My used-and-abused Lowe Alpine 3xDry Schoeller Extreme Dryskin trews from TKMaxx are still going strong. They've been my default trews in all conditions, as they're warm in the winter yet cool in the summer, and they have great wind-proof qualities. I've proofed them with TX.Direct and they shed rain really well. However, there are times when they don't quite fit the bill. Although the fabric is tough and durable, and cut is "technical", they're a tad lacking in finesse - there are no venting options, no ankle-closure options, no "keepie-uppie" options. I needed to find something a bit more... versatile... and cheap!
That's where Elaina came to the rescue. Her post mentioned some suitable-sounding trews and soon we (me and the family, not me and Elaina) were racing off to the Nottingham branch of Decathlon. The men's version of their Quechua Bionnassay trews were duly tried on by me, bought by Chris and stashed away as a Christmas pressie. Since unwrapping them I've worn them most days in the worst lowland weather that we've had, and they've been great. I've no doubt that they will perform well when they eventually escape to the hills.
So, what do you get for under 40 notes?
- A fabric that's very similar to Schoeller, but without the textured inner surface of the high-grade stuff. It's tough and durable, with just the right amount of stretch. It's billed as "Splash proof but not waterproof, not suitable for rainy weather", but when treated with TX.Direct it's got good waterproof qualities. All zips are dependable YKKs. The stitch-work isn't the neatest in the world but it's safe and strong.
- A part-elasticated waistband with popper and fly. There's also a triple-elasticated velcro-adjustable shoulder strap which fits onto loops on the waistband, and which is easily detached. If you've got a short torso you might want to reposition the velcro on the front and cut off the excess straps. The website pics show what appear to be belt-loops but they aren't on the trews that I have.
- Two decent-sized fleecy-lined (not net-lined as per the website spec) hand-warmer pockets and an unlined upper-leg pocket. All three have water-resistant zips.
- Good-sized and well-positioned mesh thigh vents, closed/opened with water-resistant zips.
- Shaped single-layer knee-sections to allow good articulation. Not reinforced as stated in the website spec.
- Well-protected ankle areas thanks to large patches of reinforced heavy-duty fabric.
- Ankle closures - zipped with velcro tabs. The fixed velcro needs to be longer to allow the tab to be pulled further around the ankle.
- Zip-off internal gaiters with water-resistant lower and high-stretch upper sections, closed with a velcro strip. The hem is elasticated and lined with a grip-strip, has a two-position popper and a lace-hook for keeping them snug against whatever footwear you're wearing. The lace-hook webbing needs to extend beyond the hook to give something to grip while wearing gloves, I'll probably add some sort of puller to it sometime soon. The fixing zips are baffled so there's no zip-chafing when wearing these trews without the gaiters. Contrary to the website spec there are no under-shoe straps, which is no big deal for me as I hate the things.
- A good fit. Yes, I know that we all have different body-shapes, but there's no denying that the waist/leg-length ratio of these trews is biased in favour of the taller figure. I've had a look at the way they're put together and reckon that it would be possible to lose a couple of inches off the length between the knee-sections and the tops of the ankle-sections, if necessary, but so far I've not felt the need to shorten them.
So, they're similar to what the ad promises, but there are quite a few differences. I knew what I was going to get, having seen them prior to purchase, but I would imagine that some folk who mail-order them might be puzzled.
Performance-wise they do well. Windproof, snow- and shower-proof as bought, waterproof when treated, and the vents actually work. They are comfortable to wear, stretching and bending in just the right places with no chafing. The shoulder-straps are effective and fit well, and the fit to footwear is adjustable and secure. Weight-wise they're middling - the dry component weights are as follows: trews 666g, shoulder-straps 76g, internal gaiters 43g each, giving a total of 828g. For the domestically-capable, they wash at 30C, dry on a cool tumble and, if you're odd enough to like pin-sharp creases in yer trews, can be ironed on a low setting.
These pics should be fairly self-explanatory. Click them to see bigger versions: