Rock Climbing Pant Review

As our main story suggests, climbing a long route in Yosemite, Red Rocks or anywhere can range from wicked hot to blustery cool. We have reviewed the top nine pants that offer moderate protection and breathability required on these types of outings. They are all made with synthetic fabrics that will dry quickly and offer some wind and light rain protection. These pants are also light, not too hot and breathe well enough to avoid feeling sticky and sweaty in the blistering sun. They are also durable enough to withstand a long, gritty, abrasive route. This review is focused on synthetic climbing pants, as they are the most functional for warm weather multi-pitch climbs. That said, many of us wear cotton on long routes when we know it’s not going to rain. We’ll review those soon.

Tied for Best All Around


Gamma Light Pants

Price: $180

An ideal pant for folks who are straight-waisted with well-thought-out features and great overall design with superbly versatile fabric.

With a slim fit, these pants are ideal for folks who have a straight waist and a slim build. That said, the material is stretchy enough to be forgiving on different body types (sizing up may be helpful). The lightweight double weave fabric is ideal for cool mornings and yet cool on hot afternoons. The pants dry super fast and are very durable for their weight. Some of our testers felt that the fabric was the best part of these pants. In terms of features, the pockets are ideal for multi-pitch climbing - all hand and thigh pockets zip closed for security. Our reviewers’ least-favorite feature on these pants is the built-in belt buckle waist system - it is bulky, stiff, and a pain to un-do with a harness on. A cinch cord on the leg hem is useful.

Tied for Best All Around


Runbold Pant

Price: $179

Super light stretchy pants with a button-zip fly and a narrow silhouette.

Though the Mammut Runbold has a narrower silhouette than some of the other options we tested, they are also some of the stretchiest, which makes them versatile. That said, not everyone with wider legs will want to wear a tight-fitting pant, even if it is stretchy. These pants are made of a single-weave polyamide/spandex material which is super lightweight and cool to the touch - great for hot weather! This also means that the Runbold pants are not great in colder conditions. The biggest selling point on these pants, for us, was the fabric and trim fit and the fact that you can wear them for days and they don’t ‘bag’ out.  Though the waist has belt loops and a button-zip fly, the material is very stretchy and versatile in fit. The hand and thigh pockets have zippered closures (one small hang-up we had with the hidden thigh zipper is that it's very lightweight and snags easily, plus it's hard to use with gloves on.) We also felt that the thigh pocket is too low on the leg and the vertical zipper makes it easy to lose things if you’re not careful. The cinch cord on the leg hem is not that useful given the trim cut.

Mountain Equipment

Dihedral Pant

Price: $119

A basic pant with a button zip fly, minimal but critical features, and stretchy fabric.
In terms of fit, the Mountain Equipment Dihedral was a little baggy for some of our testers. On some bodies and on folks with narrower hips, it felt like there was a little bit too much fabric in the hips. Additionally, the hand pockets on the front added bulk and made the pants feel a little chunky. In terms of fabric, the nylon blend used in the Mountain Equipment’s construction is soft, stretchy, and dries fast. In terms of features, the Dihedral is straightforward with a zip thigh pocket and drop in hand pockets. Because the fabric is stretchy, the button-zip waistband has some range in terms of fit and sizing. That said, the extra fabric around the hip made them feel unflattering and quite bulky under the harness for smaller hipped women.

North Face

Summit L1 Vertical Pants

Price: $149

A durable climbing pant with a built-in webbing belt and a button zip fly.
These simple yet durable pants are the workhorse of women’s climbing pants, albeit, a  little pricier than others. They are great for any type of climbing - from burly offwidths to single-pitch sport climbing. Though they are super durable, they also have a bit of stretch, allowing for great freedom of movement. With a short rise, don’t come up too high on the waist, keeping them trim under a harness. In terms of features, the reviewer loved the cinch at the ankle, but was a bit frustrated by the built-in webbing belt. This feature takes a little getting used to, but both the waist belt and the button-zip fly break in over time. The lack of a secure thigh phone pocket makes them more limited for multi-pitch climbs.


Chambeau Rock Pant

Price: $99

Super stretchy pants with a narrow elastic waistband and great fabric that doesn’t bag out too much after multiple uses.

Though these pants took our testers a little time to get used to, we were eventually won over by the stretchy fabric and comfortable cut. At first, the pants feel a little tight, but they stretch out to fit comfortably after a few hours. The elastic waistband makes it easy to pull the pants down with a harness on; though it's a bit unflattering, it's easy to cover up with a long shirt. In terms of fabric, we loved the stretch and quick-drying capabilities of the Chambeau. Even if they get soaked on a wet pitch, they dry out very quickly. The thigh pocket is large, but lacks durability. The rear and hand pockets are too small to really serve much purpose. The tapered leg and cinch at the bottom provide excellent freedom of movement.

