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Gear Review: Winter Trousers 2024

Keela: Scuffer Trousers

RRP: £84.95
Weight: 440g (Women’s 10S)

Just about the stretchiest fabric on test, these trousers have proved to have a high level of wind resistance and good water repellency, whilst not being too hot when working hard. I’ve found them to been fairly quick drying too. The decent sized zipped side vents with mesh are easy to use while wearing. The women’s fit is on the slim side, but these trousers come in 6 sizes and 3 lengths so you should find something that suits. The design is well thought out with good knee shaping and velcro-adjustable ankles as well as good length ankle zips. The waistband has a fleecy lining and is wide enough to be comfortable despite the single snap fastening – there is also a good quality removable belt included. The 2 hip pockets are a good size with one having an extra zipped security pocket inside – useful for car keys. The back pocket has a hidden zip.

These are really excellent value trousers, well-designed with lots of useful features. With a hard wearing, comfortable stretch fabric, they could be worn all year round – a bit on the warm side for summer maybe, but ideal in autumn and spring, and together with thermals in the winter.

Available in Men’s XS – XXXL, Women’s 8 -20, 3 lengths (S, R, L) and 3 colours.

Paramo: Enduro Trek trousers

RRP: £150
Weight: 500g (men’s medium)

These trousers are made from Paramo’s own Nikwax Wind Resistor, and I’ve found them to be very breathable despite their obvious robustness, offering great protection to the wind as well as a degree of water repellency; at the same time, the side facing the skin has a soft feel. The repellency here is PFC free and so better for the environment; it can be restored with Nikwax aftercare. There are large zip vents on either side to help keep cool when working harder heading uphill.

There are dyneema reinforced panels at the ankles (to protect against jabs from your crampons), on the seat and at the knees. These function well and give a distinctive look, although the knee patches appear quite low when standing (they are in the correct place when you kneel though!) There are separate zipped and studded pockets on both sides. The trousers have loops for attaching braces; Paramo also sell full salopette versions. No belt is supplied.

These are very practical and tough trousers that offer great protection on the winter hills and will serve you well for years to come.

Available in Men’s, S – XXL, black; Women’s equivalent is Ventura Trek.

Patagonia: Triolet Pants

RRP: £300 (currently available discounted)
Weight: 520g (women’s S)

These are bomb-proof waterproof trousers designed to be worn all day in the toughest winter conditions. Made from a 3-layer Gore-Tex shell with a polyester inner face (both 100% recycled) these are very comfortable worn with thermal leggings. The fit is generous enough to comfortable accommodate leggings or summer trousers without being over bulky , the fabric itself is soft and thin enough with a tiny bit of stretch, to move really well and well thought-out design features such as the large diamond gusset panel and knee articulation combined make these good for a range of activities including scrambling. They do rustle quite loudly but are probably going to be worn in windy, stormy conditions when this won’t be an issue. The waistband is super wide with two poppers and a zipped fly, there is an adjustable velcro tabs at the back to adjust fit although there are also belt loops if needed. A loop at the back although them to be fixed to a jacket.

Two-way waterproof zips run the full length of the sides of the legs which does make them easier to put on and off on the hill. Two side pockets are well positioned for packs and have DWR-treated zips as well as fairly deep covers which should help to keep items dry although I wouldn’t rely on it completely.

I really liked the very robust reinforced fabric at the inner ankle – this should protect again abrasion from crampons etc. The other useful features is the built in internal gaiter – really useful in snow, it is secured with a velcro trip and snap popper and elasticated cuff. Combined with use of the small tie down loops on the outer trousers to keep the trousers down over the top of boots this means you really don’t need gaiters even in deep snow.

The lower leg also features a built-in Recco reflector – this passive device (needing no batteries and machine washable) provides a signal that can help locate avalanche victims, many Scottish MRTs use the system which is also common in European and US ski resorts. Like much of Patagonia clothing these trousers are Fair Trade Certified™ sewn.

Available in Men’s XS-XL, Women’s XS-XL, Black

Rab: Torque VR pants

RRP: £165
Weight: 440g (men’s 32″)

I’ve been a big fan of Rab’s Vapour Rise trousers for the winter hills for many years. They are made with two layers, an inner for warmth and wicking, and an outer to protect against the wind and abrasion. In this latest iteration, the outer fabric is a stretchy double-weave Matrix with elastane, whilst the inner is polyester. This inner has a super fleecy feel for the most part; unless it’s very cold you won’t also need thermals, and the skin feel is very luxurious – they feel as comfortable and cosy as your favourite pyjamas! There is a more robust fabric in the high wear areas of the ankle and knee. The two layers work in combination to keep you warm and protected from the elements, whilst effectively wicking moisture away. I’ve kept my legs completely sweat free even when working hard in these.

There are side vents (protected with mesh when open), good sized zipped hand pockets on both sides, and additional zipped pockets on the right leg and on the rear. There are also ankle zips (with a fairly tight gusset).

The Torque VR offer great wind protection, and have a water repellent coating. In cold, dry conditions on the hills there is nothing that will keep you more comfortable than these.

Available in both Men’s (S – XXL) and Women’s (8 – 16).

Sprayway: Escape Thermal leggings

RRP: £60
Weight: 260g (10)

Stretchy fleece (87% recycled polyester, 13% elastane) with a brushed inner makes these close-fitting leggings feel super warm and cosy next to your skin. The waist design is good, with a decent sized front panel, drawstring adjuster, and diamond gusset means you can move well without feeling the fabric is too compressing. Construction seems very robust and has proved snag resistant. The zipped side pocket will fit a phone.

