Gear Review- Fjallraven Barents Pro Trousers

10 May 2014

With summer nearly here, and with my focus on the desert, this may not be the time to write about a pair of pants that are more cold weather oriented. The Barents Pro trousers are described on the Fjallraven website as “durable trekking trousers for many adventures in the mountains and forests”, which to me translates to cold weather desert treks. I have yet to try them in hot weather, but I will try them this summer in the heat. But after stopping in to the Fjallraven store again yesterday (they are right across from my own shop on the West End of Pearl Street in Boulder), I am once again thinking about the quality, durability, functionality, comfort, and color of Fjallraven products. And especially the Barents Pro trousers.

The Pants
I bought a pair of these pants last fall, and have used them on two trips so far. On the first, last November, I wore them for 8 days. On the most recent trip I wore them for 12 days. And when I say that I wore them I mean that I never took them off. I hiked canyons, through thick brush, climbed around in canyons and on slickrock, waited out a couple of rain storms, tracked and viewed lots of artifacts (on my knees a lot), and slept in them. In both cases not only did the pants show almost no wear, but they hid all the signs of having been out for so long very well. I should note that I have the olive drab colored pants.

The Fjallraven Barents pro trouser in dark olive

The Fjallraven Barents Pro trouser in dark olive.

These are some of the best fitting bush pants that I have ever owned. They have a low waist, and carry no excess fabric anywhere. The knees and seat are double thick, with the knees being pre-shaped so that you do  not notice the thickness. The double knee fabric also forms a pocket which accepts a knee pad- perfect for the tracker. Knee pads are available from Fjallraven, or you can simply cut up a piece of closed cell foam pad and slip it in.

The Barents Pro trousers are made of wind and water resistant G-1000® fabric which comes waxed and can be re-waxed when it starts to wash out. The pants have 7 pockets including a large map pocket (which I am really happy with), and an axe pocket (which I do not have a use for.) The pockets have large, easy to manage snaps for closing them. They come in European waist sizes and one length which they call “raw length”. This means that you will have to get them hemmed- a benefit as I see it since they will fit me exactly. Even with all the features, they are a lightweight pant.

Barents Pro trousers pocket configuration.

The Barents Pro trousers pocket configuration- right side and left side. The axe pocket is the long pocket on the left side, down the side of the leg.

Colors in the Bush
And finally, while color may not be important to most people, it is very important to me, and can set me off on a rant quite easily…. When I am in the bush I must blend in; I cannot and will not use red, yellow, or orange clothing or gear. To me it is a form of pollution, just like people talking in loud voices as they walk down the trail, or leaving their trash in a campsite. I do all I can to buy gear in subtle, subdued colors. My goal in the bush is to blend in, to mentally and physically become part of my surroundings. Wearing blaze orange or its equivalent, unless I am hunting, is not an option.

Most Fjallraven products, including the Barents Pro trousers, come in natural, subdued colors that blend in with nature. The Barents Pro trousers are available in dark olive, dark grey, and sand. Unlike the vast majority of gear makers who apparently make gear for the campus, the club, and the mall, Fjallraven makes gear for the bush, for hiking, for outdoors. Point of note- I asked a couple of different REI employees why clothing is so bright and was given the stock, ridiculous answer that it was a safety issue. Americans apparently get lost a lot and bright colors help them get found. (Does this mean that Europeans don’t really get lost?) I asked a few employees at Golite about the color issue as well. They were quick to say that, unfortunately, colors are what the market wants. The three people I talked to also stated that they had trouble with the colors themselves and wouldn’t use them in the bush! End of rant.

For more on our desert adventures, and the occasional rant, visit the Desert Explorer website.

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