UKC

GROUP TEST: Men's Climbing Trousers

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 UKC Gear 02 Nov 2021

Climbing trousers - everyone wears them, but they're often a bit of an after-thought: do you turn up to the crag or the wall in your dirtiest jeans, or brightest Euro-wad pantaloons? In this test we compare 15 pairs of climbing-oriented strides from leading brands, to offer a wide view of what's available and what works best.

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 henwardian 02 Nov 2021
In reply to UKC Gear:

I'm really excited to try out a bunch of trews from this test. I've always had major issues with getting anything that allowed sufficient hip movement. Many years ago I found a specific E9 pant that allowed freedom of movement for me but after a year or two they started falling apart and E9 had stopped making them. Since then I've tried on dozens of trousers and still not found one that works. In the end I resorted to getting trousers custom-made based on the old pair of E9s but then ran into the issue of having to source appropriately durable material (which I failed to do and hence these pairs only lasted 1 year or regular use before they started disintegrating).

Thanks very much for writing the article!

In reply to UKC Gear:

Or a pair of Ron Hills 🤣

 andybenham 02 Nov 2021
In reply to UKC Gear:

3rd rock in the list at the top but not in the article? Which is a shame as they are some of my faves and would have made a good benchmark to compare with others

In reply to andybenham:

I actually have a couple of pairs of 3RD ROCK jeans in for review/video at the moment. We're going to publish these in a separate review as they're certainly at the jeans end of the spectrum rather than trousers. These should be out soon.  The new 3RD ROCK denim is really good, as a bit of a teaser.

3RD ROCK just published this overview of their latest climbing products: https://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/clothing/3rd_rock_core_climbing_collection-13958

I'll also remove them from the brands list on this review, thanks for spotting that.

In reply to UKC Gear:

Looks like a comprehensive review, surprised not to see Moon Cypher pants in the test though, are these no longer on the market?

 Etta 02 Nov 2021
In reply to UKC Gear:

I find the Alpkit Bloc really good (durable even on sharp Welsh sea cliffs and they allow a good range of movements). Haven't tried other Alpkit trousers yet, but I am surprised none of them features in your article.

 Jonas Wiklund 02 Nov 2021
In reply to UKC Gear:

Which of these trousers split in the crotch when you have kneepads on both knees and do wide stemming? I know that at least a few of the mentioned models do.

 PaulJepson 02 Nov 2021
In reply to UKC Gear:

I've got a load of different climbing trousers (Patagucci, Wild country, Mammut, Black Diamond, Rab, etc.) and for grit or granite cragging/bouldering, you simply cannot beat the Prana Continuum (a shame Prana didn't make the review). I've put holes in just about every pair of climbing trousers I own and patched accordingly but I seemingly cannot throw enough at the Pranas. If you want a pair of trousers that will last forever - these are the boys. Granted, they are not the trousers for mountains or inclement weather.... 

 C Witter 02 Nov 2021
In reply to UKC Gear:

"Climbing trousers, climbing trousers, climbing trousers... Every climber wears them to the crag or the wall (unless you're in shorts or you're Tom Randall on Cobra Crack), but often women are a bit of an afterthought..."

7 male testers, no women? Own goal, guys, sorry!

In reply to C Witter:

> 7 male testers, no women? Own goal, guys, sorry!

It’s a review of men’s trousers, hence the male reviewers.

We’re still committed to producing group tests that are relevant to women, but given the already unwieldy size of the review it didn’t seem logical to make it any larger. Were we to do a women’s legwear group test, which I’m sure we will at some point*, it would be within its own dedicated review - that way we could do each product actual justice.

*Rebecca Ting, who usually heads up our women’s group tests/reviews, is currently on maternity leave - hence I’m unable to provide an exact time in terms of when this might be published (I’m not just being evasive - promise!!).

In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

Can you at least describe it as a Men's trousers review though? Very much promoting the male as default as is, even aside from it being a bit annoying to get to paragraph 13 before realising it's completely irrelevant to you... 

In reply to Indignancy:

Good point, I've updated the title.

 afx22 02 Nov 2021
In reply to UKC Gear:

I’ve not read the reviews in full yet but I can’t see any reference to whether any of them are available in a Short Leg length.

