Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 3:00 pm Posts: 294 Location: Northern CA
Hey affix, Nothing breathes like a wide open full side zip pant. The three-layer fabrics are usually lighter and more durable on the inside surface. Bibs are no bueno- at least too hot in my opinion (Utah) I like suspenders, But there are some who don't. I've never liked the softshell idea in pants, because when the weather threatens to genuinely wet you feel better, and if you can unzip below your knee, breathability is max. You could just hose down the pants you have with scotch guard, but if they don't have side vents maybe it is time to spend. I kinda like the velcro on the zippers b/c you can close up with velcro when the wind gusts a bit and then open easily on stormy days, and I commonly forget to zip up the sides sometimes on descent.
Scooby2 implied that softshell construction in pants was not favorable for wet conditions.
I wated to clarify the softshell term. True softshells have no coatings or membrains and no seam tape for waterproofness. As Scooby said in really wet weather they can get soaked. Unfortunately the clothing industry has capitalized on the softshell buzz and now are offing waterproof/breathable softshells - which are really a soft-hand hardshells. Gore is a perfect example of this mis-marketing. However some true softshells are more water resistant than others (i.e. Schoeller WB-400 vs. Dryskin) and hybrid construction gives you complete security when it gets wet. Mammut makes full softshell pants for someone looking for max breathablity all the way to full Gore XCR or Gore Softshell (both in 3-ply) which is a completely waterproof/breathable for wet and nasty conditions.
One fact about true softshells - if you are really working hard and putting off a lot of heat and sweat, I promise that you will stay dryer than in a hard shell in wet weather and without having to open vents... the reason is your body is working and with the true softshell design, it allows for that heat to release and creates a blowdryer effect to the fabric -constantly drying it out. If your just standing there in the rain or wet snow not moving for a long period of time then you could get wet.
Joined: Fri Nov 19, 2004 8:41 pm Posts: 1619 Location: Santa Cruz, CA
One other thing I was going to mention - to get some extra life out of the old pants, check out Nikwax Tech Wash (for cleaning) and TX.Direct (for re-waterproofing). Works great and you just put it in the washing machine.
About the size zips, I don't like the vecro overflap because when I'm skinning I want to be able to reach down and unzip with one hand, not have to undo a bunch of velcro first. It would be cool if you could velcro the flap itself out of the way of the zipper when you don't need it. Marmot has this feature on some of its jackets, dunno about the pants though.
Holly crap! I agree with you about the ak's sucking! I have like 8 holes all over these pants. They are like paper. I fell on a rail the other day and ripped 2 new holes. I put 2 from crampons ice climbing but that was my fault I admit. The rest I don't even know how they got there. I got more duct tape on these pants than any before. I'm just glad I didn't pay full price. they shure fit nice though. 3 layer gore-tex is neet and all but it obviously doesn't affect durability.
Joined: Mon Oct 31, 2005 4:58 pm Posts: 152 Location: Incline Village, NV
If you are really having issues with the AK pants that aren't due to you abusing them Burton will most likely fix or replace them. I think it was 2 years ago that the AK stuff started coming with a life time warranty. I had the 3L AK pants from a couple of years ago and the vent zipper started to come unattached from the pant. I sent them back and they gave me the choice of repiaring them or sending me new ones. I got a brand new set of this years pants. I loved my old AK pants and so far I really like this years. They are a little on the heavy side though.