Historic Range: $15.00-$60.00
Durable and comfortable general-purpose hiking trousers. Plenty of pockets, but could do with a second cargo pocket.
- Zipped security pocket behind both hip pockets
- Map-sized cargo pocket on right leg
- Mobile phone pouch inside cargo pocket
- Reinforced seat and knees
- No cargo pocket on left leg
- Cargo pocket velcro fastener not secure
- Material lacks stretch
Craghoppers Classic Kiwi pants. They come with a free belt, but the one in the photo is my own addition
“Kiwi” is a favourite brand name of British company Craghoppers. The company’s current product lineup includes the Classic Kiwi, the Kiwi Pro, the Kiwi Trek and the Kiwi Explorer. And these are just trousers. There are still more Kiwis in the company’s range of shirts and jackets.
This review is about the Classic Kiwi trousers, which Craghoppers describes as a best-seller with a story that goes back 20 years. I can believe this because, besides owning a pair myself, I have seen many other walkers and even ordinary tourists sporting these trousers. Indeed I’m surprised that I’m the first person to review them on this site, although I know that there is a review of the convertible version.
The trousers are well featured. They have an elasticated waist. They have a reinforced seat and knees. They have plenty of pockets—nine in all, to be precise. There are the usual hip pockets, plus a zipped security pocket behind each hip pocket. There are two pockets, also zipped, at the back.
Then there is a map-sized cargo pocket with a mobile phone pouch inside.
Mobile phone pouch inside cargo pocket
Finally, there is a little zipped security pocket hidden behind a pleat on the outside of the cargo pocket.
All those zipped pockets make these trousers great for travel as well as hiking. However, the pockets fall short in two ways. Firstly, the cargo pocket fastens with a single small strip of velcro. Over time this can lose its adhesiveness and on my trousers it no longer fastens securely.
Secondly, only the right leg has a cargo pocket. If you were walking with a guidebook and a map you’d have to keep both in the same cargo pocket. This is also the place where you are meant to keep your mobile phone. All told, those are a lot of things for one pocket. It’s a pity there is no cargo pocket on the left leg.
The trousers come with a free belt, although this feels a little flimsy. When I’m carrying my 65-litre rucksack I like to rest its hipbelt on the belt buckle of my trousers, because this helps keep the rucksack in position (see top photo). I wouldn’t do this with the Craghoppers belt, so I replaced it with a two-inch belt. The trouser belt loops are wide enough.
The trousers are comfortable. I know that European sizing is supposed to run smaller than US sizing, but I have a pair of 5.11 Stryke trousers in the same size as my Classic Kiwis (34 long) and both fit me equally well.
The Classic Kiwis are made of a quick-drying polyester-cotton blend. I would describe the material as medium gauge in the sense that it is not for hot weather, but it is not heavy either. If trouser weight is any guide to warmth, my 34L Kiwis weigh 443g (just under 1lb).
The material is durable. I have had the Kiwis for nigh on three years and they are still in good condition, apart from the velcro strip on the cargo pocket.
The only drawback to the material is its lack of stretch. A bit of stretch can make life easier when you are tackling a steep ascent. If Craghoppers could add some stretch and a second cargo pocket to these trousers, and if they could find a more secure means of fastening the cargo pockets, they would have me buying them till I get too old to walk. And even then I’d probably go on buying them out of nostalgia.
Source: bought it new