It’s mid-July and I’m bushwhacking through thick, wet brush in search of a fabled pool full of cutthroat trout high in the Rocky Mountains. Thrashing and stumbling in the undergrowth, I’m happy to be wearing my favorite mountain pants, christened my “camping pants” by my wife — the Mountain Guide Light Pant by Eddie Bauer.
After two years of abuse and at least 50 days of outdoor wear, these pants have proven to be durable and remarkably versatile. I’ve used them in four seasons, from the high mountains in the winter to brushy plains in the summer, and have been universally pleased.
These aren’t your grandpa’s Eddie Bauer pants, unless he happened to be climbing big mountains back in the 60s and have his hands on some future-tech fabrics.
One caveat: These babies are expensive — $179 — but I contend worth every penny.
Over the course of two years, I’ve worn the First Ascent Mountain Guide Light Pant for tough, abusive adventures. Of course I’ve worn them hiking and camping, but also put them through the wringer rock climbing, hunting and even in ski mountaineering races. They’ve been worn under waders and over long underwear, through briar patches and tumbleweeds.
They were even the bottom half of my soak-the-jacket-in-the-river test last winter. They caught the deluge of the dripping jacket I’d dunked in a freezing river during a snowstorm and did just fine.
These are super techy for a simple pant. Intended for mountaineering, backcountry touring and even ice climbing, they are made from fast drying, water resistant, stretchy (and very expensive) Schoeller soft shell fabric with a “3XDry” durable water resistant finish. I’ve found these pants remarkably dry even in soggy weather.
No, they’re not waterproof, but water just doesn’t like them. They dry very fast and are windproof, a fortunate attribute when used in snowstorms, which I’ve done. No, they’re not ski pants, but they do hold their own on the slopes if needed.
These pants fit my slim frame well, stretching at the knees and hips for dexterity. However it’s important to note that they don’t fit everyone; my wife has a pair and she says the women’s version has never fit her quite right — so probably best to try them on or purchase from a retailer with a good return policy.
The pockets are deep, securely zippered and plentiful. Zippers open the ankle cuffs to fit over boots.
Finally, the durability of these pants is remarkable. Two years of serious beating and they’re still going strong but showing a few signs of wear. A couple stitches have pulled loose and a few small tufts of fabric stand up where I’ve snagged thorns and barbed wire, but, overall, they are still as functional as the day they were new.
When I finally destroy these pants, it’s likely I’ll get another pair. Damn fine pants. If you need something for year-round adventuring in pretty much any climate, consider the Eddie Bauer First Ascent Guide Light Pant. They’ve never let me down.