Montbell Dynamo Wind Pants – Very Long Term Usage Review

Hike and author, John Abela, wearing the Montbell Dynamo Wind Pants and Montbell Tachyon Wind Jacket.
Hiker and author, John Abela, wearing the Montbell Dynamo Wind Pants and Montbell Tachyon Wind Jacket.

Montbell Dynamo Wind Pants:

A little over two years ago I wrote an article entitled “Montbell Dynamo Wind Pants – Long Term Usage Review” in which I initially reviewed the Montbell Dynamo wind pants after having used them for over a year.

Earlier today I realized that I had passed the 1,200 days mark of using these pants and figured I would do a follow-up review of these pants.

Yes, I wrote that correctly… 1,200+ days of wearing the same pair of pants… 3 years, 4 months and a few days.

I started wearing them on December 28, 2010 after receiving them from ProLite Gear, who now have them priced at $68.95 – they were priced at $56.98 when I bought them.

Over the last three years I have had countless people ask me questions about them and a whole lot of people have bought them based on my previous article and after my responding back to their questions about these wind pants.

I thought I would take a moment and share some of the Q&A’s I have gotten and replied to over the last few years, regarding these wind pants, as well as post an update on how well they are holding up.


From a durability perspective I have been crazy impressed with these pants. I have had to have the crotch sewn in a couple of places and have a couple of small holes on the butt that need to be sewn or patched – and considering these pants are made from 12-denier rip-stop ballistic airlight nylon that is just truly amazing.

I have also had the ankle strap of one of the legs pull out about 40-50% but still enough to keep it from being at a point where I just pull it all the out. The stitching has come undone, probably a result of pulling on it while sliding the strap under my feet. The other leg ankle strap does not have any damage at this point.

The leg zippers have never failed. Mud, snow, dirt, rain, crossing countless rivers, crawling through bushes, nothing has been able to keep these zippers from not working.

In my original article I stated about the waist grommets that, “the little metal rings for the draw cords on the waist ripped out of the fabric. I ended up just putting knots on the end of the drawstring and it, mostly, keeps the cordage from pulling in, but it does happen every few months, big whoopie-doo, easy to pull it back out.

All in all, given these wind pants have 5,000+ miles and 1,200+ days of use, to say I am impressed on the durability of them is putting it lightly.


Twice a year I have used Sawyer Permethrin on them, applying beyond liberally. I let them sit overnight and go about another 100 days of use until I have reapplied another treatment.

I have not, at any point, applied any DWR treatment to them, as I have reached a point where I do not care if my legs are wet – they are completely ineffective at this point as a water repellent pair of pants, but even brand new they did not seem to be according to the notes I took the first year.


To address the most common questions I have received about these pants:

Hanging out under a fallen Redwood Tree and wearing the Montbell Dynamo wind pants during a lunch break to wait out a heavy rain storm.
Hanging out under a fallen Redwood Tree and wearing the Montbell Dynamo wind pants during a lunch break to wait out a heavy rain storm.

How well do they actually do at keeping the wind out?” — Gotten this question dozens of times. Actually very good for the first year or so. The second season they started to loose a bit of wind protection and now at the third year I can start to feel most wind come through them. I am not a fabric specialist so I have no idea the technical terms and such, but I would describe it as the fabric is get thinner and thinner each hiking season. Its very soft to the feel, whereas a brand new pair that I have had sitting in its original package for two years (I bought an extra pair a year after wearing my first pair, just incase montbell decided to discontinue them) is much like the feel of the Montbell Tachyon Jacket, if you happen to know what they feel like.

How durable are the pants? Can I go bushwhacking in them?” — The second most popular question I have gotten. Well I am not a bushwhacker, unless I happen to be trying to get through an overgrown trail, or if I happen to be out building a trail and have no other choice than to go head-first into a bunch of bushes. That said, they have survived a few years of trail and life-at-home usage. They have survived countless encounters with blackberry bushes and 6 foot tall ferns (throughout Northern California), greasewood bushes and nasty cactus of Southern California (Death Valley, Joshua Tree, PCT, etc), and miles and miles of postholing through deep snow. Given all this and the only real damage to the fabric is some pulling of the threads in the crotch and one half-inch hole on the butt, I tend to think they are doing rather well. YMMV of course.

