23 January 2008

Raingear review: O2 3Flow Performance Series pants

Posted by todd under: Raingear; Reviews .

Rainshield 3Flow Performance Series pants3Flow Performance Series pants pantleg zipper3Flow Performance Series pants front pocket3Flow Performance Series pants back pocket[[NOTE: Within days of this review, these pants leaked during a couple of rides. Rainshield’s president is personally addressing the matter, although it is not yet fully resolved; you can read about it here.]]

This is a review of the 3Flow Performance Series pants by Rainshield Inc. of Minneapolis, Minn.

PRICE: About $70 online (1, 2, 3). They’re listed for $55 here, which would be a great deal.

BACKGROUND: I have been wearing these for more than a year, as the weather demands, on my daily commute. The pants come in five sizes, small through XXL. I have a 33-inch inseam, and the Large fits me perfectly. (There is a sizing chart on the company Web page, look on the lower right-hand corner of each product description.) Rainshield says it makes these pants out of 3Flow Performance Series fabric; the tag on them says “Outershell: 100% Nylon.” The seams are sealed. They come in any color you want, as long as it’s black.

PROS: Let’s take ’em from top to bottom:

  • A drawstring lets you adjust the waist size.
  • A zippered, full-size back pocket (pictured, bottom right) and a small velcroed front pocket (pictured second from bottom) give you places to stow little stuff.
  • The pantlegs seem to have extra material around the knees; they are made to fit best when you are on the bike.
  • Elasticized cuffs fit snugly around the ankles.
  • Zippers at the bottom of the pantlegs make it easy to get the pants on and off while wearing shoes. And the cut is roomy enough that there is no problem putting these on over my work clothes.

I have ridden with these pants in heavy weather, and they have never failed to keep me dry. They can be rolled up tightly to fit into a pannier. And the material is substantial; it looks as if it could withstand lots of abuse. I’ve worn my pants quite a bit, and there’s not a blemish on them.

I frequently wear these on cold days when it’s not raining or snowing, just to provide a windproof outer layer for warmth.

CONS: I don’t recommend these pants for riding in warm/hot weather — when it gets over about 75 degrees, I switch over to my O2 Rainwear pants, which are lighter-weight and seem to breathe better. If you’re concerned about sweating, these pants just are not suitable for summer riding, in my experience — and I don’t usually mash the pedals or ride more than 3 miles at a time.

VERDICT: I don’t consider these pants to be year-rounders, but I wholeheartedly recommend them for what they do provide: Excellent protection from rain and cold; durability; a very comfortable fit; and every feature you could want.

[MORE REVIEWS OF CYCLING GEAR]

One Comment so far...

Mike Says:

25 July 2008 at 9:51 am.

Todd:
Just saying thank you for the detailed reviews! I am presently commuting 2 miles each way to the train station, and I need some rain gear if I want board the train not wet. The O2 lightweight yellow (pants and jacket) seems to be the right choice, assuming I can take them off quickly, put them in the stuff sack, and be on my way. Is the stuff sack itself waterproof, so that I don’t have a wet package inside my backpack?
Thanks so much,
Mike

Mike, thanks for reading the Web site and for asking about the O2 raingear! I have never tested the stuff sack for waterproofness (is that a word?), but it appears to be made out of material similar to the jacket. I’m guessing that the stuff sack, combined with the backpack, ought to keep the garment dry. — Todd

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Yes, that's me, Todd Van Campen. No, I'm not wearing a helmet. Yes, I usually wear one, so please don't scold! Seriously, I endorse wearing a helmet! Pinky swear! In fact, I almost ALWAYS wear one (while riding a bike anyway). (On the other hand, if YOU don't want to wear a helmet, I have no problem with it.) I don't remember what happened on this particular day. Fortunately for all of us it makes for a less-nerdly picture. My exceptionally talented professional photographer friend Charles Bertram took this photo.

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