We put 10 pairs of trousers to the test in the great outdoors

We put 10 pairs of trousers to the test in the great outdoors

There was a time when choosing a pair of trousers to go walking in meant digging out an old garment that you didn’t mind getting muddied up.

But times change, and outdoor brands now provide a huge range of trousers designed to keep you comfortable and help you perform well in the great outdoors and on the hill.

Our test includes 10 different brands and a variety of designs, ranging from lightweight pairs best suited to warmer days, to waterproof trousers that will keep you dry, to full-on technical garments that will perform in even the harshest mountain environments.

And there’s a price range to match.

We’ve rated these walking trousers for comfort, warmth, quality and features. If you’re after a pair for use on warmer days, you may want to look for trousers with a lower warmth rating.

Berghaus Fast Hike Pant

Berghaus Fast Hike Pant

Berghaus Fast Hike Pant
Price: £85
Colour: black
Weight: 382g
Material: main, 100 per cent polyamide; stretch panels 87 per cent polyamide, 13 per cent Elastane
Country of manufacture: Indonesia
Recommended wash: 30C non biological detergent
Women’s version: yes
Sizes: men’s 30/30-42/34; women’s 8/29-18/33

The Berghaus trousers combine tough-feeling polyamide sections with stretch panels in the upper sections and knees, which allows good mobility when stepping up in scrambly sections of routes, and also increases comfort.

Each waist size comes in three leg lengths, so you should be able to get a good fit, even if you’re a slightly out-of-the-ordinary shape. Fit of the trousers was about average and we were able to get exactly the right leg length.

The Fast Hike trousers are part of Berghaus’s Vapourlight range and came in towards the lighter end of those tested, though not the lightest. However, the fabric feels tough yet breathability was good.

The trousers shed a little light rain, but are not waterproof.

The Fast Hike Pant has a rear zipped pocket, with stretchy mesh lining, and there are two front, unzipped pockets, along with a zipped thigh pocket, which has a bellow side and is made from stretch material.

There are double-zipped thigh vents on each leg, backed by stretch mesh, for those times when you’re working hard, and the ankle cuffs have Velcro adjusters to allow for a good neat fit around boots.

The Fast Hike Pant also comes with a webbing belt included.

The trousers’ green credentials are good, with bluesign designation. The garment is made from Berghaus’s Colourkind eco fabric, which means the yarn is coloured at an early stage before its extrusion, leading to greatly reduced use of dyes and water, so that added glow of helping the planet will accompany you on your trips outdoors.

The waistband is good and lined with soft knitted fabric. The trousers’ knees are articulated and there’s also a crotch gusset. Legs are fairly streamlined and not flappy, and overall the comfort of these Berghaus trousers was very good.

The company says these are designed with high energy activities in mind, and they work very well when pushing the pace, yet their windblocking properties were good too.
The Fast Hike Pant maintained its comfort over multi-day use, and quality and design is up to the mark too.

Comfort: 36/40
Features: 26/30
Warmth: 7/10
Quality: 7/10
Value for money: 6/10
Total score: 82/100

Columbia Titan Peak Pant

Columbia Titan Peak Pant

Columbia Titan Peak Pant
Price: £80
Colour: black
Weight: 368g
Material main, 90 per cent polyamide, 10 per cent Elastane
Country of manufacture: Vietnam
Recommended wash: 30C
Women’s version: yes
Sizes: men’s 28/32-40/34; women’s 6S-20L

The Titan Peak Pant is made from four-way stretch fabric and the legs are reasonably narrow and don’t restrict movement, though there is no adjustment at the ankle cuff.

Knees are articulated and panels are tailored so stepping up is easy.

There’s a rear zipped pocket and two zipped hip pockets, along with a zipped pocket on the outside of the right thigh. It’s positioned slightly to the rear of centre, so if you use it to store your smartphone, for instance, care has to be taken when sitting down not to catch the pocket’s contents.

The waistband is part elasticated and lined with soft-knit material. It also comes with a belt. The Columbia trousers don’t have ventilation zips but are fairly lightweight. Fit was normal.

