Mountainwear and materials have continued to evolve throughout history. In recent years, this evolution has been quicker than ever, due somewhat to the increase in popularity of outdoor sports, bringing the introduction of new fabrics and materials which provide us with more health and safety in our trips to the mountain. The technical evolution of fabrics, has also allowed us to produce specialised clothing for each activity: ranging from less technical clothing for less demanding activities such as hiking or hill walking, to highly technical clothing for climbing, ice climbing, etc. This clothing includes bottoms, essential for taking part in outdoor activities.
How to choose bottoms for hill walking?
Choosing a pair of outdoor trousers is not always easy, and less so nowadays due to the wide range of models, material and technical features available.
You must remember that some of the essential functions of outdoor clothing are protection, comfort and safety. Depending on the climate or the season we may choose shorts or trousers for partaking in outdoor activities.
Waterproof trousers consist of a shell which provides optimum protection against water. They are normally used in wet climates or in high mountains with frequent or consistent rainfall. They are made of waterproof material which is more or less breathable (it does not allow water to get in but does let sweat out) depending on their quality, since if you sweat a lot it will remain on the inside, These shells are, generally speaking, very resistant to abrasion and wear too. The seams and zips must be thermosealed, otherwise water can get in. If you are looking for optimum sweat evaporation,Gore-Tex is highly recommended, as it is the only 100% waterproof and breathable shell on the market. This expanded teflon shell is made of micropores, which are smaller than raindrops, but at the same time, bigger than water vapour molecules (sweat), which allows sweat to be wicked away quickly from your body. They are useful for hill walking such as trekking or hiking.
Soft shell trousers are made with a mixture of fleece and windproof material, and their function is to isolate and protect from cold and wind. The idea is to reduce the number of layers. They are not waterproof although, as with windproof clothing, they are treated in order to repel water, therefore making them somewhat water resistant. They are ideal for hiking, trekking and mountaineering. If you are looking for high breathability you can find higher quality shells, such as Windstopper, which keep us protected from the cold and wind without sweating excessively.
Long leggings are usually made of materials with high thermal insulation capacity and very sturdy fabrics, in order to provide a perfect and durable fit which keeps its form no matter how long it is used. Their use is to offer a high level of performance for demanding activities such as hill walking or skiing, offering optimum resistance, insulation and breathability.
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