Motivation to ride through the winter isn’t always easy to come by. Cold mornings are excellent at getting me to fire up the wood stove and stay inside reading, where the only laps I’ll be taking are to the espresso machine and wood shed. They’re not quite as effective at getting me fired up to ride. One of my favorite excuses on a cold day is convincing myself I’ve got nothing to wear. That one doesn’t work anymore.
I don’t need them too often, but when I do, the Pearl Izumi Summit AmFib Lite pants get the job done. First and foremost, they’re comfortable. I can go straight from my pajamas into these and hardly notice the difference. Stretch panels throughout the pants make them feel more like gym trainers than riding pants. They don’t restrict movement at all. You could rock climb in these things.
And they’re warm. Covering most of the inside of the pants is a soft, lightweight fleece material that’s luxurious and cozy. So cozy I’m tempted to keep feeding the fire, filling my coffee mug, and seeing if there are any Strava segments I can do inside my house.
In another way, though, sliding the AmFib Lites on feels like prepping for battle. Battle in pajama pants. Pajama pants that keep you warm and dry. Well, sort of dry. We’ll get to that later. Point is, they make it easy to take that first, hardest step. The one out the door.
Let’s talk mercury first. I’ve been comfortable in temperatures dipping into the high 20s, and I think I’d be fine going into the teens. That is, if I wanted to ride in the teens. I don’t—I go skiing instead.
Pearl Izumi’s website gives a temperature range from 30 to 50 degrees. I run hot, so that’s way off for me. I’ve been out in 50-degree weather in these things, and it was not comfortable. They do breathe pretty well, but the fleece interior makes them insulated and thus, quite warm. I’ve learned not to break these suckers out until it’s 40 or colder.
I also learned not to wear them in very wet conditions. Pearl touts the AmFib Lite pants as being water resistant, but I wouldn’t go that far. There are some panels on the pants that can handle a puddle or two, but there’s a lot of material without any water resistance whatsoever, like the entire portion covering your ass. The AmFib Lite pants are excellent for cold, dry, and even damp days, but not wet ones. The language on Pearl’s site is a little misleading in that regard. If you go out on a sloppy, muddy day wearing these, you’ll come back soaking wet. You’ll still be warm, but the pants will be waterlogged and triple their original weight. But because the fit is akin to skinny jeans, they layer nicely under rain pants, a combo that makes even the coldest, wettest days toasty warm.
The exceedingly flexible stretch of the AmFib Lite pants makes them comfy, but I actually think they would benefit from a little bit less stretch on the back panel. Sometimes the pants catch on my seat while I’m moving around over the bike, which isn’t always ideal. I do like the fit, the three zippered pockets, and the Velcro waist adjusters are nice and strong. The best thing about these pants, though, is they help get me out of the house when it’s the last thing I want to do.