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Hands-on Gear Review
Mountain Hardwear Hardwear AP Pant Review
Cons: Tight fit, no water resistance, not much ventilation
Bottom line: A well-liked pant that simply didn’t offer all the pluses for hiking that its competition did.
The Mountain Hardwear Men's Hardwear AP Pant is a stylish and durable pant that works well for almost any sort of outdoor activity. Unfortunately, we found them to be a bit too tight and restricting for comfortable everyday use while hiking, although how well they work for you probably depends on the shape of your body. For us, they were too tight in the thighs and had a wonky fit in the crotch. Our testing also showed them to have virtually no water resistance, even in a light rain, and they are decidedly light on features compared to the other hiking pants in our review. As such, these were the lowest scoring pants this go-around, although they have received excellent customer reviews online, and we still consider them to be a solid pair of pants.
RELATED REVIEW: The Best Hiking Pants for Men
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Men's Hardwear AP Pant was the lowest scorer in our review due to its poor performance in many of our scoring metrics. It had the least amount of water resistance of any pant that we tested, and was also pretty warm without much in the way of ventilation. For us, the most significant issue was the fit that made them too annoying to do much hiking in. All of these issues will be discussed more below, but we want to point out that even though they didn't stack up well to the competition in this review, they are well liked and reviewed online, so take our findings with a grain of salt. And don't be afraid to try them on or order yourself a pair if you feel inspired.
Comfort and Mobility
When it comes to comfort, let us just say we like how the 75% cotton, 23% nylon, and 2% elastane blend fabric feels against our skin. However, we thought these were the least mobile hiking pants that we tested. There are a lot of issues with the fit, and we have a bit of a hard time figuring out how to even explain them. Let's start with the fact that they are indeed a slim, narrow fit through the legs, not unlike the Patagonia Quandary or KUHL Kontra Air. For us, they were far too constricting in the upper thighs, a complaint we also read about a lot online. It felt like the crotch of these pants is cut way too low, so that when wearing them on the waist, our legs felt like they were being held together by a bungee cord. This is why we didn't like to hike in them.
Conversely, if we tried to fix this problem by wearing them a bit higher, the waist felt loose and rode up above our hips, not the way we enjoy wearing our pants. Enough said. We gave them 4 out of 10 points for Comfort and Mobility, and if you are interested in finding the most comfortable pair of hiking pants, we encourage you to look at the Prana Stretch Zion.
Venting and Breathability
These pants have mesh lined front hand pockets as well as on the inside of the double zippered rear pockets. They also have an extensive mesh liner on the inside of the pelvic region, not entirely unlike the liner found in a pair of running shorts, except it isn't free floating, and is sewn to the pant material. We couldn't figure out the purpose of this interior mesh liner, to be honest. When the going gets too hot, the cuffs can be rolled up and snapped in place with little plastic buttons, precisely like the Prana Stretch Zion. Overall these were tightly woven, thick, and pretty warm pants that didn't breath or ventilate as well as the REI Co-op Screeline or KUHL Renegade Cargo Convertible. 5 out of 10.
With their super absorbent cotton fabric, we don't think these pants are an excellent option for hiking in wet climates, or for backpacking in. Since they don't ventilate well, we also wouldn't choose them for use when it is too hot outside and think they thrive best in cool temps, not unlike the limitations we found inherent in the Fjallraven Vidda Pro. We think these pants are best suited for hard work, gardening, rock climbing, travel, or wearing around town, and we did not enjoy them much for hiking. We awarded them 6 out of 10 for this metric, the same score we gave the somewhat limited Arc'teryx Perimeter Pant.
When it came to our shower test to ascertain a pant's ability to resist water, the Men's Hardwear AP Pant was easily the lowest scorer. Made almost entirely of cotton, and lacking any chemical DWR application, we weren't super surprised when water immediately soaked straight into the fabric of this pant, wetting our legs beneath. For this reason, we wouldn't recommend wearing this pant on adventures where rain is likely, or even possible if it's also quite cool out. We awarded it only 3 out of 10 for this metric. If you are looking for a highly water resistant hiking pant, we recommend you check out the Arc'teryx Perimeter Pant or the Patagonia Quandary.
The Men's Hardwear AP Pant includes some thoughtful features and some others that didn't work as well. It has nice large front hand pockets, and we also liked how the two rear pockets are each zippered, a nice security bonus when traveling. The only other pocket is a thin pocket on the side of the right leg barely big enough for an older iPhone, which is Velcroed at the top in a way that makes it sort of annoying to pry open.
A nice touch can be found on the inside of the pant leg when rolled and buttoned up for riding your bike — reflective tape for added visibility in low light. Overall, this pant had few pockets or features, especially in comparison to the Fjallraven Vidda Pro or KUHL Renegade Cargo Convertible, and thus received a score of 6 points.
We think these pants are best suited for rock climbing, wearing around town, or working in. Due to the lack of water resistance, and even more importantly the constricting fit, we don't recommend purchasing them as a dedicated hiking or backpacking pant.
These pants retail for $90, making them $10 more expensive than a host of the most affordable hiking pants in our review. Since we thought that they didn't stack up well against the competition, we don't find them to be a particular value-rich purchase.
The Mountain Hardwear Men's Hardwear AP Pant is a well-liked and positively reviewed pant by customers online, but the lowest scorer in our review. Due to its poor fit, few features, little ventilation, and lack of water resistance, we don't think it is a good choice for a hiking pant. On the other hand, it is stylish and durable in a way that could make it a great choice as an everyday pant, for traveling, climbing, camping, or outdoor work, as long as they fit you.
— Andy Wellman
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