The great folks at outdoor specialty retailer Climb High recently sent me some Earthtec apparel to test out. Based in New Hampshire, Earthtec is committed to producing apparel by using recycled and sustainable textiles married together with fresh design and smart manufacturing techniques.
Every day for the past two weeks straight, I have been wearing the Earthtec Laurel Pants while ice climbing. After only the first day, these softshell pants quickly became my absolute favorite for any outdoor winter activity.
The Laurel Pants are extremely streamlined, slimming and minimalist, hugging you in all the right places and leaving no extra fabric to get in the way. The slightly bootcut leg comes with an 8" zippered ankle gusset to make getting your boots on and off easier. Once zipped and cinched over your boots, the pant hems are completely out of the way of any errant crampon point.
Made from a durable stretch woven face fabric, the Laurel Pants are lined with 100% recycled fleece for extra warmth. We have been climbing in some pretty low morning temperatures and my legs have never been cold. The softshell fabric is wind and water resistant but breathable, important for those long approaches. The fabric is further DWR treated to repel dirt or any water and snow that may be running down your ice line.
The softshell pants feature two zippered side pockets that while not exactly harness friendly, are great for storing lip balm, money, or keys when skiing or snowshoeing. One zippered back pocket is convenient however, for secure storage when wearing a harness.
The partial elastic waistband enables you to easily bend forward to lace up your boots or be more comfortable leaning forward to kick when climbing. I love the symbolic Earthtec green frog accents on the zipper pulls and pants hem.
I was originally worried about wearing the Laurel Pants for ice climbing because of the lack of articulated knees, but the stretch softshell fabric allowed me to kick and climb with ease. The best part about the softshell pants is they don't seem to stretch out, even after days of wear. I have been wearing the pants for two weeks now, with one wash, and they have never become dumpy looking or as my climbing partner Cheryl likes to say, "pants on the ground".
The medium size fits me absolutely perfectly, leaving just enough room underneath for a thick base layer. The inseam length on the medium is 31 inches. My inseam is normally 32 inches but the 31 is perfect for an ice climbing pant, just high enough to stay out of the way of your crampon straps and heel bail.
Bottom Line: You won't find a more flattering, functional, and earth friendly softshell pant for winter activities than the Earthtec Laurel Pant.
The Earthtec Laurel Pants retail for $70 and can be purchased from Climb High.
Climbing photo credit: Dara Miles