Gear Review: Outdoor Research Trailbreaker Pants #ORInsightLab

I am sure that I am not alone when I say that it can be a somewhat daunting task to find durable, quality ski/snow pants that not only meets my high expectations including list of “must have features”. Let alone be ready to face the unpredictable, rapidly changing winter weather we typically experience here in Northern Michigan. However, Outdoor Research has hit the mark! From the first moment I saw the Trailbreaker Pants I must say, I was quite excited. These were exactly the type of pant that I had been searching for! (Note: These pants were intended for ski touring, snow shoeing or any snow sport that involves hiking. Downhill skiers would be better suited with a fully waterproof, warmer pant)

First of all, my list of “Must Have” features is not all that extensive or unrealistic, in my opinion, since you can typically find many of these same features in most Men’s pants. The Outdoor Research Women’s Trailbreaker Pants does a great job of checking off all of these points and then some.

My list of “Must Have Features”:

• Soft, Comfortable, Breathable fabric that moves with you

• Water Resistant

• Wind Resistant

• Articulated knees

• Adjustable waistband (women come in many shapes and sizes, we need adjustments please!)

• Pockets, plenty of (deep) pockets for all of those important necessities! (lip balm, cell phones ..)

• Belt Loops (You’d be surprised how many don’t have these for women?)

• Snap and zipper fly! (so yes, this does actually make things a bit easier for “nature calls”. Also I personally feel that a snap & zipper fly just looks and fits better than an elastic waistband)

• Mid to low rise. (No more granny panty ski pants please! 😉

Straight out of the box I loved the look and feel of the soft pewter colored fabric. The pants are made of a soft shell breathable fabric with a double weave stretch-woven into the upper, with a waterproof three-layer Pertex® Shield+ on the lower legs, where you’re most exposed to the snow. I was particularly excited to see the articulated knees, reinforced scuff guards, and detachable gaiters too. Perfect for what I had in mind for them!

As Winter Storm Goliath set the stage with a big dump of snow it wasn’t long before our “Lake Effect” snow machine kicked in to take care of the rest, providing us with plenty of deep powder to put the Trailbreaker Pants to the test. Wearing a single base layer bottom and top, I wore the Trailbreaker Pants along with the Linchpin Hooded Jacket, Spitsbergen Beanie and Highcamp PrimaLoft Gloves on many great snowshoe adventures on our favorite trails around The Sleeping Bear Dunes and the Old Mission Peninsula.

The fit of the trailbreaker pants is called “Standard Fit” however on me I consider them a relaxed fit, very comfortable with a stretch allowing for the fit to hug where needed and to give a bit more through the hips and thighs. Having stretch in a technical outdoor pant is a particularly nice feature for an Italian curvy girl like me. 😉

Additionally I was very impressed with the water repellency of the Trailbreaker Pant. I noticed on several occasions during periods of mixed precipitation, that the melting snow and rain mixture was creating water to bead up and roll off the pant allowing me to remain warm and dry. This was more notably on the lower leg areas where the pant was in constant contact with the snow. Kudos to waterproof three-layer Pertex® Shield+!

Overall, I truly enjoyed testing and wearing the Trailbreaker Pants. They have absolutely everything that I have been looking for in a Women’s ski/snow pant. They kept me very comfortable, dry and warm while allowing for great freedom of movement while snowshoeing. Although, I never really had the opportunity to test them in a typical Northern Michigan winter this year, thanks to the El Nino, so I can not honestly say for sure if they would keep me warm enough at more frigid temps below zero. Guess I will have to wait til next year to find out. 😉

The Outdoor Research Infinite Guarantee: Outdoor Research believes so strongly in the quality of the apparel and gear that they make that if your Outdoor Research product fails to meet your needs at any time, they will happily replace it. Outdoor Research products are guaranteed forever, and your total satisfaction is their goal!

Disclosure: As a participant in the Outdoor Research’s (OR) #ORInsightLab. I test gear and offer feedback. The Outdoor Research Women’s Trailbreaker Pants were provided to me at no cost, as always the opinions expressed here are my own. Have you tried the Trailbreaker pants? Let me know your thoughts below. If you would like to check out the Outdoors Research Women’s Trailbreaker Pants for yourself, find them here.

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