Comfort on the hill was good, with the stretch fabric working well and the straight legs were good, and didn’t flap about. Windblocking was good. The fabric has Omni-Shield repellency, both to shed a little rain and also resist stains. The Titan Peak Pant also has UPF 50 protection against the sun, thanks to Omni-Shade treatment.

Comfort: 34/40
Features: 25/30
Warmth: 6/10
Quality: 7/10
Value for money: 6/10
Total score: 78/100

Craghoppers Kiwi Pro Stretch Trousers

Craghoppers Kiwi Pro Stretch Trousers

Craghoppers Kiwi Pro Stretch Trousers
Price: £45
Colour: black
Weight: 342g
Material: 96 per cent polyamide, 4 per cent Elastane
Country of manufacture: China
Recommended wash: 30C
Women’s version: no
Sizes: men’s 30S-42L

The Kiwi Pro Stretch Trousers are lightweight general-purpose walking trousers ideal for those looking for top value for money.

Although this model only comes in men’s version, there are other women’s Kiwi trousers in the Craghoppers range. Legs come in three lengths in each size, so it should be possible to find the right trousers for you.

The legs are straight cut and not too flappy and there’s articulation at the knees, though because of this is achieved by a couple of stitched tucks, you can feel these seams against your knee when stepping up.

The material has stretch, but not as much as some of the trousers in the test. The ankle cuffs don’t have adjustment, but there is a strengthening braiding on the rear of each hem where it is likely to rub against boot heels. We did feel some resistance when stepping up in these trousers.

The Kiwi Pro Stretch trousers have a rear pocket plus two hip pockets, along with a thigh pocket on the front of the left leg. All have zips.

The waistband is part elasticated, but the trousers don’t come with a belt, though there are belt loops. Sizing of the trousers was about half a size on the small side.

Wind resistance was good and the Craghoppers trousers benefit from SolarShield 40+ UV protection.

The Kiwi Pro Stretch is a well priced general-use pair of walking trousers offering reasonable comfort.

Comfort: 30/40
Features: 25/30
Warmth: 6/10
Quality: 6/10
Value for money: 8/10
Total score: 75/100

Didriksons Okuda Pants

Didriksons Okuda Pants

Didriksons Okuda Pants
Price: £75
Colour: black
Weight: 420g
Material: shell, 100 per cent polyamide, lining one: 100 per cent polyamide; lining two: 100 per cent polyester
Country of manufacture: China
Recommended wash: 40C
Women’s version: yes
Sizes: men’s S-XXXL; women’s 8-20

These trousers from the Swedish brand are waterproof, with a rating of 8,000mm static head. The outer fabric is tough feeling nylon, with the lining and waterproofing making them noisier in use than non-waterproof trousers.

They’re quite warm too and wind resistance was very good.

Although they feel rustly, the lining is smooth and they don’t restrict movement overly when stepping up. In fact, because of the nylon lining, the trousers feel quite cool when you put them on.

Knees are articulated and the legs are quite wide, but have Velcro adjustment at the ankle hem. There is also a zipped bellow to aid getting them on and off over footwear. There is also a handy boot hook on the inner front face of each hem, allowing them to be kept in place by hooking over footwear laces.

The waistband is raised at the back, and is very broad with soft-knit lining. There is a mesh lining in the lumbar region to help venting, but overall the trousers are only moderately breathable – a pay-off for their waterproof quality.

The waterproofing is enhanced by a PFC-free durable water-resistant finish which can be revived by a cool iron. There was some moisture build-up in these waterproof trousers when working hard up hill.

There are two front pockets, zipped diagonally on each one, and protected by storm flaps. The zip fly also has a Velcro-secured flap protecting it.

The Okuda trousers don’t come with a belt, but there are belt loops.

These are nicely designed and well made, with lots of touches aimed at keeping the wearer comfortable. They are ideal for those showery days when putting on and taking off overtrousers makes for delays in your journey.

Although more noisy than non-waterproof trousers, they’re not as rustly as most overtrousers. Comfort was good, with a nice high rear waistband helping to keep the lumbar area warm.

