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Before we start this review of the Fjallraven Keb trousers, let’s first address the elephant in the room. These trousers cost £200. That’s a lot of money for walking trousers. Like many other walkers that I know, I’ve always been fairly happy to spend money on boots and waterproof jackets. You just can’t really compromise on those items. Again, a decent rucksack doesn’t come cheap and can often set you back in excess of £100. But apart from that, I’ve always been happy to stay at the lower end of the scale when buying things like trousers.
For the last 12 months or so I’ve been wearing a pair of Craghopper Kiwi Pro trousers that cost me around £35 in a sale. I’ve had no complaints with those whatsoever so I have never considered spending any more on trousers. So, when I was offered the opportunity to review a pair of Fjällräven Keb trousers that retail at around the £200 mark I jumped at the chance to find out what they can offer that a £50 pair can’t. And I also wanted to find out if I’ve been missing out for all these years by not investing in better kit.
- Material: G-1000® Eco: 65% polyester, 35% cotton 63% polyamide, 26% polyester, 11% elastane
- Reinforcement areas: Knees, Rear, Pockets
- Adjustable leg ends
- Boot Hook
- Ventilation Zippers on Thighs and Calves
- Map Pocket
- Inner Mesh Pocket for Phone or GPS
Fjallraven Keb Trousers Review
Right from my very first impression, it was clear that there has been a huge amount of thought put into the design of these trousers. From top to bottom there are features that are just designed to make your hiking experience better.
Let’s start with the material. The trousers are made up of two distinct fabrics; stretch fabric and the Fjällräven G-1000 fabric which is made up of polyester and cotton and can have wax applied to it to provide water and wind resistance. This combination creates a lightweight trouser that has added robustness and durability in all the right places, such as the thighs, the lower half of the leg, and also the seating area. The G-1000 fabric has a stiffness that did make me wonder whether they were going to feel slightly heavy and cumbersome when wearing, but as soon as they were on I realised that it wasn’t a concern at all. In fact, quite the opposite. Somehow, despite how sturdy they are they feel unbelievably lightweight to wear.
There are no back pockets on the trousers but instead they have two large pockets on the front of the thigh. On the one side there is a large pocket big enough for a map, and hidden within that is a smaller, mesh pocket that will comfortably hold a phone or GPS. To the other leg is another large pocket, this one protected by both poppers and a zip. It’s an unusual placement for pockets but it works and I carried a few items in them, including my phone, a buff and a pair of gloves, without even noticing they were there.
To the sides of the trousers, there are four zippers for ventilation, running down the thighs and calves. This feature will always come in handy with the unpredictability of the British weather, and I found this especially useful when I tested them out at the beginning of autumn when the wind was bitingly cold but the sun was still warm enough to make the uphill sections of my walk hot and sweaty. Having four areas to let a bit of cool air in made the challenging sections much more comfortable.
The ends of each leg have an adjustable cuff, meaning that you can fasten them tightly around the top of your boot to keep out things like mud and snow, or have them a little bit looser for normal conditions. There is also a built-in boot hook that attaches the bottom of the leg to your boot laces and prevents the trousers from riding up.
The knees are pre-shaped in the trousers and this is a particularly good feature if you do a lot of scrambling on your hikes. With so much room for your knees to bend fully, the trousers feel permanently comfortable and flexible and there is no problem with your trouser going over the top of your boot as you step over large rocks.
Water and Wind Resistance
Although I haven’t tested these trousers out in the rain yet, I have tested them out on a very windy day in the Peak District. The Fjällräven G-1000 fabric can be treated with a wax coating to add a level of water and wind resistance. Although this wouldn’t make them fully waterproof trousers, it would certainly go a long way towards keeping you dry if you were caught in a downpour.
The G-1000 fabric covers the whole bottom half of the leg, eliminating the need for gaiters, and it also covers the thighs and the rear. Having the seating area covered makes for a useful feature when you want to sit down for a bit of a rest or to make a quick adjustment to your boots.
Although the wax treatment won’t help with breathability, Fjällräven sees this as a useful customisation option. Put simply, if you want these trousers to be lightweight and breathable for use in good weather, don’t wax them. But if you’re using these through the winter months then add some wax and you’ll be protecting yourself from the elements.
Before I’d tested these trousers I couldn’t really imagine what a £200 pair of trousers could offer that my regular £35 pair couldn’t. After a few hours of walking through the Peak District in them, I had a completely different opinion of them.
They’re just unbelievably comfortable even though they really shouldn’t be. They have thick fabric, pockets in unusual places, and durability to be worn in all seasons. There should be a compromise to make somewhere along the way, but there isn’t.
The thick fabric should feel heavy and restrictive, but it doesn’t. If they’re good for bad weather then they should feel too hot for good weather, but they don’t. I’ve been converted and I can’t see myself wearing anything other than the Fjällräven Keb trousers for the rest of autumn and winter.
I’m going to have to find another way to save money on my kit in the future, you get what you pay for with these hiking trousers.
Our Top Pick
Fjallraven Keb Trouser
They may be on the expensive side but these trousers should last you years.
Comfortable and full of great features. The only pair of hiking trousers you’ll ever need.