LOVED AND LOATHED BY HILLWALKERS IN EQUAL MEASURE, WATERPROOF TROUSERS ARE AN ESSENTIAL PIECE OF KIT IN THE UK MOUNTAINS. HERE’S HOW TO PICK YOUR PERFECT PAIR…
For winter and mountaineering use where the trousers may be worn all day for clambering through snow and ice and over rock, it’s important that the fabric won’t tear or split. Heavier-weight fabrics tend to handle the abuse better, and some of the tougher trousers are reinforced around the inside of the ankle to protect them from crampon spikes.
Ideally, during warmer months waterproof trousers will spend much of their time in your pack. For that reason, it’s useful if they pack down into a neat, compact parcel that doesn’t weigh too much.
Zips down the outside of the leg make it easier to pull on overtrousers while wearing boots. Full-length zips that go from ankle to hip are the most convenient, while shorter zips that only go from ankle to knee may still require some wrestling to get them over chunky footwear. Longer two-way zips also offer a means of venting to prevent overheating.
While regular waist-height trousers are suitable for most uses, those mountaineering in full winter conditions may like the extra protection bib-type salopettes provide for the upper body.
In addition to its weight and toughness, consider how breathable the waterproof fabric is. Legs work hard in the mountains, and if your waterproof trousers don’t let the sweat and hot air escape, you may end up as wet as you would have been without them.
FIVE OPTIONS TO CHOOSE FROM…
JACK WOLFSKIN RAINY DAY PANTS
A great priced pair of general waterproofs that use Jack Wolfskinu2019s own Texapore fabric. Theyu2019re lightweight and packable, offer reasonable levels, but lack a zip to aid getting them on over boots. Weight 170g (size M) Sizes S-XXL (unisex)
MONTANE MINIMUS PANTS
Claiming to be u201cthe world's lightest and most breathable waterproof mountain pantsu201d, the Minimus have a u00bc length zip for venting and getting over boots, but are more fragile than heavier pairs. Weight 150g (menu2019s size M) Menu2019s sizes XS-XXL
Womenu2019s sizes 8-16
BERGHAUS HILLWALKER OVERTROUSERS
Perfect for year-round walking, being made from tough and waterproof Gore-Tex fabric. The almost full-length 2-way zips make them easy to put on and provide venting. Weight 450g (menu2019s size M) Menu2019s sizes XS-XXXL, 3 leg lengths
Womenu2019s sizes 8-20, 3 leg lengths
Pu00c1RAMO CASCADA II TROUSERS
The Analogy fabric in these moves water away from the skin like fur. They aren't overtrousers either, but are designed to be worn all day instead of regular trousers. Weight 480g (menu2019s size M) Menu2019s sizes XS-XXXL, 3 leg lengths
Womenu2019s sizes XS-XXXL, 3 leg lengths
RAB LATOK GTX BIB
Built to offer protection in extreme weather and made from hard-wearing Gore-Tex Pro, the Latok GTX Bib is a robust choice for winter mountaineers doing battle with the worst conditions mountains offer. Weight 700g (size M) Sizes XS-XXL (unisex)