It's been WAY too long since I've posted anything.....such is life right now! I've been meaning to post something on these awesome trousers (pants to our American audience) for a while, the Bergans Geita soft shell winter trousers
More and more people seem to be taking to the activity of winter walking, which is great, provided you have the right knowledge, skills and kit (probably in that order) to tackle what winter can throw at you.
Most people I've come across in the hills seem to do one of two things. One, buy a pair of dedicated winter trousers, or two use the summer trousers they already own in combination with a waterproof over trousers. To me, the second option is not ideal. Waterproof over trousers should always be a "last resort" as they reduce breathability massively, thus making the trousers they are supposed to protect damp...or worse...wet. However, a good winter soft shell trouser will keep out the worst of the weather, keep you warm, but crucially allow more heat and moisture to escape.
I've worn the Bergans Geita
for a variety of activities including Cross Country skiing, winter walking and even cold weather mountain biking. Time after time, they've come out on top. Bergans have used the uber cool Schoeller® fabric on these high end soft shell trousers, but added to that you have the softness and comfort on Merino wool lining the inside. Reinforced areas on the knees and bottom are made with 48 % Polyester/33 % Polyamide/12 % PU/7 % Elastaneon. I have to admit, that I haven't given them a total beasting, but the reinforcing has stood up well in two winters of fairish abuse.
The main Schoeller® fabric, with the Merino lining, is the best trouser fabric I have come across. While not classed as windproof, they do a really super job of keeping out the wind. When I used them in the Lakes last winter (above image) we had some fierce winds on High street, and I didn't need to put a shell over them at all.
As far as protection against rain/snow goes, they held up well to the later, but I can't claim to have pushed them much in the rain. Judging by how they did in the snow thought, I'd bet they'd hold up very well in a rain shower. The make up of the Schoeller® fabric is as follows; 74 % Polyamide (Nylon)/ 20 % Merino Wool/6 % Elastane. It's the Elastane that gives the incredible 4-way stretch, making them an excellent choice for any activity needing full range of movement.
A feature I really wasn't sure about initially, is the elasticated cuff, with silicon gripper band. Using the trousers casually in the winter, you kind of think "this is really not very useful", and possibly a little annoying. It's a little bit like shell jackets that come with a crotch strap....most people will never use it. However, when you get out in to the snow, pull the elasticated cuff around your boots you feel pretty smug as you see everyone else reaching for their gaiters. There's something that says "my trousers are "proper winter kit" about it.....and it really works. The silicon gripper and elastic holds the cuff in place brilliantly....in fact, I don't remember having to pull it down once? The fabric keeps the snow out, and the fact that you don't have to put gaiters on means that you don't get hot and sweaty lower legs. There is a "crampon" patch on the inside of the ankle, but frankly I think the crampon would win almost every time! I see this a lot where manufacturers say they have a "crampon" or reinforced ankle, but reality is, very few of these would stand up to a swipe from a crampon.
Another thing for us Brits to get used to is the fit. It's what we call "tailored", meaning they are a close fit with as little material as possible available to flap in the wind. Of course this is not an issue, even if they are a little snug on some people, as the fabric is so stretchy, it doesn't restrict movement at all. Some customer have struggled a little with this, but everyone of them have come around, and the Bergans Geita
have become their favorite trouser, with them quite often coming back to by the 3 season version, the Bergans Kjerag
Do these trousers have a weakness? Well yes, if you like pockets. There are two pockets, with mesh lining for ventilation, but as the trousers are a close fit, and the pockets are shallow, there's not much you can fit in them to be honest. They will take a mobile phone or wallet, but it does buldge out somewhat.
Having used these trousers now for two winters, they definitely have stood up well, showing there hard-wearing and robust. They are definitely made for cold days, and are a real treat to wear.......even just popping into town or watching your kids from the sidelines at the weekend. But they really come into their own in the snow.