/ Longing For Breeches

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Kenny Wilson PA16 19 Mar 2020

Maybe I'm just getting old and sentimental but I do wish that breeches were still available.  

I had a pair from Tiso which lasted for years and years and were worn the year round.  The material was a bit like an armoured softshell. When it was hot  gaiters came off and socks could be rolled down to allow cooling.  When it was cold an additional thin layer could be worn underneath.

There was amazing freedom of movement.  When climbing and you needed to 'thrutch' they stuck like shit to a blanket. Open cargo pockets on the rear held a folded map comfortably and securely.  

Since being forced to wear longer trousers I've lost count of the number I've trashed and have never found any with a packet that would take a map so readily. 

I have embraced all other developments.  Boil in the bag 'waterproofs' were binned as soon as Goretex shells with venting zips appeared.  Wooly shirts and jumpers went  out the window when fibre pile made its appearance.  Step in crampons and the curving of picks and shafts have been grabbed with both hands.  So, I'm not hankering for tradition but something I still regard as the ultimate legwear for hillgoing.     

My last pair only gave up the ghost long after the point at which wearing them attracted sniggers and I just long for the day when someone re-invents the wheel. 

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Harry Jarvis 19 Mar 2020
In reply to Kenny Wilson PA16:

> Maybe I'm just getting old and sentimental but I do wish that breeches were still available.  

They are still available:

https://hilltrek.co.uk/clothing/breeches/

Hilltrek also offer made-to-measure services, so your desire for cargo pockets shouldn't be a problem. 

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Rigid Raider 19 Mar 2020
In reply to Kenny Wilson PA16:

Yes cord or tweed britches were the only choice when I was a yoof. We tied on by winding a long cord around the waist and clipping a big steel krab into it. We used to walk in oilskin cycling capes and sou'westers until somebody invented the Peter Storm cagoule, my Dad was so impressed that he bought one for each of the family and had them mailed to a PO in Scotland, I think the one in Glenbrittle. It didn't take us long to realise that you got as wet inside as outside from condensation. Miller mitts, Dachstein gloves, long-shafted wooden axes and heavy rubberised canvas ex-MOD rucsacs on steel frames were the best kit available. After Peter Storm came a period in the mid 70s when it was Henri Lloyd sailing cags and of course the ubiquitous North Cape jacket in blue with grey patches. And beards, of course. KIds today, eh? They don't know...... etc. etc. 

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syv_k 19 Mar 2020
In reply to Harry Jarvis:

That doesn’t solve the attracting-sniggers problem. But in these times, that could be a useful indicator - if you are happily climbing and you hear a snigger behind you, social distancing is about to fail, so go find a more isolated  crag.

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Martin Bennett 19 Mar 2020
In reply to Kenny Wilson PA16:

Just take a pair of softshell trews into your local seamstress in the town and explain what you want - shorten 'em and use a bit of the off-cut and some velcro for tabs to cinch 'em under your knee. In the 70s my Mum used to do it for me out of my old skipants, which of course were made from stretchy "sofshell" long before climbing clothing manufacturers invented the term. And don't forget that long red socks (not any other colour) are de rigeur. 

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Rigid Raider 19 Mar 2020
In reply to Kenny Wilson PA16:

You can make a pair of breeks if you're half handy with a sewing machine. Just buy some decend rugged trousers, cut them down and form a deep hem below the knee and sew on a bit of velcro. If you're really nifty you can cut and form a gusset on the outside of the knee too. I did it with ex-RAF troos bought from some cheap shop. Sorted.

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Bob Kemp 19 Mar 2020
In reply to syv_k:

> if you are happily climbing and you hear a snigger behind you, social distancing is about to fail, so go find a more isolated  crag.

No use to me... I've always had that.

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Fredt 19 Mar 2020
In reply to Kenny Wilson PA16:

What I wouldn’t give for a pair of Rohan Super Strider breeches, or even better, the salopettes 

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Kenny Wilson PA16 19 Mar 2020
In reply to Harry Jarvis:

I will check that out.  It didn't come up on any search I did.  So, thanks for that link.

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Kenny Wilson PA16 19 Mar 2020
In reply to Harry Jarvis:

Have checked out the link.  I daresay that their cotton based fabrics would do what they describe but appear a bit on the thin side.

