One of the newer offerings from Beyond Clothing is this Avid Ultralight K4 pant which is a hiking pant made into a jogger design. These grabbed my attention as I like to wear lightweight pants around the house on the weekends, and often find that cotton doesn’t quite meet my needs.
I’ve been testing them for a while now, so let’s dive in.
These are marketed as “soft shell” but I think that’s a bit of a misnomer here. They are more like if you just had the facing of a soft shell garment, as there is no pile or anything of that nature — to that end they are effectively a stretchy nylon pant that is pretty thin. Beyond lists the make up as: 86% nylon, 14% spandex with that being a 4-way stretch on the spandex. The shell is further treated with DWR and what Beyond lists as “Clear coating on the outer shell increases the soft hand feel”.
I am not sure what the latter is exactly, but I will say the material feels very nice, and only has a small amount of the dreaded nylon “swoosh” sound. I’m a fan of this material, though it could stand to be a touch lighter in weight.
These are what I call performance first pants, as anything that you get for looks or feel is a bonus. These are designed first and foremost for performing well in any activity and they bridge a nice gap: something you could wear outdoors without issue, but also something that lends well to around town. If you could wear joggers to do it normally, these are like joggers on steroids — some of the best performing ones I have tried.
There’s six traits that Beyond lists, here’s my thoughts on each:
- Ultralightweight: in weight of the garment this holds very true. But the fabric is not as thin as something like GORUCK’s Simple Pants. But as something to toss into a bag as a travel pair of joggers, this checks that box nicely.
- Wind resistant: I was not expecting this at all when I got these pants — I didn’t read the description closely and thought they would be breathable. Weirdly, they trap heat from your body, and block wind extremely well. For cool weather workouts they are great. For keeping off a chill in strong AC, great. For heavy activity even in moderate temps, they get warm. Very warm. But, had I read, I would have been very impressed with the wind resistance on these, especially given how light they are.
- Water resistant: this is all about the DWR, which is effective. But for how long, I don’t know. Light rain that is passing, no worries. Anything more and I wouldn’t expect to stay dry.
- 4-way stretch: wow. These things stretch all over, but it’s not a soft stretch, so they stay decently crisp looking while never binding up on you. Good stuff.
- Highly compressible: kind of. About the same as any thin pant, I don’t see anything special here.
- Fast drying: yes, nylon and elastane are drying champs. These dry on par with most light nylon garments, which is to say really well. If you do find yourself hiking in a cool but not cold temp and they get wet, they should dry without much hassle. Similarly they dry quickly after washing.
There’s a couple other points about these worth mentioning:
- The hand pockets are fantastic. They have a nice cut to the pocket and stuff stays in them. Further they have a bit of elastic at the bottom edge which makes them more comfortable for your hand, or gives you an ideal spot for anything with a pocket clip on it.
- The left front pocket has a loop to attach keys to, which is out of the way and actually useful. Well done.
- The right front pocket has another zipper pocket at the opening. This pocket is unobtrusive and is a nice addition for pants made for the outdoors.
- The rear pockets are zippered and I could take them or leave them. They aren’t bad and don’t get in the way, but I’ve not found them functional on this type of pant.
- The waistband though, the waistband is awesome. It’s smooth, thick, durable and holds in place. I am slightly in between sizes with these and so I sized down, so they fit me more snug than I might like, that is until I load up the pockets and start doing stuff in the pants — at that point I love the waistband. Really well executed.
As a performance pant: these are some of the best hiking pants turned joggers and the only downside is that I live in an extremely hot climate.
Fit & Style
First the fit, as these are sold in Small – XXL waist sizes with three lengths for each. I wear a 34×32 in most pants and find that to be spot on, after some back and forth with Steve over the sizing, I opted for the M Regular in these. I find them to be a perfect length for me, while being about as snug as I might want them.
Style wise, these are joggers and outdoors ones at that. I would say they are firmly casual/outdoors. No big bonus points here, but they don’t get any weird looks anywhere I wear them.
I like these pants. They are an acquired taste, and for me they are great pants for the weekend. Great to wear around the yard, doing chores, or just lounging about. They make solid pants for travel as they can fill many roles well, and of course they are great outdoors.
You aren’t likely to win any style points for them, but you’ll be more comfortable.