For quite a while, I’ve been looking for a good mid-to-late season pant that does well in wet terrain. In north Idaho where I hunt, it’s always wet in late October through the end of November, whether it’s raining snowing or not. Where I go, I’m often hiking through thick brush that will absolutely shred pants, so tough and durable is a must. I almost always start my day out with a steep 2-3,000′ elevation gain, so breathability and freedom of movement is very important, too, with an emphasis on freedom of movement. My standard outfit is usually super lightweight mesh breathable pants or a base layer with shorts (the shorts are for when nobody is looking); with wet conditions I will often times use rain gear over these.
Kuiu Talus Hybrid Pants
The Talus Hybrid pants are made from highly durable Toray Primeflex stretch woven face fabric, Toray Dermizax NX waterproof breathable membrane, and lightly insulated breathable grid fleece backer, as well as coatings to help repel moisture and odors. They also feature Ultrasuede foam-lined knee pads (which I was a little skeptical about)and zippered vents to increase breathability. On paper, these pants seemed to fit the bill, so I was super excited to try them out.
I ordered size 34, which I typically wear, but upon trying the pants on, I found them to be tight in the groin and quad areas so I traded them for size 36; these fit better but required a belt for me. I have always had this problem with stiffer pants due to big quads and usually gravitated to flexible pants. My first impression was that they are a little stiffer especially in the knees (when raising my leg) than I’m used to but were comfortable and felt very well-made and stout.
My first real test with the Talus Hybrid’s was on my daughter’s elk hunt in October with relatively warm conditions. We started out with a steep 2000′ climb. I definitely noticed the stiffness in the knee’s when picking my legs up while climbing the steep stuff. I ended up using the side vents, which helped keep my legs cool. Although I did get a little warm packing my daughters bull out. Overall, I was comfortable with the temp ranging from 30-55.
I knew the real test would start on my November hunts in the North Idaho high country. I have this one spot in particular that requires a 3,000′ climb in under a mile through thick brush and rocks. By the late season, I’m often in knee/hip deep snow. Usually, I climb it with a just a base layer, then put my rain pants over them when I reach the top. Because it’s way to sweaty to hike up the mountain with the rain gear on, often times I’m already wet and cold by the time I get to the top. Also, between fighting through the thick brush and falling on my ass, I have come off the mountain more than once looking like a tiger got ahold of my pants. This trip came right after a wet snow storm. The bottom had a couple inches and by the time I reached the top the snow was well above the knees. And as always, with plenty of brush and deadfall grabbing at me, even above the hips.
The temp was above freezing most of the day causing wet snow to fall out of the trees, basically making terrible conditions for staying dry. The Talus’s performed very well. My legs stayed dry, with the exception of under the cuffs against my socks. I should have worn gators as plenty of wet snow was able to get underneath against my socks and soak my boots. The vents came in handy hiking up the steep mountain, keeping my legs from sweating.
Then on the way down the mountain through the thick brush, I usually have to power through, I was extra rough on this trip to see how the pants held up and they made it through unscathed.
After spending a more than a month hunting in these pants, the only damage I noticed was a little of the stitching had come undone in the cuffs. Overall, I was impressed by the way they performed in wet underbrush and the snow: they kept me as dry as rain gear without overheating or sweating. They have a tight fit and didn’t want to catch on the brush. These pants definitely are tough and durable and should hold up for quite a while.
One thing I haven’t mentioned was the knee pads. While I didn’t like the way they felt to start with, I found that I used this feature quite a bit as I found myself kneeling to glass quite a bit. They were quite comfortable in doing so, and it was nice to know my knees weren’t going to get wet.
Now the one thing I didn’t like about the pants was the stiffness in the knees and lack of flexibility overall. They are not bad in this regard, I’m just used to a lighter-weight, more flexible pant. But you will notice the stiffness when climbing steep hills. With that being said they will remain in my arsenal as my go to wet-terrain pants.
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