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Making It Better - Dynafit Movement Pants

All 90 lbs of me, North Cascades, 1974.One of my earliest influences in the mountains was an Outward Bound instructor named Miles Becker. He took me to the North Cascades as an immature 13 year old and then again the following summer. They were some of the most significant experiences of my life. Over the next few years we became friends and partners on a few other outings and he got further into my head.

Miles had a strict wilderness ethic that he ingrained in all his students. I eagerly adopted it. He was also a student of classic mountaineering literature and lore and an avid photographer. But most significant was his futuristic vision of fast and light even though the concept was barely understood at the time. I remember him waxing romantically about the virtues of spinnaker cloth - an extremely light, tightly woven fabric from which boat sails are made. He fashioned a frameless touring pack out of the stuff which weighed one, yes, 1, pound and fit into the palm of his hand. Try and find something like that today. We toured for 7 days in the high Sierras and his pack weighed 25 lbs at the trail head.

Ever since then I knew that if my gear was to be just as I wanted it, I'd need to learn to sew. Well, a few years back I got a sewing machine and have been slowly tinkering away, making little adjustments here and there, correcting the design flaws in gear as I see them ever since. And when I chicken out, I find someone more skilled to make the changes for me.

When it comes to outdoor pants, I'm usually disappointed, mainly because I've a 35 inch inseam and a 32 inch waist. No one makes pants to fit that combo. I used to curse Yvon Chouinard and his stubby legs, saying that Patagonia used his body dimensions for the pattern of their pants. Probably not true but he's still a stubby fellow.

Anyway, with my new tailoring chops, I can finally have pants that fit better. And while I'm at it, I can add other features that make sense and might be handy to readers.

Dynafit Movement Pants

This captures the spirit I'm after, Movement Pants in action, Euros in the Alps.As you know, I favor ski touring clothes that breathe well and fit closely, inspiring non-stop aerobic travel through the mountains on skis. In this country, we don't have many choices and sampling offerings from European catalogs is expensive and a bit of a crap shoot. Dynafit makes a classic Euro-style touring pant that fits my needs. Well, almost. Actually, they need a fair amount of help but the basic idea is there.

The fit is snug but not Lycra tight. There're some wind panels around the knees that are nice. They have stirrups at the bottom and ready-to-be-cut-out openings at the cuff to accomodate TLT or Scarpa race-style cuff levers. All good. But that's where the designers stopped.

My issues with them are as follows:

- Draw string waist which doesn't really snug up that well. Need a belt here.

- No fly. Really? Are these women's pants? Go ahead, flame away!

- Too short inseam, of course.

- Cuff is a bit tight to get over bigger touring boots. I added a Intuition liner to my TLT 5's and the cuff was a struggle to pull over the boot.

- Only one side hand pocket.

Making Them Right

The first task of adding a belt with cool sewn openings and putting a fly in is an advanced manuever that I don't feel competent to take on. The pants are $200 and don't want to trash them with a hack job. So, I easily found a tailor up to the task. Turned out great.

The stuff at the cuff was more straight forward. First, I wanted to add about 3 inches to the inseam. Simple enough. Adding some width to the cuff circumference was trickier but I managed. The results are nice. Pretty much exactly what I wanted.Look closely. Three inches where it's needed.

Making room for the extra width.

The wedge


I know, it's not pretty

This area sees a lot of abuse so you can see lots of Seam Grip in use down there. 

One mod I adopted from skimo racing involves keeping the cuff buckle openings in place. There's nothing more panic inducing during a race than failing to get your boots to lock into downhill mode at a transition. I've seen lots of Duct tape used to fix this issue. Never seemed that elegant to me.

My solution is to Seam Grip some Velcro strips to my boots at key places and then mate them with the same on the inside of the buckle openings. This keeps the fabric right where it needs to be, ensuring a seamless transition. Pretty slick.Here's the concept applied to a Crazy Idea skimo race suit cuff

So, if you've ever cursed some aspect of your gear and wished you could change it. You can. You're gonna wish you took Home Economics afterall. - Brian

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Reader Comments (11)

Nice sew job. I'm looking for tighter fitting softshell pants for touring recently and will have to take a look at the euro designs. I'm also finding that the nordic world has some good ideas.

February 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTim Z

This is awesome! I love making gear mods. There is so much stuff that could be *just* a little better, and some basic sewing skills can get you pretty far in terms of improved performance. I think a lot of people are intimidated by sewing machines at first, but you can ease into and learn as you go (hopefully while learning on cheap stuff, or making things like stuff sacks, rather than on $200 pants...!). Rock on man.

February 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAndy

Thanks guys.

Tim, I agree. There's much more Nordic clothing out there in the U.S. than nice touring clothing. The Euros have it in spades, of course. When I get over there I'm bringing a bag of cash and stocking up. Until that time, home mods are the way to go. Taking a Nordic warm up pant and adding some cuff features would be sweet. I almost did that.

