Mountain Hardwear’s men’s Right Bank Scrambler Pant design features specifically addressed annoying grievances climbers have had with pants, especially when used under a harness. The pant impressively pulled off multiple duties with its urban styling and ease of care.
Mountain Hardwear used 100% polyester in the Right Bank Scrambler Pant; I could feel how the mechanical stretch knit provided excellent give without the use of Lycra or other elastic yarns. Omitting those materials produced several advantages including the permanence of stretch properties, less moisture absorbance, and improved durability.
A flat elastic waistband with a simple drawstring closure kept the profile low, avoiding possible sources of pressure points underneath a loaded harness. The fly opening has double zipper pulls to open it from the bottom should nature call while in a harness. The lower cuffs have an elastic drawcord in the hems with flat and inconspicuous release buttons which allow closing off or hiking up the pant legs securely to make spotting footholds easier. Two unzipped handwarmer pockets ride in the usual position. A diagonally zipped pocket rests on the right thigh as a secure storage option that is always accessible. Pockets were also placed on each rear hip, one zipped and one with a snap closure. Quick-draining mesh lined all pockets. There were no stiff logo badges to hinder movement or get caught under anything; only a tiny fabric logo that resides above a hip pocket.
The cut delivers a loose fit that isn’t baggy. There is nothing binding about these pants and the general shape leans towards the athletic side. The listed inseam for my pair is 32, and I found that to be accurate. The elastic properties only added to the freedom of movement provided by the loose cut. A gusseted crotch and articulated knee also contributed to the free flowing feeling.
The Right Bank Scrambler Pant is extremely breathable, the air movement was perceptible, and appriciated, on a two-mile approach hike in 80-degree weather. The flat profile around the waist was welcomed as well, with nothing becoming irritated, even after one-hour hang-dogging sessions. The elastic lower drawcord holds pant legs up and out of the way during radical high-stepping moves, which ensured an unobscured line of sight to tiny footholds.
The fabric held up well during testing, with the abrasions that are common with rock climbing leaving the pants unscathed. The only annoying experience was the waist drawstring; there was no toggle, and the drawstring was an endless loop. I am in total agreement with not having a toggle to deal with under a harness, but I elected to cut the drawstring to make it easier to tie and untie.
The pants also functioned well in urban environments and during travel. The styling worked well as “casual business” attire and the fabric proved impervious to wrinkling, even when haphazardly packed and crammed into a duffle. I wore the pants with a button-up, collared shirt to meetings and considered them a go-to for such occasions, with the comfort provided by the freedom of movement and breathability being equally welcome indoors. Any wrinkles present after digging the pants out of the dryer or baggage disappeared by simply putting the pants on and moving around some.
Climbing-specific pants may be deemed overkill to some who find common active wear satisfactory, particularly when bouldering or sport climbing. Indeed, the Mountain Hardwear Right Bank Scrambler Pant does feel luxurious, with every potential irritation specifically addressed. I might not recommend getting these pants just for climbing, but the true ability to use them pretty much anywhere completely won me over. I rarely acquire a duplicate set of any piece of gear that is submitted for testing, but I quickly procured another pair of these pants in a different color to address my needs for use both at the cliff and office without having to compromising comfort, style or performance in either setting.
Visit mountainhardwear.com for more information. MSRP: $85.00