Fjallraven
Credit: Fjallraven

I bought a new pair of camp pants.

I picked up Fjallraven’s Vidda Pro trekking trousers. Why the new purchase? The weather forecast indicates rain and cold temperatures for seven of the eight days I’ll be backpacking in Algonquin Park with my college class this week. That’s not good! So, I’m going on the recommendations of some U.K. friends. They all gave Fjallraven thumbs up and said they make some of the best foul-weather trousers.

The Vidda Pro are definitely a different pair of pants for me. I usually wear a lightweight pair of Outdoor Research Ferrosi and layer-up with merino wool long-underwear. The Vidda Pro is heavier — but it's also bombproof. The material used is specific to Fjallraven; called "G-1000," it is made of 65 per cent recycled polyester and 35 per cent organic cotton. This fabric is wind-proof and water-resistant, with the knees and butt reinforced with a double layer. (You’re pretty much guaranteed that a hot spark from the campfire won’t burn through these pair of pants.) There are also six pockets, including a map pocket, knife pocket and even an axe pocket. (Basically a walking day pack.) The second layer of material on the knees also has an opened bottom — perfect for placing make-shift foam knee-pads for paddlers.

Fjallraven is a Swedish company that has been specializing outdoor gear products for many years (Fjallraven means “mountain fox” and vidda means “plateau”). Recently, I’ve seen a lot more outdoor stores in Canada carry this line and I’ve yet to read a negative review. The only issues I had were sizing. A size 50 means a 33 to 34 inch waist. I’m a 34, waist but I took a 52 (36-inch) waist in the Vidda trousers. Length might also be an issue for some people — they are a regular fit. They also have an elastic and metal snap system at the ankle to tighten the pant up around your boot. It’s a great system. The problem is, if you’re not a regular fit, then the pants will need to be hemmed, which could eliminate the cool ankle-snap addition. (Fjallraven has a couple of similar pant designs that don’t have the elastic/snap system on the ankle. They might be a better choice if you’re not a regular fit.)

I also bought the company’s Greenland Wax. It’s made of paraffin and beeswax and makes the material more water-repellent. You apply by rubbing it on, like a crayon, and then heating the area with an iron or hair dryer. On a recent trip, I used my cook-stove to melt the wax. It worked — just make sure you keep the trousers a good distance from the flame or you’ll be hiking out in your underwear.

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Fjallraven2
Credit: Fjallraven