Highly dynamic, lightweight outdoor trousers for hiking, scrambling and rock climbing, made from recycled materials.
Good thermal properties
Made mostly from recycled materials
Cord zip pullers fall off
Ankle hem adjuster a bit fiddly
No map pocket
Integrated belt quite basic
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Patagonia Altvia Alpine Pants: first impressions
With the brand’s signature dedication to ethical manufacturing processes, these Patagonia Altvia Alpine Pants are made almost entirely from recycled materials, and are certified as fair-sewn.
The main fabric on the body of the trousers features four-way stretch, so they do not impede your movement whatsoever, and there are protective scuff panels in various areas, such as the inner legs.
Designed with rock climbing firmly in mind, the Altvia has a high waistband and an articulated cut which means they are comfortable to wear with a harness, even for extended periods.
They have four pockets – one on each side, one on the right buttock and another on the right thigh – all of which zip shut, so you won’t lose anything important no matter what moves you pull. Instead of a metal puller on these zips, they all feature a small piece of cord – we can’t imagine this saves any weight, so it feels like more an aesthetic design choice, and we think it’s a mistake (not because of how it looks, but because they easily fall off, but more about that below).
The thigh pocket is more modest sized than the thigh pouches on other trousers in out best hiking pants buying guide, but it’s not intended for packing maps or anything too large. The Altvias come with an integrated belt, albeit a pretty basic one, and the waist-fastening method is a popper.
These pants are warm enough to wear in most conditions and have been treated with a PFC-free DWR (durable water repellent) coating that will keep you dry in all but heavy downpours.
• RRP: $149 (US) / £130 (UK)
• Style: Soft shell climbing and approach-hiking pants
• Gender specificity: Men’s & women’s versions available
• Sizes: Slim fit, men’s waist sizes 28–40; women’s 2-14
• Weight: Men’s: 340g / 12oz; Women’s 323g / 11.4oz
• Materials: Main: 4.7oz recycled polyester (86%) & elastane dobby (14%); Panels: 4.5oz recycled nylon (85%) & recycled elastane (15%)
• Colors: Men’s: Black / Plume Gray; Women’s: Black / Upwell Blue
• Compatability: Approach walks, climbing, scrambling and all sorts of adventures above the treeline
Patagonia Altvia Alpine Pants: on the trails
We have been wearing these hiking pants for around 10 months, spanning all four seasons, and although they are quite lightweight and primarily designed for fair weather adventures on hillsides and rockfaces, they stand up well to damp and even quite cold conditions (so long as you’re being active). The water-repellency treatment is pretty effective, and they are fairly windproof, while still letting your legs breath.
Crucially, given they are designed for climbers as much as hikers, the four-way stretch material is excellent, offering a full range of dynamic movement whether you’re clambering and scrambling over rocks and stiles, or contorting yourself to reach a tricky foothold at the crag.
And they look and feel great to wear, whether you’re lounging around in camp or at the crag, or putting them through their paces on technical alpine trails or rock-climbing routes.
My only beef with these otherwise excellent trousers is a seemingly small one, but it has seriously and increasingly irritated me during the period I have been wearing them: it’s the fact that Patagonia, for reasons completely beyond me, have dispensed with the standard metal zip pulls and replaced them with cord pulls. Every single one of these has fallen off and become lost in the time I’ve been wearing these pants, which not only means the pockets are now very hard to open and close, but I’ve also inadvertently dropped cord somewhere in the outdoors. It’s really very annoying. It might be connected to the recycled material creds of the trousers (which of course I applaud, in general) – presumably cord is easier to recycle than zip metal – but the brand need to find a better solution for keeping them attached.
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.