I can easily say that REV’IT! pants of all types have been my favorites for many years.
I still have an old pair of REV’IT! Challenge pants from 2006 that have been beat to near death but still going strong.
In warm weather, I break out the REV’IT! Airvent pants (review) I’ve been wearing since 2005, because they have that elusive summer formula — good protection along with good air flow. And the bonus is their perfect fit.
I’m now back in fighting trim and find the size large Defender GTX pants to also fit like that proverbial glove.
By coincidence, we happened to have the Firstgear Rainier jacket and Escape pants outfit available for back-and-forth swapping during the REV’IT! Defender GTX review, which made very obvious the differences in fit between brands.
The fit of the Escape vs. the Defender GTX pants is especially dramatic.
I complained loud and clear about the changes Firstgear made to the Escape pants from the 2009 to 2010 version and the Defender GTX pants are the polar opposite, right down to the much more rational design for the leg cuffs and sealing flap.
Not all is perfect in paradise though; the Defender GTX pants still forego a hook at the waist, something I harped about in the Sand pants review.
And the Defender GTX pants are more difficult to attach to the Defender GTX jacket than they should be, as described below.
But overall, the Defender GTX pants are the best effort so far by REV’IT! and they appear to be taking all the abuse we can throw at them, so let’s take a closer look.
Before we start, a couple of notes: most of the materials and features of the Defender pants are a duplicate of what is described in the Defender GTX jacket review, so please refer to that article for more information.
Also, the model shown in the photos here and in the Defender GTX jacket review is actually a size XL, so keep that in mind when judging fit by looking at the pics.
The Defender GTX pants in size large are a perfect (and correctly snug) fit for a 35-36″ waist and 30-31″ inseam. The pants have a trim fit, unlike the Firstgear Escape pants which feel 1-2 sizes too big for size large.
The fit of the REV’IT! Defender GTX gear is correct for motorcycle riding but “trim” or “snug” doesn’t mean “tight” and “uncomfortable”.
And that’s the trick — the cut and the styling is one of the features you’re paying for here, like the difference between wearing a sack suit from Sears or a bespoke H. Huntsman special.
The idea is to have the cut, styling and materials to enable the pants (and the jacket) to move with the rider.
The trim fit also keeps the armor in place, makes the insulation work more efficiently and prevents the pants from flapping in the wind when riding.
It also ensures that the pants will gain the minimum amount of size when the liners are removed, which is important for a four-season garment.
One thing I should also mention is the Defender GTX pants are not designed as overpants.
I suppose it would be possible to use them as such, but you’d then have to buy them one size larger, which would negate the benefits of having the correct fit.
Don’t do it; if you want overpants, buy a pair specifically designed for that purpose.
The pants have a full length Exkin insulating liner (described in the Defender GTX jacket review) that attaches at the waist and each cuff with full-length zippers, not just snaps.
This is a major feature on most REV’IT! pants that also makes a big difference, as it ensures that the liners are an integral part of the pants and stay in place at all times.
The Exkin liner works beautifully at keeping the rider warm without a lot of bulk or weight. I haven’t felt the need to wear long underwear with the pants; they keep me comfortable when worn over my regular undershorts.
Gore-Tex Waterproof Liner
The Defender GTX pants also have the same Gore-Tex “Guaranteed to Keep You Dry” waterproof and breathable liner found in the jacket and it’s just as efficient in keeping the rider dry with a minimum of bulk.
The removable Gore-Tex liner also attaches with full-length zippers at the waist and cuffs. The zippers are color-coded (red for Exkin), which makes it easy to connect the liners when they’re reinstalled.
The Defender GTX pants are made from multiple types of Cordura, including the same soft ripstop material found in the jacket. However, the material used in the pants includes 500, 750, 1000 and 1200 denier Cordura and nylon variants.
The pants have a large dart of stretch material in the back of the leg and in the crotch, where it adds to the overall comfort.
The REV’IT! hang tag that came with the pants states that there’s even some polyurethane coated “Karvin cowhide” leather used somewhere also, but I don’t know what that is or where it is used. The textile used for the pants also includes the Teflon coating used in the jacket.
Internal and External Protection
The knees are covered with the unique waffle pattern Superfabric abrasion-resistant material, as seen in the photo below. This special and costly material is described in the Defender GTX jacket review. (UPDATE: Apparently Superfabric is no longer used in the knees, due to paint scratching issues. See the Owner Comments section below).
REV’IT! uses the high-quality SAS-Tec GmbH brand armor (SAS “Sicherheit aus Schaum” or Safety of Foam/Safety of Foam Systems) in their higher-end jackets (elbows, shoulders) and pants (knees, shins) for protection, along with the Superfabric abrasion protection on the elbows. Heavy perforated foam is used at the hips and the pants can be optionally fitted with a SAS-Tec hip protectors.
