This photo shows the author wearing the Eddie Bauer Guide Pro Work Pants during the testing and review process.

Eddie Bauer Guide Pro Pants Review

- Field-tested -

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The Eddie Bauer Guide Pro Pants are a do-it-all outdoor adventure pant. They’re so popular that Eddie Bauer has created a series of spinoff ‘Guide Pro’ versions, including lined versions for cold weather, slim versions, and even dual-layer work versions.

To get us a closer look, Eddie Bauer sent Man Makes Fire two review units — an original Guide Pro Pant and a Guide Pro Work Pant.

After wearing the Guide Pro pants in a variety of conditions for several months during an extended review process, this is what we learned:

Eddie Bauer Guide Pro Pants Review

This photo shows the author wearing the Eddie Bauer Guide Pro Pants in the winter on a snowy hill during the review process.
The Eddie Bauer Guide Pro Work Pants version has the same comfortable build quality as the original Guide Pro but adds a double layer of fabric in the legs and seat.

The Eddie Bauer Guide Pro Pants are made through the company’s Guide Built process. Basically, Eddie Bauer collaborates with professional outdoor guides from concept to finished product. “Only when the guides say it’s ready do we offer it to you,” Eddie Bauer says.

 

 

Not all of Eddie Bauer’s ‘Guide Built’ outdoor apparel has the Guide Pro name, though. Some of it is marketed under Eddie Bauer’s ‘First Ascent’ logo, which indicates that it’s outdoor-ready apparel (and not simply fashion or workout apparel).

Outdoor Ready?

So are the Eddie Bauer Guide Pro Pants truly outdoor-ready?

Yes. More importantly, I think they’re everyday-ready. What do I mean by that? Some outdoor hiking pants work well for hiking but lack style. The Eddie Bauer Guide Pro Pants have both.

The Eddie Bauer Guide Pro Pants look as good on the sidewalk as they do out on the trail.

Aside from the admittedly annoying placement of the First Ascent logo on the upper thigh, the Guide Pro Pants look as good on the sidewalk as they do out on the trail. They deliver an outdoor vibe that leans toward sporty and active.

In fact, because the Guide Pro Pants have a sporty, active vibe, there’s a good chance you’ll wear them in town, too. For me, the Eddie Bauer Guide Pro Pant and Guide Pro Work Pant have become my daily drivers. The quality and cut are versatile.

This photo shows a closeup of the Eddie Bauer Guide Pro Work Pants worn by the author.
The gusseted crotch extends down the inner thigh and, with the articulated knees, delivers outstanding comfort and mobility.

Speaking of the cut, Eddie Bauer’s Guide Pro Pants are sewn with articulated knees and a gusseted crotch, which results in a comfortable fit when walking, scrambling over rocks, and even sitting in low-slung camp chairs. In addition, the lightweight two-way stretch fabric gives you a bit of stretch when you need it, and it breathes well, too.

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Excellent Pockets

The front hand pockets are big and roomy and useful — they’re very good, actually.

I had my doubts about the angled front-and-side thigh zippered cargo pockets — until I started using them. They’re large enough for big smartphones, and they’re roomy enough to let the smartphone slide back to the side of your thigh when walking or sitting. In fact, the angled design lets gravity guide your smartphone to the back portion of the pocket where it’s out of the way and more comfortable.

This photo shows a closeup of the Eddie Bauer Guide Pro Pants thigh pocket.
The angled thigh pockets are sleek but roomy. They guide most contents toward the sides. For example, there is a wallet in this pocket and it creates only a trim bump. For outdoor use, there  are no elevated seams to snag.

Like the front hand pockets, the cargo pockets are large and roomy. Interestingly, the cargo pockets don’t have any exterior pleats to allow for greater carrying capacity. In addition, the cargo pockets are not sewn on top of the pant fabric — the pocket itself is sewn to the inside of the pant like the hand pockets. The result is a super clean look that doesn’t snag on brush when you’re walking in the woods.

I’m a fan of the design. In fact, I now prefer this cargo pocket to most dedicated smartphone pockets. Makes me think I need to order a pair of the Guide Pro Shorts for hot summer days.

Key Features

The best feature of the Guide Pro Pants always comes back to the lightweight fabric. Eddie Bauer got it right. It’s 94% nylon with 6% spandex, woven into a two-way stretch. It offers just enough stretch to increase mobility and comfort but retains its shape and durability. I’ve walked through brush, scrambled over rock, and snagged it with tools in my garage and haven’t torn or ripped it yet. I’ve put well over 50 days of wear into each of the two pairs of Guide Pro Pants and the fabric has no pilling, no snags, no tears, and doesn’t look worn.

