OK, I admit it; I'm already a fan of Mountain Equipment gear. It’s functional, unfussy and does the job. It is what it says it is, that is mountain equipment.
I needed some replacement waterproof trousers (or pants as they used to say only in the USA) and acquired a pair of ME Narwhal pants. Initially I needed them for my recent trips to the so called Chinese Tibetan Alps (see recent contribution to the Outside Blog) and also for a very wet section of an on-going project to walk over the mountains from the North Coast to the South Coast of Wales.
I seem to get through overtrousers pretty fast, either from abrasion, sitting on rocky belays or some other minor mishap. My last pair were covered with patches. The Narwhal’s Dry Lite 70D fabric is of course waterproof and in use feels just as breathable as Gore-Tex, but due to the choice of face fabric and the excellent cut they are also very tough, light and easy to move in.
For me, braces are an essential for waterproof trousers and the internal gaiters on the Narwhals zip out if, like me you find them more restrictive than regular gaiters. The other essential feature is the full length leg zips, which give two major advantages in bad weather. First of all, it makes it possible to put them on without taking your feet off the ground. Very handy with crampons, skis or indeed muddy boots. The second advantage is that the zips can be undone from the top, creating a flap when you’ve “got to go" in a blizzard! There is a front zip fly as well.
If you wondered what the name means, the narwhal is apparently a pale-coloured porpoise found in Arctic coastal waters and rivers. They have two teeth. In males, the more prominent tooth grows into a sword like, spiral tusk up to 2.7m long. Scientists are not certain of the tusk's purpose, but some believe it is used to impress females. I’m not a female Arctic porpoise but I was impressed with the overtrousers that carry their name!
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