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Shell Pants
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tombiowami


Jun 6, 2004, 9:41 AM
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Registered: Dec 15, 2003
Posts: 5

Shell Pants
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After a few winter seasons skiing,boarding,hiking and now climbing in
my Marmot Precips they are starting to show some wear. I am in the
market for a pair of heavier duty winter pants. I am looking more at a pair
of good hard shell pants as I can just afford one pair at the time and need
them to be as versatile as possible in all conditions. The Arcteryx Beta AR seem to fit the
bill the best that I have seen so far, though I think I think I would like
full zips instead. $300 is about as much as I am willing to spend.
They would be used for boarding,skiing,
and climbing in temps from a little above freezing down to 40ish below including
windchill.


1.Any comments on these pants or some other recommendations?

2.Also wondering about any comments on bibs instead of pants, looking
at the Wild Things Colorado bibs made of sympatex. Would be concerned somewhat
about them being too warm for temps in the freezing range or above.

3. Are full zips much more helpful? They have been very useful to me
on the precips so far but mainly in just regular hiking conditions.
The Arcteryx Beta ARs just have hip zips.

4.The Betas do not have suspenders, are they that helpful? I have never
had any problems not having them on the precips.

Now on the other hand, would a good softshell pant work just as good in these conditions? The only drawback I have heard about them would be they are not as waterproof as a hardshell but I would only be using these pants in freezing conditions.


Thanks, Tommy


paulraphael


Jun 8, 2004, 9:02 AM
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Registered: Feb 6, 2004
Posts: 670

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I have the Beta ARs, and think they're great.
By full side zips, do you mean ones that separate all the way at the top?
I actually prefer the ones that stop short of the waist, because they make the pants easier to deal with when putting on/taking off. Less confusing than fully separated pants that make a big, obscure H shape.

The best thing about these pants is the cut. They're meticulously designed and pieced together like climbing pants, so they give unrestricted range of motion without being baggy. I also like the fully functional fly, which lots of shell pants leave off. Aparently, many winter climbers don't ever go to the bathroom.

My least favorite thing about them is the very small thigh pocket. It's the only pocket (which is fine with me) but it's so small that it's barely useful. I'd like to be able to stick a map, sunglasses, topo, etc. in there, since sometimes I'll be wearing these with nothing but long underwear or a shirt on top.

I've warn these in winter (with power stretch tights or midweight capilene underneath) and spring and fall (with lightweight capilene). I've also worn them in the summer above 10,000 feet or so, but found them hotter and sweatier than ideal in these conditions.

In general, they're best suited as winter pants. If it's cold, stormy, or if you expect to be wallowing in snow or doing sitting glissades, they're perfect. For milder conditions, softshells are probably better (breath better, lighter), although they won't keep you dry if it's soggy out, and they're harder to repair if you poke a crampon through them. I've gotten over being squeamish about the ocasional crampon hole in my overpriced goretex pants, since they're so easy to fix with seamgrip.

as far as suspenders and bibs, I have no interest. the belt is fine for holding them up. Bibs completely restrict you to using them in very cold winter conditions. But they look handy for wiping out on a snowboard in deep powder. Hope this helps.


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