I've owned the mammot champ pants and sporthill 3sp. There are things I like/dislike about each of them. The zippers on my champ pants were crap, busted the side pocket zippers on the first hunt I used them on. Took them back to Bob and he replaced no questions asked. New pants busted the fly ~ must the the pocket pool? I found the champ pants dry faster than the sporthills, but the sporthills are more comfortable.
Been rocking the same pair of Sporthill 3SP pants for going on 5 years now. They are the pant I take on mountain hunts (2 Goat and 2 sheep hunts) and have also used them at times for moose hunting, layering under goretex waders, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing etc. They are very comfortable, dry quickly, and the stretchiness doesn't restrict movement. The zippers that close the pockets lasted for several years, but have now failed. THe zippers at the ankle cuffs are still working fine and are long enough to allow removing or putting the pants on without having to remove my hiking boots. I like the built in web belt. They have held up to alot of brush busting. They are wind resistant but still breath enough to keep me form getting soaked by sweat. I do wish they came in a non-camo color other than black. For early season hunts they can be a little warm on sunny days or when you are working hard.
I have tried the sporthills and hated them. I tried the Sitka ascent pants and loved them for both weeks that they held together.... I have moved on to Westcomb pants, the ones I have are the Syncro model but is has been replaced with an updated design that is very similar. They are like the champ pants but I think better made. They dry faster than skin and make my sporthills feel like a sponge. The sporthills have a rabid following but to me they just feel and look like early 90's sweat pants.
Westcomb is made in Canada and Barneys had them last time I was there but that was a while ago.
Army issue uniform pants. Yup, the green dress one's with the permanent creases. 60/40 poly/wool blend. I've worn them on some long walkin sheep hunts including only pants on a 12 day DCUA walkin, atv'ng and moosehunting in warmer weather.
Pros: Cheap, wind resistant, dry pretty quick, warm when wet, generous cut, quiet in the brush, CHEAP 7 bucks.
Cons: no stretch, a little heavy when wet, wool blend takes longer to dry than straight poly, not very windproof.
SportHills- newer camo style. I've had em for 4 years I think? I've worn them on some long walkin sheep hunts, atv'ng and moosehunting.
Pros: Warm, stretchy, dry quickly, very wind resistant, cargo pockets, quiet sneaking in the brush.
Cons: Spendy, can be too warm, belt loops are stretchy as well, not a very dense weave means stickers (rosehips) poke right through, they don't offer much skin protection in that regard, same when sitting. I've been stuck in the backside a few times!
Cabellas non-insulated Silent Swede, Seclusion camo. I've had these for about 8 years I think. I like these a lot for moose hunting, atving in cooler temps. I also have a matching insulated jacket. I really like it a lot.
Pros: Warm, generous cut, cargo pockets, very water resistant/waterproof, tough material, no stickers poking through, good pockets and belt loops. I can sit on wet ground all morning and not have slosh butt. Less than a 100 bucks when I bought them.
Cons: Can be too warm even though they are uninsulated, they do have a liner layer. Heavy when wet, takes a while to dry. Not as quiet in the brush as fleece or wool.
My two favorites so far are Arc'teryx Gamma MX pants and an old pair of Sporthills. Both brands are spendy but I most often only take the pair I'm wearing and wear them for the entire hunt. Spent over 40 days in the Arc'teryx Gamma MX pants last year and plan on wearing them again this year. Both stretch and dry quick, I like cargo pockets and for me that is a must.
Having tried Mammut Champs, Sitka Mountain, Sitka Ascents and a couple other I am still coming back to the style of pants I used when I was a poor high school kid. The ones mentioned above just were too warm for my liking as so long as its 15 degrees or warmer while I am hiking I am plenty warm with just fishing style pants like these: http://www.cabelas.com/mens-fishing...-958E-DF11-A0C8-002219318F67&mr:referralID=NA
I backpack/packraft in mine all summer and hunt in them all fall including using them for November goats on Kodiak w/o issue. I perfer layering if its colder than 15 degrees anyways. When I stop to rest/glass for an extended period of time my Mountain Hardware Compressor pants come out anyways, but as soon as I get to up hike again I will just use the lightweight fishing pants. The Compressor pants are super nice when rolling out of bed in the morning in camp on cold mornings or at night in addition to being part of my overnight emergency bivy system too as well as spotting to glass for extended period of times on cold blustery locations.
