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Reviews > Clothing > Pants and Shorts > Westcomb Syncro Pant > Test Report by Gail Staisil

 Westcomb Syncro Pants
Test Series by: Gail Staisil, Marquette, Michigan

Page Contents:



Initial Report:
Westcomb Syncro Pants
October 9, 2008

Tester Information

Name:
Gail Staisil
Age: 56
Gender: Female
Height: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
Weight: 140 lb (64 kg)
Waist: 29 in (74 cm)
Hip: 37 in (94 cm)
Inseam: 32 in (81 cm)

Location: Marquette, Michigan USA
Email: woodswoman 2001 AT yahoo DOT com

For the last 18 years, backpacking has become a passion. I am a four-season backpacker and an off-trail navigator. Although I do take yearly trips to the American West or Southwest, the majority of my trips are in Michigan and Canada. My pack weight varies considerably but my base weight is below 18 lb (8 kg). I am primarily a tarp camper who averages more than 50 nights a year backpacking in a huge variety of weather conditions including relentless rain, wet snow and sub-zero temps.


Product Information



Manufacturer
Westcomb
Website http://www.westcomb.com
Model Syncro Pants
Contact
604.420.8964
Color
Major Brown (also available in Black, Cinder and Dune)
Inseam
Tall: 33 in/84 cm (also available in short and regular)
Tested Size
Men's Medium (also available in Women's sizes)
Manufacturer  Weight NA
Tested Weight 
14.1 oz (400 g)
Model Year 2008 Made in Canada
MSRP NA

 

Initial Impressions and Product Description


Fit

I anxiously awaited the arrival of the Westcomb Syncro Pants. The pants arrived without any apparent defects and in the size requested. I hadWestcomb Syncro Pants requested a Men's Medium Tall although I normally wear Women's sizes. This was due to my normal size not being currently available.

According to the manufacturer's sizing chart, the Women's Size Large Tall would have been the closest to my measurements. I carefully checked the sizing charts and surmised that the Men's Size Medium version would be similar in fit to the Women's Size Large. The biggest difference would be an inch (2.54 cm) less in the hip area and an additional 2 in (5.08 cm) to the waist. Although I didn't need the latter, the pants feature an adjustable belt so it was a non-issue.

I'm happy to report that the fit is great in most areas. Although the waist is a bit roomy for me, it doesn't appear that way and actually will be a bonus if I want to tuck in bulky fleece tops and such. I will also be able to layer the pants over lightweight long underwear for the winter months. The waistband sits right below the waist line and is very comfortable.

I requested the pants to have a tall inseam (33 in/84 cm). Although this is 1 in (2.54 cm) longer than my actual inseam measurement, they are not too long. The choice of inseam sizes is a definite perk in my experience as it's hard to find inseam choices in outdoor apparel. The manufacturer offers three choices of inseam lengths in both men's and women's sizes.


Fabric

The Syncro Pants belong to the "Terra" line of clothing from the manufacturer. According to the manufacturer, this clothing is tailored for rugged and abrasive conditions.
side-zippered pocket
The Syncro Pants are fabricated with schoeller dynamic material. Reportedly it has qualities of being durable, stretchable, breathable and abrasion resistant. The fabric has a self-cleaning finish called Nanosphere (schoeller technology). According to the Nanosphere hangtag, this technology is based on the ability for the fabric to be non-stick so that dirt can not easily adhere to its surface. Liquids and foods reportedly just rinse or roll off the surface. In addition, cleaning of the pants is noted by the manufacturer to be easier than normal as they should need less washing.

Eager to try the self-cleaning claim, I poured a bit of cola drink on the pants and it simply rolled off the surface. I then dumped a glass of water on them and it did the same thing. This should be fun!


Style and Features


Overall, the Syncro Pants are non bulky in appearance as they have a rather sleek or tailored look to them. The pants could easily be worn for casu
al activities as well as in the backcountry.

