Hilltrek Cabrach Double Ventile Made-to-Measure Waterproof Trousers


Exceptional walkers’ gear made to order – and made in Scotland. Tested by Don Currie.

Usually, waterproof trousers are stuffed into the bottom of the rucksack, where you hope they’ll stay all day.

These ones are very different. They’re intended to be worn from the start, whether it rains or not. And they’re comfortable next to the skin. And because each pair is made specially for the customer, they’re just the right leg and waist measurement.

They’re made up at Hilltrek’s small workshop at Aboyne, in Royal Deeside.

Features include:

  • Normal looking waterproof trousersDouble fabric for waterproofing and comfort
  • Large, zipped back pockets – easily big enough to take an Ordnance Survey map
  • Spacious front pockets
  • Reinforced knee and seat patches
  • Semi-elasticated waist
  • Broad belt loops
  • Choice of six colours

On test:

I have always found waterproof trousers a bit unsatisfactory. Not any more, thanks to Hilltrek.

Every pair I have owned until now has been impermeable, rather stiff and also slightly noisy when the legs rub together. Not wanting to feel sweaty, uncomfortable and even mildly embarrassed (that’s the noise factor) I’ve usually kept them in the rucksack as the clouds gather, only whipping them out at the last possible moment – and sometimes after the last possible moment.

Then, when the rain has finished and the sun come out, I have looked for a convenient rock to sit on while awkwardly tugging the overtrousers down and over my muddy boots, hoping I won’t need to put the now-filthy things on again later.

Fabric repels water efficiently My new Cabrach Double Ventile Waterproof Trousers offer a vastly superior experience. For a start, they’re designed to be worn all day, with nothing between them and your legs. The inner fabric is soft and comfortable. With your eyes shut, you could be wearing a well-used pair of jeans or cords. The outer fabric repels water efficiently, while being breathable.

And then there’s the looks. The great thing about these trousers’ appearance is that they’re so… well, normal.
They look like ordinary walking trousers, not like a lower-half version of the lurid nylon cagoule you had to wear on school outings when you were 10.

PocketsTo call them stylish would be going too far – they’re a practical garment, not a cutting edge fashion statement. But if you walked into a pub full of car-borne lunchers you would certainly have no cause to feel inappropriately dressed. In fact nobody would notice you weren’t wearing standard chinos just like theirs.

The fact that by buying them you’re supporting a small but thriving Scottish manufacturing company is a bonus.

Frontal clip buttonSo if you have a pair of these is it still worth having conventional overtrousers? Well, yes. The double fabric means they’re quite warm, which for much of the year is a huge plus point. But on a hot summer’s day you’d be better off in shorts, carrying bog-standard overtrousers in your rucksack in case of rain.

Knee detailThe first time I wore my Hilltrek trousers, for a fairly arduous walk up Creag Mhor and Beinn Heasgarnich, I was a bit warm during the sunny spells. But my legs certainly stayed dry through the frequent downpours. And on several expeditions since, on cooler, windier days, I’ve been very comfortable in them from start to finish – even when it hasn’t rained much.

Hilltrek Cabrach Double Ventile Made-to-Measure Waterproof Trousers cost £170. See www.hilltrek.co.uk.

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