Black Diamond Alpine Light Pants Review

By Ross Russell, Rokslide Prostaff

For high exertion activities in brush country there is a fine line between having enough durability and finding gear that breathes sufficiently to wick moisture. Through four decades of elk hunting in North Idaho, I have tried various types of pants that appear to be durable enough for the dense underbrush, only to find them shredded after one day or week of hunting.

I was provided a pair of Black Diamond Alpine Light Pants from Rokslide Sponsor Argali to wear during my late March through May shed hunting trips. Being familiar with Black Diamond, having used their trekking poles for many years and a pair of their backcountry gloves, I was excited to give them a thorough test.

The first thing you notice about the pants is how light they are.   The second thing you notice is the stretch of the pants.  The material is 85% nylon, 15% elastane and has a DWR treatment .  I felt both of these attributes would serve me well when hiking endlessly for many hours and since I tend to be a heavy sweater.  I normally wear a large and the sizing chart showed this should be the proper size.   Upon trying them on the sizing was accurate on what was recommended.  The pants are constructed with two rear pockets and one zippered thigh pocket, with an integrated belt in addition to belt loops to take up any slack in the pant, allowing you to add your own belt or not.  The pants also come with adjustable cuffs to cinch the pant down over your boots to keep out debris.

My first day out with the pants had a mixture of rain and snow with high temperatures in the 40’s. I found the DWR finish to dry quickly, keeping you reasonably dry for sustained periods of mild rain. The pants also give you ease of movement, due to both the design and stretch of the fabric in varying conditions and terrain.

Over the next several trips out, the days increased in duration and the brush exposure increased with each trip. Temperatures ranged from low thirties to the mid 70’s. The breathability of the pant was excellent, helping to keep me cool and dry throughout the day.  As the miles added up the pants did start to take a beating, with first one tear, then another and eventually after over 150 miles of brush beating there were two large tears and five further holes, in the legs of the pants.  Additionally, one of the cuff tighteners is no longer functional.

PROS:
  • Highly breathable
  • Run true to size
  • Very comfortable and move incredibly well with you
  • Light as a feather
  • Dry incredibly quick
  • The DWR finish will keep you dry with light rain
  • A pant to wear in the mountains and around town
CONS:
  • Durability in brush country
  • Quiet but not silent

If you’re looking for a very comfortable lightweight pant to keep you cool during high output, knowing the limitations of durability this will be a good choice.  Black Diamond offers many quality items for the outdoor enthusiast and though these Alpine Light pants did not hold up, experience has shown this to be the norm for the country they were worn in.  I have yet to find a lightweight pair of pants that is durable enough to last for an extended period of time in this country.

You can ask Ross questions or discuss this article here.

 

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Ross russell
Ross has resided in the Northwest for 30+ years, grew up in a family of elk hunters and the passion of the hunt was instilled early on when his family would gather in North Idaho for the annual general rifle season. When falls arrives, Ross can be found in the high country of North Idaho and Northwest Montana, with Bow or Rifle in hand. "As long as I am chasing Big Bulls in the backcountry there is a smile on my face. Many would call Elk Hunters an odd lot, as who in their right mind would want to put their body through the trials and tribulations that we do each fall, with no guarantee of success. It takes dedication, perseverance and someone who enjoys hardwork to be successful year in and year out. I like hardwork, so count me in"! Many a fine bull has been taken by Ross' bullet and arrow. To expand his love of the outdoors and his knowledge of Elk, he can be found each spring fervently pursuing Elk Sheds. "Shed hunting gives you an arm up on the quality of bulls in the area, expands your knowledge, is great for training and is another opportunity to be in the great outdoors." Ross resides in Liberty Lake Washington, with his wife Kirsten and his shed hunting companion Magnum.