It’s easy to get bogged down with the feeling that outdoor clothing often becomes too similar, plenty of options but not enough choice. Despite that notion, good pieces must not be overlooked. The Salomon Wayfarer Mountain pant is one example of outdoor clothing that does just what it should. Even though Salomon might not be everyone’s ‘go to’ name for hiking clothing, the French brand have impressed here.
The Salomon Wayfarer feature Salomon’s own Advancedskin Shield softshell fabric, and as far as softshell goes – it ticks all the boxes. At a weight of 387g for a mens medium, these are a lightweight trouser designed for three season use. Despite how thin it feels, the material is double woven and so there is still a good amount of durability. Even a week of scrambling around on Gneiss and Torridonian Sandstone in Assynt (Northern Highlands) didn’t challenge the Salomon Wayfarer. Whilst its not common practice to slide down rock faces when scrambling or hill walking, scraping against them can be common place. With the addition of heavier, ripstop reinforcements on the seat, knees and inner leg; you could be confident that these trousers would take some hammer. These heavier panels give extra confidence on the high wear areas, and the fabric used would help prevent potential damage from crampons if these trousers were to be used across milder alpine months. In wetter weather, these also seem to stop the annoying soak through of rain water into your socks.
In terms of overall weather resistance, the Salomon Wayfarer Mountain Pants prove a sound investment again. Perhaps one of the most water resistant lightweight soft shell materials that I have used in recent times, standing up admirably against persistent drizzle and steady showers. In a number of instances that would usually prompt a reach for over trousers, the Wayfarer pant continued to put up good levels of protection. One particular trip consisted of indecisive weather – stop, start rain for the majority of the day. In summer, it can be particularly frustrating to have to continually don the waterproofs only to take them off again twenty minutes later. Even once they eventually wet out, the Salomon Wayfarer proved to be very quick drying. In the interest of less fuss, this certainly is a good trait for softshell clothing; and what it should be used for. Holding out all but the worst weather, and drying quickly should it finally succumb to the elements. These trousers do just that. After extended use between washes or on multiday trips however, the performance does wane somewhat. The material begins to give in a little more easily. Nothing that a good wash doesn’t fix though.
The Salomon Wayfarer are cut with a reasonably close fit, articulated knees, gusseted crotch, and have an integrated belt. While weather resistant, the material also has a four way stretch. All of these things provide a comfortable wear whether hiking or engaging in something more active. The stretch and articulation in the knees comes into great use when scrambling – allowing unrestricted freedom of movement, although the elasticated ankle cuffs do ride up a little. When the zips at the ankles are open, the cuffs still fit too tight to the leg and will not slide back down over the top of boots. In addition to remaining ‘bunched up’ above the boot when stretching, this can also allow small bits of debris to enter the top of the boot. The ankle cuffs are probably the only negative point to the design overall. If they had been left loose (without elastic), I couldn’t fault the comfort of these trousers at all. When using lower cut boots or trail shoes, the ankle cuffs felt alot less noticeable. Despite this slight annoyance, the Salomon Wayfarer were still a good choice for scrambling and so would likely suit for climbing too. When walking, the ankle cuff did not cause any issue and infact – the elasticated cuffs held well if walking was the extent of activity.
The Salomon Wayfarer are a good pair of softshell trousers that do just what they should, but with a few small niggles. While the weather protection can fade after heavy use and the design of the ankle cuffs can cause annoyance when getting up to anything more demanding than hiking, they do tick boxes. The weather resistance is initially very good, and the material is also durable with good levels of stretch. Overall, the Salomon Wayfarer are comfortable when hiking – even over long distances – and the reinforced panels on high wear areas will increase durability if used scrambling or climbing. Four way stretch and intelligent cut also give good freedom of movement. Well constructed, featuring Salomon’s Advanvedskin Shield fabric which provides UPF50+ protection and follows the Bluesign standard.