From the backcountry to the home run, the Black Diamond Mission pants are designed to be a go-anywhere, all-round ski pant. With a vast array of useful features including a 3L GORE-TEX® construction, PIEPS pocket and zipped side vents, we’ve been testing the Mission pants out and about in Chamonix, Mont Blanc, to see how they performed.
Comfort & Fit
With a cut that’s slightly on the relaxed side and an integrated (beautfully simple) belt the Mission pants have a really great overall fit with plenty of adjustment to get them spot on. I’m 186cm / 72kgs and the medium size fits well everywhere, the 70d nylon outer and brushed inner has a soft feel so is neither course or crunchy and the pants can be comfortable when worn just on their own.
There is plenty of space for layering and the pockets are arranged in sensible, easy to use locations that don’t get in the way. It’s worth mentioning here the PIEPS (avalanche beacon) pocket which has an internal stash pocket that replaces the over the shoulder/waist sling that comes as standard with most of the PIEPS range. The pocket is incredibly unobtrusive, I expected the (fairly heavy) beacon to be pretty annoying wangling around by my leg but it was barely noticeable and considerably better then the waist system. Although perhaps this increases the chance of being probed in the balls, but I’ll take that over being buried any day.
My only complaint over the fit is the strange cut around the knees, on me anyway. The pants seem to sit on the boots and collapse around the knees creating a 1920 aviator look, which is fine, but it would be nice if they stayed a little truer to width the whole way down the leg.
A friend recently fractured a rib from a waist mounted beacon, this new location makes a lot of sense.
Build Quality & Durability
There are certain brands that we find always excel at build quality and Black Diamond is on that list. From the hardware used on the zippers, belt and gaiters to the quality of the stitching and overall construction, the Mission pants are well made. It’s worth comparing them to their big brother, the Mission Pro that features GORE-TEX PRO® shell which is more durable, but equally less comfortable and crunchy – if you can avoid sliding over jagged rocks this pants should last you well.
With reinforced Keprotec® calves and an integrated RECCO® (passive avalanche transponder) system the Mission pants are packed full of features designed to keep you dry, comfortable and safe.
The GORE-TEX® 3L fabric breathes as you’d expect it to, very well for a waterproof garment. Not that legs are the sweatiest of places (I think?) if the going does get tough when touring or boot packing, the tall side zippers ensure that you can get tons of ventilation through the pants so overall excellent breathability can be achieved but it’s impossible to be quite as good as the equivalent softshell – although you’ll have to trade that in for a wet arse on chair lifts or wet everything if things get a bit Scottish.
Water & Wind Resistance
As you’d expect with 3L GORE-TEX, the Mission pants are totally waterproof and windproof – with taped seams, rubberised zip seams and gaiters they’ll keep everything wet on the outside. For good measure, and to stop the outer getting saturated, the Nylon outer is DWR treated to ensure any water runs off before embedding itself in the material.
Good pants are a really great investment, I’ve recently started to go down the layering shell route and these pants have become the workhorse for nearly all conditions and outings. They do a great job cruising pistes on a spring day, or touring in variable conditions, Black Diamond claim these are excellent all-rounders and I tend to agree.