Gear Review: First Ascent Mountain Guide Lite Pants

The fit, the fabric, and the details make these pants shine.


These are my new favorite softshell pants. Reason #1: the fit. Like a good pair of jeans, they’re snug but nonrestricting. #2: the fabric. Water-resistant, tough, and stretchy Schoeller 3X Dry never bagged out or turned ratty looking, even after six days of constant, high-mileage wear. #3: The details: Features are subtle but effective, like articulated knees, a removable belt, zippered pockets that lie flat, and nine-inch ankle zips for easy boot changes. Nitpick: Men’s version has no rear pocket; women’s does. Note to designers: Women never store anything extra on their butts, men do.

Best For

Hiking or climbing in any conditions short of all-day rain

Tester Data

> Kristin Hostetter (other tester: John Harlin)

> Duration Oct. to April

> Locales/conditions Switzerland, VT, NH, MA; cool and dry, cold and wet

> “I love how the smooth and soft microfleece fabric inside the hip area minimizes friction.”

The Specs:

> $179

> 13 oz. (w’s S)

> men’s S-XXL; women’s S-XL