akta Trail Pants and LS Trail Jersey Review

akta Trail Pants and LS Trail Jersey Review Apparel Review

When you consider that many animals begin walking immediately after being born, it can make the development of a human baby seem, well, rather leisurely.

Between mastering the art of a focused stare, drooling, and the pastime of grabbing literally anything within reach, a baby taking her first confident steps is a drawn-out process. Once she’s on her feet? Blink and you might miss her dashing off to all sorts of untold mischief.

Akta MTB has defied all conventional “growing up” timelines. For a company that's barely blown out its first birthday candle, they’ve waltzed into the mountain biking apparel space and nonchalantly outperformed brands that have been around for eons. Its core ensemble—a sleek trail kit—serves as a testimony to their precociousness. It's like akta took a shortcut past the balance bike stage and skipped straight to full-grown trailblazing pro.

If you dig a little deeper, it’s easy to see why—despite akta's young age, the brand’s co-founder, CEO, and head designer, Travis Bilton, started his first mountain bike apparel company when he was just 15 years old. Then, after a decade of entrepreneurship, he spent eight years designing products for some of the most successful brands in the industry.

“One of my favorite design styles is called ‘Swiss Style’— ‘The authentic pursuit of simplicity’ is how someone described it,” Bilton told me. “[It’s] a good product if you can take more away from it and it still does its job.”

When I first laid hands on the akta Trail Pant, I was excited. If I had my way these pants would be the archetype of modern mountain bike fashion. The minimalist logos and earthy tones make these understated pants effortlessly cool. Yet, look closer and you’ll find they’re also a treasure trove of functionality.

It’s clear that meticulous care went into crafting every inch of these pants. From the stout yet sultry hand feel of the Greenlon 4-way stretch fabric to the ratchet waist closure for fine-tuning fit, every feature seems expertly executed. Heck, even the YKK Natulon locking zippers are color-matched to the fabric.

But that’s just scratching the surface. What about the thoughtful addition of a D3O ZERO protected phone pocket? That's akta’s love letter to every rider whose device has been crushed in the ol’ thigh-phone-trail sandwich. Top all that off with a water-resistant finish, and these pants prove they’re not just here for the good times, but for the hard times as well.

“I used to slide a cut piece of D3O in the pocket I kept my phone in,” Bilton said. “Why don’t I just integrate that into the pants?”

Complementing these exceptional trousers is the long-sleeve Trail Jersey. The beautifully balanced fabric of the jersey feels like a loving embrace from Mother Nature herself. Composed of RePET 100-percent recycled polyester and Prosilion antimicrobial silver yarn, this shirt stays smelling fresh much longer than most synthetics I’ve worn, all while keeping with akta's commitment to sustainable performance—not an easy feat.

The jersey also promises to keep harmful sun rays at bay with a UPF 50+ rating, a metric that makes this item worthy for any outdoor excursion. And, if you turn over the front hem of the akta Trail Jersey, you’ll find an eyewear wipe waiting to keep your vision clear for the trail ahead. The real magic, however, is just how good the fit is. Ride position-specific engineered patterning that compliments the dynamic movements of a rider makes this shirt truly feel like a second skin.

Both products are woven together by akta’s overarching commitment to sustainability. Peer into their eco-initiatives, and you’ll see a brand that’s not just in love with the thrill of the ride but also one that deeply cares about the longevity and wellbeing of trails. Its sustainability manifesto isn’t a mere page on its website, but a testament to akta’s dedication and founding vision. By using every premium recycled material the company could get its hands on, nearly everything in its product line is Bluesign-approved.

“All of the products except our knee pads are made from recycled materials. It would have been easier and cheaper to not do that, but we stood our ground and made it work,” Bilton said. 

Not just a brand that’s here to make a statement, akta envisions itself as a living entity, a receptive part of the environment that will grow and adapt to the needs of its riders and their surroundings. After chatting with Bilton and riding in his company’s remarkable gear, it’s clear he listened deeply when crafting this first round of products. If the akta Trail Collection can be achieved in its infancy, I, for one, am eagerly awaiting its next big developmental milestone.