Some items of gear take time to grow on me and that was the case with these softshell trousers. When I originally tested them over three years ago I quite liked them but didn’t think they were anything special. However continuing use, especially this winter, has convinced me they are one of the best pairs of cold weather trousers around. They’re now the first pair I reach for when heading into the hills in winter. In most conditions they’re warm enough on their own whilst moving. In blizzards and strong winds in sub zero temperatures thin long johns help keep the warmth in.

The G2 trousers (the full name is too long to keep repeating) are made from Gore Windstopper softshell fabric, which is windproof and very water resistant. Rain and wet snow will soak through eventually and the seams aren’t sealed so overtrousers are  needed when it’s really wet but most of the time the G2s are fine on their own. The thin fabric, which has a smooth outer and a soft brushed inner, is comfortable and breathable. There are mesh-lined zipped thigh vents in case over-heating does occur. These could be a little longer, my only minor criticism of the design.

The Windstopper fabric is stretchy, though not as much as some softshell materials. However the cut of the G2s is excellent and means they are fairly close-fitting with no loose or baggy material yet don’t restrict movement. This is due to two features – the curved knee panels, the best articulated knees that I’ve come across, and the long crotch panel. The G2s have zipped welded pockets that are quite roomy and lined with warm-feeling soft mesh. Mountain Equipment are determined you won’t lose your trousers – they have a double press-stud waist closure, a built-in belt and braces. The last are removable, which I did, not seeing the need for them. At the other end of the trousers there are internal adjustable gaiters with sticky lower edges and lace hooks. These work well with my high-topped plastic ski touring boots but aren’t so useful with lower topped walking boots. There are also long curving zips that can be opened to get the trousers over wide double-boots. On the inside of the ankles are Kevlar patches to protect against crampons and ski edges.

The G2 are available in five sizes – 30, 32, 34, 36, 38 and two leg lengths – regular and long. My 34s in the regular leg length weigh 520 grams. This length is fine for my short legs – most trousers are too long.

After many weeks of use in total and frequent washing the G2s are in good condition with little sign of wear other than slight pilling on the left thigh caused by my camera bag rubbing. They’re still pretty waterproof but I might renew the DWR soon as I recently noticed that wet snow was soaking in a little more quickly than it used to. I certainly hope to be wearing them for a long time to come.

Overview

  • Details: Ј170 Gore Windstopper Three security pockets and two venting thigh pockets Kevlar inner kick strips Integrated belt Curved ankle zips
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