Alex Roddie tested out these ultralight waterproof trousers in the Pyrenees – and identified them excellent for significantly extra than impressing fellow backpackers with their low weight.
Choosing gear for extended-distance backpacking in alpine environments is not simple, specially if you are keen to maintain pack weight down. When preparing my thru-hike of the Haute Route Pyrenees in summer time 2019, I wanted to maintain my base weight (that is gear weight minus consumables such as meals and water) to about 6kg, which includes a handful of luxuries such as a hardback journal. This meant that the rest of my gear had to go on a diet program. But when trekking across the Pyrenees for extra than a month I knew I’d encounter some poor climate, regardless of the area’s reputation for sunshine.
Whilst a standard pair of waterproof trousers may possibly weigh 3–400g, comprehensive with tough-wearing Gore-Tex fabric and side zips, the Halo Pants from OMM weigh much less than a third of that – 88g to be precise for my pair (men’s substantial). This is accomplished partly via minimalist design and style. There are no side zips or constructed-in gaiters, despite the fact that you do get Velcro tabs at the ankles for securing them more than the cuffs of your footwear. You also get articulated knees and taped seams. The waist band is elastic and there’s a straightforward pocket that the trousers pack away into. When stuffed into its pocket, the comprehensive package is tiny, fitting in the palm of your hand – despite the fact that it does not often totally pack away. The small flap at the opening could be extra safe.
The material, which feels extremely light and pretty much papery, is the other piece of the puzzle: it is OMM’s Point Zero H20 two.five-layer waterproof/breathable fabric, rated to a decent hydrostatic head of 10,000 (that is its resistance to water penetration) and an MVTR of 10,000 (that is its breathability). These figures are not ideal in class, but they’re about the very same as other ultralight overtrousers and excellent adequate for the intended use.
So what is the intended use? Overtrousers this light are by no means going to be your most important pair for basic hillwalking or backpacking, simply because they merely are not sturdy adequate for extended-term tough use. They’re made for mountain marathons exactly where each and every gram counts, but that tends to make them excellent for ultralighters heading to hot nations with typically settled climate – circumstances exactly where you hardly ever will need waterproofs except for the odd thundery downpour.
The retail price tag of £75 is great worth. Goods in a comparable class from other brands normally price significantly extra.
On the trail
In spite of optimistically considering I’d hardly use the Halo Pants, I ended up wearing them extra normally than anticipated. More than the course of my 517-mile Pyrenean Haute Route, I encountered 3 or 4 spells of poor climate, 1 lasting for many days. I wore the Halo Pants for at least 30–40 miles of tough trail, and they performed excellently.
Having them on without the need of the side zips I’m utilized to was a bit of a faff, as I had to take my footwear off, but I feel this is an acceptable compromise for the weight savings. Freedom of movement was great, but I’m glad I went for size substantial as an alternative of my usual medium, as the reduce is athletic – I feel I’d have struggled on scrambly measures in a medium pair, simply because there’s no stretch to the fabric. The articulated knees helped with the match, even though, and the elastic waist band worked fine.
They resisted heavy rain for many hours, but the fabric did visibly wet out right after 1 prolonged downpour. I by no means seriously noticed dampness from condensation even though. Breathability was superior than anticipated and it was comfy leaving them on for a although right after the rain had stopped. They kept my legs warm in cold wind and driving sleet, and at no point did I want I had heavier-weight overtrousers on. They also dried really promptly, and – so far at least – show no indicators of put on. Provided the delicate nature of the fabric, I’m pleasantly shocked at this. And, of course, when the trousers have been packed away in my rucksack on sunnier days, I didn’t notice the weight or bulk.
For the intended use, it is tough to obtain fault with the Halo Pants. They’re excellent for summer time alpine walking in settled climate for protection against the odd thunderstorm. Extended use will put on them out extra promptly than heavier overtrousers, and the fabric’s specs are not the really ideal, but if you will need the lightest doable overtrousers for ultralight missions then the Halo Pants are a really excellent selection.