Two side seam pockets near the top of the pants lie flat and are finished off with zippers. The zipper openings are each about 7.5 in (19 cm) in length for easy access to the pockets. The inside of the pockets are made out of a soft brushed tricot-type of fabric and feel wonderful against my hands. Each pocket size is tapered but they are approximately 6.5 in (16.5 cm) wide by 13.5 in (34.3 cm) long.

The front of each leg of the pants feature two sections that are sewn together horizontally with flat fell seams. The outer side seams also feature the double-stitched flat fell seams. The knee areas of the pants are articulated with darts for flexibility. All of the stitching on the pants is evenly spaced and sewn very neatly.


More Features and Care Instructions

front waist details
The set-in waistband features a fabric tunnel through which a web belt is inserted. In addition, there is a front zipper and single snap closure. The inside of the waistband is lined with a suede-type material that is very soft against my skin.

The back of the pants feature a small shaped yoke beneath the waistband. This no doubt adds to the fit of the pants to possibly prevent bunching of the fabric.

There are two reflective logos on the pants one being the word "westcomb" above the rear pocket. The letters are only about 0.25 in (0.64 cm) in size so it is barely noticeable. There is also a triangular logo design behind the left knee.

back detail
The back of the pants also features a zippered rear pocket with an approximate 5.5 in (14 cm) opening. This pocket is about 7 in (18 cm) square and is located on the back right side of the pants. The inside of the pocket is also constructed with the soft brushed tricot-type fabric.

The backside of each leg of the pants also feature two sections that are sewn horizontally together and they also have darts in the knees area.

Each bottom leg of the pants have a quick single-pull adjustment cordlock. The pants can be pulled closer against the leg to make them even more streamline.
leg adjustment
A care tag is located in the inside of the pants in one of the side seams. It advises to not use fabric softener or an iron. The pants can be washed with 30 C (86 F) water and should be washed separately for best results. According to the Nanosphere hangtag, the self-cleaning finish should stay after numerous washings. 

So far, I'm very impressed with the Westcomb Syncro Pants. Their ruggedness appears to be functional for a variety of activities.
I'm looking forward to getting out in the field wearing the Syncro Pants. I plan to use them extensively not only for planned backpacking trips but also for dayhikes, trail running and snowshoeing. They will be used on maintained trails and bushwhack routes. Terrain is mostly hilly and weather encountered will include rain, sleet and snow. 


Top of Page
Field Report:
Westcomb Syncro Pants
January 17, 2009

Locations and Conditions

During the field test period, I have worn the Westcomb Syncro Pants during two extended trips. The
backpacking trips totaled seven days of activity. In addition, the pants have been worn for day hiking, cross country skiing and snowshoeing approximately a dozen and a half times (Sugarloaf Mt, Hogback Mt, Mount Marquette, Harlow Lake Trails, Buschell Lake, Carp River, Blueberry Ridge, Noquemanon Trails, and Michigan Tech Trails all located in Houghton and Marquette Counties, Michigan). I have also worn them for working in the yard during approximately 15 hours of leaf raking and other fall clean up work over a three-day time span.

Locations ranged from and included conifer and deciduous forest communities with many rock outcroppings to lakeshores and hiking trails
. Elevation ranged from 600 ft (183 m) to approximately 1200 ft (366 m).


Early November Backpacking Trip:

Location: Hiawatha National Forest - Upper Peninsula of Michigan
Type of Trip: Bushwhack, thick forest and swamps
Distance: 13 mi (21 km)
Length of Trip:
4 days
Backpack Weight: 30 lb (13.6 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Cloudy, rain, light snow
Precipitation:
0.92 in (2.34 cm)
Temperature Range: 27 F (-3 C) to 55 F (13 C)

 
Early December Backpacking/Sledge Trip:


Location: Pigeon River Country State Forest - Lower Peninsula of Michigan
Type of Trip: Bushwhack, old two-tracks
Distance: Approx 10 mi (16 km)
Length of Trip:
3 days
Sledge Weight: 45 lb (20 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Cloudy, light snow and partly sunny 
Precipitation:
0.43 in (1.09 cm)
Temperature Range: 10 F (-13 C) to 22 F (-6 C)
 


Performance in the Field
Syncro Pants in the field
During the last few months, the conditions and temperature range have changed considerably with the advent of winter. When I started the test period in the beginning of October the temps were mild (50 F to 60 F/10 C to 16 C). The ground soon became heavily snow covered and the temps have often dipped to the single digits or lower during the daytime hours.

