So what should you be wearing this season? I have taken a look at some of the Cragging Bottoms that are available this year and have split the review down in to 3 main categories – ‘Bouldering,’ ‘Sunny Bolted Rock’ and ‘UK Multi pitch.’ This is just a guideline and I am not saying that you can’t Boulder in something that is in the Multi-pitch category. Equally the stuff featured for Sport climbing may well be suited to multi pitch routes in the UK … if we have a decent summer.

I have tried to avoid being subjective but equally I have tried to include general comments, where appropriate, that extend beyond just wearing this stuff for climbing.

As usual it has been a pretty difficult task as there is a lot of great stuff out there. There are no marks out of 10, no clap-o-meter or star rating and an item that is ‘fab’ is not necessarily any better than one that is ‘great.’


Trendy, loose, hip, baggy … in no particular order

Men’s Tecno Climbing Jeans (£59.99) XS-XL. These are a retro style trendy looking jean. Made from a very fine denim they aren’t at all restrictive and are pretty hard wearing. A tab of velcro on one of the back pockets would be good to stop your wallet falling out when you’re in the boozer. Expensive. E9.

Warl Pants (£45) 30″-38″ waist with 32″ and 34″ leg. These are lined, have a zipper at the ankle and have a nice loose cut that offer plenty of freedom. With a stripe down the leg these look a little like a pair of trackers or jimjams and won’t be everyones cup of tea. Fat Face.

Mantis Knicker (£45) XS-L. New for 2004 these long style shorts feel great, breathe well, dry quickly and offer plenty of freedom. Loads of attention to detail and they even have an elasticated toothbrush holder. On the downside the quick release buckle looks really naff and the velcro fly rips open every time you put your hands in your pockets (having said that I had a ‘sample’ pair and I have been told that this has been addressed). If these two details are sorted these will be great for 2005. Prana.

Sitdown Shorts (£49.99) S-XL. These shorts are made from some very hard wearing material and have lasted really well. On the plus side they have two deep generous thigh pockets, a velcro wallet pocket, a toothbrush holder and don’t restrict your movement. On the minus side the two front leg pockets have trendy looking cut out holes in them which renders them totally impractical and the velcro on the fly area has not lasted at all well. Franklin.

Men’s Crag Shorts (£30) 28″-38″. Made from incredibly hard wearing cotton canvas I unfortunately found these to be too warm. If it’s good enough weather to be wearing shorts I prefer something that is lighter and wicky. Having said that they are going to last a L O N G time and are actually a really great cut. Unfortunately let down by having a stupidly long belt which kept getting caught in belay devices. A5 – The North Face.

Pollicino Shorts (£34.99) XS-XL. These shorts are hard wearing but soft to the touch and feel great. The design is quite minimalist but they are a great looking pair of shorts. The minus points are that the rear pocket wasn’t really deep enough, the toothbrush holder elastic quicky disintegrated and the fly area kept popping open every time I sat down (some people may view this as a plus point). On the plus side a nice pair of shorts at a reasonable price. E9.

Montone Climbing Pants (£54.99) XS-XL A great pair of pants in a soft yet durable material. The velcro on the fly wasn’t as good as it could have been and they are a tad pricey but they look great, are well made and are dead comfortable. E9.

Nomad Knicker (£35) XS-L. A pair of below the knee shorts that are really comfy. They have a nice broad elasticated waist band and a very simple design. The (one and only) rear pocket could do with some form of closure but apart from that they look good, feel great and are well priced. Prana.

Women’s Mustique Pants (£30) XS-XXL in short or regular leg. A straight legged loose fitting trouser with good attention to detail. The button fly is a bit fiddly and dug in a few times when wearing a harness. Side pockets would have been a nice extra but these are a great price as they are. Sprayway.

Ilona Pants (£34.99) XS-L Jersey cotton pants in a very flattering style. They are quite stretchy and offer total freedom of movement at a great price. Nuff said. Franklin.

Sitdown Pants (£59.99) S-XL No fuss jersey cotton pants with a flatttering fit. Quite stretchy so no restrictions and dead comfy. A tad pricey though. Franklin.

Women’s Serenity Tights (£45) XS-L These are pretty tough and hard wearing and are quite a shaped cut. The roll up / roll down waist for harness wear / bouldering was a nice touch. Patagonia.

Borrego Pant (£40) XS-L A great Prana classic. Super soft brushed cotton with a straight leg fit and drawstring waist. Almost too nice to climb in but at a great price. Prana.