What is the advantage of the Dynamo pants over the Nike wind pants?” — I have gotten this question three times and each time I have had to say “I have no idea”… never had to buy another pair of wind pants :-D

Pulling on the ankle straps tighten the pants around my legs but there is no way to keep them tight. Do you think they forgot to include toggles?” — Gotten this question twice. The ankle straps go under your feet and inside your shoe, to help keep the pants tightened around your legs, as well as keep them pulled down to prevent wind gusts from pulling them up. ;)

How do you layer under your dynamo wind pants at different temperatures?” — Also a very popular question, and one I really like. Unless it is really cold outside I just wear the pants over a pair of exofficio briefs… be it sunny or raining or in snow or whatever. If there is some crazy cold wind that has the potential to screw with my thermoregulation than I will put on a pair of thermals underneath the wind pants. Simple as that.

Do they feel more breathable during windy conditions versus the ZPacks Rain Pants?” — Looks like I have gotten this question three times. Each time I responded that I felt the Montbell Dynamo performed better. It has been sooo long since I wore the ZPacks Rain Pants that I just have very little performance results between the two. There has to be some really cold wind/rain for me to put on a pair of rain pants – I only remember putting on the ZPacks rain pants once (maybe twice?) in the last three years. Sorry, this is a question I just do not have enough usage to be able to properly answer – pretty much the same as with the Nike wind pants.

Thoughts on the difference between the Dynamo and the Versalite pants?” Looks like I have gotten this question three times. My response each time has been “one is a rain pant the other is a wind pant – enough said.

What are your thoughts on wearing these over shorts for when a cold breeze comes up?” — Very likely the most popular question I have gotten. My typical response has been “go for it!” At 79 grams you are likely not going to find a better option if you are a hiker that likes to wear shorts yet needs something for when the cold wind picks up. The compactness of them allows them to be stuffed into some really tight spots in your pack. They are also nice to have for trail towns when you are washing your clothes.

Do they get really hot in the sun? Do they stick to you if you start sweating?” — Another really popular set of questions. They can get hot in the sun, they are black after all. Do they stick to your legs? I cannot ever remembering a time when I was hiking and had them stick to my legs, even when hiking through Death Valley – before I smartened up and started wearing sun pants.

Hey John, I bought a pair of the dynamo wind pants based on your recommendation – just thought you’d like to know!” — dozens and dozens of such emails – I appreciate you taking the time to let me know, it means a lot!!

Closing Thoughts:

Of all the pieces of hiking gear I have bought, the Montbell Dynamo wind pants have got more miles and more days of use than any other piece of gear.

On a hike with Scott "Shroomer" Williams and Joshua "Bobcat" Stacy, wearing the Dynamo pants while hiking up a frozen river.
On a hike with Scott “Shroomer” Williams and Joshua “Bobcat” Stacy, wearing the Dynamo pants while hiking up a frozen river.

Recently have been using them on-and-off while I have been testing the Sun Precaution Ultra Athlete Sun Pants, as well as the Salomon EXO S-Lab Twinskin Shorts as I have been doing some running, but when I am not wearing either of those the Dynamo pants are what I am wearing – my original pair that I bough over three years ago.

Whether you plan to use them as full time pants, as I have, or just as a pair of super light wind pants, the Montbell Dynamo wind pants should be at the very top of your list.

So long as I have some needle and thread, I see myself getting a lot of more miles from my original pair of these pants. Another thousand days? Hmmm….

Thank you,
+John Abela

In accordance of USA Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR, Part 255: I hereby declare that as of the day of publication of this article I am a sponsored hiker of Montbell AmericaBlack Rock Gear, Suluk46 – and that I bought these pants with my own money.

