FOR EDIT: Ibex Guide Lite Pant LTR--Will
- Hi George, here is my LTR. I indicated where photos and a table will go. Thanks in advance for your edits. Will
Long-Term Report: IBEX Guide Lite Pant
Date: May 3, 2005
Item Tested: IBEX Guide Lite Pant, Men's Size Large, regular length
During the 6-month test period (Oct to May) I wore the Ibex Guide Lite Pant on 36 outings totaling 52 days. Activities included snowshoeing, day hiking, ice fishing, backpacking, and car camping. The pants fit comfortably, with good articulation and ample room for underlayers. They performed exceptionally well for a wide variety of cool/cold weather outdoor activities. I found them to be very durable, and wind and water-resistant. For high exertion activities, they were very comfortable to wear (for me) up to about 50 F (10 C), but too hot to wear above that temperature. For lower exertion activities, the upper limit was around 60 F (16 C). Overall I feel the Guide Lite Pant provides excellent performance for outdoor activities in cool/cold/overcast/windy conditions (i.e., wintery conditions), but is not necessarily suitable for 3-season (warmer weather) use as claimed.
Name: Will Rietveld
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).
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.
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
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.
Test Locations and Conditions- I wore the Ibex Guide Lite Pant on 36 outings for a total of 52 testing days, broken down as follows: (table)
Snowshoeing 15 days
Day Hiking 12 days
Ice Fishing 4 days
Winter Camping 5 days
Car Camping 16 days
During the testing period (October 22, 2004 to May 3, 2005) I wore the Guide Lite Pant for a variety of outdoor activities in the Southwestern US. The Southwest is characterized by wide daily temperature ranges, changeable weather, wind, and warm winter sun. Temperatures ranged from 0 to 75 F (24 C) and elevations ranged from -282 feet (at Death Valley California) to12,000 feet (-86 to 3660 meters).
Snowshoeing trips were day excursions into the southern Colorado mountains in all types of winter weather. On local day hikes, I wore the Guide Lite Pant in a wide variety of conditions including rain, snow, mud, wind, cold, and dry/warm. I intentionally went hiking on rainy, snowy, and bitter cold days to see how well the pants performed. On ice fishing trips, it was always cold at first. Some days were warm and calm and other days turned out to be windy and snowy. I wore the Guide Lite Pant on one 5-day winter camping trip skiing from hut to hut at 10,500 to 11,500 ft elevation (3200 to 3500 m). Four days were warm/sunny with cold nights, but one day was snowy/windy/cold. Finally, I wore the Guide Lite Pant on four winter car camping trips in southern Utah and California, where the days were mostly sunny and warm and nights were cool or cold.
How the Guide Lite Pant Was Used- During high exertion activities (snowshoeing, day hiking, skiing) I did not wear a baselayer under the Guide Lite Pant. I wore knee-high gaiters on all outings in snow. On ice fishing trips, I wore either an Ibex Woolies baselayer or fleece tights under the Guide Lite Pant, and often wore insulated coveralls and wind pants over them. In the mornings and evenings while winter car camping I wore fleece tights under the Guide Lite Pant and insulated shell pants over them.
Quality, Construction, and Fit-The Guide Lite Pant is exceptionally well made, and are built to last. 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 was 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 gave the pants more versatility, but they were a little baggy (for me) to wear as hiking pants. Size large gave me plenty of leg length to cover the tops of my boots.
Features-The vertical zippered front pockets have a 6.5 inch (16.5 cm) opening, which I found adequate for my large hands, but I found the pockets a little too shallow for my liking. My personal preference would be extra deep diagonal pockets without zippers, with the addition of a zippered secure pocket elsewhere. Deeper pockets would be very useful for hand warming and to hold a variety of essential small items. The pants have one zippered rear pocket, which I found to be handy and adequate. The fly zipper opens from the bottom up, which is more convenient when wearing a pack. I found the zippered/gusseted cuffs to be large enough to slip over my size 11.5 hiking boots.
Comfort: In the sunny Southwestern US, where I live, I found that the pant's thickness and black color limit the upper end of their comfortable temperature range. In the Southwest, there is a lot of radiant heat from the sun even in winter. The black color absorbs heat from the sun, making them hot to wear (for me) at only 50 F (10 C) while hiking uphill in the sun. They are very comfortable 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. In below freezing and windy conditions with low exertion levels, I found it necessary to wear an insulation layer and wind pants over the Guide Lite Pant to maintain comfort.
Performance: On 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.
Size large provided (for me) ample room for underlayers (IBEX Woolies and/or powerstretch fleece tights), making them very comfortable to wear in cold weather.
From many crashes in the snow, I found that the pants shed snow and resisted wetting quite well because of their smooth finish.
On a day hike in a rainstorm at 34 F (1 C) the pants shed rain at first, but eventually wetted through and got thoroughly wet. As long as I kept my exertion level up the pants were warm when wet. I weighed the wet pants when I got home and found they had absorbed 11 ounces (312 g) of water (61% of the pant's weight).
I found the Guide Lite Pant to be very wind repellent. On numerous day hikes in windy/cool conditions my legs stayed warm and comfortable. It was simply a matter of adjusting my upper body layers to maintain a comfortable body temperature.
I did some day hiking while carrying a backpack to evaluate the pant's comfort level in cold/cool weather and high exertion. I carried a 20 pound (9.1 kg) pack uphill (1500 ft/460 m elevation gain) at 2 mph (3.2 kph) at 0 F (-18 C) and found the pants to be very comfortable at that high exertion level. When I did the same hike on two other occasions while hiking 2.5 mph (4 kph) and carrying a 10-pound (4.5 kg) daypack, I was comfortable up to about 50 F (10 C), but overheated above that temperature in sunny conditions.
The only conditions where the Guide Lite Pant did not perform well (for me) was in sunny/calm/warm conditions and moderate to high exertion levels, where they simply got too hot. The warmest temperatures I found them comfortable to wear was in the low 60's F (16-18 C) with low exertion levels. On one trip to Death Valley, California I tried wearing them for hiking in 70-75 F (21-24 C) temperatures, and they were simply too hot.
The pants were non-chaffing against my skin. They have a brushed wool inner surface, so they feel soft and warm against my skin. I did not detect any itch or smell from repeated use.
Versatility: Overall, I found that the Guide Lite Pant performs best in overcast/cool/windy conditions, i.e., wintery conditions. They are excellent for snow sports and any cool/cold weather activity, but do not work well (for me) for hiking in warm weather. Above about 50 F (10 C) and high exertion, and above about 60 F (16 C) and low exertion, the pants got too warm and I preferred 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.
Durability: The Guide Lite Pant is very durable. After six months of use there are few signs of wear. I did a lot of bushwhacking wearing the pants, and found them up to the task, with only a couple of small snags on the legs from crashing through brush in southern Utah. There is no extra reinforcement (like double fabric thickness) in high wear areas like the knees and seat. However, the fabric is thick and is very durable, so reinforcement does not appear to be necessary. Because of their black color, they tend to get dirty easily when used for hiking. I washed the pants eight times (by hand using Woolite) during the test period, and they cleaned up very well with no shrinking or stretching.
I would like to thank IBEX and the BackpackGearTest Group for selecting me to participate in this test.
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