Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Review: REI ACME pants

I've mentioned these pants in passing a couple times: once for an OTM column and once in a general Winter Pants post.

But these pants rule so hard, I want to make sure I have a post dedicated to their ruliness.

I'm in my second winter with these pants and I'm amazed at their durability, lightness, their ability to dry quickly, their wind-cutting greatness, and their relative warmth. Not to mention they are normal looking (non-bikey) pants you can wear daily.

I've never paid so much for pants. Two years ago they retailed for $160. They're still $160. They're worth every cent! If you have run into me in the winter over the last couple years, it's highly likely that I was wearing these pants. My guess is that between October and March (inclusive), I probably wear these pants 4 or 5 days of the week.

If my math is right (4 times/week over 24 weeks, for 2 years), we're looking at about 200 days of use. Based on how they are wearing, I'd say I have at least one more winter of use. Which will put me at about 300 days of use. About .50/day. That's expensive, but these pants put out.

The fancy-ass Schoeller fabric is super comfy and stretchy and very easy to ride in. All the hyped properties of Schoeller are true. And I say this as a dyed-in-the-wool wool guy who has never bought the fantasy of the vast majority of high-tech fabric claims (especially the "wicking" nonsense... but that's a different rant). But the Schoeller PR folks speak the truth: this stuff blocks wind well, dries amazingly fast, and with a good base layer, is perfectly suitable to temps down to the 20's (F).

But the thing that gets me on these pants is the durability. I have had many spills in these pants. There are a few times where I was positive I would've ripped them. Here's a documented case. After many miles of riding, these pants show no wear around the sit bones. I have worn through the sit-bone-area of at least 6 pair of underwear in the time I've had these pants. And I (thankfully) change my underwear about 3x more than I change (or wash) these pants.

There is one tiny hole at the ankle that was the result of the pants getting caught in my chainring under the chain. The hole has not grown.

So that's the deal. If you cycle in the winter and you want normal looking pants dig the REI ACME pants. I just hope they keep making it and don't change anything!

One thing to note, a lighter-weight, but less durable version (a lot of pilling around the sit bones) is the REI Mistral pant. It's also super comfy, nice looking, very quick drying, and the pant I wear almost daily during the spring. Plus it's cheaper.


Anonymous said...

These "pants rule so hard" and the pic of your crotch is making the rounds at bike hang as I type... Hee heee!

That's it for "minutes"

Co-secretary Nate

John Speare said...


You're demoted!

Jay Dub said...

But no product link?


AND! they are on sale!

I have loved the REI Slickrock pants for quite some time. They don't last forever, but I don't want them to.

Traditional Bike Club Curmudgeon said...

Don't get too carried away about the virtues of these plastic pants or Grant Petersen will excommunicate you.

Bets said...

Glad to hear you are washing them occasionally - and apparently have begun changing your underwear as well. Liza's finally influencing you. Do you wash your hair now too?

BTW, wearing my smartwool hat and coat to a Sounders Soccer game tonight and i will be dryer/warmer than everyone else.

John Speare said...

Jay -- I was going to mention the sale, but it's for very limited sizes.

Cyrus: GP sells his MUSA pants which are plastic/nylon. Nice pants too.

Bets: Wow -- didn't know you knew I had this blog. Of course I wash my hair: once a week whether it needs it or not. Except, of course in the summer, when I'm swimming a lot, no need to wash it b/t July-Sept.

Anonymous said...

Demoted! Oh noes...does that mean I have to give up all the salary and perks that came with the co-secretary position?

Those pants are on sale, but only in 42 waist apparently.

Hang people were tepidly interested in pre-Hang trail rides, but very interested in Wade's kickball and beer suggestion.

Big turnout, btw.

Noah Sutherland said...

I wonder how bad the women's cut pants would look on me. They have size 8, 10, 12, & 14 at that same sale price.

Sean Smith said...

Hello John,

My name is Sean Smith and I am the Design and Development Manager for REI apparel. My team and I made these 'pants that rule so hard'. Now don't freak out but these pants are slated for an update and you may be able to help. Can you contact me at 425.395.3780? Talk to you soon, Sean

stevep33 said...

Hey, thanks for writing that review.

Following your recommendation, I ordered a pair. They came in the mail today and appear to be exactly what I was looking for. Medium weight, not too snug or too loose, just a little stretchy and have a tasteful amount of pockets and ankle adjustments. Good winter pants. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Love these pants too - they're one of the few of this type that you can get in a short inseam length. Plus, the crotch box is reasonable (other large size/short inseam action pants have ginormous crotch areas).