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Gear Review: Golite Tumalo Pertex 2.5-Layer Storm Pant

Golite Tumalo Pant (photo by Golite)

After an entire winter of procrastination and a swiftly approaching bushwhacking season I was left with no other choice but to find a replacement for my now ineffectual Golite Reed rain pants. I narrowed it down to two different rain pants: the Marmot Essence and the Golite Tumalo.

And the winner was….the Tumalo Pertex® 2.5-Layer Storm Pants!

The reasoning behind my choice:

With weight being about the same between the two pants and the color of both identically black, the decision was made mostly based on price. Price was especially important given my lack of experience with either product and the scarcity of information on their durability for bushwhacking purposes. Since durability was in question for both rain pants I decided to manage my total cost by choosing the one with the lowest price.

The Tumalo Specs:

The Tumalo Pertex 2.5-Layer Storm Pants is Golite’s lightest waterproof and breathable pant. Its features include fully taped seams, calf zips with storm flaps including Velcro ankle closures, elasticized waist with draw cord and a self-stowing cargo pocket on the right thigh.

For those interested in technological specifications the Pertex Shield DS material has a hydrostatic head of 10,000 mm and a MVTR of 7,000 fg/m2/day.

A smooth buying process:

After some research on the Internet I decided to purchase the Tumalo Pants from CampSaver for $99 with completely free shipping. The shipping was via USPS and was quite timely. I ordered the pant online on May 15 and received it on May 19, the day before leaving on a 3-day trip to participate in the Audubon Society’s annual Birdathon in the Pepperbox Wilderness.

The pack-ability and less swish-swish:

The first thing I noticed about the Tumalo Storm Pant was the packability. When delivered I was concerned the mailman would leave the package at my apartment door where other packages have been stolen in the past. But when I found it stuffed into my narrow mail slot shear terror overtook me at the prospect of my new rain pants being totally mangled. There was no need to worry though because these rain pants pack down to a very small size.

When first picking up the pants I noticed the cloth-like aspect of the material. There would be less of the typical swish-swish of the nylon rain pants of the past with these.

Unfortunately, the feel of the inside was the same slimy feel of the typical rain pants. It would be wise never to wear these without a layer on in between your skin and the inside material. No matter how well these pants breathe I cannot imagine they breathe well enough to negate all the inevitable condensation.

So roomy I could practically live in them:

The sizing of the Tumalo is much larger than its predecessor, the Reed pant, despite both being sized small. At first I thought my Tumalo was a medium mislabeled as a small but after verifying some of the measurements on the Golite website I was convinced otherwise.

The waistline is much larger with the Tumalo measured at about 16.5 inches while the Reed is only about 13.5 inches (length from left to right side without stretching the elasticized waistband). It was necessary to really cinch the draw cord tight to keep the Tumalo pants from riding low. Have people really gotten this much fatter over the last few years?

The leg length of the Tumalo is much longer than the Reed too. I measured the Tumalo inseam at about 31.5 inches to the Reed’s 30. Have people gotten taller over the past few years too?

When I tried them on I had to wear them like grandpa-pants, with the waistline pulled all the way up to my belly button. Otherwise, they flared out around my thighs making me resemble a member of the German Luftwaffe from World War II from the waist down. It did not help that they were black too.

I prefer the tighter fit of the Reed as opposed to the relaxed-fit of the Tumalo. With such a loose fit there is more opportunity for the material to be caught on broken tree branches and thorny brambles, which could result in an increased chance of ripping or tearing. Plus less material, with its correspondingly lighter weight, reduces the potential environmental impact not only in the production of the pants but in their inevitable disposal.

The excess material of the Tumalo, with its more relaxed fit, probably account for much of its greater weight of approximately 6 oz as compared to the Reed’s 4 oz.

The first trip:

The day after my Tumalo came in the mail they made their maiden journey into the backcountry on a 3-day trip into the Pepperbox Wilderness. Due to the inclement weather I wore them for the majority of each day. This gave them an especially good test in some pretty arduous conditions including working my way through numerous coniferous blow downs.

I was concerned about the storm flap over the calf-zip getting caught on the forest floor debris and the Velcro seal not being strong enough to keep it in place. After my 3-day bushwhacking trip this never appeared to be a problem though. Whenever I thought about checking the storm flap I found it securely in place.

There are some durability concerns though. After this 3-day trip, there are some signs of wear on the stitching of the storm flaps, and a single thread-pull on the left shin. Given the many coniferous blow downs I crawled through on the trip these slight signs of wear and tear were not completely unexpected but they are a source of minor concern. I will have to keep an eye on these issues during the rest of this bushwhacking season.

Are you listening Golite?

My recommendation to Golite for improving the Tumalo pant would be to lose the calf zips and accompanying rain flap and semi-elasticized cuffs. This might save an ounce or so on weight. As compensation for the difficulty in getting them on/off, their rain prevention ability will be drastically increased.

In addition, they should go back to the tighter fit of the Reed, chop off an inch or so from the inseam and the waistline. This would probably chop off another ounce, bringing the weight down to around 5 oz. Plus, I would not look as much like a very elderly Nazi in them.

The summary:

The Golite Tumalo Pertex 2.5-Layer Storm Pants is a lightweight, waterproof and breathable rain pant with a reasonable purchase price. Although, limited in color and despite the too roomy-fit these rain pants are an excellent rain pants for most backpacking purposes. For those who journey beyond the trail, I have some concerns these pants may not be durable enough to handle the stress of blow downs and thick underbrush but time will tell.

The prices:

The Golite Tumalo Pertex 2.5-Layer Storm Pants for men can be found at the following online retailers:

Altrec.com $89.99 Size X-Large only.
Amazon $89.99 Free shipping; Size X-Large only.
Mountain Plus $90.00 Large and X-Large only.
CampSaver $99.95 Free shipping; Size Small and X-Large only.
Amazon $99.95 Size Small and Large only.
Amazon $99.99 Size XX-Large only.
Moosejaw $100.00 Free shipping; Size X-Large only.
Use coupon code ALSAVE10 for additional 10% off.

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