I was sold on the CREAG Quantum pants the moment I saw that electric blue color. I mean, you’ll make a statement wearing these things. But the question remained: How would they actually perform on the rock?
The answer is well. Really, really well.
CREAG is un upstart company out of Colorado bent on building thoughtfully designed climbing apparel, one garment at a time. Thus far they have—for each men and women—a pair of pants and a jacket. That’s it aside from t-shirts, and their extreme focus on careful design is evident.
First thing’s first: You might be thinking, Why did the company spell “crag” wrong in the name? Rest assured, it’s intentional, and not a misspelling at all. “CREAG is Gaelic for rock and crag,” the company explains on its website. “The Highland Mountain Bull on our logo also hails from Scotland and is considered one of their great icons.”
Moving on: the materials. In the pictures on the website, the combination of the wide waistband with its double-button closure and what looked like reinforced kneepads, had me thinking the Quantum pants might be more akin to bulky alpine or skiing pants than something I’d want to climb hard rock in. This couldn’t be farther from reality.
The smooth material that forms the majority of the garment is what CREAG calls their “Dream Weave.” It is made of 85% nylon and 16% spandex. You can feel the stretchiness at first handling, and the company attributes this to the weaving process, which we won’t attempt to explain in our own words: “High-pressure air blasts into the thread. This process hollows the fibers, making it lighter and more durable.”
Lately, I’ve used the Quantum pants several times at a local sandstone sport crag down the road from the Rock and Ice office. It’s a place known for techy climbing full of bizarre body positions and abrasive rock. I high-stepped, stemmed and scummed my way up a variety of routes, and never felt like the CREAG pants restricted my movement in any way. Additionally, despite my initial thoughts based on their appearance in the picture, the Quantums are super-duper lightweight and breathable. It has been hot out here—my partner thought me mad to wear pants on a recent day—but even in the Quantums, I was comfortable temperature-wise.
The seat of the pants, the knees and the cuffs all have a slightly different material than the rest of the piece. Clearly positioned in high-wear areas, this waffle-textured fabric is similar in make-up—66% nylon, 21% polyester and 13% spandex—and just as light and stretchy, but certainly burlier.
While I have yet to have any fraying, tears or holes, I’d advise against doing too much offwidthing or squeeze chimneying in these guys unless you want to really test the durability of the fabric. Stick to something less expensive for those wide routes (e.g. take a cue from Hot Henry Barber and try painters’ pants! Or, better yet, just don’t bother with those hellish styles of climbing).
On to the smaller features. That double-button waistbelt closure I mentioned? Love it. They buttons snap shut easily. And who doesn’t love a little redundancy? We are climbers, after all.
I was also happy to have belt loops. A few pairs of climbing pants I’ve used in the recent years have simply had drawstring waistbands or not even—sometimes just elastic. I like to use a low-profile belt to get the perfect fit and the belt loops let me do so. The waist is elastic, and with about a 29″-waist, size Small was spot on.
Finally, the pockets. The Quantum has two deep front hip pockets and two large back pockets, all without zips. All are plenty big enough for a phone, chapstick, some tape, a small snack, etc. And despite the lack of closure systems, nothing falls out. The back right pocket has that slim vertical compartment that many climbing pants have these days where you can slot in your chalk brush. That feature seems a gimmick to me in pretty much all pants, but hey, if you like it, use it. Finally, on the outside of the right leg of the Quantum, just above knee height, is a small vertical zippered pocket, in case there’s something for which you need added security.
CREAG’s Quantum Lightweight Climbing Pants are great for bouldering and sport climbing. Beyond cragging and pebble-wrestling, these would be great for alpine routes where you’ll be baking in the sun, but aren’t willing to risk shorts.
All in all, these are some of my favorite new climbing pants. A great piece from a new company. At $170, they are certainly on the expensive end of the spectrum, but they are high quality.
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