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Utility Pants: Two-Week Test At ‘Mongol Derby’

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[leadin]The Mongol Derby is touted as “the longest and toughest horse race in the world,” with a course that unrolls 1000km across Mongolia. Where better to review a pair of do-all outdoor pants?[/leadin]

Photo: Saskia Marloh

Under Armour touts its designers “thought of everything” with these pants, the Performance Utility Chino, and that they will be the “best pair of pants you’ll ever put on.”

Big claims. Last month, contributor Erik Cooper put the pants to a test, wearing them for two weeks during the Mongol Derby, an endurance horse riding event that retraces a remote route from the Chinggis Khaan empire.

The pants are fitted but also leave enough room to move. Flat-front cargo pockets keep the look clean but don’t sacrifice storage capability. “They were durable and I had a place to put everything from my SAT Phone to GPS to binoculars, and even a snack or two,” Cooper said.

Two-Week Review

Cooper wore a single pair of the Performance Utility Chinos every day for two weeks straight. He said they were “rugged and built for adventure on the outside, with a comfortable, sweatpants-like feel on the inside.”

Riders in the Mongol Derby

The comfort comes from a stretchy waistband and deep, soft knit pockets, which, Cooper said, “basically make you feel like you never want to take your hands out of them.”

He wore the pants in all weather, including rainstorms. The cotton-based pants have elastane for stretch, and although not waterproof, the pants dry fast, Cooper said, and a treatment “keeps the water from soaking into the fabric. ”

Under Armour Performance Chino Pants
Photo: Saskia Marloh

The stretch, Cooper said, allowed for great mobility “from running down after horses, to squatting and holding a flashlight in place as my driver worked on his Furgon, an old Russian Military van, for what seemed like hours.”

There is a stainless-steel utility clip ring for a tool or keys. “Pockets, pockets, pockets… this pair has seven of them, from flat front pockets, to deep pocket bags, to even a bonus pocket on the back right, there’s a place for everything.”

Under Armour Performance Chino Pants
The author and fellow competitor during the Mongol Derby; photo: Saskia Marloh

The fabric is on the thinner side, so when temps plummet you need to add a layer. But durability was solid on this first review, with Cooper noting “Even with the thinner fabric, no holes or wear and tear” after 14 days and hundreds of miles on horses and in vehicles.

One note on fit: Cooper found the pants shrink a bit after their first wash and dry, so he says to size up. “I’m normally a 30X30 but these pants at 32X30 after a wash and dry fit perfect.”

–The Under Armour Performance Utility Chino cost $99.99 at underarmour.com.

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