Have you ever loved an article of clothing so much that it has become a part of you? For me, it was the Topo Designs Boulder pants in “Glacier”. She would become my favorite adventure pal. Here’s our story.
We met in November of 2018. I was looking for a pair of new hiking pants since my gray zip-off prAna one wasn’t cutting it anymore. I wanted hiking pants that were durable, fitting, comfortable, affordable, but also cute- or at least decent looking. As I was doing my holiday shopping on REI.com, there she was in the sale section in her bright shade, looking for her new home. I picked her up, and we instantly became best friends. She checked every box, especially the fit. I’m 5’2″ (on a good day), so it’s always hard to find pants that fit me well without alterations. She was perfect in every way and her color always brightened my day.
Our first trip together was climbing at Joshua Tree National Park. She held up nicely against the coarse rock and scramble. She made me feel safe and comfy and our bond only grew stronger from there. We went everywhere together from the mountains to the forests to the rivers to the deserts. I rarely left a trip without her. We were together so often that she became perma-dirty and my friends wondered if I had any other pants besides her. I loved her so much and felt this inseparable bond between us.
She was there the day the climbing accident happened. When the search and rescue team showed up, they asked if they could cut her. I immediately shot Ingria a look because she knew how much I loved her. Before I could answer, they did it anyway, and I felt my heart drop. Forget the ankle, what about my pants! When I was wheeled into the emergency room, they further cut her away as she left my body and asked if I wanted to keep her. I immediately said yes since I wanted to give her a proper goodbye, and they put her in my backpack.
Through the chaos and the shuffle, I forgot about her for a while. It wasn’t until just over a month later when I finally went through my backpack, which was still untouched from the accident, that I found her all balled up with my gear. I held her up and looked closely at the damage that was done. I hugged her and immediately started crying as I thought about our adventures together. I was surprised by how emotional I got. Tears just kept streaming down my face. I started laughing because I felt ridiculous crying over a pair of pants, but to me, she wasn’t just any pair of pants. She represented my love for the outdoors, my sense of adventure, and all the challenges and happiness that came with it. She was there for me, literally and figuratively. I was grieving not only the loss of her, but the loss of being able to move and venture outside the way I envisioned.
This entire moment happened after my session where my therapist told me to lean into my feelings and allow myself to feel whatever emotions come my way. So, I did just that. I continued to cry and held her tightly. I told Ingria what happened the next day and she told me to give the pants to her since she had an idea. I have no clue what she’s doing with her, but all I know is, she’s still here with us today. I wasn’t ready to let her go then, and well, I’m not sure how I feel about letting her go today.
Through my journey with her, I bought more things from Topo Designs and have literally become a walking billboard for them. I emailed their team to share my story and they were kind enough to give me a $100 gift card. I know nothing will ever replace her and I still miss her from time to time. It seems kind of fitting that she was there when the accident happened and left in this grand way. I never thought I would be this attached to a pair of pants, but I’m sure I’m not the only one that holds meaning to inanimate objects. They take a life of their own, and I’m grateful for the memories we had together.
So, thank you for everything, my dear “Glacier” pants. R.I.P and I love you.
2 thoughts on “My Unexpected Love”
I can relate 110% to this odd affinity for pants. I’ve always felt like pants are such a crucial part of having an enjoyable outdoors experience between the durability to withstand adventure and the comfort to make it fun. I know plenty of people who think of jeans when I bring it up and I absolutely shudder at the thought. I’m not even really a fan of wearing jeans in everyday life, let alone out on the trail. I haven’t had the chance to shed tears for mine because despite the dozens of miles, old stains, and wounds of war… they are very much intact. Mine are the KÜHL Renegade convertible pants (of which I have downgraded to shorts only literally once ever. I felt instantly at home whenever I put them on and felt like they were one of the first pieces of clothing I was proud to wear. I also am something of a walking billboard as my favorite down jacket is also from them. I have now tried moving on to a more “adult” KÜHL pair sans zippers and I’m hoping that they will get better, but I just have a feeling that I got it right the first time!
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