The Estes Pant from Marmot (colour shown: carob)
As part of Marmot's exclusive 'Tommy Caldwell collection', a climbing clothing collection created with the input of one of America's most accomplished climbers, the Estes Pant promises great things. Marmot claim with a certain poetic license that these smart-looking trousers are "effortlessly stretchable". Whilst this concept may be a cause of concern for physicists, as far as climbers are concerned the Estes seem to tick all the boxes in the list of what makes an ideal pair of climbing pants.
An enthusiastic new owner writes on Marmot's website that "there is absolutely no way that you can ever move in such a way as to make [the Estes] bind. They are so light its almost as if you have nothing on and that's exactly how they feel when walking, running, stretching."
Rear view of the Estes (colour shown: black)
Having used the Estes extensively over the summer, the planetFear review team agree entirely with this user's comments. As long as you choose the correct fit, it is impossible to make the Estes' fabric roll up and stick to your leg, causing the irritating (and potential catastrophic) 'binding' sensation every climber dreads, when your trousers actually prevent your foot reaching its designated hold.
The overall cut and finish of the Estes is excellent, featuring some clever touches like the lined waistband inside the upper hem, and the sturdy pop fastener that replaces the tradition button at the top of the main zip (which means it's much easier to relieve yourself when wearing a harness). Features like this really make the Estes feel they have actually been designed by climbers, for climbers. So many manufacturers create the impression that top athletes have a big input in their product development process, when in practice this is rarely true. But in the case of these superb climbing trousers it certainly seems to be.
The third colour available: outback
The Estes are also absolutely superb for general travel and trekking use, and their fast-drying fabric means they can be washed quickly in a river and dried out during a lunch break. The zip fastening rear and cargo pockets re-inforce this crossover from climbing to trekking and travel use. With some climbing trousers the addition of pockets means they become too heavy, but the featherweight fabric Marmot have used in this case mean the Estes are still superbly light. Durability also appears to be good, with no seams unravelling or pocket mesh tearing even after some fairly intensive use. In summary, it is virtually impossible to fault these trousers on any meaningful level. If you're after a pair of do-it-all climbing pants that you can also travel, hike, and relax in, then you can't do much better than the Estes. Well done Marmot.
The PlanetFear Star Rating Explained:
* A poor product with design and functionality problems. Not recommended.
** An average product. Recommended only for its low cost or as a back-up item.
*** A good product. Certainly worth considering, although better products may be available at the same price.
**** An excellent product and among the best available in its category. Highly recommended.
***** An outstanding product defining the cutting edge of outdoor technology and design. You won't find a better one!
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