A set of merino wool base layer beneath them and I am good to much colder than 15 degrees while hiking. As much as I hated to admit it the Sitka and Mammuts that cost me 3-4 times more money just didn't preform as well for my needs as the fishing pants. The Sitka and Mammuts are heavier in material thus taking longer to dry when they get wet and your pants will get wet. I find that my fishing pants when hung in the tipi over night will be dry even if its pouring outside since they are so light weight, not so with the other pants.
I have 6 weeks off every hunting season and pretty much go from hunting trip to trip and usually only am not hunt about 4 days total of those 42 days and usually spend about 25-30 days a summer backpacking as well. This comes to about 65-75 days a year average I and actively using these pants while hiking/backpacking/hunting. I find that at this rate a single pair will last me 3 years about as I just had to toss my 2nd pair of these after this past year. Hard to beat that as I think nearly any pants after 180+ days will need to be replaced at some point.
I know LuJon's Westcombs were already having thread coming out on the inseam on the lower leg of his pants after less than 15 days of use. So for money and performance I think a pair of fishing pants is hard to beat, they come in low key earth tones which work for me.
That said I am sure the Arcteryx Gamma's are super nice as I know Stid and Kaha both run these, its just that until these pants quit working so well I am not going to try anything else anymore as much as I like trying out new and at times spendy gear this is one area I feel its hard for me to improve upon for my uses. Cheap at less than $40 and dry faster than any other pants I know of, and are easy to layer under, plus if in the high alpine and no brush and its super hot I can zip them off and hike in just shorts which comes in handy from time to time.
Like anything just a matter of trying some pants out and finding what works best for you and what fits ya best. Everyone is different in size and needs for use but there are certainly some great options listed in this thread already.
i like the arcteryx pants: the gamma LT's are perfect when it's warm out for high endurance sheep hunting and if the temp drops a pair of merino bottoms underneath and you're good to go, the gamma AR's are awesome in the shale and IMO for all around use in sheep country, the gamma MX's are awesome for everything but when it's warm. what can i say. i love arcteryx pants. that being said, the sitka mountain and ascent pants are ok, and the westcomb synchro are IMO good. having said that, i haven't found the PERFECT pant and don't believe their is one. there are a lot of great pants. i wish arcteryx had a camo line. i believe steve made a comment earlier about dressing for the occasion and i agree with him.
Alaska_lanche, I don't recall having any seem problems with the westcomb's just some pilling where my boots scuff together, I will have to take a closer look when I get back and maybe pop up a picture. As I recall you wear gaiters with your pants when wearing boots so not really an apples to apples comparison and you would not see the wear that I have seen. Heck if I didn't walk in a manner that caused my boots to scuff together I wouldn't either! LOL Honestly though I don't know of any pants that will stand up to my walking in boots without having cordura wear panels in that location.
I just ordered the columbia pants so we will see how they do in the desert for a the next little while if they fit me that is.
Yeah I just remember you talking about sending them back to Westcomb due to some of the threading coming out. Actually that was the first trip I really tried gaters on and really the last one until I want back to Kodiak again this past year. Rarely do I wear gaiters at all as I don't mind getting my feet or pants wet too much. Granted you might just be tougher on your gear than I am too.
Have any of you guys with the sporthills or arcteryx style pants also had experience with the cabelas micro tex? Is this an apples to oranges comparison? I have had my micro tex for 4 years now and really like them. Rarely put them in the dryer after washing, fairly wind resistant, and tough. Layered with the correct weight base layer, I have hunted with them from 90 degrees down to below zero.
I have the sporthills (black version) and the microtex. The sporthills are so comfortable, its like wearing sweats around your home. The microtex are excellent pants for the money. The are comfortable, dry quickly, are decent in the wind and wear well. If weight is not an issue I take both pairs on trips.