The compromise between waterproof capability and ventilation is usually most apparent in motorcycle pants, which can more easily be made waterproof because they have fewer pockets and vents.
However, the flip side is that motorcycle pants are usually poorly ventilated. Some pants have a simple zipper vent on the thigh, which usually does nothing to improve air flow.
The Defender GTX pants feature pull-open vents on either thigh, identical in design to the upper chest vent system used on the Defender GTX jacket.
The Cordura cover attaches with full-length hook-and-loop around half of the square, then it secures to the leg with metal Fiocchi brand (Italy) snaps to uncover a large section of the REV’IT! “3D” mesh underneath. The surface area that this new vent design provides is many times that of a simple zipper leg vent.
The pants have two hand pockets, located on either side at the transition between black and white (or the seam). These have a zipper with an extra zipper pull and are lined with a type of taffeta material. The outer seam forms about a 10 mm protective barrier over the zipper.
The Defender pants have a short zipper and a 3/4 length zipper at the waist to attach to the Defender GTX jacket. The jacket has a short zipper inside the Gore-Tex liner and a short and long zipper in the shell.
There’s also a slot in the Exkin liner in the jacket to allow the shorter pants zipper to attach to the zipper in the waterproof liner.
The attachment zippers in the pants are hidden under the lip of material at the top of the accordion pleat in the rear (see photos above and below).
There’s a slight problem with this design because the attachment zippers in the pants are difficult to access once the pants and jacket are on and I’m reaching around the back trying to blindly attach the jacket to the pants.
The flap of material that covers the zippers is stiff and the zippers are sewn tight up into the seam, making them difficult to access.
I think the designers probably got a little to enthusiastic about hiding the zipper for stylistic reasons.
If the material holding the zipper were a few millimeters wider, giving it more standoff from the seam under the flap, the zipper teeth would stick out farther, probably making them easier to grab.
Perhaps over time the material will loosen up, but as it now stands, I have to first attach the jacket to the pants zipper before I put on the pants because of the design.
Where’s the Snap?
Another feature that I wish REV’IT! would consider on all their pants is a hook at the front of the waist.
Although it’s a well-made metal type, I feel that a metal hook at the waist should be a mandatory feature of motorcycle pants for safety reasons.
Both versions of the Firstgear Escape pants we reviewed have hooks, with the latest version having two separate hooks in addition to snaps to hold the waist closed, which is an important safety feature.
I noted the absence of a hook on the REV’IT! Sand pants also and I’m disappointed that it hasn’t been included on the Defender GTX pants.
Here is a photo of the waist on the Defender GTX pants, compared with the Firstgear Escape pants from 2009 and 2011:
[UPDATE (July 2012): Looks like REV’IT! has added a hook to the waist on the most recent version of the Defender GTX pants.
An email from webBikeWorld reader “R.P.” said “After reading your review I purchased a pair of Revit Defender pants…and much to my pleasure I found that they now include a hook on the waist. I guess Revit listens! Love the pants and your reviews!”]
A section of material backs the fly and the Gore-Tex liner has a raised section in front that snaps to the inside of the pants at the fly to keep the water out.
The Exkin liner has a V-shaped cutout in front also, which provides access for bathroom breaks.
The Defender GTX pants also have wide adjusters on either side, fitted over a section of elastic sewn into the waist at that point.
The adjusters are comfortable and remain unnoticed while providing a wide range of waist adjustment.
The Defender GTX pants fasten with a vertical zipper at the end of each leg cuff, covered by a protective flap.
The zipper is about 220 mm long, leaving about another 60 mm at the bottom of the cuff, below the zipper attachment point for the liners.
The legs have three long sections of hook-and-loop on the outside to allow the flap to tighten the fit of the lower portion of the legs.
However, the flap is rather thin, which prevents it from fully utilizing all of the hook-and-loop because it can’t be pulled around far enough.
What happens is that when the flap is pulled over more than the distance of its width, the material under the zipper, including the zipper itself and the two liners begins to bunch up, causing an increased thickness that makes it difficult to secure the flap.
So the flap appears to have been made just wide enough to protect the zipper, but it doesn’t seem wide enough to really use all of the adjustment available in the leg.
I’d suggest at least doubling the width of the flap, which would also help protect the “loop” part of the hook-and-loop fastened to the outside of the leg.
Although I’d have to say that compared to the Firstgear Escape pants, the REV’IT! system is better than the faulty design in the Firstgear Escape pants (Version 3), which allow no adjustment at all on the lower leg.
The legs in the Escape pants are too wide at the bottom and have that elastic curtain that’s also a problem with tall boots.
