I picked these pants up wanting to see what Arc’teryx had on offer in their everyday lineup of clothing. These Phelix pants are billed as being stylish, performant, and cotton like in feel. I’ve been wearing them now off and on for a few weeks and thought I should weigh in on how these stack up.
Overall they are a solid offering, if slightly problematic at times — not at the top of the list, but far from the bottom of it.
The ‘cotton like feel’ is a silly claim because the material is mostly cotton as it is a: 6.3 oz.(215 g/m²) stretch twill which is 80% cotton, 18% polyester, 2% elastane. You’ll have to trust them on the elastane makeup, as it’s not noticeable at all.
The material is decently thin, but runs on the dense side so you get decent wind blockage and a little less breathability. They feel more like cotton canvas than a twill, but that might be splitting hairs. I am completely ambivalent towards this material.
Fit & Style
Alright, so from a fit perspective I think they run slightly smaller than other size 34 pants I have had, but not so much so I could say “size up”. They fit me fine, and I would be swimming in a 36.
The style is 5-pocket, but the colors don’t lend to them being a jean replacement. I think they would look better with a more chino looking pocket pattern to them. The cut itself looks good, and I would say is rather straight leg and tailored. It’s a nice cut that will feel more timeless and is solid. I like the look of them, but they are not jeans, and the design also means they are not chinos.
Odd middle ground.
I do need to pause and point out the biggest issue with the design, and no it is not the zipper pocket on the side. It’s the fly. The fly is abhorrent. It is far too short. Like, I have to completely undo the waist of the pants to use, say, a urinal. Just stupid.
Ok, I am going to bullet point the performance here because these are 80% cotton and so the performance is mostly ‘thin cotton’ performance:
- From a moisture wicking standpoint: not really anything to note.
- Breathability: that of thin cotton.
- They are super light weight pants and pack down small which is really ideal for travel.
- For some reason, they never seem to get dirty. Like never.
- They feel and act extremely durable, and I suspect would fair well walking through brush. But I would expect them to get fuzzy over time from washing.
Generally they have a cotton-travel-pants level of performance. Better than a standard pair of jeans, or even most performance denim, but not quite on par with fully synthetic pants. They will feel more ‘normal’ because of the high cotton percent.
And then there is the button to close the fly. I need to talk to you about that. Because if the fly itself is bad, then the button at the top is worse. It is a snap button, but it is a particularly weak snap button. When I am standing in these pants they fit snug enough that I do not need a belt, but in no way feel tight. I would say they are a great fit. But if I squat down, or bend over in them, the button snaps open. So much so that I cannot wear the pants without a belt.
Generally: not worth buying. The entire fly setup is extremely poorly executed and ruins the entire pant.