The Great Outdoors (UK)


When it comes to walking trousers, personal preference and fit play a big role. Here David Lintern and Lucy Wallace put 10 of the best through their paces


IIS THERE ANY ONE GARMENT that has caused more personal angst than the humble pair of trousers? No single body shape is the same as the next, and never is that more obvious than when we start to compare relative sizes of the major muscle groups in the legs of humans, and then factor in varied leg lengths, hips and waists. We are a wonderfull­y diverse species and finding trousers that fit perfectly can be a challenge.

Walking trousers must be comfortabl­e, protect from chafing, whilst not riding up or down as the wearer moves. Nobody wants a ‘builder’s bum’ as they negotiate a high step or even bend over to adjust their bootlaces! These days many brands offer different leg lengths. When comparing brands, frequently there is variation in the proportion­s of their sizes, and it’s helpful to try a few different types on, to get to know which brands work for your body shape.

If fit is the deal-breaker, what are the nice-to-haves? Material choice is important: trousers should be hard-wearing and quickdryin­g. If you spend a lot of time walking in wet weather, polycotton fabrics can be slow to dry, but in more arid climates these work well for protecting from sun and biting insects. Stretch fabrics are great for freedom of movement, and tough softshell fabrics fend off wind and light rain or snow. In many cases, trouser fabrics are treated to improve repellence to water or insects. Details such as deep, zipped pockets are handy, and it’s desirable that zips don’t dig in under a rucksack or climbing harness.

With ‘perfect pants’ such a personal choice, how best to review them for TGO? We’ve tested the technical merits of each pair, and have included subjective comments about fit where relevant, with the proviso that we are all different.

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