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Get a Leg Up: Uninsulated

posted: 06/16/2005
by Ben Hewitt

1 Cloudveil RPK3 pant
Part of Cloudveil's new ski-specific Vertical collection, the RPK3 is hewn from a soft-to-the-touch, three-layer Gore-Tex fabric, so it's tough and breathable—but also quiet. Belt loops and a looser cut lend it a moto-meets-mountain-town style, though it's trim enough to keep traditionalists from crying all over their beards.
Gripes: The edge guards are too small; after only two days on the hill, there was noticeable damage to the front-cuff fabric.
Props: This pant can do it all: 3/4-length vents keep things cool in the back- country, while a thin-yet-soft lining adds a bit of warmth at the resort.
Weather Protection: 4

2 Arc'teryx Minuteman Bib
Cut low, and tricked out with thoughtful touches, the Minuteman Bib is perfect for chest-deep days. Superbreathable Gore-Tex XCR, weight-reducing 13-mm seam tape, and watertight zippers combine to keep the elements out, while a drop seat and quick-to-adjust shoulder straps add to Arc'teryx's reputation for carefully considered apparel.
Gripes: The tiny thigh pockets are hard to access.
Props: One of the lightest-weight bibs around. And the just-below-your-pecs cut is ideal: not restrictive or unnecessarily bulky, but high enough to keep your backside warm and dry on the deepest of days.
Weather Protection: 5

3 The North Face Caber Hybrid
Made from both hard- and softshell fabrics (stretchy, flexible material around the waist and front thighs, and a waterproof-breathable fabric on the butt, knees, and lower legs), the Caber Hybrid is ideal for Rocky Mountain—like climates where moisture protection isn't paramount. Removable suspenders are a nice touch, and three pockets (one on the thigh) provide plenty of storage space.
Gripes: Some zippered venting would make this a better backcountry pant.
Props: Still, the Caber was the most breathable of the group, making it our top pick for backcountry excursions.
Weather Protection: 3

4 Rotor Radial
$279 ($289 for the insulated version);
Don't let the Radial's loose, new-school look fool you. It's a well-made pant packed with high-end features like seam-sealed Gore-Tex fabric, articulated knees, and a fleece-lined waistband with belt loops. Fat edge guards will hold up over years of abuse—whether in the backcountry, resort, or park.
Gripes: The Radial's inner-thigh vents simply don't move air as well as vents placed on the outside.
Props: Twin hand and cargo pockets provide plenty of space to stash whatever it is you're stashing.
Weather Protection: 4

5 Mountain Hardwear Tenacity Pant
The understated Gore-Tex XCR Tenacity Pant gives you serious weather protection in a no-frills package. Gaping leg vents, massive edge guards, and low-profile, easy-to-use shock-cord boot closures make the Tenacity a good choice for those who divide their time between the back- and front country.
Gripes: At 13 ounces, it's too lightweight for hard-charging, cold-weather lift junkies. And while we appreciate simplicity, we'd like more storage space than a single rear pocket.
Props: Removable suspenders (like The North Face's) give you bib-caliber fit.
Weather Protection: 3

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