Fox’s previous Ranger Pant only had one zipped pocket and a waist cinch that fastened round the side/rear that some riders found a bit fiddly. It also came with a skin tight fit and comparatively short leg that exposed a lot of sock and could ride up when, er... riding.
This latest model refines the cut for a bit more breathing room and has two zipped pockets to help separate out contents like keys and a smartphone. To ‘improve comfort on the bike’, it still shares with its predecessor having no fly zipper though. But could it now deserve a place amongst the best MTB pants?
Design and Specifications
Fox uses a polyamide nylon fabric with 3% elastane with a kind of micro-ripstop texture. There’s no DWR waterproof coating and it’s a little less crinkly than previously. While Fox’s fabric has a bit of give, it’s still not as easy to expand and distort as some other 4-way stretch pants.
The new cut being marginally looser means it’s easier to thread legs in and out of the ankle cuff (that uses an elastic back panel with more stretch to ease access), and with seven sizes from 28in to 40in, rider legs from flamingo to elephant-shaped should find a good fit.
The new waist cinch uses a thread-through canvas tightener with clasp that pulls over a wide enough range to adapt to different body shapes and keep the pant up when riding dynamically. There’s a soft absorbent backer on the waistband interior; the cinch tightens too to collect sweat and stay comfy against skin.
At the front, there’s only one eyelet popper above the fly and no fly zip, so the flap that closes over your privates has a bit of airiness, but never falls open too much or anything, and having no zip means it can’t dig in or sit funny.
Lower down, the two jeans-style hand pockets have mesh internal so you can sometimes feel contents inside on thighs, and both now get zip closures for security. There is no lower thigh pocket with zip as previously.
A variety of nice colors are offered and the overall styling is reasonably subtle with the left leg having a Fox head logo on the thigh and right leg FOX written at the rear of the ankle.
My first impression of this latest Fox Ranger Pant was that it seemed decent, but was nothing particularly special. It fitted well and wasn’t intrusive or restrictive, but the more I’ve used it, the more it’s lack of any issues had me thinking this is actually a really sorted riding trouser.
Fox’s material doesn’t have a DWR coating, but also doesn’t absorb a lot of water when wet and get too heavy and flappy, so you can use it even when the trails are pretty soaked without any of that sodden dragging-trousers-down fabric feel you get with some rivals. There’s also a really good balance of being airy and well ventilated yet offering enough warmth to take chill winds off on the coldest days, so the Ranger is a genuine year-round UK option.
If the ripstop material does get soaked in sweat, a shower or deep splashes, it also has a super-fast drying time and recovers really fast. The new waist cinch is really light and effective and I prefer having the two ‘normal’ pockets, including one where I stashed my phone and it doesn’t move at all.
The four-way stretch here isn’t quite as elastic as some other brands like Dainese, but there’s the ‘right’ amount of stretch, so legs and backside never feel restricted at all and the tailored cut keeps its structure and basic shape better. The ripstop fabric being tighter below the knee keeps it well out of the way of the drivetrain and has proven more tough elsewhere against snagging and fabric pulls than many other trousers I’ve tested.
Fox’s leg length still isn’t that long (at least on the size 34in tested with its 29.5in inseam), so the Ranger might not be the best option for really tall riders unless you especially like showing off your strong sock game.
The Fox Ranger Pant didn’t immediately strike as outstanding, but by not really putting a foot wrong, it’s fast become one of those high-functioning bits of kit you find yourself reaching for time and again. The fit looks good both on and off the bike, and any niggles I expected like the single popper waist and lack of higher rise rear waistband turned out to be unfounded in the real world.
Tech specs: Fox Ranger Pants
- Price: $119.95 / £109.99 / €109.99
- Colors: Black, Purple, Midnight Blue, Dark Shadow Grey, Bark Brown
- Sizes: 28, 30, 32, 34, 36, 38, 40in
- Materials: 97% Polyamide nylon, 3% Elastane
- Weight: 290g (34in tested)
- Rival products: Nukeproof Blackline pants, Dainese HGR pants, O Neal Trailfinder Stealth, Specialized Trail pant