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FOR EDIT: FTR Ibex Guide Lite Pant-Will

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  • Will Rietveld
    Hi George. Here is my FTR for editing. You can view the html version in the TESTS folder here:
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 1, 2005
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      Hi George. Here is my FTR for editing.

      You can view the html version in the TESTS folder here: http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/test/TESTS/IBEX%20Guide%20Lite%20Pant--Will%20Rietveld/

      Thanks for your edits. Happy New Year.


      Field Test Report: IBEX Guide Lite Pant

      Date: January 1, 2005
      Item Tested: IBEX Guide Lite Pant, Men's Size Large, regular length

      Personal Information
      Name: Will Rietveld
      Age: 62
      Gender: Male
      Height: 6 ft (183 cm)
      Weight: 170 lb (77 kg)
      Waist Size: 34 in (86 cm)
      Inseam: 32 in (81cm)
      Email: willi_wabbit at Bresnan dot net (willi_wabbit@...)
      City & State: Durango, CO 81301
      Location for Testing: Southwestern US (Colorado, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico).

      Backpacking Background
      I have been an avid backpacker for 47 years. I am now retired and backpacking is my passion. In the fall, winter, and spring I backpack in UT, AZ, and NM. In the summer I backpack in several wilderness areas in southern Colorado.

      Backpacking Style-I have been a lightweight backpacker for many years, and an ultralight backpacker for six years. My wife and I give presentations on ultralight backpacking in the local area, and have developed a website called Southwest Ultralight Backpacking (hyperlink) to share our information.

      Manufacturer Information
      Name: IBEX
      Website: http://www.IBEXwear.com (hyperlink)

      Product Information (photos of front and back)
      Product Tested: IBEX Guide Lite Pant (#500A)
      Year of Manufacture: 2004
      Fabric Description: Climawool LiteT is Skifans fabric made by Schoeller. It is a stretch woven blend of 74% nylon, 20% merino wool, and 6% spandex. The inner surface is napped merino wool. The fabric has quite a bit of vertical stretch and minimal horizontal stretch.
      Color: Black (the only color available)
      Size: Men's Large, regular length
      Weight Listed: average weight is 15.7 oz (445 g)
      Weight as Delivered: 18.1oz (513 g)
      MSRP: $185 US

      Product Description
      The IBEX Guide Lite Pant, according to the IBEX website is a "Climawool® softshell touring pant designed for the backcountry, yet comfortable enough to wear everyday. Perfect for 3-season use or upgradable to winter conditions with the addition of a baselayer. Pull-on elastic waist with integrated belt, zippered handwarmer pockets. Zippered ankles open wide to fit over boot tops, gusseted design keeps snow out. Semi-fit." According to a hangtag on the Pants, product uses are "x-country skiing, ice climbing, hiking, skiing, and snowshoeing". Product literature claims that Merino wool does not itch or develop odors, has a broad comfort range, and is machine washable.

      Field Test Report
      Test Locations and Conditions- So far I have worn the pants on a total of 15 day trips hiking, snowshoeing, and ice fishing in southern Colorado. Elevations ranged from 6,500 feet to 10,000 feet (1981 to 3048 m). Temperatures ranged from 0-50 F (-18 to 10 C). On two day hikes, the temperature started out at 0 F (-18 C) and 9 F (-13 C), respectively. Temperatures on one ice fishing trip started at 13 F (-11 C) and ended at 38 F (3 C) with a gusty wind of about 20 mph (32 kph). The first 13 trips were under sunny conditions, the next trip was in steady rain at 34 F (1 C), and the most recent trip was walking in snow at 35 F (2 C). I did not encounter any really strong winds on any of the trips so far.

      How the Guide Lite Pant Was Used-The pants were worn as outerwear on all of the trips. On two cold day hikes I wore the Guide Lite Pant over wool long johns (IBEX Woolies) for extra warmth. On three snowshoeing trips I wore the pants with knee high gaiters over the lower legs, and did not wear an underlayer. On two ice fishing trips, I wore the pants over midweight powerstretch fleece pants plus the IBEX Woolies. On my other hiking trips I wore the pants without an underlayer. On the hike in steady rain, I did not wear rain pants over the Guide Lite Pant because I wanted to see how water repellent they are.

      Fit-According to product literature, the Guide Lite Pant has a "semi-fit" cut, which I interpret to mean that it is neither tight nor loose. My waist size is 34 inches (86 cm), which is at the bottom of IBEX's size large (34-36 in/86-91 cm), so the pant is a bit on the loose side for me. I chose to go with size large (photo) instead of medium (31-33 in/79-84 cm waist) because I wanted the extra leg length (33 in/84 cm for large versus 32 in/81 cm for medium) and I wanted to have enough room to wear long johns under them in cold weather. This gives the pants more versatility, but the downside is they are a little too baggy (for me) for use as hiking pants without an underlayer.

      Comfort: In the sunny Southwestern US, where I live, I found that the pant's black color limits the upper end of the comfortable temperature range. The black color absorbs radiant heat from the sun, making them hot to wear (for me) at only 50 F (10 C) while hiking uphill in the sun. Of course, the opposite is true in cold, cloudy, and windy conditions, and low activity levels. I found the pants alone to be chilly while hiking on flat terrain at 0 F (-18 C), but when I added a thin underlayer (IBEX Woolies), they were very comfortable. When I wore them for ice fishing (low activity level), two underlayers (IBEX Woolies and powerstretch fleece tights) and heat absorption from the sun made them very comfortable.

