Uniting Canada's Largest Climbing Community

Update Your Cragging Outfit With The Outdoor Research Wadi Rum Pants

While those in the know have always recognized Outdoor Research (OR) for building some of the finest technical climbing clothing in the industry, many climbers seem to overlook that they also produce some very stylish and functional cragging kit.
Outdoor Research Wadi Rum Pants

Outdoor Research Wadi Rum Pants Front

Take for example the new Wadi Rum pants. At first blush, these look like just another trim-fitting cragging pant that’s so in vogue at the moment. A closer second inspection, however, reveals that the Wadi Rum pants are engineered with the same attention to detail and function that OR employs on its more technical outerwear. Starting with the fabric, OR has speced a soft cotton that's blended with Cordura nylon for durability as well as a bit of spandex for stretch. For me, this textile choice is one of the biggest wins for these pants. Too many manufacturers are using hyper-technical synthetic fabrics that are appropriate for the mountains, but overkill for rock climbing. For cragging or bouldering, I prefer the soft hand, excellent breathability and traditional good looks of cotton-based fabrics; I’ll save the stretch-woven nylons and other synthetic blends for the mountains.
Outdoor Research Wadi Rum Pants

Outdoor Research Wadi Rum Pants Back

Unfortunately, a good fabric alone does not make a good climbing pant. OR understands this reality, which explains why they've added a gusseted crotch and articulation at the knees. These patterning details, combined with the stretchy fabric, allow for easy movement even during the most extreme heel hooks and stemming moves. The waist closure is similarly functional thanks to the addition of a simple red-coloured drawstring that backs up the conventional button waist. This combination maintains the waist adjustment needed for enjoying post-redpoint IPAs without resorting to dorky-looking elastic waistbands.
Outdoor Research Wadi Rum Pants

Outdoor Research Wadi Rum Pants

So with the obvious functional elements addressed, OR turned its attention to some smaller more aesthetically-oriented details. For instance, the pocket lining is a lovely contrasting check pattern, and vibrant red tape and red stitching are used for visual interest. OR has also gone to the trouble to offer the pants in both a 32” and 34” inseam – a useful option for taller climbers as well as shorter climbers that prefer not to hem or roll up excess fabric. There is also a small pocket (with a diminutive and unobtrusive zipper) on the front thigh for small valuables. These details help elevate the Wadi Rum pants to casual, non-climbing-wear status and allow them to smoothly transition from the gym to the bar.
Having used them for the last few months, I can honestly say that OR has got a real winner with the Wadi Rum pants. They look great, are durable and offer excellent range of motion. My one quibble with them stems from the fact that front pocket openings seem a touch large. But this is a not a real deal-breaker, at least not in my book. Aside from this one minor issue, I can’t find anything wrong with these pants. If you are looking for a pair of functional and versatile climbing pants, that can also pull double-duty in more urban environments, then the Wadi Rums should be on the top of your list.

You can find out more about the new Outdoor Research Wadi Rum Pants and other fine Outdoor Research clothing at https://www.outdoorresearch.com/
Stacks Image 133191
Gus Alexandropoulos is a freelance writer who has been involved in the outdoor industry for over 35 years. During his career he has been the editor at Canada’s national climbing magazine, as well as the gear editor for a national cycling magazine, triathlon magazine and running magazine. His work has been published in Canada’s national newspaper, The Globe and Mail, and he has been a guest on television and radio broadcasts. His passion for climbing began in Ontario in the mid-80s and he continues to travel extensively in search of crisp conditions and steep rock.