Note: We tested so much gear down in Bishop, we decided that the only way to fit in all the gear we wanted to cover was to double-up the reviews of our favorite pieces all week. In part 1, we check out some trail running shoes. In part 2, we looked at some outdoor amenities. Today, we review some clothes that are just at home on a rock as they are on a barstool: Stoic’s Thrive shorts and First Ascent’s Uprising jeans.
Stoic Thrive Shorts $59, www.backcountry.com
The Good: These shorts do everything but cover your shins.
The Bad: Shallow pockets had me constantly checking whether or not my iPhone fell out.
The Ugly: The bulge my keys made in the hip pocket. It ruined the aesthetically perfect line of my slender quads.
They weigh less than 6 ounces (for my Medium). They stretch, they breath ,they’re DWR treated, but they also dry quickly if you submerge them. Quite simply, Stoic’s Thrive shorts might be the most versatile shorts you’ll ever wear.
Hiking, trail and road running, rock climbing, swimming even – they’re lightweight, stretchy, and fast-drying enough for just about anything you could think of. Welded seams mean they’re not going to chafe, and the stretch felt great whether I was heel-hooking on a rock or hopping logs on a trail run. They’re tough, too – I dragged these suckers up boulder after boulder in Bishop, and they came home totally unscathed.
They look great just walking around town, too. The simple design and tapered cut look really sharp, while the 12” inseam kept my knobby knees covered up. And they’re darn comfortable. The stretch material is super-soft, and gives you an unobstructed range of motion. These would be great transition shorts for a nudist trying to get back into the clothed world.
If you’re packing light and you need one pair of shorts for your trip, take the Thrive shorts. They’ll…you know, thrive in any situation. Sorry, had to be done.
Eddie Bauer First Ascent Uprising Jeans $80, eddiebauer.com
The Good: More flexible and tougher than most jeans.
The Bad: Slim fit might be too slim for hefty climbers.
The Hilarious: Case in point: Will “Too-Many-Squats” Hinkson said his pair fit him like skinny jeans.
Before the Uprisings arrived, I climbed strictly in shorts because pants simply weren’t flexible enough. Scraped knees were the norm. Luckily for my knees, the Uprising’s mix of denim, spandex, and tough-as-nails Cordura fabric give them a huge boost over any other pair of jeans when it comes to climbing.Before Bishop, I tested these on indoor walls and limestone climbs in Redding and up on Smith Rock in Bend, Oregon. They’ve excelled everywhere, and Bishop was no exception. The gusseted crotch, articulated knees, and spandex material let you move without hindrance and the reinforced stitching, double belt loops and Cordura material have kept the jeans looking new after months of climbing.
Like the Thrives, the Uprising jeans are also city-ready. In fact, when we went for post-climb burgers, they just needed a quick dusting and they looked they they’d just been washed. They’re solid in town, they’re great on rocks. Now much more you could ask from a pair of jeans.
Here’s a quick video of the jeans climbing Hero Roof, a fun, juggy climb in Bishop. Notice the flexibility on the high step at the end and fact that my knees didn’t leave any bloodstains after I dragged them up the rock.
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Author: Billy Brown