Available in both men's and women's cuts, Mountain Equipment's Dihedral Pant is designed to be "the perfect all-round pant" for "year round climbing everywhere from big walls, to sea cliffs and training boards". Attractive, well cut and super stretchy, the Dihedral is definitely a lovely pant to move in for all disciplines, but is it really possible for one pant to perfectly traverse the whole range of ground? While simple comfort and freedom of movement are probably of primary concern on big wall and training board ends of the spectrum, the middle ground of multipitch trad might put different demands on your trouser features...
The Dihedral's Stretch Ascender fabric (97% polyamide, 3% elastane) is comfortable and genuinely lovely to move in. Multi-directional stretch combines with the active cut to allow comfortable high steps and wide bridging without gaping at the waist or rucking up elsewhere.
The stretch also gives the fabric some durability as it means it doesn't snag too easily - my proprietary trick of hooking a nut key through the thigh panel of my trousers has so far failed. There has also been good resistance to abrasion thus far.
The fabric is also fast drying - when washed off the rock in the Pyrenees this summer, the Dihedrals did a decent impression of being walking trousers, drying quickly under body heat on the move. They take the sting out of the wind sufficiently on a belay stance, but have on occasion felt a bit sweaty indoors (though I concede it is hard to know how much that is down to hot days and poor home wall ventilation and how much is the fabric!)
For a very stretchy fabric, the cut widthways is also generous. For example there is more than adequate room for my thighs (which started lockdown at 'built for power' and ended it two months later with an extra 250km of running on the clock...) so if you have slender thighs they might be a bit baggy. They are also pretty long in the leg, so while my six-foot sister was delighted by the length, I (short-limbed) had plenty of excess at the ankle. This is managed by the simple adjustable hem drawcords though, which allow you to cinch the ends down and keep the bottom of your trousers from obscuring your sightline to precision foot placements.
Overall the cut and fastenings provide a decent fit range, so the Dihedral Pant will accommodate women of different shapes within a clothing size. With a standard zip fly and robust metal button closure at the front, the waistband is gathered and elasticated at the back giving extra play, while belt loops present further options for size management. This also means that all you've got to worry about flashing on a sit start is the problem itself…
The women's cut is athletic, shaped throughout the seat and legs to support climbing movement. There are also articulated knees and a diamond crotch panel, so bridging, high steps and heel hooks were no problem. This ease of movement also transferred to roped climbing with a harness, as the cut allows the pant to sit nicely underneath. Unlike some more hip-level pants, the top of the Dihedrals naturally comes to about navel height, meaning that most people should have a full layer of fabric under their harness, giving extra protection from biting when racked to the max.
Given these factors, if you often come up between sizes it is definitely worth trying/ordering both as you may find the larger is too big.
Pocket-wise, the Dihedral Pant has a standard 'jeans style' (two hand and two rear) combination. The front hand pockets are deep (mid-thigh), so are comfy for standing around with your hands in and for storing essentials for a walk-in. When wearing a harness, an area a couple of inches deep at the bottom of these pockets becomes 'captured' by the leg loop, allowing you to keep a small item securely here. This could be a phone option for bigger mountain routes, but with the size of most phones, it isn't entirely comfortable, even if the fabric does stretch around it.
The rear pockets are, again, excellent for hands, and have a slight flap over the top which looks good. Together with the tailored cut around the bum, this detail makes these pockets relatively secure for lighter flat items e.g. I found this a good option for storing a topo page on longer routes. The rear pockets are different on the men's version (see below).
However, for a genuine "all-round" climbing pant, I personally would have liked to have a zipped thigh or rear pocket to make the Dihedrals more practical for multipitch climbing - the kind where you want to leave your pack on the ground but be able to carry a few small lumpy essentials (camera phone, cereal bar, car keys etc) on your person. Yes of course there are others ways to rack these, but in my view nothing beats a pocket!
Women's vs Men's
Finally, though we tested the women's version, the Dihedral Pant is also available in a men's fit at the same price.
Aside from a different cut, the men's version also has a few different features. There is a two-way fly zip and the detailing on the rear pockets is asymmetric; one is oversized to carry a guidebook, and the other, smaller, pocket is zipped to hold valuables securely.
The women's pant is available in three colours - Blue Nights (a dark grey/blue), Bracken (red) and Acid (yellow) – giving a good range from safe and bright. The men's equivalent also comes in Anvil Grey and Black options.
Mountain Equipment say:
Precisely cut stretch climbing pants for year round climbing everywhere from big walls, to sea cliffs and training boards.
Our carefully tailored fit is combined with stretch ascender fabric to give the perfect all-round pant for dedicated climbers, whatever their focus. The waistband sits comfortably under a harness and an adjustable hem aids precise footwork.
- Sizes: 8-16 in regular/long (women) and 28-38 waist in short/regular/long (men)
- Stretch ascender fabric: comfortable and fast drying
- Women's Climbing fit
- 2 hand pockets
- 2 rear pockets
- Metal button waist closure
- Belt loops
- Adjustable hem drawcord
- Weight: 281g / 9.9oz (on our scales, women's size 12)
For more info see mountain-equipment.co.uk