Unlike other brands, Rab uses eVent waterproof and breathable fabric. This is coupled with stretch Schoeller fabric in the bib. It is the bib that sets these trousers apart, and potentially this design could be ideal for ice-climbing, alpine mountaineering and the Greater Ranges.
This type of trouser is usually called a salopette, and it is that big bib that makes all the difference. This provides extra insulation and protection to the chest area. It is particularly useful when walking and climbing in snow as it means the garment can be worn without a waterproof jacket over the top while still providing plenty of protection. There are shoulder straps too to keep the bib in place. Surprisingly there is no internal gaiter, but there is reinforcement on the inside of the ankle cuff. The side zips also get an internal stormflap to help keep the rain out. The design also allows the seat to be dropped for rapid loo breaks in bad weather.
On the hill
I found the Rab Latok Salopettes ideal the day the first snows came to the Lakes along with a biting wind. While this sort of design is at home in the Greater Ranges, I have often found salopettes ideal for trudging through snow and scrambling, so I don’t think they should necessarily just be restricted to mountaineers. The Latok is a very comfortable design that once I got on I was happy to keep on all day. I’d prefer an internal gaiter for the ankle cuff so that I didn’t have to wear gaiters on my boots as well. Even though there is no stretch material used, the fit was very good thanks to the careful use of panels on the legs, and a diamond crotch. The drawback of the salopette design is that if worn with a waterproof jacket then you have two layers of material around your chest, which could result in overheating and more condensation. I felt that these would be a bit too warm around the chest if the wind dropped for example. As they also weigh more than others, you do need to think carefully if you actually need the extra benefits of a bib.
The full length water-resistant zips down the legs of the Rab Latok Salopettes have an internal stormflap with a gutter so while water can enter the zip as there is no external stormflap, at least once it enters the zip it does not spread around as badly as others. It still leaks a little, though, and would be better with external stormflaps.
Outer eVent; Dynamic Schoeller bib
Fabric waterproofness extremely waterproof
Fabric breathability extremely breathable
Weight 778g (size L)
Made in China
Stores in the UK 40
Stockist details – tel. (01773) 601870; www.rab.uk.com
The salopette design of the Rab Latok Salopettes adds extra protection; very good fit.
But they’re the heaviest here; slightly more protection than walkers may need; side zips can still leak as they have no external stormflaps; no internal gaiter provided; no women’s version. Overall, they’re ideal for climbing and mountaineering in the Greater Ranges as well as ploughing through snow all day in UK areas such as the Cairngorms.
Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine February 2010