Fjällräven, a Swedish company (the name means “Arctic Fox” in Swedish) started in 1960, was the first to make and distribute the original external frame backpack, along with revolutionizing expedition tent and sleeping bag design in the late 60s and 70s. By applying the now-famous Swedish combination of functionality with elegantly simple and beautiful design to outdoor equipment and apparel, Fjällräven has been the choice of in-the-know outdoor enthusiasts for decades. The secret behind much of their success is a patented fabric called G-1000. The company uses this fabric on their Keb Gaiter Pant, which is the best pair of hiking, trekking, camping, fishing, hunting, and general adventuring pants we’ve ever owned.
The G-1000 is a tightly woven, fairly straightforward blend of cotton and polyester that provides excellent ventilation, durability, and plenty wind and water resistance. Plus, it doesn’t feel or fit like a plastic garbage bag or stiff Gore-Tex. Another great feature of G-1000 is you can wax it to increase the wind resistance and make it water repellent. Yes, wax it. Every G-1000 garment comes with a bar of the company’s patented Greenland Wax, which is environmentally friendly and made from beeswax and paraffin. You rub the wax on the fabric and then iron it in (just like skis) and voila! The material becomes completely water repellent, albeit a little stiffer.
Nothing else we’ve worn in the past comes even close to the Keb Gaiter. On a recent two-week trip to Alaska, we wore the pants every day. It didn’t matter what we were doing or what the weather was like, the pants were a perfect fit. They’re stretchy where they need to be and durable and water repellent everywhere else. The front thigh pockets helped keep our compasses, GPS, wallet, and phone organized — all protected from the elements and easy to access. The pant cuffs hook to your boots to keep scree and water out. They even have a zip-off feature that allows the pants to become shorts. The bottoms morph into great gaiters. But the kicker for all of this functionality is that they fit, feel, and look amazing. Unlike most other “expedition” pants we’ve worn, the Keb Gaiter trousers resemble our favorite pair of blue jeans in fit and feel. But unlike our favorite denim, if we’re walking through thick, wet, waist-high brush on the side of an Alaskan creek, these things will keep us completely dry, comfortable, and warm. [$270; fjallraven.us]