Friday, 6 November 2015

Gear Review: Mountain Equipment G2 Ultimate Mountain Pant

Ultimate
NOUN
  1. (the ultimate)

    the best achievable or imaginable of its kind:
    "the ultimate in decorative luxury"
The name suggests that these are the best things going - time to delve in a little deeper to find out whether they match up to to it.
Mountain Equipment G2 Ultimate Mountain Pant
I bought a pair of these a while ago from an eBay seller who consistently sells ME seconds and samples. I suspect they work for the company but, suspicions aside, these were a bargain at £75, given the fact that their RRP is £180. £180 is a lot for a pair of trousers that are not waterproof but there is a lot going on that does justify some of it.


Firstly, they are made entirely for Gore Windstopper fabric which is 100% windproof, a godsend in the winter, as they help to reduce the chill of a January northerly. That fabric is actually constructed in the same way as Gore-Tex with a waterproof membrane sandwiched between two fabric layers. The difference here is that the outer fabric is a softshell material and the seams aren't taped. What you are buying is a non-waterproof waterproof. If that makes sense. The trade here is vastly increased breathability.

Secondly, a lot of thought has gone into these trousers, as is the case with many of the pieces from ME in the last couple of years. The legs are shaped and articulated in a way that gives you unrestricted freedom, enabling you to easily make those high strides on many a Lakeland scramble. The seams that form the articulation in the knee panels are finished off with laminated plastic that maintains the trousers windproofness. There are other details that I like which I'll mention a bit further down.
Knee articulation and wind-proof seams
Here's the technical spec from Mountain Equipment:
  • Windstopper soft shell fabric
  • 2 zipped hand pockets and 2 thigh vents
  • Removable and fully adjustable braces
  • Integrated belt with double press-stud waist closure
  • Reinforced kick strips and bonded hem for durability
  • Internal gaiters
  • Ankle zips with internal gusset panel to accommodate larger mountain boots
The Fit
I wear a large pair which equate to a 34" waist and they are very comfortable - not too tight and not too loose. A real Goldilocks pair of trousers.
The G2 Pants in the tame surroundings of our house
The Details
There are a few details that I really like on these trousers, the first being the zipped thigh vents. Despite their subtle differences to waterproof materials, an additional membrane will always decrease breathability and lead to hot, sweaty legs. The thigh vents go some way to help alleviate this and they work really well. The only criticism is they could be a bit longer - like the ones on the Montane Terra trousers.
Thigh vents with mesh-backers
These trousers are designed to stay in place all day thanks to the double snap closure, integrated belt and - if you are that way inclined - removable braces. I, personally, really like the braces as they prevent the trousers from slowly sliding down as the day passes. Despite initial appearances, the braces fit comfortably over a baselayer and underneath the rest of your gear.
Braces in-situ
Double snap closure and integrated belt
Down at the bottom of each leg are a couple of useful additions; the first of which is the ankle zip. This allows you to increase the volume of the lower leg to accommodate larger footwear, such as winter climbing boots. In addition to this are reinforced insteps to protect against crampon spikes and the internal gaiters which have lace hooks to seal out the elements; snow in particular. If you've ever stepped into a deep drift and felt a cold, snowy embrace at the top of your boot, you'll know why these are useful.
The adjustable lower legs
Conclusion:
There are a superb pair of trousers suited to the colder months of the year thanks to their windproof material. Over the last year they've been my go to trousers for any time the forecast is looking cold, windy or rainy which, in the UK, is most of the time. Pick them out on a warmer day and you may find your legs getting a bit sweaty. The thigh vents work to a point but they are fairly small.

The fit and freedom of movement are second to none thanks to some clever stitching and those articulated knees. They're pretty tough as well; a fair bit of use to date has yet to tarnish them in any shape or form. Word is that the seam tape on the knees has a tendency to peel of over time but I haven't experienced this yet. The current incarnation of these pants has done away with it all together.

If you're reading this and considering buying a pair, I would say go for it - you won't be disappointed.
The G2's on their way up Pike O'Blisco