Size: Medium (4-6)
Inseam: 30.5”, Zipper Length: 4”
Weight: 580 g
- Athletic Fit
- GORE-TEX Pro Shell
- Fully Tapered Seams
- Thermally Bonded, Water Resistant Zippers
- Abrasion-Resistant Scuff Panels Featuring Superfabric
- Laser Cut Pockets
- Exterior Leg Venting with Bonded Welts
- Detachable Stretch Panel with Suspenders
Reviewer: 5’6”, 125 lbs.; Inseam: 30.5”, Waist: 28”
Test Locations: Whistler; Squamish and Pemberton backcountry; Telluride, Summit County, Colorado
Days Worn Inbounds: 16
Days Worn in the Backcountry: 6
When I made the decision this season to dedicate more time to skiing in the backcountry, I knew I needed to invest in a pair of non-insulated pants. Ideally, I was looking for a durable pant that would cater more to backcountry pursuits (and eventually mountaineering) but still function across a wide variety of temperatures for inbounds skiing.
I started looking at SCOTT’s line and saw that this year they had added several alpine adventure pieces to their already large collection of snowsports-specific gear, with the Explorair Tech Pant at the top of the line.
Fit / Sizing
Even though my inseam and waist measurements fell directly between a small and medium on SCOTT’s sizing chart, I decided to size up to a medium for several reasons.
SCOTT describes the Explorair Tech as having an “athletic fit,” which generally means a little more form fitting, especially with an alpinist cut. Although a size small usually fits my waist and legs, I have found that medium doesn’t feel as restricting, given my wider hips and ski racer thighs. Plus, I prefer a slightly looser fit to accommodate extra layers when the temperatures drop.
Despite sizing up, I had anticipated that the Explorair Tech pant would still have a traditional, straight-legged look. But after trying them on, I was pleasantly surprised that they more closely resembled my baggier freeride pants, and were really comfortable. I’d say the Explorair Tech runs true to size and has a similar fit to my other medium-sized ski pants, the Volkl Nanga and the Helly Hansen Pacer.
With the adjustable Velcro waist tabs completely loosened, the waist was a little big, which was what I expected in the medium. Fortunately, the tabs on the side are easy to cinch down so the waist is snug.
Because the Explorair Tech is a shell, I end up wearing more long underwear layers than usual, and I have come to appreciate having extra room in the waist, plus an easily adjustable system I can work with my mittens on.
Moving down the leg, the area between my hips and knees fits nicely; there isn’t a ton of extra room, but my range of motion never felt restricted while carving or taking long strides on the skin track. The pants start to fan out around the knees and are pretty wide through the cuff.
This might just be me, but I find this “fanning out” effect to be a little awkward. My two previous pants (the Nanga and the Pacer), though baggy, had a more progressive cut down the legs. The Explorair Tech, on the other hand, is tighter around the thigh, then drastically loosens up from the knee down. This doesn’t affect the pant’s performance at all, but the lower half of the legs ends up looking a little bulky.
I knew sizing up would also mean the legs would run a little long, as they had with the Volkl Nanga pant. In that case, it was easy to fold the cuff up so it didn’t get caught in my binding, but I always (rightly) worry about tearing the weaker inner fabric when I do this.
For example, last season, the inner liner of the Nanga pant started to tear after only 30 days or so. So far this season, the Explorair Tech’s material has held up perfectly in this regard (though I will touch on the durability of the cuff later), and, in my opinion, having the extra length is a worthwhile compromise for more a comfortable fit in the waist and legs.
The Explorair Tech pant has a simple design with few added features. Because the waist is a little large for me, I have really appreciated the adjustable waist tabs. But if you prefer to wear a belt, there are belt loops, too.
The pant also comes with removable suspenders. I did, in fact, remove them, but the suspender straps are easily adjustable, with a bit of fabric on the back of the suspenders (see photo at the top) to help keep the snow out of your pants on deep days.
My only gripe I have had so far with the pant is the pocket design and placement. There are only two pockets, one on each side of the front, upper thigh. The pockets seem to be located on the one spot that is tightest around my leg, so I can feel it whenever I have something in there.
Both pockets are also quite small, and can really only fit a cell phone or small wallet comfortably. While I like the minimalist design, I think it would be nice to have at least one larger pocket in a less awkward location, either higher up or lower down on the thigh.