Many rain pants in this price class look and feel like a garbage bag with two legs—and breathe about just as well. Not so with the South Canyons, which combine the cut-lined look and trim fit of five-pocket jeans with impressive technical performance. The latter is a result of Columbia’s proprietary three-layer waterproof shell, which our tester says breathes surprisingly well for the cost. “I started a ridge hike in the rain, which eventually turned into sleet, and by the time we reached the top, graupel was blowing sideways,” he says. “But my legs remained completely dry, and despite the steep grade and our loaded packs, I never got sweaty.” Welcome addition: A thin polyester lining feels soft next to skin. Bummer: The lack of a gusseted crotch made hiking steep inclines a bit pinchy.