I have three pairs of Rab Vertex Pants (or trousers those that get upset by such things, he he) that are all wearing through at the same time.  I’m really struggling to find anything suitable to replace them.

 Dave Ferguson 02 Nov 2021
In reply to UKC Gear:

No mention of regatta trousers at £17.00, I can have 4 pairs of these for the average price of your review pairs. Don't forget not all of us are wadded.

 remus 02 Nov 2021
In reply to Jonas Wiklund:

> Which of these trousers split in the crotch when you have kneepads on both knees and do wide stemming? I know that at least a few of the mentioned models do.

Wearing kneepads with trousers is your mistake there, second only to socks and climbing shoes 😉

 OrangeBob 04 Nov 2021
In reply to Dave Ferguson:

My brother bought climbing trousers for around £70. I bought joggers in a charity shop for £1. Mine outlasted his.

I currently wear Kung Fu trousers which cost £18. A bit baggy, but I'll never be more flexible than they allow and they are fine under a harness. No pockets, which I prefer as otherwise I end up fiddling about trying to get pockets to sit right with my harness.

In reply to OrangeBob:

> My brother bought climbing trousers for around £70. I bought joggers in a charity shop for £1. Mine outlasted his.

> I currently wear Kung Fu trousers which cost £18. A bit baggy, but I'll never be more flexible than they allow and they are fine under a harness. No pockets, which I prefer as otherwise I end up fiddling about trying to get pockets to sit right with my harness.

My old Ron Hills would be even cheaper (free) and totally flexible (but I don't use them!!!)

In reply to Dave Ferguson:

With you on that Dave, or next stretchy jeans, primark leggings, scruffs work trousers even simond climbing jeans.

However, none of these sponsor the kardashians of our game nor do they carry the Gucci label.

Did you see that sportivo shop in Massouri? It wouldn't look out of place in Kensington. Give it a few years and it will be viewing by appointment only.

In reply to UKC Gear:

Think you're missing a corporate trick here by not highlighting which trousers have pockets compatible with carrying your phone with you for Rockfax Digital™ access. You could have a certification scheme called "Works with Rockfax digital" or "certified Rockfax Digital compatible".

Seriously though, I wish more climbing trousers would include a pocket I can keep my phone in when I'm wearing a harness. I know I should be a purist and relish the chance to leave my phone behind but I actually find it quite useful to have with me. Mostly for taking photos but also for checking routes on a multipitch or when wandering around soloing (either from the Rockfax app or a picture of the guide). Or, and admittedly more niche, when I'm on call for work and have to carry the work phone.

In reply to Luke90:

> Think you're missing a corporate trick here by not highlighting which trousers have pockets compatible with carrying your phone with you for Rockfax Digital™ access. You could have a certification scheme called "Works with Rockfax digital" or "certified Rockfax Digital compatible".

> Seriously though, I wish more climbing trousers would include a pocket I can keep my phone in when I'm wearing a harness. I know I should be a purist and relish the chance to leave my phone behind but I actually find it quite useful to have with me. Mostly for taking photos but also for checking routes on a multipitch or when wandering around soloing (either from the Rockfax app or a picture of the guide). Or, and admittedly more niche, when I'm on call for work and have to carry the work phone.

I am wary of keeping a phone in a trouser pocket, while climbing, as where ever it is, I would worry about crushing it (I much prefer to use a chest pocket). I agree about wanting a pocket of that size though as it is very useful and I wish more trousers had them.

In reply to Luke90:

This is perhaps some 'don't do this at home' advice but I've always found that whilst trad climbing (which is generally when I want a phone topo in my pocket) I can just put it in my front trouser pocket and then tighten my harness leg-loop above it, securing it in place (sort of). As with trad I rarely do any feet-above-head moves, and generally climb like a piece of wood skirting along ledges, the phone never feels at risk.

 HeMa 05 Nov 2021
In reply to Jonas Wiklund:

You should perhaps ask Saku. I think the only really suitable pants for that kind of climbs is glitter gold spandex…

In reply to Theo Moore - UKC and UKH:

It's presumably a pretty deep pocket.  Most of my trousers front pockets wouldn't allow any hight steps with a phone in the front pocket. I'd like to see more climbing trousers with a sleek 'cargo' pocket.

