Ski touring, splitboarding, backwoods cross country skiing; do your pants care what’s going on below the ankles? No, they do not. But if you’re into high-movement, high-effort winter pursuits, you probably wish they did.
The best we can hope for is that apparel designers keep such activities in mind, and luckily, the crack team at Arc’teryx specifically developed the Procline Pant ($399) for all of the above and more. Recently, I put a pair to the test in the backwoods of Vermont.
Relying on Gore-Tex Infinium fabrics to back up the statement, Arc’teryx calls the Procline a “windproof, water resistant, highly breathable softshell pant for backcountry tours.” That sounds perfect for someone who gets real sweaty gliding and climbing and wants to prevent such dampness from turning into a threatening chill (read: yours truly). But can such features be balanced with uphill function and provide protection from blasting weather, not to mention the downhill run?
The Procline was bred in the epic reaches of Canada’s coastal range, but I figured the variable conditions of a good old Vermont winter would be a decent setting to find out.
I got exactly what I asked for. Vermont's winter season started with cross-country skiing, the sort that ranges from lapping a few sticky inches on grass, to powering over crusted-over remains in single-digit, teeth-chattering cold. When the snow finally kicked in for real, we got to roam farther on miles-long kick-and-glide tours through farm fields and hardwood forests. Then I reached for the tele (aka telemark skiing, which uses a flexible boot and disconnected heel) kit, milking the storm for all it was worth, zig-zagging back and forth down snow-covered logging roads.
From the stretched-out reach of a classic nordic ski stride, to the step-and-turn crux of a skin-track climb (and a beginner’s knee-drop tele schmear), the Procline didn’t disappoint. The fit is what you’d expect from Arc’teryx: athletic yet designed for movement in the outdoors. Thanks to its 4-way stretch fabrication, you get a pant that you can wear across multiple snow activities.
Paired with two of my most trusted pieces of gear—a decade-old TNF Summit Series shell and an Anon Prime MIPS helmet (brain injury prevention is always my top priority)—the Procline looked great. I'd say that it performed even better.
Over half a winter in Vermont, through thermometer-busting cold and a blustery Nor’Easter, Arc'teryx's Procline pant proved it can shrug off both blustery conditions and a 17-inch dump of flakes. During high-intensity pushes, this mostly-minimalist pant ups breathability with its softshell fabric and zippered thigh vents that dump heat in a hurry. Three zippered pockets, Cordura reinforced zones at the inner ankle cuff (Ed Note: this tester's only real critique is found here, where a more generous cordura wrap could prevent abrasion around the heel area), and an easy-access gaiter system for easily adjusting ski touring boots round out the intelligent touches that earn the Procline its title as a purpose-bred backcountry winner.
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