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We got our teeth stuck into testing the Sabre LT Pants from Arc'teryx, to review their big mountain claims

arcteyx sabre lt pant flux
Overall Score
Incredibly light
Slightly confusing in what they're aimed at

The Sabre range from Arc'teryx is firmly aimed at backcountry use - or 'big mountain' as they would have it - and both the jacket and pants come in AR and LT iterations. The LT stands for Lightweight (rather than the all-round of AR).

And the Sabre LT pants are noticeably lightweight; almost as discrete as the kind of elastic-waisted over-trousers you'd throw in a hiking daypack but for the chunky Keprotec protective insteps. At 530 grams they almost appear too light for skiing, but then you remember they're Arc'teryx, and you could probably wear them into battle and perhaps they would deflect sabres....

The pants manage this lightness without being overly minimalist; the instep reinforcement to protect against ski edges is still there, and there are two handwarmer pockets and an integrated belt. It's the fabric (which appears to be based on the insanely breathable GoreTex Active, though isn't specified) and the light-but-durable nylon face fabric that keeps the weight down.

But it's difficult to escape the question; what are they for? The marketing says big mountain, and the weight would help in that regard. But there are features missing - if one is to wear the pants on the ascent, then the vents need to be much longer. Even GoreTex Active can't cope with that much exertion and the vents are only about 30cm long. If they're meant as over-trousers, to cover a softshell for the descent for example, then they need full-length side zips to help get them on over boots.

I think it's safer to treat the Sabre LT pants as a resort-based freeride pair of pants - one that will help you keep your overall weight down for those occasional boot packs or short skins from the lift network. The real selling point is how Arc'teryx have managed to keep weight to an absolute minimum with seemingly no compromise on durability, and for that, they represent good value.

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