Just arrived is Marmot's Highland Pant, a stretchy, tough-feeling, all-round mountain trouser made from a non-membrane Nylon soft shell fabric with strategic reinforcements.

Goldiocks And The Three Legwears

Oddly, despite the amount of it around, we've always found mountain legwear a tough nut to crack, but the new kid on the blocl looks like it might be right on the money. It's made from the sort of tough, stretchy, double-weave, soft shell fabric that we really like for mountain trousers complete with a water repellent treatment to shrug off showers.

On top of that, it has tough-feeling reinforcements on the seat - no more picnic paranoi on rough rock - knees, a licence for bad climbing style if ever we saw one, and at the ankles. Bear in mind the latter are more short scuff patches than full-on crampon protection.

Picky On Fit

We're expecting a good blend of breathability, protection - they feel pretty wind resistant - and wicking based on using similar fabrics in the past. The fabric's only half tha battle though and in true Goldilocks fashion, we're picky on fit.

Often we find alpine-orientated pants too tigh, particularly round the lower leg. Alternatively, stuff is cut too loose in a 'dad pants' sort of style. Or sometimes you get a bizarre mix of the two, which is particularly nasty. The Highland however seems to leave the cut-meter needle hovering in the 'just right' zone.

Fit is good but not tight around waist and butt and in the lower leg there's enough volume to work with higher-ankled footwear, but without unnecessary flappage - there's an ankle drawcord to cinch things in if needed. Obviously there's a strong element of personal preference there, but we really do like the fit and thanks to the stretch fabric and some serious articulation, there's no hint of restrictiveness to them.

Five Pockets

You won't go short of pockets either. There are two non-zipped hand ones, two slanty ones on the thighs and a single zipped one on the reinforced seat.

Other stuff we like includes neat little reinforcement patches at the corners of the hand-pockets and a DriClime interior waist band. Speaking of which, the main front fastening is by zip and button and while there are belt-loops, a belt isn't supplied as standard - choose one you like - though there is an internal drawcord for beltless security.

We've only used them for a short local walk so far, but we reckon they'd be spot on for general mountain walking, scrambling and a bit of climbing too and decent for winter maybe layered over a baselayer tight on colder days.

Price is £100. Full review to follow. More information at www.marmot.com.

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