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Ortovox 185 Rock'N'Wool Short Pants - Women's Review

Incredible wicking capabilities and Merino wool performance in a lightweight and stylish design
ortovox 185 rock'n'wool short pants for women long underwear review
Credit: Amber King
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $100 List | Check Price at REI
Pros:  Super soft, top-notch thermoregulation, great fit, durable construction, stylish thick waistband, odor-free, ski and snowboard boot compatible
Cons:  Expensive, fabric stretches between washes
Manufacturer:   Ortovox
By Trish Matheny ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 22, 2022
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
79
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 13
  • Warmth - 30% 7.0
  • Breathability - 30% 8.0
  • Comfort and Fit - 30% 9.0
  • Durability - 10% 7.0

Our Verdict

Our testers love the Ortovox 185 Rock'N'Wool Short Pants for their niche design that is perfectly compatible with your high winter ski socks and boots. While not the warmest layer we tested, we noted that these short pants offer a surprising amount of warmth within their lightweight 100% Merino wool design. Notable for their excellent thermoregulation during high-output activities like backcountry skiing and shoulder season trail runs, these short pants don't disappoint. While their initial price tag may feel like more of an investment, we know you'll appreciate the overall comfort, enhanced by the durable flatlock seams and a thicker, stylish waistband. These short pants are perfect for those looking to prevent fabrics from bunching under their ski boots without sacrificing warmth, comfort, and performance.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Top Pick Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award 
Price $100 List
Check Price at REI
$80 List$79 List
$79.00 at REI
$65 List$55 List
$54.95 at REI
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Pros Super soft, top-notch thermoregulation, great fit, durable construction, stylish thick waistband, odor-free, ski and snowboard boot compatibleExcellent warmth, soft elastic waistband, odor-free, high waisted design for additional coverageAmazing breathability, comfortable on the skin, great fit, good warmth, cute colors and designsVery breathable, ultralight construction, quick drying, great snug fitSmooth and silky fabric, easy to wear alone or when layered, cute and fitted style, affordable
Cons Expensive, fabric stretches between washesThicker fabric doesn't breathe as well in warm climates, fabric shows signs of wear after minimal useLess durable than previous version, holds smell after timeNot as comfortable as merino fabricAbsorbs and holds moisture, fabric retains odor immediately
Bottom Line Incredible wicking capabilities and Merino wool performance in a lightweight and stylish designThese heavyweight 100% Merino wool long johns offer superior warmth and comfort at a fraction of the costA synthetic long underwear bottom with an all around impressive performance at a fair priceA highly breathable layer that dries quickly, making it exceptional for intense cool to cold weather activityThis synthetic base layer option features a soft and stretchy polyester fabric that offers moderate levels of warmth and breathability for an affordable price
Rating Categories Ortovox 185 Rock'N'... Ridge Merino Invers... Patagonia Capilene... Odlo Performance Li... REI Co-op Midweight...
Warmth (30%)
7.0
9.0
8.0
5.0
7.0
Breathability (30%)
8.0
7.0
7.0
9.0
6.0
Comfort and Fit (30%)
9.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
8.0
Durability (10%)
7.0
8.0
9.0
6.0
7.0
Specs Ortovox 185 Rock'N'... Ridge Merino Invers... Patagonia Capilene... Odlo Performance Li... REI Co-op Midweight...
Material 100% Tasmanian Merino wool 100% Merino wool 100% recycled polyester 69% polyester, 27% polyamide, 4% elastane 92% polyester, 8% spandex
Fabric Weight (g/m²) 185 g/m² 270 g/m² 250 g/m² Not disclosed Not disclosed
Weight Class Light to midweight Heavyweight Midweight Lightweight Midweight
Measured Weight (size medium) 3.5 oz 7.9 oz 5.6 oz 3.1 oz 6.4 oz
Cuts Avaliable 3/4 length, full length, hot pants Full length Full length Full length Full length
Smelly Over Time? No No Yes No Yes
Odor Control Fabric Naturally odor resistant Naturally odor resistant HeiQ Fresh N/A N/A

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Rock'N'Wool Short Pants quickly became a favorite of our testing team thanks to their super soft 100% Merino wool fabric, lightweight performance, and high-quality design. They are great at thermoregulation, efficiently wicking moisture away from the skin and releasing through the 185-gram virgin wool fabric. The shorter length helps to keep bulk out of your ski or snowboard boots, and the thick waistband is not only stylish but keeps your pants in place when layered in a system. Though these short pants come with a higher price tag, knowing that your dollars are supporting a company with sustainability in mind could make it easier to invest. The Short Pants are the perfect insulation for those cooler weather days in the fall or layered below your Gore-tex for winter days when you're out earning your turns.

Performance Comparison


ortovox 185 rock'n'wool short pants for women long underwear review - warm enough to kick it in the shoulder seasons, but best suited as...
Warm enough to kick it in the shoulder seasons, but best suited as the base of your cold weather layering kit.
Credit: Claire Maurey

Warmth


Though the 185 Rock'N'Wool Short Pants are only a 3/4 length, we found them to offer enough warmth to be worn alone during the shoulder seasons and to provide ample warmth when layered below our ski bibs while exploring the backcountry. Since the 185 g/m² fabric is at the lower end of midweight, they have more of a lightweight feel. Our testers stayed comfortable and dry throughout their cool and cold weather activities.


