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Reviews > Rain Gear > Jackets and Pants > Outdoor Research Celestial Pants > Test Report by Gail Staisil

Outdoor Research Celestial Pants
Test Series by: Gail Staisil, Marquette, Michigan
 
Page Contents:



Initial Report:
Outdoor Research Celestial Pants
July 24, 2007

Tester Information

Name:
Gail Staisil
Age: 54
Gender: Female
Height: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
Weight: 140 lb (64 kg)
Hip Size: 37 in (94 cm)

Waist Size: 29 in (74 cm)
Location: Marquette, Michigan USA
Email: woodswoman2001@yahoo.com

For the last 17 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
Outdoor Research
Website http://www.orgear.com
Phone 1.888.467.4327
Model Women's Celestial Pants
Color
Black
Material
15D Gore-Tex Paclite
Size
Women's Large (XS-XL available)
Manufacturer  Weight 7 oz (198 g) for Size Medium
Tested Weight 7.6 oz (215 g) for Size Large
Inseam
32 in (81 cm)
Model Year 2007
MSRP $149.00 US

 
The Outdoor Research Celestial Pants are one of two pant selections featured in the Storm category by the manufacturer. Both pants in that division are created with the use of waterproof but breathable fabric. They feature fully taped seams for protection from the elements.

The Celestial Pants are available in both men's and women's sizes in the color of black. The pants are not only lightweight, but compressible to reduce bulk when they are stowed. Features include 15 D Gore-Tex Paclite fabric, an elastic waist with drawcord closure, a zippered security pocket, articulated knees, below-the-knee water resistant zippers, elasticized cuff closures with snaps, and loops for instep laces. The Celestial Jacket is also available to make a complete storm outfit.


Product Description and Initial Impressions
Women's Celestial Pants by OR
The Outdoor Research Celestial Pants arrived in fine condition. The Paclite fabric, the taped seams, the water-resistant zippers, the elastic waist, and other detailing are all finished very neatly. I requested the pants in a size Large so that they could easily accommodate several layers of clothing underneath. I rarely wear rainpants without an additional layer or two underneath. Often that includes my trail pants and long underwear in the cooler months. I tried them on with two layers of clothing and the fit was perfect. Alone they are just as nice looking without the extra layers. I was also happy to find that the 32 in (81 cm) inseam was long enough to cover over the length of my trail pants. The pants only are available in the color of black.

A couple of booklet-type hangtags were attached to the pants. One referenced the qualities of the Gore-Tex Paclite material used to fabricate the pants and the other stated the numerous features of the OR Women's Celestial Pants.

Paclite is the lightest of all waterproof fabrics that are manufactured by Gore-Tex. The Gore-Tex membrane is made out of an advanced composite of two different polymers. Water cannot penetrate from the outside but according to the manufacturer the vapor from perspiration can escape outwards. The breathable fabric has a slightly crisp feel to it and the fabric is supposed to stay waterproof even after extended use.
Besides the waterproof nature of the fabric, all of the seams are sealed with GORE-SEAM tape. In addition, the two lower leg (side) zippers that are sewn into the pants are water-resistant and the edges of them are also taped.
Elastic and drawcord waist features
The waistband of the pants features two methods of fit. The back edge of the waistband has a wide elastic band (1.4 in/3.5 cm) sewn to the inside edge. It features four parallel rows of gripper-like lines. The front side of the waistband has an encased elastic cord with a center toggle to either take up additional slack or to loosen the fit. The back edge of the waistband has several tags inserted into the inside seam. They include a size tag, an OR company tag, a fabric content tag, a washing instructions tag and a hang loop.

