5 OF THE BEST... Autumn & Winter hillwalking trousers REVIEWED (2018)

As we head into the cooler months its time to ditch the shorts and light summer trousers for something warmer and more weather-resistant. Here’s our top picks for autumn and winter hillwalking trousers.


Weather resistance

Soft shell type fabrics that are more wind- and water-resistant and slightly thicker are often used in winter trousers. Some may even have waterproof panels in them. However the more waterproof or wind-resistant the fabric, the less breathable it will be and this can result in a clammy feeling against the skin. So maximum water and wind resistance is not always ideal. You can always throw on a pair of waterproof overtrousers in more extreme weather.

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Durability

For increased durability when scrambling, climbing or mountaineering, look for trousers with knees, seat or ankle abrasion panels. Thicker materials are also often more durable than thinner options.

Waist Design

A stretchy waist, either with a belt or the option of adding one, gives all-round adjustability. Some trousers also have a soft lining for extra comfort. A high waist will protect the lower back better, particularly when scrambling or wearing a rucksack with a hipbelt.

Pockets

It’s good if some pockets have zippers to keep items safe. Pockets that will accommodate a map are particularly practical, but make sure you can access them even while wearing a rucksack hipbelt.

Stretch

The best fabrics will have stretch in both the horizontal and vertical direction. However, if the cut of the trousers is good, stretch in one direction is fine, or just a small panel of stretch material may be needed.

Ventilation

Ventilation allows you to cool down. It will also make more insulated trousers versatile enough to wear in a wider range of conditions. Look for vents on the legs or mesh-lined pockets.

Ankle Cuff

Ankle cuffs that can be adjusted are best, as this allows them to be used with different pairs of boots and to be cinched in when scrambling. Drawcords, Velcro and press studs are ideal for preventing material from flapping around the ankle cuff. Zipped ankle cuffs allow trousers to be fitted more closely over the wide and taller ankle cuff of a ski boot or mountaineering boot, and also allow a more relaxed style when a neater fit is not needed.


Rab Vector Pants £90 

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  • Material 67% polyamide, 21% polyester, 12% elastane

  • Men’s 30-34, plus three leg lengths

  • Women’s 8-16, plus three leg lengths

  • Weight 496g (size 34) 

It’s good

There are lots of trousers around this price point but these have a slight edge. Firstly they use a mid-weight fabric while many use thinner materials, so they are better for weather resistance and warmth. The fabric is quite tough and feels hardwearing too, and it has good stretch. Get them on and the waistband is very comfy, thanks to it being quite wide and stretchy, and it comes with belt loops and a fitted belt. The ankle cuff is not too wide and can be cinched in with press studs. The zipped thigh pocket is OS map width, and while not OS map deep is still more useful than similar pockets on other trousers. 

However

This price comes with drawbacks. First off, some similarly-priced trousers get a zipped and gusseted ankle cuff, which you might prefer. Also while the pockets are better than some, it would be great if that thigh pocket was deep enough to take the full length of an OS map, but at least you can still use the pocket for a map on the move. There is no added venting or extra reinforcement, or a waterproof knee or seat, as higher-priced trousers offer. But for many users these trousers make a good compromise between features and price.

Verdict

One of the better options at this price and very good for general hillwalking, backpacking and scrambling. But pay more and you get extra features.

  • Features 3/5

  • Weather resistance 3/5

  • Comfort 4/5

  • In use 3/5

  • Value for money 5/5

  • OVERALL SCORE 72%

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Montane Super Terra Pants £140

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  • Material Granite (97% nylon, 3% spandex), plus Cordura reinforcement (93% nylon, 7% polyurethane)

  • Men’s S-XXL, plus three leg lengths

  • Women’s 8-16 (Skyline)

  • Weight 676g (size L)

It’s good

The main fabric is a tough nylon, and the reinforced knees and seat use a waterproof material, so you can sit or kneel on wet ground and stay dry. The fit is not too restrictive, thanks to a good cut. The waistband is lined, elasticated and comes with belt loops and a belt, while the ankle cuff can be adjusted with press studs. In warm weather you can open zipped knee vents or vent the calf, while a lace hook keeps the ankle cuff in place. The four front pockets and one rear pocket are all zipped, and the thigh pockets are large enough for a map. Great for general hillwalking and backpacking.

However

The women’s version doesn’t come in a choice of leg lengths or offer thigh pockets. This version also has a gusseted ankle cuff zip, while the men’s has a non-gusseted calf zip. Perhaps the main drawback, though, is there is not the stretch of other trousers, so even though the cut is great, these feel slightly restrictive, hence when scrambling or mountaineering I’d prefer something more stretchy with a closer fit on the leg. They are slightly rougher on the skin than others too, and are also heavy, which could make carrying them a burden. 

Verdict

Hardwearing backpacking trousers with nice OS map-sized pockets and a great waist, but they are not the best for scrambling or mountaineering and they’re heavy.

  • Features 4/5

  • Weather resistance 4/5

  • Comfort 4/5

  • In use 4/5

  • Value for money 4/5

  • OVERALL SCORE 80%


Helly Hansen Odin Huginn Pants £160 

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  • Material Stretch soft shell (94% polymide, 6% elastane)

  • Men’s S-XXL

  • Women’s XS-XL (Muninn)

  • Weight 532g (size L)

It’s good

This is a tough, weather-resistant soft shell fabric, but it is not a laminate so you still get good breathability for when overtrousers are worn over the top. The waist is wide and higher than some, so offers great protection. In addition the waist has an in-situ stretch Velcro adjuster, as well as belt loops, so you can add a conventional belt if needed. The fit is relaxed but not too baggy, and press stud adjustment at the ankle cuff is useful. A nice touch is you get lace hooks to keep the ankle cuff down. There are two zipped hip pockets and a zipped thigh pocket. For autumn and winter hillwalkers these are very good.

However

Unlike others in this price range there are no leg length options. Also those pockets are slightly annoying, as the hip ones won’t take an OS map and the leg one is even smaller and very low, meaning small items tend to fall right above the knee, which is not very comfortable. The leg is slightly wider than some others, so while fine for most use you may want something slightly narrower, particularly for scrambling or mountaineering. These are all small drawbacks though, as if these fit they are great for hillwalking in most situations, but at this price you may expect a little more.

Verdict

Weather resistant and comfort are good, but the choice of fit is not ideal and the pockets aren’t perfect, so at this price that may not be good enough?

