still wear them a lot over the past 2 months with the exception that it was all indoors. Mainly for yoga, gym workouts and leisurely around the house.


I can definitely say that as a travel item, the Compass Capris were very comfortable and enjoyable to wear. My passport did indeed fit nicely (and not bulky) in the 'passport' pocket. They were ideal for sitting in confined areas (planes and buses). On the more active side of things, they were well suited for yoga, but not so much for running. I found the pant legs were too wide for running due to the uncomfortable flapping around my shins and they tended to slide down. I did find them particularly agreeable for wearing around in the backcountry hut. They proved to be very cozy and clean after a ski touring day in thermals.


I have been satisfied with their durability as I have worn them around quite a bit and they still look nice. While they do stretch out with use, they miraculously reconvene after washing. I've washed them another seven times since the field test and all seams are intact and nothing out of sorts.


To sum up this test I would say the Compass Capris are a very comfortable pair of pants that I would use for casual wear, light activity and travel. Unfortunately, they would not be my preferred backpacking pants. This is mainly due to their tenancy to stretch and slide down during hiking activity. The capris length and width was also a bit drafty for cooler weather hiking. Among their stronger attributes; they are lightweight, aesthetically pleasing and dry quickly. My likes and dislikes remain the same as before.

I'd like to thank Great Trango Holdings Inc. and for allowing me to take part in this test series. 

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Reviews > Clothing > Pants and Shorts > Stonewear Designs Compass Capris > Test Report by Theresa Lawrence

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