Armada Crest Pants
Size Tested: Large
Blister’s Measured Weight: 510 grams
GORE-TEX® 3L with GORE C-KNIT backer
- 100% Seam Sealed
- Adjustable inner waistband
- Lycra boot gaiter
- Inner leg vents
- Lower boot gussets
- Pant-to-jacket snap interface
- RECCO® avalanche rescue system
- SCHOELLER® KEPROTEC® Cuff reinforcement
- YKK AQUAGUARD® zippers
- 2 zippered hand pockets
- 2 zippered thigh cargo pockets
Reviewer: 6’,0” 175 lbs
Days Tested: 15
Test Locations: Porters Ski Area, NZ; Teton Pass, & Grand Targhee, WY
We recently reviewed the Armada Sherwin jacket and came away impressed — it’s a great inbounds jacket with a feature set that works well in the backcountry, too. Armada says about the Crest pant that it “goes with the Sherwin Jacket like PB&J, so it’s no surprise that this pant is durable, waterproof and comfortable.” I used the Crest in conjunction with the Sherwin in New Zealand as well as this fall and winter in the Tetons, and I’d have to agree with Armada — the Crest complements the Sherwin very well.
Like the Sherwin, the Crest has Armada’s “moderately tailored” fit. That means it’s a little longer and baggier than the Arc’teryx Sabre, and just a touch baggier than the Strafe Cham2 pants. I generally wear size 32/34 pants, and the waist of the size Large Crest pants is a little wide for me, but the length is spot on for a baggier, freeride fit. The Crest has a velcro waist adjustment system that cinched down around my waist, but there is still some excess fabric wadded up around my waist, so I prefer to wear an Arcade belt while skiing in the Crest. Like the Sherwin jacket, the Crest pants sit closer to the baggier / “Saga” end of the spectrum than the ultra-fitted, mountaineering extreme, but they aren’t ridiculously baggy at all, and there isn’t so much excess material that they inhibit movement while touring.
Like the Sherwin jacket, the Crest uses a Gore C-KNIT material with a light flannel backer. I’m a huge fan. They feel thicker, softer, and quieter than a typical Gore Pro shell, and they have held up very well so far. I often find that my ski pants wet out at the front of the thighs in wet and windy conditions, and while I’ve skied in some pretty terrible weather in the Crest pants (and Sherwin jacket) I haven’t had any issues.
The C-KNIT material does mean that these pieces don’t breathe as well as something like the Strafe Cham2 pants (which use Polartec NeoShell), and my legs have tended to overheat a little more. But for use both on shorter tours and inbounds days, I’d take C-KNIT in a heartbeat, just for the softer, thicker feel and the added weatherproofing.
The Crest has a very simple four-pocket layout. The two hand pockets fit a wallet or a phone easily, but they aren’t too deep, so if you leave the pocket unzipped, don’t expect your phone to stay in there. Luckily the zippers are easy to use molded YKK affairs, and I haven’t run into any trouble actuating them with mittens on.
The two cargo pockets are closed with zippers and a velcro flap, and they’re big enough to fit a hat and gloves easily in each. I really like these pockets while touring. I stuff my mittens, hat, and facemask into one, and a couple ski straps live in the other. That way it’s easy to access anything I need without having to fumble in hard to access jacket pockets or take off my pack.
The Crest doesn’t have a dedicated beacon pocket. The thigh pockets would hold a transceiver easily, but I’ve opted for a harness for the added security, since there is no loop in any pocket to clip it to.
The Crest has two 31 cm inner thigh vents. I’m usually a fan of outer thigh vents on touring pants since I feel like they’re easier to access and dump heat faster. But on a “50/50” inbounds + backcountry” pant like the Crest, I don’t really mind the inner vents; so far, they’ve been really easy to open and close, even with mittens on, and they’ve dumped heat well on the colder winter tours I’ve been doing.
The Crest has SCHOELLER KEPROTEC cuff reinforcements that extend up on the inside and around the cuff. So far these aren’t showing any wear, which is impressive given how much I bang my feet together. I do have a couple of small wear areas above the reinforcement from missed Japan grabs, but none that have cut through yet. I did tear through the Gore K-KNIT on the outside of the cuff while buckling my boots coming off the lift. I’d blame that on user error though — I was trying to buckle my boots while skiing into the traverse, and they caught on the pant and I forced it until it tore a little. So I sewed it up and haven’t had any issues.
The inner cuff is a minimalist Lycra affair with no hooks or buttons. I really appreciate this, I’ve used some cuffs that had a hook to hold it down on the boot, but often the cuff would ride up above the boot and then the hook would get stuck between my shin and liner which was uncomfortable. I don’t notice the Crest’s inner cuffs while skiing, which is exactly what I’d want.
Just like its partner, the Sherwin jacket, the Crest is a capable, versatile, and very waterproof pant. I haven’t worn a pant that felt this thick — without feeling heavy — in a while, and I’ve really appreciated it. I’m less worried about tearing it on trees, and no wind or water gets through, which is a huge plus on windy resort days. The Arc’teryx Sabre pant feels about as thick in terms of weather resistance, but is much stiffer and heavier (about 200 g) and the stiffer material makes it feel straighter on my legs, instead of folding naturally. I also find the Crest’s pocket layout to be more intuitive and easier to use than the Sabre, especially in the backcountry.
The Crest doesn’t have the beacon pocket, breathability, or more dedicated venting system of more touring-oriented pants, but the Crest holds its own on the skin track and I have no major complaints after several full-day tours.
If you’re looking for a weatherproof pant with a freeride fit and a heftier feel for bad weather, the Armada Crest is a really good choice. Its Gore C-KNIT construction shines in foul weather, and its pocket layout and simple feature set make it a reliable performer whether you’re riding chairlifts in the rain, or touring for PNW pillows.