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Anyone who gets dropped by parachute into the jungles of Africa or the peaks of the Himalayas for a few days of outdoor survival knows to bring the right equipment along. My first choice of equipment in these scenarios would be Bear Grylls himself. And if I can’t bring Bear, and even if I’m only heading out to hike a Michigan trail in early fall, I’ll at least want a pair of his trousers – the Survivor Full Stretch Trousers available from Craghoppers. Durable and super stretchy, the Survivor Full Stretch Trousers are equally functional and comfortable.
- Fabrics: SolarDry polyamide elastane
- Weight: 450g
- Active fit
- Drying loops
- 6 pockets, 2 with zip-fastening
- Heel tape
- Part-elasticated waist at back
- Full stretch
- Lifetime Guarantee
- Price $90
The Survivor Full Stretch Trousers are great for a variety of outdoor activities, mainly due to the fabric: SolarDry polyamide elastane, which is very light, durable, and stretchy. The trousers offer belt loops although the elastic waistband does a more than adequate job. Two belt loops snap open to allow you to hang the trousers for a quick dry. Six pockets – two with robust zippers, two with hook and loop closures – offered numerous areas to safely store other gear or keep an assisted-opening knife at the ready.
When you touch these trousers you immediately notice the stretch in the fabric. It’s soft enough to be very comfortable yet durable enough to stand up to rugged outdoor conditions. And the “full stretch” is exactly that: an ability to stretch to allow maximum movement, no matter what your activity. The stretch also creates durability. Instead of giving way and tearing on a sharp edge, the trousers will likely stretch and remain intact. Craghoppers' SolarDry polyamide material is also light and fast-drying. With the elastane giving it the ability to stretch, the trousers have a good measure of water repellency as well. They’re not considered rain trousers but rain and splashed water just bead right off.
Trail hikes in Michigan and Ohio provided a baseline test for the trousers. Since some of the trails seemed to be created by raccoons instead of humans, I had plenty of opportunity to move through some dense brush. Branches, thorns, and thistles tried to tear at the trousers but could not inflict any damage. Occasionally a pointed branch would grab the stretchy fabric and hang on, but the trousers would simply stretch, which of course stopped my forward movement until I freed myself.
I wore the trousers while wading into a small muddy river with clay banks and plenty of stones. The SolarDry fabric resisted absorbing the water for a few minutes before giving in but easily enduring my kneeling and sitting in the banks. The trousers felt heavy coming out of the water of course but did not retain the moisture for long. It only took a short hike back before the trousers felt merely damp again. Never did the trousers feel uncomfortable—no seams scratched at my skin and despite the mud and water the pants never really felt waterlogged. A machine wash and dry returned them to like new condition—with no fading or shrinking or loss of stretch.
The Bear Grylls Survivor Full Stretch Trousers sell for $90 at the Bear Grylls online store and come in a range of waist sizes and lengths (short, regular, and tall). Two previous Craghoppers trouser purchases (34” waist and “regular” length) yielded a fit that was skinnier and longer than what I would have expected. As such, I ordered the Survivor Full Stretch Trousers in 36” with a “short” length. These fit me perfectly. For all around outdoor trousers with high functionality, durability, and comfort, $90 seems like a decent price. For only $10 more, however, I’d recommend getting the waterproof version.
Outerwear is a big deal in four-season Michigan and my friends and I are always on the lookout for the best gear. I’ve worn the Bear Grylls Survivor Full Stretch Trousers out on several excursions now and always gotten compliments. Ironically, they don’t associate the distinct look of the pants (black seat and knees) with Bear Grylls but they are intrigued at the functionality of a garment that can be extremely comfortable, stretch well, endure the outdoors, shrug off water, and safely store a wallet, phone, and other gear. Since the Full Stretch Survivor Trousers do all those things well, the garment gets high marks and my frequent recommendations to friends.
Image copyright Mark Kakkuri