Arc’teryx Rush LT Pant
Reviewer: 5’8”, 155 lbs
Size Tested: Medium
Blister’s Measured Weight:
- Upper Fabric: Gore-Tex w/ C-Knit backer & 70-denier nylon face fabric
- Knee & Lower Leg: Gore-Tex w/ tricot backer & 150-denier nylon face fabric
- Upper Bib: “Wee Burly Double Weave” stretch-woven softshell
- Instep Patch: Keprotec
- e3D Ergonomic 3-Dimensional patterning for enhanced comfort and mobility
- Gusseted crotch for comfort and freedom of movement
- Keprotec™ instep patches provide superior protection against damage by boots, crampons and ski edges
- Taped seams for added weatherproofness
- Full zipper waist to knee on right hand side, with three sliders
- Side vents with two way sliders
- Zippered fly with snap
- Hidden Recco® reflector
- Quick adjust TouringCuff™ allows for easy buckle management
- 1 left thigh (zippered)
- 1 right thigh (velcro)
- 1 upper bib (zippered)
Test Locations: Crested Butte, CO
Days Tested: 10
Arc’teryx has been one of the leaders in technical outerwear for years. They were one of the first brands to use three-layer Gore-Tex fabrics, they’re patterning is typically excellent, and they’ve continued to innovate in the realm of zippers, construction techniques, and the other little details often overlooked by some other brands.
This year they released the Rush LT Pant — a lightweight, touring-oriented Gore-Tex low-bib pant designed to maximize comfort, minimize weight, and keep you dry and happy in the backcountry.
I’ve been using the Rush LT Pant in Crested Butte — both in the resort and on the skin track — to see how well executed it is, how it compares to numerous other options, and whether it should only be considered by dedicated backcountry skiers, or those who also ski in the resort.
The Rush LT fits on the slightly baggier end of the spectrum, with plenty of room to move around and add a thicker pant underneath if you want. It’s not quite as giant as the Patagonia Descensionist pant, but the Rush LT is a bit roomier than the Open Wear Open One 3L pant, and is significantly baggier than the Norrona Lyngen Hybrid and North Face Chakal pants. For reference, I’m 5’8”, 155 lbs and used the Rush LT in my typical size of Medium. It feels pretty true to size in terms of both length and girth in the waist.
Overall, I’m a fan of the Rush LT’s fit. I’ve never noticed it getting in the way while skiing or skinning, though I think I’d prefer a slightly slimmer lower leg if I were using it primarily for ski-mountaineering as I’d be worried about snagging crampons on the legs of the pants.
The Rush LT has a lot of features for a touring-oriented pant.
It has three pockets: one zippered pocket on the left thigh, one velcro cargo pocket on the right thigh, and a zippered pocket on the upper part of the bib.
The thigh pockets are placed just about perfectly so that I don’t notice having a phone or wallet inside while skinning or skiing. However, I would really like to just have two zippered thigh pockets, rather than having one of them be secured only with velcro. Sometimes it’s nice to have a velcro cargo pocket for quickly stashing gloves while skinning, but the opening on the Rush LT’s cargo pocket is pretty small, so it’s difficult to stuff bulky gloves in it.
The Rush LT’s bib pocket is a nice option for small essentials like a phone, keys, chapstick, etc. If you’re interested in putting your beacon in there, I’d bring your beacon with you when trying on the pant as the bib pocket is pretty small (it just barely fits a BCA Tracker2). And while you’re trying it on, I’d also recommend bringing your pack as some packs I’ve used (e.g., Mystery Ranch Saddle Peak) have hip belts that sit directly over the bib pocket.
Beyond the pockets, the Rush LT pant features a ~35 cm vent on the left side and a ~55 cm vent on the right. The right vent’s zipper goes all the way to the top of the bib, which lets it double as a drop seat for bathroom breaks. Both vents have two-way zippers which I appreciate when wearing a harness or if I have a long jacket that covers part of the vent.
The Rush LT’s suspenders are removable, though I wouldn’t really want to use it without them as I have a bit of room in the waist in a size Medium and the pant does not have belt loops. I’m pretty picky when it comes to suspenders, but I’m a big fan of the Rush LT’s suspenders. The straps are not bulky at all, yet they still don’t bite into my skin. Plus, the adjustment buckles are placed low on the suspenders so that they don’t sit under my backpack’s straps (an issue I’ve had with other bibs in the past).
If you have an Arc’teryx jacket from their “Whiteline” snow collection, you can attach its powder skirt to the snaps on the back of the Rush LT pant for a secure barrier from snow.
The last noteworthy feature on the Rush LT pant is its cuffs — they’re super burly, and have a secure inner gaiter that has done a great job of keeping out snow. Arc’teryx added a small opening in the internal gaiter that you can use to slide your ski boot’s power strap or upper buckle through. This could certainly save you some time during transitions if you have a boot with a single upper buckle / strap (e.g., Scarpa Alien RS or Dynafit TLT7). But for boots with multiple upper buckles, I haven’t bothered slotting their strap / buckles through the slot in the Rush LT’s gaiter since I still have to pull the gaiter up to access the other upper buckles.
For having a partial bib and several features, the Rush LT comes in at a respectably low weight of 539 grams for a size Medium. It’s not quite as feathery light as the Strafe Cham, Norrona Lyngen Hybrid, or Patagonia Descensionist pants, but the Rush LT isn’t far off.
