Finding an awesome women’s backpacking pant is not an easy task. We sent editor Clare Menzel out to review two such pants from Roscoe Outdoor.

This summer, I went to the Red Ants Pants music festival in White Sulphur Springs, Montana. The fest is hosted by the local women’s workwear brand—and Roscoe had a vendor’s booth there. Pretty ballsy, I thought, to hawk a different line of pants at this Red Ants Pants love-fest. I had to try ‘em. Indeed, Roscoe has the credentials: founded in 2011 by Montana-born carpenter Hans Howell in Red Lodge, the brand is independent and self-funded. While pounding nails in 2009, he dreamt up designs for the “ideal outdoor pant.” Now, Roscoe offers both men’s and women’s collections of tech-y pants and shorts.

Snapshot: Roscoe Outdoor Pants

Roscoe Outdoors
Roscoe Outdoors’ Hellroaring Pant
  1. Pros: These pants are actually designed for a woman’s body! And wait, there’s more: choose between two models, the straight and curvy.
  2. Cons: I wished the Hellroaring pant had an internal belt; I encountered some fabric gapping at the waist.
  3. Price: $91 Cdn for the Hellroaring, $119 Cdn for the Washakie
  4. Who Should Buy: Climbers, hikers, bikers, guides—anyone who will put a lot of mileage on them.
  5. Who Shouldn’t Buy: There are cheaper pants out there that don’t suck. In other words, these pants are nice, but not necessary.
  6. Helpful Hack: Roscoe offers custom hemming for $8. Go for the fully perfect fit. You deserve it.
  7. Author’s overall rating: 8.5/10

The Test

I took both the Hellroaring and Washakie models on a number of hiking and backpacking trips in Montana’s Glacier National Park this late summer and fall. It was hot and cold at times, but mostly dry. The longest trip was five days—and yep, you guessed it, I wore the Washakie all five days. (They held their shape impressively.)

The Verdict

The fit is great. Done and done. They’re comfortable, have a great range of motion, stay in place, and, basically, just do the dang job.

The materials perform well, too. The Washakie is made from a four-way stretch Nylon-Lycra blend with a waffle-weave construction; the Hellroaring is a two-way stretch Nylon-Poly rip-stop blend. This makes the Washakie an all-around staple, and the Hellroaring the lighter, summer version. (The Washakie performed just fine on plenty of summer dog days.) Hans reviewed hundreds of fabrics before landing on these, a balance between lightweight and durability. Both pants are streamlined, not at all bulky. Though the material is durable, I did get a snag or two in the seat of the Washakie—this is to be expected of any pant you put through the wringer, I’d argue.

As far as features go, most everything is fine-tuned and smart. Both offer UPF 50+ of sun protection, and quick-drying action after river-crossings or other small splashes. (I never got to test them in a downpour, thanks to nearly-zero precip this past summer.) The pockets are nice and big, including a zippered pocket on the outer thigh that can even fit my phone in its bulky Otterbox case, all without getting in the way of my stride. Other majorly welcome features include the articulated knees on the Washakie, and on both models, the gusseted crotch, and reinforced knees and seat.

Roscoe Outdoors Pants
The testing grounds: Montana’s Glacier National Park

The only thing I’m torn on about the Roscoe pants are the reflective quick-pull calf cinches. It’s innovative, but I’m not convinced it’s better than the more common option of a little button, and often pants with that feature offer a few different length options.

As far as style goes, I appreciate Roscoe’s understated look, and I do love a piece of gear that’s primarily neutral in color with bright accents.

While the price point isn’t too tough to swallow, though there are certainly cheaper pants out there that work. I think the price is fair for the tailored fit and technical materials. If you’re putting in long, long days, you need everything that’s in your power to go smoothly to do just that. Roscoe’s pants are up to the task.

Roscoe Outdoor Pants: The Deets

  • $91 Cdn for the Hellroaring, $119 Cdn for the Washakie
  • Riverstone, navy blue for the Hellroaring; Charcoal for the Washakie
  • Sizes 2 – 12, with straight or curvy fit
  • The Hellroaring size 6 is 225 grams (8 oz), and the Washakie size 6 is 283 grams (10 oz)
  • Size-dependent, varying from 2 to 2.6 kg (4.8 to 5 pounds)
  • The Hellroaring is 52 percent nylon and 48 percent polyester; the Washakie is 95 percent nylon and 5 percent lycra