Over the ski touring season we’ve tested a couple of products from Haglöfs. The first of these being the Rando Flex Pant. So how were they?
The Haglöfs Rando Flex Pant is what they call a: “Durable, fully equipped Soft Shell stretch pants that are perfect for randonee.” Randonnee is actually a French word meaning excursion and can refer to a few different things but in the case of the Rando Flex Pant, it is talking about ski touring.
Here at CGR we’ve used the Rando Flex Pant on a number of ski touring excursions and have been generally quite impressed. As they are aimed at this activity we have not used them for an awful lot else but there is no reason why you couldn’t wear them for general mountaineering or ice climbing. However, the cut of the trouser is definitely more aimed at skiing as it is quite roomy/relaxed in the leg and I would generally prefer something more fitted for out and out climbing. For ski mountaineering they are perfect though.
Starting with the fit I quickly noticed that they are quite big for their size. I have a 30 inch waist and my test pair were size small (which equates to a 30 inch waist). The waist seemed very roomy for the given size (I hadn’t lost weight!) and I was glad of the integrated belt and simple braces system to help keep them positioned on my waist. The zippered fly worked smoothly and was accessible even with gloves. The high quality press studs on the waist were secure and easy to open and close.
The leg length worked fine for me, I have a regular inside leg (32 inch) and the Rando Flex Pants were neither too long nor too short. The cut of the trousers was quite relaxed without being too baggy and they worked fine with or without long johns, providing excellent freedom of movement. This comfort and freedom of movement was aided by the articulated knees and offset side and inner leg seems, the latter also helping to ensure there was no undue chafing! They fitted easily over ski boots, even when the cuffs of the boots were loosened (in walk mode) whilst skinning uphill. A zippered opening on the back helped with this but actually the trousers would have been fine without. I also liked the simple internal gaiter which provided a good seal around the bottom of my ski boots with it’s silicone grip.
The Haglöfs Rando Flex Pant is a softshell pant, it isn’t waterproof. The non membrane stretch FlexAble fabrics provided decent weather resistance to wind and moisture and with the aid of the DWR finish, repelled rain or wet snow adequately enough that I didn’t feel like I needed to put waterproofs on if it was just a shower. The fabric seems to be tough as well and I have yet to see any signs of wear and tear. The abrasion patches around the ankles have stood up to crampon and ski edge abuse too.
The demands of ski touring in Spring conditions can mean that you need something that regulates your temperature efficiently and the Haglöfs Rando Flex Pant did this extremely well. They are a very breathable trouser and I really liked the closed mesh backer on the inside as this did a good job of feeling comfortable next to my skin and wicking moisture away. If things got too hot on the climbs then the huge vents on either leg, regulated my temperature quite nicely but could be securely zipped up for the descents. If it was really cold I added thin wool long johns underneath.
To finish off the package the Haglöfs Rando Flex Pant has 3 zippered pockets to keep valuables, lip balm and suncream close to hand.
All in all I found these trousers to be perfect for ski touring and ski mountaineering. The cut, whilst quite roomy was great for skiing in and the fabric was very comfortable and durable. The braces were super easy to use and adjust. If you are looking for one pant to do all jobs in the mountains then this is perhaps not the best choice but for Randonnee it is ideal.
- RRP: £179.99
- Visit the Haglöfs website.
I need to replace my old Patagonia Backcountry Guide pants for my all round Chamonix ski-touring, ice climbing and mixed climbing pants (mainly ski accessed). Do you think they’ll be too baggy for climbing? I thought the Arcteryx Psiphon would be a better fit for climbing, but they don’t have braces and vents.