Hands-on Gear Review

Fjallraven Vidda Pro Review

Price:  $150 List | $119.96 at Amazon
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Thick and durable fabric, tons of pockets for storage and organization, unique natural waterproofing technique
Cons:  Thick and heavy, very warm, expensive
Bottom line:  A high quality and expensive pant that may be best used for hunting or bushcraft rather than simple hiking.
Editors' Rating:   
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Material:  G-1000 Original: 65% polyester / 35% cotton
Water Resistance:  Greenland Wax treatment
Sizing (waist, length options):  W: 29" - 42", available in regular and long length
Manufacturer:   Fjällräven

Our Verdict

The Fjallraven Vidda Pro Trousers are undoubtedly the most unique pair of hiking pants featured in this review. Constructed with G-1000 fabric, a blend of 65% polyester and 35% cotton, they embrace a design ethos that has long ago fallen out of favor in the outdoor clothing world — the use of cotton. However, they combat the highly absorptive qualities of this fabric by using an old-school, throwback technique to add customizable water resistance — impregnating the pants with wax. Before the proliferation of synthetic materials and chemical DWR coatings, rubbing or melting wax into clothing was a standard means of repelling water, a tactic that Fjallraven never moved away from.

Although perhaps a bit quirky for today's user, there are many advantages to this system, including the ability to easily customize the performance of your outerwear and a significant boost in durability that the wax adds. Although initially skeptical, we came to respect and enjoy this do-it-yourself system, as it allowed us to forge a closer relationship with the clothes we were wearing — and it works! The pants, on the other hand, proved to be a bit of a mixed bag, with some laudable features as well as obvious drawbacks compared to their modern competition.


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Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Andy Wellman

Last Updated:
Friday
November 17, 2017

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Fjallraven, meaning "Arctic Fox," is a Swedish brand built on sustainability and durability since the 1960's, which is quickly expanding into North America and beyond. The Vidda Pro are super reinforced, highly durable trekking pants that feature not two but three cargo style pockets. We tested the "Solid Color" version of these pants, as the regular version features decidedly Euro-looking off-color knee patches that we just couldn't rock here in Colorado. They are some thick, burly pants that seem ideal for very harsh climates or heavy work, such as elk hunting or building a wilderness cabin than they are for warm weather day hikes or trekking.

We want to recognize these pants for their durability, which we find virtually impossible to test for when conducting comparative tests in a relatively short window, but is off the charts for these pants. They have double reinforced knees and butt, and the G-1000 fabric is far and away the stiffest and strongest in our test group. Impregnating them with Fjallraven's Greenland wax adds not only water resistance but also durability. Much like waxing a pair of Nordic skis, this process involves rubbing a block of wax all over the pants and then melting it into the fabric using either a standard clothes iron, or just holding them carefully over the flame of a cook stove. Surprisingly, this does little to affect the look or feel of the fabric, while noticeably increasing water resistance.

Performance Comparison


The Vidda Pro are by far the most burly and durable pant that we tested for this review  and also have a ton of large pockets for storage. We think they are ideal for hunting or other bushcraft.
The Vidda Pro are by far the most burly and durable pant that we tested for this review, and also have a ton of large pockets for storage. We think they are ideal for hunting or other bushcraft.

Comfort and Mobility


The Vidda Pro trousers have a roomy, almost baggy fit, that is not constricting in any way. This quality is accented by the heavily articulated knees, and they fit much like the KUHL Renegade Cargo Convertible. Despite being made of a blend of both polyester and cotton fibers, the G-1000 fabric feels neither soft and smooth like the KUHL Kontra Air, or overly abrasive and artificial.

While they retain a decent amount of mobility due to their loose fit, they are also noticeably thick and heavy and don't exude any of the light, stretchy qualities present in say, the Patagonia Quandary pants. While our complaints are minor, they just aren't as comfortable or as mobile feeling as the highest scorers, and we gave them 6 out of 10 points.

The G-1000 fabric that makes up these pants is thick and heavy  but the spacious and borderline baggy fit means that they retain plenty of mobility.
The G-1000 fabric that makes up these pants is thick and heavy, but the spacious and borderline baggy fit means that they retain plenty of mobility.

Venting and Breathability


Over the course of our testing, not to mention a lifetime spent hiking in the mountains and deserts all over the world, we have come to realize that ventilation is a far more efficient means of keeping cool than relying on a garment's breathability. Unfortunately for the Vidda Pro, it has few features that accommodate either, and thus received the lowest score for this metric. Unlike literally every other hiking pant in this review, these pants didn't have a single mesh-lined pocket or zippered vent designed to allow warm, moist air to escape. And despite claims to the contrary, we found that their very heavy, thick fabric trapped heat very quickly. It was very apparent to us that these limitations meant that this pant is best suited to cold, harsh climates. We would very quickly choose the REI Co-op Screeline or The North Face Paramount 3.0 instead if we wanted a pant that we could wear when it was hot outside.

The Vidda Pro have no mesh lined pockets or any other sort of ventilation  making them a pant best suited for the cold than the heat. However  you can use the many buttons around the ankles to tighten them up above the calves  providing some relief from the heat.
The Vidda Pro have no mesh lined pockets or any other sort of ventilation, making them a pant best suited for the cold than the heat. However, you can use the many buttons around the ankles to tighten them up above the calves, providing some relief from the heat.

