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Reviews > Clothing > Pants and Shorts > Stonewear Designs Dynamic Pant > Test Report by Theresa Lawrence
STONEWEAR DESIGNS DYNAMIC PANTS
I have more than 20 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.
Above images from manufacturer's website
DESCRIPTION & FIRST IMPRESSIONS
The Dynamic pants are casual looking pants, which are versatile for many activities with their ability to stretch and conform. The pant material is meant to be light, breathable, moisture-wicking, quick-drying and protect from UV rays and abrasions. The pants feature a 6.35 cm (2.5 in) elastic waistband with a stitched faux zipper. Aside from two open hand pockets, the pants also have one right back pocket and one diagonally positioned pocket on the left thigh, both with zippers. On the side of the right leg there is a narrow length of stitched fabric that is open on the top and bottom. It might just be for decoration or perhaps to hold a pen or something of similar shape. The knees are gusseted and the hem is threaded with webbing and a buckle to draw in the hem. As the above photo on the right shows this can be used to secure the capri length.
TRYING THEM OUT
The medium size fits me. I was at the smallest end of the sizing chart for the medium size. I generally dislike wearing tight pants as I find them restricting, so the relaxed fit suits me well. My first impressions are that they are comfortable and allow unrestricted movement. The pockets appear to be functional. The waistband is comfortable and not too tight. Mimicking the photo above on the right to make capris, I ran into two immediate problems. First of all, the care and instruction tag, which is sewn on the inside seam of the left leg, is no longer hidden once flipped up and looks odd and much less flattering in my mind. It reminds of wearing a shirt inside out and the collar tag remains visible, it just looks wrong. Secondly, as I walked around a few paces, the weight of the hem slid to the bottom, not maintaining the capri length. When I cinched the hem tighter, it just became annoying as I could feel this strap around my leg ... that also still slid to the bottom undoing the capri length as the material against itself is slippery. My solution to maintaining a capri length at this time was to just roll up the hem. I will be able to report more after the field testing when I have more time to play with the options. After inspecting the product closely, I see only flawless seams, beautifully sewn. This gives me confidence that the product will hold up to my outdoor pursuits. Time will tell.
SUMMARYSo far I'm impressed with the look and feel of the Dynamic pants. I feel they have some good engineering to them and I will be taking them into the field to test the above claims. My only concern at this point is how best to maintain the capri length. Over the next few months I will be using them for various outdoor activities including hiking, rock climbing and scrambling. My results of the first test phase will be posted in approximately two months.
Over the past couple months I've worn the dynamic pants out and about on most days since I've had them, but more importantly the following exciting adventures occurred:
- 1 day hike up a steep mountain trail that was over 10 km (6.2 mi) round trip with an elevation gain of almost 1000 m (3300 ft). A little bit of snow was encountered at the top.
- A 63 km (39 mi) 3-day, 2-night alpine trip, camping in a 3-season tent.
- A 40 km (25 mi) 3-day, 2-night alpine trip, camping in a 3-season tent.
- Two 3-day, 2-night car camping trips.
- 1 day of sport rock climbing.
- 2 days of search & rescue training one with high angle rope rescue gear and the other searching through thick brush
- A 7-day mountaineering trip camped in a 3-season tent at the toe of a glacier. Included daily glacier travel and summit climbing with rope, helmet, harness, ice axe and crampons.
Temperatures during this period ranged from 9 C to 32 C (48 to 90 F). Weather encountered was mainly dry, hot, clear and sunny, with some cooler, windy evenings.
COMFORT & FITSo far I've found the pants overall comfortable to wear. They seem to fit well and conform to all range of movements in a positive way. My only complaint at this time is the elastic band will not stay unfolded, so it is rolled up or folded in some parts around my waist and no matter how hard I try I can't set it. So, I just let it be and after a minute I've forgotten and it just sits how it sits. The pant material is soft to the touch as is the waist band. The waist band isn't too tight and has a good range of stretch.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELDI've worn these pants during various activities and the most notable one was the 7-day mountaineering trip where I was wearing a harness. The pants were highly compatible with the harness. I was also climbing all over the rock in awkward positions and the pants conformed positively and were completely unrestrictive to my movements. I was also pleased not to notice the waist band. I had initially thought it might get sweaty and stay wet compared to the other more obvious quick drying material of the pants. But, my concerns were completely unfounded as I didn't notice it at all. In fact, I found having the elastic waistband more comfortable than my pants with zipper fly and button, especially with a harness. I've enjoyed the lightness of the fabric. While on a glacier for a week with some intense solar radiation and no shade to escape it, they were the perfect weight that I was looking for. They were highly breathable and dried fast. In fact they even shed and repelled water. This was proven when I was icing my knee with some snow and I put the snow directly on the trousers. It took a good 15 minutes of direct snow before wetness started to penetrate through the garment. This was impressive and unexpected. The pocket on the left thigh came in handy for a number of items such as carrying my phone, camera, lip balm, sunglasses and gloves. I completely forgot I had a back pocket, I would consider it a decorative feature. I used the hand warming pockets all of the time while waiting for stuff to happen. They were positioned well to keep my hands in pockets in a casual and comfortable way. I didn't find the capri length stayed in place with just the cord cinched and hem folded as shown on the manufacturer's website. I also felt the sewn information tag being visible was not aesthetic. I have a photo of this above, the tag is on my left leg. When hiking in capri length I found just rolling the hem up to desired height and hiding the tag worked better. The draw string and buckle weren't necessary for this arrangement.
