Arc’teryx Stinger Pant
Size Tested: Large
- Waterproof/breathable Membrane: new Gore-Tex Pro
- Face Fabric: Arc’teryx N80P-X (80 denier)
- Fully taped seams
- Adjustable webbing belt
- Thigh pockets
- Kerprotec cuff guards
6’, 190 lbs.
Typical pant / jeans sizing: 33×32
Locations Tested: Honshu & Hokkaido, Japan; Kodiak Island, Alyeska Resort, Chugach, Talkeetna, & Neacola Mountains, Alaska; Jackson Hole, Teton Pass, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
Days Tested: 40+
Arc’teryx describes the Stinger as a “windproof, waterproof/breathable winter [pant] that is functional yet easy to wear”…“styled for on-area use” with a “clean, sleek silhouette.”
I spent a lot of my season on backcountry tours and deep powder days in the Stinger, and I’d say that description is on point. The Stinger pants are pretty simple, but compared to other similar pieces I’ve worn this season (the Norrona Lofoten, Salomon Foresight pants, and 2012/2013 Patagonia Powslayer bibs), they really stand out in terms of functionality. As I’ll explain below, though straightforward, the details of the Stinger’s design are executed exceptionally well.
Wearing a jacket with a fit that doesn’t quite suit you can certainly be inconvenient when you’re out in the mountains, but in my experience, a pair of pants that doesn’t fit well can be even more problematic. Pants that are too tight in the thighs can restrict movement, making climbing and maneuvering around technical terrain more difficult than it ought to be. And a pair of pants with an overly loose fit can sag at the waist and let snow in, or extra, baggy material can get cut up by edges or gather snow and ice. I’ve experienced all of those issues with other pants before, and none of those issues with the Stinger.
Cut with their “XPD Expedition fit,” Arc’teryx says the Stinger’s fit is “roomier than our Athletic fit and suitable for winter/extreme conditions…cut larger to accommodate multiple layers without binding or restricting movement.” This seems about right, and for me the Stinger’s fit is about as good as it gets in ski pants. I have a relatively narrow waist (32-33 inches) and large diameter thighs (about 26”) and the Stinger fits me well in a size Large. Comparatively, they are cut similarly to, but with a little shorter inseam than, the Norrona Lofoten pants, and are significantly trimmer than the 12/13 Powslayers.
Much like the Arc’teryx Rush Jacket, the Stinger pant is just loose enough to allow for freedom of movement and fit over bulky boots, but isn’t so bulky that you feel like you’re dragging piles of extra fabric around with you, or getting the pants snagged on crampons or ski edges.
Materials: Face Fabric Durability
The Stinger pant, made with Gore-Tex Pro waterproof/breathable membrane, is covered with Arc’teryx’s proprietary n80p-X face fabric, the same material that performed very well under backpack straps and held up against brush on the sleeves and shoulders of the Rush jacket.
I tend to be hard on outerwear, and have a number of patches and cuts in my Patagonia Powslayer bibs, which are two seasons old. I had to have both hip pocket zippers replaced before the end of the first season using them. Despite two weeks of bashing though brush while skiing tight trees in Japan and plenty more snowmachine use, inbounds skiing, and ski touring in AK, the Stingers are relatively unscathed, showing only some light scuff marks. Based on this, I would be reluctant to choose a pair of pants with a heavier face fabric (like that of the Norrona Lofoten), especially for a ski touring setup. The Stinger’s 80 denier face fabric is among the most robust I’ve ever used, making the Stinger as durable a pair of pants as I think I’ll ever need.
Of the 4 waterproof/breathable pants I wore this past season, I would say the Stinger is the most breathable on touring days and while boot packing. My Powslayer bibs feel like they have a lighter face fabric (which, again, isn’t as durable as the Stinger’s) yet were slightly less breathable. This is likely due to the fact that the Stinger pants are made with the new Gore-Tex Pro material, where the Powslayer features the older Gore-Tex Pro Shell. Both Sam Shaheen and I, in comparing the performance of jackets with both Pro Shell and the new Pro, have found the latter noticeably more breathable.
The Norrona Lofoten pants were also great touring pants in terms of their breathability (they’re also made with Gore Pro) but their the face fabric is definitely a little heavier and again doesn’t seem to breath quite as well as the Stinger.
Just like the Rush Jacket, these pants kept me dry even in a mix of snow and rain at Alyeska. Overall I’ve been very happy with the pants’ waterproofing.