The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Flylow Chemical Pant Review

Sturdy pants for the regular user that values weather protection and style over freedom of motion and immediate comfort.
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Price:  $360 List | $244.93 at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Rugged and weather-ready
Cons:  Waterproof but non-confidence inspiring water repellant, stiff fabric, confining cut
Manufacturer:   Flylow
By Jediah Porter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Sep 25, 2019
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63
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#11 of 12
  • Weather Resistance - 30% 7
  • Fit and Comfort - 25% 6
  • Ventilation - 15% 9
  • Style - 15% 5
  • Warmth - 10% 4
  • Features - 5% 4

Our Verdict

The FlyLow Chemical Pant is a basic, functional, and durable pair of ski and snowboard pants. They'll last seasons and seasons, and keep out the gnarliest of weather along the way. We wish the surface water repellency was better, and that the tailoring and fabrics allowed for more freedom of motion. Overall, though, we verify that these pants are legit. They also make more of a style statement than several other models in our test group.

New Colors and New Waterproofing

Since our test period with the Chemical Pant, Flylow freshened up the color options (the blue above is current), and also introduced the use of a new OmniBloq DWR treatment, which is reported to last 3 times longer than the industry standard DWR. Since waterproofness was a concern for us when we tested these pants, we're excited to try out the new version — but for now, the review to follow still tells our account of the previous version with the old DWR.

September 2019


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Pros Rugged and weather-readyImmaculate weather protection, excellent fit, fleecy liningFashionable, carefully tailored, excellent weather protectionWarm, comfy, solid overallBib design, fully waterproofed construction, many pockets
Cons Waterproof but non-confidence inspiring water repellant, stiff fabric, confining cutExpensive, no bright color optionsMesh-backed vents, doesn’t have all the bells and whistlesLimited sealing of pockets, less effective ventsNot everyone likes bibs
Bottom Line Sturdy pants for the regular user that values weather protection and style over freedom of motion and immediate comfort.These are top of the line pants. The protection, fit, and comfort are unmatched. They are versatile, durable, and have a lasting style.Excellent, all-around ski pants suitable for almost all users.The top insulated ski pants for those who need them.This model does the difficult; they combine comfort with full-blown bib protection. In this subcategory of ski pants, these are our favorite.
Rating Categories Flylow Chemical Pant Arc'teryx Sabre Pants Patagonia Powder Bowl Pants Spyder Dare Regular GTX Marmot Discovery Bib
Weather Resistance (30%)
10
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7
10
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10
10
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10
10
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8
10
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9
Fit And Comfort (25%)
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
Ventilation (15%)
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
5
10
0
3
10
0
5
Style (15%)
10
0
5
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
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8
10
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5
Warmth (10%)
10
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4
10
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5
10
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6
10
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10
10
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6
Features (5%)
10
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4
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4
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6
10
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6
10
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8
Specs Flylow Chemical Pant Arc'teryx Sabre... Patagonia Powder... Spyder Dare... Marmot Discovery Bib
Main fabric Intuitive Oxford 100% polyester 3L Cordura Nylon 3L 4.6-oz 150-denier 100% recycled polyester 2L Polyester plain weave 2L 100% Nylon 2L
Insulation None Laminated fleecy lining Hanging mesh lining 3M Thinsulate Hanging mesh lining
Waterproofing Intuitive (3-layer) and DWR coating N80p-X Gore-Tex (3-layer) Gore-Tex w/ DWR finish (2-layer) Gore-Tex laminate and PFCecFree DWR (2-layer) Membrain 2-Layer
Waistline construction (elastic? snaps?) Button/zipper fly with hook/loop adjustment Snaps. Built-in elastic belt Snap/zipper fly with adjustable tabs Snap/zipper fly with internal adjustment and removable suspenders Bibs
Weight (in pounds) 1.43 lbs 1.32 lbs 1.67 lbs 1.79 lbs 1.97 lbs
Weight (in grams) 648 g 600 g 756 g 811 g 894 g
# of Pockets 3 3 4 5 6
Vents? Inner and outer thigh zips, no mesh Exterior thigh zips, no mesh Exterior thigh zips, with mesh Inner thigh zips, with mesh Exterior thigh zips, with mesh
Ski-specific features Reinforced knees, gaiters Recco, fleecy handwarmer pockets, key/pass clip inside pocket Scuff guards, gaiters Scuff guards, gaiters, articulated knee, insulation on back for cold chairlifts Bibs, gaiters, reinforced ankles
Recco? no yes ? ? yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

These are sturdy, basic ski and snowboard pants in a baggy "park rat" style. The construction is very robust and the materials are nearly top notch. Despite the baggy cut, the stiff fabric and a low crotch seem to inhibit freedom of motion more than other pants we've tested. When scored on our overall matrix, the Chemical Snow Pants are below average. The primary issues are in fit and mobility and with the durable water repellant applied by FlyLow.