I have often worn the Syncro Pants sans long underwear during the early part of the test period. During aerobic activity the fabric of the pants seemed almost too hot (clammy) with temperatures over 60 F (16 C) as compared to wearing other trail pants that I own. As the temperatures dipped I began wearing them with lightweight silk long underwear. I have also layered them with Capilene midweight underwear and midweight wool underwear. All have worked well.


During my November backpacking trip I started the trip wearing the Syncro Pants as my lower body layer but with the advent of heavy rain, I layered my rain pants over the Syncro Pants. Although the rain had abated for the following days I still wore them in combination with the rain pants. I simply wasn't warm enough with just a single layer (temperatures around the freezing point).

During my December sledge trip I found that a layer of long underwear combined with the pants wasn't enough to keep my legs warm during intervals of snowshoeing while pulling the sledge. Because of the type of trip (with intervals of pulling a sledge on snowshoes with alternate periods of rest), I needed more protection from the environment (strong winds and snow kick). I layered wind tights over the pants and the combination of the three layers worked just fine. The highest temperature encountered during this entire trip was 22 F (-6 C).



Comfort and Fit

As alluded to earlier, I also wore the pants during many snowshoe and cross country ski day outings. Normally tradition has it that I would likely wear ski-specific pants for such outings but the Syncro pants worked fine with an underlayer. They allowed flexible movement overall and I didn't feel that my range of motion was compromised during such endeavors. The pants worked fine for these day outings as I rarely stop activity during the two or more hour workout periods other than to make a quick adjustment to my equipment or take a quick sip of water.

The Syncro Pants have seemed to work just fine during light rain and snow. The precipitation has rolled off the surface of the pants and I have stayed dry. 

Overall the fit of the pants is somewhat roomy for me but that has worked well when adding layers.
I have even slept in the pants during the backpacking trips. The pants are non binding in all areas. The waist area is very comfortable against my skin and the adjustable waistbelt allowed me to wear different types of clothing tucked into the pants during cold weather.

I have found the articulated knees of the pants to be very adaptable while climbing and descending rock outcroppings and rugged trails. The adjustable leg openings are easy to use and I'm definitely impressed with the length of the pants as I often have a problem with inseams being too short.

I can't really report on the packability of these pants in a backpacking situation because I never changed out of them during trips. However I have packed them in a suitcase when traveling and they do wrinkle but the wrinkles pop out after a short time of wearing them.



Something to Consider 

Although I've been very pleased with many features of the Syncro Pants, there are a few design details that I haven't found functional for me. The first nitpick is the design of the side pockets. Although the design of the pockets is quite tailored and sleek looking, I haven't found them to be very functional as there is limited space to store anything. They are also too hard to access while wearing a backpack (zippers interfere with top of my hipbelt).

I would prefer to see roomy exterior-type pockets on the pants. With that said, the company does already offer a different version of the pants with cargo pockets instead. As a backpacking-orientated consumer I would have preferred that model if I were purchasing them myself. The large internal back pocket is also something that I could do entirely without. In general I find that many women don't use back pockets for much of anything.


Durability and Care

So far, there haven't been any issues with durability, but I will look further at that in the long term report. They have been already subjected to quite a bit of bushwhacking with no noticeable defects. I have already washed the pants several times (7 or 8) with minimal effort. Even though they have been quite muddy at times (during the fall months) I never pre-scrubbed them before washing. I simply washed them with warm water and then tumble dried for a few minutes before hanging to dry. There aren't any major stains but a few tiny marks have remained after washing.
During the next few months, it will still be the winter season. I will continue to wear the Syncro Pants for a variety of activities and monitor their functionality, durability and care.