  • Features 3/5

  • Weather resistance 4/5

  • Comfort 4/5

  • In use 4/5

  • Value for money 3/5

  • OVERALL SCORE 72%


Mammut Courmayeur Pants £169

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  • Material Schoeller Dryskin stretch with Coldblack treatment (93% polyamide, 7% spandex), reinforced areas (70% polymade, 20% polyester, 10% spandex)

  • Men’s 28-42, plus three leg lengths

  • Women’s 6-20, plus three leg lengths

  • Weight 403g (size 34) 

It’s good

The Schoeller fabric is very stretchy, with a Coldblack treatment that helps it reflect 80% of sunlight rather than absorb it like normal black fabrics. The result is you don’t overheat in these as badly as in some black trousers. The waist is nicely lined for comfort, with belt loops and a belt. The ankle cuff has press stud adjustment and the fit in general is a little closer than some others, making these ideal for scrambling but still great for walking. The four pockets are zipped and the hip pockets fit an OS map, but the thigh pocket is a little short for a map. The small rear zipped pocket is useful.

However

The main fabric is a little thin, so these aren’t the warmest option for autumn and winter. They’re not the best for resisting wind and moisture either, so you’ll need your overtrousers sooner than with other trousers. There is reinforcement at the knees and down the inside of the legs, but the rest of the fabric isn’t as durable as some options. It’s a pity the thigh pocket is a little short for an OS map. I like these for autumn but for some winter days in Scotland something with a little more weather protection is good. Hefty price tag too.

Verdict

Great general hillwalking, scrambling and mountaineering trousers, but others offer more weather resistance and better pockets for maps.

  • Features 4/5

  • Weather resistance 3/5

  • Comfort 4/5

  • In use 4/5

  • Value for money 3/5

  • OVERALL SCORE 72%


Fjallraven Keb Trousers £190

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  • Material G-1000 Eco (65% recycled polyester, 35% cotton), stretch fabric (63% polyamide, 26% polyester, 11% elastane)

  • Men’s 28-42, plus two leg lengths

  • Women’s 26-37, plus two leg lengths, standard and curved fit

  • Weight 648g (size 33/34)

It’s good

These are bursting with unique features, such as an extensive size range that includes a curved fit option
for women. Then you get the robust material, which is very tough G-1000 Eco on the dark blue sections and a tough, stretchy material in the lighter blue sections. You can also treat the G-1000 Eco areas with Greenland wax for more water resistance. The waist is high and wide with belt loops, and the overall fit is relaxed without being too baggy. The large thigh pockets are zipped, while the map-sized hip pockets are deep. If you overheat easily then you’ll welcome the thigh and calf-zipped vents. For general hillwalking, occasional scrambles and backpacking these are great.

However

The waist is not elasticated, so if you lose a few pounds on a trip, you’ll need to add a belt. The calf area is slightly wider than others, and for lots of scrambling a slightly neater and narrower fit here would be good. The front thigh pockets are great, but just too short for an OS map. A small zipped pocket would perhaps be a good option somewhere, rather than just the four large pockets. The price is the big drawback though, as lower-priced trousers are also pretty good but for less cash.

Verdict

Great weather-resistant trousers for backpacking and walking over rough terrain, but others are slightly better for scrambling. Pricey too.

  • Features 4/5

  • Weather resistance 4/5

  • Comfort 5/5

  • In use 4/5

  • Value for money 3/5

  • OVERALL SCORE 80%


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5 of the best... waterproof overtrousers reviewed (2018)

To stay warm, dry and comfortable during rain a pair of waterproof overtrousers are essential kit for any all-weather hill-goer, so here are our top picks.


Fit

Overtrousers can often be baggy, but if the knees are articulated they can be designed to fit a little closer. Look for a seam around the knee area and a slightly angled shape in the leg if you want a closer fit. The calf may have some Velcro tab adjustment so it can be tightened down a little and there may be a drawcord, Velcro tab or press stud at the ankle cuff. Some trousers come in a choice of leg lengths.

Waistband

This area is commonly elasticated for extra comfort. A drawcord allows extra control of fit, while Velcro tabs, press studs or belt loops allow further enhancement of fit. The ability to attach braces is ideal for scrambling or mountaineering.

Leg zips 

The longer the zip, the easier it is to put on overtrousers while still wearing boots, or even crampons. This is also an area that can easily leak, particularly at the knees when the zip flexes. Water-resistant zips may keep some water out, but as they may still leak they are often fitted with an internal flap that is designed to channel away any water that enters this area. External storm flaps are ideal, but they are heavy and bulky. 

Ventilation

Even the best waterproof and breathable fabrics allow condensation to form, so it is important that you can increase ventilation between showers. A trouser with long side zips and two or three zip pulls will allow extra ventilation at the calf, knee or hip.

Scuff patch

The area on the inside of the ankle takes a hammering and rapidly wears out from being scuffed with boots, crampons, rocks and undergrowth. Look for an extra panel of material here if you are going to be really hammering this area on mountain walks.

Fabrics

In general, higher-priced overtrousers use more breathable 3-layer laminated fabrics, which will reduce the likelihood of condensation forming on the inside of the fabric. Mesh linings improve comfort, as any condensation is held away from the body, but such linings make a trouser heavy and can snag when you are putting the trousers on over boots. A lightweight trouser may use 2-layer or 2.5-layer fabrics that tend to show condensation a little more. 

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Sprayway Santiago / Atlanta Rainpant £40

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  • Material 2-layer Hydrodry with taffeta lining

  • Men’s XS-XXXL (Santiago)

  • Women’s 8-20 (Atlanta)

  • Weight 367g (men’s L)

It’s good

This is a great price for a pair of overtrousers. They are made from a 2-layer fabric with a loose lining for comfort, so even though this is not the most breathable of fabrics, you don’t get clammy as the lining keeps any condensation away from your underclothes. You also get a huge size range, so these should fit lots of people. To ease fitting you get knee-length zips which are long enough to just about get these over boots. A Velcro tab at the calf allows some control of the leg shape, so they are less baggy than some. The waist is elasticated and you get a drawcord too.

However

Compared to higher-priced options, these are not the most breathable or most durably waterproof fabric, so you need that loose lining and this makes them a little heavy. The side zips are relatively short, so other trousers are easier to fit over boots as they have thigh-length zips. The Velcro tab at the calf is useful but these are not as neat a fit as higher-priced trousers, and that Velcro tab can snag in undergrowth so overall others are just a little bit neater. Like many you don’t get an internal gaiter or the option to fit braces to the waist, but this is a common drawback of many low- and mid-priced trousers.

Verdict

Low-priced trousers that provide the essential features a hillwalker needs, but pay more and you do get additional benefits.

  • Features 4/5

  • Weatherproofing 4/5

  • Breathability 3/5

  • In use 4/5

  • Value for money 5/5

  • OVERALL SCORE 80%


Montane Atomic Pant £90

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  • Material 2.5-layer Pertex Shield

  • Men’s S-XXL plus two leg lengths

  • Women’s 8-16

  • Weight 225g (men’s L)

It’s good

There are lots of trousers around this price that are similar to these, but for me the Atomic has a slight edge. The fabric is Pertex Shield without a mesh lining, and this makes them lightweight and packable, but loads of trousers can claim this benefit. What sets them apart is the thigh-length zip which makes them easy to fit over boots. I also noticed the elasticated waistband with its drawcord tended to sit flat and more comfortably against the body than others. Another bonus was a press-stud ankle cuff adjustment plus a Velcro tab calf adjuster, so you can control the fit. The knees are articulated too. Overall the fit was just slightly neater than others. 

