Showing posts with label Pants. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pants. Show all posts

Gear Closet: Fjällräven Vidda Pro Trekking Trousers

My recent trip to the Falkland Islands and South Georgia wasn't just about sailing between those destinations and hopping a zodiac to shore to play with penguins and seal pups. Both places also afforded some excellent hiking opportunities as well, especially on South Georgia where I was fortunate enough to get the chance to trek a part of Shackleton's route across the island, ending at the old whaling station in Stromness. This of course gave me the chance to test more gear in the wild, which is one of the side benefits of visiting a wild and remote place in the Southern Ocean. 

One of the items that I took with me on the trip was a pair of Vidda Pro Trousers from Fjällräven. For those not familiar with the company, it is a Swedish brand that has been making excellent outdoor equipment for more than 50 years. In Europe, Fjällräven is very well respected and established, but here in the states it remains a bit more off the radar. But, I had always heard that its hiking pants were some of the best in the business, and I was eager to see if they lived up to this lofty reputation. 

Made from Fjällräven's own proprietary G-1000 fabrics, the Vidda Pro have been a staple in the company's line up for nearly two decades. After putting them on and taking a few hikes in them, it is easy to understand why. Comfortable and form fitting, without being restrictive, the pants are extremely durable. I wore them in all kinds of weather conditions on my recent adventure, including bright sunny skies and in cold, windy conditions with sleet and snow, and they came away completely unfazed by the experience. They passed over rocky trails, through mushy bogs, and down cold streams without missing a beat, and after the mud, grime, and sweat were washed away, they looked completely brand new. 

The Vidda Pros boast seven different pockets, including four in the usual places on the front and back. But in addition to those, the pants also have a dedicated map pocket, a knife pocket, and an inner safety pocket for keeping important items secure. While carrying a variety of items with me, it was nice to have all of these storage compartments at my disposal, and it helped to keep items well organized while on the trail. 

Other nice features that I appreciated were the reinforced seat and knees that helped prevent moisture from seeping through on damp ground, and elastic leg endings (complete with buttons) that helped secure the pants around my ankles. In the wet environment of the Falklands and South Georgia this was appreciated for helping keep moisture and mud out of the boot laces. The G-1000 fabrics also bring some natural water resistance as well, which made these pants a great choice for the environment I was visit. But, they also managed to still breathe quite well, so it wasn't often that I felt like I was overheating either. 

As the spring hiking season hits, you're sure to find some wet, muddy conditions out on the trail too. If you're in need of a new pair of hiking pants to get you through those conditions, the Vidda Pro is an excellent option that I highly recommend. That said, at $150 they are a bit pricy for someone who just wants to take a stroll on a local trail from time to time. More casual hikers will probably find other options that are more well suited to their budgets and activity level. However, if you're a serious hiker, backpacker, or climber, these are fantastic trousers to have at your disposal. You're likely to find that this is money well spent based on the level of  performance you'll get out of them. Additionally, because they are so durable and fit so well, you're likely to be wearing them on many adventures to come. To me, the $150 price tag is justified by the quality that Fjällräven has delivered. The company has more than lived up to its reputation as far as I'm concerned, and I think you'll feel the same way when you try them out for yourself. 

Gear Closet: Rocky S2V Provision Pants

If you read my review of the Provision Jacket from Rocky S2V that I posted a few days back, you already know that I was highly impressed with its performance while on Kilimanjaro. That lightweight, but incredibly warm and protective shell, kept wind, rain, and snow away from my body while on the climb, and proved invaluable on Summit Day when I was most exposed to the elements. But the jacket was only half the story, as I was also wearing a pair of Provision Pants, which provided the same level of protection for the bottom half of my body.

Just like the jacket that bears the same name, the Provision Pants are made from the same high performance fabrics that are designed to repel moisture, while remaining very comfortable to wear, even while working hard at altitude. These pants incorporate the extremely thin and lightweight aerogel insulation, which completely shields the wearer against rain – and perhaps more importantly wind – without adding any kind of bulk or excess weight to the product. In fact, I was continually impressed with how thin and light these pants actually are, particularly when you consider the amount of protection from the elements that they provide.

Much like the Provision Jacket, these pants incorporate multiple zippered pockets, including a handy one on the thigh that is perfect for keeping important small items, such as a point and shoot camera, very close. The high quality zippers help to seal out excess moisture as well, but are also easy to operate even when wearing gloves.

Just like with Rocky S2V's fantastic jacket, these pants incorporate the Recco Advanced Rescue Technology right into the design. A built-in Recco transmitter gives off an electronic signal that makes it easier for wilderness first responders to locate you should you go missing in the backcountry. This is a handy piece of mind to have on your side for those "just in case" moments, and it is just another example of all of the great little touches that have been included with these pants as well.

The knees and seat of the Provision Pants also include reinforced fabrics and insulations to help keep you more comfortable when you sit or kneel on wet or cold ground. Two-way zippers run the length of each leg, giving you the option to vent excess heat as needed as well. These options go a long way towards keeping you comfortable on the trail, no matter what weather conditions Mother Nature throws your way.

Rocky has built these pants with internal waist adjustments so that in theory you wouldn't have to wear them with a belt. I found that the medium sized pants that I wore were still a bit too big however, so I was definitely glad I had a belt along to help keep them in place. It seems sizing runs a bit on the larger size, so keep that in mind when ordering a pair of these pants. I'm typically a medium in shell pants, but the Provisions were practically falling off of me prior to putting on a belt.

Other than that very small observation however, I found the pants to not only fit fine, but also move fluidly no matter what I was doing. The last thing you want when climbing a mountain like Kilimanjaro is for your clothing to restrict your movements, but that wasn't the case at all. In fact, I wore these pants all the way up to the summit, and was very glad I did. The amount of protection that they provided from the wind alone was enough to convince me of just how good they were, and the fact that I was able to climb all day in cold conditions, wearing just these pants and a thin thermal layer underneath, is a testament to how warm they are as well.

Tough and durable, the Provision Pant feels like it is the type of product that will accompany you on many adventures without showing any signs of abrasion or wear and tear. In fact, my pants, which were worn several days on Kilimanjaro, still look absolutely brand new, which is a testament to the quality of the fabrics used in their construction. Built for the harshest of weather conditions, these pants will certainly come in handy on many future trips as well.

Rocky S2V sells the Provision Pant for just $119.99, which I found to be quite a bargain considering the level of performance that they deliver. This is a high quality product that will keep you warm and dry in the worst of conditions, and allow you to continue your active outdoor pursuits even when the weather takes a turn for the worse.

I can't tell you how incredibly impressed I am with products from Rocky S2V. I know that they certainly made it easier for me to climb to the summit of the highest mountain in Africa, and I can't imagine how much more challenging my Kili climb would have been without them.