I was in China when things got really bad. The cheap chinos I had been using in my office job, before I quit to climb full time a year before, were ripped to shreds and were verging on indecent. Back then, it was part of my commitment to a low-life-admin ‘multi-wear’ clothing system which involved wearing the same trousers that could work for everything; working, climbing, dates, the discotheque.. anything.
Once upon a time full-time traveller and YouTuber, Nate Murphy took his Novas around the world. Nate put his Novas through thick and thin and wrote to us at 3RD ROCK to tell us about it. Here is his story:
But the harsh reality set up, was these office chinos were just not suitable for rock climbing. Where flexibility was missing, all three pairs gave up and resulted in huge rips across the knees and in the seat of the trousers. And the problem was in China, I found it nearly impossible to find trousers made for someone six foot tall who wants to move in them. Then came the 3RD ROCK Novas. I liked them a lot, perhaps too much. In nearly every climbing photo or video in the following year I was wearing the same strikingly coloured pair of trousers. This was no bad thing, those trousers look great in photos but it may have given the impression that I only owned one pair of trousers.
After climbing shoes, trousers are probably the most important thing we wear that impacts climbing performance. We need them to protect us against abrasion, knee-bar pain but also be flexible enough to enable high steps or improbable moves. It is very frustrating to have your movement restricted by badly designed or inappropriate trousers. The Novas are tough as nails. Over a year of non-stop use this what I put a single pair Novas through:
- •One month of knee-bar intensive tufa climbing in Spain
- •A spring season of big-wall free climbing in Yosemite including working and freeing ‘The Westie Face’ on the Leaning Tower
- •A month of UK trad climbing
- •A summer Alpine trad season in Chamonix
- •Sport, Trad and Bouldering in Tuolumne
•A second Yosemite season to work ‘The Shaft’ - a 33 pitch Trad route with climbing up to 8a+/5.13c - big walls trash everything but the Novas held out
Nate and partner Alix on Leaning Tower resting by Austin Siadak
Putting up a new route, 'Jungle' in Novas
But the story continues, after we heard Nate's story of his journey with his Nova's, we asked him, so what would you do to improve your favourite trousers?
As my background is in design and engineering when I got a replacement pair of Novas from 3RD ROCK I posted back my old worn pair with the following recommendations:
- •Reinforce the non-pocket side of the seat (this was the only part that wore and was eventually ripped by sharp jungle plants)
- •Reinforce the pocket stitching (I repaired one pocket)
- •Look at UV protection possibilities for the Organic dye - they had faded a little after so much time in the sun (still better than polluting water sources with toxic chemicals though)
- •Look at making them slightly less baggy on the leg