Eddie Bauer coats the Guide Pro Pants with a StormRepel DWR finish that sheds moisture. While it technically works when the pants are new, it wears off quickly. You can refresh the DWR coating with Nikwax TX.Direct Spray-On, which every outdoor adventurer should have on hand, but don’t expect lightweight, breathable pants to fend off real rain or walking through a lot of tall wet grass. The StormRepel is a feature, sure, but keep your expectations low. I’ve never seen DWR last long on any lightweight pant.

Eddie Bauer also includes Polygiene odor control in the waistband, and this might actually work well over the long haul: After neglecting to pack additional pants, I once wore the Guide Pro Pants for five days straight, including under a ski pant shell for three of those days. I did have fresh underwear of course, but the point remains: If you’re looking for a lightweight synthetic travel pant that doesn’t need washed frequently, the Eddie Bauer Guide Pro Pants should be on your shortlist.

 

Outstanding Fit

The Eddie Bauer Guide Pro Pants have a truly stellar, athletic fit. They fit fairly trim and close to your body but the cut maintains excellent mobility.

Better yet, Eddie Bauer offers 26 size options, including tall sizes. (If you’re unsure about your size, Eddie Bauer has a handy Find Your True Fit tool online.)

I have long legs and — like a lot of guys who hike or climb a lot — I have big thighs. The Eddie Bauer Guide Pro Pants fit my thighs. In my experience, the sizing is accurate. I’m 6’3″ tall and weigh 220 pounds and my typical 38/36 size fits spot on.

One of my favorite parts of the cut is the rise: The waistband is positioned slightly lower than average — but don’t worry. Eddie Bauer nailed the rise perfectly. The Guide Pro Pants will keep your backside covered yet deliver a modern fit up front. Paired with the aforementioned gusseted crotch, it all comes together to create a particularly agile pant that fits like it should.

The only quibble I have with the Eddie Bauer Guide Pro Pants is the fit of the lower leg. It’s just a bit looser than I personally want these days. But wait, Eddie Bauer has created a slimmer, trimmer version — the men’s Guide Pro Pants – Slim. I bought a pair. The legs are trimmer and the lower leg is particularly nice — but for me personally, it was just a bit too trim for my big thighs. I had to send them back. I don’t count this against Eddie Bauer, though — I really do have large thighs. I bet that most guys looking for a trimmer fit will be quite happy.

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Guide Pro Alternative Options

There are a lot of great lightweight outdoor pants available these days, but the best alternative options to Eddie Bauer’s Guide Pro Pants might be a different version of ‘Guide Pro’ pants. Here are some of the different versions you might want to consider:

Eddie Bauer Guide Pro Pants – Slim — All the goodness of the original Guide Pro Pants but with a slimmer leg style.

Eddie Bauer Guide Pro Work Pants — The Guide Pro Work Pants have the same fabric and fit profile as the original Guide Pro Pants but they include a second layer of fabric over the thighs and seat. They’re slightly warmer, too. The thigh pockets are the same, but the rear pockets have flaps at the top.

Eddie Bauer Guide Pro Lined Pants — The Guide Pro Lined Pants include a soft polyester stretch fleece lining for extra warmth in winter.

Eddie Bauer Guide Pro 4S Pants — The Guide Pro 4S Pants use a thicker weave to create more of a 4-season pant, but the design has some drawbacks compared to the usual Guide Pro pant designs: The front hand pockets have a vertical orientation that doesn’t hold contents when sitting down as well as traditional horizontal pockets.

Eddie Bauer Guide Pro Convertible Pants — If you’re a fan of hiking pants with zip-off legs that convert to shorts, the Guide Pro Convertible Pants are for you.

Eddie Bauer Guide Pro Shorts — If you like the pants, Eddie Bauer makes a shorts option. If you prefer a shorter inseam, try the Guide Pro Shorts – 9″.

Note: If you’re looking for a great gift for outdoorsy women, the Eddie Bauer Guide Pro Pants for women (links below) use the same great fabric and core design — and even come in a sporty Guide Pro Capris version.

The Verdict: Versatile Daily Winner

Somehow the Eddie Bauer Guide Pro Pants work and look like an outdoor hiking pant without limiting you to a trekking vibe. They pair particularly well with technical fleece tops. If it turns out that you appreciate the Eddie Bauer Guide Pro pants as well as I do, you’ll end up buying additional pairs. Eddie Bauer offers many different colors and versions. Very highly recommended.

Get the Gear:

Eddie Bauer Guide Pro Pants
Benefits
Excellent fabric -- breathable, supple, durable
Trim-but-roomy thigh pockets
Lots of size, color & version choices
Drawbacks
No real drawbacks
4.7

 

 

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