I’d forgotten how much I’d paid for these trousers last year. It was a spur of the moment thing you see, and I’ve obviously blocked out the pain of parting with such extortionate amounts of money for trousers. Which is an odd thing really, isn’t it? I mean, we’re becoming more used to spending upwards of £200 on a quality jacket, but when it comes to trousers we generally expect to pay much less. Curious. Anyway, I’ve been getting my money’s worth out of Mammut’s Bask Pants (Trousers) since I bought them last spring and here’s their long-term review.
Part of our uniform for Lowland Rescue work is black trousers, and I decided to invest in a ‘good’ pair for those long cold searches. We pay for our own trousers, and as most of our time is spent fighting through bracken, brambles and mud, they tend to get ruined fairly quickly. Not, I am happy to say, in the case of the Bask Pants, which have stood up to the abuse very admirably.
I’ll admit that when I purchased them, I hadn’t realised they were actually cold-weather trousers. They are, and thanks to a small towelling effect on the inner face of the fabric, they trap a lot of warmth in to keep you toasty. In fact, they’re too warm for summer use for me, and I can build up a sweat quite easily.
That same material contains Elastane, which gives the Bask Pants a great deal of stretch. This makes them ideal for wearing during activities which require you to bend your knees, lift your legs or crouch. They’re really comfortable for moving around in on the hills, or actually just mooching around outdoors.
The material is quite thick and rugged and hasn’t been phased by brambles at all. Thorns go straight through them, so they don’t offer any great leg protection, but the trousers themselves don’t show much in the way of snagging or loose threads. This thickness and ruggedness conjours up an idea of water-resistance, which it’s worth noting that they’re not. They may well have been treated with a DWR (water repellent) at the factory, but they will soak up rain after anything but a brief shower. That said though, they stay warm when wet and dry out pretty quickly.
The Bask Pants fit like a pair of suit trousers. They’re cut fairly straight and whilst they’re not baggy, they’re loose. The ankles are adjustable via a popper system which keeps out draughts and snakes, and the waist has a belt supplied and a popper closure with zip fly.
Mammut have put in fully zippered pockets on the seat, side and legs which gives you six pockets to stash stuff in.
I’ve very much enjoyed (and am continuing to enjoy) wearing the Bask Pants. They serve well in almost all conditions from searching through to more formal gatherings. However, I have found one down-side, and that is that curiously, they’re a total sod to get clean. They seem to attract dirt, and getting mud out of them during a normal washing cycle is unlikely. Mine have a permacover of mud around the ankles.
The cost will cause some people to gulp, but I’ve just had a look on a couple of outdoor retailer sites and there does seem to be an upward trend in the cost of good, rugged outdoor trousers. Perhaps I need to re-align my perception of trouser cost?
SUMMARY: The Bask Pants are really comfortable, stretchy and warm so they’re ideal for walking in cold weather. They’re expensive compared to basic walking trousers, and I’m not sure they’re worth 4x as much as some basic walking pants, but they have proven to be very rugged and I suppose that in terms of £ per wear they’re becoming worth it.