REI Taku Softshell Pants

I recently climbed Mt Rainier via the Disappointment Cleaver with a pair of REI Taku softshell pants and I have to say they absolutely rocked.  I’ll admit that I was a little nervous about only taking softshell pants on Rainier.  The mountain is known for strong winds and fierce weather after all and this was my first trip with this particular pair of softshell pants.

[singlepic=41,320,240,,left]The first day on Rainier is a long slog up to Camp Muir.  If you look at some of the pictures in my trip report the weather was absolutely miserable.  It was a combination of rain, sleet and mist with a steady wind that was less than pleasant.  I was seriously impressed with the performance of the Taku pants.  I stayed dry and comfortable and best of all the wind didn’t penetrate the pants.

My climbing partner that day was wearing a pair of Outdoor Research Furio pants over a pair of Patagonia Mixmasters and he was soaked from the outside in and the inside out.  The hardshell soaked through as did his ‘Pata-gucci’ pants while my basic REI pants rocked my world.

The clutch aspect of these pants is that they are a combination of hardshell and softshell.  The front of the thighs and the back of the calves are softshell which is great for breathing but the seat and the shins/knees are a hardshell material.  This combination works out perfectly because the hardshell is only where you need it and the rest of the pant can breath.  They also have a thigh vent which is a feature I haven’t seen on any other softshell.

I have to say that these pants are among my all time best buys and I would highly recommend them.

For full disclosure I was wearing a capiline baselayer underneath the REI Taku pants which definately helped these pants rock out.  Also, check out my full Rainier gear list if you want to see everything I brought.

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  1. I’m going to try to summit in a couple of weeks, and was looking for some pants. Your great experience with these guys makes me want them – but I am 6′ 5″ and they don’t seem to make anything for my size.

    I’m quite interested in the fact that your friend had such a terrible time with his setup – the gear he had seems to be quite highly rated. Did he have an unusually large amount of contact with snow – ie falling/sitting?

    Did anyone else in your group or that you spoke with stay dry?

  2. Sammy-

    I think the reason my buddies gear failed was three fold. One is that the hardshell pants wetted out and formed a thin layer of water on the outside. The second reason is that the Patagonia Mixmaster softshell he was wearing underneath the hardshell are made for winter travel and are kind of warm. As a result he decided not to wear a base layer. The base layer is clutch because it takes the sweat off your skin and allows it to evaporate more easily. By not wearing a base layer he was also able to feel the wetted out hardshell. The third reason is simply the hardshell did its job and blocked the wind which made it impossible for the moisture trapped in the Mixmasters to escape and hence dry out.

    I would still highly recommend the REI Taku pants but there are some alternatives such as the Mammut Champ pants but those are strictly softshell material.

    If you find a hybrid pant that works please let me know about it.


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  4. Hi Jon

    Can you give me an advice? I want to buy a winter pant for hicking in the mountains. It should waterproof or at least water resistant. I´m thinking in REI Taku or Rab Latok Tour ……
    I´ll probably made some sky also..
    Can we use the REI Taku without a base layer?!

    Can you help me on this?!

    Thank you!