Years ago, I thought I’d settled on the perfect pair of walking trousers. Then I heard about the Montane Terra Pants and my affections started to turn. A four-season trouser with two-toned colour scheme. Light as a feather. Windproof. Rainproof. ‘How is this possible?’ I thought. They must be crafted from mithril, the miracle metal from Tolkien’s tales in Middle Earth. I’d been itching to give them a go for a while.
I tried a pair on in my size and, disaster – the elastic in the waist was too tight. The size up felt better on the waist but too baggy everywhere else. Perhaps my frame just wasn’t compatible with the Terras after all.
Then the slim version arrived and I tried once more. My usual size still felt a little grippy around the waist. But the size up, combined with the slim profile fits like a glove. I handed over my hard-earned and looked forward to trying them out.
Wind and rain resistance
I first took the Montane Terra Pants out on a wet day walk in the Lake District. I’ll admit being cynical about their water resistance claims. Quick drying perhaps but would they repel water?
As the rain eased, I removed my waterproof trousers to see if the Terras could cope unaided. I couldn’t believe my eyes as the rain drops danced across the fabric like figure skaters. It’s like Teflon. You simply brush the water off and carry on with your day. It’d certainly buy you enough time to fish your waterproof trousers from your rucksack should the heavens open suddenly.
The nonstick nature of the fabric does a good job of repelling dirt too. I squelched through a deep, muddy puddle at one point and my leg was swallowed in the gloop. Convinced I’d be setting the washing machine at home, I was surprised to see the mud brush off later, leaving the Terras in a presentable state for another outing.
It wasn’t too windy on my walk but I could definitely feel them taking the edge off the breeze. It’ll be interesting to see how they fare as we head into Autumn.
The Montane Terra Pants are indeed lightweight. They almost feel a little flimsy, like they couldn’t possibly keep the elements at bay. They feel comfortable to wear, the materials are soft against the skin and they are relatively quiet as you move.
I guess time will tell if they survive the inevitable scuffs and scrapes from the outdoors but the weight doesn’t appear to affect the technical capabilities.
Features and fit
The vents are a game changer for me. It was a day for waterproof trousers and opening the zips allowed air to circulate and minimise condensation beneath. The clever press-stud configuration at the base of the legs means you can use them like a pair of shorts – the air keeping your lower legs and thighs cool. You can also secure a snug fit around boots, preventing unnecessary flappage in this area.
One minor niggle is the lack of pockets. You get two at the top of the trousers, which are useful for keys or loose change but they aren’t cavernous and there’s no thigh pocket, which I find useful. I guess the vents wouldn’t function as intended and it’s not enough to put me off but it might be something to bear in mind.
As for fit, try these on as the elastic in the waist band is grippy and your usual size might dig in a little. The slim design really helps to fine-tune the fit . There’s plenty of room around the thighs and seat but the reduction in fabric compared to the regulars gives a more flattering profile and prevents them flailing about in stiff breezes.
Should I buy them?
Yes. The slim fit gives you more options for what were already excellent trousers. Make sure you try both styles to see what works for you.
They aren’t the cheapest at £85 but you can often find a bargain and they should last. Think of them as a more technical offering for those who are serious about their hill-walking and want something with an edge over cheaper rivals.