The virtues of a thick, down jacket for winter walking is petty obvious. An uber warm top layer is one of the winter essentials on the hill that’s as likely to be left behind in the car as your boots, or bag of emergency Jelly Babies. Treating your pins to the same comfort as your torso is seemingly less popular, outside the Himalayas at least.
The Paramo Torres Trousers are designed to complement the Torres Smock or Torres Gilet, which you can put on as an overlayer on top of your wet kit in order to keep warm during stops. The theory being that you don’t need to remove anything in order to get warm. It turns the usual use of down jackets on its head, which don’t particularly like the wet snow that seems to be the usual winter precipitation around Snowdonia, preferring crisp and dry conditions. These take everything the damp, cool Welsh winters can throw at them.
So do the Torres Trousers from Paramo try and fill a niche that really isn’t there? If you spend a lot of time hanging about on the mountain in cold weather, then you’ll find these much more useful than stopping for a lunch stop. So if you’re attending a winter skills course, climbing or digging a snow hole then you’ll appreciate the added warmth. Likewise for winter wild camping, you can don these over your shell before you start to cool. Even if you’re stopping for a long lunch, they add an extra dimension of comfort. No more shifting after twenty minutes because you’re getting cool.
An additional advantage is that carrying these along with a decent jacket gives you a winter survival system. If the worst does happen, and you end up stranded then at least wearing these along with a survival bag or bivvy would keep you safer and more comfortable. There’s just enough water repellency on these to prevent them getting overly wet as well, but if worn for long periods over Paramo ‘proofs then you’ll still remain dry and the insulation remains effective even when wet. The knees and the seat have also been reinforced, so you don’t need to worry about damaging these areas, while the areas that will see less action are constructed from lighter weight material.
The only thing we don’t like about them is the complicated closure system. It’s so complicated that Paramo have decided to post a video in order to explain how to use them. This is the same as on the Quito Trousers, and we felt that it seriously affected the functionality of those trousers for us. While we’re not keen on the system it seems more appropriate for the Torres as you’re going to be wearing these whilst still as opposed to walking great distances. It also means that you can, with some practice at home rather than with cold gloved hands, put these on without removing your boots or trousers.
In summary, we find these as an exceptionally useful bit of winter kit but one that may just be an added luxury in most people’s rucksack. Whilst we’re not keen on the closure system it works better on the Torres than on the Quitos, and something we need to work on mastering in the field. If you do winter wild camp, then despite their weight we think that an extra layer like this is essential. You can slink off into your bag the minute you set up camp, but the Torres Trews keep you out of your bag and moving about, which in turn keeps you that little bit warmer.
Gallery to follow once we get some more photos in conditions that don’t hide the kit! Just goes to prove that we don’t test this kit out on a puny little hill; we test them in the field, usually one high in Snowdonia, and under whatever conditions are thrown at us.