23 August 2017
The trousers are constructed from Mountain Equipment’s proprietary Exolite 210 double-weave soft shell fabric, which is very durable but also has built-in stretch for ease of movement. The face of the fabric is smooth for improved abrasion resistance and coasted with a DWR treatment for good water-resistance, while the inner is soft – almost fleecy in texture – giving excellent next-to-skin comfort.
These trousers are lighter on pockets than either the Fjallraven or the Haglofs trousers included in this round-up. You still get two small zipped hand pockets and one small rear zipped pocket, as well as two zipped thigh pockets, though these are too small to accommodate bulky items. However, the lower pockets are partly mesh-backed, meaning that they can be opened to act as thigh vents and cool the legs. The waistband is lined with microfleece for added comfort, while there is a double press-stud waist closure and an additional integrated waist belt – both of which we actually found slightly annoying. We’d prefer the no-fuss security of a standard button closure and belt loops.
The fit is fairly slim in the leg, with pre-shaped knees and a close cut to the crotch and seat. The stretch fabric means there is zero excess fabric to flap around, making them ideally suited to a range of active pursuits. The leg endings have ankle zips with an internal gusset panel for a secure fit with a range of boots.
VERDICT: The Ibex pants are ideal for the UK’s variable climate and versatile enough to serve as capable outdoor trousers almost all year round, striking a practical balance between weight and toughness. They’re lighter and cheaper than either the Haglofs or Fjallraven trousers tested here, and though they don’t have quite the same level of robustness in construction, they’re still well-made and durable. Our only niggle is the integrated and somewhat fussy waist belt, which seems a little superfluous.