Outdoor Research Trailbreaker Softshell Pant - Men's
Outdoor ResearchTrailbreaker Softshell Pant - Men's

Set the skinner.

Someone has to lead, and you'll be more than ready to show everyone the way up in the Outdoor Research Trailbreaker Men's Softshell Pant. Designed with input from IFMGA (International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations) guides—the best mountaineers in the business—the Trailbreaker is a super-breathable and rugged softshell, with a waterproof Pertex Shield+ three-layer membrane on the lower legs to keep you dry when you're powering through fresh with clients, friends, and hangers-on behind you. The articulated knees and stretchy fabric give you top-shelf freedom of movement, while the adjustable waist and removable suspenders ensure that you've got the perfect fit when you're teaching city folk the finer points of kick-turn technique. Outdoor Research also outfitted the Trailbreaker with tons of useful pockets and outer thigh vents to help you stay cool and organized during long days in the alpine.

  • Pertex Shield+ three-layer waterproof and breathable lower-leg membrane
  • Stretchy softshell face fabric
  • Zippered outer-thigh vents
  • Zippered thigh, hand, back, and beacon pockets
  • Detachable suspenders and adjustable tricot-lined waist
  • Articulated knees
  • Stretchy ankle gaiter with ankle zips and scuff guards
  • Reviews
  • Q & A

Skinny thighs

  • Familiarity: I returned this product before using it
  • Fit: Runs small
  • Size Bought: M

Size on these is tough. I'm a medium in every way, but these are too tight in the thighs, so I'm returning for a large. The zips and snaps are burly and the feel is nice. To make these 5 stars, I'd remove the side zips and put some more room in the legs.

Not made for everyday use.

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times
  • Fit: True to size

After 2 weeks of wearing these pants snowmobile guiding they have multiple tears in the supposedly waterproofed lower half. Great pockets. Not very durable. Would not suggestfor serious alpine adventures.

Are these warm/wind resistant enough to wear at the resort, bombing down runs at 40 mph (wind chill) all day?

Great question. More designed for breathability in uphill travel and fine going downhill... but on a cold cold day sitting on chairlifts and not creating your own warmth, I would probably wear a shell.



I have these pants and they were great in the backcountry, but I am skiing Vail this weekend, and I am going to wear our Skyward Pants as my shell.



Hope that helped!



Leta

OR Rep

Great Choice for Skinners

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times
  • Fit: True to size
  • Size Bought: large

Really like these pants. They were recommended to me by a friend who spends much of his professional life in the back country. If you like to skin or boot pack they are perfect. If i had one complaint it would be to lose the gaiter feature and make the bottoms slightly larger to fit a bit easier over an AT boot. I am 6' 180 lbs and the large was perfect.

Great overall performance!

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times
  • Fit: True to size
  • Size Bought: Large

These pants were exactly as described and fit true to size. I really like the zipper on the lower leg to expand around the boot if needed. I ski and snowboard and it allows me to fit them over my snowboard boots comfortably. They are very flexible and there is not binding when climbing. I recently wore those on a warm snowy day and stayed completely dry, I was impressed with the waterproofing on the softshell on the upper leg. All around very happy with these pants.

Solid pant for touring

  • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
  • Fit: Runs small

Another great product from the OR folks. I like the side zips and soft shell fabric for heat regulation/dumping. Fit seems a little smaller than typical—I went a size up but feel a ‘tweener size would have been perfect for me. Now we just need some more regular dumps of snow so I can get back out.

Is that a beacon in your pocket or...?

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times
  • Fit: Runs small
  • Size Bought: Medium

This is another fantastic pair of pants from OR. I am the proud owner of the Blackpowder pants, and think they are the greatest inbound ski pants of all time, and these may be the greatest backcountry pants. The upper fabric is incredibly breathable, and for all of us sweat-hogs, OR has graced us with HUGE 15 inch side zips to dump heat. I know nobody cares, but I tele. One of my favorite features of these pants is the waterproof lower leg. In the front of the pants the waterproofing goes over the knee, while in the back it just goes to the top of your ski boot, allowing the area behind your knee to breathe. I think of this as a built in gaiter. It keeps my pants from becoming saturated on my shin and adds a layer of durability when I am dropping my knee into fresh powder. True to their name, these pants also rock for breaking trail (which I find myself doing often, since my friends cant keep up with my high speed super quads). The suspenders rock, but are easily removable. There are side cinches to make adjustments so you do not need a belt with these pants.

Some downsides to this pant that are really just a personal problem:

The fit of these pants is MUCH slimmer than the fit of the Blackpowder pants. The medium on those is almost too big on me, and the medium on these pants, well, lets just say that even Kim K would be jealous. This might just be because of those high speed super quads I mentioned before (telemark will do that to ya), but who knows. I don't mind the look and feel, in fact I might wear these out on the town to see if I can get a date, however when keeping my Arva Neo in the built in beacon pocket, it stretches the front of the pants a little tighter than I'd like. This is the reason for the title of my review. When you are carrying your beacon in the pocket of these pants, it is quite obvious to any onlookers. The beacon pocket is one of my favorite features of the blackpowder pants, and I hope these pants bag out a little bit over time so the beacon carry gets a bit more comfortable.

