Summer seems such a long way off. The beginning of January in Minnesota brings some suck-ugly conditions. Snow, ice, sleet, rain, wind, temperatures that hover in the single digits. But thanks to climate change, we had a week in late November where the temperatures soared to the high forties. It was windy, drizzly and dreary. And turned out to be the perfect day to try out the new GORE H5 WIndstopper Hybrid Pant ($299.99)
What I loved
The sheer “GORE-ness” of them. Snow, ice, sleet, rain, wind, temperatures that hover in the single digits or you’re engaged in an active pursuit that makes you sweat, GORE-TEX products keep you dry and offer maximum breathability. The GORE H5 Windstopper Hybrid pant is made with membrane that repels water, blocks the chilly wind and prevents you from overheating on active days.
Tough and technical but with a soft and gentle side. Don’t let the membrane that repels water and blocks the chilly wind, and the durable abrasion-resistant inner leg fabric scare you into thinking that these hiking pants are stiff and heavy. They are the antithesis of stiff and heavy. The truth is they’re about a soft as yoga pants with nearly the same amount of flexibility and give. GORE bills them as “fast hiking” pants” and I had zero restriction on movement when I hiked in these, both at a moderate pace and a faster pace. I also managed to climb a tree in them and maneuver boulders. Imagine what I could do if I encountered a bear and had to hike really fast!
Fit. These were a sample provided to me for this review so I just requested my usual size small (in numbered sizing I wear a size 4). GORE states the H5 Windstopper Hybrid pants as “form fit” meaning they’re not skinny-body-hugging-painted-on-your-underwear-line-will-show pants but they aren’t gang-style baggy either. When I put them on, I knew in a second that the fit was amazing. When I added a pair of lightweight baselayers, the fit was a bit more snug but not so snug that I experienced any mobility restriction. If you want the option of wearing midweight or heavier baselayers, or if you’re in between sizes (e.g. you want to wear them xc skiing or winter hiking), consider going one size up.
Versatile. The H5 Windstopper Hybrid pants are without a doubt versatile. I have hiked in them in not-freezing-my-butt-off-weather with a lightweight merino wool baselayer. BUT! Once we get some some snow, I can use these for xc skiing and snowshoeing. Winter cycling, at least for me, may not be in the cards unless I drop 10lbs. Adding a long chamois made these a lot more snug. Why do I bring all this up? Because at $300, these are not inexpensive hiking pants. In fact for many buyers, $300 is like taking a bullet. If you spend that kind of money on them, you will want more options in wearing them all year round and for multiple purposes.
Very packable. When rolled up, they are the size of a GSI 720 Mircrolite Flip waterbottle and will take up very little space in your backpack when not in use.
Weather-resistance with waterproofed sections. Yes, true. The material on the thighs is reinforced with waterproof material and taped seams because the thighs are where the rain drops from the jacket.
Thoughtful touches for hikers. Aside from the usual zippered pockets and beltloop that all hikers need, the GORE H5 Windstopper Hybrid pants offer something really cool and unique: a stretchy waistband with a comfortable silicone grip (no hikers crack when bending over to tie a bootlace) a bootlace hook at the ankle hem to keep things in place. When they’re not in use, they tuck neatly up into a little “garage”.
What could be better
Nothing. There is nothing about these pants that could be better. Not a thing.
So, another GORE product tested that did not disappoint. They are well made, durable, and highly versatile. The only thing to keep in mind when buying your own pair is the sizing. Because they’re so versatile—they can work for hiking, cycling, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, winter trail running—take some time to think about how you want to use these pants and then size accordingly for the best fit.
The GGORE H5 Windstopper Hybrid Pant is a Gear Gals Piece of Recommended Gear.