My musings about gear turn to trousers and especially trousers for the winter. There are a few different fabrics and trouser “systems” that are available with winter in mind. In the past I have been content to either use simple trousers such as Craghoppers with a waterproof outer overtrouser or a pile and pertex approach such as Rab VRs. Unfortunately my Rab VR trousers are looking a bit battered and I have not liked wearing Craghoppers for sometime (too thin and not warm enough for the winter even with overtrousers). My third alternative is Ron Hill tracksters with overtrousers when required. All 3 arent perfect and have pros and cons. Other systems out there are the Paramo approach (moisture management) and bib trousers usually of water resistant material with a thermal backing.
I am tempted to get another pair of Rab VR trousers as they are comfy and warm even when wet. In fact they are almost too warm even in the depths of winter. The other downside is that they are overlong, Rab insisting on having 33inch inside leg for all waist sizes! The toggle on the hems are annoying and the material isnt over tough so not the ideal for crampon wearing. I have looked at the VR guides pants and these seem beefed up versions of the standard VR so although will be tougher might be even (over) warmer.
I have looked at bib trousers or salopettes as well recently and although can be expensive there are a few pairs out there for around the £100 mark including a couple of offerings from Keela. The benefit of these trousers is they also add insulation to the torso meaning that any increase in weight is balanced by wearing less top layers potentially. I just am not sure if they would be too warm but if they worked then the weather protection they offer in combination with a hardshell are obvious. Buffalo also do salopettes but having got one of their smocks I know how uber warm they are!
I have tried lots of trouser manufacturers but struggle to get correct leg length and feel. Many top manufacturers insist on non flat-locked inner seams that rub and grate on my skin (especially in the crotch area). Coupled with the need to carry overtrousers I am shying away from this approach. I also looked at Paramo but the fit and feel were terrible for me.
So for me its looking like either a trouser with a winter lining like the VR or VR guide pant OR a bib-trouser. The fleece lining can be a hinderance when its not very cold (ie overheating) BUT it provides a soft surface against the skin and so for me reduces chaffing and rubbing. On balance this advantage outweighs the negative especially if I can find a trouser with venting zips.
So the search and musings continue but wondered what other people wear and feel works for them in winter…?
And please remember I have little legs! 🙂