Sherpa Himal Pants

Since October 2013 I have been testing a pair of these softshell trousers – aimed at ice climbers (which I am not…) but also popular with Winter hill and mountain walkers (which I am…) I was looking for a different set up in Autumn/Winter compared to my previous “tracksters/salopettes” combo. I thought a pair of thicker windproof/weatherproof sofstshell trousers combined with a pair of paclite overtrousers might be worth a try. Himal Pant review

First Impressions

I previously reviewed the Lobutse jacket and the Himal trousers are made of identical material - described as “designed to keep you warm”, “breathable” and “wind-and-water repellent” – there is a special membrane sewn in-between the outer and inner layers to achieve these aims. As with the Lobutse, the Himal trousers are very soft to the touch, and very comfortable in use. There is a slight stretch to the material as well which aids comfort.

There is a part-elasticated waist with a built in webbing belt. This is in my opinion one of the only weaknesses of the design. The buckle is a “push-button” release rather than a “slide & lock” (i.e. like a rucksack belt) – and in use it is very easy to press and release by mistake – e.g. when using a rucksack, thus exposing your lower back to the elements – and I suspect the same risk would apply with a climbing harness too. I have since purchased a more suitable belt.

Speaking of harnesses, the detailing makes it clear the trousers are designed for climbers – the main pockets zip open from the bottom, and the fly has a two-way zip – so “in-harness” use would be easier. There are six pockets – all protected by zips – including two well-designed cargo pockets on the thighs. All the zip pulls are easy to use with gloves.

The trousers have substantial crampon-patches on the inner leg at the bottom – along with a zip on the outside to allow easier on-off over boots – this “flares” the trousers rather than opening them completely. There is the usual Sherpa detailing – the “endless knot” embroidery and embroidered logo – but overall the design, like the Lobutse is understated.

Another strange thing is the sizing. I am a 36/37” waist but felt the “L” was too small, so I got the “XL”. The fit of the whole trousers is best described as “comfort” rather than “slim”, but the leg-length was very long. I am not sure if this relates just to the XL sizing but, even allowing for the fact that I am not blessed with giraffe-like limbs I had to have the local tailors take nearly 4 inches off the bottom to get them to the right length for me!

In Action

Having made the alterations above (belt and leg-length) I am delighted to say performance on the hill is excellent. From severe winds on a chilly Autumn walk up Helvellyn to full Winter blizzards on Harter Fell and hailstorms on Moel Siabod the Himals have been superbly warm and comfortable and have kept me dry. Also, despite not being described as “waterproof”, I have worn them in a four-hour downpour and 30mph winds on Kinder Scout and have been completely dry and warm throughout.

Conclusion

Despite being aimed at climbers, I have found the Himal pants excellent for my requirements as a walker too – particularly combined with the Lithang hardshell waterproof jacket. They are warm and comfortable, waterproof enough for my use and shed snow and hail easily. They have more than enough storage for maps, compasses, GPS, snacks, wallet etc. and, unless I plan eight-hours in continual snow and deep drifts (when I would probably still use salopettes withsnow gaiters) are a great Winter hill and mountain walking option.

Ian Morton is an MTA member and a Partner of Striding Ahead, who offer corporate, charity and private outdoors events.