Patagonia R1 Pants
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $42
this is a fairly warm synthetic base layer, loose enough to serve as a mid-layer. i recommend wearing alone for cooler weather and beneath a shell or insulated pants in really cold weather.
- durable - a quality base layer
- does well at pulling moisture away from you
- older versions had an annoying and near-useless rear pocket
- the fly on the current version seems half-open most of the time
The R1 bottom is kind of like a versatile pair of outdoor sweatpants. they are thick enough to wear alone in fairly cool weather if you are active, and they are very warm if you wear them under a shell. on cooler summer nights, i'll often put them on as the temperature drops in camp.
the fit on these is pretty average. they have enough room and plenty of stretchiness to wear over a tight, lightweight base layer or running tights if needed. some might consider them to run a little long in length. the fabric is stretchy and doesn't impede your movement at all; for example, this is a great layer for very cold weather nordic skiing.
the fleece has an interior grid pattern which does a very good job trapping air, which keeps you warmer. at the same time, the weave is fairly loose and allows air to flow through. on a very windy day, they can feel pretty cold as a result, unless you wear shell pants over them. but, with a shell, they can get very warm, too warm for very active sports or hiking unless it is really cold out, but ideal for downhill skiing under a light shell. if you expect a lot of steady wind and a very active day in cooler or cold weather, a lighter base layer under more wind-resistant stretch pants would probably be a better choice.
the fleece does a very good job escorting moisture outward. on a typical cold weather hike, the outside surface of my R1's invariably ends up with a layer of moisture or frost. the outer surface is smooth and slides easily inside a pair of wind pants or waterproof/breathable pants. like most fleece, these don't suffer if they get wet. take them off, wring them out, and they will still keep you reasonably warm. hang them out in sunlight and they dry reasonably quickly.
this is a durable layer. i just picked up my second pair, the first one is several years old but essentially unscarred after a lot of use and laundering (i hang fleece to dry and think it helps them last longer - elastic waists and fabrics just seem to suffer from long-term exposure to hot clothes dryers). seams are solid and don't come apart. the only real impact is that the interior fleece grids have flattened out a little over time. any fabric like this could tear if snagged on a branch or a sharp rock, i suppose, but i have had my share of scuffs and falls in these without damaging them.
patagonia has changed the design of these a little over time (the fabric is the same 98% polyester, 2% spandex). the elastic waist band on my older pair was never very firm, so they were mildly prone to riding down with a backpack on. the elastic on the new pair is much more firm. the old pair has a small zippered mesh pocket in the rear, on the right side. i don't like it; the zipper pull is tiny, and the small coil zipper is so tight that i could never easily zip the pocket open while wearing them. what good is that?
the new pair dispenses with the pocket but includes a front fly. one one hand, that's a great addition for very cold weather/winter use, because access was, um, a bigger issue with the old pair. on the other hand, if you wear these as your outer layer, that fly is right out front saying 'dude is wearing long johns.' the other downside to the fly is that it is a decent but not outstanding design - it is somewhat prone to flapping open a little. wear stylish undershorts with these.
i don't mean to overstate these detail issues, though, because they really don't detract from the major functional benefits of these pants.
Price Paid: $85 Canadian
I recently bought these beauties and have had the pleasure to use them on two different hunting excursions. I was out in about -20 Celsius with about a 30 km/hr wind and the only thing not cold was my legs!
I was wearing a heavy denim pant over top of these guys and I was perfect in that temperature. I felt a little bit of wind coming through the jeans, but I was comfortable. Keep in mind these are actually considered pants and don't have a fly.
On another note, these are very warm pants! If you're wearing them in regular temperatures, you may find yourself too warm like I did.
Another note is they're a bit long. I bought the xl size and I'm 6'1" and they're probably 5-8 cm too long. It's not a deal breaker for me, but if you like that 'perfect fit', you would probably buy a large at my height.
9.3 oz / 264 g
6.8 oz Polartec® Power Dry® 93% Polyester, 41% Recycled / 7% Spandex