Monday, January 19, 2015

Gear Review OR Trailbreaker Pant

When it comes to clothes, I’m not much of a girly-girl. I prefer performance over looks, and I despise the entire shopping experience. When I do get new clothes, I look for pieces that will be durable and multi-functional. If they happen to look good too, then awesome. But it’s more important that they can take a beating and do what I need them to do.

With that in mind, I have been testing out a new pair of pants for my winter wardrobe. I have the Outdoor Research Trailbreaker Pant. Technically, this pant is designed for back-country skiing. For that task, it has been fantastic. I've worn it a few times now, in heavy wet snow and in powder. I've also taken it out snowshoeing, hiking, and even alpine-style rock climbing.

With those experiences in mind, here is my review of the Trailbreaker Pant.


This pant is a durable softshell designed specifically for back-country skiing. Even though OR did not intend it for rock climbing, I've found it to be remarkably resilient, holding up to rough rocks and the occasional bush-whacking.

It has reinforced scuff guards and is waterproof up to the knee, water resistant everywhere else. So far the pant has done an excellent job of keeping me dry, even in thigh-high, wet snow.

Other features include side zips for ventilation, boot zips, snow gators, and four zippered pockets. One of those pockets includes a clip and pouch for your beacon – sweet! The side zips are fantastic, helping me avoid getting sweaty on the up-hills and keeping me warm on the down-hills.

 I especially love the back pockets that are down on the backs of the thighs. I stash my Freshette in one pocket and my snacks in the other. Those two zippered pockets are awesome!

The pants are nicely fitted with articulated knees, allowing for great freedom of movement with a slim cut. The cut makes it easy to move around without feeling like Ralphie’s little brother, and has the extra bonus of looking good. I know I said I don’t care much about my pants looking good, but hey, it is a plus when it happens and it happens with these pants!


I’d say the only thing I don’t like on these pants is style of the opening on the front two pockets. While I enjoy how deep the pockets are, and I love that one of them has a dedicated beacon pouch, they are set very high on the waist, zippering flat across. This makes for a small opening that is hard to get into. I have to lift my jacket out of the way, take off my gloves, and do an awkward hip-hand shimmy to get in there. I looked at the men’s version, and those pockets are set lower, with an angled openings. I imagine that doing this to the women’s pant may reduce the depth of the pocket, but what’ the point of having a pocket if I can’t get my hand into it anyway? The men’s pockets are a much better design in my opinion.


Overall, I am a huge fan of the Outdoor Research Women’s Trailbreaker Pant. It is a highly functional pant providing freedom of movement, useful features, and a solid fit. It is exactly what I want for this season of back-country skiing, snowshoeing, and winter hiking, and it looks like it will have the durability to last me many seasons to come.

If you are looking for sizing beta, I think the fit for these pants is fairly true. The size small is perfect for me and I am 5'7" at about 120 lbs.

1 comment:

  1. Great review, Susan! It definitely sounds like we're both not a big fan of the pockets, but I'm glad the sizing worked out better for you. Happy trails!