These pants provide everything we want from a pair of waterproof trousers, with a GORE-TEST membrane, a light and packable design, 3/4 length 2-way side zips and a planet-friendly badge of approval
Fully waterproof GORE-TEX with ePE membrane and FC free DWR
Lightweight and breathable
3-Layer construction with 75D face fabric for durability
Active fit with articulated knees
Gusseted crotch for unrestricted movement
2-way ¾ length side zips
Adjustable hem and waist
Limited colors available
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Mountain Equipment Makalu Pants: first impressions
These rain pants provide everything we want from a pair of waterproof trousers. They’re not bulky or heavy, so you can easily roll them up and carry them in your backpack on any hike, but when the heavens open, they deliver total protection. Made using the new fully waterproof GORE-TEX with ePE membrane and FC free DWR, they seal out a heavy rain but leave a light footprint on the planet.
• List price: $229.95 / £200
• Gender specification: Men’s and women’s available
• Sizes: Men’s S - XXL / Women’s 8 - 16
• Length: Regular, Short, Long
• Weight: 10.5 oz / 300 grams (women’s UK 10)
• Materials: GORE-TEX 75D fabric
• Colors: Black
• Best use: Hiking
One of the best features of these rain pants are the two-way 3/4 length side zips that mean you can pull these on even with hefty hiking boots on your feet, and you can dump a little heat if it’s getting steamy. The drawstring waist is easy to cinch tight and adjustable hems mean you can fit them securely over your boots. If you’re striding up steep slopes or scrambling, the gusseted crotch and articulate knees mean you can move easily while enjoying a practically impenetrable shelter. They’re not the cheapest rain pants on the market, but with a robust 75D fabric and GORE-TEX’s frequent opportunities to repair your gear, they could last a lifetime.
Mountain Equipment Makalu Pants: in the field
I received these rain pants as part of a test of the new GORE-TEX membrane where I wore them hiking on a blustery day in the Cairngorms, and since then I’ve managed to hike near Glasgow several times in exclusively rainy conditions that ranged from a shower to a deluge.
Here’s how they performed:
Sizing and fit
I tested a UK women’s 10 in regular length, which is actually a size up from my normal size and, though they might look less streamlined on, I think they’re ideal for pulling on over other trousers. They’re not so baggy as to be super flappy in the wind, but I can easily haul them on in a hurry even if I’m wearing bulkier hiking pants, which bodes well for winter.
I suppose if you exclusively hike in leggings or are at the bottom end of your size, you could wear your normal size but I’m happy with the regular fit of these. Between the adjustable waist and hem, there’s plenty of room to tailor them once they’re on too.
Weight and packability
There are definitely lighter rain pants out there, but these are on the lightweight end of the spectrum and they pack up nicely to about half the size of my water bottle, which means I can’t find any excuse not to bring them as backup on every hike.
Waterproofing and breathability
The new GORE-TEX fabric works brilliantly to keep rain out and I feel quite happily sheltered from the rain and the wind in these, even when it’s been ghastly out. The fabric itself is quite breathable, and the two-way zips mean that even when the rain stops, I usually just keep them on as a wind shelter and unzip if I need to.
Functionality and other features
The gusseted crotch and articulated knees mean I’ve no problem climbing and scrambling in these pants, with lots of room to move. Adjustable hems mean I can tighten them around my ankles no matter which hiking boots or shoes I’m wearing, and the side zips mean I can pull them on with my boots on, which is just what I want from a pair of rain pants.
Mountain Equipment Makalu Pants: bottom line
Light enough for warm summer rain and protective enough against a harsh wind all while being easy to pull on over any shoes, the only thing that might make us blink about these is the price tag and even then, if they last a lifetime, they're worth it.
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.