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

How We Tested Rain Pants

Tuesday March 3, 2020

We tested these pants for six months in the Pacific Northwest, primarily in late summer, fall, and early winter. Luckily, it was a typical wet fall, and our testing team was given ample time to examine each piece during real-world use - mostly while hiking, backpacking, and climbing in Washington's temperate rain forests in Olympic, North Cascade, and Mt. Rainier National Parks.

Ian Nicholson runs into... rain pant testing!
Ian Nicholson runs into... rain pant testing!

Water Resistance


The best way to test this? Suffer in rainy weather! That's exactly what we did. We wore each pant for months on end in the rain in the rainy and snowy Pacific Northwest through all seasons. We also stood under the shower for four minutes to get an objective measurement of how each stands up to moisture.

Comfort and Mobility


To test mobility and comfort, we spent full days to weeks in each pant. We skied, hiked, crawled, ran, and stretched our legs just to see which pants stretch and move with the body. Each pant is tested for at least three months, though most are tested across a number of years.

Breathability & Ventilation


Aside from skiing and hiking in each pant (a lot), we also evaluate important ventilation features. The pants that made us sweat didn't do so well, while the ones we could keep on, rose to the top.

Features


We look at all the features each pant has to offer. This includes types of zippers along the sides (full, half, or quarter options), pockets, and more. We also evaluate which are the easiest to put on and take off, with boots still on the feet.

Packed Size


We packed each down and compared them to see which take up the least amount of space in a pack. We also see which can stuff into themselves or comes with a compression sack.

Weight


We weigh each pant with our personal scales to see which are the lightest of the light.

Durability


In addition to wearing each pant while backpacking, mountaineering, ski touring, and more, we go the extra mile. We take the time to bushwack, scrap ourselves against granite walls, and trash each pant as much as possible throughout the year. The result? A verdict on which pant will last you a lifetime and which can't last a season.

The Showers Pass Transit rain pants are built to let you pedal for days.
The Showers Pass Transit rain pants are built to let you pedal for days.