For this review, we sought out Beau Gaughran, an up-and-coming photographer and videographer living in Bellingham, Washington. Check out his portfolio here.
I threw on the Patagonia Field Pants as soon as they arrived at my home in Bellingham. Three fantastic days later, I took them off. To properly test the pants, I wore them through days of outdoor photography and recreating. As in:
- Sliding on ice patches on variable terrain
- Climbing trees to get that special angle while shooting mountain biking
- Practicing yoga
- Climbing every route in the bouldering gym
- I even slept in them.
The first thing I noticed about the field pants was how light they are. I worried about how they would hold up through shrubs and while climbing, because the fabric is nowhere near as stiff as my Carharrts or Dickies. (More on that later.)
The pants are so lightweight and stretchy that freedom of movement is maximized. The loose fit allowed for funky moves in the gym. It was as if I was climbing in my underwear. They also allowed me to chase after bikers with my camera on the Galbraith trails and throughout the Chuckanuts. I felt nimble with zero restriction in any part of the pants.
The perfect test for durability was conducted during a mountain bike shoot. Shortly after hiking up an icy road, we ducked into the woods and scrambled up some single track which had less snow on the ground. We found a part of the track that swerved under a huge boulder and through some old growth trees.
I scrambled up a fallen tree and saw no good hand or footholds as I got closer to that optimal spot for shooting. I dug in with my feet, hands, and knees and scooted up the log to get there. My other pants would have likely shredded on the thick, spiny bark of the felled old growth.
Later in the day, as we made our way down the icy gravel road, I tested the pants’ backside. This material seemed much less durable and more intended for straight-up maneuverability in the hips. I found a good patch of ice, worked up some speed, and launched into the sledding position with heels up, butt down, and my hands acting as the outriggers.
I got going much faster than anticipated, and I heard an “oh sh*t” from behind me. I flew over ice, onto variable snowpack, then onto gravel. I was sure the bottom of the pants would be ripped. To my amazement, there wasn’t the slightest sign of wear or tear. Most normal pants would have been wet, but the DWR (durable water repellent) coating left me completely dry.
The field pant design is simple. Two normal front pockets, a zipped right leg pocket, and a zipped back pocket. Because the pants allow for such movement, my phone would sometimes fall out of my front pocket. And so the zipped pockets proved quite useful and I assume were a key strategy in their design.
At the end of a long day of taking photos, hiking, climbing, scrambling, and sliding, I rested but with no real intention of falling asleep. I am a light sleeper and only get comfortable if I take time to nest. Boxers only is my preferred sleepwear. But on that day, I slept in the field pants, comfy and unnoticeable.
The Patagonia Field Pants: heckuva of a piece of equipment for any outdoor wanderer.