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Patagonia RPS Rock Pants

rated 5 of 5 stars
photo: Patagonia RPS Rock Pants climbing pant

I really like these pants. They are durable and comfortable, and they aren’t restrictive when you’re trying to move around over rocks or downed trees or whatever other obstacles you might encounter in the wilderness. They’re pricey, but I think they’re worth the investment.


  • Comfortable material
  • Some stretch (but not too much)
  • Stylish
  • Water resistant
  • Good fit for activities with lots of movement


  • Expensive
  • Water resistance wears off
  • Front pockets could be deeper

Fit & Comfort: These pants have a pretty standard fit—not very tight and not especially relaxed. Definitely not baggy. The pants have some stretch to them, which, combined with the not-too-tight fit, make them flexible enough for hiking and climbing. The pants are made from a nylon-polyester blend, which makes them softer than other hiking pants that are often made from 100% nylon.

I’ve worn these in dry heat and muggy monsoons. When I worked for the Forest Service in Arizona last summer, I wore them every day and washed them at most once a week (gross, I know, but we were working outside and smelled bad anyway). They never developed that crusty uncomfortable feeling that clothes can get when used outside day after day.

Adjustability: These pants have two adjustments. The waist is adjustable with a feature called OppoSet, which is pretty much webbing running through the waist that you can tighten like a belt once you have the pants on. I still wear a belt, but if you don’t keep much in your pockets or if pants just tend to stay up on you, you probably will be fine without one. I can imagine that being a great feature for backpacking with a heavy-duty hipbelt.

This photo shows the waist area:


This photo gives a better look at the way the adjustable waist works, including the webbing strap that you pull in order to tighten things up:


Water Resistance: These pants have a DWR (durable water resistant) coating. The nature of these coatings is that they inevitably wear off. I had these pants for a few months before I actually had them on in the rain, and they did let water through. I never did reapply any sort of DWR to them, however—that might have made a difference. I’ve put “water resistance wears off” in my list of cons, but I’m not subtracting any stars from my review. I didn’t buy these to function as rain pants, and they dry off quickly after getting wet.

Breathability & Temperature: Because they aren’t a waterproof shell, these pants are very breathable. The normal, slightly relaxed fit allows air to move up the pants as you walk. They are lightweight and a great choice for summer hikes for people who don’t want to wear shorts and risk sunburn on their exposed legs.

They are an especially good choice for people who work outside in the summer and can’t wear shorts because of dress code or safety regulations. Some people might like to see a convertible option where you could turn these pants into shorts. I suppose that is a con to these pants, but not really for me.

Layering: I have worn these over long underwear when hiking and cross-country skiing, mostly because I needed something to wear over my long underwear that would allow freedom of movement. They are not windproof and aren’t insulated, so my expectations were low. They helped me preserve my modesty, and that was about it. I think they are best used as three-season pants.

Function & Features: I’ve already mentioned one feature of these pants—the adjustable waist band. It works all right, but I prefer to have a belt in all situations with these pants. These pants have adjustable cuffs, which you can tighten up with shock cord. I’ve only tightened the cuffs to keep the breeze out when skiing with these pants.

The pockets aren't much to write home about. The fabric is slicker than denim, and you might lose your keys out of the front pockets if you’re not careful. Expect to find lots of coins under your couch cushions and on the floor of your car. If something is really valuable, however, these pants have a zipped pocket on the right leg, not far above the knee. If you leave anything heavy in there, it will flop around when you walk. The back pockets are deep, and I’ve never worried about losing my wallet.

One other fun thing is that the belt loops are made out of a webbing-like material, which seem extremely durable and makes you look even more like a rock climber.



Construction & Durability: I think bushwhacking and rock climbing are some of the hardest activities on outdoor clothes. I haven’t climbed in these pants, but I have walked through some dense, nasty, scrubby thickets without giving much thought to whether or not I’d destroy these pants. They have held up great, and I have never torn them. The construction has also held up great. After two years of owning them, my pants show no signs of coming apart. As far as abrasion goes, I haven’t subjected these pants to much of that. I don’t slide down many rock faces on them, so I might not be the best judge.

Conditions: I’ve owned two pairs of these pants for about two years. I got blue ink from a ballpoint pen and then orange forestry paint all over one pair, which was a real bummer because these pants aren’t cheap. I don’t wear them anymore unless I think I might get messy. The other pair is holding up fine. I don’t wear these pants daily anymore because my new job has a dress code, but I would wear them all the time if I could. They are comfortable and durable, and I think they look good, too. Mine say “Patagonia” on the middle of the leg, which stands out and shows people that I’m a hip outdoorsperson, but I think the newer ones don’t.

Conclusion: I think the biggest con of these pants for most people will be the price. You can buy water resistant, stretchy, quick drying pants at Costco for about $60 less. I have some pants like that too. I think the quality construction and fit of these pants makes them worth the extra money. Besides, you can probably find them on sale if you look hard and have some patience.

As someone who hates to spend more money than I need to on outdoor gear, I have no regrets with these pants and am entirely satisfied. Even if they aren’t perfect, they do everything I need them to do, and that’s why I’m giving them five stars.

These are great all-around pants for outdoor and casual use. They’re great for hiking, climbing, and working outside. They also look cool, and people will probably assume you’re an intense rock climber and outdoor athlete when they see you wearing them!

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $80

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