I’ve realised that there’s a bit of a common theme emerging in most of the pictures which appear on this blog – the presence of my Montane Terra pants. I’m currently on my second pair, as the first pair had to be retired due to my shrinking waistline and the current pair are in danger of suffering the same fate, but I might manage to keep tightening the belt until Santa comes or the nice people at Montane decide to sponsor me.
Getting back to the Terra pants themselves, these things are, frankly, bloody marvellous. I’ve had them on in a range of weather from warm claggy, humid days right through to the present first hints of winter and they’ve kept me comfortable throughout. They have a thigh vent for a bit of airflow round the legs, but to be honest, I’ve rarely found the need for them as they’re made of a sufficiently light material to not suffer badly from that clammy uncomfortable feeling if it is warm and humid. On colder, windy days, the Terras are a bit of a revelation, as they manage to block enough of the wind to maintain a warm micro-climate round your legs. I’ve been comfortable with them on wearing nothing other than boxer shorts underneath on days when I’ve been wearing 2 or 3 layers beneath a shell jacket up top.
Although we haven’t hit the serious sub-zero days yet, I wore them out on a frosty start in the Cairngorms the other week, teamed up with a pair of silk long-johns underneath and again they were very comfortable. I suppose the only downside to this from Montane’s point of view is that I was being tempted by their Terra Thermostretch pants for winter, but I’m now wondering if I can get away with the Terras over a pair of heavier weight pair of leggings. I’ve gradually come round to the need to wash kit like this in natural soap to preserve water repellency, but I don’t find the DWR coating on the Terras to be that long lasting. This isn’t really a problem though, as they don’t absorb much water and dry out very quickly if they get damp. On days where it’s raining non-stop, then they’re a neat enough cut that they can be worn under a pair of lightweight waterproof trousers without feeling like you’re wearing a nappy.
I’ve also used them for mountain biking on colder days, where the adjustable ankles are a real benefit in terms of keeping the bottom of the trouser out of the chain. The diamond gusset in the crotch is a real winner from this point of view, as it both adds to the range of movement you can achieve without feeling the trousers binding on your legs, and avoids having an uncomfortable seam running right where you and your saddle get intimate.
I have a pair of Terra Pack pants which I tend to use for trips to the climbing wall, but on odd occasions I’ve made use of the Terras instead, and they hold up well to being scraped and banged about. The articulation in the knees works really well for me, especially as Montane are one of the few companies to bother making technical trousers in a range of leg lengths, so the more stunted of us can get Terras in a size that puts the shaped knee at your actual knee, not half-way down your shin as with some other gear manufacturers. As a result, I find I can get my knee up high to step on awkward holds without having to hitch up my trousers – something that’s a definite bonus in situations where you really don’t want to be letting go of a handhold, or where you’re trying to make a delicate balancy move.
Most of the outdoor shops tend to sell them in default ‘euro style’ two-tone black/grey, which I rather like, but they are available in a number of different colours, including all black for the sartorially conservative. Hopefully, Montane won’t do much to change them anytime soon, as I think they’re just about the perfect outdoor trouser.