FR - Helly Hansen Odin Traverse Pants - Brett Haydin
A few minutes late (local time) but hopefully not a major deal. Anyway, I have my FR ready for these most amazing pants. Html can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/lqwrfk3
The full text version follows. Happy trails!Field ReportField Conditions
Over the past two months, I have been on three backpacking trips (each of them overnights), four day hikes and a mountain bike ride while using the Traverse pants. My first trip was an overnight to Lake Como, Colorado to hike Little Bear Peak. My friend and I hiked 3 mi (5 km) in to the lake before settling in for the night near the lake at 11,750 ft (3,580 m). Overnight temperatures dipped to about 25 F (-4 C), but the day heated up nicely to about 55 F (13 C), especially by the time we hiked back down to my car! Little Bear Peak tops out at 14,035 ft (4,278 m) and is one of the most challenging "fourteeners" Colorado has. We traveled jeep roads, snow, rock and ice to get to the top but most importantly we made it safe and sound!My second trip was a return (overnight) trip to Castle Peak near Aspen Colorado to hike an adjacent peak. Because of the time of year, we had to hike a bit farther because of the snow but much of the "trail" was a road. We camped near 11,000 ft, (3,350 m) off to the side of the road in a nice clearing. Overnight temperatures were about 40 F (4 C) while daytime temperatures topped out at 50 F (10 C). We missed the summit of Conundrum, but the trail conditions were a mix of snow. ice, crushed rock and some boulder fields. We encountered usual spring weather conditions of sleet, rain and sunshine.
My final backpacking trip was a 15 mi (24 km) hike along the Colorado Trail to complete section three. I hiked about 5 mi (8 km) in to set up camp and then completed the section the next day. Temperatures were nice with highs near 80 F and lows near 60 F (27 and 16 C respectively). Our elevation was between 7,850 and 8,100 ft (2,390 and 2,470 m) along easy subalpine terrain, which means rocky! My other trips brought me to similar conditions and terrain. Mountain biking, I almost always carry a set of rain clothes just in case. While biking one day I did need to use the pants as I got caught up in a storm. Wearing the pants rolled up kept the pants legs from getting ruined by the gears, but at the same time kept me dry and (mostly) clean.ObservationsWow, are these pants comfortable! I was a little nervous taking them out in the field since they look and somewhat feel like a shell. My first hike out with them was a snow ascent of Little Bear Peak (in Colorado), which in itself is a feat. The hike from base camp is short on miles but climbs two separate couliers that are both steep and hold snow well into the summer. I was wearing a set of base layers underneath them for insulation (it was near 25 F (-4 F) when I started) and quickly opened up the zippers as we climbed the first couleir, with a slop of 40+ degrees. The "hourglass" coulier has a pitch of 60 degrees, but by that time the temperature was near 50 F (10 C) with the sun beating down on me. What I really appreciated was how easy the zippers are to operate, even with a gloved hand, while carrying an ice ax. Brilliant design!On subsequent hikes, I wore the pants against my skin. I don't find them uncomfortable, but I will say that cotton and traditional synthetic pants do feel nicer. After a short while, it is not noticeable, so I wouldn't classify them as uncomfortable.As dry as Colorado has been, I have managed to put myself in the middle of a few rain storms with these pants. I am glad to say that they live up to the waterproof claims. While hiking on the Colorado trail, I marched through a couple of hours of thunderstorms with steady rain as well as some rain near Castle Peak. The pants kept me particularly dry, without overheating. I especially enjoyed the elastic cuffs to help keep my boots/feet dry. I skipped wearing gators on the Colorado Trail, and despite muddy puddles, my feet remained dry. They are a bit long for me, so cinched up they create a nice run off for water. I wouldn't wade a stream without expecting to get wet, but great waterproofing to be sure. The pockets are perfect in my opinion. The smaller pocket on my leg is great for a compass, snot rag or other quick-stash items. (Yes, I still carry a compass). The lining on the other pockets is quite nice. As you can see in the picture to the left, I have worn the pants on some fairly technical hikes involving rather sharp and loose rocks. Frankly, looking at the pants they are in near pristine condition. I would love to claim that my nimble feet are to be credited, but frankly I had my share of stumbles. The fabric is resilient, and I am starting to realize why Helly Hansen advertises these at preferred by professional guides. My only "grip" with the Odin Travers Pants is that unlike other pants I have worn, they are quite uncomfortable in warm temperatures. The waterproof membrane is remarkably breathable, but in temperatures above 70 F (21 C) the combined heat and sweat make them almost unbearable. On a couple of day hike, I hiked in 80 F (27 C) temperatures. Despite being in a shaded forest, it was uncomfortable. I thought of rolling up the pants like a capris pant on one hike, which was a little better. I opened the zippers some and the combination made it a bit better, but I felt a little self conscious when meeting other hikers. Frankly, I was a bit embarrassed to capture a picture. I'll be sure to get on for the next installment, as August is usually even warmer!SummaryYeah, these pants rock. I'm not sold on them in the heat of the summer under sweltering conditions, but so far they have far exceeded my expectation. I am looking forward to pushing the limits on some more peaks this summer as I finish out the test series. Pros: Comfortable, true to size and seem to be quite durable. I like that they are waterproof and breathable, but also have side zips. Especially durable. Cons: They are a bit warm above 70 F ( 21 C).This concludes my field report. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Helly Hansen for their generosity as well as the folks at BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to be a part of this test series. Please check back in approximately two months to see how the pants have held up!
"Teamwork: It's amazing how much
can be accomplished when no one
cares who gets the credit."
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