Author Topic: Rohan Dry Frontier waterproof trousers (review)  (Read 652 times)

WhitstableDave

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There's a current topic about gear reviews in the Gear section that's spurred me to get around to posting one of my own. And with all the rain we've been having recently, I thought I'd offer a review of my waterproof trousers...  :)

When I first started walking for pleasure in all weathers, I would carry cheap overtrousers that I almost certainly bought from Mountain Warehouse. They were bulky and a real pain to get on - especially in a sudden downpour. And when the rain stopped, they had to come off again quickly, because I'd start to cook.

Something better was needed. One day, I saw Berghaus Paclite overtrousers (list price £110) on sale at about £60. They still seemed expensive at about three times the price of MW ones, but I took the plunge. They were - and are - brilliant! They fit neatly into a side bottle pocket on my backpack and I take them on almost every walk, the exception being if I take a second bottle on a hot day. They have three-quarter length side zips, which makes them easier to put on over boots, and the zips allow some ventilation when the rain stops.

But.. there were still a couple of issues. The first might not bother others, but the lack of pockets in the overtrousers proved very inconvenient. My nose runs like a leaking tap in wind and rain so I want easy access to my handkerchiefs and trying to reach trouser pockets via the waistband or side zips wasn't easy.

The second issue was completely down to me. I tend to be optimistic about rain... I don't mind getting wet for a while, because I expect the rain to stop and I'll soon dry out. That means that even though I'm carrying waterproof overtrousers, I tend not to bother stopping to put them on - and by the time I realise my mistake, it's too late. The last time I walked for hours with soaking trousers stuck to my legs - with my overtrousers still in my backpack - I decided another approach was needed!

So I investigated the possibility of waterproof trousers. I wasn't interested in water-resistant trousers, but trousers that I could wear from the outset on a day when persistent or long spells of rain was forecast... and not have a care in the world. I would be warm and dry, but not too warm. And that was the big question... I walk briskly and tend to get warm, and I hate being sweaty; would I cook in genuinely waterproof trousers?

After lots of online browsing, only one option looked attractive. I already owned a Rohan Vertex jacket and it had been amazing - waterproof of course, but also extremely breathable with its Barricade alternative to Gore-Tex. So I visited my local Rohan shop to take a look at their Dry Frontier trousers, which also use the Barricade system.

I'm used to wearing very light trousers and the Rohan ones felt a bit heavy. And I was surprised to find that the inner waterproofing layer wasn't bonded to the outer layer, making them seem a bit like the winter-lined trousers that I usually find too warm for energetic walking. I left the shop empty-handed... the Dry Frontier trousers aren't cheap at £125 and I didn't want to make an expensive mistake.

But my mind kept returning to the idea of proper waterproof trousers (especially when it was raining) and I eventually returned to Rohan, tried a pair on, and went for it. A 20% discount that day took the price down to a less eye-watering £100.

So what are they like? Well, the fact that I'm bothering with a review suggests that I'm happy... and I am. It didn't rain for quite a while after I'd bought them, but it's done little else during the past few weeks and I've worn the Dry Frontiers a lot. They haven't let in a drop of water, including during a four-hour walk in strong wind and non-stop heavy rain. There have been a couple of occasions when the sun has come out and I've been walking up a hill and my legs have started to get warm, but they cool down quickly when the going gets easier or the sun goes in. The trousers are cosy, but nothing like wearing winter-lined trousers - I expected them to be waterproof, but I've been absolutely delighted by how they also stay cool. Of course the temperature hasn't gone much above about 12C so far this winter and I doubt I'll wear the trousers once the weather gets warmer. But that's fine, because I quite like warm rain anyway!

I didn't like to pinch Rohan's photos and I didn't have any of me wearing the trousers, so I took a couple of photos of them on the floor, just to give an idea of what they look like. It was important to me that they didn't look like anything other than normal walking trousers. They have six pockets: two open hand pockets, two patch pockets with pop-fasteners, and two zipped back pockets. Rohan warns that the pockets aren't waterproof - as in, water can get in through the openings. But in practice, my jacket comfortably covers the four upper pockets and the contents have stayed perfectly dry. I can't say for sure (because I've not used them), but I expect the large flaps on the patch pockets would stop rain getting in.





One final thing... the coated outer material is in itself very water-resistant. Water droplets form and run off for a long time, but eventually areas of the outer material begin to get wet, especially where it rubs on something. However, the inside liner is completely waterproof and so my legs have always stayed dry.

From a happy and dry owner - the Dry Frontiers are highly recommended!  O0

pauldawes

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Re: Rohan Dry Frontier waterproof trousers (review)
« Reply #1 on: 18:43:04, 10/03/20 »
Good review, and one that I read with interest because I do prefer waterproof trousers comfortable enough to wear all day, to the faff of slipping over-trousers on and off.


I’ve got a couple of pairs of the old style baggy Paramo Cascada trousers which I like, but not sure what I’ll replace them with when time comes...in my experience the new Cascadas need constant re-proofing to maintain even a semblance of being waterproof.


Last time I browsed round an outdoor shop there were some Rab Kinectic pants that claimed to fit this niche (waterproof, comfortable enough to wear all day, reasonable number of pockets, fly, etc)...I might have taken a “punt” on those..but there were none in my size.

SteamyTea

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Re: Rohan Dry Frontier waterproof trousers (review)
« Reply #2 on: 18:54:57, 10/03/20 »
How do they stand up to repeat washing.
Have the shrunk at all?
Do they stay waterpoof?


