Turns out, I was wrong. The North Face Horizon Utility Pants didn't just survive an unexpectedly rough day of canyoneering in Utah; they thrived and, somehow, ended up better for the wear.
Canyoneering is essentially exploring canyons for sport by any means necessary, including hiking, climbing, rappelling and even swimming, and it is incredibly hard on clothing.
On this day, my friends and I were surrounded by coarse sandstone. If I wasn't wedged into an impossibly narrow space, I was contorting my body to make my way over, under, around and through obstacles that probably shouldn't have been navigated without a rope. (Don't worry, Mom, I was wearing a helmet.)
But it was "chimneying" or wedging myself between opposing rock faces, placing my backside against one and my feet against the other, then scooting to make my way up or down that I thought had really done in my cherished hiking pants.
Unlike my cotton-blend shirt, my pants were completely dry as we made our way back to our campsite. All of my clothes were caked with mud.
When I got home, I threw out the socks I wore that day. My shirt never came completely clean and pilled enough to make it unwearable anywhere other than the backcountry.
But my pants came out of the washing machine looking like new and feeling even better. Lots of fabrics claim to be abrasion-resistant, yet many fail real-world adventure tests. Not these reliable nylon wonders. They're now softer, more broken-in and officially proven favorites.
Sure, I could have "tested" these pants by rubbing some sandpaper across them and coming to the same conclusion, but canyoneering is much more fun.
Click here to purchase The North Face® Women's Horizon Utility Pants