Judy Armstrong reviews excellent women’s mountain trousers

I have long had a love affair with ME trousers; their original softshell pants have been my go-to for ski touring for more than a decade. These pants – Chamois – aren’t designed for winter, but they’ve already become a firm favourite. The ‘alpine fit’ translates to my shape as a size 14 (ME suggested I go up a size from normal): generous at the waist (with an integrated belt), relaxed on the legs, with the Short length coming in just about right. The fabric is fabulous: four-way stretch so moves with me (knee darts help here), thin enough to breathe, light for summer and with room for thermals underneath.

From the top: the waistband has a microfleece lining, which can absorb sweat but feels lovely against skin if my base layer lifts. A double popper above the zip is neater than studs or buttons, and lower profile against a rucksack belt. The slim webbing belt has a plastic connector which is just large enough to not disappear into the belt tunnels (a pet hate). A crotch gusset runs virtually knee to knee so there’s no chance of seams rubbing. Two zipped hand pockets (decent size), zipped thigh vents with mesh lining and enough space for small stuff storage, and zipped ankle bellows to fit over big boot cuffs. Zips are always tricky to hem but with three leg lengths you’ve a fighting chance of getting a good fit from the start. If not, there’s a drawcord channel as well; you’d need some super-thin prussik cord and thread it through yourself. Chamois have an element of resistance against wind and moisture but this in no way compromises the breathability. I’ve used them for hiking, scrambling and via ferrata and they have been awesome on all levels.

This review was first published in the April 2018 issue of The Great Outdoors