Also
How windproof are they?  (can usually tell if your kneecaps get cold).
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WhitstableDave

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Re: Rohan Dry Frontier waterproof trousers (review)
« Reply #3 on: 22:32:24, 10/03/20 »
How do they stand up to repeat washing.
Have the shrunk at all?
Do they stay waterpoof?
Also
How windproof are they?  (can usually tell if your kneecaps get cold).
Repeat washing? Err, I was rather hoping that no one would ask that question. I suppose they'll have to be washed eventually, but perhaps not just yet...  :-[

I'm much more comfortable with the second question: they're very windproof.  :)

fernman

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Re: Rohan Dry Frontier waterproof trousers (review)
« Reply #4 on: 09:35:49, 11/03/20 »
I might have taken a “punt” on those..but there were none in my size.

You could have bought them online? Or maybe by the time you got home and looked at your bank account and bills you thought better of it.

Kukkudrill

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Re: Rohan Dry Frontier waterproof trousers (review)
« Reply #5 on: 22:16:00, 12/03/20 »
Excellent review - thanks.

I have two pairs of Rohan Dry Requisite trousers (bought on sale) which I use for work on rainy days. They're similar to the Dry Frontiers except that they don't have the cargo pockets on the thighs or the Velcro cuff strips on the trouser legs. I walk a longish distance from car to office and back and with these trousers on I can happily do the walk in the rain.

I also have a pair of Craghoppers Stefan trousers (also bought on sale) which are more hiking-oriented trousers. These are excellent too. But I tend to use them as casual trousers on rainy days. For long-distance walking expeditions I prefer overtrousers in spite of the hassle of putting them on and taking them off. Reasons are that in the countryside trousers get muddy as well as wet, so I can remove the overtrousers at the end of a day's walk and present myself at my B&B in a non-muddy state. Also, waterproof trousers keep the rain out but they still get wet on the outside, and being in contact with your skin they draw warmth away from your legs. On longish walks in my Stefans I've ended up with uncomfortably cold thighs. Overtrousers avoid this problem. But I probably feel the cold more than you do :)
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gunwharfman

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Re: Rohan Dry Frontier waterproof trousers (review)
« Reply #6 on: 20:43:30, 13/03/20 »
I started hiking with waterproof trousers but no longer wear them, I just use a rain skirt (£10 from Amazon) light as a feather and as long as I have my waterproof gaiters on I'm dry. The best thing about my rain skirt (I own another one as well) is that I can whip it on and off in seconds and because I use an Osprey Exos 48L rucksack, when it's not in use, I just stuff it in the narrow air space between the back grill and the fabric of the pack. I'm so practiced at it now I consider myself really 'quick on the draw' and I often don't even bother to stop walking as I quickly sort myself out. The only problem with my Amazon rain skirt is that I dislike the colour, a choice between light blue and white. I bought the light blue.

I often use a thin Peter Storm pair of waterproof trousers when I go running in the rain. I cut off the lower part of the legs with a pair of scissors and sealed the edges with a lighted match and wear my gaiters as well, the cut-off point is at the widest part of each leg, so much easier to get on and off, they now are just long waterproof shorts.

hufty

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Re: Rohan Dry Frontier waterproof trousers (review)
« Reply #7 on: 17:08:24, 18/03/20 »
For waterproof trousers that you wear all day I can highly recommend Hilltrek Double Ventile ones. Not cheap, but completely brilliant. Single layer ones are pants but the double layer ones work really well. Heavy compared to other options but I'm not a weight weenie and if you're wearing them all the time you don't notice anyway. Breathable, robust, never actually used by spitfire pilots, all the usual ventile attributes apply.

Right, I'll get my protective ventile hat on and wait for the fusillade...

WhitstableDave

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Re: Rohan Dry Frontier waterproof trousers (review)
« Reply #8 on: 18:11:52, 18/03/20 »
For waterproof trousers that you wear all day I can highly recommend Hilltrek Double Ventile ones. Not cheap, but completely brilliant. Single layer ones are pants but the double layer ones work really well. Heavy compared to other options but I'm not a weight weenie and if you're wearing them all the time you don't notice anyway. Breathable, robust, never actually used by spitfire pilots, all the usual ventile attributes apply.

Right, I'll get my protective ventile hat on and wait for the fusillade...

Thanks for that - I'd not heard of Hilltrek before. No fusillade, but having browsed the website I'm not tempted. As you suggest, the DV trousers are very heavy and although much is claimed about breathability, examples of use are limited to relatively sedentary activities such as wildlife watching. They're also claimed to be warm - something that I really don't want for brisk walking.  :)

hufty

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Re: Rohan Dry Frontier waterproof trousers (review)
« Reply #9 on: 18:59:10, 18/03/20 »
I wear them for the usual Lake District peak bagging but also for backpacking ie wild camping. Not sedentary but not fell running. On a sunny day in summer they would definitely be a bit much.

Bigfoot_Mike

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Re: Rohan Dry Frontier waterproof trousers (review)
« Reply #10 on: 21:00:36, 18/03/20 »
I have actually been to the Hilltrek shop. They used to sell Paramo as well as making their own outdoor clothing. As well as double ventile clothing, they also make clothes using Analogy fabric (similar to Paramo) combined with single ventile. I have tried neither combination. I did look at Paramo and their own Analogy jackets, but the Paramo sizing seemed on the small side and I didn’t think the material would last very long with me.

geordie33

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Re: Rohan Dry Frontier waterproof trousers (review)
« Reply #11 on: 08:19:09, 19/03/20 »
I also use these trousers.Shortly after buying them I was battered for 4 hours in the North Pennines by driving rain.Nothing got through them
As a hot walker I find them a bit warm but they definitely work
Incidentally I got mine of Rohans on line clearance site
Paid £50
If you send for them and they don't fit you can take them back to Rohans shops
Also bought a jacket down from near £200 to £95
That works as well