NF DP3 Pants Review: Made in British Columbia
Designed and manufactured in British Columbia, the NF DP3 Pants are slim-fit mountain bike pants designed for all-mountain and enduro-style riding. Miles purchased a pair earlier this winter to see if they live up to the hype and how’d they fare for different types of riding. Find his review here…
Since moving to the coast, I’ve been on the hunt for a pair of comfortable, slim-fitting pants to ride in. Although the temperatures have been floating around 5-10°C for the most part, it’s damp and there’s always a chance for rain. Unless it’s absolutely pouring, this means it’s almost too mild for rain pants but certainly not warm enough for shorts. I’ve been asking folks what kind of pants they wear in these conditions, and options from Pearl Izumi, Specialized, and Endura were among the most popular. It wasn’t until I noticed some enduro friends of mine all wearing the same pants that I learned about ENNEF, commonly known as NF.
Launched in 2018, NF is a technical mountain bike apparel brand based out of Vancouver, British Columbia. Travis Bothner and his wife Ying run the business alongside six other staff, and between the two of them have over three decades of experience in the apparel industry. Coastal mountain biking is hard on bike components and apparel, and NF has made it their mission to produce quality garments that can hold up in these conditions. Their riding pants, which are their flagship product, have received a lot of praise in the mountain bike world—and the fact that they are designed and manufactured right in Vancouver is the cherry on top. In a time when supporting local business is more important than ever, I decided to splurge on the NF DP3 Pants earlier this winter to see how they’d do as a more general-purpose riding pant for mountain biking, gravel, and bikepacking.
NF currently has two pants in their lineup: the DP3 (that I purchased) and the Berzerker. The latter is designed for the cold and wet, featuring a recycled three-layer waterproof-breathable construction and DWR coating. The DP3 Pant is more of a do-everything option with a light soft-shell construction, DWR coating, and two different zippered pockets. I wanted to make sure the DP3 pants wouldn’t be as warm as the fleece-lined Endura MT500 Splash Trousers I normally use and NF assured me they were the same pants their World Cup racers use for the summer months, whereas the Berzerker is their winter pant. I ponied up the $218 CAD (~$170 USD), waited until they were back in stock (they tend to sell out quickly), and snagged a pair for myself.
NF definitely doesn’t hold back on the branding, which I’ll admit initially had me hesitant to purchase them. The big silicone graphics are far from what I’d normally lean towards and definitely give an enduro-shred-vibe that I probably don’t live up to. However, they’re loaded with clever features that let me look past that. They use an extra-wide elasticized waistband that they call the “No Fly Zone”, which is comfortable while riding and does a great job of keeping them in place. Due to their slim, contoured fit, I’ve not missed any kind of adjustment or cinches, and I think NF really nailed the overall design.
I’m 6’1″ tall with a 34″ waist and the size large fits perfectly. NF has a nice sizing chart to help dial in the fit before ordering, and I’d say they are true to size. With that said, I’m pretty slim overall, and I’ve heard that the slim fit may not work for everyone. It’s also a unisex design, which may not work for all body types. Although the stretchy fabric and elastic waistband are fairly versatile, it would be great to see some women-specific or maybe even body-specific options. For me, the tapered leg and narrow ankle opening are unrestrictive and comfortable while riding, while the gusseted crotch and extremely contoured fit look and feel great.
I’ve worn the DP3 Pants on every ride I’ve been on since picking them up. I’ve ridden in them in light rain, mud, on long day rides, and during our Good Night 2020 campout. Unlike other softshell garments I’ve owned, they aren’t showing any signs of wear or pilling, and the overall fit and shape have remained consistent even after a few washes. Although they are certainly quite breathable, I tend to run fairly warm, so I’ve been comfortable right down to freezing in them with just a merino boxer brief underneath. There’s enough room for light long johns if I really wanted to push them into some colder temperatures. It’s also worth noting that there’s a little extra room in the knees to make room for knee pads, but they’ve never felt baggy and haven’t bunched up while riding. In fact, I found them tapered and slim enough to comfortably wear on gravel rides on bikes with narrower Q-factors, commuting, and for mountain biking, which is what they are primarily designed for. For those who prefer a baggier fit, the DP3 pants can also accommodate a belt, so sizing up isn’t out of the question.
What I like about the DP3 pants most is their versatile fit. I’ve recently started running more as a way to cross-train for cycling, and I’ve gotten into the habit of throwing the DP3 pants on for non-bike-related adventures as well. Unsurprisingly, they also make fantastic gravel or cross country riding pants and shouldn’t be overlooked if you’re not necessarily sending it off near-vertical slabs on Vancouver’s North Shore.
What conditions are the NF DP3 Pants best suited for? Since they’ve proven to be durable and comfortable, they’ll make a great riding pant for anyone looking for some extra coverage during the shoulder season or cooler summer days. Or if you’re like me and your winters are fairly mild, they also make an excellent winter riding pant. They’ve proven to be quite breathable in temperatures between 0°C and 10°C (32-50°F), even when working hard, and I’ve only managed to wet out the waist area where there are a few extra layers of fabric to deal with. I expect a similar experience as things warm up this spring as well. Although NF claims they are a summer-weight pant, which may be true for those riding more down than up, I can’t see myself wearing them on long rides during the heat of the summer, but I’ll be sure to report back when I do.
- Made in Canada
- Contoured, cycling-specific fit
- Comfortable, stretchy, and durable
- Elastic waistband is unrestrictive and functional
- Big logos
- Fit may not work for everyone
- Size Range: XS-XXL
- Material: 90% Nylon, 10% Spandex
- Weight: 400 grams (size large)
- Place of Manufacture: British Columbia, Canada
- Price: $218 CAD (~$170 USD)
- Manufacturer’s Details: RideNF.com
Although the NF DP3 Pants are certainly expensive and won’t be in everyone’s price range, they do offer a lot of value. Comparable pants from Specialized and Pearl Izumi aren’t much cheaper or made in North America, and don’t appear to offer the same body-contoured fit as the DP3 pants. One could spend less on a pair of non-cycling-specific hiking or running pants, but I doubt they’d offer the same level of durability or fit as well as the DP3 pants. The fact that they are holding up great after a few months of near-daily riding, and are made right here in British Columbia, almost has me re-thinking my relationship with the bold graphics. It’s a good thing I’ve been so impressed with these pants and feel good about representing NF, otherwise, I might not be so keen on their unmistakable branding.
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