During the winter months, I regularly face an outdoor dilemma—ski or hike? I usually lean towards donning my planks and feeling the cold breeze on my face, but this winter, however, I hit the hiking trails more often than previous years. A great excuse to test out the Sierra Designs Silicone Trail Pant.
The Silicone Trail Pant is a new addition to the Sierra Designs collection this spring. Made from 94% nylon and 6% spandex, the pant is treated with silicone on the bun area and the knees—your two most likely touchpoints with the ground. Silicone provides significantly higher water resistance than material only treated with a DWR finish.
Beyond its hardiness to the wet spring season, the Silicone Trail Pant boasts six pockets, including a map pocket on the left thigh and a compass/mobile phone pocket on the right side. The pockets on the front of the pants are made from mesh for circulation, with similar mesh ventilation areas located below the back pockets.
As these hiking pants were tested mainly during the winter months, needless to say they were exposed to damp hiking conditions. As just about everyone knows, this winter was brutal on the East Coast—so many of my treks were through several inches of snow, with breaks taken on damp, icy logs. My backside froze when sitting, but it never got wet.
I have a bad habit of over layering in the winter, so I am normally toasty. This could have put a strain on the wicking ability of the Silicone Trail Pant, but they did respond as advertised. The ventilation chambers are well positioned to cover the areas that are most likely to perspire. I did have some perspiration build-up, but I blame that on over layering and not the performance of the pant.
A feature that should not be overlooked is the design of the rear pockets and belt loops. Sierra Designs had more than day hikers in mind by placing the back pockets lower so they do not interfere with a backpack.
I was pleased with the overall performance of the hiking pants and did not find any significant flaws. I would definitely suggest the pant for any cool and damp day hiking or overnights, especially where you know you are going to have to sit or kneel on damp places. It'll keep your knees and your butt equally as dry.
The Sierra Designs Silicon Trail Pant retails for $89 and is available now.