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Montbell Thermawrap Pant Review

This full-featured synthetic insulated pant really fits well, and it’s a great value – if you want or need the features.

Recommended

Overall Rating: Recommended

The Montbell Thermawrap Pant is full-featured, with full-length leg zippers, zippered side pockets, and zippered fly. It is also fitted very well; not baggy but still roomy enough to be worn over another insulating layer or over hiking pants. Its 15 denier Ballistic Airlight shell is remarkably durable and water-resistant. The decision gets down to if you want and need the features (especially the full side zips). If so, then the Thermawrap is an excellent choice and a great value. However, if you want the most warmth for the weight, then a no frills insulated pant like the BMW Cocoon UL 60 might be a better choice.

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by Will Rietveld |

Overview

Montbell Thermawrap Pant Review - 1
Montbell Thermawrap Pant on an early summer mountain backpacking trip. The temperature was 30 F.

The Montbell Thermawrap Pant is a full-featured, lightweight, synthetic insulated pant. It packs a lot of features and warmth into its eleven ounce weight (size large), making it a highly versatile piece for year-around use. In comparison, the Bozeman Mountain Works Cocoon UL 60 Pant is a simple pull-on with few features and more insulation, and weighs 3.6 ounces less. The issue I would like to address in this review of the Thermawrap is whether the features are worth the extra weight.

Look at the list of features in the Specifications section below; Montbell has masterfully incorporated a lot of features into the Thermawrap Pant while keeping weight to a minimum. The key issue is whether or not you want or need all of these features, compared to keeping it simple and light.

I selected the Thermawrap Pant to use on an eleven-day winter camping trip in Yellowstone National Park, where we build three different igloo base camps and skied the surrounding areas. My legwear clothing system consisted of thin wool long johns (Ibex Woolies), an insulation layer (Montbell Thermawrap), and a shell layer (Rab Bergen Pant). I typically wore the wool long johns and eVENT Bergen Pant for daytime winter travel, and my plan for extra warmth on very cold or windy days was to add the Thermawrap Pant without having to take my boots off. It worked perfectly, thanks to the full length side zippers on the Thermawrap. In our igloos at night, I wore all three layers.

Beyond using the Thermawrap on our Yellowstone odyssey, I wore it as a midlayer on several backcounty skiing trips at high elevations and cold temperatures and found it to be very warm and versatile. When I heated up while climbing with skins, I opened the side zips for extra ventilation, and closed them on descents to keep the snow out.

As winter gave way to spring and summer, I wore the Thermawrap as leg insulation in camp and in my ultralight sleeping bag. When I donned them for camping insulation, I found the zippered hand pockets to be useful for keeping things handy, but the full-length leg zips were not needed. I also liked the zippered fly. Especially notable is the Thermawrap Pant fits very well, at least for me. I have a thirty-four-inch waist and thirty-two-inch inseam, and the size Large Thermawrap fit me perfectly. It has a trim fit, the knees are articulated, and the legs are adequately long. Although it’s a trimmer fit, I found that I could wear the Thermawrap either under or over my hiking pants or hiking shorts. And Montbell’s 15 denier Ballistic Airlight nylon shell is lightweight, but remarkably durable and water repellent.

Montbell Thermawrap Pant Review - 2
The Thermawrap’s full-length side zips with double sliders allow the pant to be donned without taking your boots off. It also allows temperature regulation if the pant is worn while hiking or skiing.

Now I would like to address my earlier question - are the features worth the extra weight? It depends on your intended usage. The full-length side zips with double sliders are definitely useful for winter travel on cold days. They go on without taking boots off and allow temperature adjustment by opening the zips. However, for adding insulation in camp, the side zippers are not really needed, unless you prefer to donn the Thermawrap Pant over hiking pants or shorts without taking your boots off.

To compare the Thermawrap with an alternative “no frills” insulated pant, I constructed the following table comparing the Montbell Thermawrap with the Bozeman Mountain Works Cocoon UL 60 pant, which has a Pertex Quantum shell and lining, but no extra features other than an elastic drawcord and cuffs.

Pant Size Weight (oz) Insulation Inseam (in) Total Length (in) MSRP
Montbell Thermawrap L 11 Exceloft 50 g/m2 33.5 44 $130
BMW Cocoon UL 60 M 7.4 Polarguard Delta 68 g/m2 31 45.5 $180
BMW Cocoon Pro 60 Side Zip M 12 Polarguard Delta 68 g/m2 31 45.5 $230

Some interesting comparisons are as follows:

The BMW pants run large, so a Medium Cocoon is roughly equivalent to a Large Thermawrap.

The Cocoon has thicker insulation, 68 g/m2 versus 50 for the Thermawrap.

The Cocoon weighs 3.6 ounces less.

The Cocoon has a shorter inseam, but the pant is longer because it has a longer draw (distance from the waist to the crotch).

The Thermawrap costs $50 less.

I added the BMW Cocoon Pro 60 Side Zip to the above table to provide a comparison of two similar pants. Note that the BMW Pro 60 weighs one ounce more, but it has a Pertex Quantum Endurance Mini-Ripstop shell (1.3 oz/sq2), which makes it suitable as an outer layer in cold conditions. It also costs $100 more.

