Craghoppers Kiwi Stretch Trousers
It's a constant source of irritation to my wife, Caroline, that whenever we go to any kind of function I will throw on the first clothing which comes to hand and I will hear the same phrase time after time " you're not wearing that !" she will say. I have never been fashion conscious or I imagine, fashionable. But, when it comes to what I wear for archery I am very fussy, not because I want to look good or neat and tidy but because I want to be comfortable. Everyday clothing for me doesn't quite work for archery, either it is too restrictive or too baggy, I also need to be cool in summer, warm in winter, I would prefer not to be eaten alive by mosquito's in a damp wood and if the weather turns nasty I want to stay dry.
So when Craghoppers suggested we put some of their clothing to the test I wondered whether they could pass my stringent criteria. This particular review is of their Kiwi stretch trouser. I know that stretch clothing is available and I know that Caroline has many items of clothing like this, I imagine there is also plenty of clothing for men that is stretchy. Being an ustylish old hector I have never owned a stretchy anything and so the first thing I can say about these pants is "wow". I tried them on an crouched to test the stretchy properties and they are like magic, just expanding to fit without restriction.
Even before knowing anything other than the stretchyness of them they were an instant hit with me. In common with many outdoor garment they are cut firstly for functionality, having said that even though I am no guru, even I can tell they look good and wouldn't look out of place whilst just going shopping.
Now that the comfort box had been ticked I looked to see how many more of my fusspot criteria I could fulfil. They are lightweight, I can't stand thick heavy trousers, even in winter I would rather wear some leggings under thin trousers - but perhaps that's a little too much information !.
Something I hadn't considered was the protection offered from the sun, but Craghoppers obviously had as the blurb tells me that they offer protection in this regard.
With the weather here in England being so unpredictable, even the sunniest day can degenerate into showers unexpectedly and at some point we all get caught out without waterproofs to hand, and you know how I hate to be wet....... well, the material used for these has something called a smart dry nano finish, which sounds just like something I would want despite the fact I have no idea what it means. Some research tells me that they use nano technology to lock a water repellent treatment on to the fabric so that rain and spills simply run off, this is one of the first treatments to give water repellent without the use of fluorocarbons. I thought this sort of stuff only happened in Star Trek, I never for one moment thought it might happen in my pants.
The other plus points are that due to the lightness, the smart dry properties and the solar dry sun protection they actually dry very very quickly should they get wet or when they are washed.
The question is do they work for an archer ? Having worn them to several shoots I can give an emphatic and resounding "yes". A lot of lightweight pants use an elasticated waist - I really hate those because I like to wear a waist pack to carry water and odd bits, which will tend to make you trousers slip down ( lookin' like a fool with your pants on the ground !...). These trousers have a proper waist band and belt loops which for me are essential. The 2 side pockets are deep which again is high on my list of priorities because that's where I stick my tab whilst scoring and that is one thing I don't want to lose and to make sure I can't both of these pockets have zips.
There is one cargo pocket on the right hand side with 2 poppers.
This last weekend was terrifically hot, normally I would have worn shorts but I wanted to give these a proper test and was surprised to find that they were cool, so cool that I forgot all about them.For an archer they are excellent, the 7% elastine in the material means you can squat, crouch, bend and twist to peform all the contorted shots without the restriction that normal clothing might give.
Reviewed By Caroline, 24 May 2010
I have been an archer for 10 years and found that women often get neglected when it comes to archery. There are a lot of women archers and when Steve and Andy started reviewing clothing I thought it would be a great idea to address a womans view on what would be practical for us to wear.
Even before putting on Craghoppers latest Womens Kiwi Stretch Trousers I loved the feel of the fabric. It is lightweight, smooth and very stretchy. The material is made up of 93% Polyamide and 7% Elastane. I thought that they may be a bit warm for the sunny weather but not at all. I wore them on the one hottest day we have had so far and they were really cool and lightweight.
The cut is very flattering for us ladies, unlike some outdoor clothing for women where they can be a little baggy and mannish. The curved seam across the hips at the back ensures a perfect fit. This also incorporates a deep concealed zipped pocket so as not to spoil the neat fit of the trousers. There are also two front zipped pockets angled at the hips which are usefully deep.
I wore them for a shoot in the woods to put them to the test and they were not just fashion trousers dressed up as outdoor kit. They stood up to some rough practical wear too. As lady archers will know, on field shoots you encounter some awkward shots that mean getting into some uncomfortable positions to enable a good view at the target. With the elastane these trousers allowed for some very low crouching and leaning out to the side with complete comfort. No having to yank the knee area up to allow bending in these trousers. Climbing up and down uneven terrain was a breeze. No constant pulling up of the waistband, even with a full quiver of arrows, these trousers stayed in place. I liked the idea of the reinforced webbing at the back hem of the trouser legs to stop fraying that often happens with trouser hems.
These trousers not only look and feel good; they perform extremely well under tough conditions and are ideal for both target and field archery. With the added features of SmartDry Nano which makes them stain and water-repellent, is a sun protective fabric and quick drying these really are an all rounder trousers.
Features & Design
I have been racking my brains trying to think of something else they could add to these trousers or what other property they could incorporate and all I can come up with is an integrated quiver.. The design is excellent, the features well thought out and the addition of the s-t-r-e-t-c-h makes these superb archery trousers.
I asked for comfort, I asked for cool, I asked for protection, Craghoppers delivered and threw in pocket security, quick dry and sun protection
Value for Money
£45 seems very reasonable, most trousers offer less for more - first class value.
Next time you are looking for new archery pants these must be at the top of your short list - trust me I am an archer !