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kraut-60

New switchbacks lacking ankle zips

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I just seen a pair of the new greener switchbacks in supplex nylon at our scout shop friday...they seemed identical to the olive green originals until I examined the lower legs...NO zippers to accomodate removing the lower legs while wearing boots...BIG MISTAKE!

 

If you get these new pants and intend to hike in them, be ready to pay a seamstress to hem them AND put in lower leg/ankle zips. You can elect to leave them zipper-less but must still be hemmed.

 

I dont "get" why the switchback originals had to be changed regarding the functional feature of allowing the wearer to remove the lower leg portions...just to accomodate the "need" for hemming to fit? I wear a 30" inseam but settled for 3 pair of the original SBs with 32" inseam as thats all that was availible...extra length? sure...solution? Get a pair of elastic straps about 1" wide, slip 'em over the boot and blouse the bottoms of the pant leg in...keeps the pants from getting walked on and frayed, plus looks cool and prevents stuff from going up the leg and in the boot top...or zip off the tops when the morning heats up enough.

 

Does anyone posting here know if their scout shops are/will continue to sell the older Switchbacks?...the one nearest to me (Janesville WI) has cleared the shelve of all the older uniforms for the new "Visine" uniform (got the red out).

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The biggest complaint about the "old" switchbacks (both here and on all other Scouting boards I read) was that they did not work well for differing leg lengths. There was no way to adjust the length other than to take the pants to a professional have the zipper taken out, the pants re-hemmed, and a shorter zipper (or none at all) reinstalled. There was a LOT of negative chatter on this issue.

 

Apparently, National Supply listened.

 

Personally, I hate having to hem pants I have just paid a good pile of $$ for. OK, I hate hemming pants, period! But, if I am paying $40 for a pair of pants, I don't want to have to mess with them, or spend another $20 to have someone else mess with them.

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Here's one vote for the zipper-less, hem-able switchbacks (although all your points are well-taken). My son just transitioned to Webelos. He's 9 years old with a 32" waist. He tall for his age, but not that tall to be able to accomodate the length that existed on the old switchbacks. As it is, I'll be hemming a good 8 inches off the new-style switchbacks this week to get the length right. It still looks a little long when worn as shorts, however.

 

With the old switchbacks, the only choice would have been to move the TOP zipper on the bottom part of the legs, which is alot more surgery than hemming the bottoms. (The lady at out scout shop actually offered this service because of all the complaints about length).

 

 

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Re: the old switchbacks, you could take fabric from the middle of the pants legs to make them shorter.

 

Still, I never did (I just wore them as shorts and never wore the legs because they were too long).

 

I really like the new pants -- the fabric is much heavier and my guess is, will be much more resistant to "pilling".

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Removing the pant leg zippers appears to be inconsistant with National Supply's intention of making the uniform more action friendly or outdoors oriented. When you are in the middle of a hike or backpacking expidition it will be a real pain to stop and find a place to sit down (and likely have to remove your pack) then take off your boots just to take the plant leggings on or off. This will be especially true in inclemnet weather or quickly changing weather conditions.

 

In my opionion scouters and scouts could be much better served just by offering more choices to the inseam lenghts other then only three sizes. Will this increase costs and decrease inventory turns, possibly, but cloths that actually fit the human body and most of those bodies out there is what makes a given clothing article part of its utility and ultimantly creates the demand for the article. Zippers and additional inseam lengths will give the "Switchbacks" line universal appeal. This will increase the volume and help offset increased inventory carrying costs. This creates a win win situation for National Supply and the end consumer.

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I can't speak to the smaller sizes, but at least the fat guy legs can be taken off with my boots on. They are wide pant legs. It cost me $8 to have them hemmed.

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"The biggest complaint about the "old" switchbacks (both here and on all other Scouting boards I read) was that they did not work well for differing leg lengths."

 

I don't get that. They came in different inseams. All you had to do was find the pair that fit. Or you could be like the kids and sag them so that you're walking on the bottoms and be really cool.

 

I'd still like to see a pants option for those of us who don't spend all of our time frolicing about in the woods.

 

 

 

 

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I understand the frustration of parents who's child seems to outgrow their clothing overnight - I am one - my 14 year old currently is 6'2", when he joined Scouting about 15 months ago he was about 5'7". Shoe size has gone from a 7 1/2 to a 12.

 

One pair of Trousers isn't going to make it over the long haul in an active Troop unless the Scout just doesn't grow. So the idea of buying one pair and using them for a long time just isn't practicable for most. It's great for those who can but the reality is that most of us will buy a new pair every year to a year and a half to accommodate growth of the child. And in terms of cost unless the sports team provides uniforms we are usually out-of-pocket for uniforms each year so this is kind of just the same thing only for Scouting.

 

For my son we intentionally bought long each time we bought, and on the first and second time anticipating growth spurts bought a little wider than looked good at the moment of purchase too.

 

My son and I both think National has really bit the big one on the ankle zipper this time. He(and I) couldn't believe after getting that part right on the Switchbacks that they dropped that feature on the "activity" friendly uniform.

It would be one thing not to have those zippers on a "dress" trouser but for field work they were just a really big feature that I will have a hard time getting past when I have to replace my Switchbacks - and is one of the things that could take me out of uniform and into Columbia's or another maker when hiking etc.

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Kraut-60-

 

regarding your question about whether or not they will continue to sell the "old" stock... I believe the Milwaukee County Council Scout Shop (I-94 and 84th Street) will continue to sell the old style switchbacks until they run out. And the Potowatomi Area Council Scout Shop still had the items in their stock room... you just had to ask for them. Did you ask for the old style at your local store? if not, they may still have them, but they just can't have them out/don't have room for them with the new stock.

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Several of my ASMs, as well as myself, grew up in Scouting and are now leaders in it. When the Switchbacks first arrived in our troop we were decrying their long lengths as they were splayed over the shoes and dragging along the floor. They looked unsightly compared to the traditional "dress" trousers. What has contributed to this disheveled look is that the parents have purchased lengths that their sons could grow into, just like they had w/ previous pairs. What they did not think about is how they would look when worn long.

 

I asked at our Scout Shop if the Switchbacks were part of the dress uniform and was told they were. As "activity" pants they are a great addition to the wardrobe. But for weekly troop meetings, and other dress events, when worn long they look untidy. So when I saw a preview of them, w/out the zippers, I applauded National's change.

 

I do agree with some above that they should have given us a choice of styles. But knowing a bit about inventory management, I can see why they did not want to stock another set of SKUs.

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I just went this week and bought another pair of the "old" switchback pants - simply because I like the ankle zipper. Our Scout Store does have the new pants already (in limited supply), but they are selling off their old ones starting with 20% off.

clyde

 

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