FR: Outdoor Research Celestial Pants Becki S
...here it is, I just wish I had the jacket to test at the Falls
also... that would've been cool....
report is online here: http://tinyurl.com/2xxmlt
Date: July 1, 2007
To date, I have used the Celestial pants on dayhikes, on a 2-night
trip in along the Waterloo-Pinckney trail, and at the Cave of the
Winds tour at Niagara Falls.
My dayhikes were in parks close to my home, and around my
neighborhood. Temperatures ranged from about 60 F (16 C) to 85 F (29
C), in light drizzles to one downpour, and with and without a
daypack. On all these trips I wore shorts under the pants, and my
waterproof boots. The Celestial pants managed to keep me nice and
dry in the rain on all these trips, and were comfortable to wear. My
current rain jacket is not breathable, and I can really tell the
difference in the materials in that and with the Celestial pants.
Even in cooler weather I would start getting sweaty and warm in my
jacket, but my legs were dry and relatively cooler.
One thing that I noticed (especially when the rain is cooler) is that
sometimes I would feel like some moisture had gotten in, but when I
took the pants off I was perfectly dry. One time I sat on a plastic
bench (wearing shorts under the pants) and had this sensation, so I'm
wondering if the reason is mainly that the fabric transmits the water
temperature well, and does not provide any `insulation' when in
direct contact with cold water.
On a non-backpacking trip this summer I visited Niagara Falls, and
went on the Cave of the Winds tour. They hand out disposable
plastic ponchos and sandals and let people climb around a series of
decks to see the Bridal Veil portion of the Falls from the bottom,
getting completely drenched in the process. Something in me wanted
to see how the pants would hold up to the full force of
the "Hurricane Deck", so I donned the pants and used the provided
poncho and required sandals. On the Hurricane Deck, water is not
only coming in as light spray from several directions, but is also
coming in as an occasional full-out blast from the falls themselves.
I couldn't resist hiking up the poncho to just below waist level and
dancing around a little (I had to make sure the water blasts got me
from all sides) in the cold water.
Again, the cold water gave me the `feeling' that my legs were wet,
but the only water that entered was near my feet. I was required to
wear the sandals they provided (for safety reasons, I'm guessing),
and the cuffs of the pants don't completely seal off my bare legs. I
didn't have this problem on my dayhikes with boots so I don't see
this as a failure of the design in any way, just a piece of
information to keep in mind if I ever decide to go prancing around
waterfalls without my boots again.
The 2-night trip along the Waterloo-Pinckney trail was in mid-May,
and while I didn't encounter any of the scattered showers that were
promised, I did wear them the whole time I was hiking the second day
of the trip. I had decided to try using a deet-free insect repellant
for the trip, but forgot to bring the regular insect repellant as a
back-up. The first day was a mosquito-filled forced march (I had
never seen them that bad before), so I decided to wear the Celestail
pants the second day as added protection since the bug repellant
wasn't doing much of anything. The second day of the trip I hiked 7
miles/11.3 km and the temperature started with a low of around 52
F/11 C and reaching a high of only 64 F/18C. I was hiking primarily
in partial shade since the trees hadn't fully leafed out yet, but
also had areas of complete shade and a decent portion where I was
hiking in full sun. I wore my REI Sahara convertible pants (in pant
mode) under the Celestial rain pants.
I was originally concerned that the black material would heat up my
legs when I was in full sun, but my legs felt about the same
temperature as my upper body did in a medium-blue long-sleeve shirt.
The only time I noticed a temperature difference was when we had a
gentle breeze in an open field. The breeze cooled off my upper body,
but didn't have much effect with my legs.
The Outdoor Research Celestial Pants are comfortable for me to wear,
do a good job of breathing to keep sweat from building up when I'm
wearing them, and most importantly they keep me nice and dry when
it's wet out. So far they've handled being stuffed inside my
backpack quite well, and the light weight is an added bonus since I'm
trying to cut my pack weight. They are a little too long for me, but
as long as I'm wearing hiking boots I have no problems with the
I would like to thank Outdoor Research and Backpackgeartest for the
opportunity to test the Celestial pants.
This concludes my Field Report. The Long Term Report will be added to
this report approximately two months from the date of this report.
Please check back then for further information.