SNOWSHOE MAGAZINE GEAR REVIEW:

The GoLite Wind River Softshell Pants and Jacket Offer Snowshoeing Bliss

Reviewing snowshoeing pants hasn’t been a target product for Snowshoe Magazine.  There is no explanation.  However, with a new season, there will be new gear to test.  For this round, I had the chance to review a powerful softshell set by GoLite: Wind River Pants and Jacket.  Softshells are the gold standard for most snowshoers.  They offer the benefits of layering through the control of breathability, water resistance and advanced range of motion.  The Wind River Pants and Jacket are recommended items for snowshoers, for several reasons.  

GoLite never disappoints.  This Boulder, Colo.-based company has continuously met the principles that outdoor enthusiasts desire for all cold-weather sports.  Snowshoeing is no exception.  I’ve used GoLite’s baselayers for several snowshoeing excursions.  The company’s BL-1 Longsleeve Top has always been a reliable, lightweight baselayer that never disappoints.  It almost feels like thin silk, but it’s made with 52 percent Minerale and 48 percent polyester.  It feels great on the skin, too.  

Nowadays, when I’m on the trails, I’m wearing the GoLite Wind River Pants.  And here’s my proof: http://lat.ms/hpr93s.  This video, produced by the LA Times, features yours truly discussing the basics of snowshoeing.  You’ll notice how the Wind River Pants offer a superior range of motion, which is essential for snowshoeing – especially on ascents and descents in deep snow. 

Their “stretchy” combination of materials is what ultimately creates a comfortable fit, no matter the size: 92 percent recycled polyester and 8 percent spandex.  And, yes, GoLite aims at offering high performance apparel while achieving the sustainability that so many snowshoers appreciate.  Green is good.  

My favorite feature on the Wind River Pants is the built-in gaiters.  The gaiters are underneath the shell of the pants, can wrap around boots with their heavily fitted elastic opening, and can clip on to the laces of boots to keep them in place.  It’s simply an awesome feature.  I always hate slipping on a pair of gaiters before snowshoeing because it slows the preparation process (I’m sometimes very inpatient).  In addition, they always seem to create difficulties with pants as they “bunch-up” at the knees.    

The 15-inch zips also help with the gaiter support system as they go over most footwear – even ski boots.  In fact, I spent two days skiing at Keystone Mountain Resort in single-digit temperatures while wearing the GoLite Wind River Pants.  Similar to snowshoeing, I wore one wool baselayer and I was easily comfortable for the entire day.  I never experienced cold thighs or a frozen backside.  

After experiencing cold temperatures, in multiple cold-weather sports situations, I was convinced the Wind River Pants performed as advertised.  I’m no longer wearing multiple base layers and a pair of shell pants to achieve what the Wind River Pants do with the support of one base layer.  For both men and women, the GoLite Wind River Pants will most definitely satisfy.  

Additional features:

  • Added reinforcement in high abrasion areas
  • Removable suspenders
  • Articulated knees
  • Belt loops
  • Soft, brushed-back wind-resistant fabric

For more information on the Wind River Pants, click here.  To purchase the GoLite Wind River Softshell Pants (for women), click here.  For the moment, Backcountry.com isn’t selling the men’s version of the GoLite Wind River Pants.  

Ideal for the backcountry, the GoLite Wind River Jacket is a sure bet.  While most snowshoers will choose clothing beyond the benefits of a shell to warm the body’s core, the Wind River Jacket offers the same incredible benefits of the Wind River Pants.  Your body’s core will thank you.

Made with the same material combination – 92 percent polyester and 8 percent spandex – the jacket is form-fitting and creates a wind-resistant barrier for the snowshoer.  Similar to the pants, the jacket only requires one baselayer for comfort and offers a great range of motion with its soft, stretchy material.  

The jacket can also wick-away moisture and allows for total breathability during extreme physical exertion.  For the snowshoer, the Wind River Jacket is a stellar addition to any gear arsenal – for the mildly cold to the extreme cold.  But always remember to layer appropriately (GoLite offers baselayers aplenty).  Enjoy the snow!

Additional features:

  • Added reinforcement in high abrasion areas
  • Harness compatible pocket placement
  • Articulated wrist cuffs
  • Soft, brushed-back wind-resistant fabric
  • Bonded sleeve pocket

For more information on the Wind River Jacket, click here.  To purchase the GoLite Wind River Softshell Jacket (for women), click here.  For the moment, Backcountry.com isn’t selling the men’s version of the GoLite Wind River Jacket.