I’ve never really got on with soft shell trousers. My Macpac Mission Pants are great for winter but too warm to backpack in. The Berghaus Ortlers have lovely material but the legs are cut like sailors’ bell bottoms! My Rab Sawtooths are nearly right, but are slightly too long and baggy round the ankles.
However, the Ibex
Pant Trouser is virtually perfect. The cut is superb (for me). The legs are close fitting without being tight. At the ankle, there is a V shaped insert, which can be closed with a zip, cinching the material close to your leg. This is great when wearing gaiters. Even when opened, the hem lies neatly over my boot (Ecco Biom Hike mids).
The material is quite light with a tightly woven face. Inside the material has a tricot feel to it. However, it’s not overly warm. It’s highly wind resistant, but not totally windproof. The DWR coating makes it quite water resistant as well. It has enough stretch to be comfortable.
There are two front pockets and a rear one, all closed by zips with zip pulls and have mesh linings, which is good for ventilation. Even better for ventilation are some mesh backed thigh vents (which could double as pockets if necessary). I think thigh vents are brilliant for backpacking trousers and obligatory for soft shell ones.
The waist closure has two press studs, which I like, as two is a fail safe and studs are less likely to fail than buttons. The waist has a good belt, which is semi enclosed. It annoys me when trousers don’t include a belt. The waist band is fleece lined to add to comfort.
I wore the Ibex’s for all three days of my Northern Fells trip and they were very comfortable. Despite the sunshine on day one, I didn’t overheat, especially using the vents. Day two was claggy with a bitter wind and they kept me warm. On day three, initially I used them under overtrousers and then on their own and was comfortable.
For cooler conditions, for me, these are the ideal trouser with an excellent cut. Neither too warm or too cool, they keep my legs at the right temperature, aided by the good venting options.
If I was being really picky, I’m not over keen on the large logo on the knee. I don’t like being an advertising board. I also think the rear pocket is a waste of time as I can’t see a use for it. For sizing purposes, I’m a 34″ waist and 30″ inside leg. The Large size is an almost perfect fit. For the record, mine (size L) weigh 426g. Link to Mountain Equipment website.
Disclaimer: I bought these with my own money and have no association with Mountain Equipment