Comfort: 33/40
Features: 27/30
Warmth: 6/10
Quality: 7/10
Value for money: 7/10
Total score: 80/100

Fjällräven Keb Trousers

Fjällräven Keb Trousers

Fjällräven Keb Trousers
Price: £175
Colour: black/grey
Weight: 646g
Material: G-1000 Eco: 65 per cent polyester, 35 per cent cotton; stretch: 63 per cent polyamide, 26 per cent polyester, 11 per cent Elastane
Country of manufacture: China
Recommended wash: 40C
Women’s version: yes
Sizes: men’s 30R-42L; women’s 6S-20L; women’s ‘curved’ version also available, with more generous hip and thighs

The fact these Fjällräven trousers are the heaviest in the test give a hint of their bomb-proof nature.

The main fabric used is a thick poly-cotton G-1000 Eco material, which feels like it will give years of service. This is interspersed with stretch panels where flexibility is needed. Fjällräven says the Keb trousers are intended for Alpine trekking that requires climbing, but we think they are ideally suited to scrambly British routes.

A lot of thought has gone into the design of these trousers, with pre-shaped articulated knees, backed by stretch sections behind the thigh and knee. The seat is shaped too, with tucks keeping things from sagging. The top section of the trousers are also stretch, with the exception of the waistband. This translates into a very comfortable walking and scrambling experience, with movement not restricted. The trousers also fit very well around flex areas.

Styling is definitely Scandinavian, with lots of nice touches for fans of the Fjällräven look, including the obligatory Arctic Fox emblem after which the brand is named, and a little Swedish flag at one seam.
There are two front unzipped pockets in the stretchy top section, plus two press-stud flap closing pockets on the front of the thigh, one of which is also zipped, the other having an insert to hold a smartphone.

The knees have double-thickness fabric and the legs have vents at the side of the thigh, with single zip opening. There is a second vent on each leg, on the outside of the lower leg area, again with a single zip opening. The seat and bottom of the legs also benefit from double fabric.

The leg hems can be adjusted by an elasticated webbing strap with three press-stud positions, and there are boot hooks on the front of each hem to hook round your laces to keep the trouser bottoms in place.
The two centre belt hooks on the waistband have small loops through which you can pass a small carabiner to hook on gear if needed.

The G-1000 fabric can be treated with Fjällräven’s Greenland wax to add some water repellency and durability, at the price of some loss of breathability.

The Keb trousers contain recycled polyester and organic cotton, and have fluorocarbon-free impregnation.

Despite the fabric feeling very robust in use, the stretch panels allow good, unconstrained movement. Windblocking was very good, and warmth was good too.

The Fjällräven Keb trousers are expensive, but their design, materials and construction are very good, and we can imagine them giving many years’ service. They performed well on the hill and comfort was very good.

Comfort: 37/40
Features: 28/30
Warmth: 7/10
Quality: 8/10
Value for money: 5/10
Total score: 85/100

Keela Scuffer Trousers

Keela Scuffer Trousers

Keela Scuffer Trousers
Price: £69.95
Colour: black
Weight: 552g
Material: 65 per cent nylon; 24 per cent polyester; 11 per cent Spandex
Country of manufacture: not stated
Recommended wash: 40C pure soap
Women’s version: no
Sizes: XS/S-3XL/L

The Scuffer trousers have a tough feel to their fabric, but are stretchy throughout, offering good comfort and freedom of movement.

Windblocking is very good and the trousers are warm, though there are mesh-backed vents on the outside of the thighs which provide good airflow when working hard.

The legs are medium width, and have good length zips from ankle almost to the knee, which makes slipping them on and off while wearing boots or shoes easier. Ankle cuffs have Velcro tabs for adjustment, and on the inner surface of the lower legs are ‘Scuffer’ welt panels that provide protection from boot or even crampon damage.

The material is quite breathable and also has a durable water resistant finish, which turns away a shower.

The seat area is reinforced, adding to the tough feel of these trousers.

There are two zipped hip pockets, one of which has an extra inner zip. There is also a rear zipped pocket.
The Scuffers also come with a webbing belt.

