A great pair of walking trousers will make a long hike far more comfortable. Knowing what to look for when buying your trouser can be vital.
Walking trousers will be worn next to the skin, so need to be comfortable for you, and roomy enough so that you are free to move as you need. Weight and durability are key, and give protection from the wind and showers.
The lightweight material used in walking trousers can make them very versatile in day-to-day activities, not just when you are out for a day in the outdoors.
Most walking trousers are not designed to be totally waterproof, although many of the synthetic fabrics offer some degree of water resistance. Most walking rousers are will dry quickly, when they get wet. To help, you can also look for materials that have a water-repellent coating. This can be advantageous, so you don’t have any chaffing with wet clothing.
It is worth trying on the trousers before you purchase. Make sure you can stretch and bend, without any restrictions. Think about the type of walking you may be doing.
What are the key characteristics to look for?
Material & Construction:
Look at the material being used, do they have ‘ripstop’ blended fabrics. This should stop them from tearing and increase the wear characteristics. Trousers with double or triple-stitched seams should be more robust than those with single seams. Also, look for reinforces knees and seats, which will reduce wear in scree environments.
Also look for increased materials, where the trouser will rub with the walking boot.
Having more pockets in your trousers can be advantageous. This will allow you to carry items, such as maps, compasses, GPS, and your phone in easily accessible places, especially in summer when you may not be wearing a jacket. These pockets can be located in many different areas, such as:
You need to consider the size of the pocket and what you may wish to carry in them. Some trousers can have up to eight pockets. How many pockets you may require will be a personal choice.
The fastening also needs to be considered. Most pockets will close with either buttons, zips, or Velcro. It is worth having at least one or two pockets that can be securely fastened. It is easy to loose items from pockets when out walking, or jumping over streams.
The fit of the trouser is key for a good day walking. The trouser needs to be snug, so they won’t fall down, but give sufficient space so that you are not restricted when you need to stretch out. The material type can help here; some types have stretch within the material.
Type of trousers: Long – short – convertible
Due to the weather, some days you cannot decide whether you need long or short trousers, a pair of convertible trousers could be the solution for you.
Some people may choose to wear long or shorts and carry the alternative in your pack.
The benefit of each can best be described as follows:
Long – designed especially for a single purpose and can have reinforcement around the knees and seat. They do not have a rub zone that convertibles may have and could be irritable to wear, for some people.
Shorts – again these are designed specifically to be shorts, and the fit is designed accordingly.
Convertibles – as the name suggests they cover both cases and can be a good choice if you wish to change when walking.
Other possible features:
There are other features, which are worth considering:
Zips at the base of the trouser leg. These can be useful when removing trousers and adjusting boots as socks, during a walk.
Poppers at the base of the trouser leg. These are useful to keep the trouser leg tight to the boot, which can stop the trouser from creeping up the leg. This can also remove some of the dirt and dust creeping up the leg.
Convertible trousers can offer shorts as well as three-quarter zip settings.
You can small features, such as lens wipes, which may be useful for you.
Environment and Sustainability:
Within the industry/sector, there is a big drive to promote Environment and Sustainability factors. This can cover the company’s overall strategy, as well in some instances; go down to the individual product.
I would always recommend taking these into your final decision.