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As always, we're looking at the Rab Vertex Pants from the point of view of long distance trekking over tough terrain.
Test subject: Waist 33", Inner Leg: 30", Height: 5ft 8"
Test item: 2015 version, Colour = "Camo", size = Large, Short Leg
Kit Tests: Summer (multiple)
Disclaimer: None required (item not provided by manufacturer)
|Materials: Matrix SWS™ (Nylon / Elastane)||93% / 7%|
|Weight (Size Large, Short Leg)||272g|
|Product Sizing Reference: 33" Waist, 30" Inner Leg =||Large, Short|
Introduction: Peak Trouser?
Rab's Vertex Pants are made from Rab's Matrix SWS (Single Weave Stretch) fabric which uses a mix of nylon and elastane; the nylon making them tough and durable, while the elastane provides the stretch.
Rab's Vertex Pants are incredibly light and seem rather insubstantial on first inspection, yet in use, one soon realises they're extremely tough, offering excellent protection, from the sun, wind and harsh, rocky terrain (just don't fall into a cactus ... trust me). For scrambling they're ideal, there's absolutely no restriction on movement, even during extreme stretches for distant foot-holds.
Simply put, they're a joy to wear, you hardly notice them on, and as breathable as they are, they're also impressively wind resistant. Everything is finished to a very high standard, and it's going to be a thankless task to fault them. Can trousers get any better? Or have we reached peak trouser? Only time will tell. We just hope Rab don't decide to try and "fix", what is so evidently not broken.
As you can tell, Scramble and very much its editor, are big fans of Rab's Vertex Pants, and perhaps not for all the most orthodox reasons.
In terms of fit, I'm in between Rab's medium (32") and large (34"), and found the large (though they require a belt) to be a nice, loose, but not baggy fit - a perfect fit for hot weather. Rab sensibly offer three leg lengths (short, regular and long) and the short is ideal for a 30" inner leg.
The Vertex Pants have one low profile thigh pocket, which is large enough to stuff a Rab Boreas Pull-on into (which is what I tend to use it for).
There are two zipped, spacious hand-pockets, the right one featuring a handy internal clip for keys. All the pockets use YKK zips.
At the ankle there is a cinchable adjuster which uses very high quality shock cord (Keela take note). In hot conditions, the Vertex Pants can be rolled up over the knee without any fuss and, once there, do a good job of staying in place.
Any other business?
The Vertex Pants have articulated knees, twin poppers on the waistband, and sensible belt loops, wide enough to accommodate a 4cm belt / buckle.
Unlike Rab's Boreas Pull-on Hoodie (which we like), the Vertex Pants are very quick drying, as Rab claim. I've waded across rivers in these and they've been bone dry after a short while on breezy peaks in the afternoon sun.
As a rough guide, I would say that if nighttime temperatures are above freezing, then Rab's Vertex Pants will be fine during the day. Though superb in hot conditions, they are definitely not just hot weather trousers, and if you fortify your baselayer bottoms, you'd only need these and a Winter pair to cover you for year round trekking.
None. Except for the fact that Rab calls them "pants", apart from that, we can't find anything at all to complain about.
Conclusion & Rating
My Rab Vertex Pants have been scraped and dragged over sharp rocks, boulders, scree, cacti, thistles. Poked and snagged by branches, tangled in vines and attacked by Rottweilers. They've handled it all fine. Me? ... not so much. Extremely light, tough and durable, yet stretchy, breathable and very comfortable, the Vertex Pants offer a surprising degree of protection from the sun, wind, prickly undergrowth and harsh rocky terrain. Absolutely ideal for long distance mountain trekking and scrambling, Did Rab design these specifically for Scramble? ... No, but they might as well have. Rab's Vertex Pants are our top pick in the Lightweight Softshell Trousers (not pants) category.
Rating (out of 10)
* The value score is derived from two factors:
1) Competitive Market Price (CMP). This represents our judgement of a competitive online price point if we were to stock the item. e.g. if we feel we would need to sell an item at 40% off (i.e. 60% of its full RRP) to be competitive, then our CMP score will be 6/10.
2) Customer Value Price (CVP). We then make an honest appraisal of the maximum price we would be willing to pay for the item (and we're mean). So if we'd pay 80% of its RRP our CVP score would be 8/10.
We then average the two scores to get our final value score, which in our example would be 7/10.
Last Updated: 15/04/17