We would not recommend the Short Pants for sedentary cold weather activities, though they did a great job at keeping our testers warm during a fall season of training runs in Yosemite Valley. Some days were difficult to leave our sleeping bag as the campsite rarely saw the sun, but these pants provided enough warmth to get us moving without a heavyweight thickness that would cause us to overheat as the sun rose. Perhaps their best application is for those cold weather days spent backcountry skiing or snowboarding where you're constantly moving and generating body heat.

ortovox 185 rock'n'wool short pants for women long underwear review - their lightweight construction offers a surprising amount of warmth...
Their lightweight construction offers a surprising amount of warmth, especially when paired with ski socks to add more insulation and coverage to the bottom of the leg.
Credit: Claire Maurey

Breathability


The 185 Rock'N'Wool Short Pants offer some of the best wicking capabilities out of all the long underwear garments tested for this review. Superior thermoregulation allows them to effectively trap body heat while releasing moisture through the Merino wool fabric. These pants boast a 19-micro Merino wool that enhances breathability due to its ultra-fine construction.


During our fall testing runs in a very humid and chilly Yosemite Valley, we noted the efficiency with which the Short Pants were able to dry after working up a bit of sweat as we gained elevation and sunshine towards the rim of the Valley. Though some sweat was able to collect around the thicker waistband, it dried quickly before any notable discomfort occurred. This layer offers some of the best breathability out of all the long underwear garments we've tested, thanks to a lightweight design that allows air to permeate the thin fabric.

ortovox 185 rock'n'wool short pants for women long underwear review - the ultra fine merino wool construction offers exceptional...
The ultra fine Merino wool construction offers exceptional breathability and efficiently wicks moisture trapped inside the thicker waistband.
Credit: Claire Maurey

Comfort and Fit


One of the first things we noticed about the 185 Rock'N'Wool Short Pants is their stand-out style. The European-inspired design is a split, asymmetric design with bright colors, stripes, and a thick, multi-colored waistband. After trying them on for the first time, we were impressed by how soft and comfortable they felt next to our skin, perhaps because of the unique and ultra-fine Tasmanian Merino. We can also appreciate the labels are either screen-printed or removable rather than a permanent tag that can cause itching and discomfort due to irritation. This top-notch comfort made this layer one of our favorites for everything from rest days to long multi-sport days in the backcountry.


We love the fit and would consider it true to size, though we did notice a little bunching in the crotch. The fabric is stretchy enough to move with you during activity without limiting your range of motion. The thick waistband offers great structure if you wear these a few times between washes, and the 3/4 length prevents any bunching of layers inside your ski or snowboard boots. It's hard to complain about these super cute and comfortable short pants, thanks to their itch-free Merino wool construction and functional fit.

ortovox 185 rock'n'wool short pants for women long underwear review - printed and removable labels such as this enhance the overall...
Printed and removable labels such as this enhance the overall comfort of the exceptionally soft 100% Merino wool fabric.
Credit: Trish Matheny

Durability


Throughout our rigorous three-month testing period, we've experienced no durability issues with the 185 Rock'N'Wool Short Pants. Their high-quality design is notable through features like the flatlock seams and Merino wool construction that is naturally odor-free. Our testing team has also tested the base layer top of similar weight and design for two years without any durability issues.


While we didn't notice any rips or snags in the fabric, we must admit this ultra-fine Merino wool layer may not last as long as a more durable synthetic option. We noticed that the fabric tends to lose its shape when worn multiple times between washes, and we found some minor piling in high-traffic areas when the wool rubbed against another layer. We speculate that some durability is sacrificed in exchange for an ultra-soft and itch-free design. That being said, we'll continue testing this layer throughout the long winter months and will report back with any durability issues, should we encounter them after our backcountry adventures.

ortovox 185 rock'n'wool short pants for women long underwear review - this high quality design features durable flatlock seams and is...
This high quality design features durable flatlock seams and is naturally odor free thanks to the 100% Tasmanian Merino wool fabric.
Credit: Claire Maurey

Should You Buy the Ortovox 185 Rock'N'Wool Short Pants?


While some may scoff at the expensive price tag, especially since these pants are only a 3/4 length, our testers are confident that their lightweight performance won't disappoint you. We love that these short pants are created with sustainability in mind, making it easier to invest in a company that is a member of the "Fair Wear Foundation," which seeks to improve workplace conditions and offset c02 emissions. Their exceptional breathability and super cute and cozy fabric will certainly keep you warm during your cold-weather adventures.

What Other Long Underwear Should You Consider?


If you dig the 100% Merino wool construction but are after a full-length option, check out the Ridge Merino Inversion Heavyweight Merino Leggings. These heavyweight leggings are perfect for cold winter months. If you're interested in a Merino wool blend that offers ample warmth and exceptional breathability for those high-intensity winter pursuits, look to the Icebreaker BodyfitZone Merino 260 Zone Thermal Leggings.

ortovox 185 rock'n'wool short pants for women long underwear review - super soft tasmanian wool and a design that seeks to reduce bulk in...
Super soft Tasmanian wool and a design that seeks to reduce bulk in your ski boots without sacrificing lightweight performance.
Credit: Trish Matheny

Trish Matheny
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