There is a roomy security pocket on the right side of the back of the pants. It has a flap closure over a regular (non-water resistant) zipper and the inside of the pocket is made out of two mesh layers. The mesh layers are approximately 8 in (20 cm) square. The pocket would likely hold several items securely if needed.
Zippered opening on pant leg
The bottom edges of the pants have two closure-type features. Each leg of the pants has an 17 in (43 cm) water-resistant zipper that opens from each bottom edge upward. The front side of the bottom edge has a tab with a snap closure that protects the bottom edge of the zipper. The backside of the bottom edge has elastic sewn to its hem. The elastic is very similar to the waistband's elastic in that it has the same grip like feature but it's a narrower width. The smallest circumference of the leg opening is a full 16 in (41 cm). It can be stretched further apart but not reduced. There are also small grosgrain ribbon loops sewn into the inside bottom hem near the inner and outer leg seams. These loops are reportedly used for instep laces. I'm not familiar with this feature as to how they should work but I will certainly experiment with that idea during the test period.
Women's OR Logo
The front left hip area of the pants is adorned with the OR flower symbol representing a women's-specific garment. The back of the pants has an embroidered Gore-Tex Paclite logo beneath the pocket and the company's OR symbol above the knee.
 
I am well acquainted with the qualities that make great rainwear. I have owned and used at least a score of rain garments throughout the years. Reliable amounts of precipitation are a given all months of the year in the environment where I backpack. I'm looking forward to the next several months of testing the Celestial Pants on many multi-day backpacking trips as well as during day activities.


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Field Report:
Outdoor Research Celestial Pants
September 23, 2007

Locations and Conditions

During the field test period, I have worn the Outdoor Research Celestial Pants during two multi-day backpacking trips. Total days in the field during those two trips amounted to nineteen. In addition, the pants were worn during a four-day rustic cabin trip with daily dayhikes and frequently worn or carried for trail runs and other outings (usually about 3 times a week). Locations ranged from and included boreal, conifer and deciduous forest communities with many rock outcroppings to
mountainous glacial terrain. Elevation ranged from 600 ft (183 m) to approximately 8000 ft (2400 m).


Backpacking Trip # 1 and dayhikes: 

Location: Glacier National Park - Montana
Type of Trip: 4-day backpack, plus dayhikes, maintained rocky trail
Distance: Backpack 22 mi (35.5 km), 5 dayhikes ranged from 6 mi (10 km) to 12 mi (19 km) each
Length of Trip:
10 days total
Total Pack Load (including consumables): 35 lb (16 kg)
Sky and Air conditions: Sunny, windy (up to 40 mph/64 km/h) and cloudy, haze, low-range humidity
Precipitation: Rain (estimated 0.33 in/0.84 cm)
Temperature Range:
34 F (1 C) to 85 F (29 C)


Backpacking Trip # 2:

Location: Isle Royale National Park
Type of Trip: 8-day solo backpack, maintained rocky trail
Distance: 70 mi (113 km)
Length of Trip:
9 days total
Total Pack Load (including consumables): 38 lb (17 kg)
Sky and Air conditions: Mostly cloudy, fog, thunderstorms
Precipitation: Rain -- Approx  0.75 in (2 cm)
Temperature Range:
  40 F to 75 F (4 C to 24 C)


Rustic Cabin Trip and dayhikes:

Location: Hiawatha National Forest
Type of Trip: 4-day walk-in rustic cabin trip with dayhikes on maintained hilly trail
Distance: 24 mi (39 km)
Length of Trip:
4 days
Total Pack Load (including consumables): backpack  35 lb (16 kg), daypack for dayhikes: 12 lb (5.5 kg)
Sky and Air conditions: Cloudy, heavy rain, sunny, mid-high humidity
Precipitation: Rain -- 1.84 in (4.67 cm)
Temperature Range: 48 F to 70 F (9 C to 21 C)

 

Local Dayhikes, Bicycling, Trail Running :

Locations:
Local dirt and rock trails, dirt and paved roads for road and mt bike outings
Distances: 5 mi (8 km) to 25 mi (40 km)
Sky and Air Conditions: Sunny, cloudy, light rain, windy, mid-high humidity
Temperature range: 55 F (13 C) to 90 F (32 C)


Performance in the Field


Wind and Cold Protection


I have worn the Celestial Pants extensively during the field test period. During my ten-day Glacier National Park Trip, the pants were worn primarily for wind and cold protection during both the morning and evening hours at camp. I layered the Celestial Pants over my trail pants for the cooler temperatures. During several of the nights they were also worn while I slept in my sleeping bag. One morning it rained quite heavily so the pants were worn to fend off the wet vegetation. The pants both layered quite nicely and were comfortable to sleep in. The waist elastic didn't bind or irritate.