15 thoughts on “Montbell Dynamo Wind Pants – Very Long Term Usage Review

  1. I wish they didn’t come only in black. I wear the BPL pants pretty much all trips and they’ve been great as well. These Dynamo pants were the only thing I’ve ever seen that would be a close replacement when mine finally give out. Didn’t know they had straps on the bottoms. I’d probably cut those off.

    How are you cleaning them? I’m surprised the wind resistance has decreased that much.

    1. Hey Michael, at first I did not use the straps, but now I have come to love them. They help keep the legs pulled down which helps with light wind pulling the very light fabric up your leg, it helps keeps bugs,ticks, and such from getting onto your ankles, and so forth. Cleaning them is easy… I just rub them off in whatever river/creek I happen to be crossing. Wash them with soap before I apply treatment of course.

  2. Hey John! Thank you for this update. Regarding the question Versalite pants vs Dynamo wind, I think people asking about actually putting versalite OVER dynamo wind in order to gain also more warmth. Do you think this does make sense? Or it’s a weird way to wear them? Do you think these pants are appropriate for hiking in Swiss Alps with passes in 3000-3300 meters above sea level. I’m considering taking them and the versalite pants (for heavy rains). I’m taking also merino wool 150 long bottoms (icebreaker). Thank you!

    1. Hey HikingDad,

      I think there is a lot wisdom in going with the Versalite pants over the Dynamo pants IF you are wanting more than just a pair of windpants.

      Versalite will give better durability, better breathability, better water resistance. To most those advances are worth an extra 1 ounce of weight.

      As for warmth, I cannot speak from first-hand experience as I have never used the Versalite pants. Logic would seem to be that they do, but how much == ??

      We are always going to be faced with compromises. In this regards, it is about one ounces of weight in exchange for a number of additional and potentially beneficial features. I think the durability issue alone would be worth an ounce for the average hiker. If you are planning ‘heavy rains’ I would think that the Versalite would also be the more advantageous option of these two pants.

  3. Thanks for the review! It seems like the Dynamos are sold specifically as men’s pants. Do you happen to know if women, in general, can wear them comfortably, too?

  4. Another happy owner of dynamo wind pants. I’m now searching for wind pants for my wife and I saw montbell tychoon pants at just 50 grams! Insane! Have you had a chance to check them vs dynamo wind pants? Thanks John!

    1. I just recently acquired a pair of the Montbell Tachyon Wind Pants but at this point in time I do not have anywhere near enough use on them to give a decent yeah or neigh or anything even close. Perhaps mid to late 2017 hiking season I will be able to put together some thoughts on them.

      That said, I recently passed the 2,000 days of wearing the dynamo wind pants!

  5. John,

    Fantastic article. I’m looking for pants that I can put on over shorts in the morning and evening when its a little chilly AND something that would be comfortable to sleep in. Of the Montbell pants that you have used, could you recommend something? Thank you. Chris.

    1. Hey Chris!

      >>> Fantastic article

      Thanks a bunch!!

      >>> Of the Montbell pants that you have used, could you recommend something?

      Well… I guess 2000+ days of use is all the recommendation that really needs to be said :-)

  6. Great review. I read somewhere that you got a sponsorship from them. Could you convince them to add a pocket that doubles as a stuff sack? The separate sack is the only flaw, IMO.

    1. Yep, I have been with Montbell for a few years now.

      As for convincing them of anything… next to impossible. Montbell pretty much makes all of their decisions out of the JP division. From what I have been able to gather over the years, the JP division (also MB HQ) does not take much (any) input from the other global divisions, including the MontbellUS. I could be wrong in that, but that is just what I have gotten the sense of, over the years.

      Now as for the ‘built in stuff sack’… I love those things, but sooooo many people I know hate them. I eventually found a way to stuff itself into one of the legs and make a ball (of such), but it would end up nowhere near as compressed as it could be.

      These days though, I just prefer to not even use stuff sacks, and just shove everything into my backpack.

      Thanks for the comment Erick, appreciate the feedback!

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