I am a girl and I have short legs; this makes it difficult to find good quality waterproof trousers that don’t break the bank.
About five years ago, just before going on field work, I panic bought a pair of Berghaus Paclite Gore-tex trousers and was fortunately very impressed. However, after a lot of use, they are now heavily patched up with duct-tape and I needed some new ones. I scoured the shops and the web for some time: in the shops, choice was often very limited, usually to a couple of cheap pairs and perhaps one or two very expensive options that would only come in regular length: I need a short (I’m around 5ft3 /162cm with short legs). Few of the big outdoor brands do short options online and those that do were out of my price range. So, in the end I came back to Berghaus, which seem to be one of the only brands that do most of their range in a short leg length and also have a broad price range.
I was looking for trousers that would stand up to Scottish winter conditions and rough terrain: the Helvellyn trousers looked like they might do the job. Importantly they have kick patches at the ankles, which was I was keen on for use with crampons, and long (3/4) zips down the side, which is essential for getting them on and off when wearing walking boots, and good for ventilation too. They also felt a lot tougher than my previous pair, which I was always worried about damaging. The only thing I was sceptical about was the mesh lining, which I didn’t think was necessary.
I’ve now had them for over six months and they’ve been out in the snow in Scotland and in some terrible rain and wind in Snowdonia. I am very pleased with them: they have kept me 100% dry, and very importantly for me, not too sweaty! I enjoyed them in the snow, where I felt well-protected and comfortable, and they have really kept out all the rain Wales and Scotland have thrown at them. I like the red flap under leg zips, it adds a nice splash of colour and reinforces the waterproof zips; they pack down small enough to carry around (approx. 374g), just in case (so always in Scotland!), and the inner mesh hasn’t bothered me at all, if anything it probably helps against condensation, which I suffer from.
The only negative point for me is that they are very generously sized; the size 12 leaves me with lots of space for layers and for movement, but means they are large around the legs so I found that after a long walk, the material rubbed between my legs, which was irritating. Furthermore, despite being the short version, they are only just short enough!
However, overall, I am very happy with them and would recommend them for anyone looking for some fairly hard-wearing but not overly expensive waterproof trousers, particularly if, like me, you have little legs!