Gear Review: 2014 Flylow Chemical Pants

Chemical Pants Featured Image

Pick up the Fly Low Chemical Pants at evo.com

Review Information:

Snow Pants tested: Flylow’s new 2013/14 Chemical hardshell pants

Color used: Ice

Colors Available: Black, Honey, Ice, Pewter

Weight: Average of 851 grams

Cost of Pants:  $271.90 from evo.com’s website

Procedure:

Note to readers: The Flylow Chemical Pants have not yet been tested in use by the SnowBrains team.  This review will cover our “first impressions” of the product while a mid-season followup review will either confirm or deny the observations made below.

Specs & Data:

Skiing Magazine's Best in Test

Skiing Magazine’s Best in Test, the Fly Low Chemical Pant

“The Chemical Pants are three-layer hardshell ski pants with reinforced knees and cross-flow venting to ensure you can climb mountains and float through powder with style, comfort, and durability.” (Flylow’s website description)

Flylow’s hardshell outerwear concepts.

Outer Material:

100% Dobby Nylon Intuitive Fabric™:  

Intuitive believes that technical clothing is only as good as the rags it’s stitched from, so they build each fabric for specific gear. This customizing aspect of their design process keeps you warmer, drier and safer no matter where your boards take you.

1000 Denier Cordura® Reinforcements:  

Flylow uses this burly material in high-wear zones to resist wear and tear, giving their gear extremely long life-spans.

High performance DWR (Durable Water Repellent) Membrane:

20,000 mm waterproof / 20,000 g breathable membrane

IMG_3268

Fit:

  • Hidden Waist Tabs – In addition to belt loops, Flylow uses elastic tabs to keep your pants up in a pinch.
  • Three panel articulated knee box
  • 4 Pockets
  • Cross Flow Venting – Open the inner and outer thigh vents on our pants and feel the air keeping you dry and cool.
  • Powder Gaiter – This internal cuff has some stretch to stay on your boot through thick and thin.
  • Powder cuffs
  • Seamless cuff reinforcement
  • YKK waterproof zippers
  • IMG_3253

Specs:

  • Material: Nylon
  • Waterproof Rating: 20000mm
  • Breathability: 20000g
  • Insulation: No Insulation
  • Seam Sealing: Fully Taped
  • Bibs: No
  • Suspenders: No
  • Beltloops: Yes
  • Warranty: Limited Lifetime (1 Year on Zippers)

Flylow‘s original pants just keep getting better: Now featuring 20k/20k waterproofing and breathability, the Flylow Chemical Pants will withstand the most brutal weather you throw at them. Durable Denier Cordura® will have you hooting and hollering for years to come, while the fully taped seams, powder gaiters and cuffs will keep you dry on the occasional tumble. Flylow‘s scientists have done it again with the Chemical Pants!” (Description of product from Evo.com)

Sizing Chart

Sizing Chart

Differences between last years outerwear and the 2013/14 outerwear:

  • New Fabric: Tougher and with a better DWR and just all around nicer from the previously used Amaterrace Fabric mill that makes eVent
  • New Factory: Flylow is using a Gore certified factory that used to make all of Cloudviels high end shell before they sold to Spyder and so on.  They are the bomb factory, smooth taping and perfect construction.
  • New Seam Tape: Coming from Bemis. Flylow is using the best seam tape they can get.
  • Refined Fit: Refined freeride fit for the largest range of motion possible.

These types of updates went across the line for 2013.  Flylow’s gear looks like it is from a new company.  We are impressed.  They just keep making it easier and more enjoyable to do this…

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Fist Impressions:

Durability:

Straight out of the box, it was clear that these ski/board pants are durable.  Period.  I don’t know how else to say it.  The reinforced knee boxes feel as if flylow decided to sew bulletproof Kevlar to them in the off-chance that you get into a firefight on the hill.  These burly snow pants are the Levi workman jeans of outerwear.  We’ll see how they hold up throughout Winter, but my intuition tells me these things’ll last a long time.

Might as well be Kevlar

Might as well be Kevlar

Water Repellency: 

This year’s Chemicals are 20,000 mm waterproof / 20,000 g breathable.  A big step up from a previous 10k / 10g of earlier models.  To get a better understanding of what this rating really means in terms of water repellency, refer to our review of the Chemical’s sister Jacket, Flylow’s Quantum Hardshell.

Breakdown of the water proof rating from the Quantum Review.

“More specifically, the 20k or 20,000mm waterproof rating means that if you put a 1″x1″ square pipe onto the material and begin to fill it with water, it will start to leak when the water reaches 20,000mm (65.6 feet) up the square pipe.  That’s pretty damn impressive if you ask me, and from past experience with my Arc’teryx 3 layer GORE-TEX shell, the Quantum is at the very least on par with that level of performance.”

Waterproof Ratings

Follow this link for a VERY useful explanation of waterproof ratings and waterproof outerwear in general:  Waterproof Ratings and Breathability Guide on Evo.com

Particularly Useful Features:

The snow pants are equipped with a multitude of features, many being common industry standards for high quality outerwear.  One of the features I find particularly interesting and useful is the cross ventilation zips.  The outsides of the pants, from your hips to your knees, zip open (fairly standard). To supplement these already ample openings for ventilation, Flylow slits additional openings just above the inner knees to serve as cross ventilation.

Large outer vents

Large outer vents

The idea, if I may interpret it to my own understanding, is that while hiking uphill, the hottest most humid areas of your pants are essentially your inner legs down the inseam.  Openings only down the outside of your pants will be less efficient at exhausting that inseam heat than if you allowed the heat to escape through the inseam.  Moreover, the hot air that moves out the inner vent creates a pressure difference between the inside and outside ‘leg areas’ pulling cool air from the large hip-knee vents through the inner leg and out the inner vent again. Repeat.  Hence, cross ventilation.  Works in buildings too.

Cross ventilation proof

Cross ventilation proof

Pockets:

The Chemicals have 4 pockets as any jeans would.  They all have water repellent zippers and although we have not had the opportunity to test the pants yet, they all seem reliable in terms of unintentionally opening while skiing.  My initial observations are that the pockets are a bit small for ease of use.  My bare hands fit inside them great, but in a frigid snowstorm, it would be difficult to grab things with gloves on.  Granted… I’ve never owned any ski pants that have solved this problem yet either, so maybe I’m being too fastidious.

IMG_3261

Fit:

The fit is fantastic.  They have as full of a range of motion as you’ll ever need, while still retaining the ability to stay on your hips without a belt.  No sagging necessary.  Although, I guess you could sag ‘em if your that kind of dude.

IMG_3262

Best Uses:

Backcountry shenanigans

Resort charging

Apres ski activities with babes and brews.

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