Women’s Active Pant (£35) XS-XXL Not the most flattering cut and fit and the colour that we had was minging. You can’t bend over without showing the world your knickers. Side vent zips. zips to flare the ankle area and a zip off section at the bottom to make a 3/4 trouser. Sprayway.

Women’s Venus Pants (£50, Shorts £35) UK8-16 These trousers come complete with a funky ‘pulley’ system to roll them up to a 3/4 length trouser. With great freedom of movement these are a comfortable and well thought out garment. Moon.

Women’s Denim Pant (£50) XS-XXL These feel quite clingy at first but because they have spandex and coolmax you soon get used to them. Not the nicest looking trousers. No fuss around the waist and so still feel comfortable when wearing a harness. Sprayway.

Sahara Pants (£44.50) UK8-18 with 29″-34″ leg. These are a great cut and fit in a really durable material. The toggles at the waist tend to dig in if you’ve got a harness on but they are great for bouldering and chilling out. Fat Face.

'Aprés Bouldering'

For chilling out or knocking around town.

Men’s Contact Jeans (£50) XS-XL A great pair of jeans for bouldering or just knocking around in. Quite a heavy material so really hard wearing. Moon.

Dorado Pant (£40) S-XL. These look almost too good to use out on the crag. A very simplistic style, really comfortable broad elasticated waist band, a couple of mesh lined pockets and a nice price make these trousers a big hit. Prana.

Fionda Denim (£59.99) XS-L Gorgeous pants that are almost too good to climb in. A straight legged lightweight denim pant that are really stylish and are quite neat for their size. E9.

Sunny Bolted Rock

Great gear for getting a tan in.

Mojo Short (£38) XS-XL. The waist band on these shorts is dead comfy and doesn’t bunch up under your harness. They provide total freedom of movement, have a couple of pockets and a (not very deep) rear pocket and are quick drying. Rated. Prana.

EU Cordillera Ascent Shorts (£38) S-XL. A great pair of ‘Long shorts’ in a stylish cut, with extra deep pockets and a zippered fly. They’ve also got a deep rear pocket with a magnetic closure (nice quirky touch). The waist band is dead comfy but the cord for doing them up is too thin and digs in a tad. Nike ACG.

Move Pants (£34.99) XS-XL. Made from strong but light cotton with a nice broad elasticated waist band these are the biz. They have quite a baggy cut and are great looking pants allowing full freedom of movement. No access at the fly though. Franklin.

Crux Pants (£29.99) S-XL. Made from stretchy cotton these pants are a little revealing but they are an absolutley brilliant pair of 3/4 length strides. I found them to be really comfortable, totally non restrictive and they are great value for money. Franklin.

Long Reach Shorts, Capri & Pants (£45) S-XXL & UK8-16. These below the knee shorts are made from a stretchy material that is pretty hardwearing despite being quite a light fabric. They feature UPF block and the Berghaus ‘Healthguard’ which is said to repel bugs and bitey insects (they were tested in winter and spring so this wasn’t put to the test). They are quite generous for their size but offer total freedom of movement. Berghaus.

Women’s Serenity Shorts (£30) XS-L A great pair of shorts that are very comfortable, flattering and unrestrictive. Patagonia.

Women’s Vogen Capri (£30) UK4-14 A loose fitting Capri pant made from soft material that offer a good range of movement and are a great summer pant. Very comfortable waistband. The North Face.

Womens’ Metle Tech ¾ (£50 – Pant £55, Zip off £65) UK 10-18 as short, reg and long leg. A great looking pair of 3/4 pants with contrasting patches at the knees and deep front pockets. The invisible zip looks great in theory but is a pain in the arse as it is quite stiff and fiddly. Nice, light quick drying material but at a price. Lowe Alpine.

Ripstop Knicker (£40) XS-L New for 2004 and are sure to be a big hit. These shorts are very flattering, are really well made and thought out and are extremely comfortable. Not sure about the drawcord around the knee but apart from that they offer a great range of movement and come in a great range of summery colours . Prana.

UK Multi-pitch

For those longer routes if you don’t want to be wearing you ‘Sunny Bolted Rock’ bottoms in our changeable climate:

Fasttrek Pant (£45) 32″-42″ and UK8-16 in various leg lengths. These may not look terribly fashionable but they are actually a great pair of pants. The belt didn’t sit too well with a harness on and kept getting tangled in the belay plate, but having said that I found them to be dead comfortable. They feature zippers on the thighs for venting off and are basically a well made pair of hardwearing trousers. Berghaus.

