Junk In The Trunk: Flylow Compound Pants

The pants you want to be wearing (and take off) when you find yourself lying next to a fire on a fur rug

Flylow Compound Pant
MSRP: $475

I’ve been skiing in the same Flylow pants for about five or six seasons. I keep trying to replace them, but each season I’ve ended up back in the same pair of pants. There are a few features that have kept me. For one, they’re durable. They’re constructed of a heavy Cordura and have held up remarkably considering I have more than 300 days in these pants. I also like the back pocket for my wallet. This has its drawbacks—namely that you’re sitting on your wallet on the chairlift. But for me, the back pocket is the natural place for a wallet. Too much stuff in my front pockets restricts movement, and putting the wallet in a jacket pocket increases chances it will get left behind if I have to run into the store on my way to the hill, or if I ditch my coat before heading to dinner or après. I also like that the zippers close down, making it less likely that they’ll work themselves open. And I like that the waist fastens with a button instead of a snap, so they don’t come undone if I unzip my fly.

This year, I found a replacement. It’s the Flylow Compound Pant. The Compound has all the features I liked about my old pants, plus a few upgrades. Instead of closing with a down-zip, the zippers are horizontal, which has all the same benefits, but without needing two hands to open them. They also added a cargo pocket. Anything heavy here will clunk against your knee, but it’s a good spot for cash, credit cards or a room key, allowing me to put my phone in my front pocket (again, where it usually goes) without having to worry about dropping my cash or card if I pull it out on the lift, or erasing my hotel key. It also works for an RFID lift pass.

The biggest upgrade, however, is in the materials. The compound uses a Polartec NeoShell, making them much lighter, more waterproof, and more breathable than my old pants. The NeoShell is waterproof to 10,000+ mm (meaning it will hold a 10,000 mm water column without leaking, the textile industry threshold for waterproof). This is useless, of course, without fully taped seams and waterproof zippers, which the compound also has. NeoShell also features proprietary membrane construction that Polartec claims to be the most breathable—allowing two cubic feet of air per minute to pass through. Because it’s so air-permeable, NeoShell breathes through convection—meaning you don’t have to get hot and steamy before it starts working. And it does this in a soft shell. The remainder of the construction, meanwhile, remains the same as my trusty old pants, with reinforced articulated knees, and Cordura-reinforced ankle cuffs.

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