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Written by
FionaOutdoors
FionaOutdoors

Kit review: Walking/hiking trousers

If you are planning a walking holiday, a pair of hiking trousers will be a must buy. It could be that you will wear shorts if you are heading to warmer climes but most people will also pack walking trousers in case the weather turns chillier or as evening wear when heading out for a meal. Here we review three pairs of walking trousers.

Berghaus Ortler Waterproof Pants

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These come in male and female fit and in a variety of sizes and lengths. They are a heavier weight walking pant and offer warmth and waterproofing for walking holidays that may have rain, cold or damp. If you are lucky enough to enjoy good weather on your holiday then you could keep these trousers for traveling and for evenings out when temperatures usually drop. The trousers boast a doubler layer with a lightweight and stretchy softshell outer and a waterproof AQ™ lining, that also has stretch. They have three zipped pockets, two at the front and one at the rear, and elastic adjustors at the hem if you want to cinch them into your ankle. A curved back panel with belt loops offers extra comfort when walking.

What’s to like: These trousers are super comfy. The stretchy fabric also offers good freedom of movement, even when hiking uphill. In cold conditions the trousers are great at keeping out the chilly wind and when it rains they easily repel the water droplets. The front and rear pockets are zipped so they offer good security.

What’s not so good: These are trousers that are made with cold conditions in mind so you might find them a bit thick for summer walking. In heavy and prolonger rain they can start to soak up the wet a bit although this would be expected with all but the most expensive Gore-Tex waterproof pants. The front pockets could be a bit roomier and generous. See Berghaus for more details. The trousers RRP at £100.

Craghoppers NosiLife Pro Convertible Trousers

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These are lightweight walking trousers with zip-off lower legs, multiple pockets and many features promoted by NosiLife. NosiLife features include:

  • SolarDry fabric that is tough and quick drying
  • Easy-care travel clothing
  • UPF40+ sun protection
  • Moisture control
  • Permanent insect repellent.

In addition the trousers have:

  • Six pockets, including two zip fastening and one dry bag
  • Part elasticated, cooling fabric waistband
  • Ankle zips.

What’s to like: The lightweight fabric is very easy to wear and would suit all kinds of climates, especially warm and humid. The trousers can be zipped off to form shorts, which makes them very versatile. They come in different colours so you could take two pairs for different occasions with you. The range of pockets is helpful and versatile and the sunblock fabric is a great idea for hot climates.

What’s not so good: Although the insect repellent is said to be permanently a part of the fabric it is difficult to believe this will be long lasting after many machine washes. When worn in midge areas of Scotland the repellent did not seem to bother the midges. They swarmed around just the same although they could not bite through the trouser fabric. The trousers do not keep out the wind or rain. They are £64.99 for men at Ellis Brigham and £59.99 for women.

Arc’Teryx Gamma AR Pant

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The Gamma AR Pant offers wind and water resistance thanks to Burly™ Double Weave fabric and DWR finish. To note, a DWR-treated fabric will bead-up water on its surface to stop it from soaking into the fibres. This maintains breathability and shortens drying times. Other features include:

  • Four-way fabric stretch
  • Brushed polyester waistband
  • Adjustable webbing belt
  • Gusseted crotch and articulated design
  • Two zipped hand pockets, one zipped thigh pocket
  • Trim cuffs with lace hook and static cord adjuster, seamless instep to deter snagging.

What’s to like: These are lightweight, stretchy and very comfortable walking trousers. They are very easy to wear and look really smart, too. In wet and windy conditions they help to keep the worst of the weather out and the DWR works well for the first few outings. The zipped pockets and the fit are also great for both men and women.

What’s not so good: Arc’Teryx clothing is at the pricey end of the scale although, to be fair, they make clothes that last. The DWR seems to wear off after four or five washes in a machine. To make it last longer, wash carefully without normal washing powder and re-waterproof with wash-in waterproofing fabrics every so often. You won't create the waterproofing of Gore-Tex but they should keep out light rain and drizzle. Men’s Arc’Teryx Gamma AR pants and for women. RRP £136, now £108 at Snow+Rock.

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