Honestly, I’ve been bombarded (okay, stop peering over your glasses, I’ve been asked a handful of times) since I wrote about what you need on the DofE kit list, asking for more advice and tips on kit; ‘Which are the Best Walking Trousers for DofE’ (see below), ‘Will my kid be okay in trainers for the first one’ (possibly, but not ideal), ‘can they carry eggs for breakfast’ (yes, but very c a r e f u l l y…).
So as I honestly need no excuse for a little shopping research, I thought I’d start with an easy one – the walking trousers.
Not now, not ever for hiking.
You might think they’re tough and practical, but when they get wet they get heavy and they stay wet. Awful.
First choice is usually sturdy cotton trousers – walking trousers are perfect, oddly enough. Remember if your teen is a cadet, they can walk in their MTPs, they’re perfect. Scouts can walk in their uniform trousers too.
We find that mens work trousers are actually some of the best Walking Trousers for DofE. And they come in a much wider variety of sizes and lengths than standard ‘outdoor gear store’ walking trousers.
They’re immensely hardwearing, will always have a fit that works for every body shape, and they have a huge array of pockets (never underestimate the usefulness of many pockets). I personally walk in mens work trousers in cooler months.
I spotted these really practical work trousers at engelbert strauss (no, I’d never heard of them either – but I now love them. This is no make-it-cheap outfit on the high street. Oh no. This is a fourth generation German family firm, which is Europe’s leading manufacturer of workwear. Cutting-edge technologies, state-of-the-art manufacturing, and in-house craftsmanship means apparel that really works. Like I said – I love!). The cargo trousers have ‘two very spacious side pockets, two large functional thigh pockets, mobile phone pocket and tool compartment all with flap and Velcro fastening. The elasticated waistband ensures a comfortable fit without restricting movement. Metal fly zip and waist adjustment button.’
If you’re looking for something a little sleeker and lighter, then these Trek II Women’s Trousers from Mountain Warehouse are reduced from £35 to £15!
The polyester and cotton prove a lightweight, easy to pack piece, which is ideal for travelling. With its multipurpose velcro pockets, the trousers offer easy storage. The super absorbent fibres mean the moisture is spread across the fabric, allowing to dry quickly, and this lightweight pair of trousers are compact and easy to pack away.
For a lighterweight men’s version, I’m liking the Forclaz Trek500 Mountain Trekking trousers from Decathlon – £25.
Typically, as these are men’s rousers they actually come with decent practicality in the pockets – 2 zipped hand pockets, 1 zipped left thigh pocket
1 right thigh pocket with flap and 1 internal smartphone compartment.
Elastic tightening system at bottom of leg for a perfect fit of the trousers over the shoe. These trousers also feature water-repellent areas (front of lower-leg, buttocks) to stop dampness from wet grass soaking in too quickly.
If you’re sure there’s not going to be a sudden chill factor in the wind, and you’re not scaling the highest peaks of Scotland, then in warmer months some walking shorts are just the thing. No hiker minds wearing shorts in the rain – skin’s the fastest thing to dry – as long as they don’t get cold with it.
And these Tuned In II shorts from Dare2B are the nicest I’ve seen – lightweight but practical, and reduced to £25 too.
‘Water-resistant trousers. Loaded with stretch. For mountain lovers. Made from durable woven nylon fabric with elastane for full-motion stretch. Water-resistant. Straight regular fit. Shockcord waist for fine-tuning. Reinforced hems to keep them stronger for longer. Multiple pockets including zipped ones to secure your adventure essentials. Take them hiking, cycling and camping, all in one day.’
But actually? Our teens (boys AND girl) much prefer hiking in running tights – and they’ve converted me too. They really are the best Walking Trousers for DofE. There’s zero restriction of movement which you can get with sturdier trousers, they dry almost instantly, they’re super-cheap and you can always layer up with your waterproofs in really chilly weather.
They don’t come with any kind of practical pockets, they’ll not provide much protection against a biting East wind… but in the warmer months they are the most comfortable thing to hike in that I’ve found.
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