Apparel Review: Arc'Teryx Switchback Pants

Look chic when you head for the alpine life.

These stretch-woven pants are made for alpine life, yet the spare design looks art-gallery chic. They proved cool enough to replace shorts on bluebird spring days, yet warded off chill wind and sleet in Colorado's Elk Range. The featherweight fabric enhances freedom of motion and makes these the lightest pants in the test, while beating back brush, thorns, and sandstone butt-grind. Despite the scant weight, you get two thigh pockets with waterproof zips. The snag: A zip-fly would sure speed up pit stops.

Price: $150

Size: men's S-XL, women's XS-L

Weight: 9 oz.

Contact: (800) 985-6681; www.arcteryx.com.