Also, I knew a pair of tweed breeches could be had at

https://www.warwickshireclothing.com/mens-clothing-c1/trousers-c26/country-classics-mens-tweed-country-breeks-green-check-p405

Billed as 'cotton lined for warmth' they are a non starter even if I could find a climbing helmet which could be worn over the deerstalker you'd need to complete a tweed ensemble. 

The material of the Tiso breeches (and the Rohans mentioned above) had a pretty solid feel.  

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Doug 19 Mar 2020
In reply to Martin Bennett:

my first pair of breeches were an old pair of school trousers adapted by my Mum. I still have a pair of Rohan super striders (was that the name?) but they appear to have shrunk and no longer fit me...

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brianjcooper 19 Mar 2020
In reply to Fredt:

> What I wouldn’t give for a pair of Rohan Super Strider breeches, or even better, the salopettes 

Due to wearing Rohan salopettes I used to have the nickname of  'The zipper kid'.   

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Tom V 19 Mar 2020
In reply to Doug:

Mine were from Brighams and were moleskin.

Later in orienteering I had some thin nylon breeches to wear with the Bramble basher socks. 

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jalien 19 Mar 2020
In reply to Kenny Wilson PA16:

Are they just known as 3/4 length shorts/trousers nowadays? E.g. https://www.decathlon.co.uk/mens-3-4-trouser-storm-grey-id_8495274.html - is this what you're after? I have a pair and they are great for climbing, albeit a little snug

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Dave the Rave 19 Mar 2020
In reply to Kenny Wilson PA16:

I’ve still got my Rohan ? Super striders. Excellent with long socks and gaiters as you say.

Sadly too small now.

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Toerag 19 Mar 2020
Trangia 19 Mar 2020
In reply to Kenny Wilson PA16:

My trousers have gone full circle from an old pair of Oxford bags, to Army denims, to moleskin breeches, to bell bottom jeans (you had to shake your leg before placing your foot otherwise the "bell" obscured the hold), to tracksters, and then back again to old trousers. In warm weather shorts have also played a part over the decades.

The best freedom of movement was in the breeches and the tracksters

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nniff 19 Mar 2020
In reply to Kenny Wilson PA16:

I had some Ra breeches which were Rohan looky-likies.  Softshell before softshell had a name.  Better cut around the knee so you never snagged them on crampons.  Mine lasted for years because they had darts in the waist that were let out as the years passed.  It became increasingly difficult to find suitably long socks though unless you went for a fetching cable knit pair with a ribbon garter.

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Brownie 19 Mar 2020
In reply to Kenny Wilson PA16:

Hi Kenny

long time no-see

I have a pair of Rohan super strider breeches, do you think you could fit into a Ladies size 10? Ha ha, I'd be happy to lend them to you to try They are blue of course

or seriously you could look on Hoggs of Fife or Ardmore, for "breeks"  they even have waterproof ones - like Billy Connolly's!

Joyce KA10

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Rigid Raider 25 Mar 2020
In reply to Brownie:

Just looked at their site - now I know who dresses the Countryfile presenters!

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HardenClimber 25 Mar 2020
In reply to Kenny Wilson PA16:

Have a look at Mountain biking ket (Endura etc)

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Jim Lancs 25 Mar 2020

I wanted a pair of woollen britches but the man in the climbing shop told me that "Cavalry Twill" was every bit as good. I took his word and they were fine except in winter you definitely needed another layer. Our only irrefutable source of knowledge back then was Blackshaw's book and he said pyjama trousers were the answer. The 'soft shell' for my top half was a Blacks Standard Anorak. 

Fast forward a couple of years and we got quite damp during the first mile or so of the walk in to Creag Meagaidh in winter. Progress on the '59 Face Route was a bit slow and as I tried to move off the stance I discovered my clothes had completely frozen solid - I could hardly move my arms or legs or even bend over. Later I discovered of course, that cavalry twill is 100% cotton, 1970's pyjamas were 100% cotton as was Blacks 'Storm Proof' canvas. I might as well have been wearing jeans. Thank god for my Norwegian jumper and Dachteins! Would have been really quite chilly without them.

Post edited at 14:23
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DH3631 25 Mar 2020
In reply to Kenny Wilson PA16:

I had some of the Rohan super striders, as mentioned, like an early form of soft shell, and also a pair of cord breeches from Tiso, both quite good in the appropriate weather. However I never really miss them nowadays, partly because of the need to buy long socks to go with them, which was a pain, and linked to that, ticks are far more of a problem in the hills than 20-30 years ago - for the same reason, I now rarely wear shorts even in 'taps aff' weather. 

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