Performance Comparison


Lead test editor and IFMGA mountain guide Jediah Porter in the Chemical Snow Pants during an avalanche course.
Lead test editor and IFMGA mountain guide Jediah Porter in the Chemical Snow Pants during an avalanche course.

Weather Resistance


FlyLow's proprietary "Intuitive" fabric will keep out the water. Sealed seams and waterproof zippers all around complement this. The only issue we had with weather resistance was in our shower test. In that context, we rub the fabric under a stream of water until the external fabric is soaked. In other words, we brush it with our hand, firmly, until the water stops beading up. On both the FlyLow Chemical and FlyLow Baker Bibs, the water soaks in after just a few passes of the hand. The DWR of the Salomon Chill Out Bibs acted similarly, while all products from both Arc'Teryx and Patagonia take a serious multi-minute effort to get the water to soak in.

The overall construction of the FlyLow Chemical is sturdy and weatherproof  but the DWR could be better.
The overall construction of the FlyLow Chemical is sturdy and weatherproof, but the DWR could be better.

With time, a garment's ability to bead up water will fade. This is universal. Even when the outer fabric is soaked, that water will not get through the waterproof breathable membrane except under high pressure that you won't encounter in nature. Nonetheless, pants with wet face fabric don't feel awesome.

The Chemical Snow pants snap to FlyLow ski jackets for a high level of protection.
The Chemical Snow pants snap to FlyLow ski jackets for a high level of protection.

Fit and Comfort


One's first impression of the Chemical Pants is that they are big and baggy. If you are between sizes, we recommend sizing down. The fabric is also quite stiff. This inhibits motion. Further inhibiting motion is something about the tailoring. It seems that the crotch of the pants hangs lower, blocking some motion. There's enough motion for most ski and snowboard moves, but walking around and climbing, scrambling, or park time will meet resistance. The stretchy fabrics of the Patagonia Descensionist and the Salomon Chill Out Bib offer more freedom of motion. Arc'Teryx and Spyder tailoring do better than the FlyLow.

Ventilation


FlyLow pants top the ventilation charts. The dual leg vents (two, per leg!) lead the field and provide cross ventilation that none others provide. If you open both non-mesh-backed vents in a stiff breeze, it can feel almost as if you are wearing shorts.

For maximum airflow  we love the dual vents of the Chemical snow pants. That's two vents per leg that virtually turn your pants into shorts.
For maximum airflow, we love the dual vents of the Chemical snow pants. That's two vents per leg that virtually turn your pants into shorts.

Style


These are decidedly targeted to the youthful rider. The cut is baggy and low. Additionally, the stiff fabric drapes differently. They look like rugged work pants more than athletic wear.

The FlyLow Chemical ski pants are color coordinated with a variety of FlyLow jacket options.
The FlyLow Chemical ski pants are color coordinated with a variety of FlyLow jacket options.

Warmth


There is no insulation in the FlyLow Chemical Pant. Nonetheless, the thick fabric feels warmer than other "three-layer" style pants. These are similar in warmth to the FlyLow Baker Bibs, but not as warm as the hanging lining of the Patagonia Powder Bowl or the full insulation of the Spyder Dare. They are warmer than the thin fabrics of the Patagonia Descensionist and the Arc'Teryx Rush LT.

Features


Pockets are the primary feature of the Chemical Pant. There are only three of them, but each is lined with smooth nylon and sealed with a waterproof zipper. We dig.

The baggy cuffs of the FlyLow Chemical offer refreshing boot adjustments. The overall trend to slimmer ski pants is welcome  except when making boot buckle adjustments.
The baggy cuffs of the FlyLow Chemical offer refreshing boot adjustments. The overall trend to slimmer ski pants is welcome, except when making boot buckle adjustments.

Best Applications


These are robust pants for the hardcore user that likes the baggy style. If you like all that, but prefer bibs, check out the FlyLow Baker Bibs. Both are also marketed for backcountry use. We find that pants made with lighter, less stiff fabrics, even if they vent less well than the FlyLow pants, are better for true human-powered skiing.

Value


They're not cheap, but they will last a long time. Construction and materials are robust enough to last many years of regular use. Your per-day cost will be lower than some more expensive but less durable options.

Deep snow  fast moves  hard charging. For rough-and-tumble skiers riding it all  the robust construction of FlyLow gear inspires confidence.
Deep snow, fast moves, hard charging. For rough-and-tumble skiers riding it all, the robust construction of FlyLow gear inspires confidence.

Conclusion


FlyLow Chemical Pants are normal uninsulated ski pants that are baggy and super durable.


Jediah Porter