In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

> It's presumably a pretty deep pocket.  

Well you certainly need that to justify splashing out on any of these fashion items.

In reply to UKC Gear:

I’ve been buying Simond jeans from Decathlon, I think they currently retail at £35.00. They are stretchy and good to climb in and last about a year with heavy use.

Post edited at 11:26
In reply to Robert Durran:

What sort of thing do you use? I thought the price of many of them to be in a pretty reasonable range. Especially as most will be discounted further when purchased by the savvy climber

In reply to Christheclimber:

> I’ve been buying Simond jeans from Decathlon, I think they currently retail at £35.00. They are stretchy and good to climb in and last about a year with heavy use.

I've been using Mountain Equipment Long Hopes for three or four years (£60)

Of course my Ron Hills were still going strong  after 15 years (just a bit of darning required) still in the wardrobe...

 Holdtickler 05 Nov 2021
In reply to UKC Gear:

"Everybody wears them " - nonsense! I'm sure many of us have climbed half our lives in regular stuff bought for a fraction of the cost. Writing this for the benefit of those just getting into the sport who are trying not to break the bank. If we're just talking cragging then any hard-wearing, flexible and not a sponge (like denim) and your laughing. The other people that are laughing are the onlookers in the regular shop watching you try out your high-stepping to make sure they are flexible enough (which is advisable as silly as it sounds)

Prioritise your climbing gear, shoes, guidebooks etc before worrying about being a fancy pants

In reply to Theo Moore - UKC and UKH:

My Alpkit stretchy jeans have a side pocket that seems sized to take a phone - mine goes in there perfectly. I don't often intend to leave my phone in there, but I do so without thinking about it regularly and it works perfectly. I've never really worn jeans for climbing before these ones, but for non mountain use they are perfect. I also bought some stretchy jeans for much much less from Aldi (or maybe it was Lidl) a bit more recently - they are also great to climb in but they lack the thigh phone pocket that the Alpkit ones have so I haven't used them nearly as much. Just having your phone ready there for checking the topo or for snapping a picture while belaying is great. 

In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

> What sort of thing do you use? I thought the price of many of them to be in a pretty reasonable range. 

I hate wearing trousers when I am climbing. I've certainly never bought a pair of "climbing trousers" (and I wouldn't be seen dead in so-called "climbing jeans"). I wear leggings (of various types) when it is cold and shorts (I find pyjama shorts cheap and ideal) when it is warm. Cheap Asda baggy tracksuits bottoms as "belay trousers" over the top. I admit that I do now have a pair of "proper" shorts for the wall because vanity got the better of me with small children laughing at me and so on.

In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

I used to love Ron Hills, I’ve still got a pair somewhere.

 deepsoup 05 Nov 2021
In reply to henwardian:

> I'm really excited to try out a bunch of trews from this test. I've always had major issues with getting anything that allowed sufficient hip movement.

Have you tried Decathlon's 'SImond' offerings?
I'm pretty flexible in the hips, and really like these jeans.  Unless you're an absolute freak of nature, I don't think they'd restrict your movement at all.
https://www.decathlon.co.uk/p/men-s-stretch-climbing-jeans-vertika-blue/_/R-p-309354?mc=8551531&c=BLUE

 afx22 05 Nov 2021
In reply to UKC Gear:

Do they come in a short leg version?

Do they have toggles at the bottom so I can see my feet and prevent snagging while he’ll hooking etc?

Do they dry quickly? (Affect a rain shower / walking over moorland / after washing)

When wet, are they going to be a saggy mess and are they going to quickly become the colour of my local peat bog?

Do they hold up around the waist, or am I going to have to buy a belt as well?

Do they have adequate pockets, car journeys or on the walk in to the crag?

Do tho use pockets that have low profile zips, or are they going to snag while climbing?

Do they allow a good range of movement, especially high stepping?

Are they lightweight?  (Lightweight cams and heavy clothing seems counterproductive to me)

Are they going to be hardwearing?  Modern lightweight materials can be tough but some are shocking.  Just show some of them to a bramble and they fall apart.

