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Topic - Decathlon Simond Alpinism Light trousers

captain paranoia - on 04 Feb 2014
Having been a fan of Decathlon's Bionnassay/Simond Mountaineering Trousers ( http://www.decathlon.co.uk/mountaineering-trousers-id_8010075.html ) for some years now, using them for skiing, when I spotted that they now do Alpinism Light Trousers, in what appeared from the website images to be in the same fabric, but with cut and features more suited to walking, I decided to get a pair ordered in to my local store so I could take a look. Since I had a 20 voucher for spending 20 before xmas, it reduced the 50 rrp to an effective 30.

And, after a couple of weeks, they finally arrived.

Sadly (maybe...), it turns out that the fabric, although a similar dual-weave nylon/polyester/elastane non-membrane softshell, is a fair bit lighter weight than that used in the Mountaineering Trousers (hence the name, I guess..). It's not as wind resistant, but is stretchier, and the two fabrics have similar feel to both outer and inner faces.

The trousers are a similar cut to the Forclaz 900 Warm trousers, except there's no rear zipped pocket; it's a jeans/yoke cut design, with moderately articulated knees (less so than the Forclaz), a crotch gusset, and rear thigh panels (purpose unknown: I couldn't discern any shaping of the seam to allow a more tailored fit, but it may be there). Like the Mountaineering Trousers, there's a crampon patch, but in a different fabric; in this case, with Kevlar reinforcement (essentially, a Schoeller Keprotec clone). Whilst the patch on the Mountaineering Trousers is quite stiff, and smooth, the patch on these is soft and somewhat bobbly, and I wonder whether crampon points will actually catch in the bobbles... The ankle hem has a drawcord adjustment, and just about fitted over my alpine ski boots (although I wear women's ski boots, so may not fit over larger men's boots...). The ankle hem is actually marginally narrower than on the Forclaz 900W.

There are two zipped hip pockets, lined with mesh, and with toggled cord pull-tags. There's also a small bonded upper thigh pocket on the right leg, again, very similar to the Forclaz 900W. The fly zip is double-ended, but a little on the short side, and could do with being deeper. The waist closure uses a single plastic popper, and a fixed belt with snap buckle. The buckle on the Forclaz 900W is better, I think, and the belt removable.

Fit for me was perfect (in M), and very similar to the Forclaz; I'm 32" waist, 31" fairly slim leg, and the length is just right. I tried them on over a pair of merino leggings, and they fit okay, and the stretch fabric allowed decent movement with little apparent binding.

I'll be trying these trousers out to see how they perform 'in real life', but my first impressions are that the fabric may not provide the wind resistance I'd be looking for in trousers with a crampon patch; if the Forclaz 900W had a crampon patch, they'd be perfect for me.

The other odd thing is the price; 50 for trousers with a less sturdy fabric and fewer features than the fabled Mountaineering Trousers, which cost 10 less... You do have to wonder at Decathlon's pricing model... Maybe the answer is to buy the Mountaineering Trousers while you can still get them for 40...? Interestingly, the price for both trousers on Simond's website is 50...

Oh, and you cannot navigate to the men's trousers, or find them in a search on Decathlon's risible website, but they do exist:

http://www.decathlon.co.uk/alpinism-light-trousers-id_8157644.html
http://www.decathlon.co.uk/alpinism-light-lady-trousers-id_8222886.html

Has anyone else has tried these trousers? Comments?

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