Of all the products that I have had to review in 2017, I think I fell in love with the Men’s Mountaineering Pants the most.
I am not very sure why Decathlon calls them mountaineering pants — they are very suitable for winter treks and skiing as well. Frankly, most trekkers will save money because they won’t need to buy multiple trekking pants. One of these is enough for a trek.
Here are some of the things that I loved about these pants –
Windproof and warm
Here is where the Men’s Mountaineering Pants differ from most trekking pants. The polyamide fabric is so windproof that even in snowy conditions the cold does not get to you. This winter I was in heavy snow for most parts of my trek. Only at the highest camp did I wear an additional track pant below these pants. That night the temperature dipped to around minus eight, and I was still mostly okay wearing just the Men’s Mountaineering Pants.
The Men’s Mountaineering Pants come with detachable inner gaiters. On my trek I did not have to wear any additional gaiters like most of my trek companions had to. I think I saved Rs. 600 right there. What was even better was that the gaiters were not visible. They were tucked inside the pants.
The pants themselves came with extenders at the bottom. It was easy to wrap them over my high ankle trekking boots. So with the gaiters over the boots, along with the pants — I was snow proofed. Later on the trek I often sank knee deep in snow. I never had an occasion where snow got into my boots.
The hooks and zippers of the gaiters were in the right place. Unlike most external gaiters, these never required any adjustments or fixes. They stayed in place. The hook never came off.
The fabric of the gaiters was waterproof. I did not ever feel the wetness of the snow.
The blessing of the built-in gaiters goes much beyond what the pant can do. It has often happened on treks that I have forgotten to get my gaiters and regretted it. It’s just not something you tend to think about while packing your backpack. The built-in gaiters with these pants took care of this irritation once and for all. Bless the designer who thought of this!
I loved how water resistant the pants are. Again the polyamide-polyester blend of the fabric came into play. Often after sinking in knee deep snow, the fabric came out unscathed. There was no left over snow sticking to it, and neither any wetness.
On the other hand when I sat on snow, I didn’t find my behind getting wet either. Of course I did not experiment with sitting on snow for too long! But the brief moments were good enough for me to start loving the Men’s Mountaineering Pants.
The fabric of the pants is not the regular polyester. It is a polyamide polyester mix. It is thick like a jacket. The pants are not light either. Which is why they are a workhorse. It is enough to carry one of these.
I liked how the pants were stitched with reinforcements. The knee, particularly, had lovely fold stitches. Knees of mountaineering pants are the first area of fraying. I loved how the pant looked and felt strong.
I also loved the stitches. Every stitch in the pant looked strong and durable. These are some things that you can get used to. But it would be wise not to. Not many pants come with such excellent stitching.
I had hoped the pockets of the Men’s Mountaineering Pants would be deeper. As trekkers, we tend to put a lot of paraphernalia into our pockets. The pockets in these pants left me somewhat disappointed.
However, they made up for the size with the waterproofing. On a rainy day when you have to rush to find a shelter for your mobile phone, these pockets start making their presence felt.
Speaking of pockets, the pants come with two side ventilation openings, which is a great thought. With the thick fabric these pants are ideal as winter wear. But in summer they can become hot and stuffy. The ventilation slits are a superb addition to the pants.
I didn’t use the suspenders much; they came in the way if I had to step out for a quick loo break. But if I was skiing then I would definitely look at the suspenders to hold the pants up. So it is a choice. The great thing is these are detachable. Once removed, you don’t even realize they belonged to the pant.
In the end I really don’t think the Men’s Mountaineering Pants fit the description of traditional pants or even trek pants. It is a different engineering at work here. The looks, stitching, build, buttons, zips and gaiters make it a whole new product.
The pants are not cheap. They come at Rs 4,000 a piece. Yet, when you wear them, they feel like extremely good value for money.
I usually hold myself back when it comes to spending on trekking gear. But here is one of those 5 star products from Decathlon that feels worth every paisa spent on it.