*Competition Time - Details at the end*
A good pair of walking trousers can go a long way (ha, see what I did there? Honestly, I should get paid for this comedy gold…), but it’s tough to find the right trousers and it’s through trial and often expensive error that we find our preferred fit, style and design. The one common ground is that we want comfort and flexibility, with anything else being a benefit.
Keela have taken their extensive knowledge of outdoor products and developed the Peru trousers to provide just such an option along with an added benefit which we’ll look at later.
Peru trousers - Image courtesy of Keela
The Peru is made with a 96% Nylon, 4% spandex mix and is part of Keela’s Stretch-Tec series. This means the trouser has the flexibility and robustness required to move and stretch with your own movements, rather than fighting against your natural rhythm. This gives you an exceptional level of spread when it comes to tackling any inclines, and there’s none of the tugging or resistance you’d find in a standard pair of trousers; the spandex element really gives a tremendous stretch capacity to the trousers and the overall feeling is one of freedom and mobility.
I took the Peru with me to Portugal and have also used it in and around the west of Scotland for various walks and treks, and throughout that comfort has been apparent, with no chaffing of delicate parts and no real build-up of moisture or sweat you can get with heavier materials.
Another element of comfort is the elasticated waistband, which is a brucey bonus as I seem to have once again gone up rather than down the scales. I opted for a 34” waist which is, er, snug, but the elastic waistband still makes it a comfortable fit. If it wasn’t elasticated, I suspect I wouldn’t be fitting in to them!
The knees are also articulated, which means there is again, essentially spare fabric there designed to accommodate the bend of the knee. This combines in with the Stretch-Tec ideal to create a very generous and forgiving bit of clothing.
There are six pockets in total, the first one being a left side map pocket with a Velcro flap. It has a centre split which means that when empty, the pocket sits fairly flush to the leg, but if you fill it, the space expands inside thanks to the extra centre split. I would have liked to have seen slightly bigger Velcro sections for ease of fastening with a full pocket, it’s often a fiddle with a map or other bulky documents in there to get the lid fully over and sealed. I also tend to use the Lonely Planet book as a marker for any walking trouser – does the map pocket take a Regional Guide, that being the biggest book size available? On the Peru it doesn’t – the flap doesn’t reach over to seal. It will take the smaller pocket guide however with no real problems.
There are also two hip pocket, both with a secondary inner pocket. The left hand pocket has a secondary YKK zipper closed pocket for cash and other small valuables, and the right hand pocket has what Keela term as a ‘secret’ pocket but as it’s completely visible thanks to a black fabric tab to help open the Velcro seal, it’s not really that secret. It also has natural openings at either side of the Velcro seal which runs the risk of small items falling out if you’re doing anything that challenges gravity. I feel just for security and peace of mind, that this would have been better served with a full strip Velcro seal. The black pull tab is doubled over though which means you can loop your compass string through it and keep it safe in there.
There’s also a final pocket on the back right arrse cheek, which again is a similar single Velcro square seal job with another black tab for easy release.
So with six pockets, you only have one which can be fully secured. For a pair of walking trousers, I would certainly like to have seen more in the way of full closure options, even if it was just with a full length strip of Velcro. It’s worth noting however that all the pockets are spacious, and could carry plenty of kit from compass to map,
Front zipper is YKK and a snap for the waistband which is sturdy and doesn’t pop off under pressure (see previous comment about the snug fit!) and the belt loops are 2” and have reinforced stitching at the top but not the bottom and throughout the rest of the Peru, it’s mainly double stitching.
Overall, it’s a flexible and comfortable garment that will move with you and ultimately, be forgot about whilst you’re wearing it, which is exactly what you’re after.
What the Peru does hold up its sleeve, is that it’s part of the ‘Insect Shield’ range, and has been treated with Permethrin which protects against the usual flying and biting monsters (See the Smidge review for more on those little buggers!). The Permethrin is fused to the fibres during the manufacturing process, meaning it’s resilient and firmly within the garment. Because of this, It remains fully effective for 70 washes before you see a slight drop off in performance, however Keela state that it will only be minor and should still function fairly effectively.
Linking in with the earlier Smidge review, these trousers were worn in Portugal and whilst walking, Smidge was applied to exposed skin. We all know though that some of the little swine end up making their way up the trouser legs, which is why you buy long walking socks. Whilst it’s a bit like the Simpsons anti-tiger rock, I’ll give the benefit of the doubt to the trousers as nothing managed to cause havoc up there over several days of walking in infested marshland next to rivers and still water.
This Insect Shield gives the Peru the edge over standard walking trousers and at £49.95 direct from Keela it’s actually very good value for money in comparison to some.
In terms of the actual wear experience, there's nothing that put me off the Peru. Even in the rain, whilst not fully waterproof, it is water repellent and so most of the water beaded and ran off, only the hemline got overly wet and that's just because of the bloody big puddles I had to wade through. It dries quickly and doesn't hold much in the way of odour after a hard trek. I've purchased so many different styles of walking trousers over the year, that it's a relief to find one that keeps it simple and does the job without overly complicating things or whacking on a huge price-tag. There are brand names charging far more for less.
Lightweight, comfortable as well as providing Factor 40 UV protection and giving you that added edge of protection with Insect Shield, the Peru fares well as a sound choice for extended walking or hiking trips, especially in the hotter weather that we’re (briefly) experiencing and comes with that Keela guarantee of a quality build from a homegrown specialist.
To win your very own pair of Peru trousers courtesy of the kind people at Keela, just comment below by filling in the blanks:
If I could go on a walking holiday anywhere it'd be ........ because.......
You've got until Thursday the 8th of June to reply, good luck!
(alright, I monged it and got June mixed with July. Sorry, prizes have been awarded. My bad. I'll rig the next one in favour of those who've posted after the proper close date)