By Matthew Dieumegard-Thornton
The Mountain Equipment Stretch Pant is a core part of my clothing range, covering a surprising amount of activities, from summer hill walking to high-altitude mountaineering.
Mountain Equipment states these are three-season pants that are suitable for winter walking and high-altitude trekking, but in my opinion and experience, they are so much more than that.
For a start, I have often used the Mountain Equipment Stretch Pant in the UK hills in the summer, where once out of the valleys, the temperature can quickly plummet. Admittedly they are quite warm for summer walking, but if you are spending most of the time up high, such as walking and wild camping up high, they can be comfortably used in the summer.
Next, Mountain Equipment states these pants are suitable for only trekking at high altitude, but I have used these pants high in the mountains and found them to be much more versatile than they are made out to be. Firstly, I summited Mera Peak in them, which is a 6,476m mountain, with only a pair of Ron Hill Tracksters underneath. Secondly, I then took them back down to valley level, and then up to the high camp on Baruntse at about 6,400m.
While these pants may be on the edge in warm weather, they really do excel in the cold thanks to the fleece inner, which also helps to absorb any sweat. The pants themselves are soft shell and have an unexpectedly effective durable water repellent (DWR) coating.
I have had these pants for five years and they have survived crampon points and a general bashing, with the only thing giving away their age is the faded colour when compared with a new pair, and some deterioration in the belt fastening.
The DWR coat is a surprising element that has kept the pants water-resistant for five years. The Mountain Equipment Stretch Pant is also exceptionally warm, with the fur-type lining meaning they excel in winter conditions and snow sports. The outer stretch fabric is highly resistant to wear and has retained its great stretching properties. Finally, these pants are much more adaptable than their description reveals, being suitable in activities from high-level summer walking, to high-altitude mountaineering.
The general durability of the pants is excellent, but the only weaknesses are the colour, which fades after a few seasons, and the belt fastenings, which have deteriorated but never broken. However, these points are superficial and don’t affect the pants performance.
A final point is the action of the belt clasp especially on older models, which doesn’t tend to hold the belt tight for long. Instead, a simple knot can be tied in the end of the belt fabric to keep the belt from slipping.
The Mountain Equipment Stretch Pant is ideal for a wide range of activities and is virtually flawless.
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