Review Date: May 5, 2014
A little over two years ago I wrote an article entitled “Montbell Dynamo Wind Pants – Long Term Usage Review” in which I initially reviewed the Montbell Dynamo wind pants after having used them for over a year.
Earlier today I realized that I had passed the 1,200 days mark of using these pants and figured I would do a follow-up review of these pants.
Yes, I wrote that correctly… 1,200+ days of wearing the same pair of pants… 3 years, 4 months and a few days.
I started wearing them on December 28, 2010 after receiving them from ProLite Gear, who now have them priced at $68.95 - they were priced at $56.98 when I bought them.
Over the last three years I have had countless people ask me questions about them and a whole lot of people have bought them based on my previous article and after my responding back to their questions about these wind pants.
I thought I would take a moment and share some of the Q&A’s I have gotten and replied to over the last few years, regarding these wind pants, as well as post an update on how well they are holding up.
From a durability perspective I have been crazy impressed with these pants. I have had to have the crotch sewn in a couple of places and have a couple of small holes on the butt that need to be sewn or patched – and considering these pants are made from 12-denier rip-stop ballistic airlight nylon that is just truly amazing.
I have also had the ankle strap of one of the legs pull out about 40-50% but still enough to keep it from being at a point where I just pull it all the out. The stitching has come undone, probably a result of pulling on it while sliding the strap under my feet. The other leg ankle strap does not have any damage at this point.
The leg zippers have never failed. Mud, snow, dirt, rain, crossing countless rivers, crawling through bushes, nothing has been able to keep these zippers from not working.
In my original article I stated about the waist grommets that, “the little metal rings for the draw cords on the waist ripped out of the fabric.“ I ended up just putting knots on the end of the drawstring and it, mostly, keeps the cordage from pulling in, but it does happen every few months, big whoopie-doo, easy to pull it back out.
All in all, given these wind pants have 5,000+ miles and 1,200+ days of use, to say I am impressed on the durability of them is putting it lightly.
Twice a year I have used Sawyer Permethrin on them, applying beyond liberally. I let them sit overnight and go about another 100 days of use until I have reapplied another treatment.
I have not, at any point, applied any DWR treatment to them, as I have reached a point where I do not care if my legs are wet - they are completely ineffective at this point as a water repellent pair of pants, but even brand new they did not seem to be according to the notes I took the first year.
To address the most common questions I have received about these pants:
“How well do they actually do at keeping the wind out?” — Gotten this question dozens of times. Actually very good for the first year or so. The second season they started to loose a bit of wind protection and now at the third year I can start to feel most wind come through them. I am not a fabric specialist so I have no idea the technical terms and such, but I would describe it as the fabric is get thinner and thinner each hiking season. Its very soft to the feel, whereas a brand new pair that I have had sitting in its original package for two years (I bought an extra pair a year after wearing my first pair, just incase montbell decided to discontinue them) is much like the feel of the Montbell Tachyon Jacket, if you happen to know what they feel like.
“How durable are the pants? Can I go bushwhacking in them?” — The second most popular question I have gotten. Well I am not a bushwhacker, unless I happen to be trying to get through an overgrown trail, or if I happen to be out building a trail and have no other choice than to go head-first into a bunch of bushes. That said, they have survived a few years of trail and life-at-home usage. They have survived countless encounters with blackberry bushes and 6 foot tall ferns (throughout Northern California), greasewood bushes and nasty cactus of Southern California (Death Valley, Joshua Tree, PCT, etc), and miles and miles of postholing through deep snow. Given all this and the only real damage to the fabric is some pulling of the threads in the crotch and one half-inch hole on the butt, I tend to think they are doing rather well. YMMV of course.
“What is the advantage of the Dynamo pants over the Nike wind pants?” — I have gotten this question three times and each time I have had to say “I have no idea”… never had to buy another pair of wind pants :-D
“Pulling on the ankle straps tighten the pants around my legs but there is no way to keep them tight. Do you think they forgot to include toggles?” — Gotten this question twice. The ankle straps go under your feet and inside your shoe, to help keep the pants tightened around your legs, as well as keep them pulled down to prevent wind gusts from pulling them up. ;)
“How do you layer under your dynamo wind pants at different temperatures?” — Also a very popular question, and one I really like. Unless it is really cold outside I just wear the pants over a pair of exofficio briefs… be it sunny or raining or in snow or whatever. If there is some crazy cold wind that has the potential to screw with my thermoregulation than I will put on a pair of thermals underneath the wind pants. Simple as that.
“Do they feel more breathable during windy conditions versus the ZPacks Rain Pants?” — Looks like I have gotten this question three times. Each time I responded that I felt the Montbell Dynamo performed better. It has been sooo long since I wore the ZPacks Rain Pants that I just have very little performance results between the two. There has to be some really cold wind/rain for me to put on a pair of rain pants – I only remember putting on the ZPacks rain pants once (maybe twice?) in the last three years. Sorry, this is a question I just do not have enough usage to be able to properly answer – pretty much the same as with the Nike wind pants.
“Thoughts on the difference between the Dynamo and the Versalite pants?” Looks like I have gotten this question three times. My response each time has been “one is a rain pant the other is a wind pant – enough said.“
“What are your thoughts on wearing these over shorts for when a cold breeze comes up?” — Very likely the most popular question I have gotten. My typical response has been “go for it!” At 79 grams you are likely not going to find a better option if you are a hiker that likes to wear shorts yet needs something for when the cold wind picks up. The compactness of them allows them to be stuffed into some really tight spots in your pack. They are also nice to have for trail towns when you are washing your clothes.
“Do they get really hot in the sun? Do they stick to you if you start sweating?” — Another really popular set of questions. They can get hot in the sun, they are black after all. Do they stick to your legs? I cannot ever remembering a time when I was hiking and had them stick to my legs, even when hiking through Death Valley – before I smartened up and started wearing sun pants.
“Hey John, I bought a pair of the dynamo wind pants based on your recommendation – just thought you’d like to know!” — dozens and dozens of such emails – I appreciate you taking the time to let me know, it means a lot!!
Of all the pieces of hiking gear I have bought, the Montbell Dynamo wind pants have got more miles and more days of use than any other piece of gear.
Recently have been using them on-and-off while I have been testing the Sun Precaution Ultra Athlete Sun Pants, as well as the Salomon EXO S-Lab Twinskin Shorts as I have been doing some running, but when I am not wearing either of those the Dynamo pants are what I am wearing - my original pair that I bough over three years ago.
Whether you plan to use them as full time pants, as I have, or just as a pair of super light wind pants, the Montbell Dynamo wind pants should be at the very top of your list.
So long as I have some needle and thread, I see myself getting a lot of more miles from my original pair of these pants. Another thousand days? Hmmm….