However

Like many lightweight trousers, these are clammier than heavier trousers, as they don’t have such good protection against condensation. This isn’t a major problem but don’t be surprised if the trousers underneath get a little damp from condensation. The fabric is also very thin, which means it will tear more easily than heavier fabrics, so some care is needed when scrambling over rocks. Like most others, there is no internal gaiter and no braces attachment option, so you do have to tug them back up occasionally. The drawbacks are mainly down to these trousers being so lightweight.

Verdict

If low-weight trousers at a good price are your preference these are better than most, but they still have drawbacks compared to some others.

  • Features 4/5

  • Weatherproofing 4/5

  • Breathability 3/5

  • In use 4/5

  • Value for money 4/5

  • OVERALL SCORE 76%


Berghaus Hillwalker £110

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  • Material 2-layer Gore-Tex with mesh and taffeta lining

  • Men’s XS-XXXL plus three leg lengths

  • Women’s 8-20 plus three leg lengths

  • Weight 414g (men’s L)

It’s good

You get a huge size range here that includes three leg lengths, so most people should be able to find a size that fits them well. The fabric is the tried and trusted Gore-Tex laminate, but in 2-layer format, with a mesh and nylon lining. Compared to a 3-layer fabric this is softer and more comfortable and also lower in price. The side zips extend to the top of the thigh, so these easily fit over boots, while an external stormflap covers the zip to keep rain out. The waist is elasticated with an elasticated drawcord. This all adds up to a good all-round option for many walkers and the price is reasonable for Gore-Tex trousers. 

However

These are, though, slightly heavier than others, due to that lining in part but also the long zip with the external stormflap adds more weight. While a mesh lining adds comfort, it does mean the trousers can snag a bit and feel slightly hotter than a standard 2- or 3-layer fabric without a lining. The upside is less condensation. Like others you don’t get a means of attaching braces or an internal gaiter, and there’s no means of attaching an underfoot stirrup either. Trousers with higher price tags have a better fit too, but all lower-priced trousers suffer from this.

Verdict

Great option for hillwalkers wanting good condensation management and comfort and a middling price, but the weight is a drawback.

  • Features 4/5

  • Weatherproofing 5/5

  • Breathability 5/5

  • In use 3/5

  • Value for money 4/5

  • OVERALL SCORE 84%


Rab Ladakh DV Pant £170

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  • Material 3-layer Event DV alpine with grid backer

  • Men’s S-XXL

  • Women’s 8-16

  • Weight 340g (men’s L)

It’s good

New for autumn 2018, these replace the Bergen Pant. They are built from Event 3-layer fabric, so are at the top of the tree for waterproofness and breathability, and also very durable. Getting them on is easy, thanks to a three-quarter length side zip. The waistband is elasticated, with an additional elasticated drawcord, while the side zip benefits from a two-way zip so you can vent the thigh or calf. Also you get ankle cuff loops so you can attach a cord and thread this under your boot to hold the cuff down. An ankle cuff drawcord is also provided. 

However

To make these the ultimate overtrousers it would be great if they had some means of attaching braces, so you never have to tug them up. As it is, their ability to stay up will depend on both your body shape and your rucksack hipbelt’s ability to cause your trousers to slip down, as well as how much weight you lose on a trip. Trousers with built-in gaiters are great for keeping water and mud out of your boots, and unfortunately these trousers don’t get that extra benefit either. Of course, there are lighter and lower-priced options available too.

Verdict

Great all-round performance that will suit the needs of most hillwalkers, but some other trousers still have additional benefits.

  • Features 4/5

  • Weatherproofing 5/5

  • Breathability 5/5

  • In use 4/5

  • Value for money 3/5

  • OVERALL SCORE 84%


Haglofs L.I.M Comp Pant £200

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  • Material 3-layer Gore-Tex Active

  • Men’s S-XXL

  • Women’s n/a

  • Weight 194g (men’s L)

It’s good

It is the 3-layer Gore-Tex Active shell fabric that really makes the difference here. This fabric is very lightweight and yet it’s also a 3-layer construction so you get good condensation control. Another feature I like is that the ankle zip has a stiff internal baffle, to keep rain out, and this area tends not to be as flappy as other lightweight trousers. So the ankle cuff just sits quite nicely without buckling in the breeze too badly. The waist is elasticated, with an elasticated cord like most others, and again this sits a little more comfortably than some thanks to a brushed polyester lining.

However

The drawback is the price tag, as you have to be pretty keen on the weight saving and better condensation control these offer to splash out this amount of cash for trousers that, while great in many ways, still lack some features. For example, you only get a short ankle zip, so getting these over boots is a challenge. Also, this price still doesn’t get you an internal gaiter or the option to fit braces. And female users don’t even get a version made specifically for them. Also, while the fabric is great, it isn’t as tough and durable as heavier fabrics such as standard 3-layer Gore-Tex. 

Verdict

 Extremely lightweight trousers with great condensation control, but the price tag will dampen enthusiasm for many, and there is no women’s option.

  • Features 3/5

  • Weatherproofing 5/5

  • Breathability 5/5

  • In use 4/5

  • Value for money 3/5

  • OVERALL SCORE 80%

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Best for budget: Hillwalking Shorts review (2018)

best kit across the price bands

Up to £50

Shorts in this price band are perfectly good for hillwalking and backpacking. Pockets will allow easy access to maps or guidebooks while wearing a rucksack, and zipped pockets will provide security. Fabrics in this price range include durable nylon options that are also fast drying. Belt loops will generally be present on the waist and in some cases a belt may be provided. There may be some elastication in the waistband for more comfort. You may also be able to find stretch fabrics. However, in general at this price these more practical features may be more difficult to find compared to higher-priced options.

From £51 to £70

In this price band it is relatively easy to find very good shorts that boast all the main features you need. Expect to find tough nylon fabrics that are fast-drying and durable. Stretch materials are also more common in this price band. You can often get a plethora of pockets and these will include OS map-sized pockets as well as zipped security pockets. The waist may benefit from elastication, a belt and a brushed lining for more comfort. You may also get additional durability from double layers of material on the seat to make these shorts even more hardwearing when resting on the trail, which is great for more regular users.

