Last week we published an initial review on several ski pants. Beyond the fabric and feature details, things like a thigh pocket clip-in point for a beacon, I had my eye on one thing in particular: are there suspenders?
I know. There’s a loud chorus singing suspenders are useless (read lame), extraneous with a functional built-in belt system, or just not as fashionable as the cool ski belts on offer. If you’re not into suspenders or don’t want the option for suspenders, this piece might not be for you. If you’re open to the idea of suspenders, then read on.
As far as I could tell, none of the four pants in the review had suspenders. That, it turns out for me, is no longer a deal-breaker. After years of inertia, I learned to sew using a sewing machine this fall. (Thanks to my kind mother-in-law for the hand me down.)
The primary reason I wanted to learn to sew, and this may be shallow, was to mend a prized pair of corduroys (this was a failure) and learn to affix tabs on ski pants so they would be compatible with suspenders.
I’m uncertain of the specific model (I think Procline), as they may be nearly a decade old, but they are Arc’teryx softshell pants; they were beloved for seasons. Although now faded, pocked with holes here and there, and zero DWR performance, I love them still, but more from a distance. I replaced them with Arc’teryx’s new Procline pants released this fall.
I should have replaced the originals a few years back, but I failed to find something with a similar fit and suspenders. So I jumped into what some might think of as a simple DIY, but it was a mega-leap for me. I planned to sew small suspender tabs on the new pants after my rudimentary skills upgraded from, say, unpassable to barely passable. The tabs allow for the suspenders to hook into place and remain secure.
Materials needed: a sewing machine (but maybe just a needle and thread), 3/4″ wide non-roll Elastic, ski pants, perhaps a ruler, and confidence. I marked the three spots for the tabs, including one dead-center on the back waist and two tabs maybe three inches to each side of the center-front. I cut the tabs approximately 1″ in length, folded them in half, pinned them, and sewed them pseudo-bar-tack style inside the waist. The process took roughly 30 minutes. But in more confident hands, one can complete the job in half the time.
Presto, I could take the suspenders off the old pants and use them on the new Proclines. So far, although my friend told me not to pursue sewing professionally, the images speak to my lack of skill; the makeshift suspender system works great and appears durable.
Since they are slightly too long for my inseam, my next DIY on the pants is a DIY hem: onward and upward.
Jason Albert comes to WildSnow from Bend, Oregon. After growing up on the East Coast, he migrated from Montana to Colorado and settled in Oregon. Simple pleasures are quiet and long days touring. His gray hair might stem from his first Grand Traverse in 2000 when rented leather boots and 210cm skis were not the speed weapons he had hoped for. Jason survived the transition from free-heel kool-aid drinker to faster and lighter (think AT), and safer, are better.