Rab Hispar Gaiter (2015)

Features

eVent fabric is used in the Rab Hispar Gaiter, and this is well-proven to be extremely waterproof and extremely breathable. It is a full-length gaiter with a front zip and wide Velcro covering that also has press studs at top and bottom. A drawcord is provided at the top, while a rubberised abrasion-resistant underfoot strap keeps the gaiter in place. A lace hook completes a good feature list. 5/5

Fit

It’s available in sizes S, M  and L – a wider range than some. The underfoot strap is easily adjusted for length via a ladder-lock buckle. The size L fitted my size 46/11 boots well, covering much of the lace area, and coming up just under my knee. The leg fit was fairly close but not restrictive or too baggy either. 5/5

Comfort

The Rab Hispar Gaiter uses extremely waterproof and breathable eVent fabric so condensation is going to be better managed here than elsewhere. It is also quite a soft fabric that is used so it does not feel uncomfortable when moving. The top drawcord is neatly placed at the side, which I found comfortable, and generally this felt great to wear. 5/5

In use

The Rab Hispar Gaiter weighs 256g (pair, size L), which while heavier than some does not detract from its performance even if stowed in a rucksack. It is easy to fit thanks to a zip and Velcro stormflap plus those press studs at the top and bottom. The underfoot strap appears more durable than some, and easy to change if it does wear out. Nothing to complain about here, and I’d happily use these. 5/5

Value

Not the cheapest gaiters on offer, but those with higher prices don’t offer much extra so the value is good. 4/5

Verdict

Rab Hispar Gaiters offer great all-round performance well-suited to most hillwalkers and backpackers; just buy them and enjoy the hills! They win Trail’s ‘approved’ accolade. 4.8/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine October 2015

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Sherpa Lakpa Rita Pant (2015)

Features

Sherpa is owned and run by Sherpas, and most of the company’s products are made in Kathmandu. The Lakpa Rita Pant is designed with eVent 3-layer fabric. It features thigh-length side zips with loops at the ankle cuff so you can tie down the cuffs to prevent them riding up when wading through snow. The knees are articulated too. 5/5

Fit

Available in sizes S to XXL for men and XS to XL for women, but without leg length options. The waist is elasticated and has belt loops, so there is some scope for fine-tuning. On me the fit was good with quite a high waist that is ideal for keeping the back and waist dry. There is no adjustment at the cuff, but none is needed as these are not too flappy. 5/5

Comfort

There is some stretch in the waist, and this makes a lot of difference when moving around. There is no other stretch, though; however I still found the Sherpa Lakpa Rita Pant quite comfortable despite their use of stiff 3-layer eVent fabric, which is well-proven for providing superior waterproofness and breathability. A double zip at the fly is also provided to facilitate toilet breaks. 5/5

In use

These are not quite as fully featured as a full-blown mountaineering pant, but they have enough of the essentials to make them ideal for most hillwalkers and Munro-baggers in the UK. The thigh-length zips allow them to be fitted easily, the weight is tolerable in a pack and they are sufficiently durable, waterproof and breathable to be comfy in most conditions. 5/5

Value

Pricy, but you get one of the best fabrics; and the absence of some features mean the Sherpa Lakpa Rita Pant is not the most expensive option. 3/5

Verdict

Superb overtrousers for most UK hill conditions, and while not cheap they are a great investment. They win Trail’s ‘approved’ accolade. 4.6/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine April 2015

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Rab Hueco Pants (2012)

The Huecos manage to combine traditional good looks with great technical performance to make a superb pair of walking trousers. The Matrix SWS fabric appears quite casual at first glance but the spandex content makes it stretchy and therefore extremely comfortable; and it’s pretty tough too. Moisture management is excellent: they repel a little water and dry quickly when overwhelmed; yet they never feel clammy in warm, dry conditions. There’s a good selection of pockets, including a decent-sized cargo pocket on the left leg and a more subtle zip-access one on the right. And the hems have hidden drawcords for adjustment. The waist is comfy and fleece-lined, but has no elastic at all, and the legs are available in three lengths.