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Long Term Report:
Westcomb Syncro Pants
February 15, 2009

Locations and Conditions

During the long term test period, I have worn the Westcomb Syncro Pants for a backcountry sledge trip of four days and also during eight day excursions totaling 12 additional days of usage. The latter included snowshoeing and cross country ski outings.
Locations ranged from and included conifer and deciduous forest communities with many rock outcroppings to groomed skiing and backcountry hiking trails. Elevation ranged from 600 ft (183 m) to approximately 1200 ft (366 m).


February Backpacking/Sledge Trip:

Location: Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore - Upper Peninsula of Michigan
Type of Trip: Ungroomed trail and bushwhack
Distance: 18 mi (29 km)
Length of Trip:
4 days
Sledge Weight: 45 lb (20 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Cloudy, light snow and partly sunny 
Precipitation:
0.12 in (0.30 cm)
Temperature Range: 23 F (-5 C) to 41 F (5 C)


Day Outings:

Location: Noquemanon Trails, Blueberry Ridge Trails, Harlow Lake Trails all in Marquette County, Michigan
Type of Trip: Snowshoeing and cross country skiing (ungroomed and groomed trails)
Distance: 3 mi to 15 mi (5 km to 24 km)
Sky and Air Conditions: light snow to blizzard snow conditions, strong winds, mostly cloudy
Temperature Range: -9 F (-23 C) to 27 F (-3 C)

 

Performance in the Field

Versatile

During the long term test period I have continued to wear the Syncro Pants for a variety of activities including hiking, snowshoeing and cross country skiing. The weather has remained very cold with sub-zero (-18 C) temperatures being very common. I've had to layer the pants with medium-weight wool or expedition-weight fleece long underwear to make them wearable in the wintery outdoors. Luckily the pants have accommodated these layers quite nicely and I haven't had any issues with bunching of the fabric or flexibility while wearing them.

During my recent multi-day backcountry trip the weather was unseasonably warm for winter (high of 41 F/5 C and low of 23 F/-5 C). The Syncro Pants were combined with a single light layer of wool underneath during exertion (snowshoeing through heavy wet snow while pulling a sledge). As soon as I arrived at my new camp site each night I layered a pair of loose fleece leggings over the pants for additional warmth.

Although I ordinarily wouldn't of chosen this type of pants for my day outings of ski and snowshoe activities, they have surprisingly performed quite well for those activities. I have worn them combined with gaiters for snowshoeing so that I didn't accumulate snow inside my boots.


Durability and Care

The pants essentially are still in great condition although that doesn't surprise me due to their high quality craftsmanship. Overall, the Syncro Pants have been worn primarily in winter conditions. Other than in the first few weeks of the entire test period they have been far more exposed to clean and abundant snow rather than dirt and forest debris. I have continued to wash them with minimal effort and they have not shrunk nor has the fabric discolored. Light snow does not wet out the surface and I have stayed dry.

Summary

To conclude, the Syncro Pants are a nice addition to my outdoor wardrobe. They are both comfortable and multi-functional pants that can be easily layered with other garments (both over and under). The choice of inseam sizes is a definite perk. My only real issue with this particular style of pants is that the side pockets aren't easily accessed when wearing a backpack due to their configuration. I will continue to wear the Syncro Pants for a variety of activities during the cooler months of the year (about 9 months of the year here). During highly-aerobic activity I feel that they perform the best in temperatures below 60 F (10 C).

 

Pros 
  • Comfortable
  • Easy care
  • Inseam size choices
  • Wrinkle-resistant

Cons
  • Kind of hot while wearing during temperatures over 60 F (16 C) and too cool (if not wearing underlayers) below 40 F (4 F)
  • Pockets not accessible while wearing backpack

Tester Remarks 

Thanks to Westcomb and BackpackGearTest for this interesting opportunity to test the Syncro Pants. This concludes the test series. 

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