Outdoor Research Vanguard Pants

Posted in Backcountry Skiing, Gear Reviews, Ski Gear, Snowboard Gear, Womens Gear by Claire - 01.20.2013
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After what can only be deemed as an abysmal start to the ski season, with months of high pressure and facets, we’re finally seeing some precipitation up here in AK, and I’ve finally had a chance to get out and ski in my Outdoor Research Vanguard Pants.

Outdoor Research Vanguard Pants

The Vanguard Pants, new for winter 2012/2013 are a highly waterproof, highly breathable softshell ski pant with lots of sidecountry features such as a Recco reflector and a beacon pocket. Available in both Men’s and Women’s designs, the Vanguard looks to be the pant that will stand up to all sorts of weather, no matter who’s wearing it! Overall, I’m enjoying the pants. So far, they’re as waterproof as OR says they should be, offer great mobility for touring and appear to be fairly burly. Errant Alders are no match for the material on the Vanguards…

The Good

  • Most waterproof softshells I’ve ever worn- After 3 hours of resort laps in Alyeska’s infamous “Mixed Precip” (read: rain), my legs were still dry. The pants were soaked, but my legs were still dry. I then wore them for a 4-day Level 2 Avalanche course, and spent all my time sitting in pits I dug. I came home dry each day.
  • Beacon pocket- I love this thing. The pocket is actually  mesh pocket inside a pocket with a clip to keep your beacon attached to you.
  • Dual sided thigh vents with double zippers. Dump heat fast, but don’t worry about fumbling around with a one way zipper to get them zipped back up.

The Bad

  • The Vanguards are HUGE. Definitely try them on, or order a size smaller than you normally would. Consistently a size small in Patagonia, Mountain Hardwear and other Outdoor Research Products, I chose a size small in the Vanguards. Even in my ski boots, the pants drag on the ground, and I’ve maxed out the elastic waistband adjustment to keep them from sagging down to my knees. The size guide indicates that a Small should have a 29 inch inseam. I’d put mine at about 34 inches.
  • The pockets may be overkill. I love the beacon pocket, but don’t have a ton of use for the 2 mid thigh pockets in addition to the 2 front and 2 back pockets. On the plus side, I guess I’ll never run out of space for CLIF shots…

Check ‘Em Out

Outdoor Research Women’s Vanguard Pants or Outdoor Research Men’s Vanguard Pants

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