Fit is normal.

Keela’s Scuffer kept us comfortable in a variety of conditions, ranging from near-freezing to milder weather, though they’re on the warm side for use in summer. They’re also very good value and the fabric is robust, and they’re the second-heaviest in the test. These trousers should give long service in autumn, winter and spring.

Comfort: 35/40
Features: 26/30
Warmth: 7/10
Quality: 7/10
Value for money: 8/10
Total score: 83/100

Páramo Cascada II Trousers

Páramo Cascada II Trousers

Páramo Cascada II Trousers
Price: £135
Colour: dark grey
Weight: 472g
Material: 100 per cent polyester
Country of manufacture: Colombia
Recommended wash: 30C Nikwax Tech Wash; reproof with Nikwax TX Direct
Women’s version: yes
Sizes: men’s S/S-XXL/L; women’s XS/S-XL/L

These Páramo trousers have a very soft feel to them and they’re rustle-free in use. The Analogy fabric is quite thick, owing to its layering that uses the brand’s ‘pump action’ to force water outwards and keep you dry.

They are warm in use, and block wind very well. They provided good, prolonged use on a cold, windy fell top in a mix of hail and snow showers while keeping legs warm.

On uphill sections, a double zip allows venting of almost the whole length of leg, from hip to ankle, should you require that much air circulation. Three press-studs stop the vented legs flapping around too much in the wind, and the zips have a storm baffle behind them to keep wind out when closed and help keep out rain when opened.

The zips can also be opened from the ankle upwards, meaning it’s easy to get the Cascada II trousers on over boots or shoes. The leg width is medium but the ankle cuff can be tapered in using an extra press stud. The knees are articulated but there is an extra layer of pump-liner at the knees, thighs and seat area.

There are two zipped hip pockets but no rear pockets. The part-elasticated waistband has belt loops.

The great advantage of the Páramo trousers is their ease of use in changeable conditions. Showers present no problem and the Páramo say the Cascada IIs should cope with four hours of rain. They are warm, but venting is very generous and allows moisture to escape quickly.

Páramo’s green credentials are good, with these trousers being manufactured in the Miquelina Foundation factory in Colombia. It says no fluorocarbons are used in making or treating the trousers.
Regular reproofing will be necessary to maximise the Páramo trousers’ ability to keep you dry.

Comfort was good, as was warmth. We wouldn’t recommend using the Cascada II trousers in full summer warmth, though they’re good for all other times.

Comfort: 37/40
Features: 22/30
Warmth: 8/10
Quality: 7/10
Value for money: 6/10
Total score: 80/100

Rab Sawtooth Pants

Rab Sawtooth Pants

Rab Sawtooth Pants
Price: £80
Colour: grey
Weight: 476g
Material: 88 per cent polyamide; 12 per cent Elastane
Country of manufacture: China
Recommended wash: 30C liquid detergent
Women’s version: yes
Sizes: men’s S-XXL; women’s 8-16

The Sawtooth trousers are comfortable and lightweight. The fabric has plenty of stretch in it, and there was no restriction of movement when stepping up on scramble routes.

Warmth was moderate, but windblocking was good, making these trousers a good bet for use across the seasons on all but the hottest days. Breathability was good.

Knees are articulated and the hems have drawcords as well as a couple of little loops for attaching under-boot cords. The inner face of the ankle area has a reinforced patch to help guard against crampon damage.

The broad waistband has soft tricot lining and there are belt loops.

The Sawtooth has two zipped hip pockets and also two zipped pockets on the thighs, which are fairly amply sized. Leg width is fairly slim, and overall sizing of the trousers is fairly generous.

There is some water repellency in the fabric, which will cope with short, light showers. The Sawtooth Pant offers UV protection of 30+.

These Rab trousers were very comfortable in use. They’re not overwarm, and they worked well in cool to warm conditions and when pushing hard uphill. Quality and design was good.