Although warm, these are not particularly wind resistant but they do breath well and dry quickly unless they get thoroughly soaked. Good for cooler dry days or as a comfortable, very warm layer under waterproof trousers.

Available in Women’s only, sizes 8 – 18, 4 colours

Páramo: Velez Adventure Trousers

RRP: £165
Weight: 380g (women’s 10R)

In terms of fabric these are the most versatile trousers on test. There’s a slight stretch in the fabric which combined with a generous cut (more about this later) with diamond gusset and knee darts mean there’s lots of freedom of movement but the real selling point will be the Nikwax Analogy fabric. Designed so that water both rain and sweat move outwards, these trousers have genuinely stayed pretty dry on long wet days and remained very comfortable in a wide range of winter temperatures, although the fabric rustles slightly when walking. Hip side vents (with storm flap) add to cooling although I would much prefer them to be mesh lined rather than just zips opening onto bare legs. The two handwarmer pockets are a reasonable size although the zips could do with pull tabs for use with gloves.

Hems are adjusted with a vecro and tab system and the partially elasticated waistband is secured by a single popper with basic removeable belt. For comfort I would prefer a wider waistband and slightly longer zip at the fly. The main issue I found was the excess of material on the lower leg, quite bulky especially if wearing gaiters. The construction is robust and, apart from a slight snagging risk on the outer fabric, with care these should last a long time. There are designed to be repaired without affecting performance, with Páramo providing a repair service.

Available in Men’s 30, 32, 34, 36, 38, 40 regular length, also available in short and long (32, 34, 36) Women’s 10 – 18 regular length, also available in short (10, 12, 14) and long (12, 14, 16), one colour (grey/black)

Berghaus: Mountain Guide Technical pant

RRP: £170
Weight: 390g (Women’s 10)

Robust soft-shell stretchy fabric (50% polyamide, 42% polyester, 8% elastane), good shaped design (articulated knees, long diamond gusset with flat, taped seams), comfortable, wide and fleecy backed waistband secured with two poppers (no belt included), combined with very decent wind and water resistance make these a very good option for all but the worst winter conditions. Ankle hems are adjustable with poppers in three positions. Mesh-backed side vents add to the breathability which I’ve found generally pretty good. The zippered front pockets are smaller than some but will accommodate most phones and are placed to be accessible with hipbelts and harnesses. These have performed very well and should last a long time. Not a lot to choose between these and the slightly thicker Fjällräven Abisko Winter Stretch except fit and features such as vents and pockets.

Available in Men’s XS – XL, Women’s 8 – 18, Black

Sprayway: Compass Versa Pant

RRP: £85
Weight: 520g (men’s 32″ regular, with belt)

These no-nonsense trousers (we’re still resisting calling them pants here at Walkhighlands HQ) are made from TecWEAVE™ stretch 70D polyamide double weave, with a water repellent finish. There are two large zipped handwarmer pockets and also additional zipped leg pockets on each leg and two at the rear. An excellent belt was supplied which is always welcome – I find it a bit odd that the two lower cost trousers in this review were the ones that did include a belt.

Whilst they have a robust feel, out of all the trousers in this test these are perhaps less specifically for winter; if you are looking for year round use these are a great choice, worn with thermals under them in the snow or on their own for spring and autumn (not ideal in hot conditions though). With the very reasonable price, these are a solid choice.

Available in Men’s 30″-40″ waist, three leg lengths and two colours.

Tierra: Ace Pant

RRP: £170
Weight: 650g (men’s 48)

It’s immediately obvious that these are the heaviest trousers in this test. The stretchy double weave softshell fabric feels quite thick and extremely tough; it’s 49% recycled polyamide, 43% polyester, 8% elastane. Environmental credentials are strong with a PFC-free water repellency; the fabric is bluesign approved. Whilst not specifically intended for winter, I’d find these too hot to wear in summer conditions – and the heaviness really increases the feeling of protection against the elements when conditions are poor. Wind resistance is very high, and the there are reinforcements in the seat, knees and lower legs to help resist rain in addition to the repellency.

There are good sized zipped handwarmer pockets on both sides, and an addition zipped leg pocket on one. The trousers also have loops for attaching braces, and zipped side vents which have mesh when open for times when you are working hard. There are also good sized ankle zips for use with larger boots.

Whilst the price is quite high, these are trousers that will really be with you for the long term.

Available in Men’s 44 – 56, Women’s 32 -48; two colours.

Fjällräven: Abisko Winter Stretch Trousers

RRP: £205
Weight: 420g (Women’s 10R)

Tough but stretchy soft shell fabric with a fleecy brushed inner and a comfortable design make these trousers a great option for cold and damp winter conditions. The fabric is 49% recycled polymide, 43% polyester and 8% elastane with a PFC-free durable water repellent (DWR) coating which works very well meaning these can be worn for long periods in rain without wetting through. The design (articulated knees, decent width and fleecy backed waistband (partly elasticated, no belt included) and long gusset diamond panel) combined with the stretch is very comfortable and allows a good range of movement. Zippered hand pockets are a decent size and there’s a rear/side zipped pocket which can take a smallish phone although I found it tricky to access and a bit uncomfortable when walking – taller women may find it ok.

In general the fit is tall and reasonably generous without leaving too much spare material. The hems can be tightened with a drawcord which adds extra bulk and is probably a feature I could live without. At this high price these should be bomb proof and they do seem to be extremely robust and well made, so may last the decades that Fjällräven say they are intended for.

Available in Women’s 6 – 20, 3 lengths (30″, 32″, 34″) and 3 colours, no men’s version

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