These trousers from Paramo are a bit Marmitey. You’ll either love or hate them, or convince yourself you hate them and then try them only to realise that they’re pretty good and you quite like them. Or something like that.
You might hate them straight away because, to be honest, they look like shell-suit trousers and everything you know about which materials make a good walking trouser tells you that they’re all wrong.
And that’s where I was; firmly in the ‘all wrong’ camp. Until I tried them out on a couple of hikes.
The Cascada trousers slip on easily with an elasticated waist and drawstring. They immediately feel as comfortable as jogging bottoms or pyjamas, and a loose fit lends itself to allowing a full range of movement when walking, cycling or working outdoors. They have gently curved knees to allow easy raising of your legs, and the silky inner material doesn’t chafe or abrade on your skin even when you’re sweaty.
Worn on a spring day’s hike over bare skin, the Cascada trousers feel warm when you’re standing around. On a steep uphill climb in the sun, they’re way too hot and you’ll quickly break a sweat, so you need to employ the full length side zips to let some fresh air into your legs. As well as zips, there are three poppers to hold the legs in place as you walk even when fully unzipped. I found myself using just the ankle popper to allow maximum ventilation (legs on show to the world) and the temperature was more managable.
Where the Cascada trousers came into their own was when we stopped climbing and the cold wind quickly stole our heat. A quick zip of the legs and the trousers were windproof and warm again. It’s a good system, and means you can get away with carrying fewer layers, but it does take some getting used to.
The Men’s version of the Cascada trousers has a zippered fly for quick access when nature calls, and both Men’s and Women’s have belt loops as well as the drawstring waist.
I managed to get the Cascada trousers completely covered in sticky mud one day, so took the opportunity to use some Nikwax Tech Wash (reviewed separately) to clean them off. The Analogy materials which provide Paramo’s waterproofing and sweat extraction are amazing to watch as the garment dries in the sun. Water beads literally appear out of the material and run away – the trousers dried in a fraction of the time of any other I’ve ever seen.
And to carry on with the waterproofing, I’ve worn them in the rain a couple of times and they work superbly to keep even heavy rain off your skin.
The build quality of the trousers is superb, and whilst the material feels very thin and lightweight, they seem to be quite hard-wearing – another Paramo paradox. I didn’t get any snags on thorns or twigs and there’s a double layer of material on the seat to protect from wear. The ankles feature two different poppered adjustments for wearing snug or loose, and they’re wide enough to pull on over boots.
A couple of zippered hand pockets finish the Cascada trousers simply and elegantly.
As with all Paramo gear, you’ll pay a premium. The Cascada trousers are £115. However, they’re available in no less that 14 sizes, 3 colours and come with a lifetime guarantee so treat them as an investment.
SUMMARY: The Paramo Cascada trousers are exceptionally comfortable when walking in everything from cold rainy conditions to warm spring days. I’d say that they’d be too warm in the height of summer, even with the legs unzipped and open. They are astonishingly waterproof, windproof and well built. They’re worth their high price as an investment, and are only marked down from 5-hammers because they look and feel so casual; I’d feel out of place wearing these anywhere except on the trail. Performance though is top notch.
Price: £115 rrp (£70 online, which is a steal)
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More info: Paramo
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