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From £71

Shorts at this price can have everything you can want for more regular, harder backpacking and hillwalking. They may be constructed with far more stretchy as well as more durable material. The waistband may have extra tailoring so it sits higher at the back and will have a more comfortable lining too. It will likely also come with some stretch so this area is more comfortable, while a belt may or may not be provided. The pockets may be more elaborately designed and there may be more pockets so you have easier access to OS maps or other items on the move. Hidden zipped security pockets
are often provided.


Best for budget up to £50


Royal Robbins Backcountry £45

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  • Men’s S-XXL
  • Women’s 6-22
  • Weight 293g (size L)
  • Material Supplex nylon (100% nylon)

It's good

These have the most accessible map-sized pockets of any shorts I have tried. Four massive pockets swallow maps with ease. You get an additional pair of front leg pockets that are smaller and one has zipped access. The waist is elasticated and has a fitted belt. You get a gusseted crotch and these are quite spacious shorts so freedom of movement is great. The material is a tough nylon (Bluesign approved for environmental benefits) and there’s a double layer on the seat for more durability. These are superb for the price.

However

The sizing is slightly bigger than others I found, so it would be worth trying a size down from normal. The waist does not get the softer lining of higher-priced shorts and there is no stretch in the main fabric. The front pockets are mesh, so could be less durable than others. The only zipped pocket is on the right lower leg pocket, but for keys having a zipped pocket nearer the waist would be better so heavy items don’t bang around. The women’s version does not get the in-situ belt in the waist. 

Verdict

Extremely well-priced, with superb pockets for maps and a great waist design, but check the sizing carefully.

  • Features 4/5
  • Fit 5/5
  • Comfort 4/5
  • In use 5/5
  • Value for money 5/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 92%
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Rohan Bags Shorts £49

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  • Men’s 30-42
  • Women’s none
  • Weight 228g (size 34)
  • Material 100% nylon

It's good

These are the short version of the iconic Rohan Bags trousers. I was wearing both back in the ’80s and they are still superb. They have a fantastic set of pockets – four on the front all taking maps with two of these being zipped, and on the rear two more zipped and map-sized. A neat touch is a press-stud bellows panel on the sides so you can have more spacious pockets. The waist has belt loops and the seat has a double layer of material for more durability when resting.

However

These shorts are slightly shorter than others – which you may value as a minus or a plus! There is no women’s version though, which is a drawback. The material has no stretch, while the waist has neither stretch sections nor a soft lining, so others are slightly better in this area. Although you get belt loops, there is no belt provided. Overall the comfort and fit is not quite as good as others. Some may feel they look a little too practical with their rather square patch pocket design, so more stylish walkers may prefer others. But for performance there’s not a lot wrong here.

Verdict

Superb pockets for easy access to maps or guidebooks, but others are slightly better in terms of fit and comfort.

  • Features 4/5
  • Fit 4/5
  • Comfort 4/5
  • In use 5/5
  • Value for money 5/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 88%

Berghaus Navigators 2.0 £50

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  • Men’s 28-42
  • Women’s 8-18
  • Weight 232g (size 34)
  • Material 100% nylon

It's good

The styling here is more relaxed than other shorts in this price band, but you still get good features. The material is a tough nylon, while the waistband has belt loops and a soft-brushed fleece lining for more comfort. The two main front pockets take an OS map with ease, and the zipped leg pocket takes a map to half length. There is a very useful hidden zipped security pocket inside the hip pocket, which is great for keys. There is also a rear zipped pocket. 

However

The waistband isn’t elasticated, so these shorts aren’t quite as comfortable in this area, and no belt is provided. The main fabric has no stretch, so you are reliant on the cut of the shorts to provide the freedom of movement, and the lack of crotch gusset means these do feel slightly more restrictive than some others. Some shorts have even more pockets and the mesh lining in the pockets means they are not as durable as, say, nylon panels. Also other shorts offer double layers of material in the seat for more durability when sitting.

Verdict

Good general hillwalking shorts with a softly-lined waistband and nice pockets, but some small details are better on other shorts. 

  • Features 4/5
  • Fit 4/5
  • Comfort 4/5
  • In use 4/5
  • Value for money 5/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 84%

Best for budget up to £51 to £70


Paramo Maui £55

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  • Men’s S-XL
  • Women’s none
  • Weight 301g (size L)
  • Material Supplex Parameta A (73% cotton, 27% nylon)

It's good

The Parameta A fabric used in these shorts is designed to wick and spread moisture across the surface for faster drying, while the nylon adds more durability. The waist is elasticated, with belt loops and a belt. The pockets are particularly good, as the left leg patch pocket swallows an OS map with ease and has an internal zipped pocket, while the right pocket is shorter so ideal for guidebooks. The other two waist pockets also take an OS map easily, and two rear zipped pockets are great for security. I found the fit to be quite spacious.

However

I found these shorts to be slightly oversized compared to other size L options I received, so I’d suggest trying a size down from normal. The material offers no stretch, so this may in part be why the fit is rather loose. Also, the waist is good but higher-priced shorts have a more comfortable brushed lining in the waistband. The cotton in the fabric means they don’t dry as fast as purely synthetic fabrics either. And there’s no women’s option. 

Verdict

Excellent shorts for backpacking, trekking and hillwalking at a superb price, but there is no women’s option and small details are better on others.

  • Features 4/5
  • Fit 4/5
  • Comfort 4/5
  • In use 5/5
  • Value for money 4/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 84%

Montane Syno Stretch Maui £60

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  • Men’s S-XXL
  • Women’s 8-16
  • Weight 256g (size L)
  • Material Granite Stretch Lite (90.5% nylon, 9.5% Spandex)

It's good

The nylon-based fabric is durable, water-resistant and fast-drying, but there is also some stretch which adds to the comfort. The wide waistband has some stretch and a brushed microfleece lining for comfort. Belt loops and a belt (men’s only) mean you can adjust the fit. The rear and leg zipped pockets are fine for small items, and you can slot a map into the two hip pockets very easily. Fit, comfort and freedom of movement are all good, thanks to the stretch and a wide panel between the legs.

However

Some shorts have even more stretch than offered here, particularly in the waistband. Others also use a heavier fabric that is more durable in the roughest terrain. The pockets are good but some shorts offer even better access to maps on the move while wearing a pack, as the map-sized pockets are slightly better placed. The pocket bags are mesh, which means small items could start to break through them, so again shorts with different fabrics in the pocket may be more durable.

Verdict

Stretchy shorts with good pockets for hillwalking and backpacking, with only small details that may niggle.

  • Features 4/5
  • Fit 5/5
  • Comfort 4/5
  • In use 4/5
  • Value for money 4/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 84%
 

Rohan Consignment £65

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  • Men’s 230-42
  • Women’s none
  • Weight 349g (size 34)
  • Material 100% nylon with Dynamic Moisture Control

    It's good

This fabric is very, very hard-wearing. It feels like a cotton canvas, but is made from nylon which is more durable and faster drying. There’s also a very good selection of pockets, including a zipped and semi-hidden pocket in the rear as well as another fully hidden zipped pocket on the right hip. Six other pockets are wide enough for maps, with two taking a map fully, while the other four take a map quite well but not to full depth. The waist has belt loops. These are good workhorse shorts, and the price is pretty good for what you get too.