Comfort: 37/40
Features: 26/30
Warmth: 6/10
Quality: 7/10
Value for money: 7/10
Total score: 83/100

Salomon Wayfarer Zip Pant

Salomon Wayfarer Zip Pant

Salomon Wayfarer Zip Pant
Price: £85
Colour: green
Weight: 322g
Material: 86 per cent nylon; 14 per cent Elastane
Country of manufacture: Bangladesh
Recommended wash: 30C
Women’s version: yes
Sizes: men’s 30-40; women’s 6-18

The Salomon trousers are the lightest in the test, and are also the only ones convertible into shorts.
Fabric is very stretchy and there was good freedom of movement in the Wayfarers when stepping up on scramble routes.

The knees are articulated too, enhancing ease of moving on technical ground. Leg width is medium, though there is no adjustment at the hem.

The wide waistband is partly elasticated and there is also Velcro adjustment on each side. The waist has belt loops too.

Converting the trousers to shorts is pretty simple, using the zips placed above knee level. The lower sections of the legs are identical on each side, so you don’t have to worry about matching left and right when re-attaching. Zipping them back on was trouble free.

The Wayfarers have a zipped, mesh-lined rear pocket, and there are two zipped hip pockets, again mesh lined, plus a small zipped thigh pocket, big enough for a smartphone.

Breathability of the Salomon trousers was good, and warmth was middling. The legs were fairly long for the waist size and the general fit was normal.

In use, the Wayfarer Pant was comfortable, the breathable, stretchy fabric working well, especially over technical terrain. The Salomon trousers are good when pushing the pace, and the zip-off bottoms add to their versatility when the temperature rises.

The Salomon Wayfarer Zip Pant is bluesign approved and also offers UV protection of 50. Quality and design were good.

Comfort: 36/40
Features: 27/30
Warmth: 6/10
Quality: 7/10
Value for money: 6/10
Total score: 82/100

Sprayway All Day Rainpant

Sprayway All Day Rainpant

Sprayway All Day Rainpant

Price: £75
Colour: black
Weight: 394g
Material: shell, 96 per cent nylon, 4 per cent Spandex; lining, 100 per cent polyester
Country of manufacture: Bangladesh
Recommended wash: 30C Grangers 2 in 1
Women’s version: yes
Sizes: men’s S-XXL; women’s 8-16

The Sprayway trousers use a Hydro/Dry laminate lining to give waterproofing to 10,000mm hydrostatic head. Breathability is quite good, though the All Day Rainpant will retain more perspiration than most of the non-waterproof trousers in the test.

Warmth and windproofing were good and the fabric isn’t too rustly, so these are a quieter way of keeping your legs warm than slipping on a pair of overtrousers.

They also come into their own on showery days, when frequent stop-starts to put on and take off overtrousers is an irritant.

The leg width is fairly generous, but there’s no hem adjustment. Knees are articulated to aid movement and, though the material has two-way stretch, there was some resistance when stepping high. The trousers come in different leg lengths.

The waistband is partly elasticated and has belt loops. It has soft lining material which enhanced comfort.

The Sprayway trousers have two zipped hip pockets.

The All Day Rainpant lives up to its name when the weather is changeable. The trousers don’t look like waterproofs, but they do keep the rain out. Comfort was good but, as you would expect in a garment with a waterproof membrane, there was some moisture build-up when pushing the pace uphill.

The Sprayway trousers are a no-frills, competent garment at a reasonable price.

Comfort: 33/40
Features: 25/30
Warmth: 7/10
Quality: 6/10
Value for money: 7/10
Total score: 78/100

Top in the test were the Fjällräven Keb Trousers, which are well designed, sturdy and top quality. But they have a price ticket to match.
The Keela Scuffer Trousers are great value and work well in cold conditions, while the Rab Sawtooth Pants are good all-round performers.
The Craghoppers Kiwi Pro Stretch Trousers offer a budget option for those looking for a general purpose pair of walking trousers.

Best in test: Fjällräven Keb Trousers
Good buy: Keela Scuffer Trousers, Rab Sawtooth
Best budget buy: Craghoppers Kiwi Pro Stretch Active Trousers

All samples in the test were provided to grough by the brands.

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