I really struggle with womens’ outdoor trousers, and there have been many times when I’ve been stood in a changing room in an outdoors shop wanting to either cry or rant with rage. For some reason the great and the good in the world of outdoor gear manufacturer can’t seem to run-up a pair of trews that either fit me (quite important) or look half decent (possibly less important), but believe it or not designery type folk, when meandering through the great outdoors we girls still like to look like girls and not Ray Mears’s long-lost half sister. (sorry Ray)
So when shown a picture of the Craghoppers Kiwi Pro’s I was rather excited to try them, as they looked like ‘normal’ trousers. None of this “hey look at my 4 million zips, 18 pockets and we’ll also turn into a pair of shorts, an emergency shelter and a hammock”, they just looked, well, like trousers.
Once they arrived a quick try-on revealed them to be a flattering cut, that fit well around ones thighs without being to snuggly, but are rather gappy around the waist. This is not the end of the world as the trousers have belt loops – each one is a double loop. I’m not sure if this is just a bit of design showing off, or whether it’s a strength thing?! Length wise they also ticked the right boxes.
As they arrived in the middle of August, they were quickly taken off again and stored because this test pair are the winter version meaning they are lined with a kind of towelling like fabric, made from 100% polyester. Fast forward to the end of September, where they got their first real test during an end of season camping trip, where the temperatures were just cooling enough that a campfire was called for.
I do tend to feel the cold, but I was super toasty that night and was struck by how nice this fleecy-ish lining felt against my legs. However, I was aware that my lower back kept getting exposed, but I was sat on a small camp chair most of the night so blamed this rather than the trousers.
Further tests have been out and about on longish trail walks and on some quick 20mins ish walks with the pooch, and sadly this problem with the lower back getting exposed kept rearing it’s head. It’s like the trousers haven’t been cut high enough at the back… and no, I haven’t got an abnormally large derriere!
As mentioned above I have to wear a belt as the waist is a tad too big, and any movement beyond upright walking, i.e. picking up the ball for the dog or bending down to tie your laces causes the waist of the trousers to pull down actually below the belt…low enough that one is at risk of displaying a good amount of ‘builders crack’.
I am genuinely disappointed, enough that as I am typing this I am pulling a pouty face. The trousers are nicely put together with well thought out design touches such as 3 zipped pockets – although I could probably live without the one on the butt. The hems have been finished with heel tape meaning they won’t get rubbed and tatty quite so quickly. They wash and dry really rather quickly and still look smart after several outings in the mud and showers.
They are not waterproof, but my trails tend to take me into forestry land and, even in a fairly persistent drizzle I was still dry. This is down to the ‘SmartDry’ technology, which also makes them stain repellent too. If you like buzzwords the trousers also feature SolarShield UV protection – I’m not wholly sure why this is important in a winter trouser (maybe for the higher altitude winter hikes?), but could be a buying point in the regular weight version. The sales blurb also informs me that the trousers come with a removable sunglasses wipe in the side pocket – “ooh, wow” I hear you cry, but sadly I couldn’t find it, nor am I convinced that it is that useful a sales extra!
I really wanted these to be good as when stood still. The fit is fine, they look flattering and they are super snuggly, so would be perfect for a cold winter. Alas not if you don’t want to get a cold back and look like Bob The Builder’s lady cousin.