The Marmot Scree Softshell just hit the Marmot End of Season Sale with a nice fat discount (Women’s are $66 at Marmot, and start at $39.95 at Steep & Cheap; Men’s down to $55), and they’re one of my most loved softshells. I totally struck gold on them – wandering into REI 4 years ago and dropping full price on whatever the sales staff thought would get me up and down Adams, but they’ve absolutely been worth the investment. Here’s a few things I love about mine:
- The fit. I have a small collection of softshell and trail pants, and somehow despite having the figure of a 12 year old boy, somehow I’m still struggle with pants that fit in the butt, hips, and thighs and gape at the waist. They have a tendency to sag and restrict my movement, and come dangerously close to showing off some whale tail when I bend over. The Screes have a nice, medium rise and nips in at the waist, where they feel nice & secure without a belt or harness. Also – pro tip for the curvy crowd: if you’re scouting a new brand, find the ratio between the hip and the waist measurements on the size chart to get a sense of how booty-friendly the brand is. For my size, Marmot’s hip measurement is 42% larger than the waist spec. One of my other go-to brands, Arc’teryx, has a hip measurement 40% larger. And my Patagonia Simul Alpine Softshells only measure 22% wider at the waist than the hip, which explains why I find their fit a little awkward.
Sizing runs a tad small. My Prana Halle and Patagonia Simul Alpine pants are both 0s. I have the Scree pants in a 4 Short, and they’re only a smidge looser. From trying the 2s, they seem a little tighter than a 0 from Prana or Patagonia.
- Durability. I’d ballpark that the durability for the Scree pants are about on par with the Arc’teryx Gamma AR pants based on the fabric weight, weave, and fiber composition. But if that estimate is a little off, just take solace in the fact that you can buy roughly 3 pairs of the Screes before matching the MSRP of the Gamma AR. I did notice that a thread on my Screes started to come loose within the first year of purchase. At this point, I’ve probably pulled yards of thread out of these pants, but they don’t seem to be coming apart. Magic? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
- Climate Control. My favorite thing about these pants is how well they handle wild swings in the weather. They do a great job of blocking the wind, and I’ve been impressed with the water resistance. And like the Gamma AR, they have a brushed backing that adds warmth in cold weather, but the brushed fibers also wick extremely well, which keeps them from feeling to hot or swampy when the weather warms up. They were the perfect pants for Rainier, where I was warm enough in below-freezing weather on the summit, but just as comfortable laying in the sun with a bag of Doritos once we were done. And I’ve been most impressed with how quickly these pants dry. Coming down from Silver Star, our group got off trail and ended up fording the creek in thigh-deep water. It only took a few steps on the other side for my pants to feel dry – wish I could’ve said the same about my boots!
- Stretch. The Scree pants have 10% spandex in the fabric, which makes them one of the stretchiest pants on the market. The Gamma MX has 8%, my Prana Halle pants have 3%, and the Patagonia Simul Alpine pants have 0% in the main body & a hint of stretch in the gusset. I don’t usually do the splits on climbs, but when a friend tells me to bring my pointe shoes and stretch out for some photo fun after a long slog in, the spandex really comes in handy.
- They live up to their namesake. I thought the name “Scree” was peculiar. Odd flex to name a pair of pants for something annoying. It’s not exactly industry standard to name an item after a rain-on-snow event, slide alder, or chunder. But I wore them scree skiing down a giant choss pile in the Pasayten Wilderness, and somehow made it back to the trail without a single rock in my shoes. The taper at the ankle gives it a bit of a mom-jeans look, but it’s nice to be able to skip gaiters.
- One Good Pocket. This is specific to the women’s version – I’m sure you could backpack for a week out of the men’s. But the women’s has two zipper pockets at the hip, which don’t hold a ton, but there’s a nice zipper pocket that holds my phone, even though it’s arguably a tablet. And it’s low enough that I don’t have to worry about interference with a beacon.
- This season’s colors. Marmot makes quite… questionable decisions from a design perspective. They’re still chasing heavily into ombre & ikat, even though they exploded 6 years ago and has cooled off significantly since then, and sometimes combining both or marrying them up with unflattering seamwork and colorblocking. And in years past, Marmot made similarly questionable choices for the Screes with neon pink and teal, but this year’s seasonal colors of Dark Steel and Crocodile are really nice. They’re neutral enough to go with a variety of jackets, but more fun than plain black. The forest-y green with neon yellow hits is on-trend and relevant, and likewise reminiscent of heavily used color palates for both genders from tastemakers like Arc’teryx and Patagonia.