However

Annoyingly there is no women’s version of these shorts, and the material has no stretch. The waistband has no belt, no stretch and doesn’t get the soft, brushed lining that others offer. The pockets are very good but they’d provide even better stowage of an OS map if they were slightly deeper in the case of the rear two pockets and the patch thigh pockets. The fabric is a bit heavier than others and slightly slower drying due to its thickness, so these aren’t the lightest to carry.

Verdict

Excellent tough walking/backpacking shorts with better pockets than others. Slightly heavy to carry.

  • Features 4/5
  • Fit 4/5
  • Comfort 4/5
  • In use 5/5
  • Value for money 4/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 84%

Best for budget up to £71 and over


Regatta Xert Stretch II £80

Regatta-Xert-2.jpg
  • Men’s 30-44
  • Women’s 8-20
  • Weight 271g (size 34)
  • Material Isoflex Active stretch (90% nylon, 10% elastane)

It's good

The nylon Isotex fabric has lots of stretch, which makes these very comfy, but also it’s light, reasonably water-resistant, fast-drying and quite durable. There are belt loops and a belt, plus elastication at the waist, so on trips if you lose weight they will still fit. The three front pockets are all zipped, with two of them taking an OS map fully and the third fitting a map halfway down. There is a rear zipped pocket for keeping a small item secure. A good combination of features if you rank pocket design as a priority and want a stretchy fabric.

However

There is no diamond crotch panel here, so others have a little more space between the legs, but the stretch fabric does at least allow more freedom of movement. Also while the waist is very adjustable it does not get the smooth brushed lining that others in this price band offer. You can get even more durability in some other designs, but those options may lack the stretch offered here. Slightly pricey considering some of the drawbacks of the design.

Verdict

Very stretchy nylon, lots of adjustment in the waist and good zipped pockets,  but the price tag is relatively high.

  • Features 4/5
  • Fit 5/5
  • Comfort 4/5
  • In use 4/5
  • Value for money 3/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 80%

Vaude Skarvan Bermuda £90

Vaude-Skarvan-2.jpg
  • Men’s 46-56
  • Women’s 34-46
  • Weight 231g (size 52)
  • Material 95% recycled nylon, 5% elastane

It's good

Recycled nylon from products such as fishing nets forms the main fabric here, with some elastane to improve stretch. The result is a thin, lightweight fabric with lots of stretch that feels hard-wearing, resists water well, and is fast-drying. An extra panel in the crotch provides comfort, and the wide waistband has a fitted belt. The two main pockets on the front easily take a map, and are placed below a rucksack hipbelt for easier access. There is also is a third zipped leg pocket that takes three quarters of a map’s length at least.  

However

It is a pity the zipped leg pocket is not deeper so it could fully take an OS map or guidebook of similar size. The rear pocket is not zipped and again not deep enough to fully take a map, so it’s neither deep enough for a map nor secure enough for valuables. Some shorts have a heavier fabric that is more abrasion-resistant and also even more pockets. The waistband is good but others have elastication or a softer lining. The price seems a little high compared to others.

Verdict

 Recycled stretch materials and good map-sized pockets make these great but the price is high

  • Features 4/5
  • Fit 5/5
  • Comfort 4/5
  • In use 4/5
  • Value for money 3/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 80%

Fjallraven Abisko £95

Fjallraven-Abisko-1.jpg
  • Men’s 29-44
  • Women’s 26-37 (Nikka)
  • Weight 313g (size 33-34)
  • Material G-1000 (65% polyester, 35% cotton) and 63% nylon, 26% polyester, 11% elastane

It's good

Like other products in the Abisko range, these shorts use G-1000 fabric that can be treated with wax for better durability, water and wind resistance. This material is placed in the darker areas such as the seat. The rest is a stretchy nylon mix that also feels very robust. The waistband is lined, and is higher at the back for more comfort under rucksack belts. Two of the four front pockets have zips, and an OS map fits in three of these, while a small pocket will take a phone or GPS receiver. A big diamond crotch panel improves the freedom of movement, and the women’s Nikka also comes in Curve Fit option.

However

Belt loops allow the fit to be adjusted but you don’t get a belt, and an elasticated waist could make this area even more comfortable. Some shorts at this price point have a softer lining in the waistband too. It’s a shame more of the G-1000 fabric isn’t used across the shorts for more durability, and if the right leg patch pocket was 2cm deeper you could secure the press-stud flap to hold a map securely. 

Verdict

A good set of pockets and high durability, but that price tag is challenging.

  • Features 4/5
  • Fit 5/5
  • Comfort 4/5
  • In use 5/5
  • Value for money 3/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 84%
Trail-approved.jpg
 

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Arcteryx Gamma Review

Canadian brand Arc’teryx make high-spec kit for those who don’t mind paying more for the very best materials and build quality. And they are very mountain-centric. So there is probably only a slim percentage of actual country walkers who will be tempted by these, but those who want to take on every terrain in every condition will really love them. There is absolutely nothing cheap or skimpy about the Gammas. The rigid, high back is beautifully supportive. The toughened face fabric is extremely robust without needing weighty abrasion panels, and they stretch in all the directions you want them to. They come with a fully enclosed belt and three generous pockets, and the hem is adjustable by drawcord. They’re comfy, well insulated, and they are likely to last for years. The only ‘but’, of course, is the price. Is absolute peace of mind worth that much? But that said, it’s possible to find these reduced to the RRP of a good pair from Rab or Montane; that’s still a lot, but it does make them competitive, especially if you’re a committed winter hill-walker (or even an Alpinist). 

Target Price £130

Specification

Size: XS-XXL

Fabric: 50% nylon, 43% polyester, 7% elastane

Weight: 496g

Contact: 0207 078 3546, www.arcteryx.com

Verdict

PROS: All-round excellence, comfort and robustness.
CONS: Price in comparison to others in its class.

COMFORT: 5/5
WEATHERPROOFING: 5/5
VENTILATION: 4/5
VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5

BEST FOR: Mountain terrain in cold conditions – but lovely on the flat too.

Review from Country Walking magazine

Sherpa Nilgra Review

The Nilgiris are a bit of a machine. Sherpa have packed everything into these trousers: a weatherproof shell, fleece lining, leg vents, ankle zippers and, somehow, a stylish design. It’s quite an achievement, and for the most part it all comes together to make an excellent product. The softshell material really does form a confidence-inspiring barrier between you and the elements with little in the way of water or rain getting through, and the fleece on the inside of the legs and in the pockets makes them very cosy indeed. There are zips on both legs which run all the way from the bottom to mid thigh and serve a dual purpose: to offer ventilation and to widen the ankle to make boot fastening and removing a whole lot easier. Despite the ventilation however, these trousers can still get very hot on climbs as they really struggle for natural breathability. They are also designed to be tight-fitting trousers and, given the robustness of the softshell fabric, that does mean the range of movement is slightly more restricted than on some of the other pairs in this test.

