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The colder months are now upon us and that means putting the shorts and lightweight walking trousers away in favour of something that will offer a little more insulation. For the last few weeks, I’ve been testing out the Montane Terra Mission pants. They are technical, winter mountaineering trousers and discovering why they’re perfect for hiking through the UK’s autumn and winter months.
- GRANITE STRETCH Thermal nylon with DWR
- GRANITE STRETCH Tough
- CORDURA® knee and instep panels
Features of the Montane Terra Mission Pants
- Microfleece-lined waistband with press stud, button and belt loops
- Removable belt
- Two mesh-lined hand pockets and thigh pocket with YKK zips
- Extra zipped security pocket inside right-hand pocket
- Zipped mesh-lined thigh vents
- Articulated knees with engineered tailoring
- Volume adjustable lower legs with YKK zips
Montane Terra Mission Pants Review
I’m always a little bit wary when it comes to anything labelled as ‘winter hiking gear’. For me, regulating my temperature on winter adventures is always a bit of a challenge. Start cold, sweat up the hills and then freeze on the summits. That’s how it usually goes for me, despite my best efforts to wear the right fabrics and layers.
I’m sure I’m not alone in that either. Those people who can complete an entire walk without taking a layer off or putting one on are a rare breed.
I spend a fair amount of time taking jackets off or putting them back on again through the winter months, but it’s not that big of a deal. Taking a jacket off is easy. However, I’ve generally avoided wearing anything insulated on my legs. I’ve done that for a couple of reasons. Firstly, my legs generally don’t get all that cold. I’m the kind of person that still cycles in shorts when there’s snow on the ground. And secondly, it’s pretty difficult to cool your legs down once you get too warm. it’s not like you can easily swap your trousers for a lighter pair halfway up a mountain.
It was these reservations about winter pants that made me wear these Montane Terra Mission pants on a beautiful, early autumn morning. The thing about beautiful, early autumn mornings is that they start out cool and crisp and make us think of the long winter ahead, but by lunchtime, it’s warm enough for a BBQ or a beer garden and we regret layering up with so much enthusiasm.
Testing them out on a day like that would give me an opportunity to see how they are at both ends of the spectrum, a cold morning and a warm day.
The four-way stretch fabric makes these trousers instantly comfortable and easy to wear. There is loads of movement in them, which means you’ll have no restrictions when walking or scrambling. On the knees and insteps, there are reinforced Cordura panels that will give added protection and durability, and on the lower legs, there are volume adjusters that allow you to zip or unzip to suit your boots.
Setting out for a 12-mile walk on a cold morning, I was struck by just how comfortable the trousers were rather than how warm they were. I’d expect insulated trousers to feel heavy and perhaps a little bit bulky but that definitely wasn’t a problem with the Montane Terra pants.
It was around 6 degrees when I set out and I was definitely warm enough in the trousers but, within a couple of miles of walking, I have to admit that I’d completely forgotten the fact that I was wearing new trousers – a definite sign that they are comfortable and warm.
By mid-morning, the temperature was rising fairly quickly, as it often does at this time of year. I took a jacket off and stuffed the Buff that I was wearing into my backpack, and then thought about the trousers. There are mesh vents on the thighs, and the pockets themselves are also mesh, so by opening all four of these zips I could allow plenty of fresh air in to help me to keep cool. By doing this I remained cool for the rest of the walk, even though the temperature hit the low teens by lunchtime.
I’m not suggesting that these trousers are suitable for use all year round, but for someone who has always avoided insulated trousers for the fear of overheating on a strenuous hike, I’m now confident that I’ll be wearing these for a big chunk of the year. I’m now really looking forward to those cold days on snow-covered mountains to see just how warm they are in the extreme conditions, but those days are rare and it’s the everyday hikes through the colder months that really count, and the Montane Terra Mission pants are perfect for those days.
Our Top Pick
Montane Terra Mission Pants
Winter hiking trousers that are comfortable, hard-wearing and have enough insulation to keep you warm in the British hills, without making you too warm on those tough ascents.