Gear Review - Arc'teryx Oriel Legging

Long gone are the days when our only options were khaki, black or grey hiking pants that were uncomfortable, unflattering or unaffordable…or all of the above. Nowadays, there is a smorgasbord of leggings that are functional, fun and flattering and that can take you effortlessly from trail to town.

Or even better, from crag to city!

The Arc’teryx Oriel Legging are a newcomer to the scene, boasting technical outdoor functionality, comfort and durability. “This is tough love”, Arc’teryx say. And so we threw a pair over to Sarah Josephsen (the Director of Climb Fit Sydney & Kirrawee and an overall die-hard seeker of adventure) for some tough lovin’ in the Budawangs.

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The challenge

We set out on an overnight hike in the Budawangs over the Anzac weekend. Our goal was to climb the Castle. It’s not exactly rock climbing (you don’t need a harness and rope) but you do scramble up slabs, crawl through narrow tunnels and navigate boulders, and some of the sections are quite exposed and scary! It’s one of my favourite hikes ever and the perfect way to test out the functionality, comfort and durability of the Arc’teryx Oriel Legging.

What I loved

INDESTRUCTIBLE!
I was literally dragging my lower body over rocks, crawling through caves, and climbing chimneys – and there was not a single scratch or scuff in these leggings after 3 days of it. They still look brand new without any pilling and excellently retaining their shape. (For the fabric nerds, this is thanks to a highly abrasion resistant interlock of nylon and elastane.)

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THIGH POCKETS
The Arc’teryx Oriel Legging feature two thigh pockets that are still accessible with a climbing harness on. Well, these are the pockets I never knew I needed! They are the absolute best feature while hiking. It meant I could slip my phone in one side pocket for super easy access to take photos instead of having to stop and fumble around with my pack.

When we did the scramble up to the top of the Castle, we left our packs behind so I put a muesli bar in one pocket, phone in the other and then I could climb with my hands free! From now on, every pair of leggings I buy will have these pockets. Seriously life changing.

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GOOD COMPRESSION + BREATHABILITY
These feel slick and lightweight on skin and yet give perfect compression - I felt like my muscles were held in nice and tight. They breathe really well as the waistband is mesh-lined, which disperses moisture so I never felt as though I was overheating…and yet they still kept me warm at night around camp when the temperature dropped.

AMAZING VALUE FOR MONEY
The price is very reasonable. At 130 Australian dollars, these are similarly priced to a pair of Lululemon tights but I think these will have a longer lifespan, thanks to them being a specific technical outdoor legging, designed with extended use against rock in mind.

Read more: 8 Reasons to Hiking in Adventure Leggings

What I didn’t love as much

A HIGHER WAISTBAND PLEASE!
The Arc’teryx Oriel Legging waistband sits just below the belly button. This provides just enough coverage without too much heat retention. It is perfect for those that don’t like a high waistband. Personally, I like a waistband that is a little higher; my harness can then rest on the fabric so I don’t get any rubbing on my skin. This is an interesting ‘flaw’ since the leggings are intended for climbing! But that aside, I’m wearing these leggings for every other activity.

ZIP IT UP
A zip on one of the thigh pockets would be really cool. I know I haven’t worn these leggings climbing but my initial impression is that I would be too scared to put anything in the pockets in fear that it might fall out! I might test this out in the climbing gym and let you know!

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I love outdoor gear that actually performs for days, back-to-back so the Arc’teryx Oriel Leggings are definitely my new adventure BFFs! In addition to this, since the Castle, I have worn them for runs and even at work.

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This gear review was written in exchange for the leggings. Opinions are honest and true to Sarah’s experience.

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Sarah Josephsen

SARAH JOSEPHSEN

SARAH JOSEPHSEN

Sarah Josephsen is a Sydney-sider, the director of Climb Fit Sydney and Kirrawee and a Lululemon Legacy Ambassador. She is passionate about all things active + outdoors.
Come say hi in person at one of Climb Fit’s two locations, St Leonards and Kirrawee.