Target Price £120

Specification 

Size: XS-XL

Fabric: 75% polyester, 20% polyurethane, 5% spandex

Weight: 385g

Contact: 01572 772474

Verdict 

PROS: Excellent weatherproofing, cosy fleece lining, adjustable ankle zip.
CONS: Can overheat; material can feel restrictive on steep climbs.

COMFORT: 3/5
WEATHERPROOFING: 4/5
VENTILATION: 3/5
VALUE FOR MONEY: 3/5

BEST FOR: Cold hilltop days when you need thickness and warmth. 

Review from Country Walking magazine

 

Montane Terra GT Converts Review

Montane’s Terra range includes some of the finest soft shell trousers on the market, in particular the Terra Stretch (£90) and the heavy-winter Super Terra (£130), either of which I’d heartily recommend you to try in this same category. But having reviewed those before, this time we opted for a lighter, more subtle pair. Aside from the abrasion patch at the hem, these are the most normal-looking trousers I tried; they’re light enough to work all year round, not just in colder months – especially as they zip off into shorts above the knee. The 100% nylon construction doesn’t allow for a lot of stretch and isn’t water-resistant (and the deep, buttoned cargo pockets become an ingress risk when it’s wet), but it’s windproof and reasonably tough. Oddly, the abrasion patches aren’t significantly tougher than the main fabric – a bit more for show than real resilience. So although they are very comfortable and definitely adaptable, they’re a little over-priced for what you actually get, compared to a) other trousers in the Terra range and b) the Keelas.

Target Price £90

Specification 

Size: XS-XL

Fabric: 100% nylon

Weight: 367g

Contact: 01670 522300, www.montane.co.uk

Verdict

PROS: Lightweight, cool, subtle-looking, year-round adaptable.

CONS: Lacks enough features to justify the big pricetag.

Comfort: 4/5

WeatherproofinG: 3/5

Ventilation: 3/5

Value for money: 3/5

Best for: Relaxed walking anywhere, as it long as it’s not going to rain heavily.

Review from Country Walking magazine.

Bergans Bera Review

These are the walking trousers Billy Elliot would wear. They are extremely slender down the leg (thankfully they are slightly more generous around the crotch), so when worn, they feel almost like a leotard. But then, right down at the hem, they explode into multiple features, like a thick abrasion patch, a scrunchy elasticated hemline and a sticky internal strip that locks solid over your boot-tops.

In fact the Beras as a whole are a curiously uncertain mix of minimalist lightweight racing pants and premium-featured technical trousers. There’s no cargo pocket, there are very few seams, the fit is super-athletic – and yet suddenly they throw on a load of extra features at the base. For this reason I find them rather unadaptable. And you have to be very proud of your leg muscles to wear them with confidence, because the fit is so anatomically correct. So if you’re a well-built, athletic mover who wants to power through mud, bog and boulder fields, they will do nicely. If you like a more relaxed fit and a good balance of features, less so.

Target Price £ 95.

Specification

 Size: S-XXL

Fabric: 88% polyamide, 12% elastane

Weight: 361g

Contact: 01825 740082, www.bergans.com

Verdict

PROS: Terrific features around the ankle cuff, very stretchy fabric.

CONS: Athletic cut won’t suit everyone, not many storage options.

Comfort: 3/5

Weatherproofing: 4/5

Ventilation: 3/5

Value for money 3/5

Best for: Athletic walkers who really want to seal their legs up tightly.

Review from Country Walking magazine

 

Keela Scuffers Review

I absolutely love my Scuffers: thick, tough, go-anywhere, through-anything companions that I’ve been grateful for many times. I’ve had a pair for years and they are the hardest-working legwear item I own. Let’s get the negatives out of the way: they weigh a lot, and some will find the fabric scratchy. At 569g they are the heaviest pair here, but do a mile in them and pretty soon you won’t notice the weight at all. What you will notice is their sturdiness; the reinforced seat and the toughened patches around the hem that protect against nettle, thistle, igneous rock, Yorkshire heather and Sussex gorse. You’ll rejoice in the easily adjustable Velcro cuff that gives you the perfect fit around your boot, and the hip pockets that are deep enough to actually be useful (including a secret security pocket). They can get hot on warmer days, but at least you
get vents up the thigh to help with that. There’s also plenty of stretch through thigh and calf. They are by no means slimline, but if you don’t need an athletic look, you can’t go wrong with these – especially at this price. Target Price £60

Specification 

Size: XS-XXXL

Fabric: 65% nylon, 24% polyester, 11% spandex

Weight: 569g

Contact: 01592 777000, www.keela.co.uk

Verdict

PROS: Really tough, good stretch, reliably showerproof, great value.

CONS: Heavy, scratchy; not as well ventilated as lighter pairs.

Comfort: 4/5

WeatherproofinG: 5/5

Ventilation: 3/5

Value for money: 5/5

Best for: I use them everywhere, but they’re most at home on mountains.

Review from Country Walking magazine

 

 

Extremities Tay Ankle Gaiter (2015)

Features

The Extremities Tay Ankle Gaiter is designed to be a shorter length for comfort, so it only covers the ankle and lower calf area. It is made from Gore-Tex, which is extremely waterproof and breathable. The front closure is Velcro-only with no zip and no press studs, and just a drawcord at the top. There is a lace hook and tough Hypalon underfoot strap though. 4/5

Fit

Available in S/M and L/XL, the Extremities Tay Ankle Gaiter came to my mid calf area when pulled up. The material is soft enough to push down below the calf as well if you prefer. The fit across the boot was fine and there is plenty of adjustment in the underfoot strap. The top drawcord allows a good fit around the leg to ensure debris cannot get inside the gaiter. 5/5

Comfort

This uses Gore-Tex material so it is as breathable as gaiters are going to get, and as the calf area is soft and not too long this is more comfortable than any longer gaiter. Because it comes in two sizes that comfort should be maintained even if you have chunkier or thinner legs than me as the two sizes should easily accommodate some variation. 5/5

In use

I keep thinking there should be press stud at the top and bottom of the wide Velcro closure, but this sort of closure does work well, I am surprised to find, and I have used similar closures for years successfully. Of course you do get less protection in deep bogs or long wet heather so Extremities Tay Ankle Gaiters are not ideal for every situation but a good option sometimes. 4/5

Value

You pay for Gore-Tex but you get fewer other features, not even a zip. The price is not great but it’s still less than some ankle gaiters. 3/5

