Gear Review: First Ascent Rainier Storm Shell Pants

Ultralight shell pants that protect from snow and cold.

[ultralight shell]

At a scant 15 ounces, these pants feel too light to withstand high-altitude winter weather, but they shielded our tester from blowing snow and icy 20-mph glacier winds in Norway. “And they’re so compact, I pack them on mild-weather climbs as insurance for up high,” she says. The Rainier trims ounces by dispensing with pockets or built-in gaiters. But there’s nothing minimalist about the tough, three-layer waterproof/breathable fabric (reinforced at the seat, knees, and ankles).

Breathability is average, but hip-to-ankle side zippers allow total venting and make it easy to slide these pants over boots. Fit is trim, but mobility is still good thanks to articulated knees. $199; 15 oz.; m’s S-XXL, w’s XS-XL;