441 g Norrona Lyngen Windstopper Hybrid Pants, size Large
485 g Strafe Cham Pants, size Large
494 g Patagonia Descensionist Pants, size Medium
539 g Arc’teryx Rush LT Pant, size Medium
555 g Open Wear Open One 3L Shell Pants, size Medium
603 g Patagonia PowSlayer Bibs, size Large
618 g Rab Sharp Edge Pants, size Medium
620 g Arc’teryx Sabre Pants, size Large
896 g Flylow Baker Bibs, size Medium
Arc’teryx uses several different fabrics on the Rush LT, each with their own purpose.
The main fabric is a three-layer Gore-Tex laminate with their C-Knit backer and a 70-denier face fabric. This fabric is used on the thighs and on most of the back of the Rush LT pant. Like all C-Knit fabrics we’ve used, the Rush LT’s is noticeably less crinkly and stiff compared to most standard three-layer Gore-Tex fabrics.
The Rush LT’s knees and lower legs use a three-layer Gore-Tex laminate with a standard tricot backer and a burlier 150-denier face fabric. This fabric is a bit stiffer than the C-Knit fabric, but it also feels more substantial and I’ll happily trade a bit of comfort for increased durability in high-wear areas.
The upper bib of the Rush LT is comprised of a lightweight stretch-woven softshell fabric. This fabric is very comfortable and stretchy, and is much more breathable than the waterproof fabrics used elsewhere on the pant. While it’s definitely not waterproof, the Rush LT’s upper-bib material has done a good job of keeping me dry when I get super pitted in chest-deep pow (or more frequently, crash and end up sliding downhill on my back).
Lastly, the Rush LT has some really burly Keprotec reinforcements on the inside of the lower leg. They’re much stiffer than the instep reinforcements on most other pants I’ve used, which I’m pretty happy about. While they do feel a bit bulky when walking around without boots on, they have literally zero scratches after 10 days of use, and I’m typically someone that tears up the bottom of their pants pretty quickly.
In short, the Gore-Tex fabrics on the Rush LT have done exactly what Gore-Tex has been known to do for years: keep you dry. After using the Rush LT in several storms at Crested Butte, I’ve never had any water get through the pant.
Based on my time in the Rush LT and other products that use Gore-Tex, I’d be perfectly comfortable recommending it to people who live in areas that see a lot of heavy, wet snow (or even rain).
The Rush LT pant seems to be on par with other standard (not “Pro” or “Active”) Gore-Tex pants I’ve used in the past when it comes to breathability. The Rush LT pant is noticeably less breathable than pants with air-permeable membranes like the Strafe Cham and Patagonia Descensionist, but I think it’s a bit more breathable than some pants with proprietary two-layer laminates (e.g., The North Face HyVent & Patagonia H2No). For a whole bunch of info on what we mean when we talk about waterproof membranes, air-permeability, and other outerwear terminology, check out our Outerwear 101 and 201 articles.
My legs don’t tend to get all that hot or cold, so I’ve been happy with the Rush LT’s breathability. I’m much more worried about the breathability of my upper layers as that’s where I tend to get the most heat fluctuation. I’ve been able to tour in the Rush LT in temps around 15-30°F with a light base layer underneath and have been perfectly comfortable. And when I have gotten hot, the Rush LT’s big vents do a great job of dumping heat.
If maximum breathability is your priority, I’d look to the Patagonia Descensionist, Strafe Cham, and Norrona Lyngen Hybrid pants. But if you’re like me and your legs don’t tend to get super hot, I think the Rush LT’s breathability will be totally adequate for the vast majority of days in the winter.
The Rush LT is a shell pant with no insulation, and consequently is not very warm at all. It’s a bit warmer than the airy Patagonia Descensionist pant, and not quite as warm as the Open Wear Open One 3L Shell pant.
For any winter use, you’ll probably want to add a base layer under the Rush LT to keep your legs warm. I use the Trew Lightweight Wool Bottoms (a 145 g/m2 wool layer), and have been totally comfortable with just those bottoms + the Rush LT pant in temperatures ranging from 10-32°F. As always, everyone’s personal temperature preferences differ, but you can expect the Rush LT to be about as warm / cold as most other three-layer shells.
After ten days of resort skiing and touring, the Rush LT basically looks like it did when I got it. There are no scratches or tears, and all the zippers and other trims are still functioning flawlessly. I’ll be using the Rush LT a lot this season, and I’ll update this review if I notice any durability issues down the line. But based on our time in other Arc’teryx pieces, I’m quite optimistic about the long-term durability of the Rush LT pant.
Who’s It For?
People who want a reliably waterproof pant that’s lightweight, comfortable, and breathable enough for most tours. Those who prioritize breathability should look to air-permeable options like the Patagonia Descensionist, Norrona Lyngen Hybrid, and Strafe Cham. Those who are looking for a pant to primarily use for ski-mountaineering would likely be better off with a slimmer option. And people who want maximum durability should check out heavier pants with thicker fabrics (e.g., Flylow Baker Bib).
But the Rush LT’s combination of waterproofing, durability, low weight, moderately roomy fit, and useful features make it a great option for a really wide range of skiers. I think it should be particularly appealing to skiers looking for a pant that they can use for skiing both in the resort and in the backcountry, and to ski-tourers in wet climates.
The Arc’teryx Rush LT Pant is one of those pieces of gear that I’ve basically forgotten about while I’ve been using it. And that’s a very good thing.
It doesn’t get in the way, it keeps me dry, and its features are useful. All of these things let me focus on my skiing, and not on my pants. And really, no one should be focused on their pants while they’re out skiing. So, well done, Arc’teryx.