Verdict

If you want a short gaiter for great comfort and can tolerate less protection the Extremities Tay Ankle Gaiter is a very good option if you are on a tight budget. 4.2/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine October 2015

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Highlander Breathable Gaiter (2015)

Features

The material here is AB-Tex, a ripstop polyester with a waterproof and breathable membrane. The front zip is covered by a stormflap with a Velcro closure, while the top of the zip is secured with a press stud and a rear drawcord ensures a close fit. The underfoot stirrup is made from Hypalon – a very durable material often used in high-end gaiters. 5/5

Fit

The Highlander Breathable Gaiter comes in just one size for men and one size for women. The gaiter fitted over my size 11/46 boots and the top came nicely below my knee, but smaller people may need a smaller gaiter perhaps? The calf area was comfortable on me but a closer fit than some gaiters, so if you have chunkier calves these may be tight. The limited size range could be an issue for some too. 3/5

Comfort

These feel nice and light and comfortable on, as the calf area is a little thinner and softer than many low-priced gaiters. But if the fit is tight they would potentially feel more restrictive. Higher-priced materials will be more breathable so don’t be surprised if you get some condensation. But overall the Highlander Breathable Gaiters feel great, assuming they fit. 4/5

In use

The Highlander Breathable Gaiter is easy to get on, thanks to a chunky front zip and that Velcro-fastened stormflap. If the underfoot strap ever breaks it is easily replaced but it should last longer than a plain cord or webbing and won’t fray like a metal wire. Fit over boots is good, so overall a great gaiter to use. But again this assumes it fits you. 4/5

Value

A very well-priced gaiter for the performance, with breathability being the main drawback. 5/5

Verdict

The Highlander Breathable Gaiter is a product at a good price with the key features most walkers will benefit from, but higher-priced options are even better. It wins Trail’s ‘approved’ accolade. 4.2/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine October 2015

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Quechua Forclaz 50 Gaiter (2015)

Features

For this tiny price you get a polyester fabric with a waterproof PU coating, which Quechua describes as ‘not very breathable’. The side zip has no large stormflap to protect it that some have, nor a drawcord or top press stud to secure this area; there is just elastication at the top. A lace hook is also provided as well as a wire underfoot strap with an adjustable buckle. 3/5

Fit

The Quechua Forclaz 50 Gaiters come in sizes S, M and L and they are usefully labelled L and R so you know which is the left and right gaiter. I was sent a size M, which fitted fine over my size 11/46 boots and the top came nicely below my knee. The calf area was comfortably relaxed to allow easy movement and some airflow. 5/5

Comfort

The material is not the most breathable so sweat inside the gaiter is an issue; that said, even the best gaiters can be a bit sweaty. Nothing digs in or rubs, which is the most important thing. The elastication around the top of the gaiter also sits nicely and is comfier than some drawcords I have used. Being hot and sweaty is the main drawback. 4/5

In use

Side zips are not as easy as front zips, but the Quechua Forclaz 50 Gaiter still goes on pretty well. I’d like something to secure the top of the gaiter though as once the zip opens a little it can easily open further. The main issue is that the wire underfoot stirrup will fray – then it is hard to replace and also it may prick your fingers when fitting. But these gaiters do keep  mud out of boots! 3/5

Value

The Quechua Forclaz 50 Gaiter was the lowest-priced gaiter we received; and while not the best, the price is superb and the performance is good enough. 5/5

Verdict

How often do you wear gaiters? If the answer is not often, or you just don’t have much cash, then these are a bargain worth having. 4.0/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine October 2015

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Berghaus Yeti Attak II (2015)

Features

The Berghaus Yeti Attak II is a classic gaiter that encloses your footwear, with a rubber rand creating a waterproof seal between gaiter and boot. There is a front zip with a Velcro stormflap and drawcord at the top. The material is Gore-Tex for maximum waterproofness and breathability, but there’s also a very tough outer face fabric for durability. 5/5

Fit

Yetis come in unisex sizes XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL and XXXL, and you have to fit them to a pair of stiffened boots such as B1, B2 or B3 boots, as on softer 3-season boots they will just come off. Once on, they make a close fit if they suit the boot – but you do need appropriate footwear. So these are not for everyone. 4/5

Comfort

I first used Berghaus Yetis back in about 1990; they are very comfortable and keep all the water out. As they are Gore-Tex you get good condensation control and as they are not too close a fit to the leg, you get some airflow. Probably the most comfortable gaiter there is, as they keep you the most dry. 5/5

In use

On the right boots Berghaus Yeti Attak IIs are superb but once on they have to stay on, meaning you cannot take them on or off throughout a trip. This means they are perfect in winter or for bog-trotting but a pain in other more varied conditions. They are not too baggy and not too tight, and the front zip works well. The top drawcord toggle is a little basic as it is not stretchy but it’s functional enough. 4/5

Value

The price is high so you need to decide if you need this level of protection and will get the use out of them to justify the outlay. 3/5

Verdict

For maximum protection on stiffer boots Berghaus Yeti Attak IIs are a well-proven classic, but they have limitations too. They win Trail’s ‘approved’ accolade. 4.2/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine October 2015

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Berghaus GTX Gaiter (2015)

Features

The Berghaus GTX Gaiter is a Gore-Tex product, so waterproofness and breathability levels are extremely high. There is also a stretch panel up the rear of the leg for a closer fit. The underfoot strap is extremely robust too and can be easily adjusted or replaced. But there is no front zip, just a Velcro closure, and no press stud at the bottom of that closure. A top press stud and drawcord are provided however. 4/5

Fit

It comes in three sizes – S/M, L/XL and XXL – all in regular and long lengths, so it should fit most folk. The L/XL (long) fitted well over my 46/11 boots and sat nicely under my knee. There is stretch material down the back of the leg so this fits closer than lower-priced gaiters. The underfoot strap is adjusted with Velcro. 5/5

Comfort

Being close-fitting, even in Gore-Tex, means this gaiter is a little clammier as there is less airflow; however it is not flapping about – so there are pros and cons to that closer fit. But the boot is well-covered to keep water out. Also the top press stud is just to the side of the knee and the drawcords are neatly tucked away. So comfort is good here. 5/5

In use

The Berghaus GTX Gaiter weighs in at 242g (pair, size L/XL long) so you won’t mind carrying a pair in your rucksack. They don’t have a front zip and there is no press stud at the bottom so getting them on is a little more hassle than some models. But once on they are great. I like the more durable underfoot strap that is easily replaced, and also I like the fact that they are not too flappy. Just give me a zipped opening! 4/5

Value

The cost is creeping up here due the use of Gore-Tex and that stretch Gore-Tex panel but there is no zip, so feels pricy. 3/5

