There’s nothing like coming home to a package full of new gear to try on and that couldn’t have been more true back in September. I had just returned home from a two week backcountry adventure in Colorado when I walked in the door to find a box with SKRE Extreme Mountain Gear written on the return label, sitting in my entry way. Having already worn the Kiabab Merino top and Hardscrabble jacket I new I was in for a treat. Awaiting me inside that cardboard box was the missing piece–my Hardscrabble pants! Now at this point, it’s important to mention that my new gear arriving separate was at no fault of the company, rather my own forgetfulness that those close to me will be quick to verify.
I’ll admit that out of excitement I dropped my pants right there in my entry way and tried them on.Right off the bat I loved that they fit very true to size and it was hard to ignore just how comfortable they were. These pants are made out of a unique felling material and I’m sure there was a bit of science that went into them but I’m no scientist so I can only speak to my observations. For starters, the inside of the pants are very soft and almost feels like fleece which is one of the reasons I find them so comfortable. Feeling like fleece I was concerned that they would be too warm for me to wear here in southern Arizona when it can be in the 80’s all the way into the late season but I was pleasantly surprised to find out that they are quite breathable and seem to manage temperature change well. The last point I want to make regarding the material is their durability. Along with the heat, the foliage here in Southern Arizona can be brutal on gear, especially your pants. Because of the cactus, catcall, and barbwire I encounter almost daily I have traditionally had to choose between burning up or turning my legs intopin cushions. I’m not going to tell you these pants replace gaiters or chaps by any means and you will still feel your environment at times, as you would even with a heavy pair of canvas pants, but I have found the Hardscrabble pants to provide a really nice balance between protection and breathability.
The two back pockets and two cargo pockets are zippered and the two front pockets are very similar to the ones that would be on your jeans. One thing that’s interesting about the cargo pockets is that they aren’t on the side of the leg like your typical cargo pants, they are actually on the front of the legs. At first I wasn’t so sure about the pockets being on the front like that and honestly I’m still not sure what the real reason is but I have come to really like them there because it allows you to access your pockets with less movement and keeps your movement in front of your silhouette which really comes in handy when you’re within range of an animal. I also find that it’s easier to access your pockets while you’re sitting down either in a stand or just glassing.
Wether I’m enjoying an afternoon in a dove field or transversing a steep canyon wall chasing coues deer I now trust my Hardscrabble pants to get me through regardless of the weather.