Do they seem well made, so they’ll last a long time?  (And therefore good for my wallet and for the planet).

What do they cost?  I’m happy to pay for the right thing but will not buy substandard stuff that I dislike and end up replacing every year or two.

Can I buy them from a bricks and mortar shop, so I can try them on and support local business?

Are they going to flap around in the wind?

Can I use them for summer hiking too?

Will they look relatively normal on the way home, when I stop at Tescos for celebratory ice cream (because I’ve sent my project)?

I currently can’t find any legwear that fits all of the above.  The designers need to get their fingers out!

 steveriley 05 Nov 2021
In reply to UKC Gear:

You missed out M&S stretch denim, £22.50 a pop. Excellent friction on thrutchy gritstone top outs. Wide bridging problems: model’s own.

 Jon Read 05 Nov 2021
In reply to steveriley:

I've been modelling their stretch chinos for a couple of years now. Pity they've stopped making them in my size now though. I don't think I've ever felt it necessary to buy legwear that was specifically for climbers. Must be missing something....?

 cragtyke 05 Nov 2021
In reply to Jon Read:

Try Sainsbury's Tu range !

 Jon Read 05 Nov 2021
In reply to cragtyke:

Thanks, alas they don't have my size either. Guess I'll have to get some scissors in the future.

 D.Russell 05 Nov 2021
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

Rob those trousers fit you perfectly! So fetching! Maybe I’ll order a pair and we can both rock the skinny trouser climber look. 

 iantoday 06 Nov 2021
In reply to UKC Gear:

https://www.decathlon.co.uk/p/men-s-stretch-climbing-jeans-vertika-blue/_/R-p-309354?mc=8551531&c=BLUE

Been using these for a good few years now, good balance between practicality and value for money

 henwardian 06 Nov 2021
In reply to deepsoup:

> Have you tried Decathlon's 'SImond' offerings?

> I'm pretty flexible in the hips, and really like these jeans.  Unless you're an absolute freak of nature, I don't think they'd restrict your movement at all.https://www.decathlon.co.uk/p/men-s-stretch-climbing-jeans-vertika-blue/_/R-p-309354?mc=8551531&c=BLUE

Thanks, I'll check them out. However based on my experience over many years now I suspect that I must in fact be a freak of nature.

In reply to henwardian:

Rob was talking about how huge his thighs are but he's got nothing on me! I think I also don't have a particularly small bum (although a drunken Australian woman once told me it was very nice! I hasten to add, this was in a bar so everyone was fully clothed...), and whenever I've tried Simond jeans they are way too skinny on my legs - I need the biggest size they do to get my through that makes the waist way too big for me. I often have to accept a baggy waist on things like jeans - buying 34 or bigger, because I can't get my legs into 32s. But Decathlon often seems a bit that way. I presume French men are all skinny!

In reply to henwardian:

> Thanks, I'll check them out. However based on my experience over many years now I suspect that I must in fact be a freak of nature.

Well people sometimes call me a freak of nature, so you definitely are by about six inches.

 Gary Latter 06 Nov 2021
In reply to henwardian:

> Thanks, I'll check them out. However based on my experience over many years now I suspect that I must in fact be a freak of nature.


Definitely a freak...

 henwardian 06 Nov 2021
In reply to Gary Latter and Robert Durran:

Thanks friends :P

I'm well aware nothing will be long enough and I made my peace with that ages ago - it doesn't affect my climbing ability after all. What I have a problem with is getting something with broad-enough legs and, critically, with enough material in the crotch so I frog and bridge and high-step without fighting against the material.

Climbing naked does the trick nicely but it's often too cold for that and the ticks become even more of a problem...

 lithos 06 Nov 2021
In reply to henwardian:

ron hills will do all that surely? - if they don't suit your fashion style - different issue !

 henwardian 06 Nov 2021
In reply to lithos:

> ron hills will do all that surely? - if they don't suit your fashion style - different issue !

Amazing how after reading UKC for years I apparently never bothered to find out what Ron Hills actually were... turns out they are not the primitive rockboot I assumed if google pics is anything to go by.

