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Not for even slightly warm weather if walking, 20 September 2015
By Yorkshire hunter (South Yorkshire)
First the good...
These Jack Pyke hunting trousers are extremely well manufactured, the English Oak camo pattern is an excellent aid to help hunters and wildlife photographers (I'm a bit of both) blend into the environment, there are plenty of deep, handy pockets and they are a very comfortable, loose fit, a bit like heavy duty jogging pants. The price is very good as well.
Now for the not so good...
Although these trousers are a comfy fit, they can get a bit uncomfortable in that you can get very hot and sweaty very quickly in even in cool to slightly warm weather, especially when walking.
I know it will sound counter-intuitive, but I think the loose, comfy fit, which is how they are designed, i.e. how they're designed to fit, is the main problem with regards to breathability and keeping cool.
Before I explain, this is what Jack Pyke themselves say about the breathability of these trousers (see my further comments below it)...
Breathable garments allow a certain amount of moisture and vapour to be released. Levels of breathability range from 1000 – 25000 and is measured by how many grams of water vapour are able to pass through a fabric in 24 hours (MVT = moisture vapour transmission) This garment is 5000 gms/m2/24hr
Moisture vapour transmission relies on the existence of a temperature/pressure gradient between the inside and outside of the breathable layer. In other words the fabric works by equalising the pressure and heat between the inside and outside of the garment.
Once the body moisture reaches the inner face of the garment, it must pass through the fabric and then evaporate on the surface. If the rate of transmission is slower than the rate of extra vapour condensation can form on the inside
Breathable garments will not “stop” you sweating or producing moisture. This is a natural response. Breathable garments do allow drying to happen more quickly
Breathable garments work best at preventing condensation build up if they are reasonable tight fitting. This is because if the mid and outer layers are not in contact then moisture can come into contact with cooler pockets of air, so promoting condensation on the inside.
Breathable garments work best with manmade undergarments rather than cotton. This is because of the better wicking qualities taking and keeping the moisture away from the body
For a start, unfortunately the trousers are at the lower end of the scale with regards to breathability, i.e. 5000/25,000, but note also that Jack Pyke say that the breathability is more effective with tighter fitting garments.
I think that's where the problem lies, because these trousers are not tight fitting by design, in fact they are very loose fitting, i.e. they are very good regarding a comfortable fit, but not so comfortable with regards to breathability and keeping cool.
What happens is that because the fabric inside isn't against your skin as with tight garments, instead of the moisture being absorbed by the material and expelled, it tends to cause condensation on the inside which isn't absorbed and expelled very well through the mildly breathable material.
In practice, when I went out in them the first time on a late September evening at dusk when it wasn't very cold, but neither was it even slightly warm, I got sweaty very quickly to the point of my legs being wet. I could feel the condensation on the inside of the material and the humidity was quite uncomfortable. When I put my hand in one of my internal pockets, it was like putting it into an oven.
I've noticed the same thing with my Jack Pyke hunting jacket, although if you start getting sweaty when walking in that, you can just take it off for a while and sling it over your shoulder, but you can't take these trousers off when you get too sweaty and walk around in your pants, because it wouldn't be a good look and you might even get arrested;o)
I suppose they'd be OK if you were in a stationary hunting position waiting for your quarry to appear, or for photographers, but only if it's not too warm, and they may be OK in much colder, winter weather, although I haven't been able to test them in that climate yet.
Conclusion: The reason I've only given these hunting trousers 3 stars is because although the the material of the Jack Pyke hunting trousers is mildly breathable, the trousers themselves are effectively not breathable at all because of their loose fit, especially in mild/slightly warm temperatures and even more especially when walking, although they could turn out to be much more comfortable in that respect when stationary or in much colder weather, but as I said above, that remains to be seen as it would need to get colder first in order for me to find that out.
I may give an update when I've tried them in colder weather. Note that the problem I'm finding in mild weather could even be an ADVANTAGE in cold weather or maybe even WORSE due to the outside/inside temperature difference being more of a contrast. Note also that it could even be that I sweat more than most people and other folk might not find them as much of a problem, but I thought it was something that buyers might need to be made aware of. My advice would be to try them on in store and do a couple of laps in them and see what you think.
I will probably end up only wearing them in cold weather or in mild weather when I know I'm going to be stationary and get some thin, light weight camo joggers for the summer. They won't be water proof, but they dry quickly once wet and my gaiters will stop the bottoms getting wet when walking though long wet grass and will prevent water from entering the top of my walking boots.
In all other respects, i.e. the camo, workmanship and functionality, they are great. If the breathability could be sorted out, they would be fantastic all round.