Verdict

If you prefer a closer-fitting gaiter then the Berghaus GTX Gaiter is it, but there is no front zip so you also need to like Velcro closures. 4.2/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine October 2015

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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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Montane Vortex Stretch Gaiter (2015)

Features

Granite Stretch material in the back and top of the Montane Vortex Stretch Gaiter is provided to enhance fit around the boot. The low height should make it more comfortable too. You still get very tough reinforced areas on the sides though. There’s a Velcro closure at the front with press studs, but the underfoot strap is made of webbing rather than being a more durable option. 4/5

Fit

It comes in sizes M and L, and the latter fitted over my size 46/11 boots easily. The webbing strap has a Velcro attachment for adjustment. The elasticated material at the rear helps to provide a close fit too. This model is mid-calf-length (the Tourbillon eVent Stretch Gaiter at £60 is the excellent full-length version). 4/5

Comfort

The Montane Vortex Stretch Gaiter is very comfortable as the material around the calf and above the boot is very soft. The gaiter is made from waterproof and breathable fabric too, but as the leg area tends to slip down this is quite a short gaiter anyway. The cord around the top is elasticated so it allows some flex of the leg muscles, and at just 172g a pair it does not weigh you down. 5/5

In use

This is a short gaiter and the cuff tends to ride down a little, so protection is far less than with longer gaiters. But it does work well apart from that and I like that it has a large lace hook and press studs on the Velcro closure as these both make it very easy to put on. The close fit and tough scuff area mean it should be durable, although the underfoot webbing strap is not as tough as some. 4/5

Value

The Montane Vortex Stretch Gaiter offers better overall performance than lower-priced short gaiters, but you can buy full-length gaiters for less. 3/5

Verdict

The Montane Vortex Stretch is a lightweight, comfortable and generally well-designed short gaiter. I’d recommend the full-length version too. 4.0/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine October 2015

montane%20vortex.jpg

Páramo Long Gaiter (2015)

Features

The Páramo Long Gaiter is a well-proven product that benefits from Páramo’s Nikwax Analogy material, which is far more breathable than other waterproof fabrics so you get better condensation control. There is a front zip with a press stud stormflap over the top. The underfoot strap is a tough, rubberised design that can be easily adjusted or replaced. A top drawcord and lace hook complete a good package. 5/5

Fit

A unisex design in three sizes – S, M and L – this gaiter has a short design for £32 if you don’t want the full-length version featured here. The size L fits my size 46/11 boots well and the top sits nicely under my knee. It is slightly baggier than some around the ankle and calf area than most other gaiters, however. 4/5

Comfort

Nikwax Analogy fabric insulates more than other gaiters, so the Páramo Long Gaiters feel warmer. But the material is more breathable so condensation build-up is less. It is quite soft, though, and it’s rustle-free, and so overall it feels great. One niggle is that the top press stud sits right below the front of the knee so this can be a little uncomfortable when kneeling. 4/5

In use

The wider and baggier style is a little annoying, and I would ideally prefer the slightly neater fit of other gaiters. But Páramo Long Gaiters can be easily reproofed with Nikwax TX Direct Wash-In and they are very durable, so they will really last for many years. They do feel warm, though, which is more of an issue in summer, making these better for cooler conditions. 4/5

Value

There are lower-priced gaiters that work very well, but these are more breathable and better for winter. 3/5

Verdict

Páramo Long Gaiters use a different fabric system that works particularly well in cool, wet weather, but there are some drawbacks. 4.0/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine October 2015

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Outdoor Research Crocodiles (2015)

Features

Outdoor Research Crocodiles use Gore-Tex fabric, which is well-known for its waterproof and breathable performance; but you also get a much tougher 100 per cent nylon outer fabric for extra durability. The underfoot strap is made from BioThane-coated webbing for more durability. The front opening is just Velcro though with no press studs or zips, and just a top webbing and buckle adjustment. 4/5

Fit

These come in men’s sizes S-XXL and women’s sizes S-L, with the men’s and women’s cuts being slightly different for a better fit – and this is a wider size range than most. Fit is fairly close without being restrictive, although others with elastication may fit slightly closer to smaller footwear such as bendy 3-season boots. 4/5

Comfort

Outdoor Research Crocodiles are very comfortable, in part due to the use of very waterproof and breathable Gore-Tex; but also the fit is not too close, allowing some airflow, and there is no restriction of movement. I don’t like the wide cam buckle that secures the webbing at the top as this is potentially large enough to dig in a little at the side of the knee. 4/5

In use

These are a very robust and a neat fit, making them ideal for scrambling over snow and rock, slush and rubble. They are relatively easy to put on, although I would like a press stud at the bottom and top of that front Velcro opening, and ideally a zip too. If the underfoot strap did ever break then some professional sewing would be needed as this is stitched in place, while others are easier to replace. 4/5

Value

This is a more robust design than lower-priced designs so if you are tough on your gaiters the investment is worth it. 3/5

Verdict

Outdoor Research Crocodiles are very robust gaiters for crossing lots of rough terrain but they do not have a front zip or press studs for ease of fitting. 3.8/5

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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Vaude Yaras Rain Zip Pant (2015)

Features

The main feature here is the low weight combined with a full-length side zip that benefits from an external stormflap. But Vaude Yaras Rain Zip Pant overtrousers also use Bluesign-approved fabric, meaning they meets certain environmental criteria. There is reinforcement in the seat, a zipped fly, and an elasticated waist too. There are no belt loops and no waist drawcord, however. 4/5

Fit

The size range is S to XXXL but there is no specific women’s; however Vaude does make various other women’s waterproof overtrousers with different prices and features. The long side zip makes these easy to get on. The waist is elasticated but there are no belt loops and no drawcord, so check the fit carefully. 4/5

Comfort

Like a lot of very lightweight products, the Vaude Yaras Rain Zip Pant is made of a 2.5-layer fabric, in this case Vaude’s Ceplex Active. Like all 2.5-layer materials condensation is more noticeable than in mesh-lined trousers or 3-layer laminates, but on overtrousers I don’t find this a big problem. The weight benefit further improves comfort. 4/5

In use

What I like about the Yaras is that the ankle cuff is not too tight and elasticated, so the cuff sits over the top of boots well, which is not the case with some other lightweight trousers in this price range. Also you get very long side zips that also have external stormflaps and you can ‘Velcro in’ the calf area for a closer fit if needed. There’s also a zip fly. 5/5

Value

The low weight plus long side zips adds to the price, but Vaude Yaras Rain Zip Pants are comparable to other lightweight overtrousers. A short-zip version costs £80. 4/5

Verdict

Vaude Yaras Rain Zip Pants are superb if you want a few more features than lightweight, running-orientated designs, but heavier trousers have benefits. They win Trail’s ‘approved’ accolade. 4.2/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine April 2015

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