Funny, Outdoor Research was looking for ambassadors last year and I was on the short list of skiers from Jackson. But they said I liked Lycra too much and turned me down. Clearly, I did not represent the majority of their target audience.

Yeah, Andy, taking a seam ripper to brand new $200 pants is an exercise in faith and confidence. I was relieved to get it done. Of course, my first effort pictured above was performed on "seasoned" pants so I wasn't so worried. Fun stuff.

February 19, 2013 | Registered CommenterBrian

Good timing on this post. I was in Italy a few months ago and was excited to find some Montura pants that have the same slim fit only with a zip fly. They still need some modding in the boot buckle department. I think I'll be following your velcro lead. A heads up for their products: They're beautiful and fit well, but be wary about durability. I've had problems with gloves and the pants with stitching coming undone and fabric getting destroyed with minimal abrasion.

February 19, 2013 | Unregistered Commenter(a different) Andy

"a different Andy",

I actually have a Montura skimo top that I tour in. I really like it. Get plenty of shit for it here in AK but it's perfect for high output days and the only thing to wear in the spring. I wanted to get pants from them but they are hard to find on line and I can never be sure what I'm getting by just looking at the pictures.

Don't forget to use plenty of Seam Grip on those high abrasion areas. Pretty much cures the problems on all sorts of outer wear. Wish I had stock in that product.

February 19, 2013 | Registered CommenterBrian

I was wondering when you'd post a full review! Although I love these pants for ski touring, I've amazed at your pictures of technical climbing in them, so I figured something was up...
My feedback on your feedback:
-- Very clever mod to get the openings for the buckles to stay aligned! I have noticed that these pant openings move around more than on my lycra race suit, so my skin>ski transitions sometimes take a few extra seconds. I was thinking about tape, but your mod is far better.
-- The inseam length is fine for me (5'8" in a size U.S. Small), so I think that's just a personal thing.
-- I'm surprised you need a fly. Sure, on my Schoeller pants I want a fly, but the Movement pants are so stretchy that just pulling down the front is easier than messing with a zipper.
-- The drawstring is indeed rather minimal for snugging up the waistband, but so far it's been fine for me.
-- I'm really surprised you needed to add width the cuff circumference. I've used the U.S. Small pants with size 26.0/26.5 DyNA & TLT5 boots, and the cuff seems perfectly sized. (Much bigger than on my race suit, but the race suit is of course stretchy down there.)

Oh, and that stock Dynafit picture, the lead skier is definitely in a lycra race suit, even though the lower-half colorway is similar to the black & white version of my Movement pants.

February 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan S. Shefftz

Nice work on the mod! Do you ski without your tongues in your TLTs? I was looking at the Movement pant and started to wonder how I would get my tongues in and out on my TLTs. Just ski without them?

February 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRalph S.

Hey Ralph. No, I've never had the tongues in my TLT's. I threw them and the powerstraps into the trash 2 years ago. You're right, of course, using them would preclude having these handy mods on your pants. Honestly, though, none of my partners use the tongues. The boots are lighter and tour better without them. You can easily adapt your skiing to handle it.

February 23, 2013 | Registered CommenterBrian


Thanks for chiming in. Once you have a belt you'll never want to mess with that silly drawstring. Plus, with a harness on the whole pull down thing is a pain in the ass. The zipper is so easy for a seamstress to do. $10 tops.

As for the boot cuff width, I put full Intuition liners in my TLT's and that increases the girth considerably. They will absolutely not fit in my Crazy Idea suit cuffs but my EVOs barely fit there, too. I just got some Sportiva Spitfires and the fit is perfect with my new pant's stock cuff.

And the Velcro mod? Bomber. Just be sure to glue the "hook" side of the Velcro to the boot and the "soft" side to your pant. I did it the other way first and was constantly snagging stuff in the washing machine. Not cool. It's also easier to sew the soft side to the pant.

February 28, 2013 | Registered CommenterBrian

Brian, Nice work! As you say, sewing is the only way forward for some mods. How do you like the Spitfires in comparison to the TLT5s? The cuff height looks lower on the Spitfire but I've not been able to compare the two of them directly.

March 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNick


Seems like I have a back log of writing to do, one of which is my impression of the Spitfires. I'm in JH presently and have skied the piss out of them on some heavy lines and really like them. I'll do a more detailed comparison but I'll say right here that they feel a tad stiffer than my TLT 5's without the tongue and p-strap. That's the only way I ski them. The Spitfires come out of the box without either so that's how I ski them. I'll check the height when I get home and report back.

I think I want a bit more of a liner for cold conditions. I'm hoping that my Intuition Pro Tour liner will fit in the Spitfire. I got it for my TLTs and love it.

March 15, 2013 | Registered CommenterBrian

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