The FlyLow Chemical Pants are a strong, well-made item that work for skiers who want excellent protection over enhanced flexibility and comfort.
- Where to buy: Amazon, REI
- Best for: Young or slimmer riders seeking a baggy, looser pant. The tough material is great for blustery or tumultuous conditions.
- Pros: These pants are extremely tough. They’ll keep moisture off of your body thanks to the strong weather-resistant build and help you stay warm in cold temperatures. Excellent durability in a long-lasting package.
- Cons: The fabric is a bit stiff in a way that reduces overall comfort. The pants, despite their looser fit, don’t quite offer the premium flexibility or freedom of movement some skiers would like.
- Alternatives: Arc’teryx Sabre AR, Outdoor Research Trailbreaker ii, North Face Freedom
Why Trust Me
I’ve been hitting the slopes since I was a kid. I enjoy getting out in the snow and have hands-on experience with a wide range of different skiing items. I spent ample time researching these pants, talked to people who used them, and analyzed how they perform in different conditions.
The FlyLow Chemical is a tough pant made for skiers who put a lot of value on protection. It has excellent weather resistance and the strong outer shell means it will last for seasons without breaking down or ripping. Though the Chemicals are a bit stiffer or less flexible than similar models, it’s hard to find sturdier pants in their price range.
A Tough Pant, Through and Through
If there’s one reason to get the Chemical Pants, it’s their strength. FlyLow outfitted them with a special Intuitive fabric that actively repels water and ensures your legs stay dry. That’s then backed up by both fully sealed seams and waterproof zippers. I especially enjoy each of those features because it means you never have to worry about moisture getting through.
These pants have a DWR finish that helps keep water out, and there are even special buttons that you can use to attach to powder skirts in FlyLow jackets. That’s certainly a bonus for anyone who actively uses the brand and another way the Chemical works to protect skiers in a range of conditions.
Another reason the durability stands out among the Chemical’s traits is the weather-resistant material. These are thick pants. Though that cuts down on the general comfort and flexibility, it also means you get a powerful item that’s made to stand up to the test of time. You won’t be replacing these anytime soon, and that’s worth something.
Ok Warmth, Pleasant Ventilation
As great as the Chemical is at locking out the cold, the general warmth isn’t quite as high. The pant comes with no insulation. That may seem like a deal breaker, but I do like the thick fabric construction. It won’t give you as much warmth as pants equipped with extra liners or padding, but it still offers something when paired with the sealed construction. Just know you’re likely going to need extra layers in extremely cold weather.
Though the Chemical’s warmth isn’t quite there, the ventilation certainly knocks it out of the park. Breathability is something I always look for in my ski clothing. Here, FlyLow has given the Chemical Pants two vents on each leg so you can generate some truly impressive cross ventilation. If you run warm or like to trek out in the backcountry, these pants do a wonderful job ensuring you stay cool.
Fit and Flexibility
Though I think the Chemical’s fit and comfort could be better, that’s going to differ from person to person. The pants have a baggy fit that’s a bit loose. Not only does that mean those who sit between sizes need to go with the smaller option, but it means there’s some extra room in the groin area that can hinder general movement.
Unfortunately, these pants utilize a stiff fabric that limits range of motion. You might be able to get away with zipping or turning on the slopes, but walking, climbing, or catching air in the park will be much trickier. That’s something those who spend a lot of time moving uphill should know.
The Proper Amount of Extra Storage
Another standout feature of these pants is their pockets. I always find it incredibly useful when I can easily bring a few extra items (like snacks) out to the slopes. The Chemical Pants allow you to do that through the three different pockets, but they don’t stop there. Each one comes lined with a smooth nylon, and the waterproof zippers give you extra security to ensure whatever you’re holding won’t get wet.
Price and Value
The Chemical Pants are certainly not cheap by any stretch of the imagination. Even so, I still consider them to be quite good on the value scale. That’s because the tough construction will hold up for a long time regardless of how often you ski or what type of weather you experience. That means, even if the upfront cost is on the high side, you won’t need to replace them for a long time. They have a great low per-day cost.
What I Like
The Chemical Pants are tough in a way that I find incredibly impressive. These are made for rough or freezing weather, and it shows through every part of the construction. The tight seams and waterproof design are both solid all the way through. The DWR finish is incredibly impressive, and the option to attach powder skirts shows just how far these go to ensure you stay warm.
The nylon-lined pockets are a big bonus for me as well. Some pants either don’t give you enough pockets or don’t put any care into them. FlyLow equipped the Chemicals with three, offering plenty of extra room for small items, and the waterproof zippers match the durability and resistance noted in the rest of the pant design.
What I Dislike
For me, the biggest issue with the FlyLow Chemical is the insulation. The pants don’t necessarily need a lot of extra help for sunny days or lighter weather, but it would have been nice to get something with a little more warmth. Long johns fix the issue, but also add more weight to your ensemble.
The stiff fabric is something else I don’t like. It’s not so tight that it’s a deal-breaker, but it can get in the way and cuts down on general comfort. The design also hinders general mobility, which can be annoying at times. Not everyone will notice that while they ski, but if you need extra movement for hiking or long journeys, it can become an issue.
As tough and weather-resistant as the Chemicals are, there are other durable pants that offer more comfort and flexibility. If you’re interested in such characteristics over strength, these will all work:
- Arc’teryx Sabre AR – These are definitely much more expensive than the Chemical. However, you get a lot for that extra price. The Sabre ARs come with an extremely comfortable feel, thanks to their strong fit and fleece lining. They are warm and can hold up in any condition due to the incredible weather protection.
- Outdoor Research Trailbreaker ii – These pants come in at a lower price than the Chemical, and they do so by offering extra flexibility. The material is stretchy, soft, and extremely comfortable. Of course, they aren’t quite as durable as the Chemical. They aren’t waterproof either. However, the many pockets and light design make them great for those who like to ride in light conditions.
- North Face Freedom – Equipped with a DryVent shell, the North Face Freedom pants have weather protection similar to the Chemical with some extra ventilation and flexibility. They have a good fit alongside a great venting system, so you can keep warm without sweating too much. They also have quite a few designs, which will impress skiers who care about style.
How is the Chemical’s fit?
These pants have a roomy, slightly looser fit with a straight leg.
Do these hold up in wet weather?
The FlyLow Chemical Pants have strong weather protection that reliably seals out snow, wind, and moisture.
How is the ventilation?
These pants have zip vents that allow you to control your temperature. You can stay warm when cold and then get extra air in warmer environments.
The Chemical is an extremely tough, weather-resistant pant with a loose fit. The pair isn’t the most comfortable, and it doesn’t have the best mobility on the market, but it won’t be easy to get another pair that’s as reliable when the weather gets rough. The seams and waterproof construction both easily repel moisture regardless of where you do most of your skiing.
Not everyone will love the baggy construction or the stiff material, but those that do will see the Chemical as a solid pant option. Even if you don’t like all of the features, it’s easy to overlook the rigidity if you need a strong clothing item out on the slopes.
Joseph Scalise is an avid writer, editor, and snow sports enthusiast who loves to spend his time outdoors. He began his love of writing early on in life and continued to pursue it as he grew older. While his time behind the computer doesn’t get him into the wild unknown as much as he would like, he never misses a chance to head up (or down) a mountain, across a river, or through a lush forest. When he’s not planning new trips, you can always find him typing away on his next project.