Water Protection
Working the wet Lake Richie Trail at Isle Royale N.P.
During my nine-day trip to Isle Royale National Park, the weather was cloudy at the best. There were four nights of intense rain storms and mostly cool temperatures. I wore the pants each day of the trip while hiking. During the mornings, the narrow rocky trails with a considerable amount of overhanging vegetation were a significant source of wetness. Humidity was quite high (75 to 95 percent). During the first morning, I found that the pants were too hot while layered over my trail pants so on the other mornings, I removed my trail pants and just wore the rain pants. This proved to be perfect for me. The interior of the pants was very comfortable against my skin and not at all irritating in any way. The water from the vegetation didn't seep through the exterior of the pants and my legs were dry the entire time. I wish I could say that about my shoes and socks as they were soaked everyday. I normally wore short gaiters underneath the pants and over the top of my shoes. During the rustic cabin trip to the Hiawatha National Forest, one day had a considerable amount of rain and thunderstorms. According to the local weather source, over 1.84 in (4.67 cm) of rain fell. Most of the rain occurred during the morning hours and then later in the evening hours just after dusk. I did wear the Celestial Pants for about 2 hours during the mid morning at the start of that day's hike. They were very effective at keeping me dry and comfortable. During the rest of the trip, the pants were stowed in my day pack in case they were needed again.


Comfort and Fit

The articulated knees of the pants were very adaptable to climbing and descending rock outcroppings and rugged trails. At Isle Royale, the island is composed of a series of ridges of which I crossed numerous times due to my chosen route. I never felt that the design of the pants hindered my movement in any way. The waistband of the pants with the drawcord and partial elastic feature were also comfortable and adapted not only to changes in clothing but were also comfortable while wearing the hipbelt of my backpack. Although I chose to wear the pants with just regular underwear during the hiking portion of each day, I often wore the pants layered with other clothing during the cool evening hours around camp. Those layers consisted of my trail pants and lightly-quilted insulated pants. The 17 in (43 cm) below-the-knee side zippers of the pants were definitely of sufficient length to allow me to add layers of clothing without having to remove my shoes -- a very positive perk.


Something to Consider 

Although I've been very pleased with the performance of the Celestial Pants, there's one design feature on the pants that I feel could be improved. Because I was subjected to cooler temperatures on much of the island trip, I immediately noticed that there's really no adjustment factor for the lower leg closures. The back of each leg has an elastic edge and the pants do snap at the lower side seams. However, there's still major air space left with these two features. I would prefer to have the ability to seal off the warmer air inside the pants by making the lower leg edges more adjustable. A simple way of doing that would be to remove the elastic portion and simply use a longer hook and loop tab to seal off the pants legs. Theoretically the elastic could stay but it also takes longer to dry when wet. Water beads up and shakes off the Paclite exterior of the pants but the elastic holds water and never really felt dry due to wetness and humidity. I feel that the elastic also adds more weight to the garment than its worth, even though the pants are already lightweight.


Other Uses

During the field test period, I have also worn the Celestial Pants over my bike shorts for two of my mountain bike rides. They were removed after I got sufficiently warm and then stowed in my bike pack. I have also worn the Celestial Pants over running shorts for a couple of trail runs for rain protection. They were very comfortable to wear and I kept them on during the entire 5 mi (8 km) runs.


Packability

The pants have been easy to stow in my pack when they aren't needed. On the last few trips they were rarely stowed, but on the trip to Glacier National Park, they were carried during the majority of the hiking hours. I normally just stowed them in a stuff sack with a rain jacket and rain mitts in the readily accessible back pocket of my pack. The pants do feature a mesh self-stowing pocket, but I prefer the previous method. The pocket itself, I haven't used to store anything but I can honestly say that I never use back pockets on any garment.


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. I have already washed the pants several times with minimal effort. I simply washed them with warm water and then tumble dried for ten minutes. The pants were dry except for the elastic portions of the waistband and lower edges. I then hung the pants to finish drying. I didn't use fabric softener as suggested by the manufacturer as I assume that it would interfere with its water-shedding capabilities.   