I would say after 2 months of living in these pants for nearly everything I've done, they have held up phenomenally well. Where I did see the wear was after hiking for hours through really thick brush that was chest high in places. This was when I observed some pulled threads and/or pilling of the fabric. Quite minor considering what they were subjected to and the integrity of the garment was not affected. The imperfections are barely noticeable and they still look great. I've washed them a dozen times or so and hung them to dry each time. The elastic inside the waist band comes out of the wash folded and rolled up and I have not found a way to return it to it's original width. It is now permanently folded on itself to about 2/3rds of it's original width. Oddly enough this hasn't taken away from the comfort while wearing it. This could easily be rectified if the manufacturer integrates the elastic band into the waistband by sewing it in place. As it stands it is a loose elastic that is floating within the garment's waistband.
SUMMARYAt this point in the test, with 2 months of use for strenuous activities in warm to hot weather, I am pleased with pants that are lightweight, quick-drying and moisture wicking with enough stretch to allow for a wide range of motion and has an elastic waistband. They have held up well and been really comfortable to wear with a backpack and harness. Check back in a couple months for my final test results in some cooler weather.
- wicks well
- dries fast
- loose, casual fit and look
- stretch fabric offers wide range of motion
- elastic is free to fold and roll within waistband and no longer lies flat (recommend sewing it into the waistband)
- ineffective hem cord and buckle for capris length
LONG TERM FIELD CONDITIONS
The following trips have concluded the final test phase for the Dynamic pants.
- Day hike: 24 km (15 mi) with 1400 m (4600 ft) elevation gain
- 2-day backpack: 30 km (18.7 mi) with 1130 m (3700 ft) elevation gain
- 3-day backpack: 46 km (28.6 mi) with 1730 m (5675 ft) elevation gain
All trips were in the Canadian South Rockies and included forest and alpine trails with some scrambling. Temperatures encountered ranged as low as -2 C (28 F) and as high as 28 C (82 F). Weather included all four seasons from hot sunshine, to frosty mornings with a little bit of snow and hail. A skiff of snow was on the trail on the last trip, but mostly dry conditions were experienced.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
I continued to find these pants very comfortable with the soft, loose and flexible fabric. The stretch in the fabric allowed for a great range of motion for scrambling. These pants were ideal for hiking and backpacking since they shed light precipitation and wicked well. The waistband remains comfortable although the elastic is now permanently folded inside the waistband. However, I'm not bothered by this in the least. I would however, encourage the manufacturer to find a way to prevent that from happening. The Dynamic pants were noticeably light and cooling on hot days and the loose fit allowed for a thermal layer to be worn comfortably underneath during cooler and freezing temperatures.
I am impressed with the durability of the Dynamic pants. I have thrown everything at these pants from brushing up on sharp rocks to trudging through thick brush. Aside from some minor pilling, the integrity of these pants remains. I anticipate being able to wear them for quite some time before needing to replace them. I've washed them a few more times and hung them to dry. And even after being covered in mud, they come out clean and fresh looking each time. They do indeed dry fast.
SUMMARYI am a big fan of the Dynamic pants and love wearing them for any outdoor activity, especially hiking and backpacking. I plan to continue wearing these pants for as long as they will let me. I find them more comfortable than my previous go-to hiking pants that had a zippered fly. These elastic-waist pants have been enjoyable to wear and were highly compatible with climbing harnesses and backpack hip belts. The quick drying, moisture-wicking, water-shedding fabric with its stretch for uninhibited range of motion make these pants top notch. Not only that, they endured some serious bushwhacking and scrambling.
I'd like to thank Walz/SewSporty Group and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to take part in this test series.
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