One of my very rare posts about walking apparel: not a very interesting subject and I very rarely buy any, other than footwear.
I loathe trousers with a passion. There are things to hate about walking in trousers, the main one being that I’m walking in trousers. For many years I’ve avoided any reason to wear the damned things on the hill, none of them come remotely close to my Ron Hill Trackster Treks for comfort and total freedom of movement. While the very thin Tracksters typically worn by runners can look a bit, erm, figure-hugging, the Treks look a lot better.
In the cold months from late Autumn to Spring I wear a pair of excellent Powerstretch tights underneath them, a superbly warm-feeling and wicking next-to skin base layer that feels like part of the body. This combination is enough for most winter mountain conditions I encounter. However there are times when it’s both very cold and very windy, and nowadays I’m beginning to feel that icy blast overpower the defences and drain my body heat. On such occasions in the past I sometimes resorted to the ME Drilite overtrousers as a windstopper layer, but it was a faff getting my pack off and putting them on, usually I couldn’t be arsed and just soldiered on without them until the next sheltered bit of walking.
Reluctantly there is now a place for wind resistant trousers in the kit list, something with reasonable freedom of movement that I can wear all day in a cold blast without getting annoyed in the calmer interludes or on steep ascents. Windy and very cold conditions were predicted for my recent Dolwyddelan Hills solo trip and an idea occurred to us: Vivien has a pair of Berghaus trousers and I tried them on. They seemed to fit me well despite being labelled ‘Womens‘, once I adjusted to the ‘opposite-handedness’ of the zips. Sometimes I see clothing bearing the ‘DFW‘ moniker and wonder just how beneficial the different cut really is, Vivien has worn ‘Mens‘ items before and not noticed the difference and sometimes they seem to fit her better.
I wore them on that Dolwyddelan trip and they performed well (for trousers), the benefit of cutting that wind penetration outweighed the mediocre locomotion. I was quite happy with them and decided to buy a pair, unfortunately we have no idea what they are and the sales tags have long gone. Time to get psyched up for a plod around Manchester.
Things have changed a lot on Deansgate since I last cast a bored glance at the gear shop fronts. Cotswold have opened what appears to be their ‘normal’ branch (leaving the Oxford Road branch with ‘Rock Bottom’ status selling cheap stuff and clearance lines). The old TNF shop is now confusingly half TNF and half Ellis Brigham, while on the opposite side of the road the old Ellis Brigham shop now says ‘Mountain Equipment’ on the front, but further round it says above the side window ‘Ellis Brigham’. Another schitzophrenic shop has ‘Berghaus’ above one window and ‘Nevissport’ above the other. All these signs are equally prominent and I didn’t know which shop I was in half the time.
Anyway they all seem to have a vast array of jackets and tops of every kind but very few hillwalking trousers. I couldn’t find a pair of the ones we had, so I bought a pair of Berghaus Ortler pants, having a 4-way (?!) stretch material and decent articulation that felt reasonable overall. All these trousers have a pretty tight weave and should give enough wind resistance for my needs, and they have zipped side vents for airing in calm conditions.There are internal adjustable cords around the ankles but I probably won’t use them. The cut is pretty good, unlike some I encountered a while ago that were baggy to say the least.
Nothing more to say about them really: I’ll be trying not to use them, so they should last a long time.