Gear review: Mammut Runbold Light shorts

Recommended Price: £69 (currently £49 on Mammut’s website)
Weight: 148g

When is lightweight gear too light? I’ve been trying out the light version of Mammut’s Runbold shorts both in the fine summer weather we had in Scotland, and through an Alpine heatwave.

With a modern, athletic cut these shorts would need to be made from a very stretchy fabric in order to give the full freedom of movement needed for hiking and climbing in the outdoors – and they are. The super light bi-elastic material makes them extremely comfortable to wear – and so light you almost don’t notice them. They pack down to almost nothing, dry incredibly fast, have a simple design with 3 pockets (only rear pocket is zipped) and look great – so what’s not to like?

I loved these shorts from the moment I first went walking in them, so I was gutted to see that after a few outings – including, as you do, taking breaks sitting on some rough boulders – that the fabric on the seat was showing signs of early wear, including a tiny hole. I could be unluckly, but to see this much wear after just a few outings is disappointing – it seems the fabric just isn’t robust enough for tough mountain use. I’ve mended mine with Tenacious Tape (have you tried that stuff? it’s brilliant for repairing outdoors gear if you don’t sew), but I’m sad to say I couldn’t recommend the light version of these shorts. I’m sold on the design, stretchiness and fit though – I’ll definitely be looking out for the standard, more robust version of the shorts which are just 50g or so heavier – that’s an extra 50g well worth having, and it’s my birthday soon. The Runbolds are also available as trousers in both light and standard versions, and as zip-offs – I’d happily wear any but wouldn’t choose the lights.

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