Waterproof trousers are an item of hiking gear we never want to have to use but inevitably, thanks to our lovely climate here in the UK, end up using quite frequently.
To make matters worse, there are some pretty shoddy waterproof trousers out there, and most of us will have come across them at some point. You know, those ones that made you wetter than the rain itself from the condensation build up; the ones that were shaped so poorly your stride could only reach about a foot; the ones that had a gaping hole on the thigh after they were once slightly nicked by a bramble bush.
And we all hate that sound, right? That intolerable swish, swish, swish with each step that becomes unbearable.
OK that’s our complaining done with now. What it’s important to know is that there are good pairs of waterproof trousers out there, and, as luck so has it we’ve gathered them all together in this round-up for you. Because they aren’t all clammy, hot and intolerable – there are some that are actually worth wearing, even when it isn’t pouring with rain.
What Are the Best Waterproof Trousers?
Put simply, the best waterproof trousers will be fully waterproof but also breathable enough to prevent moisture build up on the inside. You also want to consider things like their weight, durability, lifespan and details like protected pockets, flies and types of waistbands.
It’s worth us pointing out that there are two distinct types of waterproof trousers out there: overtrousers, and wear-all-day trousers. Overtrousers are the ones you pull out of your pack when the bad weather moves in to wear over your standard walking trousers. Wear-all-day-trousers, well, we don’t really need to explain, but if you need another clue, they’re the ones that you can wear next to the skin from the first mile to the last.
Each type has its virtues, and when choosing between the two it really depends on the conditions that you’re planning to face up to. If you’re likely to experience start-stop rain, overtrousers will tend to be your best bet, whereas if you’re going to be faced with non-stop rain or snow you might want to go for the wear-all-day kind.
What Are The Different Types of Waterproof Trousers
Most waterproof trousers employ a membrane to block out any moisture. 2.5-layer membranes, where a coating is applied to the outer fabric, tend to be one of the most common types. 2-layer membranes will be lower cost but generally less comfortable while 3-layer options offer robust protection with a longer lifespan but usually at a higher cost. There are also waterproof trousers that don’t use membranes, like those that use Nikwax, or simply just a laminated shell.
For this round up of the best waterproof trousers we’ve picked out everything from great value 2-layer overtrousers to 3-layer high spec, durable options with brilliant breathability – and a few interesting other options in-between.