The Vault Regulars

Monday, February 3, 2014

My hiking trousers - drying comparison test.

One of the comparative tests I have been meaning to do but never got round to doing until now, is to test the drying times of my 3 season walking trousers.
The point being that they get wet during normal use. Wet grass, crossing streams, sweat, condensation and of course rain and i wanted to see how they performed against each other under the same conditions.

It doesn't matter if they are the best designed trousers in the world if they stay wet overnight in your tent then for me they don't work. The better they dry is equally as important as the features they possess.
So today we had a rare dry day, an ideal testing day in fact.
Ambient temperature at 4 and a breeze of 6 mph. No sun and dry on the ground.

For the test I simply soaked the trousers in cold tap water all at the same time (except 1 pair *) and hung them outside on the washing line.
There's obviously about 1 minute difference between hanging up the first pair and hanging up pair 8, but i’m not bothered about 1 minute for this comparison.
I decided that they were “dry" when the bottom of the trouser leg, the hem area, was dry, as this would be the last part to drip dry.

* (I forgot my Keela Peru trousers which were in my rucksack and so they were hung out just a few minutes later)

The trousers tested are as follows.
1. A very nice designed pair which I bought from GoOutdoors. They are not a name I have come across before. Called Road Map. The material is nylon. Cost £25. Very tough and hard wearing.

2. A pair from Peter Storm. I have worn these quite a bit but lately have been relegated to around the house and garden. Still in good condition considering I have had them around 10 yrs and included here because they are still available. Pockets and zips all good. Cost £30

3. Montane Terra. These are the last model not the current style. Mine have the elasticated and fitted belt. The material is nylon Tactel with cordura reinforcements. Highly regarded by the outdoor community with good reason. Only things I have disliked was the belt and the lack of wallet pocket. Cost £65

4. Rohan Fusion. Good quality walking trouser, classed as a travel trouser by Rohan, with 1 secure front pocket and 1 insecure. 1 button and 1 zipped rear pocket. Material 100% Polyamide micro-canvas.
Cost. £57.

5. Craghoppers Kiwi. The lightweight version. Very nice trousers but lack any secure front pocket but has 1 rear secure pocket.Material 65% Polyester, 35% cotton.
Cost £25.

6. Aldi walking trousers. A simple pair of trousers, light weight and cheap. Cost £10. No front secure pockets. Rear secure pocket. 100% Polyester.

7. Rohan Trailblazers. 88% Polyamide and 12% elastane. Superb designed trousers. Perfect pockets. Everything a walking trouser should be. Feels more like a soft shell.
Cost £65 in sale. RRP £80.

8. Columbia Silver Ridge. A well designed trouser with good pockets and light in weight. Material is 100% Nylon silver ridge ripstop. Cost £40

9. Keela Peru. Nice comfortable trousers. Good pockets with front pocket security and rear wallet pocket. Material is Spandex (elastane). Cost £35

L-R. 1. GoOutdoors Road Map. 2. Aldi Crane. 3. Peter Storm. 4. Montane Terra. 5. Rohan Trailblazer. 6. Rohan Fusion. 7. Craghoppers Kiwi. 8. Columbia Silver Ridge.
The Keela hadn’t been hung on the line when i took the photo.

Ambiant temperature. 4℃.

The Results

Fastest drying by quite a margin are the Rohan Fusion at 2 hours 5 minutes. In my mind, i thought the Montane Terra’s would come first, but no, they came second at 2 hours 53minutes. I didn’t expect the Fusions to be so good. They dried remarkably well.

What also surprised me about the Fusions was that as i pulled them out from the tub of cold water the water ran off them. I checked Rohan’s web site to see if they had been treated with a DWR but the specification says not. Non of the others had a DWR treatment either.

Between my 2 pairs of Rohan’s, the Fusion and the Trailblazers, i expected a far better performance from the Trailblazers which turned out disappointing as i consider these to be a really good design. Considering that the only difference between them is that the Trailblazer are made with 12% elastane added instead of 100% Polyamide. The difference in drying time between the two pairs was 2hrs 3 minutes. The Trailblazers are almost double the length of drying time over the Fusions.

What wasn’t a surprise was the Montane Terra belt area. The trousers dried very well except for this area of the trouser. I am so pleased to see that the latest style Terra’s doesn’t include the semi fixed belt with the awful clip and has now changed to a normal loose belt design. This will enhance the drying period for the waist area because the belt is easily removed. In second place the drying time was excellent.

The Peter Storm trousers. Although the material is the same as the Crag hoppers the material thickness and the amount of double layer fabric is greater on the Peter Storms hence the faster drying of the Craghoppers.

The Keela were very disappointing. Slowest to dry at 5hrs 03minutes. I would never have thought they would be last. Just shows it is worth doing a comparative testing.

So i am now armed with important information about MY kit and which trousers to choose depending on the prevailing conditions or the type of terrain my walk will endure.

I hope some readers will find the info useful and do their own tests too.
Note! (Even Tiso’s, and any contributions or gear to test would be gratefully accepted btw).(See comments on last post to understand why this note has been included.)

All the above trousers were bought and paid for by me and i have no association with any of the company’s listed.


Unknown said...

I've heard about people who nick pants off washing lines for, err, lets just say gratification but 367 quids worth could be another reason.

AlanR said...

Brian, i wish you hadn’t added them up i didn’t want to know. It’s always scary when you do that.
I am not going to compare my sleeping bags thats for sure.

Dawn said...

Good grief Alan, a pair of trews for every day of the week and a few to spare!

AlanR said...

Hi Dawn, Its amazing how much gear creeps up on you when your not looking. I think i need to downsize or get a bigger house.

David Cotton said...

Fascinating, thanks. I'm a Kiwi man, and didn't even know half those brands. ;-)

It's interesting to see the time difference between the Kiwis and the Peter Storm trousers, which are the same material. Are the Peter Storms thicker (i.e. weigh more)?

AlanR said...

Sorry for the delay in getting back David. Yes the Peter Storm are heavier and double skinned in more areas. I like the Kiwi’s for general walking, day walks and the like but the lack of secure pockets is a negative for anything more serious.

Unknown said...

nice post

Unknown said...

You are certainly an experienced hiker. I can’t remember the last time I compared the drying times of my trousers. I usually go for fast drying fabrics. I also find convertible trousers to be quite resourceful. See some unique designs here:

AlanR said...

Fast drying trousers are a must in UK. You cant always believe what manufacturers say so best to trial it yourself. Thanks for the link.

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