The bottom line is that the Montbell Thermawrap is more versatile legwear if you want an insulated pant that can be donned without taking your boots off. It also fits very well and has pockets and has articulated knees, while the BMW Cocoon is plain and baggy. It’s also an excellent value compared to the Cocoon. Personally, I like the Thermawrap best for winter snow travel, but for summer backpacking in the mountains I will the take the Cocoon because it has the most warmth for the weight.

Specifications

  Manufacturer:

Montbell (http://www.montbell.com/)

  Year/Model:

2008 Thermawrap Pant

  Sizes:

Unisex XS, S, M, L, XL

  Materials:

Outer shell and lining are 15d Ballistic Airlight, hollow fiber calendered nylon with DWR

  Insulation:

Exceloft 50 g/m2

  Features:

Two zippered hand pockets, zippered fly, elastic waist with drawcord and snap, full size zips with two-way pulls, all zipper, concealed zippers, elastic cuffs with snap tab, articulated knees, gusseted crotch, stuff sack

  Weight:

measured weight men’s Large 11 oz (312 g), manufacturer specification 10.3 oz (292 g) size Medium

  MSRP:

$130 USD

Citation

"Montbell Thermawrap Pant Review," by Will Rietveld. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/montbell_thermawrap_pant_review.html, 2008-09-02 00:00:00-06.

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Montbell Thermawrap Pant Review
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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Montbell Thermawrap Pant Review on 09/02/2008 20:47:32 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Montbell Thermawrap Pant Review

Adrian B
(adrianb) - MLife

Locale: Auckland, New Zealand
Re: Montbell Thermawrap Pant Review on 09/03/2008 02:40:56 MDT Print View

It seems a little unfair to compare to a virtually out of stock and presumably out of production product (the UL 60 Pant is only available in XS & XXL as I write this).

Joshua Mitchell
(jdmitch) - F

Locale: Kansas
Re: Re: Montbell Thermawrap Pant Review on 09/03/2008 08:34:30 MDT Print View

Especially considering the cost savings of the Montbell as compared to the UL 60's.

Aaron Zuniga
(gliden2) - F

Locale: Northwest
Montbell Thermawrap Pant on 09/03/2008 11:19:01 MDT Print View

I'm a fan of the Integral Designs PLQ Pants! They come in at 9.3oz in a Medium and are only $140. Simple,great insulator,fair price, and can actually find them instock. The Montbell Thermawrap seem to be feature rich at the cost of 3 oz more than the BMW Cocoon and PLQ Pants. If were to be using them in Winter pursuits then maybe, but if I'm just trying to add a couple degrees to my sleep system then I'd prefer the BMW Cocoon or the PLQ Pants.

Andrew Hatfield
(autarkis) - F
Recommended on 09/06/2008 06:13:32 MDT Print View

I bought a pair of these pants at the beginning of this year, and would recommend them to anyone who needs a winter insulating layer. I was on a photo trip to Hokkaido, Japan and these kept me warm while standing and sitting in snow for hours in -15c weather.

They pack down nicely, hold up to a little rough handling with no problems, and allowed me to withstand cold beyond most of the other photographers on the trip. I have not done any exertion/hiking in these but the small amount of weight makes it an easy decision to bring them in case extra warmth is needed.

Andrew

Tim Garner
(slowhike) - F

Locale: South East U.S.
Montbell Thermawrap Pant on 09/06/2008 09:51:12 MDT Print View

I have a pair of the Montbell Thermawrap Pants & I loves them!!!
To me, the extra features, especially the full length side zips, are well worth the extra weight/bulk.
I have a much wider comfort range with the full length side zips.

In milder temps, I can leave the next to skin layers home & wear the Thermawrap pants in the eve & morn with out needing to take the hiking pants off to make the change.

Daniel J Kowalski
(camperdan) - F

Locale: Southwestern Ohio
MB Thermawrap Pants great in 7 degree weather! on 09/07/2008 18:17:07 MDT Print View

I used these pants on a winter trip in January '08 to Big South Fork NRRA, Tennessee. I slept under a cliff, with no tarp or tent. It got down to the single digits Saturday night/Sunday morning. While in camp, I wore them over Icebreaker 200 wt. bottoms and a pair of lightweight nylon Campmor hiking pants. They worked out great, I wasn't cold at all. The wind was gusting and changing directions, so I didn't get close to the fire, with all the sparks flying about. I sat around for about 2 1/2 hrs. before I hit the sack. It was great not having to take off my boots to put on these pants. I removed them before I crawled into my WM VersaLite bag for the night, but took 'em inside to keep them warm for morning.
I had also worn my Thermawrap Parka on this trip.

The full side zips are great, esp. when your boots are a mess and/or when it is very cold and windy. The pockets are very handy and the front zip a great convenience. I have size large. I normally wear a 35" waist and 30" inseam.

Dan

Rod Lawlor
(Rod_Lawlor) - MLife

Locale: Australia
7/8ths not full length zip on 07/13/2009 19:35:17 MDT Print View

I bought a pair of these on-line last week. They're a nice pair of pants, but it's worth noting that, at least on the 2009 model, they don't have a full length side zip. To me, a full length side zip, is separating at the waist, which is what I expected. This allows you to don or doff the pants without removing snowshoes, skis or crampons.

These have a 7/8 zip, which comes up to just below the bottom of the zip up pocket. You can definitely get them on and off over boots, even a pair of Makalu midweight mountaineering boots, but there is no way I would try it with crampons on.

Edited by Rod_Lawlor on 07/13/2009 19:42:44 MDT.