I consider La Sportiva to be a true backcountry brand and their products are always well reviewed here on Backcountry Skiing Canada. The company has Italian roots and a long history of manufacturing products for climbing, running, hiking, and of course backcountry skiing. We’ve already reviewed the Protector Pants and Adjuster Jacket, check them out here. The following review will focus on the La Sportiva’s Roy Soft Shell Pants, designed specifically for backcountry skiers and ski-mountaineers.
La Sportiva Roy Pants front and back.
With Ectoshell fabric (85% Nylon, 15% Spandex) the Roy Pants offer extreme breathability while providing protection from wind and snow. The interior is ever so slightly insulated, keeping the cold at bay on those early morning starts. A durable polyester scuff guard on the inside of each pant leg prevents cuts from skis and rocks, while the inner gaiter keeps snow from getting into your boots. The built-in zipper on the gaiter makes your boot buckles accessible and provides additional room for boot flex if needed.
The picture below show the scuff guard on one side and the zipper on the other. Under all that is the built in gaiter.
There are two zippered hand warmer pockets which are fleece lined for comfort, and an additional pocket on the back should you need it. The right thigh pocket has a built-in transceiver clip for use if you prefer to store your transceiver in this location rather than wearing it on a chest harness (my preferred method). Zippered thigh vents allow you to dump extra heat when you are working hard breaking trail, and the built-in mesh fabric will prevent snow from getting in. The adjustable waistband provides a snug fit so the Roy’s don’t fall down on you. If the waistband doesn’t suffice, you can use the built-in suspender attachment points. Articulated knees along with generous fabric stretch provide a comfortable fit and good range of motion while skiing and climbing.
Venting side zips and transceiver pocket.
Softshell pants for ski touring are the only way to go in my mind. Why wear baggy waterproof pants that just make you clammy and uncomfortable as you sweat up the skin track? Soft-shells like the La Sportiva Roy Pants breath the entire time while still providing some warmth and protection from snow and wind. The challenge is to find a pair of well designed soft-shell pants, for this reviewer the Roy Pants are a solid option.
The La Sportiva Roy medium pants fit my 6’1” 175lb frame very well; they’re not too tight, nor too baggy, and provide just enough warmth without being too thin and cold. This balance is important to over-all comfort and the Roys seem to have nailed it. With their long feature list (that I’d say is required for any ski touring pant) the Roys aren’t missing anything I’d deem crucial.
Thigh vents and a transceiver clip are two of my ‘must haves’, and while neither are perfect on the Roy Pants they are included, and get the job done. I’d prefer to see the thigh vents a little larger and include easier to grasp zipper pulls so that I don’t have to remove my gloves to open and close them. The right thigh pocket has a built-in clip to tether your transceiver but the clip is neither large nor strong, so this could be improved. I’d also move the location of the pocket from the centre of the thigh more to the outside, so that the full weight of the transceiver is not felt with every step as you walk. While these may sound like major gripes they are somewhat personal in nature, and minor when you consider the overall performance of the pants.
The La Sportiva Roy Pants provide comfort, warmth and features that are mandatory for this reviewer (albeit some not perfect). If you are in the market for a pair of soft-shell ski touring pants and want to say goodbye to your sweaty hard-shells for good, then do yourself a favour and consider the Roy Pants from La Sportiva.
Colours: Black, Rust
Sizes: S, M, L, XL
Weight: 650g / 22.9oz
Quality / Price 1.5/2
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