Insulated pants for cold days on the trails.
It’s that time of year when the keenest riders keep on getting out regardless, but the rest of us need some extra motivation to tackle freezing cold and soaking wet conditions. Altura’s latest Ridge thermal waterproof trouser aims to keep you cosy with a Polartec thermal liner sewn inside a fully waterproof riding trouser.
The technical layer (made from Polartec Powergrid) is essentially a pair of fleecy shorts stitched in that reach down to just above the knee. Outside this, a waterproof softshell material with fully taped internal seams and two hip pockets (with waterproof zips) keeps out rain and splashes, and there are also two longer thigh vent zips to manage heat and cooling/ventilation.
The Ridge cut is baggier than a lot of modern ‘drainpipe’ riding trousers, although it does taper in enough at the (elasticated) ankle cuff to keep well out of the way of the drivetrain and chain. I’m a 34in waist with big thighs and found plenty of room in the size Large; both at the waist and around the buttocks where riding pants can sometimes be a bit tight. That said, I would prefer the legs to have a slightly slimmer cut, mostly for looks
A pretty simple elasticated pull-on waistband design keeps the Ridge trouser from falling down, and there’s a thread-through lace that can be cinched tighter if needed. In other words they’re more like tracksuit bottoms than motocross pants. This basic setup doesn’t have a fly zipper either, so you’ll need to unlace and pull down the waistband for a trailside comfort breaks.
So, does this Polartec fleece liner actually make a big difference in temperature compared to a regular riding trouser? You bet it does; this is a seriously warm bit of kit, and any suspicions about the fleece not extending all the way down the calf proved unfounded. My legs simply didn’t get cold below the knee.
The extra warmth is really welcome on the most frigid days, and seems to translate to keeping you warmer all over too. Even with the thigh vents open it can get seriously toasty inside, though. So if you’re really working hard and the temperatures aren’t well below 10ºC they become the very definition of sweat pants.
In terms of waterproof resistance, I’ve found Ridge is very effective against both splashes and sustained rain and keeps you bone dry inside, but the dull soft-shell fabric doesn’t quite bead water or shrug off muddy splashes as readily as a more traditional waterproof trouser, such as the 100% Hydromatic or Troy Lee Designs Resist, and can get heavier than some fabrics as a result.
Overall, if you’re looking for a waterproof riding trouser that offers meaningful extra warmth, Altura’s Ridge Thermal is a really effective solution. It's warm and dry, so you can’t argue with the functionality and it’s also really stretchy and easy to move about in.