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Patagonia Simple Guide Pants

rated 3.50 of 5 stars

The Simple Guide Pants has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best soft shell pants for 2023.

photo: Patagonia Simple Guide Pants soft shell pant

The best go-anywhere, do pretty much anything softshell pants — totally dependable and sturdy.

I bought these initially for a mountaineering trip to NZ and they have proved to be the most valuable part of my autumn/winter wardrobe. Suited to almost any cool/cold climate activity, they have skied, snow-shoed, climbed, cycled, and kept me warm and cosy through howling gales and miles and miles of backcountry travel.

A totally bombproof and very comfortable pair of pants — and even after all their travels they still look new!


  • Shower and wind proof
  • Warm, stretchy and comfortable abrasion resistant material
  • Sturdy and breathable but not heavy
  • Two deep zippered pockets on hip and third flat pocket on thigh
  • Flat, drawstring waistband works well under pack
  • Slim fitting, not tight but don't snag or sag
  • Great for autumn and winter
  • Bombproof!


  • Haven't found one yet!

Made of a soft, yet sturdy, material these are minimalist pants that can pretty be taken anywhere in the cooler/cold months.

True to size, I'm generally a size 4US (UK10) for pants with long legs (34in) — these are perfect. They are a long slim fit, but because of their simplicity there are no spots that rub or sag.

They're pretty weather resistant and breathable—standing up well to any endurance activity in the snow or cold and reasonably good in rain. Obviously in serious downpours you need some waterproofs over the top, but they are slim enough to fit comfortably under these. Saying that, I have often not bothered and kept going as they dry pretty quickly as it is.

They have two good-sized zippered hip pockets and a flat pocket on the thigh. The elasticated waistband has a with drawstring and it fits comfortably under a harness. 

If you're only going to buy one pair of winter soft shells — go for these. They're bombproof, can't be beaten, and of course they're ethically made by Patagonia.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: US $100

I've marked these down due to the poor waistband design.

I've just come back from a climbing weekend in Snowdon, north Wales (UK).

Whenever the going got tough, these pants began to slide down my backside and show off my underpants. Not only irritating as I was constantly hutching the pants back up, but quite embarrassing too!

In my opinion the waist needs a bungy style chord, not the non stretchy shoelace they come with. As soon as you exert yourself the weak toggle fastener doesn't grip and the waist chord slides through. The elastic in the waist band isn't strong enough to keep them up and hey presto, down slide the pants. Every time!

For hiking and walking they are fine, great fabric, very comfy and they breathe and dry perfectly well. But anything remotely strenuous involving clambering, bouldering or climbing and down they come.

I'm going to customise with a new stretchy bungy chord and a much stronger toggle. Patagonia should have done the same (quite remiss by their normal high standards) and should also add gripper strips to the waistband.

Fabric: thin soft shell
Fill: none
Price Paid: GBP 90

Not much to dislike about these pants - except for me: the fit.

Other than that, these are excellent climbing/hiking pants.

Materials are top-notch. They are made of a lighter weight stretch nylon. Note, Patagonia offers a similar pant with a heavier weight of stretch nylon called the 'Guide Pant' that is geared more towards winter activities (ice climbing/skiing). This lighter weight nylon in these 'Simple Guide' pants is comfortable spring, summer and fall. I'd say it's similar to a Schoeller Dynamic fabric (for comparison's sake).

They offer good protection against abrasion, wind, and light rain. At the same time, they breath very well and are not going to be too hot. The nylon is quite stretchy. The pants offer a decent selection of pockets. The waist band just has a simple cinch cord. But the pants also have a full fly. Pretty nice. Just what you need but not a lot more.

My only problem is the cut of the pants. And this just might be me... But I find them too tight up high and too loose down low. I am of pretty average build. I don't have massive thighs or anything like that. But these pants are just too tight in the thighs and seat (they are fine up at the waistband though.)

And, conversely, they are too loose down around the ankles. There's much too much fabric down there. Especially for climbing. When I look down I want to be able to see precisely where I'm putting my foot/toe. I don't want to look at a whole bunch of pant fabric.

Perhaps Patagonia decided to style these pants more like a pair of modern jeans... that's great for posing around town, but that's definitely not what I'm looking for in pants that I'm actually going to wear in the backcountry.

Fabric: stretch-woven nylon with water repellant
Fill: none
Price Paid: $70

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