Mountain Hardwear Hardwear AP Pant Review
Cons: Tight fit, no water resistance, not much ventilation
Manufacturer: Mountain Hardwear
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Men's Hardwear AP Pant is the lowest scorer in our review due to its underwhelming performance in many of our scoring metrics. It offers the least amount of water resistance of any pant that we tested, and was also pretty warm without much in the way of ventilation. For us, the most significant issue was the fit, which limited our desire to hike in them. Even though they didn't stack up well against the competition in this review, they are well-liked and reviewed online, so take our findings with a grain of salt. And don't be afraid to try them on or order yourself a pair if you feel inspired.
Comfort and Mobility
One positive that we can point to with these pants is how comfortable the 75% cotton, 23% nylon, 2% elastane blend fabric feels against the skin. However, we think these are the least mobile hiking pants that we tested, and we struggled quite a bit with the fit. They are slim and narrow through the legs, not unlike the Patagonia Quandary. For us, they were far too constricting in the upper thighs, a complaint we also read about a lot online. Also, the crotch of these pants is cut way too low. When wearing them on the hips, it feels like our legs are being held together by a bungee cord, which is the primary reason that we didn't like to hike in them.
Conversely, if we tried to fix this problem by wearing them a bit higher, the waist felt loose and rode up even higher, which was equally uncomfortable. If you are looking for the most comfortable pair of hiking pants, we encourage you to look at the Prana Stretch Zion.
Venting and Breathability
The front hand pockets and zippered rear pockets are both mesh-lined. They also have an extensive mesh liner on the inside of the pelvic region, similar to a pair of running shorts, except that it is sewn into the pants, rather than floating freely. We suspect it is meant to facilitate airflow between the skin and the primary pant material, but it didn't succeed in that goal. The cuffs can be rolled up and snapped in place with little plastic buttons, much like the Prana Stretch Zion. Overall these are tightly woven, thick, and pretty warm pants that don't breath as well or offer the ventilation of the Outdoor Research Ferrosi Pants or REI Sahara Roll-Up.
With their super absorbent cotton fabric, we don't think these pants are a good option for hiking in wet climates, or for extensive backpacking. Since they don't ventilate well, we also wouldn't choose them for hotter weather either. We think they thrive best in cool, dry temperatures, similar to the the Fjallraven Vidda Pro. We think these pants are best suited for hard outdoor work, gardening, rock climbing, travel, or wearing around town. We do not enjoy them much for hiking.
When it comes to our shower test to assess water resistance, the Men's Hardwear AP Pant is one of our lowest scorers. Made almost entirely of cotton, and lacking any chemical DWR application, we weren't super surprised when water immediately soaked straight into the fabric of these pants. For this reason, we wouldn't recommend wearing this pant on adventures where rain is likely, or even possible if it's also cooler out. If you are looking for a highly water resistant hiking pant, we recommend the Arc'teryx Lefroy or the Patagonia Quandary.
The Men's Hardwear AP Pant includes some thoughtful features and some others that didn't work as well. It has nice large front hand pockets, and we also enjoyed the two rear pockets, which are each zippered, a nice security bonus when traveling. The only other pocket is a thin one on the side of the right leg, barely big enough for a smaller smartphone, which velcros at the top in a way that makes it sort of annoying to pry open.
One nice feature on the inside of the pant leg is reflective tape for added visibility in low light that becomes visible when it is rolled up and snapped for a bike ride. Overall, this model had few pockets and features, especially in comparison to the Fjallraven Vidda Pro.
We think these pants are best suited for rock climbing, wearing around town, or outside work. Because of the lack of water resistance, and the restrictive fit, we don't recommend purchasing them as dedicated hiking or backpacking pants.
Since we thought that they didn't stack up well against the competition, we don't find them to be a particular value-rich purchase.
The Mountain Hardwear Men's Hardwear AP Pant receives positive reviews from online customers, but it is the lowest scorer in our review. Due to its poor fit, few features, little ventilation, and lack of water resistance, we don't think it is a good choice for a hiking pant. On the other hand, it is stylish and durable in a way that could make it a great choice as an everyday pant, for traveling, climbing, camping, or outdoor work, as long as they fit you.
— Andy Wellman