Escalade Pant (£60). S-XL. A really comfortable and durable, hard wearing pair of pants with total freedom of movement that have a lot of attention to detail (chamois lined waist, lined seat and knees, gusseted crotch, articulated legs). Not sure about the cinch down ankle cuffs. The popper is a little too slack and kept bursting open all the time (no they weren’t too tight) and the belt adjustment is way too fiddly but at least it is off to one side and away from ropes and belay plates. Mountain Hardwear.

Rapide Pant (£60) S-XL. These were a bit of a last minute addition and I only managed to get out a couple of times in them but I was well impressed. They are comfortable, stretchy, wind resistant and feel like they are going to be quite durable. A little big around the waist for their size and the belt loops look particularly unattractive but apart from that they seem pretty darn good. Bit pricey. Helly Hansen.

Max Pants (£50) S-XL. Quite a baggy cut that allows freedom of movement but they obscured my feet occasionally (the volume adjuster at the ankle didn’t make that much difference really). These pants didn’t really do it for me but I can see that they will be a big hit for some folk. I liked the extra flap of material in the pockets that stopped loose change dropping out when wearing them around town and they are very comfy out on the crag – just too baggy for my liking. Mountain Equipment.

Men’s Crag Pants (£40) 28″-38″ in regular or long leg. With a ‘relaxed’ fit these trousers are very comfortable. They feel indestructible and are a great price. The belt is a little fiddly and a tad too long so gets in the way with ropes and stuff. As with all The North Face trousers they have the ‘Never Stop Exploring’ logo inside the flies which is a nice extra touch. A5 by The North Face.

Zip-Off Pants (£70) 28″-40″ waist and UK4-18. I’ve never really been a fan of zipoffs but I must admit I did like the flexibility that these trousers offered. They are light, quick drying, versatile (you can even roll them up to a 3/4 length trouser) and comfortable. Unfortunately these have almost too many features, which is reflected in the asking price. Ouch. Patagonia.

Stretch Zion Pant (£55) S-XL. A pair of quick drying, breathable, stretchy pants that are dead comfy. The velcro on the fly could have been a bit more rugged and the zippers on the cargo pockets were a little fiddly. In use though you can adjust the length, they are non restrictive, have breather holes around the crotch area, are rugged and will last ages making these a trouser to be on the look out for. Prana.

Titan Pant (£50) XS-XL. Another great looking trouser from Prana. These have quite a light feel to them but are actually very durable and hard wearing. The rear pocket would benefit from some form of closure as a preference to having two ways to access the cargo pockets. Prana

Stretchlite DynamX Pant (£50) S-XL. Stretchy pants that are comfortable and hard wearing but that are also light and quick drying. The cargo pockets are very generous and all the pockets are zippered but the belt is really naff. Despite that these trousers offer SPF factor 30, are great for cragging and are tough and durable. Mountain Equipment.

Multi Pitch Pants (£45) Another late addition (so limited usage) but initial impressions are that these will be used a lot over the coming months. They are stretchy, comfortable and hardwearing. The zipper goes up rather than down which gives easier access especially while wearing a harness (although it makes it look like your flies are down all the time). Lowe Alpine.

Women’s Corrie Pants (£35) UK6-14 Mega tough material but not as stiff as you would have thought and so they don’t restrict movement at all. They are great pants that are let down by the really fiddly little belt and buckle. Well made and good attention to detail. The North Face.

Canyon Pants (£35). S-XL and UK8-16. Newly updated for 2004 these are excellent value. They are light in weight, so cool in hot weather, but are quite big for their size. Mountain Hardwear.

Unisex Ganymede Pants (£55) XS-XL Very durable and hard wearing cragging pants. The velcro at the ankle is almost superfluous and the belt is a bit naff but they are a great fit. Moon.

Boulder Pants (£45) S-L Cotton Lycra On some women these look great and for others they look awful. But if they are the ones for you then you’ll love them as they are nice and stretchy, with a broad waist band for comfort and a boot style cut. Good for pre climbing yoga! Thaw.

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Ben Moon 0114 249 1821
Berghaus 0191 516 5600
betaclimbingdesigns 0114 221 8332
Fat Face 02392 441100
Franklin 01629 580484
Helly Hansen 0115 960 8797
Lowe Alpine 01539 740840
Mountain Equipment 0161 366 2715
Mountain Hardwear 01572 724499
Nike 0800 056 1640
Patagonia 01629 583800
Prana 01457 877081
Sprayway 0800 605050
Thaw 01389 756409
The North Face 01539 738882