Keep in mind it isn’t like I had not experienced the quality of BD clothing before. There’s an old, but still quite capable pullover wind shirt in my BC wardrobe that remains tough enough to withstand abrasion and a steady wind. It is mildly water resistant too, able to shed snow as long as you’re driving heat out with a little earn your turns action. It also gets a lot of use when I’m pretending to be Paul Bunyan.
Made with Schoeller
That tradition is carried on in spades with the new Dawn Patrol Touring Pants by Black Diamond. The design is simple and clean and BD didn’t waste time with a knock-off but uses premium Schoeller® fabric to provide a level of breathability that prevents overheating on a climb, but sheds wetness when it needs to. It isn’t the best option for riding lifts on a soggy Sierra storm day, but for most other conditions the water-resistance is good enough.
Additional venting beyond what Schoeller® intrinsically delivers, which is already a lot, can be had with side-zips that start mid-thigh and run to your ankle. It is acceptable and allows the possibility of stepping in to them with boots on because they open to the bottom and provide only a short tunnel to snake your boots through, but if BD is so inclined, I wish the zipper started higher up the thigh. It would make putting on knee pads easier. It’s a tele/snowboarder thing.
The gaitors are spartan but effective, adding little weight. There is less excess material to deal with yet the elastic expands to yield a strong grip on the top of your boot, below the top buckle. Categorically I’m in the gaitors are stupid camp, but these are pretty acceptable and should satisfy the gaitors rule camp as well. A smart compromise. They’re secured with a velcro clasp and metal snap on the inside, plus a second solid metal snap on the outside.
Skiers will appreciate the proprietary ballistic material on the inside of the ankle. It feels durable, but only time will tell for sure.
Sadly there is no butt pocket. It wouldn’t be so bad and I understand the reason, since these pants are intended for alpine climbing as well and you don’t want a wallet under your harness. However, the real issue is there simply aren’t enough dadgum pockets. C’mon BD, three just ain’t enough. How ’bout another thigh pocket on the left and with a lil’ more volume too. Thanks.
Despite the nit-picky complaints above, BD’s Dawn Patrol Touring Pants will unquestionably be my new go-to pants allowing my Mammut Champs to linger longer by avoiding the aging that comes from regular use. When I need more pockets the Champs will be called to duty. They’re being replaced mostly because the suspenders of the Dawn Patrol’s are young and wide, providing a lot of stretch and comfort over my shoulders. Best of all, the length adjustment is made with a metal buckle. The elasticity will expire before the adjustment fails whereas suspenders that adjust with Velcro (the Champs) will inevitably fail to hold position and lose their stretchiness. One consequence of using a buckle is the suspenders take more effort to adjust through the buckle, making removal tedious at best. BD overcomes that with a clip that hooks to a simple fold in the material of the waist band. Solid and secure, yet removable and replaceable. You can bet the BD branded version won’t be cheap, but quality never is. With those metal buckles and some ingenuity, you could enhance a pair from Home Depot as replacements. Nice job guys!
Regarding fit, age is not allowing me to fit into the pants I wore twenty years ago, and my biggest concern was these pants would be too slender. Not so. They are cut to provide plenty of stretch for movement without binding but were not loose. Call me a few pounds overweight and you’ll get the idea. If you’re fit, these should fit just fine.
Overall a solid two thumbs up except if you’re looking for something baggy that hangs below your crack. If you’re in the market for a pant that vents without needing vents, but provides ‘em anyway, be sure to try a pair on.
Dawn Patrol Touring Pant
Waist sizes available: 30″, 32″, 34″, 36″, 38″