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11/13/2014 9:37 AM

It appears as though REI discontinued my favorite pair of softshell pants, the Acme's, and so I am searching for a replacement. I tend to wear the acmes for a lot of the fall and all of the winter for most of the stuff that I do outdoors. They've proven to be great pants, particularly for the price. In looking for a new pair, I am ignoring price for the moment and just trying to find a set that fits, and that includes some important features.

Here are my list of must-haves

  • Mid-weight softshell, with no fleece backing
  • Neutral earth tone color
  • NON camo
  • GOOD belt loops for a 1.5'' belt (this was always my complaint with the acmes- cheesy belt loops)
  • Short length, or ability to be hemmed (30'' max inseam)
  • gusset crotch

Here are some "nice to have" features, but not deal breakers

  • Made in USA
  • Not too "tactical" or "tech" looking
  • non-zippered pockets
  • Low profile cargo pocket(s)- these can be zippered
  • Ankle closure, preferably an elastic draw string

So far, my list includes the following:

Arc'Teryx LEAF Combat pants

Wild Things Tactical lightweight softshell pants

Kuiu attack pants (are these too light for winter wear?)

Marmot Scree pants

Any suggestions for other pants would be great. Thanks!


New Post
11/13/2014 11:56 AM

Try these:


I can wear Small Reg BDU pants but the SM APCU pant wouldn't go over my butt (squats).  The MED APCU pant fit perfect.  The DWR on these blows away anything I've ever seen or heard of.

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11/15/2014 10:29 PM
I'll put my vote in for the Fjallraven Keb Trousers. I've had a pair for the past summer/ fall and I'm a big fan. Probably the most comfortable outdoorsy type pants I've owned. Wore them 4 days straight on my backpacking trip last Sept. and they were perfect for the trip. The ventilation came in much handier than I was expecting, even the lower leg vents. They did wet out in some crazy driving rain once but anything short of an eVent/ Gore-Tex hard shell would have so I can't really fault them.

"Blessed is he, who in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children."
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11/18/2014 5:28 PM
Thanks for the replys. Take-a-knee, I actually have a set of those that I am going to try again. I sort of forget why I abandoned them in favor of the Acme's, but they deserve another try. I found that the cargo pockets were way too low, so I relocated them.

I also happened to score a pair of the military version Patagonia guide pants for a good price on Ebay, so I am going to try those too.
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11/30/2014 8:13 AM
I picked up a pair of Patagonia military guide pants on ebay, and they ended up being way too long, and not easily hemmed due to zippers/snaps. Thanks to a Black Friday sale, I ended up with a pair of Kuiu Attack pants in grey. So far they seem good- I have not used them yet, just tried them on. They will need to be hemmed. It was suggested to me that I order a size up due to the slim fit of the Kuiu pattern, and so far that seems to be the right call. If anything they are a tad too big, but I would personally rather have them slightly oversized. The pocket layout seems good, and I am excited to see how the hip vents work.
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11/30/2014 3:16 PM
SB, I have the KUIU soft shell pants (Attack and Guide) and like them. The pockets are useful, and the stretch is nice. I think you'll need a layer under the Attacks for winter. The Guides are very nice cold weather pants. My Guides are one size up from the Attacks so I can tuck more layers in.
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3/3/2015 5:45 PM

Steamboatsystema had a pair of these bad-ass Fjallraven Keb trousers out at the Winter Gathering, and I was definitely coveting them. Found the Keb Gaiter Trousers on sale at Backcountry.com....so I had to grab a pair. They fit great...way better than my older Fjallraven Vidda Pro pants. These will be some great hard-use pants for pretty much all four seasons. Thigh vent zips, zip off legs, and the lower legs double as gaiters.  Super functional, and I am a sucker for utilitarian clothing with good pockets and intelligent features.  Backcountry still has some sizes left...yes, they are spend, but the sale price is a significant savings.  Plus, I am pretty dang sure these pants will last for many years.  


Hill People Gear Coureurs des Bois (Brand Ambassador). Victoria faveat paratam. De Oppresso Liber.
New Post
4/13/2015 1:13 PM
I'm so glad someone is asking about this. I've never had a pair of soft shell pants, but I'm really interested. Do soft shell pants breathe?

New Post
4/13/2015 6:49 PM
Peter, for the most part yes they do, certainly more than any hardshell piece. But like anything it also depends on the material. You can go lightweight, think similar to stretchy bathing shorts material, to heavyweight, think flannel lined jeans. The LTs will breath very well, dry quickly and be great 3 season (spring, summer, fall) with appropriate base layers. On the heavy side you're looking at something with a fleece backer, so I'll call it 2ish seasons (late fall, winter, early spring) but with more layers you lose breathability. There's also midweight options that will cover you pretty much year round. Add in some vents in the legs and you'll be able to regulate body heat very well.

"Blessed is he, who in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children."
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4/16/2015 12:20 PM
I don't have a ton of use for softshell on the upper body. In general I want something more breathable yet and not as warm. But for pants, it's hard to imagine anything better.

We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
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