      Performance: On three snowshoeing trips, where I wore gaiters over the lower pant legs, I found that the pants allowed ample freedom of movement. I had no trouble lifting my legs up to chest level without binding, thanks to their relaxed fit (for me) and stretchiness.

      From a few intentional crashes in the snow, I found that the pants shed snow and resisted wetting quite well because of their smooth finish.

      Based on limited exposure to wind on one trip, the pants appeared to be fairly wind repellent, but more testing is needed.

      From one hike in the rain, I found the pants to be minimally water repellent. After about an hour the pants became thoroughly wet, but they stayed warm in spite of being wet (as long as I kept hiking). I weighed them when I got home and found that they had absorbed 11 ounces (312 g) of water.

      The pants were non-chaffing against my skin. They have a brushed wool inner surface, so they feel soft and warm against my skin. So far I have not detected any itch or smell from repeated use.

      Wearing size large, I have ample room for underlayers (IBEX Woolies and/or powerstretch fleece tights), making them very comfortable to wear in cold weather.

      Versatility: So far the pants have worked best for the cold weather activities described. Above about 50 F (10 C) in the sun, the pants get too warm and I would prefer to use hiking pants made of thinner fabrics instead of the Guide Lite Pant.

      Usability: I found that the zipped cuffs fit over the tops of hiking boots with no problem, but the zippered/gusseted cuffs need to be opened to fit over heavy insulated boots. Then the zipper can be closed to seal out snow (photo). The 33 inch (84 cm) leg length (size large) is great for covering the tops of my boots to keep snow and dirt out. The pants are easy to donn and have lots of adjustability with their elastic waist and integrated belt. The zipper on the fly pulls up to open and down to close, which is convenient when wearing a pack or shell jacket. The vertical zippered front pockets have a 6.5 inch (16.5 cm) opening, which I find adequate for my large hands, but I find the pockets a little too shallow for my liking. My personal preference would be extra deep diagonal pockets.

      Durability: So far the pants have been very durable, with no signs of wear anywhere. I have done a small amount of bushwhacking wearing the pants, and find them up to the task, with no abrasions or snags so far. There is no extra reinforcement (like double fabric thickness) in high wear areas like the knees and seat. However, the fabric is thick and appears to be very durable, so it may not be necessary. I have noticed that they tend to get dirty easily when used for hiking. This is partly due to their black color, and partly due to fine dust sticking to the fabric. I have have washed the pants once so far (by hand using Woolite), and they cleaned up very well with no shrinking or stretching.

      Continued Testing
      During the next four months, I will continue to use the Guide Lite Pant as much as possible in a variety of activities, terrains, and weather. I plan to use them on backpacking trips and car camping trips in cold weather. I anticipate more snowshoeing trips, where I am sure to encounter some snowy weather and wind. I also want to determine how warm they are when wet and how fast they dry out. By March and April I will be wearing them on hiking trips in warmer weather, and I will evaluate their upper temperature comfort limits.

      My Expectations For The IBEX Guide Lite Pant
      Following are my expectations for the IBEX Guide Lite Pant, carried over from my Initial Report. During the next four months I will test these hypotheses to determine if they are true or not, and present my findings in my Final Report.

      1) The pant will be high quality with adequate reinforcement in stress areas: they will be sized well and fit comfortably. (True. They are well made, but there is no extra reinforcement in the knees or seat. Size large has a loose fit for me without an underlayer. The pants are very comfortable to wear.)

      2) The pant will be resistant to dirt, wind, and water. (False on dirt and water; not enough data on wind.)

      3) The pant worn by itself will be quite comfortable as a hiking pant in a variety of temperature and weather conditions. (Neutral so far. I have found that the upper limit is about 50 F/10 C while hiking in the sun with no wind. No data yet for other weather conditions.)

      4) The pant worn over a base layer will provide good cold weather insulation. (Very true. With a base layer worn under the pants (thickness depending on temperature and exertion level), these pants work great for cold weather activities.)

      5) The pant will resist wetting and dry out fast after getting damp or wet. (Neutral. In my rain walk, the pants wetted quickly and soaked up a lot of water. More testing is needed.)

      6) The pant will not itch or smell after extended wear. (Not tested yet.)

      7) The pant will be very versatile and perform well in a variety of outdoor activities. (True so far, but they appear to be best suited for cold weather activities, like snow sports.)

      8) The pant will be suitable for backpacking. (Not tested yet.)

      9) The pant will be adequately durable under normal use. (True, they appear to be very durable.)

      10) The pant will repeatedly machine wash, following instructions, without shrinking. (True so far.)

      11) The pant will be adequately water-repellent to provide protection in light to intermittent rain or snow. (Neutral, they have some water resistance, but it appears to be limited. More testing is needed in order to comment more,).

      I would like to thank IBEX and the BackpackGearTest Group for selecting me to participate in this test.

      Will Rietveld

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