Made to last, from recycled materials impregnated with an environmentally friendly water-repellent treatment, High Coast Hydratic Trail Trousers from Fjällräven are water- and windproof, and they allow your legs to breathe. They’re stylish, well-featured and easy to use, with full-length double zips on each leg, and they don’t rustle as you ramble, which is worth plenty in itself. Lightweight, and boasting a good degree of stretch, these 2.5-layer shell pants are an excellent piece of kit to have in your outdoor wardrobe as we move into the wetter months.
Made from recycled polyester & PFC-free impregnation
Full-length leg zips
Velcro tightening straps
Silent to walk in
One color only (black)
No boot hooks
Expensive compared to some other models
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Fjällräven High Coast Hydratic Trail Trousers: first impressions
Nordic outdoor specialists Fjällräven are well-known for premium gear, and their Fjällräven High Coast Hydratic Trail Trousers from the Swedes’ High Coast range are absolutely bang on brand: these are definitely up there with the best rain pants on the market.
• List price: $225 (US) / £230 (UK)
• Weight: 298g / 10.5oz
• Gender specificity: Men’s / Women’s
• Water resistance: Hydrostatic Head: 10,000mm
• Breathability: 10,000 g/m²/24h
• Sizes: XXS-XXL (leg length options: 30” / 32” / 34”)
• Materials: Recycled polyester with a PU membrane and PFC-free impregnation
• Colors: Black
• Best for: Hiking, biking, trekking, day walking, snow-based backcountry adventures
The first thing you notice about them is how soft, flexible and lightweight they feel – very different to lots of other shells that crinkle and feel more, well, shell-like to the touch.
As you would expect from Fjällräven, the stats related to these pants are all fairly impressive. The Hydratic Trail Trousers boast a lab-tested hydrostatic head / water column rating of 10,000mm, which, while it certainly isn’t the biggest I’ve seen in shell layers, definitely means they should be comfortably waterproof enough to deal with sustained and heavy downpours.
Their breathability rating (10,000 g/m²/24h) is excellent, and I was looking forward to testing out these waterproof pants in some wet and wild conditions. Luckily, as I live in the southwest of Britain, I didn’t have to wait too long for exactly that sort of weather to arrive.
Fjällräven High Coast Hydratic Trail Trousers: on the trails
I’ve been testing these Fjällräven High Coast Hydratic Trail Trousers during hiking escapades in persistently wet conditions on the South West Coast Path for several weeks now. The trail is very often exposed and conditions have been extremely wet and windy on many days – perfect for assessing the performance of these waterproof pants.
Lightweight and easy to pack and carry, the High Coast Hydratics are reliably weatherproof shell pants that easily slide over the top of your hiking trousers to provide protection against rain and biting winds when you’re trekking, hiking or biking in challenging conditions.
The first thing to emphasize is how simple and hassle-free they are to get on and off. There is a full-length zip on each leg of these trousers, with a double zipper, which makes them extremely easy and quick to put on over the top of your hiking pants without the need to stop and remove your hiking boots – ideal for those times when the clouds suddenly start leaking and you want to cover up fast.
The double zip means you can also take them off just as quickly, or simply open the zips up slightly when you need to let some air in, or access trouser pockets below. Although the zip itself doesn’t appear to be waterproof, there’s a leg-long fold of material that covers each one, and this is held in place by the aforementioned velcro straps. Once they’re on, you can pull these pants tight at the waist with a simple-to-operate cord and toggle, and they seem to stay in place with no problems thereafter. The only omission, in my opinion, is the lack of a boot hook, which would have been helpful for keeping them in place even more securely.
Of course, none of that would be worth much if the pants didn’t perform their primary job of keeping you dry, but fortunately they do that exceptionally well. With an aforementioned water column rating of 10,000mm, these 2.5-layer overtrousers are genuinely waterproof. Light rain beads on the surface thanks to the PFC-free water repellency treatment impregnated into the material, and the PU membrane does the rest, keeping rain, snow and trail juice out, while letting your legs breath when they’re doing all the heavy work such as propelling you up hills.
And these trousers are much more comfortable to wear than many other waterproof pants I’ve tested out in the past. Despite their relatively high hydrostatic head rating, they feature an impressive degree of stretch. Importantly, they are also beautifully quiet when you’re walking in them; this may seem like a petty point, but so many waterproof pants rustle loudly and have loose legs that rub noisily together with each stride you take, which can be surprisingly irritating when you’re out and about.
There are velcro straps on the knees and at the ankles, so you can pull them tight to your legs and around your boots, which keeps drafts out, maintains the best level of protection against the elements, and means there’s no excess material left to flap around.
These trousers are only available in black, but the velcro straps have reflective features, which help with safety when you’re walking or riding on lanes and roads with vehicles in poor conditions or low light.
These are premium quality weatherproof pants, which perform well and are carefully constructed with good robust materials to last a long time, but you do pay a premium price for them. Impressively, though, they’re made with 100% recycled polyester, with a PU membrane and PFC-free impregnation.
Author of Caving, Canyoning, Coasteering…, a recently released book about all kinds of outdoor adventures around Britain, Pat has spent 20 years pursuing stories involving boots, bikes, boats, beers and bruises. En route he’s canoed Canada’s Yukon River, climbed Mont Blanc and Kilimanjaro, skied and mountain biked through the Norwegian Alps, run an ultra across the roof of Mauritius, and set short-lived records for trail-running Australia’s highest peaks and New Zealand’s Great Walks. He’s authored walking guides to Devon and Dorset, and once wrote a whole book about Toilets for Lonely Planet. Follow Pat’s escapades on Strava here and instagram here.