by Mark Aspel
Ventile, as you may know, is a 100% cotton material woven very tightly which makes it water repelant and/or proof in that the fibres swell and fill the gaps in the material. Bushcrafters like it because it doesn’t melt like manmade fibres if a spark from the fire touches it.
|These trousers are made from the L24 grade of ventile. Hilltrek (www.hilltrek.co.uk) also make them in double layer and a pair lined with Nikwax Analogy Pump Liner. I wanted to go with a single layer trouser though. On speaking to the team at Hilltrek I asked for the trousers to have thigh pockets as I find them useful for carrying a pair of gloves or folding saw etc., the sort of thing that’s difficult to carry in a normal pocket.|
|These trousers are made to order with a normal turn round of 4-6 weeks. I really wanted to have them for a particular test so within 2 weeks they had made my trousers to order with the requested pockets in place.
Initial thoughts are these trousers are good.
|They have 6 pockets in all, front pockets are the normal thing, back pockets are deep with zipped tops. I found I kept my keys in these as they’re much more secure than the front ones. Thigh pockets are the bellows type with popper fasteners and they swallowed a pair of gloves without touching the sides!|
|Fit is generous with an elasticated bit for the Sunday afternoon walk after a big dinner. Do not do what I did and order slightly generous to have some movement – these have enough space to start with. If you do you’ll have a pair of trousers which have some growing room!|
|I spent a day wearing them in a hedge laying competition the other week. All day kneeling and sitting in Blackthorns. My friend Geoff, with whom I was laying the hedge, told me he spent the evening sitting in the bath picking blackthorns out of his knees. Not me, the double thickness seat and knees meant that I only felt one thorn through the trousers all day, whereas 2 went straight through my decent quality rubber wellies and deposited the tip in my right foot as they do. I also got spiked through my heavy gardening gloves so that shows how fierce the thorns are. I didn’t feel any dampness from the ground coming through either.|
|Problems so far?
Well, the aforementioned front pockets could be a little deeper for my liking, they’re not shallow but I like the extra security larger pockets give. Because the material is fairly thin and, as it’s new, quite shiny, the braces I wore (as I hate pulling my trousers up all the time) kept on slipping off. This might sort itself after a few washes as the trousers loose the shiny coating and start to feel like the cotton they are. If not I’ll put some suede patches on the waistband for the braces to grip onto.
Basically they’re fine trousers as this is nit picking.
|It stayed fine all day so haven’t been able to try these out in the wet yet. Even yesterday when it started raining, I pulled these on and went outside to do some jobs in the back garden. Within 10 minutes the sun came out! About the only time I wanted it to rain when I was working in the back garden!|
I’ll be testing these over the coming months and will report back regularly with my thoughts.
Oh, and just in case anyone’s wondering, we came 2nd in the competition.