Sizes: 30-38
Fabric: Matrix SWS
Weight: 375g
Women’s version: Yes (Traverse Pants)
Contact: 01773 601870; www.rab.uk.com

Review from Country Walking magazine, Sept 12


Berghaus Statis Pant (2012)

Relaxed-fitting trousers with a subtle technical appearance. The lightweight nylon and elastane fabric glides easily over the skin, and there’s plenty of stretch to allow easy movement over rugged ground. Despite being so lightweight, they’re surprisingly tough and abrasion resistant, helped by reinforced panels on the knees and seat. They repel water so well that even on boggy ground, mud and water just shears off, helping you stay dry and cleaner for longer. They’re pretty windproof, and there are zipped mesh leg vents for a welcome flow of air when it’s hot. The lower legs have a zipped gusset so you can get them off easily over boots should the need arise. On the downside, the pockets are a little pokey.

Sizes: 8-18
Fabric: Nylon/elastane
Weight: 300g
Men’s version: Yes
Contact: www.berghaus.com

Review from Country Walking magazine, Sept 12


Montane Terra Alpine

Really quite technical trousers and performed incredibly well on the hills. The stretch-woven fabric is more like traditional soft shell, which allows for a great range of movement whilst remaining close-fitting and doesn’t ride up. This can be particularly useful on windy ridges and when tackling difficult terrain. The narrow fit in the leg is helped with a zip-opening ankle that allows you to fit them over the top of boots much more easily, although the tight cuff can ride up over boot tops. Perhaps the best compliment for these trousers is that you don’t really notice them when on. Of course, with all this technical design flair, they come at a high cost, and don’t look terribly at home as casual wear, but as a pure walking item, they’re spot-on.

VITAL STATS

Sizes: S-XXL
Materials: Granite stretch
Weight: 434g
Pockets: Three
Women’s version: Yes
Contact: 01670 522 300; www.montane.co.uk
* Published in Country Walking, September, 2011

 


Craghoppers Kiwi Pro Stretch

Made from a tough polyamide/spandex blend, the Kiwi Pros feel as agile and comfortable as the name suggests. The fabric is lightweight and stretches easily with leg movement for maximum comfort and agility on tough hillwalks. They’ve also been treated with Craghoppers SolaDry sun protection, and a water-repellent finish which will make sure they stay dry in a shower. And if that isn’t enough, they are so crease-resistant you’ll never need to go near them with an iron. They come with three zipped pockets – one on each hip, and one on the seat – and have articulated knees and reinforced tape at the heels. They also come with a lifetime guarantee. A fantastic pair of walking trousers for a very reasonable price – if they fit, look no further.

VITAL STATS

Sizes: 8-20 S/R/L
Materials: Stretch-polyamide/spandex
Weight: 297g
Men’s version: Yes
Contact: 0844 811 1022; www.craghoppers.com
* Published in Country Walking, September, 2011


Rohan On Track Cargo Shorts 2011

The Rohan On Track Cargo Shorts’ fabric is a very tough nylon that looks and feels like a heavy cotton but is fast-drying. You get two lines of stitching too so they should be very durable. For comfort there is a nice big crotch panel and the waist is elasticated. So while these shorts do not use a stretch material they are comfy and, I found, allow good freedom of movement. The two hip pockets can easily take OS maps and the leg pockets a small guidebook (plus they take maps if you don’t need to secure the flap). The seat pocket is also map-sized. So there is plenty of cargo space. These are great all-round shorts with little to complain about from a walker’s perspective. You do get a small Velcro security pocket, but I’d ideally prefer a slightly bigger zipped pocket for security purposes, which is something Rohan normally provides. Stretch fabric would also be nice, and some people may prefer this, while a brushed lining would make the Rohan On Track Cargo Shorts even more comfy.

Material nylon ripstop canvas
Sizes 30-40
Weight 350g (size 36 without belt)
Made in Taiwan
Stores in the UK 150

The Rohan On Track Cargo Shorts are an excellent pair of shorts that are durable and well-designed for hill-walkers and backpackers. They won Trail’s ‘Best in Test’ accolade.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine August 2011


Montane Venture

A great pair of hard-wearing trousers, with excellent waterproofing and breathability as afforded by a 3-layer eVENT membrane. The face-fabric is particularly rugged with large reinforced sections around the ankle area to protect against rubbing and further reinforcement around the articulated knees and backside. The trousers have been built with quite a fitted shape that really helps to keep rustling noise down as well as preventing them from turning into a sail in strong winds. Ankle adjustment is good, with poppers helping to pull them tight from Velcro tabs. The three-quarter-length openings are more like four-fifths, so the trousers are incredibly easy to slip on over a pair of boots. An excellent pair of trousers, although expensive compared to the others. This time you really do get what you pay for.

