As the name suggests the Outdoor Research Trail Breaker Pants are designed for breaking trail through fresh powder in winter. The lower leg has an internal gaiter and is well-reinforced to keep the worst of the snow out without the need for additional gaiters. The upper section of the trouser is a more breathable and lighter Ventia soft shell fabric, which is still pretty water-resistant but far more breathable than the lower legs. The two long sides zips allow some 30cm of venting to the thighs and you can even fit braces to the loops around the waist if the supplied belt is not good enough at keeping these trousers up. You get four zipped pockets around the upper leg area plus a seat pocket. These would be top of my gear list for a trip to the Alps with perhaps a lightweight waterproof overtrouser for rain. But the Outdoor Research Trail Breaker Pants are pretty heavy at 622g (size L) and you’ll still need waterproof overtrousers if rain is expected as the seams are not sealed. The internal gaiter and whole design is overkill for a summer walk in the Lakes or even a spring to autumn day of British mountaineering. Pity they are not supplied with braces for this price.
Material Ventia soft shell; Stretch Cordura
Weight 622g (size L)
Made in China
Stores in the UK 10
The Outdoor Research Trail Breaker Pant are just the job for Alpine mountaineering and British snow, but other trousers are better for less demanding conditions.
Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine March 2011