Klättermusen’s ‘Gere’ trousers (or “pants” for you Americans) are part of their range of ‘soft-shell’ trousers. Named after one of Odin’s two wolves, the trousers are not quite your typical soft-shell material (think fabric with liberal applications of DWR) but rather they look and feel much closer to cotton. UPDATE [May 2016]: Klättermusen have released a version 2 of these trousers. Looks like they have improved belt loops and slightly re-designed pockets. This is what Klättermusen have to say:
As comfortable as a pair of extremely soft stretch jeans, but they last 5 times as long, dry 5 times as fast and are 10 times as windproof. The fabric is woven from a unique yarn that combines many desirable qualities. It is extremely hard-wearing, stretchy, soft and wind resistant. These properties make the most comfortable and most hard-wearing pair of trousers ever. Over the last five years we have tried to develop a heavy-duty stretch cloth that combines good wind resistance with a soft texture, but it wasn’t possible until we found this particular yarn. The shrinkage process that provides the stretch also closes all the gaps in the cloth, providing good windproofing without too much rigidity. Intended for all outdoor adventure activities. Perfect for hiking, trekking and climbing.
…but enough of the marketing talk, what do I think…
The fabric, according to the product spec, is 95 % recycled polyamide and 5% elastane. The analogy to jeans to pretty good (the fabric weight is about the same) and there is a slight give in the material. The stretch is not so much as to be immediately noticeable when wearing, but it’s definitely there – there’s none of this fancy 4-way stretch business, just a slight give in the material running parallel to the leg. The fabric feels pretty robust and it’s fairly rough to the touch – I certainly wouldn’t say they’re as soft as a well-worn pair of jeans even after a couple of years worth of wear and washing. The close-knit of the yarn does indeed make them fairly windproof, but they are by no means stiff to wear. Klattermusen measure this wind-proofness by what they term ‘Mass Flow Resistance’ and these have a MFR value of 5. There’s quite a bit of detail about this measurement on their website and its worth a read for those of you interested in this sort of thing, but in brief, they say that these trousers are windproof to 10–15 m/s in winter conditions, or:
Ideal for more intense activities where moisture-wicking and breathability are important but you still need to be shielded from wind.
The cut of the trousers are pretty straight (not tight) with pre-curved knees. The cuffs are edged with webbing material which is a nice touch, and the only material reinforcement to be found. The main seams of the trousers that would normally run down the inner leg have been curved so that from starting at your crotch they end up at the back of your heel. I wouldn’t say this makes a great deal of difference to the feel of the trousers, although they do hang slightly differently over your knees in a pleasant way. Almost all the seams on these trousers are curved (certainly all the long ones in and around the leg and crotch area) and they all curve in the right places making them feel pleasantly tailored.
There are plenty of pockets, and in my opinion they are one of the best designed parts of the trouser. There are two front, two back and two on your thighs and all are wonderfully deep and easy to get into. The front and back pockets are lined with fine mesh which has considerably stretch and improves breathability without running the risk of keys and the like getting caught. The thigh pockets have decent (plastic) YKK zippers with baffles on the outside and are sewn over the main body fabric. Again the entrance is pretty wide, making it easy enough to get a gloved hand inside and are a good 20cm deep. Its worth noting that the hip pockets do not have zips, and being wide and easy to get you hands into also means debris/snow etc. can easily make its way inside too. That said, it’s never been an issue with me and if you’re wearing these skiing then you’re wearing the wrong trousers in my opinion…
Other features of the trousers include ankle adjustment via an elasticated cord and cord lock – it seems to work fine, though it’s not something I tend to use on trousers. The cord-lock is cover with a triangle of fabric and held down by a flimsy piece of velcro. There is also a plastic gaiter-style hook on the front – again not something I’ve ever really used, and I guess it is supposed to be used in conjunction with their steel stirrup kit for gaiter-style lock-down (see here).
Finally, these trousers have side vents for warmer days. This is, perhaps, the best example of attention to detail and thinking this product through – the zip is baffled and stitched at the back to aid air-flow into the trousers, and the whole opening is lined with the same fine-mesh seen in the pockets. This stuff is definitely bug proof, and (frankly) I’ve seen so many otherwise decent pairs of trousers fail to have this simple feature. For what is basically the biggest opening in the whole garment (excluding the waist) you’d have thought more manufactures would think about adding something to stop mosquitos/midges/ticks etc. have such an easy time getting to your privates.
In conclusion, these are a pair of trousers with great attention to detail, and some lovely features. They’re not overtly outdoor and not covered with reinforcements in areas that never even see the ground. They are definitely expensive, but you won’t regret spending the money. For people who have never owned a piece of Klättermusen gear, you owe yourself the favour of buying at least one item…
Would I buy this again: Yes (unequivocally)