Sizes: S-XXL
Fabric: eVENT Hurricane 3-layer
Weight: 360g
Women’s version available: Yes
Contact: 0161 522 300; www.montane.co.uk


Mammut Base Jump Advanced Pant 2011

The Mammut Base Jump Advanced Pant is a modern classic that in many ways sets the standard for other trousers to meet. Firstly it benefits from a wide range of sizes so it should fit more people than most trousers do. The fabric is very tough and durable, so it’s great for scramblers, mountaineers and mountain walkers who end up rubbing against rock rather than just looking at it. You get extra reinforcement too in key abrasion areas. The fabric resists light rain well and is very comfortable against the skin too. The knees are articulated and the cut is generally neat and tidy for practical benefits. The ankle cuff has a zipped gusset and Velcro adjustment so you can get a good fit. There are two hip pockets, a seat pocket and a large leg pocket, and all these are zipped for security. The waist is elasticated and has belt loops so it should fit most people. A great technical trouser for the mountaineer. But this is a high price to pay if you don’t really need all the benefits of the Mammut Base Jump Advanced Pant, as other trousers do a reasonable job at half the price. I’ve worn a pair of these for many years and in summer they are a bit clammy so best kept for autumn through to spring, and for cooler summer days. They look pretty ‘techy’, so if you prefer a more ‘street’ style then look elsewhere. I’d prefer the leg pocket to take an OS map more easily.
 
Material Schoeller FTC plus 3xDry treatment
Sizes 28-44 plus three leg lengths (men’s); 6-20 (women’s)
Colours black, graphite, smoke
Weight 534g (size 36)
Made in China
Stores in the UK 45

The Mammut Base Jump Advanced Pant is superb for serious mountain walkers, scramblers and mountaineers who are prepared to pay a premium for their performance needs. It won the ‘Best in Test’ accolade.
 
Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine March 2011


Mountain Equipment Rainfall Pant 2010

Mountain Equipment Rainfall Pants are lightweight trousers with full-length side zips that are designed for any mountain activity, according to the manufacturers. The Rainfall Pant comes with a stuffsack so you can pack them away and hide them in a small rucksack pocket. Light, compact and with long side zips: sounds great!

Design
The Rainfall Pant is made from Mountain Equipment’s own Drilite fabric. This is a two-layer fabric, so there is no lining inside to soak up condensation. The fabric itself is waterproof to 8000mm of hydrostatic head and is also very breathable. You can get more waterproof and breathable materials, but the real issue is that there is no lining here, so condensation will be noticeable. However the big advantage of these trousers is those long side zips. They just make it so easy to put these trousers on, no matter what boots you are wearing. There is a Velcro tab adjuster at the ankle cuff too, which allows a little more control of the fabric in this area to provide a neater fit around boots and prevent material flapping around. The waist is elasticated with two press studded adjustment tabs on each side.

On the hill
Having a stuffsack does make stashing overtrousers in your pack a no-brainer. The Mountain Equipment Rainfall Pants pack down to a big fist size so they are ideal for leaving in your pack on most trips. But what I like is that when you need them you can grab them and put them on in a storm and not get drenched in the process. They were very fast trousers to put on but equally the fit is pretty good too. They are slightly slimmer than some others and hence don’t suffer from too much flapping around. They did not appear to ride up as badly as some either. However as they don’t have a liner they are a bit clammy, I found – but once again you can whip them off as fast as they were put on, and so perhaps clamminess is less of an issue?

How waterproof?
The Mountain Equipment Rainfall Pants’ side zips get an internal stormflap but nothing on the outside. In theory this should leak more easily than a double external stormflap. It worked fine in the daily drizzle I used them in, but I’d be cautious recommending these for driving rain because of that design of zip baffle.

