Under rated feather-weight layer of the PCU system that shines in specific use cases. The DWR treated nylon rip-stop material with 4-way stretch crotch gusset offers great flexibility and protection from light precipitation when used as an outer layer. Provides up to 300% increase in retained body heat when using as a mid-layer in cold/windy conditions. Best suited towards spring/fall activities or situations that require light and compact gear.
Activities best suited towards:
- Mountain Biking
- Year-Round Hiking
- Year-Round Hunting/Fishing
- Motorcycle rides early/late in the season
- Windy Environments
- Retail – $190 USD (Beyond Clothing L4 Wind Pant)
- Ebay – $50+ USD
- Nylon Ripstop with DWR
- Tweave® Durastretch LT® with DWR (crotch gusset)
- Feather weight (7.2oz), compresses to the size of a beer can
- 26” side seam zippers allow the pant to be taken on and off without removing boots
- Left zippered thigh pocket
- Low profile G-Hook buckle system
- Adjustable ankle cuffs with snap closures
- Dual Fly Zippers
The Level 4 Wind Pants have to be the most overlooked level of the PCU clothing system. Almost every review or anecdote from owners of the PCU system writes this layer off a useless. The truth is, this garment really excels in some specific situations, and is far from useless. It’s so light and compact, you would be foolish to not throw these in your pack!
These are incredibly versatile as far a weather conditions/temperatures go. In cold/windy moderate winter conditions, these are often the only layer I need to throw on over my normal jeans to be comfortable. They cut the wind effectively, and trap enough heat to keep your legs warm, but not hot. My primary use for these is warmer conditions as a protective outer layer, when the weather is iffy and rain/light snow is a major possibility.
Although they are manufactured from ripstop nylon, they were not designed to be used exclusively as an outer layer, so I would not recommend using these if you are going to be bashing through thick vegetation, thorn bushes, etc. It’s for that very reason I have not tried to push the limits on their durability (and they were expensive). It would be like trying to use an axe as a hammer then getting pissed off when you dent the axe head up from using it for something it was not designed for.
The construction of the pants is pretty minimalist. There is a single zippered pocket on the right thigh that has a mesh liner, and is more suited towards being a vent then a pocket to hold items. The fly has dual zippers to make pee breaks a little more manageable, and the lightweight elastic belt is unobtrusive when layered over another set of pants with a belt. They are a very loose/baggy cut, but were made that way as to not restrict movement when layering over heavy winter garments.
The side zippers on the legs are very generous and make putting the pants on over boots a breeze, the only complaint i have is with the snap closures on the ankles. There are 2 snap positions, and on the tightest one the pants are still extremely baggy around a full size winter boot. The only time this really presents an issue for me is when using them on my motorcycle, wind will eventually catch under the pant leg and blow them up to your knees depending on your riding position. Beyond’s product page lists a draw string as a feature in the ankle cuffs, but mine did not come with that so I don’t know if that is a misstatement or a new feature?
In summary, they are over-priced at retail rates in my opinion (hence the 2 star rating), but if you are patient you should be able to get them for a reasonable price on eBay. Color options are limited to Coyote (Brown) and Mutlicam (Camo), but I believe Beyond will make custom colors/camo patterns upon request. Durability I gave them a 3/5 as they are not designed to be an outer layer, but seem to stand up to everyday use just fine.
Wind resistance is obviously amazing, but i docked them half a star since they are not the most wind resistant layer available (L6 Rain Gear takes the prize for that, but traps way to much moisture). Warmth is a solid 4 stars as they trap an incredible amount of heat for their thickness, but do not sacrifice breath-ability. When used as a mid-layer over insulation, you can see up to a 300% retention in body heat.