Outlier Slim Dungarees

The Slim Dungarees are likely the most popular pants Outlier makes, as well as the pants that Outlier themselves consider their core pant. The description of these pants is: “A 21st century jean if you will.” Essentially it’s a ‘what would you make if you were to make jeans from scratch today’. There’s a ton of hype around these pants, with them winning awards every few months hailing them as the one pants to travel the world in.

They are also among the most contentious pants Outlier makes, so let’s dive into them, as I’ve been testing them for well over a year.

Material

These are made from Outlier’s Workcloth Doubleweave Canvas which breaks down to: 82% Nylon, 16% Polyester, 2% Elastane. That’s only a portion of the story though, because these are not like any other technical material I’ve seen. At 275 gsm these are heavy pants, to me they feel on par with the weight of a standard pair of jeans. Outlier’s details about this fabric border on the absurd marketing level, but I have to say: they are pretty spot on.

When you first feel the pants you’ll notice:

  • The exterior really does feel more like a broken in canvas. It has a great texture to it, which also helps to hide the fact that these are nylon pant. The texture makes them look more “jean like” than most other pants trying to replicate jeans.
  • The interior almost feels fuzzy to the touch, without actually being fuzzy. Think of it like a glasses cleaning cloth — a stark difference from the outside of the material.
  • There’s basically no stretch, despite there being an advertised “slight stretch”. I assume there is some, but practically speaking assume there is not.

The material, more than anything, is what makes these pants — it’s a fantastic material and among my favorites that Outlier makes.

Cut

The cut of the pants is really the contentious issue. They are named “slim” so most people (myself included) initially read that as “skinny”, or “skin tight”. When you get these pants you realize either one of two things:

  1. Whew these are actually not very skin tight.
  2. What the heck, these are not very skin tight.

Take your pick, but these are only slightly slimmer fitting that regular jeans — perhaps “tailored” would be better nomenclature for these. Do not let the name of these pants throw you off, they are not going to be super slim pants, but they also are not made to be baggy. Look at the pictures on the site, they represent the fit very well.

Side note: Some might find that the thighs do not afford enough room. But the 45 day return policy should put you at ease with ordering these pants to try out the fit.

Performance

You don’t read this site to find out about the cuts of garments, what you really want to know is how these pants perform. So to start, let me say that these are my preferred travel pants. If given the option to wear any pants on an airplane — no matter the flight length — these are the pants I pick. That’s the strongest endorsement I can give pants.

There are a few factors in play here, so best to go through them one at a time. The mobility while wearing these is excellent, even though they lack stretch. The large gusset provides you with a pair of pants where you’ll never find yourself pulling up the legs slightly at the knee before you attempt a high step. They move exceedingly well, even though the materials alone wouldn’t seem like they would.

On the warmth and breathability side I would peg these as: just as slightly cooler than jeans in cold weather, and much cooler than jeans in warm weather. In other words they breath really well. I’ve worn them in the snow without issue, and I’ve worn them in 80 °F weather as well. They were a bit chilly and a bit warm in both those situations, but jeans likely would be as well. They do breathe and they do dry very quickly despite their heavier weight. For a normal range of temperatures, these will likely be very good pants for you.

Outlier also makes a lot of mention about the liquid staining resistance of these pants, and for good reason. The treatments on these pants is one of the key reasons to travel in them: you will be hard pressed to get them dirty. Water beads up and rolls off, same with coffee and soda. If something does manage to stick, a wet rag tends to get rid of it quickly and the spot dries in minutes. You can’t get ketchup on them and walk away unscathed, but for most of the little mishaps which happen in life, they come out clean.

Overall, these perform at the top of the overall technical pants market, and is a leading factor in why people love them so much.

Stretching Out

There is one caveat to these pants which is often left out when talking about them. Outlier notes on their fit page: “When first tried on they should feel just a touch too snug. Over the first few hours or day they’ll loosen up, and when you put them on for day two they should fit perfect.” What that means practically is that they will feel tight when you first put them on, and then they stretch out to your body and fit very comfortably. I find that for me, this only takes a day when they are new, and a couple hours after they are washed.

However, there’s a downside to this. If you spend a lot of time with the pants being stretched at the knees (e.g. kneeling, squat like positions, cramped into a tight space, crossing legs, etc), then the knees of the Slim Dungarees tend to bag out as well. This can create a very bad silhouette and is the one downside of these pants.

When you wash and hang dry these pants, they go right back to form, so this isn’t something which is always going to be there. However, I can say that the typical reason I wash these pants is because the knees bag out, and not because the pants themselves are actually dirty. Then again, I know of many people who only wash these pants once or twice a year. Really depends on your body type and what activities you use these pants for. I tend to get 2-3 weeks of wear out of the pants before I start to think about washing them to get the knees back into shape, but that’s only with daily wear.

Overall

At $198, many people will balk at thei price. You shouldn’t, these are hands down the best technical pants I’ve tried, and if I only could have one pair of pants, it would be these. For the temperate weather of the Pacific Northwest they are the perfect weight, and the water repellency means no more wet thighs when you walk in from the rain. I highly recommend these pants.

A Note on Colors

Personally I have owed: Gray Shadow, Charcoal, Dark Indigo, and Concrete colors in Slim Dungarees. I currently own the Gray Shadow. Most people say that if you want to replicate blue jeans, to get Dark Indigo. I personally disagree as they were my least favorite color I owned. Charcoal is a great color, and might be the most versatile, followed by black. I know, black, but if you listen to the people buying Outlier, they say it is the best color.

Gray Shadow is interesting, but I don’t think I would buy it again. It’s a nice color, but Charcoal was more versatile as it has less tint to the gray. Occasionally, Outlier stocks these in Sandstorm, which is a very nice khaki color.


Steve’s Thoughts

I originally resisted getting a pair of Slim Dungarees because I thought they would be too tight in the thigh and I thought I would need the Long length. At some point after I got my Futureworks (our review), Ben convinced me to try the Slim Dungarees. When I tried the same size as my Futureworks, the thighs were a little too slim for me. Between that and the fact that I was going to have to get them tailored, I returned them.

Recently, Outlier had a few colors on sale (in the regular length) so I grabbed one size up in Grey Shadow. Surprisingly, the length worked, even though it’s listed as an inch shorter than the Futureworks. I usually wear these with boots, but the length even looks fine with sneakers. They also fit me in the thigh, even though the listed measurement is still smaller than my Futureworks. My only guess is that the different cut causes the pants to sit differently, making the sizing work.

I’ve been impressed with the pants so far, and find them to feel like they have a lot more stretch than they actually do. These are my most comfortable pants and are almost as comfortable as sweatpants (while looking much better).

Outlier Slim Dungarees