I’ve been using The North Face Paramount Peak convertibles for a couple of months now and feel I’m ready to give my thoughts on them. As usual, these were supplied by Webtogs. I’ve had a few pairs of walking trousers over the years, my favourites are a pair of Columbia something-or-others I bought on the high street before walking the Great Glen Way five years ago, they’re super comfy and until now have been my first choice when getting my kit ready for a trip into the hills or on a photography excursion. They’re starting to get a bit past it now, and I had to resow [badly] the seam at the crotch last year. They’re quick drying and a fairly inoffensive on they eye. I also have a pair of very lightweight TNF convertibles bought around the same time. These have seen much less use, despite being even comfier than the Columbia trousers, due to one unforeseen problem – when they get [really] wet they turn semi-transparent, revealing your undies to world. Still, I reckon they’d be great for warm/dry conditions – just not Scotland…
The TNF Paramounts were described as a ‘disgusting colour’ by Margaret. Admittedly, they’re not the colour [Moab Khaki] I’d have chosen myself, but either they’ve dulled down after a wash or two, or they’ve grown on me, as they look more natural [and less mustardy] to my eye now than they did initially, to the point that I’m quite happy wearing them whilst out and about. More importantly of course is how they actually perform, I’m pleased to say I’m impressed. The fabric is slightly more heavyweight than my other trousers, but not significantly so. They Paramounts seem to provide more wind resistance and kept my lower half warm during my ill-fated and very windy Loch A’an trip. The fabric is rated UPF 30, so gives decent protection if you have sun where you live. They’re well constructed and the cut is very comfortable. They feel like they’ll resist abrasion well [my Columbias have bobbled somewhat] and the double seams should cope well with abuse. In fact, I accidentally ran the right ankle through my bike chain on their first trip out, but other than minor oil staining, the fabric appears undamaged.
The construction is quite complex, with a single piece of fabric running from one ankle, around the crotch, and down to the other ankle. The pockets are mesh lined for ventilation and there is a secondary zippered pocket on the right hip for additional security, perfect for car keys. The leg pockets are generously sized, not that I use them much, occasionally for a map or lens cap, but generally I like my legs unfettered when walking. If, like me, you’re prone to builder’s bum, you appreciate the semi-captive belt too.
Although all of my trousers are convertibles, I rarely wear them as shorts now. I’m more concerned about keeping ticks/midgies out these days, but appreciate having the option should I want it on particularly hot days. The DWR finish on the Paramounts helped keep the damp at bay on my Loch A’an trip and moisture beaded up nicely, but has not lasted past a handful of wash cycles. Admittedly, there has been no effort on my part to prolong the DWR finish. I’ve just been using our usual detergent and fabric conditioner. The swing tag recommends tumble drying to rejuvenate the DWR, but I’ve no idea if this will work or not as we don’t have one. On our Hebridean holiday, a stroll along the beach turned in to a drizzle-fest, with strong winds not helping matters. The trousers wetted out quite quickly, overpowering any trace of DWR. The good news is that they dried just as quickly once the rain went off, helped of course, by a stiff Hebridean breeze. I don’t think the DWR issue is a deal-breaker though, it’s not high on my list of priorities when buying a trouser of this type anyway. YMMV.
The Paramounts are good 3 season trousers, I’ll be sticking to my Rab Vapour-Rise during winter or if the weather is particularly bad/cold. But these are my trouser of choice for the rest of the year. Recommended.