The wBW Opinionator: REV’IT! Defender GTX Pants
Outstanding overall quality.
Comfortable soft-feel shell with ripstop protection.
Styling complements fit and vice-versa.
SAS-Tech armor and Superfabric.
Hip protector is optional.
Still no hook at the waist (added on later versions).
Lower leg flap should be wider.
Hidden attachment zipper makes it very difficult to attach the jacket to the pants.
The REV’IT! Defender GTX pants are the perfect match for the Defender GTX jacket and they’re leagues ahead of the Firstgear Escape pants and others in terms of fit, comfort, warmth and their waterproof capability.
I picked on the Escape pants here only because we wore them back and forth with the REV’IT! gear during this evaluation, and Firstgear markets their TPG clothing line as a near-REV’IT! competitor.
I have also obliquely referenced the cost of the REV’IT! outfit, which isn’t insignificant.
But I honestly believe that a serious motorcycle rider would, in the end, be better off spending the money up front to buy the best and it will save in the long run.
The Defender GTX outfit has four-season, all-weather capability and replaces at least two complete outfits of lesser types.
I can re-state what I wrote in the Defender GTX jacket review: the Defender GTX outfit is an upgrade from the very popular Cayenne series (which is still in production).
This puts it into a new level above the already-capable Cayenne Pro and the upcoming Everest GTX series, which is the new ultimate no-compromise REV’IT! outfit.
The pants aren’t perfect — I’d prefer to see a hook at the waist and a re-designed adjuster flap at the cuffs, along with an easier attachment zipper system. Thus, they lose one star in my rating.
But in the overall scheme of things, this is relatively minor and not everyone will agree.
In the end, I can easily state that the Defender GTX pants have the ultimate combination of warmth and comfort while remaining perfectly dry, making them highly recommended.
From “D.W.” (October 2012): “I have had my Defender GTX pants for a couple of months and I thought you might like to here about my experiences.
It appears that the Superfabric protective layer on the knees of the pants is no longer part of the product.
I noticed the laminate cross hatch pattern layer over the knee had started to flake, peal off from the underlying materiel.
This is not a large area (as of yet) but is forming where a wrinkle occurs in the underlying material when I stand.
This is the first season I have owned the pants and I have not fallen down in them, or to my knowledge stressed this area in any way. it is to high on the knee for me to have knelt on.
This seemed to be strange behavior for an abrasion resistant feature of the pants. I began to believe this part was not Superfabric.
I contacted the company that makes Superfabric, they where very helpful. Through the course of couple of emails and ultimately a photo they confirmed that it was indeed not Superfabric but that REV’IT! was one of there customers.
They thought it looked like some sort of sticker. (attached is the photo) At this point I contacted REV’IT! to try and find out “where is the Superfabric?”
The REV’IT! website indicated that it was part of the pants, as did almost every independent reviewer or REV’IT! dealer site that I could find.
I never did here back from REV’IT! but one of there Platinum level Dealers that I had contacted went ahead and contacted REV’IT!. It helps to know names I suppose.
Initially the Dealer thought that it may be a production error and the piece on my pants was just the “glue” that was to be used to laminate the Superfabric on to the pants, and it had just been missed in QA.
This seamed reasonable to me, and I could understand how it could be missed if one was not careful. I think I have had them for a couple of months and hadn’t bothered to look closely at it.
Then the Dealer heard back from REV’IT!. The Dealer reported back to me they “unfortunately discovered that this was a (silent) running change for the Defender pants”.
REV’IT! had received complaints about the pants scratching bikes and had removed the Superfabric to address this.
Well that is all fine and dandy but the problem is that they didn’t change there product literature. More over they apparently put this “sticker”, what ever it is, over the knee area to simulate the earlier pants.
So it was in the end not a manufacturing defect, it was intentional. I am one of those people whom considers the components, makeup, and functionality of the products very carefully, particularly protection.
I have huge screws and plates in my left femur, a hole drilled through my left knee and over a year of rehabilitation and recovery to remind me how valuable protective products may be.
Protective gear is critically important to me. I won’t even consider pants that have no hip armor or a provision to add it.
This was not only a deal-breaker to me for the pants now having just Cordura ripstop over the knees, plus a sticker, in my opinion don’t really stack to the competition, not for the price range that is.
Price range is important as these pants are not cheap, but I don’t mind paying a (reasonable) premium price for premium product, at the same time I am no rich guy so I must be frugal.
Well they fooled me in this case, it’s not hard as I am no textile expert, they also have made a lot of information and reviews out there in the internet world wrong in one swoop.
The Dealer made good though. They had the same size and color pants in stock that still had the Superfabric on the knees and facilitated a defect exchange.
So you might want to check the stock and see which version you are getting, or have.”