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Gear Review: Pakka Overtrousers from Mountain Warehouse

Anyone who has spent any time outdoors in Ontario this season is going to have at least one "and we got rained-on" story. Earlier this week, Emma and I added another rain story to our list, as we paddled and portaged for over three hours in the rain. The weather conditions weren't great for starting off our three-day canoe trip, but they were perfect for trying out rain pants I bought a couple of years ago, but haven't been able to really put to the test. Here's my review of the the Pakka Waterproof Overtrousers from Mountain Warehouse. (Seriously. They are called Overtrousers. It's a British thing.)

Test result #1: Three hours of steady rain and slogging over muddy, wet portages is a great way to put your rain pants to the test.

I bought our pants from the Mountain Warehouse at our local mall a couple of years ago. They initially caught my eye because they are light-weight and very packable and very reasonably priced. Currently, they are $24.99 at my local store, which is considered an outlet. 

I have to admit, I debated about buying the pants at first because I had never bought any gear from Mountain Warehouse – a relatively unknown outdoors store in Canada. And then there is the whole idea of “You get what you pay for”.  When it comes to outdoor gear, this is often very true. Would a pair of $25 rain pants meet our needs in the wilds of Ontario? I decided to give them a try and bought a pair for Emma and I.

This week, we wore our pants paddling three lakes and walking two portages in steady rain. Anticipating the weather that was heading our way, we put the pants on at the put-in at the start of our trip. I was a bit worried they’d feel restrictive and hot. But I was more concerned about staying dry on our journey, so we put them on before it actually started raining and we were still dry.

Test result #2: The pants delivered on their promise as breathable and lightweight. They are not hot or restrictive. With a simple elastic waist band and wide legs, they fit easily over our clothes. They have Velcro closures at the ankle, so they can be cinched tight if needed. Both Emma and I found them to be a bit on the long side, so we simply rolled them up. An interesting feature is that they have openings where you would normally find pockets. This allows access to the pockets in the pants or shorts you’re wearing under the rain pants. At first, this seemed really weird to me. But it turns out that it’s actually very clever.

The pants are made with Mountain Warehouse’s IsoDry fabric, which has a waterproof and breathable membrane to allow perspiration out while keeping you dry. The seams are taped to make the pants fully waterproof.

Test result #3: We both stayed completely dry in the pants. No rain got in from outside, and no sweat made them clammy on the inside. Success!!

I was so pleased with the performance of the pants on this trip, I went to Mountain Warehouse just days after I got home and bought a pair for Alex. I also bought a Pakka Waterproof Jacket for Emma and I.  We have another canoe trip coming up and the forecast is showing rain for three out of the five days we’re out there. Sigh. I think this will present me with a good opportunity to update this review with comments on our new jackets.

The Pakka pants and jackets come with their own packaway bags, making them easy to toss into a daypack. I didn’t weight the pants, but I did weigh my jacket out of curiosity. Stuffed in its sack, my ladies Pakka jacket weighed-in at 8 ounces. This is half the weight of the rain jacket I was using on my last trip.

This line of clothing is available for men, women and kids at a very reasonable price making it reasonable to outfit your family with quality gear for those rainy trips that seem to be the norm in Ontario this year.

Mountain Warehouse stores have popped-up in malls across the province over the last couple of years, so are becoming more familiar as a brand here in Ontario. But if you don’t have a store close to you, check out their website Shipping is free for orders over $100.