These are extremely practical softshell pants built for the mountains, which strike the ideal balance between warmth, weather-resistance, durability, weight and breathability. The result is a near-optimal pair of pants for cool conditions and technical terrain.
- Great value
- Comfortable and stretchy
- No leg vents
Mountain Equipment Ibex Mountain Pant: first impressions
The Mountain Equipment Ibex Mountain Pants have been around for several years now and are highly regarded, particularly amongst British hillwalkers. In many ways they’re some of the best hiking pants in the classic softshell style, made from a midweight stretch nylon fabric. The cut is fairly slim-fitting, though they don’t taper too much at the ankles, which means they fit easily over bigger B1 or even B2 mountain boots, particularly since the design features useful ankle zips with an internal gusset panel.
The patterning incorporates some well-thought-out details such as a diamond-shaped crotch panel and knee darts for improved articulation. They have plenty of practical features too. You get a soft microfleece-lined waistband, with double press studs and an integrated waistbelt. There are two zipped thigh pockets with a mesh lining plus two zipped hand pockets and one zipped rear pocket.
There are three leg lengths available in both the men’s and women’s styles (the women’s model is called the Chamois). They seem to tick all the boxes as a versatile all-round mountain trouser (there’s more about how to choose hiking pants here).
• RRP: $145 (US) / £85 (UK)
• Style: Softshell
• Gender specificity: Men’s and women’s (Chamois) versions available
• Sizes: Men's 28–40in, short / regular / long leg Women's UK 8-18, short / regular / long leg
• Weight (Men’s): 465g / 16.4oz
• Materials: Exolite 210gsm (92% Polyamide, 8% Elastane)
• Colors: Black / Broadleaf / Anvil Grey
• Compatibility: All-season hiking, trekking, hillwalking and mountaineering
Mountain Equipment Ibex Mountain Pant: on the trails
We found the Ibex pants particularly well-suited for cooler conditions, thanks to that midweight Exolite 210gsm softshell fabric. It offers a little warmth and good windproof protection, whilst remaining lightweight and fairly breathable (see: breathability ratings explained). The face of the fabric is reasonably durable yet the inner side is very soft, ensuring good next-to-skin comfort.
We also liked the fact that it has some elastane for stretch, making these pants well-suited to scrambling over technical terrain. They don’t feel restrictive and allow for full freedom of movement. All these qualities mean they are also a good option for big hill days when you might be striding along exposed ridges or bagging multiple summits.
To be honest, we found little to fault. They’re well-made pants. Admittedly, they lack the double-stitched seams or reinforced panels of burlier options, but they still proved to be durable and hard-wearing. Similarly, the features all do the job, despite the fact that the pockets can’t accommodate anything too bulky.
An outdoors writer and editor, Matt Jones has been testing kit in the field for nearly a decade. Having worked for both the Ramblers and the Scouts, he knows one or two things about walking and camping, and loves all things adventure, particularly long-distance backpacking, wild camping and climbing mountains – especially in Wales. He’s based in Snowdonia and last year thru-hiked the Cambrian Way, which runs for 298 miles from Cardiff to Conwy, with a total ascent of 73,700 feet – that’s nearly 2½ times the height of Everest. Follow Matt on Instagram and Twitter.
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