ProView – Rab Torque Light Pants
With COVID protocols letting up here around Golden, Colorado, I was stoked to take the Rab Torque Light pants out and get on some much-needed rock. So I took them to the local climbing Mecca of Eldorado Canyon State Park to abuse them on the vast array of classics found there. The Torque Light pants accompanied me through “the works” weather-wise and handled everything nicely.
Rab Torque Light Pant
Product Description: With their lightweight softshell construction, our Torque Light Pants are built to keep you cool and protected on strenuous summer climbs. To keep you in control during high-intensity mountain work, our Torque Light Pants are built from highly breathable double weave Matrix™ softshell fabric - a light, durable, quick-drying material, with outstanding moisture management properties, generous stretch and easy packability. To help make the most of those inherent qualities, the pants are designed with a rectangular gusset and articulated knees for easy-flex comfort when you lift your legs high. Additional features include twin-needle inside leg and rise seams for durability in exposed environments, as well as a useful mix of pocket options. With two open side pockets, a zipped thigh pocket and a zipped rear pocket, there’s plenty of space to tailor your carry to the demands of the day. At just 285g, our low-weight, high-stretch Torque Light Pants are advanced summer climbing trousers with a modest and accessible everyday style.
Offer price: $115 MSRP
Rab has delivered a lightweight, breathable, and comfortable warm-weather climbing pant with all the features you want and none that you don’t. These are a strong competitor in the realm of summer rock and alpine climbing pants. Just make sure to get them fitted before purchasing online because although everyone’s body is different, I found Rab’s sizing odd.
- Thoughtful Design
- Odd Fit
- Weak Waistband
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take the Torque Light pants on any alpine climbs this season after suffering a season-ending injury due to rockfall on Granite Peak in Montana. However, I paraded them around on a tour of all the Eldo classics this spring and early summer along with some cragging in Clear Creek Canyon here and there for good measure. Throughout testing I found the Torque Light pants to be a very comfortable rock pant in all the temperamental weather rolling through on a summer day. The fabric of the pants repelled water and wind well enough that I never noticed being uncomfortable wet or cold after the rains rolled through. Yet, belaying in the direct sun of midday I once again never found the pants being uncomfortably warm. For me, they seemed to have just the right weather resistance to breathability.
I have a hard time finding the “right” fit with pants which has led me to use a wide array of soft-shell climbing and mountaineering pants. The Rab Torque Light pants stood out in a few regards and also had a few drawbacks that I’ll discuss below. Overall though, the pants were very comfortable and one of my all-time favorites for a rock pant.
I am 6’1” tall and 185 lbs with thicker thighs and generally wear a 33 or 34Wx32L in men’s pants. On occasion I wear 32Wx32L, the Torque Light pants are one of those occasions. The pants run pretty standard in sizing around the thighs compared to similar pants on the market. However, their waist sizing is definitely off from what I found. The Torque Light pants do not have belt loops, but rather an elastic waistband that runs around the entire waist. My biggest complaint with the pants is that even wearing size 32W which is on the small size for me normally, once I began hiking in the pants the action of hiking uphill and sweating would loosen up this elastic to the point the pants were falling down somewhat. It is as if the elastic waistband doesn’t have a much narrower profile than the fabric below the waist so there is not much constriction per se. Once the pants are under a harness and on a route they are very comfortable. Had the waistband fit well I would have easily rated these pants near 5 stars!
I went with the “Ink” coloration (vibrant blue) and absolutely love the look and style of the pant. Rab has a striking blue and bright red color for some and a black and gray pant to suite others styles. Overall the pant has a beautifully simplistic design meant to get the job done.
The Torque Light pants come equipped with what I consider the standard pocket arrangement I have been seeing on climbing pants around the market today. This includes two hand pockets, a single rear pocket, and a right thigh pocket. The back and thigh pockets have zippered closures to keep your phone or other valuables secure. All of the pockets are nice and deep. The nicest feature I found though is the location of the thigh pocket. It seems to be located just further down the leg than some of my other climbing pants that make it just perfect to access below the thigh loop of my harness without the harness interfering with the zippered opening.
As I have stated elsewhere, the Rab Torque Light pants are very comfortable as a warm-weather rock pant. They provide enough weather resistance to keep you comfortable from intermittent storms but definitely breathe enough to keep you cool in direct sunlight while offering UV protection. The pants had great stretch throughout testing and I never noticed them hindering my movement across the multitude of climbing moves I completed while wearing them.
These pants feel very well constructed and I believe thus far have shown somewhat higher durability than other similar pants that I own. The Torque Light pants are a lightweight pant and will no doubt not have the same life as a thicker pant obviously, but I will gladly take the lightweight fabric to keep me from sweating in the midday heat or from being exposed to the sun in shorts. As of now, I do not have any visible scuffs or holes in my Torque Light pants after a dozen or more times climbing all day.
Friendliness to the Earth
As a biologist I love to see the outdoor industry pursuing greener options wherever and whenever they can. I am very proud of Rab in this regard. Rab has one of the most robust set of goals that I have seen in the outdoor industry thus far. You can see all these awesome initiatives online at their site, but I will sum it up here. Rab is committed to addressing their overall impact as a company which includes converting their “UK offices and manufacturing and distribution site will be 100% renewable energy” as well as increasing the amount of recycled material they use in their products and packaging. Rab is apart of a handful of groups and organizations pushing for greener solutions such as research into replacing DWR’s in the outdoor industry that have been found to be long lasting and toxic as well as actively funding conservation initiatives. They are also driving a “war against plastic” as they say which includes trying to minimize plastics in their distribution chain, investing in research to combat microfibers in the environments, and trying to minimize their use of single use plastics. In terms of the collection of their products, they primarily use Certified Responsible Down Standard (RDS) down feathers in their products which ensures the best practices for animal welfare or the use of recycled materials. From everything I can tell Rab is doing a fantastic job and I truly hope they can serve as an inspiration for other businesses.
The Final Word
Rab has delivered a durable and comfortable lightweight pant for rock climbing. I am sad that I wasn’t able to take these pants into the alpine this season, but I look forward to beating them around on some alpine granite in 2021. I really enjoyed the movement and stretch on these pants allowing for comfortable climbing. I really wish Rab would either create a tighter elastic band for the waist or add some belt loops so I can thread something through to keep them up on the approach. Don’t let that deter you though, these are some of the best warm weather rock pants I have used thus far!
About the Gear Tester
Zach is an aspiring alpinist, ski mountaineer, climber, and photographer. He is a Wilderness First Responder and frequently volunteers with the Colorado Mountain Club to help train future mountaineers. Zach works part-time as a marine biologist in Alaska and a wildlife biologist here in Colorado. You can catch him climbing around Golden where he lives today.