I’ve tried a ton of pants for this website, all in the hopes of finding that one pair of pants which I can toss on and fall in love with. I’ve come close a few times. The Aether’s, the Oliver’s, or the Outliers. But each one is tricky. Aether is super comfortable, but too slim to look right in every situation, Oliver’s are really solid, but the waist stretches out really fast for me, and well Outlier stopped making theirs right when I lost some weight, oh well.
So I was pretty excited to learn about the Thunderbolt Sportswear MARK II LITE pants, which is a five pocket pant made from a Schoeller material which is code for expensive and comfortable. I have been giving them a go for quite some time, and I am impressed — they are different than the others I listed so let’s dive into it.
As I mentioned this is a Schoeller fabric, specifically here is what it is:
Schoeller® Dryskin soft shell with NanoSphere® DWR to repel water and dirt. Fabric maximizes performance in breathability, quick dry, wind and water resistance, four way stretch and self-cleaning.
Essentially it seems like a lighter weight version of the Schoeller 4-way stretch materials which for a while started to become common in pants. At a 180gsm it is decently light weight, without feeling thin.
The stretch is great, and the material face feels very much like other Schoeller pants. It has a slight sheen, is rather smooth and looks like a soft shell. Inside, the material has a lot less pile as compared to others and is more like a grid pattern. It’s soft and decently smooth. The material itself is aces.
Fit and Style
This is a standard 5-pocket look. Where it differs from most is the color, which in this case is a Ranger Green color (I like it, many might not) and the overall cut. While my main complaint with a lot of pants we review on the site is with how tapered they are, these take a straight leg approach. There is barely a taper on these.
This is in line with the intended use, which is more outdoors and active than it is heading to brunch. For me it’s still hard to get used to how straight legged this are, and I think they would benefit for a slight taper for pure looks. But the straight legs do make for a comfortable fit over all.
The only other fit detail is the waistband. On most pants like this the waist band is simple double the material the pant is made from. The issue with this method is that it causes the material to become stretched out over time, and thus you need to wash the pants to get them to fit correctly again. The benefit is that the waist is a bit stretchy and thus more comfortable, until they are too loose at least.
With these pants, the waistband has been designed to not stretch. That’s somewhat true. It stretches less than the rest of the pants, but it does have some give. Whether that is intentional or not, I don’t know. But it does make for a nice middle ground between no-stretch and stretch which eventually becomes too loose. I’ve found these pants will become loose over time, but it takes twice as long as others like this I have tried.
I’ve been wearing these pants a ton since getting them. They are truly comfortable, whether lounging around the house, doing yard work in the sun, or going on a warm walk through the woods. They have handled every task I have tossed at them with easy. But, since Thunderbolt Sportswear called out specific features, I’ll address each:
- Breathability: these are likely the most breathable pants I own, outside of maybe my GORUCK Simple Pants which are about half the weight by hand feel alone. The Mark II Lite’s are just insanely breathable and a couple of times wore too cool for me.
- Wind & Water Resistance: I have worn them in a some wind, and they did a good job with that. Not stellar, but better than expected. I can’t comment on water resistance as I have not worn them in much heavy rain. The water which has gotten on them, beads up well as it would with any solid DWR coating.
- Quick Dry: straight out of the washer, yes they dry fast. Quick would be an understatement here, they dry fast.
- Stretch: it’s perfect, because of the cut doesn’t need as much stretch to feel more stretchy. I really think there’s a solid amount of stretch, which you barely notice, yet are never restricted.
- Self-Cleaning: nope. Generally I have not seen them dirty in normal wear. However on a walk in the woods the dirt was rather dusty and very fine. The entire bottom half of the pants was coated in that dust, and would not shake/brush off. It required a full wash.
Generally speaking these are among the most performant pants I have. All Schoeller material performs really well, and these are no exception. They breathe well, dry fast, and stretch. There’s not a lot more to say here, but if you live in a warmer climate like me, these pants are something to consider for sure — as they breathe even better than most I test.
I bought these pants on sale for $92.50, with a non-sale price of $185. I don’t think I would have paid the full $185, but for under $100 these are a bargain. They are my go to pants during this work from home life, as I can be comfortable working, do work in the yard, or lounge on the couch in them and be comfortable under all situations.
The downside to these is the cut, it won’t be for everyone and that will make them harder to wear out and about if you care more about style. I would not hesitate to go on day hike with them though, they are really solid.