Outdoor Reseach

Ferrosi Pants

Price: $89

A loose-fitting comfortable pant made from super-stretchy and breathable fabric.
In terms of fit, our testers liked the loose-fitting, comfortable nature of these pants. The latest version totes a straight lower leg, rather than a flare, which works better for climbing. Since the fabric tends to bag out after multiple days of use, the internal stretchy drawcord helps cinch the waist down. As previously mentioned, the single weave stretch fabric used on the Ferrosi is highly breathable and great for hot weather, but not so good in cooler, windier conditions. Drop-in hand pockets and a zippered thigh pocket (that’s a little small, especially for today’s big smartphones) are useful, but the rear pockets are really too small to serve much purpose. Overall, these pants have excellent freedom of movement and their comfortable fit allows for lots of good movement in the legs. The leg hem cinch cord is nice to use on windy days.

Black Diamond

Alpine Light Pants

Price: $110

A lightweight, super stretchy hot weather climbing pant with multiple features.
These pants combine comfort and protection in a way that is perfect for multi-pitch climbing. The single weave nylon/spandex fabric is light enough to be comfortable when climbing in the sun, yet is durable enough to provide a layer of protection from wind when temps become blustery and cool. In terms of fit, our reviewer liked the trim legs and flattering cut for someone under 5’4”.  The single weave fabric is very stretchy (15% spandex) and allowed her to feel light, free and confident when climbing multi-pitch routes in any warm weather conditions. The secure thigh pocket is plenty large enough to fit a big phone and a snack, and yet does not look bulky on the leg, though it’s off vertical closure can mean it’s easier to drop things.

The fabric is a little grabby because of its high stretch content. It catches on sharp rock, especially limestone. It doesn’t tear easily, but sometimes it catches and can mess with one’s balance through a hard sequence. The fabric is fairly tear resistant but it doesn’t seem to age well. After a year of use the fabric starts to feel crispy and less soft. Also, the waist cinching mechanism is a plastic buckle that attaches to webbing. It works okay to keep the pants cinched around the waste, but is often uncomfortable and bulky under a harness. Back pockets are not useful. Cinch drawcord leg hem is nice for windy conditions.


Halle Pants

Price: $95

A straight-legged pant that moves well, has impressive durability and stretch, and versatile drawstring waist.

The best part about the Halle pant is the fit. These pants have a straight pant leg that is neither too tight nor overly baggy. They fit a wide range of body types well. The pants sit below the waist, keeping them feeling clean and trim under a harness. The low elastic/nylon material used in the construction of these pants is stretchy, but not catchy. In fact, they are impressively durable considering their comfortable, forgiving feel. One disadvantage is that the material stretches out over time, so if you wear these pants for a few days without a wash, they’ll probably bag out. In terms of features, the back pocket snaps are not ideal for chimneys, the vertical hidden thigh pocket allows things to fall out easily and the double snap waist is a pain to use with a harness on multi-pitch routes. The versatile fabric and mid rise fit of these are what made them a favorite. The boot cut leg is a little wide for climbing but great for making them versatile for hiking or casual use.

Mountain HArdwear

Dynama 2 Pants

Price: $75

Simple, clean design with basic features and a full stretch elastic waistband. Super light fabric is great for hot weather.

The elastic waistband and roomy thigh and hip region of these pants make them fit and look great on a wide range of body types. The full stretch waistband is super comfortable and easy to use for quick bathroom breaks high on a wall. Though, the highly tapered lower leg and cut around the knees tend to stick to the skin when bending the legs, which is a little annoying. In terms of fabric, the single weave nylon/spandex blend is super stretchy and fairly thin. The material has a water repellent finish but they are still not great for wet conditions, making these pants best for staying lower to the ground (or just climbing in good weather). The features on the Dynama 2 pants are simple: drop in hand pockets, a zippered thigh pocket that holds a phone but given the lightweight fabric, tends to feel too heavy and pulls the fabric down. The lower leg hem cinch cords are great for closing the gap in the wind.

Header photo courtesy of Drew Smith (@_drew_smith_)

Disclaimer of Liability: Technical rock and ice climbing is inherently dangerous. Neither Broad Beta, LLC., nor any of its employees, shall be held liable for any improper or incorrect use of the information described and/or contained herein, and Broad Beta, LLC. assumes no responsibility for anyone's use of the information.
Any person using our gear in any manner is personally responsible for learning the proper techniques and good judgment. We strongly recommend that every climber seek instruction by a qualified professional.

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