Long term review of Montane Atomic DT Pants (over-trousers)

Montane DT pants (overtrousers)

I purchased these about 18 months and have worn these a dozen times and carried them without wearing them just as many.

First of all these are over trousers, not pants –why does a British company call trousers pants? This is not a dig at Americans as they would use the term pants because that is their word for trousers, our word is trousers – these are over-trousers not pants!

Specification

The fabric used is a 79g/m2 2.5 layer 40 dernier nylon with microporous Entrant DT coating and an internal mesh print.  The over-trousers are waterproof to a minimum of 10,000 mm hydrostatic head and breathability at 8,000g/m2/24hrs.

This suggests to me to be a waterproof material with reasonable breathability. For comparison a highly breathable fabric such as eVent has a figure of 15,000g/m2/24hrs.

The Atomic trousers weigh 168g in medium size and my pair are black with an elasticated waist and adjustable draw-cord.  They have an active cut with high lift crouch and articulated knees.

With a half length zip, they are relatively easy to take on and off. An ideal solution would be ¾ length, but this would add weight to the trousers. There are press stud adjustable ankles and a stuff sack is provided.

Reasons for purchasing

I was looking for as light as possible over trousers and at the weight of 168g (measured by me) they are same of the lightest available.   As I often find that I carry over trousers as much as wearing them this was an important consideration.  The price of £60 seemed a good price for the specification.

My experience with the Atomic DT over-trousers

These take up very little room in my pack and weigh next to nothing.  They are pretty easy to get on and off and are waterproof and easy to adjust.

The biggest issue is they are not that breathable.  I found that there has been quite a lot of condensation inside them on a number of occasions particularly around the waist area, which is uncomfortable.   There is no way of really venting the trousers.

Conclusions

Whilst these are light and pack up small, they are not in my experience that breathable and I feel that there is an unacceptable level of condensation, when you are working hard in these. I will look to replace these in the spring with an eVent product.  For the winter, I  am awaiting a pair of trousers from Cioch which are being made for me and therefore I will not require over-trousers for the coming winter period.

As a final postscript to this, I have been unable to find these over-trousers since my two week trip to Scotland, and it would seem that I left these at a campsite at the end of the trip – so I have to replace anyway !!

Overall rating :  3/5

Price:  £90 RRP  – can be found for £55 on-line.

What I like: weight, pack size, fit and price.

What I don’t like: condensation, no venting options.

What I would recommend it for: 3 season lightweight backpacking where you are going to carry the over-trousers more than wear.

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7 Responses to Long term review of Montane Atomic DT Pants (over-trousers)

  1. Gareth says:

    Nice review Mark, I have a pair of these myself and I particularly like the velcro tabs at the bottom for cycling, they keep the trousers snug in around the calves to stop them flapping in to the chain. I have found the breathability although not great, slightly better than you described, but would agree that it is it’s weak point. I have had them for two years now, and use them on my regular cycle to and from work as well as hill days and they have been a great all rounder.

    If you are looking for lightweight, but good breathability would recommend the Marmot Essences as an alternative.

  2. -maria- says:

    A nice review, Mark. I’ve found the same breathability problem with membrane trousers (I’ve been using Gore-Tex and some other manufacturers’ alternatives – although not eVent) – my lower back gets really sweaty. So I’m looking forward to your comments on the Cioch/Paramo trousers when you get them!

    Nice linguistic discussion around the subject trousers vs. pants, by the way! 🙂

    • Maria, I will be interested to see in the spring how eVent performs compared to the Montane fabric. Regarding the trousers vs pants rant. It is similar to some spellings that are creeping in. For example program (US English) is being used in more and more documents I see in the UK, instead of programme (UK English). Probably down to the spell check on a US English default setting !!

  3. backpackingbongos says:

    I agree with you about the breathability, I always ended up with damp legs after wearing mine for a few hours. They are also not very abrasion resistant and I have ended up with a few small holes after sitting on rough rocks. The fit is good though and they are very light. I only carry mine now if almost certain that there will be no rain. eVent for me in the trouser department so far this year, which has been excellent.

  4. Alan says:

    It’s great that you came back and did a “used them” review. And a good review it is too.
    The Essences look good as Gareth says.
    I am still happy with my Inov-8 Mistlites for 3 season and my Rab Bergan e-Vents for winter.

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