Good design is always in short supply.  It’s gotten a little less scarce, though, ever since Sierra Designs introduced their new line of 2014 trailwear.  We’ve tested pieces that represent every corner of the line and we’re concluding the sequence today with coverage of their unique Silicon Trail Pant.

Sierra Designs Silicone Trail Pant Features:

  • Permanently water resistant seat and knee panels
  • Seven pocket design
  • Extra-wide rear belt loop
  • Square crotch gusset for mobility
  • Reinforced pocket binding for folding knife clip
  • Breathable Stretch fabric blend
  • MSRP: $89.00

Sierra Designs Silicone Trail Pants Review

Performance meets elegance on the trail

I should begin this review by noting that these pants are amongst the ‘finest’ clothing that I own.  By that, I mean that my wardrobe is devoid of clothing that can match the materials and craftsmanship these trail pants boast.  Nothing about their appearance suggests that they have any technical proficiency whatsoever, but Sierra Designs has always placed functionality on a pedestal.  So, in summing up their new collection, we look at the Trail Pants and ask whether or not gear can look this sharp and perform without compromise.

YFC Okanogan (40 of 62)

My testing began in late Spring when things were still quite damp throughout the region.  My adventures really ran through the gamut of what these pants are capable of – boldering, scrambling and backpacking all featured prominently.  The nylon/spandex weave is inherently quite stretchy which makes for a very capable pant in technical bits – what’s more there’s a square gusset that adds extra flex and strength in the crotch.

Sierra Designs clearly put a lot of thought into how the user interacts with the pants.  There are seven pockets and each one has a purpose – the wallet pocket sits slightly offset so that you don’t wind up with scoliosis, and the discrete right-hand cargo pocket (you can barely see it from the outside) features an insert for extra organization.  The pockets are great fits for most maps, a compass or indeed a few energy bars.

YFC Okanogan (41 of 62)

The pants wear comfortably underneath a pack, thanks in large part to the extra-wide rear belt loop that has no patience with irritation from a pack.  My favorite little touch, though, is the extra reinforcement on the right-hand front pocket that guards against the abrasion of knife’s clip.  My only real quibble about the fit is that it seems to be sized rather small.  I normally wear a 32″ waist (5’11” 180lbs) but these trail pants were actually a bit of a squeeze.  This fits with the general theme of Sierra Designs’ latest line being sized on the small side, though — to remedy, simply plan on ordering a size up unless you know you’re already on the low end of your particular sizing.  And, as much as I appreciate the extra waterproofing on the butt and knees, it does cut down on the fabric’s breathability and I tend to keep these pants for use on cooler days.

Durability is always an important component and the trail pants have it in spades.  The siliconized butt and knees stay water-resistant for far longer than a traditional DWR and the overall fabric has held up very well indeed, with no fraying down at the cuffs or in other high abrasion areas.  It’s encouraging to see, especially on a piece of gear that seems so refined.  The silicon treatment is enough to handle prolonged exposure to light moisture like sitting on moss or a wet log, but I’d hesitate to plop down in any puddles with these pants.

Note the reinforcement on the pocket

Note the reinforcement on the pocket

The Good

  • Excellent design ethos – stylish and highly functional
  • Thoughtful feature selection, especially the knife reinforcement and pocket layout
  • Stretch nylon plus a gusset is a killer combination for all sorts of maneuvers
  • Looks sharp enough to wear anywhere in the town

The Bad

  • Silicon panels reduce breathability in knee and butt
  • Sizing is rather small

The Bottom Line

Rarely do we see a product that marries functionality and esthetics like these trail pants do.  They’re sharp, elegant clothing that happen to have a top-tier degree of technical performance.  They’re easy to recommend (particularly in cooler, wetter seasons) but do remember to size up on the waist.

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About Author

Kevin Glover is an outdoorsman living, climbing and biking in Spokane, WA. Originally from the Nevada high desert, he moved to the PNW for its mild winters and allergen-free summers. He has guided throughout the Cascades and Enchantments for Peak 7 Adventures.

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