If you are willing to take a minute and think about it, the only thing that is primarily between you and skin scarring pavement, gravel gouging roads, or the wrath of mother nature, is the gear you wear.
Aside from those protesting their right to freedom of choice when it comes to wearing a helmet, the rest of us are all too happy to strap one on and avoid the possibility of life-altering brain surgery. That's it though, the main concern rests inside your helmet, and your other gear is given minimal respect.
As an ADV rider, you are more likely to push the boundaries of the backcountry and brave the weather as a weekend or week-long warrior than those Café cruisers sporting their jeans & t-shirts. For this, you will want to get to know your gear and know what it does for your body.
Today we will look at some of the top-rated ADV pants of 2018. Will do this in order of price range, and learn what’s so great about HYDRAGuard, what the numbers three, seven & five have to offer, and what Gor-Tex is doing so close to your crotch. Let's get started, shall we.
How Fly Street is expanding its footprint - $200.00 Terra Trek
The Terra Trek Pant from Fly Racing Street is the value pant buyers wish list come, almost true. Fly Street initially started in 96' as a helmet company and is quickly shifting gears into every corner of the clothing and gear market with new products and innovation. I personally purchased my first Fly Street heavy duty tube this week so I will see how they do in the rubber market.
As for the pants, they cover the most sought-after design qualities on the list. With three-seasons of versatility packed into the pant, the only season left behind is summer or any high-heat conditions. To combat the heat, they come with a removable 100-gram thermal liner, ventilation on the front, along with rear exhaust zippers. If you want to bring them into the four-season market and make them a more year-round pant, simply remove the liner.
When things cool down, the thermal liner can be easily added back into the pant by first putting on the liner, then sliding the pant over the top. Once on, there is a color-coded snap to help keep them in place. As far as durability, the Terra Treks are constructed from a 600D polyester outer shell, and in the high-impact zones, they are super strengthened with a 1680D material. All of this is held together with fully taped seams to keep the wind and rain out. And as far as styling, they utilize Henry Ford’s legendary manufacturing technique. You can get them in any color you want, so long as it’s black. Based on the outfit choices of most males I know, this is likely enough variety as far as pants go.
Working our way to the middle - there's a HYDRAGuard liner that is fully waterproof and breathable, though not removable. Good for the wet weather, however not as good for the heat. A smart addition to help keep the air flowing is the addition of a ripcord inside the cargo pockets. The cords can be utilized to help keep the air vents open. Just pull the cord; this will pull the vents open, lock them in place, and voilà, the air vents are held open for maximum ventilation.
Around the vents, the YKK zippers are fully taped, helping to prevent invasive moisture. The HYDRAGuard pants come with some minor padding around the hip area that can be removed and upgraded if you feel you're going to push the pants to the limit a bit more. For maximum fitment, you'll want to get these in a size bigger than you'd typically wear. They offer sizing from 30–42, with a tall option in the 32-42 sizes, adding an additional 3" in the inseam. For final adjustments, the waist has adjustable Velcro straps, and as you make your way to the bottom of the pant, you can adjust Velcro in the calf and very bottom as well.
When it comes to pants in the $200 range, you are going to find it tough to beat the value that Fly packs into these. The only real concern most rider reviews note is just how warm they really are. Either expect to leave the liner out if you're living in the southern states or look for a liner only pant.
The 37.5 Game Changer - $300.00 Firstgear Kilimanjaro
When you think ADV pants you probably think cut, color, and comfort. Well, Firstgear took those main concerns and stepped up the game by adding technology to these features. That design integration comes in the form of the 37.5 waterproof & ventilating technology.
What is 37.5 you ask? It's a performance fabric that reads your body temperature and goes to work on heating or cooling you depending on if they read you as too hot or too cold. There are micro-particles in the fabric that absorb the inferred energy your body naturally emits. It then increases the micro-particles surface area inside of the fabric, allowing electrostatic forces to capture the bodies moisture and whisk it away for a faster cool-down. This process can also be used to block and retain heat for warmth. It’s a fabric-ingrained technology and therefore can never be washed out. As far as smart-pants are concerned, these are pretty cool!
The pants themselves are reasonably light-weight, made up of 420D material and then doubled up in the high-wear zones around the knees and the inside of the legs. They also pack in D30 armor at the hips and again into the knee area for excellent protection where it is most needed, for both wear and falls.
The Kilimanjaro's are light enough to be worn as an over pant, yet warm enough that you can just use them as a full functioning riding pant for most seasons. Storage for cell phones, keys, cash, and what have you, are easily accessed in one of the five pockets spread throughout the pants. If you find your pants get weighed down by filling them full of such objects, you'll like one of the features that set them apart from the rest of the pants in this article.
They come with fully removable suspenders, great for keeping them up and for added warmth. They fit like your regular pants, produced in the standard sizes from 30–42 with a 34-42 short and tall option. In the waist, there are also some final adjustments that can be made, as well as around the boots to keep them snug. Another exciting feature of the pants are the full-length YKK zippers that run down the sides. It seems reasonable in theory; however, most rider reviews noted that they don't actually allow for much air flow.
Ringing through the register at right around the $300 mark, they are priced a little lower than you might expect to pay for a technically advanced riding pant with a few extras. Overall, a great pant that can be worn through most riding seasons and situations.
Gore-Tex & Cordura. The $500 Klim Carlsbad
When it comes to the best, industry leader, Klim isn’t afraid to set the benchmark and charge for it too. Klim is from the potato state, Idaho, and they are about as versatile as the namesake vegetable itself. Turning out all things adventure for both the on and off-road rider.
They are a well-known product design company that specializes in producing premium goods, and partners with famous leaders like Gore-Tex. This year is no different, and the Carlsbad pant does not disappoint. A shell pant made with Gor-Tex and Cordura ripstop fabric, they are light-weight and guaranteed to be waterproof for life.
An un-arguable feature when all you have between you and the elements is a thin layer of fabric. The knees and hips are re-enforced with D30 CE Level 1 armor. This is a complicated way to say highly durable fabric that is stitched in, exactly where you need it. There is also extra protection on your backside, with Poron XRD premium foam around the tailbone zone. To help keep you cool the material is breathable and the thigh area is designed with air intake and exhaust zippers.
The only major drawback might be if you plan to ride high-altitudes or cold climates, you'll need more than just the Carlsbad pant to keep you warm. Maybe a fleece liner, or just keep your pajama pants on.
The Klim Carlsbad’ come in black, grey and Honda. In sizes 30-42 with an option for tall in the 32-36 size range. The fit is normal and should be as comfortable as your pant size. With an adjustable band at the waist for final fitment in case, you've got a bit of winter weight left on your bones.
With the name borrowed from a great American attraction, Klim notes that the pants are “Like the Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, it has been stripped of everything, but it's essential elements.“ As far as a daily riding or backcountry trail pant is concerned, they are the right pant for the job. At around $500 they will run you the same price as a new set of tires, but should well outlast them.
Whatever your style and budget concerns, it's best to look further than just what's on sale at the start of the season. A pair of riding pants is an essential part of your overall safety gear. To skim over their safety features in search of the next best bargain might leave you with more problems than you're hoping for after even a slight spill.
Alongside this, a quality weather resistant material is just as important. When riding on a warm sunny day, it's easy to forget that even a light rain absorbed into your riding gear could completely change the game. When you add the cooling effects of wind while you ride, with the moisture of the rains, your body's core temperature can be quickly taken down to dangerous levels. This can hamper your riding ability and make you unfit for the road. Whatever you choose, ride hard, play safe, and well...try to get something that matches your jacket!