The only other knock on these that nobody will care about are the kneepad pockets. My blackpowder pants have awesome kneepad pockets that accommodate Black Diamond Telekenisis knee pads. The knee pad pockets on these pants are designed to put little squares of foam in, not a full blown kneepad. That foam isn't going to do much for me when I drop my knee into a stump, however it will keep my knees warm and prevent more ligament damage than I already have, which is nice.

Overall these pants are the best touring pants I have ever used, and I find it difficult to reccommend any other pants knowing that these exist.

Super Comfortable and Functional

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times
  • Fit: True to size
  • Size Bought: Large

My first thought when wearing these pants for the first time was wow these are so comfortable! There's a small amount of spandex added in to provide enough stretch for taking long strides while skinning. I have only used them several times but I can tell the outer shell is very durable and water resistant. The suspenders are removable if that's not your thing, but I doubt you will be removing them because they are very functional and comfortable. I hate wearing a belt while touring and the suspenders get the job done and I don't even notice them.
The vents are sealed and fully water proofed when zipped closed. With dual zippers you can vent the pant higher up your leg and dump a lot of heat quickly. I like that there's no mesh in the vent, so it's very quick and easy to regulate body temp, and no extra material to get stuck in the teeth.
There's just enough pockets to hold the essentials while touring without being cumbersome. The beacon pocket is an extra chamber sewn into the right hip pocket. I can see this being useful for some, but personally I like to store my phone there and it works great for that. I'll keep my beacon in the harness.
The OR Trailbreaker seems more durable than other Gore Tex 3 layer pants I've owned, and they are definitely more comfortable. If you are looking to get a solid touring pant at a good price, this is the answer!

Great snow trousers

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times
  • Fit: True to size

Got these for winter hiking/mountaineering.
Pros: They work well with boots and crampons, have great fit, are well designed with the waterproof bottom/softshell top and vents.
Cons: Vent zips tent to fall down fairly easily, and after a few uses I got a tear in the crotch stitching. For $200+ pants I'd expect them to hold up a bit better.

Note: at least when I bought these, there was no mesh of any kind under the vent zips, so you'll be...exposed...when unzipping.

Not sure if this is a pro or a con, but they have little guessets at the ankles you can supposedly use to turn the pants into gators. They're so small though, that I gave up trying to figure out how to do that. Nifty idea though.

Overall, solid product from OR.

Thanks for the feedback Bradley. I will let OR know about the feedback as well. For the gaiter, it's the internal piece inside the leg that you pull down around your boot. Hope that makes sense!

Leta
OR Rep

Great Pants

    I bought these for my boyfriends and he said - I'm new to touring, but these pants are outstanding. Very adjustable, slim fit which I like. True to size. The suspenders are a very nice feature and they are fully adjustable, tough velcro. These are super comfy and I feel like I can wear them around town without losing any cool points. Highly recommended.

    Hey Teresa! Thank you for sharing! So glad he loves them!

    Leta
    OR Rep

    Versatile go-to ski tour pant

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
    • Fit: True to size
    • Size Bought: Medium

    Love these pants. Functionality, Comfort and Fit are incredible. Functionality: There are several stashing options on these, from an netting lined beacon pocket to back leg pocket (prevents feeling whatever you put in it, every step you take. The air vents on both sides offer direct air flow, come with two zippers (you can move your air vent opening higher on your leg when breaking trail in deep snow). Not to mention these direct air vents allow for easy knee brace adjusments! Comfort: The fabric structure allows you to keep dry on your lower leg, where snow is constantly in contact (More hard-shell material). The upper leg and back of leg is where you are dumping heat through the more soft-shell material. Fit: Despite the photo, these are not bulky pants by any means. I would call it more of an athletic fit; tight enough to not get in your way when you are hiking all day, wearing harnesses or doing more technical ski mountaineering; but loose enough to be comfortable in every step you take and not feel like you don't have room to move. Overall, have yet to find a better constructed ski touring pant. I am 5'9'' and have a medium (I could have possibly gone with a small if I wanted a tighter fit).

    Great touring pant

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times
    • Fit: True to size
    • Size Bought: Small

    These pants are incredible!! I got these a couple weeks into the 16/17 winter season and have used them every day since.
    They stay dry in deep powder yet somehow still manage to be incredibly breathable. Even while going all out on the skin track I struggle to sweat out in them. And that's with all the zippers zipped--no extra ventilation. Granted my experience thus far with these pants is winter in Colorado--with temps mostly around 20F. On sunny spring days they might get hot, but then you wouldn't really need the lower-leg hardshell anyways.

    Also they are super comfy, and I end up wearing them around the cabin the rest of the day apres ski. The pockets are excellent: pocket for snacks (keeping them close to your hot quads is good if you don't like frozen clif bars), pocket for phone, pocket for beacon (my favorite).

