If you haven’t heard of Mountain Khakis by now, you are living under a rock. MK is based out of Jackson, WY and produces a line of some of the toughest and most unique women’s outdoor lifestyle pants on the market. I know, because I keep trying to destroy mine and they keep resisting.
I’ve grown to love all the MK pants I’ve tried, and to me what stands out other than the craftsmanship and the unique, mountain life-based styling, is the fit. Where most manufacturers are going to a slim-cut leg or staying with the tried and true bootcut, MK styles their pants in a flattering yet roomy fashion for women who need to move but need tough pants with no foofy spandex or stretch component. There are a few MK styles that do have stretch, but the majority don’t, which is unusual and kind of cool. We all need options, you know?
I realized that I hadn’t yet discussed ALL of the MK styles so I needed to do some reviews, but I wanted to put all the MK info together because each style has its little idiosyncracies and I thought that you MK fans might be interested in some in-depth info about how each style fits and how you might be sure to order the best size for you.
The Alpine Utility Pant is a total classic. This is the pant you want when you’re splitting wood, cleaning out the stable, tossing around hay bales – you get the drift. I dig the Utility Pant in a size up from my regular so I not only have room to move, but to attain that insouciant slouch one can only truly get from pants that are just a tad too big. The Utility Pants in my regular size are all right, but they are higher in the rise than I prefer, giving me that mommy jeans kind of vibe. I despise a high waist, ESPECIALLY in pants that don’t have stretch. How can I enjoy half a large pizza and two pints of beer in a waistband that’s cutting off my ability to digest food? So, buy a size up in these babies. In general the styling is towards the straight leg which is handy for work stuff, because you don’t want to trip on your boot cuts when you’re wielding a chainsaw. I said this in my original review and I’ll say it again – these need a hammer loop, please, AMK!
The Cottonwood Cords are a little idiosyncratic. my regular size is nice and slouchy, with the low rise of the pants really working for me. The thing about these is that the actual waistband of the pants is a little smaller than typical for low-rise pants. So the slouchy fit never gets TOO slouchy, if you catch my drift. I actually have these pants in both my regular size and a size down and they both work for me. On my bloatier days I find the waistband of the smaller pair a bit too constricting, but my regular size is always dependable. These are straight leg as well, with a bit more flare than the Utility Pants. Not flare like flared jeans from the Gap, but the leg definitely gets steadily wider towards the hem. It’s nice – relaxed and different than the usual and a tad anti-trend. I like anti-almost-anything-popular so I think these cords kick ass.
Teton Twill pants are designed a lot like the Cottonwood Cords. A relaxed fit, with a firmly bias-cut waistband and a flared leg. They have the same material (I think) as the Alpine Utility Pants, only without the reinforcements. The material might even be a little bit softer and thinner, but I don’t know for sure. These are styled like a traditional khaki in a lot of ways but still have that “work pant” vibe about them. You can wear them to the office a little more reasonably than you can wear the Utility Pants though. These are true to size. One size up is WAY too baggy and one size down is way too small.
Granite Creek Pant – what used to be the Snake River Pant – is the most mystifying for me. I tried three different sizes before picking the right one for me. I think the key to these pants is breaking them in. Every size seemed to be all wrong until I buckled down and wore them a few times. These are quick-drying, low-rise, technical pants with a casual, serious-mountain-person air. The waist is small – it’s sometimes takes a strategic effort to get them over my hips – but the pants still adopt a bit of a slouch even in my usual size. I like that, because if they didn’t slouch, they’d be too snug in the ass. For the first few wearings, my regular size had the dreaded rear-waist gap so I had to wear a belt lest I show my day’s choice of undergarment. After 4-5 wearings they’ve adapted to my body shape and no belt required anymore. A size up for these is okay, depending on body type, but you’ll probably need a belt. I’d say regular size, and make sure to break them in. One amazing thing about the Granite Creek pants is that you can beat the crap out of them and get them insanely dirty and they not only wash perfectly but they practically wipe off. I got mine armored in mud and I just shook them out after they dried and wore them to the office anyway. No one was the wiser.
Cargo Capris – the Bermuda Triangle mystery pant. My regular size and a size up seemed to both fit fine. So…buh? Could be a sample thing; maybe I got samples instead of production. Who knows. Regular size is safe for these, just remember – no stretch!
So there you have it, the Geargals Guide to Sizing Your Mountain Khakis. If you liked this info, please let me know – I think sizing is one of the more difficult parts of buying gear in this age of Internet shopping!