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Arc'teryx Gamma LT Pant - Women's Review

Best for cold weather hiking and wet days on the trail
Arc'teryx Gamma LT
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $190 List | $189.00 at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Great weather resistance, mobile, comfortable, durable
Cons:  Not as breathable, slim cut hard to layer under
Manufacturer:   Arc'teryx
By Cam McKenzie Ring ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 5, 2020
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67
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#11 of 14
  • Comfort and Mobility - 35% 6
  • Venting And Breathability - 20% 4
  • Weather Resistance - 15% 10
  • Features - 15% 9
  • Versatility - 15% 6

Our Verdict

The Arc'teryx Gamma LT pants stand out in our review. The softshell material has the best weather resistance and warmth of any pant we tested, making them an excellent option for colder months and wet hikes. Despite its LT, lightweight, designation, these pants are more substantial than most hiking pants. You might overheat in this pair come summertime, and there is no option to convert them into shorts. They move with you and work well for most outdoor activities, aside from rock climbing. They have a high rise and sit uncomfortably under our climbing harness. For cold and misty hikes, the Gamma LT is a stellar pair and our Top Pick for Wet Weather.

Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Arc'teryx Gamma LT pants are a 88% nylon and 12% elastane blend. This pair comes in sizes 0 to 14 in the regular length (32"), 0 to 10 in short, and 6 to 12 in tall.

Some fit notes:
We originally purchased this pant in our lead tester's "American" size 2, but it was way too snug. We returned it and tried a size 4 (our regular Lululemon size), and it fits much better, though still trim. If you want these on the loose side to squeeze a base layer underneath them, you may have to go up two sizes.

Performance Comparison


The Gamma LT are a sleek pair for colder days or drizzly weather.
The Gamma LT are a sleek pair for colder days or drizzly weather.

Comfort and Mobility


The Gamma LT pants have more stretch than comfort — while they are not uncomfortable, they aren't soft and cozy either. The Gammas are comfortable for all-day wear on the trail — but you probably won't want to curl up in them on the couch afterward.


The cut on these pants is on the trim side, which always concerns us with a pair of hiking pants. We wonder if we are still going to be able to high-step and scramble with ease in "skinny" pants. We needn't have worried about the Gamma LTs.

The articulated knees give the Gammas great mobility for such a trim-fitting pair of pants.
The articulated knees give the Gammas great mobility for such a trim-fitting pair of pants.

Their material has excellent stretch to it, and the articulated knees and gusseted crotch all combined to give us excellent mobility. We even wore them telemark skiing on a spring day and had no issue going deep into our lunges in this pair.

This pair breathes well and we feel comfortable hiking in it around 70 degrees  but not much hotter.
This pair breathes well and we feel comfortable hiking in it around 70 degrees, but not much hotter.

Venting and Breathability


The Gamma LTs are breathable. But their thickness holds in more heat than the summer-oriented pants in this review, so they score a little lower.


If you hike in the Gamma pants in 80-degree weather, they may vent your sweat well, but you will feel hotter overall. The pockets are mesh-lined, and you can unzip them to vent out some heat.

Skiing one day  hiking the next? The Gamma can do it all!
Skiing one day, hiking the next? The Gamma can do it all!

Weather Resistance


Arc'teryx calls this material moisture resistant. It's not fully waterproof, but it comes close, and on the whole, the Gamma blows away all of the other models in this review for weather resistance.

The DWR finish on the Gamma works very well - water does not want to go into the material. Once it does get wet  it dries in about 40 minutes in full sun.
The DWR finish on the Gamma works very well - water does not want to go into the material. Once it does get wet, it dries in about 40 minutes in full sun.

The Gamma features a DWR finish, and the material and DWR combo does a fantastic job of repelling water. It will keep you dry in a drizzle and takes a pretty sustained rain to soak through. It's usually the spot where your rainjacket drips onto your pants that will saturate first. Once wet, it takes longer for these pants to dry compared to some of the warmer weather hiking pants we tested. The Gammas also provide more wind resistance than most.

The bottom of the pants can cinch down to help keep water or muck out  and there's also a grommet on either side which lets you make your own gaiter out of the pants.
The bottom of the pants can cinch down to help keep water or muck out, and there's also a grommet on either side which lets you make your own gaiter out of the pants.

Features


We like the feature set on the Gamma LT. Though they seem pretty minimalistic to start, they do have a lot going for them.


Both hand pockets are deep and have zippers. The side-zippered pocket is big enough for a smartphone or a set of keys. The cuffs have a drawcord should you want to cinch them down to keep the heat in or the rain out. The internal belt is low-profile and doesn't interfere with a hip belt.

The integrated belt is one of our favorite features of this pair. It keeps the pants tight (and UP) and still works decently well under a backpack.
The integrated belt is one of our favorite features of this pair. It keeps the pants tight (and UP) and still works decently well under a backpack.

Finally, the cuffs have grommets should you want to wear the pants over a pair of hiking boots and secure them down under the arch with some shoelace, like a gaiter.

Versatility


Most pants in this review work well in summer and the warmer parts of spring and fall. These pants work better in winter and the cooler parts of fall and spring. We can also take these pants out in wet weather. We don't love them when the temperature starts to rise, as they barely even roll up at the ankles.


Their technical nature keeps us from wearing them around town. They do have a high rise waist, and while they fit nicely under a backpacking waistbelt. We don't like rock climbing in them as much as a result. There's too much going on right at the waist.

Need something for spring skiing days? This pair is an excellent choice. There's enough mobility for active sports  and it's slightly thicker than your typical pair of hiking pants.
Need something for spring skiing days? This pair is an excellent choice. There's enough mobility for active sports, and it's slightly thicker than your typical pair of hiking pants.

Value


These pants ring up at twice as much as some pairs in this review. They are a specialized pair, in a league of their own. It's a lot to spend on one pair of pants, but hopefully, they will last you forever!

The softshell material is highly abrasion resistant, and the pant has impeccable construction details. The zippers are laminated, and the seams are all double stitched. We didn't have any durability issues arise during our testing period, and found little to no complaints in online reviews either.

This quality pair of pants should last a long time.
This quality pair of pants should last a long time.

Conclusion


The Arc'teryx Gamma LT is a sleek pair of hiking pants. Their trim fit and smooth, stretchy material look great on just about anyone. They're the bee's knees on cold and wet days, making them our Top Pick for Wet Weather. They aren't well suited for warmer weather hiking, but if you're out on the trail no matter the weather or the season, this is a great option to have around.

Cam McKenzie Ring