An uncomplicated pair of hiking pants, these versatile hiking trousers keep you cool and dry on the trail, and with a few more pockets they’d be perfect.
Stretchy and lightweight
Reinforced seat and knees
Water-resistant and breathable
Come in three different lengths
Adjustable waistband and ankle zips
Not enough pockets
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Keela Nevis Trousers: first impressions
Scottish brand Keela has named its latest hiking pants after the country’s biggest mountain, so you might expect an extremely rugged pair of trousers, but a lot like the people of Scotland, these are uncomplicated and practical. There’s nothing showy about the regular fit and straightforward design, but get these out on the hill and you’ll be pleased with how they perform. They’re extra stretchy and breathable, meaning you’re comfortable even when the slope gets steep. The water-resistant treatment works really well, even in a heavy downpour, and the fabric dries in minutes once the sun comes out.
Added versatility comes with button pull tabs hidden in the waist line (or you can use the belt loops) and ankle zips mean you can wear these with your best hiking boots or shoes. Reinforced knees and seats add durability, though for really rugged scrambling you will probably want something tougher. With only two hip pockets, they could use a little more storage if you like to keep your phone and map on hand, but overall you’ll be comfortable wearing these in most seasons if you’re hiking in a temperate climate, and they come at a good price too.
• List price: £69.95
• Sizes available: Men’s 28 - 44”, women’s UK 8 - 20
• Lengths: Short, regular, long
• Unisex: Men’s and women’s specific fit available
• Materials: Shell: 90% Nylon, 10% Spandex
• Colors: Night blue, steel
• Best use: Hiking, backpacking, camping
Keela Nevis Trousers: in the field
I trotted these trousers out on the West Highland Way recently which meant I got to spend quite a bit of time in them, and in typical Scottish fashion I got to test them against most of the elements too. They’ve got a really straightforward look to them so I wasn’t necessarily expecting them to be high performing, but overall I’ll say I was pleasantly surprised.
When I first put them on, while they fit perfectly everywhere else, the waist was far too big, which I’ve noticed is the case with a lot of hiking trousers these days. However, I quickly discovered that they have two handy tabs hidden in the waistband that you can secure with a button to tighten them, which means you can tailor them without using a belt. They also have zipped ankles so they fit over my hiking boots, and come in three different lengths, so they’re actually a lot more versatile than I originally guessed.
On the trail, they’re lightweight, stretchy and breathable so they were great on a long walk in mild summer weather. What I like more about them is how water resistant they really are. I have another pair of similar trousers that soak through easily in a shower but dry quickly – these hiking pants kept me dry during several pretty decent downpours and dried quickly. I also appreciate the reinforced knees and seat for sitting on a rock for lunch, though if I was doing any serious scrambling on abrasive rock I’d probably look for something made with tougher material.
The main thing I didn’t like about them is the lack of thigh pockets. There are two small zipped hip pockets but it’s not very comfortable to walk with anything bulky in them and I prefer to keep my map and phone in my thigh pockets so they're easy to reach without taking my backpack off. That said, with their comfort and waterproofing, I’ll be wearing these on rainy hikes where I can carry gear in the pockets of my waterproof jacket.
Here’s how they performed:
True to size, however the waist might be loose until you adjust it, depending on your proportions.
Regular fit gives you enough room to move without uncomfortable pinching or flapping in the breeze.
Definitely a comfortable pair of trousers, thanks to the fit, great stretch and breathability.
I haven’t worn these on a super hot day, but so far I’ve had no problems with getting clammy or overheating in them, even in fairly humid conditions.
These are well constructed and the reinforced panels in the knees and seat should give them a nice long shelf life.
Here’s where we tested the Columbia OutDry Extreme Mesh Waterproof Hooded Shell Jacket:
The West Highland Way is Scotland's most prized long distance hiking trail, spanning 96 miles from Milngavie to Fort William.
Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.