The attention to detail on Vaude’s newest mountaineering pant, the Defender, is almost NASA-esque. Using the latest laser-welded seam technology, they’ve created an ultra-stretchy, very light (403g), sleek, good-looking mountain trouser cut to fit women blessed with slimmish thighs. Four laser-welded pockets with easy-to-pull-with-winter-gloves-on zips (two mesh side, two mid-thigh) add to the streamlined look, articulated knee stretch panels allow for maximum freedom of movement, and reinforced seat and inner ankles guard against bum scrapage and crampon whacks. Like Mountain Equipment, Vaude uses durable, highly breathable and water-repellent Schoeller fabric to provide walkers, scramblers and climbers with a reliable soft shell trouser for year-round use in the UK and further afield. But as one of the highest-priced here you would expect near perfection; however some of the trousers at a similar price tested here have a popper or elastic at the hem for a more streamlined fit. They also have a slightly rubbing mid-thigh-back (stitched rather than welded) seam.
Sizes women’s 34-44; men’s 46-56
Colours black, olive
Made in Far East
Stores in the UK mail order only
Verdict: Vaude’s Defender trousers are highly priced but great-looking, very stretchy and light yet hardwearing kecks for the UK and beyond.