Words By
Steve Long

I wanted a pair of climbing trousers for the autumn climbing season and my criteria were pretty simple. They had to be comfortable, medium length (that’s why I cant reach those holds!) and reasonably windproof. I wanted full freedom of movement with a reasonable number of pockets around the pelvis.

Definitely my favourite climbing pants ever!

Additionally I wanted them to show up in photos; no more dreary rock coloured pants for me, I was fed up with Facebook photos that look like a climbing torso unless you get your nose right up against the screen! The Oblique Pants proved perfect for the job.

Although they are 98% cotton, the 2% Elastane is very effective at producing a surprising amount of give in the legs especially around the knees, which is definitely where you want it. This is also aided by the cut; each leg comprises 4 panels. However the feature that makes the biggest impression, particularly on hot afternoons down on Gogarth Main Cliff, is the classy detail around the waist. This is a soft, moisture-wicking elastic that is really comfortable against the skin.

The pockets at the front and back are all pretty generous and the right hip has one of those inner sub-pockets, like jeans. Personally I don’t see much point in this narrow extra pocket – I guess it’s to stop smaller items rattling around but if this is the aim it would probably benefit from a security flap. No big deal though and presumably some people like this detail.

Another detail I would recommend tweaking is the ties around the ankles. I like having a narrower fitting at the ankle, but I always forget to undo the string when I’m removing the trousers, usually resulting in a fumble to undo the knot in the dark! So my tip would be to replace the blue cord with elastic, as I can’t think of a situation where you would want the ankles fully open, apart from pulling your feet through.

The Oblique Pants are the perfect weight for the main cragging seasons, reasonably windproof and they dry quickly too. Definitely my favourite climbing pants ever! Right now I’m packing them for a holiday in Sicily, where they will be highly visible on some awesome tufa routes!

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Working as the Technical Officer for Mountain Training UK, Steve is an International Mountain Guide as well as a holder of the coveted Mountaineering Instructors Certificate, and forms part of Rab's AMI test team.