In addition to durability issues, I will also try using the instep lace loop feature on the pants instead of gaiters. I will report on their functionality. 
 
  
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Long Term Report:
Outdoor Research Celestial Pants
November 13, 2007

Locations and Conditions

During the long term test period, I have worn the Outdoor Research Celestial Pants during a four-day backpacking trip. In addition, the pants were worn for dayhikes and frequently worn or carried for trail runs, mountain biking and other outings (usually 2 to 3 times a week). Locations ranged from and included conifer and deciduous forest communities with many rock outcroppings to lowland swamps
. Elevation ranged from 600 ft (183 m) to approximately 1200 ft (366 m).


Backpacking Trip : 

Location: Mackinac Wilderness Tract and surrounding semi-primitive territory (Eastern Upper Peninsula of Michigan), old overgrown roadbeds and bush travel
Type of Trip: 4-day backpack
Distance: Bushwhack route -Approx 18.6 mi (30 km)
Total Pack Load (including consumables): 34 lb (15.4 kg)
Sky and Air conditions: Mostly cloudy, windy, rain, snowflakes, mid-to-low range humidity
Precipitation: Rain 0.43 in (1.09 cm)
Temperature Range:
26 F (-3 C) to 47 F (8 C)


Local Dayhikes, Bicycling, Trail Running :

Locations:
Local dirt and rock trails, dirt and paved roads for road and mt bike outings
Distances: 5 mi (8 km) to 25 mi (40 km)
Sky and Air Conditions: Sunny, cloudy, light rain, snow, windy, mid-high humidity
Temperature range: 35 F (2 C) to 60 F (16 C)


Performance in the Field


Wind and Water Protection


During the long term test period, I have continued to enjoy the attributes of the Celestial Pants. The temperatures have cooled considerably in the last two months resulting in many opportunities to wear the pants to extend the warmth of my clothing choices. They offered great wind protection as well as their primary function as rain pants. It began raining quite often in early September and now in addition to rain there has been episodes of sleet and snow. The Celestials have been easy to wear over other clothing choices including silk Capilene long underwear, assorted trail pants and 200 wt fleece tights. On my backpacking trip during this period they were worn over two layers during both an evening and an entire day of rain. During those times, my underneath layers stayed completely dry.
  

Instep Lace Loop Feature

I've tried to use the instep-lace loop feature a few times during day outings. At first I placed a piece of cordage around the instep of each of my boots and secured each end through the loops on the pants with a couple of half-hitch knots on each one. Although that theoretically worked, I found that when I climbed or bent my knees more than when walking on level ground, that the pants would pull downwards. Ideally a very stretchy cord might work better to accommodate flexibility.


Durability and Care
L-shaped tearVertical tear
At the end of the test period, I've had the misfortune for the Celestial Pants to suffer two tears in the PacLite fabric. Both of these tears are located on the lower portion of the pants (one on the back of each leg) and were presumably both torn by rough vegetation. I noticed when one of the tears occurred when I was lifting my left leg over a downed tree on an off-trail route. Since the damage occurred during the only bushwhack trail outing I did during the entire test period, I'm convinced that the fabric is too delicate to hold up to direct contact with harsh vegetation. However, the Celestial Pants have been ideal trail pants for normal trekking on groomed trails. I will continue to wear them only in that fashion. I don't know when the other tear happened but it was also inflicted during that trip. I have repaired both tears in the pants with Bondex self-stick nylon fabric tape. This inexpensive tape has worked marvelously on other clothing and gear throughout the years. I don't have any doubt that it will extend the life of the Celestial Pants. This tape normally stays in place during repeated washings as long as the garment isn't subject to hot dryers. I have continued to wash the pants with minimal effort. The water-shedding aspect of the pants is also still intact. I've noticed that moisture in the form of rain or snow continues to bead up and run off easily.

 

Tester Remarks 

This report concludes the test series for the Celestial Pants. Thanks to Outdoor Research and BackpackGearTest for the great opportunity to test the Women's Celestial Pants.

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