The words "fashion" and "style" mean about as much to me as the words "cardashian" and "alt-right", which is to say, I'm aware they exist and mean a lot to other people but have never felt the need to get to grips with them personally.

Sadly, while I can live with cold ankles, I'm rarely climbing somewhere warm enough to wear hotpants and they do rather preclude kneebars (with my level of pain tolerance at least).

 lithos 06 Nov 2021
In reply to henwardian:

https://www.ronhill.com/products/mens-core-trackster   

tracksters not the shorts !

should be able to find them for < 20 quid though

In reply to henwardian:

> Amazing how after reading UKC for years I apparently never bothered to find out what Ron Hills actually were... turns out they are not the primitive rockboot I assumed if google pics is anything to go by.

> The words "fashion" and "style" mean about as much to me as the words "cardashian" and "alt-right", which is to say, I'm aware they exist and mean a lot to other people but have never felt the need to get to grips with them personally.

> Sadly, while I can live with cold ankles, I'm rarely climbing somewhere warm enough to wear hotpants and they do rather preclude kneebars (with my level of pain tolerance at least).

Did you Google the tracksters (which is what everyone means) or just Ron Hill?

 jimtitt 07 Nov 2021
In reply to UKC Gear:

One has over the years climbed in most things going including "trendy" gifts like E9, Lost Arrow, Prana etc but always end up just climbing in whatever I'm wearing when I go to the crag..

However when I slip into my high-tech motocross gear I always wonder how come I can buy bullet-proof trousers, well designed with articulated knees and stretch panels, protectors etc from well regarded world class manufactures for under €40.

 galpinos 08 Nov 2021
In reply to UKC Gear:

Love the Beta Pant (though there is no draw cord waist, I think the copy in the review is incorrect). Not hot for a hot summers day but ideal for most conditions. My phone will fit in the leg pocket fine.

In reply to jimtitt:

> However when I slip into my high-tech motocross gear I always wonder how come I can buy bullet-proof trousers, well designed with articulated knees and stretch panels, protectors etc from well regarded world class manufactures for under €40.

Scale of potential market maybe? I'm interested because it doesn't look like you can get purpose built mountain biking trousers for anything around that price!

 jimtitt 08 Nov 2021
In reply to TobyA:

Just got to look for the right offers, I've some MadHead ones  which at the moment are a bit more at €50, a pair from O'Neal which go at €39.98 and one of my kids have Shift for €36. Dunno about cycling in them though!

In reply to UKC Gear:

Nice, I managed to get a pair of cuffed pants from Primark for £15 which also adequately cover my legs whilst allowing them to move up the wall, impressive!

 henwardian 01:30 Fri
In reply to UKC Gear:

I got the old debit card out and went online shopping, ergo the Henwardian group test for tall people with flexible hips:

  • black diamond notion - weird and totally inappropriate for climbing. Such a strange leg cut and terrible flexibility in the hip dept.
  • La sportiva roots - going in the right direction but not quite there, you definitely get brought up short on wide bridges or high steps. I could happily climb easier routes in these.
  • Marmot Rubidoux - nope. Fine for walking round town, stylish even (you might want to take that with a pinch of salt in as much as I am a fashion black hole). But no good for climbing.
  • Edelrid Monkee - not even close, legs too tight, nowhere near the flexiblity in the hips needed.
  • ocun mania - Oooo, this is exciting! At home these things feel like they might have all the hip-movement I need, if they measure up to my holy grail (the E9 Rondo Storey Duck Large) at the wall, I'll probably try and buy the production line! On the down-side, the fabric is a bit harsh on the skin and they could definitely do with being a bit baggier in the legs, but, seriously, these are the tiny undissolved sugar granules of complaint in miracle icing on top of awesome cake. Fingers crossed.

Obviously the guys who design these things have been doing so for years, so I guess the average climber has some sort of combination of poor hip flexibility and anorexic, matchstick legs. Maybe when I can climb E10 I'll get to design the Henwardian Trouser that nobody will buy....

In reply to henwardian:

> Obviously the guys who design these things have been doing so for years,

They may not have been designing climbing trousers for years, though...


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