The Bluffworks Ascender Chino is the sequel to the Original Chinos put out by Bluffworks a couple of years ago. Since my wardrobe still consists of primarily Bluffworks clothing whilst I’m not on the trail (but even sometimes when I am), I was excited to adopt a new pair of pants into my life.
Obviously, I would prefer to simply be naked all the time, but given that society dictates I must wear something to cover my loins, I’ve grown to love my Bluffworks Ascender Chinos.
I wore (and am still wearing) the Bluffworks Ascender Chinos constantly. Pretty much everything I do, from bouldering and climbing outdoors to sitting in a coffee shop writing this review, I do in these pants. If I wasn’t such a fan of wearing tiny shorts while hiking, I would probably have them out on the trail with me too.
- Material: 100% polyester
- Pockets: 10
- Zippered pockets: 3 (of the 10 total)
- Phone pockets: 2 (of the 10 total)
- Fits: Regular, Tailored
- Waist: 28 to 40
- Length: 28 to 36
- Colors: Khaki, Grey, Navy, Red, Green
- MSRP: $125
- Machine-washable, line or tumble dry
- Wrinkle-resistant pants, no iron needed
- 10 total pockets, including 2 phone pockets
- Hidden travel money pouch pocket
- 3 anti-theft secret zipper pockets/li>
- Reverse direction front zippers (on hidden front pockets)
- Machine wash cold 86°F / 30°C with like color
- Do not bleach
- Dry medium heat
Original vs. Ascender Chinos
The Ascender Chinos are similar to the Original Chinos in that they are both travel-ready, quick-drying, stretch-friendly, 100% polyester pants. However, there are some noteworthy differences for those wondering which pair might be best to start (or continue) your Bluffworks journey in.
- The Original Chinos have a metal button, the Ascender Chinos do not
- The Original Chinos have eight pockets, the Ascender Chinos have ten pockets.
- The zippered pockets hidden inside the two front pockets on the Original Chinos close bottom to top (when the zipper is up, the pocket is closed); the zippered pockets hidden inside the two front pockets on the Ascender Chinos close top to bottom (when the zipper is down, the pocket is closed)
- The Ascender Chinos have a “money pouch pocket” with a velcro closure that’s on the inside of the right front pocket
- The Ascender Chinos and Original Chinos come in different colors
THE MATERIAL | The Bluffworks Ascender Chino is made from 100% polyester. They’re stretchy, moisture-wicking, breathable, and surprisingly soft. They’re not going to be as durable as something like denim (as I’ve already proven to myself by taking them rock climbing on several occasions), but they’re great for hiking and biking (or for everyday, less exciting things like walking to work, high kicking in the crosswalk, or sitting on the toilet).
THE POCKETS | The Ascender Chino has ten pockets. If they had any more pockets they would be cargo pants and everyone knows what everyone thinks about cargo pants – they suck (at least I’m pretty sure that’s what we all think about cargo pants). Each front pocket has an additional zippered front pocket, one of the back pockets is zippered, and there’s a cell-phone (or knife?) pocket above the right rear pocket (out of the way of your but when you sit down)
THE VERSATILITY | My wardrobe is small. I could literally fit all of my clothing into a backpack. This means that the last thing I want is five pairs of pants – let alone two pairs of pants. The Ascender Chino can be dressed up (especially the red ones) or dressed down (especially the green ones – camouflage, duh). I literally wear them everywhere.
THE STRETCH | One of the reasons I wear progressively shorter shorts on my doings out in the world? I don’t like to be restrained. This is why pants scare me. What if they catch fire and I need to escape them? Luckily, the Ascender Chinos are both comfortable and stretchy. They are stretchy enough for me to comfortably hike, bike and climb in. I can even stretch in them (granted, I’m not very flexible, but I’m working on it).
THE BUTTON | The Bluffworks Ascender Chino has a button – as most pants do. Except for sweatpants…and Thai pants…and probably some other pants. Regardless, the Ascenders have a button. It is not a metal button like the Original Chinos. The button on my Ascender Chino popped off on my first day of owning them. Apparently, they had a bad run of buttons and they offered to fix my Ascenders. This incident aside, I think I prefer this button to the metal button.
THE SIZING | Despite this being my fifth pair of Bluffworks pants, I’ve yet to nail the sizing. I have these in a 32 x 30 (I’m 5’10” / 178 cm, 180 lbs / 82 kg) and probably need a 30 x 30 (I’ve never worn any pants in a 30 x 30). But maybe a 31 would do. But if having to try on a couple of pairs is the price I have to pay for the stretch, then it’s worth it.
THE DURABILITY | If you’re wearing these pants the way that most people wear most pants, you’ve got nothing to worry about in terms of durability. That said, I really like to put my things through the wringer. I’ve done a fair amount of rock climbing in these pants and I’ve managed to scrape up the knees a bit. That said, the Ascender Chinos have held up better than I had expected them to.
THE FRONT-POCKET ZIPPERS | The Bluffworks Ascender Chinos have two hidden pockets within the front pockets. I love these pockets. However, these pockets have zippers that close from bottom to top (i.e. when the zipper is down, the pocket is closed). The Original Chinos have the same thing (in one pocket) but the zipper runs the other way. I find the original configuration to be more user-friendly. That said, the new pockets are probably harder for someone to pickpocket – but if someone is unzipping a pocket that’s inside your pocket, then you probably have other things to worry about.
These pants are great for travel (packable, versatile, zippered/hidden pockets), for everyday wear, or I will continue trying to kill them, but until then
Check out the Bluffworks Ascender Chino here.
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