Are you planning to hike through a wet forest, or even an entire mountain range, but don't want to be confined exclusively to an expensive technical rain shell? Then check out the Arc'teryx Perimeter Pant, our Top Pick for Wet Weather. This pant features the best durable water resistant (DWR) coating of any hiking pant in this review, effectively shedding more than just a light rain. Even with this level of protection, it still maintains a lightweight feel that is nimble and quiet, as well as durable. With the exception of its awesome water resistant properties, this is a fairly simple pant that has only a few mesh vented pockets, and less storage capacity for carrying trail necessities than the average hiking pant. Regardless, if you know you are going to get wet while hiking, we highly recommend trying on a pair of Perimeter Pants.
Arc'teryx Perimeter Review
Cons: Nylon fabric not very soft, tight front pockets, expensive
#12 of 13
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Our Analysis and Test Results
In our shower test meant to simulate the effects of a light mist as well as a torrential downpour, the Arc'teryx Perimeter Pant was more effective than the rest at causing water to bead up and run off without soaking in. Its Cresta nylon and elastane blend fabric was also one of the least absorbent fabrics tested, meaning that it dried out quicker than any other after a good soaking. These qualities are beneficial if you happen to live in a very wet climate, or have a trip planned that involves a lot of wet weather hiking.
Despite being the top performer when it came to water resistance, we still want to emphasize that these pants are merely water repellant, and are in no way water proof. They can shed light rain in cooler climates, and will work fine for heavy rains in warm climates, but we don't mean to suggest that these are actually effective rain pants in serious backcountry conditions. If the cost of getting soaked means hypothermia, please be smart and carry a separate waterproof rain shell.
Comfort and Mobility
We have to admit that we didn't find this pant to be exceptionally comfortable in comparison to the competition. While our complaints are pretty minor considering that this is a quality hiking pant, pointing out small flaws is what helps us differentiate between lots of excellent products, and so we share that info with you.
We thought that the 89% nylon, 11% elastane Cresta fabric was a tad rough, itchy, and naturally not as comfortable against the skin as the similarly synthetic fibers that made up the Prana Stretch Zion or Patagonia Quandary. Typically, we find that synthetic fabrics do not feel as soft and smooth as natural fibers or blends like the cotton that was used to make the KUHL Kontra Air, but the Prana and Patagonia pants have convinced us that this same level of comfort is possible. The seams, in particular, rubbed the inside of our legs, and we also found the fit to be ever so slightly restrictive in the pelvis, upper legs, and seat areas. While these minor constrictions were effectively offset by the stretchiness of the material, the overall impression was that this pant was not among the most comfortable, and thus we gave it 6 out of 10 points.
Venting and Breathability
Arc'teryx claims that the Cresta fabric used for the Perimeter Pant is air permeable and highly breathable, which we can't argue against. However, it has very few venting features, which we have found to be the most effective way to release a build-up of heat and moisture inside a pair of pants. Furthermore, our black pair of pants absorbed heat from the sun, quickly warming us up.
The two small and tight front handwarmer pockets each featured mesh lining, as did the two rear pockets. Only the Patagonia Quandary and Fjallraven Vidda Pro hiking pants had fewer outlets for ventilation, suggesting that the Perimeter Pant will thrive in cooler regions and seasons when the threat of becoming overheated is not a huge concern. 6 out of 10 points.
With a lack of ventilation options, the Perimeter Pant is best used in cool seasons or temperature zones, and will not thrive as well as the highly breathable REI Co-op Screeline for use in warm weather. However, it is the best of the best when it comes to water resistance, enough so that we recommend it as our Top Pick for that need.
With a very similar array of pockets to the simple Patagonia Quandary, the Perimeter Pant would not be the first choice for those who prefer cargo pockets or like to carry lots of items close at hand. Likewise, due to its thin, nylon fabric, we wouldn't choose it over the Mountain Hardwear Men's Hardwear AP pant for working in the yard, or even wearing around town. At the end of the day it is an effective hiking pant for wet and cool climates, but is not a pant that you can put on literally every day and be happy with. 6 out of 10.
In our shower testing, it was clear to us that no other hiking pant has nearly as effective a DWR treatment as Arc'teryx uses on the Perimeter Pant. Before our tests, we had worn this pant a handful of days on the trail, as well as around town and for some more intense activities like rock climbing. We also washed it at least four times, so the DWR coating certainly had plenty of time to wear off.
The reality of the matter was that it caused water to bead up and run off without soaking in, especially in lower wear areas like the lower legs. On the thighs, after probably a full minute of intense dousing, water eventually began to soak into the nylon fabric but never made its way through to run down our legs like we found happened with The North Face Paramount 3.0. Similarly to the Patagonia Quandary, very little water was absorbed by the utterly synthetic material, and thus it also dried out very quickly. As the highest performer in our testing and our Top Pick, we naturally awarded a full 10 points for water resistance.
While we only had minor complaints with the performance of the features found on the Perimeter Pant, the fact is that it is a far simpler design than most we tested and ended up with the lowest score.
This pant has two front handwarmer pockets that we found to be a bit smaller and tighter than nearly every other hiking pant. It also has two rear pockets that suited us just fine. Lastly, similar to the design of the Quandary Pant, there is a single, recessed zippered pocket high on the right thigh, plenty big enough for carrying a smartphone. It has a simple and effective snap button front waist enclosure, and a front zipper, that much like the Prana Stretch Zion, we thought could have been slightly longer. But besides these few features, there is not a whole lot to talk about.
Since we have recognized them as our Top Pick for Wet Weather, we think that the Perimeter Pant is an ideal choice for those who know that they will get wet. Due to having fewer ventilation openings, we think they are more comfortable for cool weather than warm. While they are a solid hiking pant, we found them to be a bit techy and not as comfortable as we would want for wearing around town or traveling in.
These pants retail for $119, making them the second most expensive pants in our review. While we think they are high quality, they are probably only a good value if you really need them for wet weather. Otherwise, there are many hiking pants that not only scored higher in our overall ratings but cost less as well.
The Arc'teryx Perimeter Pant wins our Top Pick for Wet Weather because they have by far the most effective DWR coating of any that we have tested. Hikers who live in a particularly wet climate or have an adventure planned through a rainy part of the planet would do well to start their search here. For others, we would first recommend a pant that we found to be more comfortable and more affordable, like the Prana Stretch Zion or Patagonia Quandary.
OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: November 17, 2017
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