.............not all those that wander are lost..............

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Winter trousers..............

Last year I decided that what my 'walking' wardrobe lacked was a decent pair of winter trousers. I have Paramo Cascadas but they are not very comfortable except in really dire weather. They are the old kind without articulated knees and have heavy insulation.

I wanted the new trousers to be warm, comfortable and usable for winter walking, snowshoeing and maybe cross country skiing. That's a tall order for one pair of trousers and once I started looking around (for bargains of course) I managed to acquire various pairs, all black, which I have worn this winter.

For cross-country skiing I had always worn my Ronhill stretchy tracksters with one or sometimes two pairs of longjohns underneath. This made them warmer but not really windproof and rather tight round the knees. I did try on some Odlo trousers sold especially for x-c skiing but found that my tree-trunk legs didn't fit into them very well. Obviously made for ladies with slender, twig-like legs!

For snowshoeing I only had the Ronhill set up or some skiing trousers. Neither seemed the best option: the ski trousers made annoying swishing noises as I walked and they were a bit too warm, the tracksters not warm enough or snowproof at all.

Here is a review (short and very personal) of the trousers I have been trying this winter.

Craghoppers Winter Pika (Short length)

These are very cosy but not at all stretchy which makes them suitable for shopping trips mainly. They also have quite astonishingly flared legs and are a bit short in the rise for me. I also feel the legs are too short for me and flap around my ankles.

I did wear them for a couple of short walks but the lack of stretch made them uncomfortable stepping uphill.

Montane Terra Thermic (Short length)

When it was very cold before Christmas in Scotland I wore these trousers a lot, even indoors. I like them a lot. They are cosy on the inside and easy to vent with long leg zips. I've been wearing them for snowshoeing although fitting gaiters over them is not very easy (because of the zips).

They are also a tiny bit short in the rise, and I have not worn longjohns with them as they felt too tight then.

They are a good length for my legs though. The material they are made from is very nice to wear even though they are not stretchy.

Berghaus Cascade (Short length)

I immediately liked these trousers when I first put them on. They are very tough and stretchy. I did discover though that without longjohns they are not very warm, even cold to wear. They are also not very wind-proof. I wore them one day to get the bus into Aberdeen and nearly froze to death at the bus stop!

However, they fit me very well, especially round the waist and hips. So with a pair of merino wool longjohns I have been wearing them for cross-country skiing. The knees are very well articulated and length is perfect for me.

Sprayway Warm Challenger (Short length)
These are my latest pair - still hoping to find the perfect trousers. They fit me well and are very stretchy, a bit more windproof, and light to wear. I have to wear a belt with them otherwise they stretch too much round the waist. There is a zip down from the knee to the bottom hem (although I'm not sure what for) and one on the leg for venting.
At the waist there is a velcro tab which seems to be the wrong way round to really tighten the waist at all. However, with the belt on I don't need to use this.

I have been wearing these mainly for walking and without longjohns underneath.

These are the trousers I like the best at the moment.


I think I have not yet found the perfect trousers for all these winter activities. Most of them are fine for cooler weather walking although a bit of stretch helps to make them more comfortable round the knees. None of them are windproof enough for really cold conditions. Maybe it's just me but I find having to wear longjohns means the knees feel tight on me.

I will add that I did not pay full price for any of these trousers, having bought them either in a sale,
or on E-bay.


BG! said...

If you get the chance, have a look at Decathlon's Quechua Bionnassay trousers - http://www.decathlon.co.uk/EN/bionnassay-lady-trousers-92201734/ - they're a bargain for under £40.
I bought the bloke's version, proofed them with Nikwax TW.Direct and they've been great for winter use.
I did a short review a while back, it's at http://beardedgit.com/?p=4088 , since then I've used them a lot and can't fault them.

Laura said...

Thanks for the link to the Decathlon trousers - I'll pop along and have a look - I like the optional gaiters - that's what I need for snowshoeing.

Louise said...

I love my Marmot Screepants - stretchy, tough, comfy, wind proof, DWR finish. I have worn with and without Merino leggings and comfy both ways, but probably not needed, I was very warm. The assistant that served me when I bought them said he wore them skiing and had no problems, obviously, I wouldn't know as I don't! As to price, I'd probably start at Webtogs.

Laura said...

Hi Louise - If I'm honest the only reason for NOT trying the Marmot Scree is that I haven't seen them at a reduced price! - but with your good recommendation I might look out for them. I have to wear out all the others first of course!

Louise said...

I know what you mean. I tragically got these full price at a well known high street outdoor gear store (so embarrasseed, I won't name it!) because I tried them on, along with a few other brands, but fell in love and had to have them NOW! (It was my birthday...) Normally, everything is sourced on the net. Hey ho!