Outer Drilite Plus
Inner none
Fabric waterproofness waterproof
Fabric breathability very breathable
Sizes S-XL (men’s); 8-16 (women’s)
Weight 290g (size L)
Made in China
Stores in the UK 70
Stockist details – tel. (0161) 366 5020; www.mountain-equipment.co.uk

 

The long side zip makes the Mountain Equipment Rainfall Pants fast to get on; good fit; good ankle adjustment; good waist adjustment; supplied with stuffsack for easy storage. However the 2-layer fabric is more clammy than others; long side zips are more likely to leak than shorter zips or those with double stormflaps. Overall, they’re ideal for stashing in a rucksack and putting on and taking off quickly, but a bit clammy

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine October 2010



The North Face Venture ½ Zip Pant 2010

The North Face makes a huge range of outdoor gear, and the Venture Pant is one of its classic pieces of kit. Made from fabric without a lining, the trousers boast a knee-length zip to make them easier to fit over boots.

Design
Perhaps one of the most important features of any trousers is the material. Considering these are such low-priced overtrousers, the fabric is particularly good on the Venture. It is called HyVent and boasts an excellent spec on paper. The material is PU-coated to give an extremely high level of waterproofness that in the lab measures as a 17,500mm hydrostatic head, putting this material up there with the best in the ‘extremely waterproof’ category. It is no slouch in terms of breathability either, although higher-priced trousers are more breathable. The material does not have a mesh lining, which brings benefits in terms of weight and ease of fitting, but perhaps not in terms of pure comfort.

On the hill
As with any trousers I am most interested in how easily I can get them on and off! The North Face Venture ½ Zip Pant is really easy to fit as those side zips open the leg from the knee so I could put these on over my size 11 boots without much problem. Again, as there is no mesh lining, there was no material to snag either. Once on, the zip was neatly closed and a tab of Velcro at the cuff allowed me to cinch in the trouser a little. The fabric does not have a lining so it is very comfortable, although in warmer wet conditions I find condensation does display itself more readily than in trousers with linings. The cut of the trousers was excellent, being slightly closer than some yet not restrictive. My pair was in a ‘regular’ leg length, but I felt they were a little short when my knees were bent when climbing so I’d go for a ‘long’ version instead to help compensate for this riding up. The elasticated waist fitted my slight belly bulge well, and the drawstring adjuster was available too should you be slimmer than me. However some might prefer an elasticated drawcord with a toggle for easier adjustment.

How waterproof?
The only place the The North Face Venture ½ Zip Pants can leak is on that side zip. But it has an internal baffle and a pair of small external baffles too. I would expect this zip to leak at the knee flex point more easily in really heavy wind-blown driving rain than a similar zip with large external double stormflaps. In my tests, though, it didn’t leak.

Outer HyVent DT 2.5 layer
Inner none
Fabric waterproofness extremely waterproof
Fabric breathability very breathable
Sizes S-XXL in three leg lengths (men’s); S-XL in one leg length (women’s)
Weight 230g  (size men’s L)
Made in Vietnam
Stores in the UK 167
Stockist details  – tel. (01539) 738882; www.thenorthface.com

 

The The North Face Venture ½ Zip Pant has a great material spec; easy to fit; good side zip; well-shaped for comfort. But the leg tended to ride up easily so it might be worth getting a longer leg size to compensate; knee length zip could potentially leak more easily than some designs; waist drawcord may not be as easy to adjust as an elasticated toggle drawcord. Overall, they’re excellent trousers for hill-walking with generally good features, although like others they ride up a little too easily.  They won the ‘Best in Test’ accolade.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine October 2010



Lowe Alpine Omega Pant 2010

Here’s a versatile pair of waterproof trousers made from Lowe Alpine’s own brand of waterproof and breathable fabric. The Omega Pant has a mix of good features for the hill-walker that could make them ideal for general outdoor use when hiking, backpacking and hill-walking.

Design

The Lowe Alpine Omega Pant is mesh-lined from the waist down with polyester lining in the legs. This lining should make the trouser more comfy when worn as any condensation is kept away from the body and hence they should not feel clammy. The waterproof material is Lowe Alpine’s Triplepoint XC, which boasts a 10,000mm hydrostatic head and very good breathability too. Yes, there are better-performing fabrics costing more, but this is good for the price and compares well with others. The trouser features a knee-length zip with external stormflaps as well as a pretty conventional elasticated waist with an elasticated drawcord. They are not trousers that initially set you drooling, but perhaps they just have those features that are simply practical on the hill.

