Ok - I know I'm about to give everyone a laugh, and show just how old-fashioned I am, but wanting to get back into winter hill-walking after too many years of not doing any, I find myself in a quandry.
Those years of not doing much hillwalking and enjoying good living have resulted in all my kit shrinking! And, to my horror, it appears that good, old-fashioned walking breeches can't be got! Indeed, the youngsters in outdoor shops either look at me as though I've emerged from some sort of time warp, or laugh at me for being so ancient.
So - what's the current thinking please? I don't like Ron Hills - and Craghoppers and the like really aren't what I'm looking for. What abouot these - http://www.outdoorsmagic.com/news/article/mps/uan/6174 - but what I'm really after is something like those ancient museum pieces I used to wear, with nice tabs just below the knee. With a couple fo pairs of socks, and gaiters, they really were an excellent solution.
My last pair were wool, not itchy, and even wet were nice and warm.
For the record, I DO have some modern gear, even including that new fangled GoreTex stuff, although I notice that my nice wooden shafted ice-axe seems to have become a museum piece - - and no, I don't use a hemp rope - -
Rohan Superstrider breeches.
Breeches never went away - young people nowadays call them cargo shorts - standard skateboarding wear.
Like you, Mike, I'm an old fogy who doesn't undertand why breeches went out of fashion. To me they are the ideal hillwalking solution. Trouser cuffs trail in the mud and get wet and filthy and add an unecessary extra layer when you wear gaiters. I still use an elderly pair of Tiso breeches, but they're getting a bit worn, so thanks, ALS,for that reference. I'll check them out next time I'm near a shop that sells rohan.
Jim - Rohan is just round the corner from Glasgow Tisos.
Ah yes - Rohans - forgot about them. Thanks. I'll check them out, but I recall my ex wife having a pair 20 years ago and they weren't warm enough for winter hillwalking.
Jim - yep - you've summed up the problem with trousers!
Sukute - thanks - if you remember the name please psot again - -
Sukute wrote (see)
Theres a company in Hebden Bridge who will make you some(cant remember the name), years ago I had a pair for cycling with a reinforced seat and they were great. I only threw them out a couple of years ago
I think I know the company you mean, but I can't remember the name either, so we wouldn't be much help to Mike B even if I didn't remember that the company I'm thinking of closed down a year or so back.
Mike, have you considered finding a local needlewoman who could convert ordinary trousers to breeches? If the trouser legs weren't too narrow to start with, I think that could work.
Frum - good suggestion - in fact, that's a possible route for me, perhaps using the Berhaus Borazons as the starting point. I hear good things of them from a pal who's much more active in the hills than I am.
It's another £30 or so though.
Rohan breeches of old came in two broad flavours, one was light polycotton which, it would be fair to say, aren't up to winter walking, and the others in a stretchy fabric which are utterly bombproof and still toasty when the outer is covered in ice. I still use my full-leg salopette version for downhill skiing, and I've been out in -20C without needing long-johns or over-trousers.
The current ones are closer to the latter, though in a lighter fabric. But "lighter" is relative, it's pretty close to Dryskin and I'd think them very well suited to winter use. The stretch fabric means excellent freedom of movement without needing to be baggy, and that in turn means better thermal efficiency. They're not completely windproof, but not too far off that it's going to be a problem.
As long as they fit you okay, if you want breeks I think you'd be hard pressed to do much better.
Hilltrek are another company who make breeches. I have a Ventile pair, which I'll heartily recommend. Despite my girlfriend thinking they look 'funny' and having a laugh at my expense I find breeches superbly practical and comfortable for all the reasons given above over an amazingly wide range of weather conditions: rain (waterproof), sun, hot (ventilated, cool lower legs) and cold (particularly with long socks).
Presumably the whims of fashion.
Easiest thing to do would be to get a pair of very fast drying trousers in stretch fabrics with reinforced seats - loads of people do that sort of thing - and then get someone to cut the leg length down to size for you.
Craghoppers have some breeches, called "cropped trousers" in their current sale for circa £20. They are made of a lightweight stretch material which will work for say three seasons but would require a baselayer for winter use.
Reading this thread reminds me of a classic product from my early days here at the shop - the original Craghoppers made in West Yorkshire "Ra Breeches" made from a stretch fabric which was durable and fast drying. Generally available in dark navy with a contrast colour on the pocket insert. A great product from the past!
Craghoppers link here - buy from £13.50. worth a punt!
Reference my previous post the trouser style version of the stretch kiwi's has a favourable review in the latest Counrty Walking Magazine. I own pairs of both the crops and the trousers and I think they are good value for Money. Craghoppers only tend to do the cropped version as a Summer line hence the bargain price at the moment. The material is similar to that used in the full stretch Bear Grylls trousers which I also have a couple of pairs of and were these were also on offer in the Summer Sale.
I have a pair of Craghoppers breeches which I bought 20/25 years ago, in Keswick I think. They've been absolutely brilliant and bulletproof. Been on all my long distance UK walks and still good. Made in Britain!!! of nylon, modal, rayon and lycra. Can I find anyone who makes something similar, no. Is there somebody out there who can help? Ian Fraser
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