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Backpacker Magazine – Fall Gear Guide 2013

Gear Review: Outdoor Research Valhalla Softshell Pants

Softshell pants to withstand gnarly weather

by: Kelly Bastone

(Andrew Bydlon)
(Andrew Bydlon)

All-Conditions Softshell
Some softshells sacrifice weather protection for breathability, but not the Valhalla. The seam-taped Gore Windstopper X-Fast fabric stands up to wind and snow so well that our tester made this his go-to pant for skiing New England resorts in the worst conditions as well as for backcountry touring. Zippered thigh vents provided adequate breathability while skinning. “The loose cut and stretchy fabric deliver a free, unencumbered feeling when cranking down the groomers, surfing in the trees, or negotiating technical terrain,” he says. Articulated knees (with removable knee pads) prevent bagginess. Breathable, internal mesh gaiters admitted no snow when our tester postholed through drifts in New Hampshire’s Presidentials. Scuff guards shield against slicing ski edges, belt and suspender loops offer two keep-’em-up options, and a multitude of pockets (one on the thigh includes an internal beacon clip) delighted our highly organized tester. $299; 1 lb. 6 oz. (m’s L); m’s S-XXL, w’s XS-XL; outdoorresearch.com



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