On the hill

The Lowe Alpine Omega Pants are a notch heavier than some and a touch bulkier too, and as there is no stuffsack to help pack them away they feel more of a handful. But then in the hills, trousers are used pretty regularly and so for me at least I don’t mind that extra weight too much. What is important is how do they work? That knee-length zip does allow them to go on pretty easily, although a longer zip makes the task even easier of course. I’m not a fan of mesh linings, so this did irritate me a little; but once on at least they felt less clammy than others because of that lining. So you can’t have it all at this price! The fit was a little hard to judge as I had a size XL rather than my normal L, so they look a little baggier than they otherwise would. One nice detail was that the waist drawcord is serrated so the toggle actually stays in place once tensioned.

How waterproof?

The Lowe Alpine Omega Pant’s side zip has an external stormflap that is held in place with Velcro so it is pretty watertight. There are no other areas to leak so these would be pretty good for battling up a ghyll scramble or heading through rain to a summit.

Outer Triplepoint XC 2 layer

Inner mesh lining and polyester

Fabric waterproofness waterproof

Fabric breathability very breathable

Sizes XS-XXL (men’s); XS-XXL (women’s)

Weight 326g  (size XL)

Made in China

Stores in the UK 50

Stockist details – tel. (01539) 740840; www.lowealpine.com

The Lowe Alpine Omega Pant’s knee-length zip is easy to fit over boots; zip has external stormflap; mesh lining adds comfort; good waist drawcord. But they’re heavier and more bulky than some; long side zips are available for easier fit; no ankle cuff adjustment. They’re practical trousers that lose out in weight but gain in comfort.

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine October 2010

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Montane Terra Converts 2010

While pretty much any trousers can be used for hill-walking, some are better than others – and the Montane Terra Converts are feature-packed to lift them above the opposition. They are reasonably light, so they’re good for backpackers. The material is a fast-drying nylon as used by many brands, but it benefits from reinforcement panels on the knees and seat to give a little more durability. The weight includes a belt too, but the waist is also elasticated to ensure a good fit. Most importantly the lower leg zips allow the legs to be removed without taking boots off. You can also tidy up the ankle hem with press studs, which again is very useful. The two main hip pockets are map-sized too. So a good set of features and they are also very comfortable to wear, so most hill-walkers and backpackers will find them ideal. But the Montane Terra Converts are not the best trousers I have ever seen. There is no stretch, so they could be even more comfy than they are. You only get two pockets, and I have used trousers with four cavernous pockets before now. So while these are the best in this test they could be even better.

Material Tactel nylon with Cordura Mini-Rip reinforcement
Sizes XS-XXL (men’s)
Weight 348g (size L)
Made in China
Stores in the UK 100

The Montane Terra Converts are very good trousers for hill-walkers, backpackers and scramblers, but they are not perfect … they still won ‘Best in Test’ though.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine July 2010


Montane Terra Pants

Hard-to-beat walking trousers that perform well in all but the hottest and coolest conditions. The sizing is quite generous, but to fine-tune the fit they’ve got a part-elastic waist and chunky, removable belt. The fabric is soft, supple, very lightweight and water-repellent, and dries really quickly. It also provides some wind protection, and is wonderfully breathable. There are wide, zip-access mesh panels down each thigh. The ankles can also be unzipped, and fastened in different positions to alter the fit round your boots. It’s also nice to see reinforced panels on the knees, seat and ankles. Lightweight, versatile trousers with a technical appearance that many walkers will love.

VITAL STATS

Fabric: Tactel/cordura Sizes: 6-16; two leg lengths per waist size Style: Plain Men’s version: Yes Contact: 01670 522300; www.montane.co.uk


Berghaus Ortler Pants

The Ortlers perform like a soft shell in terms of water resistance, breathability and stretch, yet they are casual enough to wear in the pub. The fit is perhaps a tiny bit loose, which is a shame as with so much stretch in the fabric, ease of movement wouldn’t suffer if they were tighter. But the waist has elastic panels as well as belt loops and the hem has a useful single-handed drawcord. The fabric would be best described as midweight – a good compromise that will work year-round. They also have a pair of leg vents for when things get a bit hot. Limited pockets compared to some, and nowhere to store a map or guidebook, but other than that, they are about as good as it gets.

VITAL STATS

Fabric: Odyssey stretch nylon with DWR Sizes: S-XXL in three leg lengths Style: Plain Women’s version: Yes Contact: 0191 516 5600; www.berghaus.com