    My only gripe is the built-in gaiter is too baggy for lightweight ski boots such as Scarpa Aliens. This isn't a huge deal as I've never had snow get into the top of my boots, but a snugger fit would still be nice. I'm 5'11", 150lb with a 29-30" waist and the small fits wonderfully.

    Great review - thank you Peter!

    Leta
    OR Rep

    Favorite Ski Pants!

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
    • Fit: True to size
    • Size Bought: Small

    The OR Trailbreaker pant is in my top 5 favorite pieces of gear without a doubt! I wear these pants year round for skiing. They block wind and are warm enough for the winter with a medium base layer underneath but can also morph into spring/summer mode by removing the gaiters and opening the side vents. The waterproof lower legs are great for breaking trail in deep snow while the mid-weight soft-shell uppers help keep you dry by moving moisture away from your body. My favorite part of this piece is the updated fit that came out ~1 year ago. Previously they were "euro-tight" now they're a nice moderately athletic cut. I wear a small in this iteration and in the past version I could barely put the small on. If you're upgrading from the older version, size accordingly.

    Favorite Ski Pants!

    great pant

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times
    • Fit: True to size
    • Size Bought: small

    I have muscular legs and was worried that these would be a bit tight and have a "Euro" fit but have found them to be right on in size - I got them in Small - my waist is 31". Zippers and vents work well as expected. Sleeve in right front pocket is small and fiddly to get beacon in while wearing the pants . Built in gaiters are pretty snug on T1's. So far great for spring skin / ski in New Mexico - adaptable and breathable. Looking forward to trying them in colder snowier conditions.

    Disappointing

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
    • Fit: True to size

    I just got these pants and took them on a hut trip in BC...these pants look great. Pockets are ample and useful. BUT...the internal gaitor is poorly designed and the zipper on the cuffs are cheap. The gaitor is made for you to weave your powerstrap through the cuff, so you can adjust it without pulling up the gaitor. Sounds good, huh? Except that the soft shell fabric of the pant sticks to the velcro of the powerstrap, causing the fabric to pull and fall apart. The zippers on the cuff are also poorly made...one zipper broke on day one of use.
    Sigh...I was expecting better for this much money.

    Is there any Pertex shield in the seat of the pants? Looking for some new winter backpacking pants that are more on the fitted side. These sound great but would probably need some level of WP in the back side.

    Best Answer

    Hi there - no, the Pertex Sheild+ is only on the lower leg, leaving the rest of the pant incredibly breathable. Hoep that helps,



    Leta

    OR Rep

    Best Got Better

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
    • Fit: True to size
    • Size Bought: Large

    I had the 2013 model of these and wore them for every possible BC outing, ranging from mellow winter tours in the trees to heli skiing in AK. They were amazing, breathable, windproof. My only gripe was they kinda had a Euro fit, especially for my huge thighs - I definitely received more than 1 "skinny jeans" comment.

    Alas, I just got the new version and can say all the great features of the pants remain unchanged but OR relaxed the fit a bit. Now they are perfect.

    Thanks for the great review, Matt!

    Leta
    OR Rep

    Kickass BC ski pant!

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times
    • Fit: True to size
    • Size Bought: Small

    These are the best backcountry ski/snowboard soft shells I’ve encountered! They area a nice weight for cold and dry conditions in the Rockies when paired with lightweight long underwear/tights or by themselves in the warm, damp PNW. They shed water well and are very durable. The gator cuff and zippered outer fits perfectly and securely over a ski boot or even snowboard boot. They’ve made some good improvements on the side zippers to dump excess heat. The zips are longer than many competitors, don’t have the mesh getting in the way and collecting snow, and so far have done a great job of not unzipping further when you’re active and have them partially unzipped. There’s lots of deep, zippered pockets—I guess it would make more sense to put the beacon clip on a different pocket than the front one since it would get in the way at times, but I don’t keep my beacon in my pants pockets anyway. I particularly love how they cinch down if you’re in between sizes or layering. There are Velcro tabs that, when pulled adjust an internal belt system—and they stay in place. And the gator cuff on the inside thigh is durable to avoid rips from crampons as one would expect from OR. These pants are so well designed and do exactly what you want and need in a backcountry ski pant. Well done, OR! P.S. - I'm a woman and ordered the women's trailbreaker, but my husband owns the men's and also loves them. Women's aren't listed on this site.

    Do these pants fit over snowboarding boots?

    Hey Kjd, thanks for your question! Yep! These should fit just fine over snowboard boots.

    I have worn them over my snowboard boots just fine. I am a woman, 5'3" 135lbs and wear a size S with large snowboard boots.

    Great Skinners

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times
    • Fit: True to size
    • Size Bought: XL

    Picked these up for a San Juan Mountains trip. We had a few really warm and a few really cool days and these worked great for both. Adjust your base layers for temp and these will work right along with it. Pockets are roomy and easy to get in and out, huge fan of the back right thigh pocket for Avy book. The suspenders were cheapo with weak velcro and kept wanting to tear at the base layers and pill them up. Easy and cheap swap or go without.

    Hey Ryan! Welcome to the Backcountry Community!