Over the last three years my choice of Alpine softshell pant has been a pair of Patagonia Simple Guide’s. They are, as they say on the tin, simple. A couple of pockets, streamline and very stretchy. The replacements for these are the Simul Alpine Pant.
Again Patagonia have used their own polyester stretch-woven fabric which is highly breathable but considerably more durable than the previous Simple Guide Pants. This exterior has a tougher feel which stands up well to rough rock, snow and ice whilst the interior has a nice brushed finish that is very comfortable next to the skin. Even though the main fabric is very stretchy an even more flexible fabric has been used on the yoke and crotch gusset making these pants fit very neatly around the waist and thigh.
In synch with this the pants are classed as ‘Slim Fit’ which Patagonia says ‘Slim-fitting garments may be worn over baselayers and light midlayers.’ I personally have a 30 inch waist, 29 inch inseam and take a size 28 in Patagonia branded Pants. Length and waist fit perfectly but they feel taught with a baselayer underneath as the tailored cut + baselayer restricted my movement. It should be noted these pants also have an inbuilt ‘OppoSet adjustable waist’ which is just a like a pullcord that locks around the waist. This integrated belt system is excellent and featured in many Patagonia products such as the Venga Rock Pants. It helps customise the fit without the need for a belt and sits stealthily beneath a harness.
Other features include a couple of pockets, the one on the thigh is billowed allowing a reasonable amount of storage without the need for excess material. Keeping with this streamline fit, The Simul Alpine Pant also feature a slightly narrow lower leg, adjustable pullcord cuff and tie down loops for compatibility with a variety of Alpine boots.
Having used these throughout a recent Summer alpine trip, I can say they cope well with very hot approach walks from the valley up but are better suited to cooler temperatures once high up in the mountains. The DWR finish and durable outer fabric is yet to show any signs of wear and the Slim fit is excellent if you like garments to be close fitting but also stretchy and non-restrictive.