Versatility


When it comes to versatility, we felt that the Vidda Pro fell right in the middle of our range of hiking pants. On the one hand, its durable construction and plethora of pockets mean that it is an optimal choice for outdoor work or camping, and allows a cold weather hiker to carry lots of gear and still stay organized. On the other hand, we really wouldn't want to set out on a hike in the desert in these pants, and can't imagine wearing them in summer. Likewise, they may be a bit of an odd look for wearing around town, at least where we live. As a pant that is perfect for some conditions, and anathema to others, we ranked them right in the middle. They were more versatile in our minds than the Arc'teryx Perimeter Pant, but we couldn't find as many situations where we wanted them on our legs as the Prana Stretch Zion.

Testing the water resistance after applying quite a lot of Greenland wax treatment to the Vidda Pro. These pants extend their versatility well into winter  which is what we expect from a pant born above the arctic circle.
Testing the water resistance after applying quite a lot of Greenland wax treatment to the Vidda Pro. These pants extend their versatility well into winter, which is what we expect from a pant born above the arctic circle.

Water Resistance


The most interesting aspect of this pant is its method of water resistance — impregnation by Greenland wax. A small block of wax must be bought separately but is quite affordable. The pants come already treated, but we found that we needed to add more on our own. Washing the pants in hot water removes any wax treatment you may have already added, a "reset" which is either helpful or annoying depending on the circumstances. Since we unknowingly washed out our treatment, we were forced to re-apply, which we found to be fun, mildly laborious, and mildly time-consuming, especially if we were in a rush to get out the door. For this reason, once we had them custom treated, we could see these pants being a serious candidate for "never wash" status.

Customizable water resistance comes in the form of wax impregnation. Here we test the system out by rubbing Greenland wax all over the pants  later ironing it into the fabric.
Customizable water resistance comes in the form of wax impregnation. Here we test the system out by rubbing Greenland wax all over the pants, later ironing it into the fabric.

In our initial shower test, after having washed these pants clean, they did an admirable job of holding up to a light rain, but then became soaked through, absorbing a lot of water in the process. We couldn't help but think that perhaps adding 35% cotton to the blend wasn't a great idea for a hardcore outdoor pant. After applying our own wax, however, we found that they were easily among the best performers in a heavy rain, although many repeated applications of wax were needed for seriously impressive water resistance. While this was a neat system, we rated them slightly lower than the highly repellant and non-absorptive Arc'teryx Perimeter Pant or Patagonia Quandary.

Features


There is no doubt these pants have a lot of features. They have two deep front handwarmer pockets, but no rear pockets. On the right side is a large cargo pocket with mesh divider, and on the left are dual overlapping cargo pockets that sit a little further forward on the thigh. All of these are covered with button flaps. Also on the left is a tall and narrow pocket designed for a knife or hatchet with top and bottom button flaps. The knees are reinforced with fabric that has an opening at the bottom for stuffing knee pads into should you choose. Finally, there are snap button tighteners at the lower leg cuffs that allow you to cinch the cuffs closed around a boot, or pull them up above the calf and hold them there. With so many well thought out features, we rated them at the top, comparable to KUHL Renegade Cargo Convertible as well as Kontra Air.

The Vidda Pro come with a ton of storage in their large cargo pockets. On the left thigh are dual cargo pockets  one on top of the other  shown here.
The Vidda Pro come with a ton of storage in their large cargo pockets. On the left thigh are dual cargo pockets, one on top of the other, shown here.

Best Applications


The Fjallraven Vidda Pro pants will best serve those looking for an extremely burly and durable pant for their outdoor pursuits. To us, they are a very high quality, sustainably sourced hunting or camping pant. They are ideal for cold weather, harsh climates, and dirty, abrasive work. They would be one of our last choices for warm weather day hikes or long backpacking trips, as we prefer a lighter, stretchier, and cooler hiking pant for most occasions. These pants were born in the Arctic, and if your home or dream trip is reminiscent of the Scandinavian wilderness, they are probably an ideal choice.

Made of thick and heavy fabric and lacking any features to help with ventilation  the Vidda Pro pants are best used in cool weather  as we verified here in the snow.
Made of thick and heavy fabric and lacking any features to help with ventilation, the Vidda Pro pants are best used in cool weather, as we verified here in the snow.

Value


These pants retail for $150, easily the most expensive in this review. Despite their price, we think they provide a good value, as they are clearly durable enough to last a very long time, and will surely outlast their thin nylon competitors.

Despite the fact that they cost far more than any other hiking pant  the Vidda Pro is super durable and provide good value. We went out for a hike in the first fall snow in order to fully experience these pants in their element.
Despite the fact that they cost far more than any other hiking pant, the Vidda Pro is super durable and provide good value. We went out for a hike in the first fall snow in order to fully experience these pants in their element.

Conclusion


The Fjallraven Vidda Pro are the heaviest and most durable pants in this review, and they come with a ton of cargo pockets for organization and storage. They also rely on the unique Greenland wax treatment for customizing water resistance. While we think they make an optimal choice for hunters or other woodsmen, we found them to be a bit overkill for use as an everyday hiking or around town pant.

Hiking in Spirit Gulch high on Red Mountain Pass in the San Juans  losing light and losing warm weather. For this cool hike we were wearing the Vidda Pro.
Hiking in Spirit Gulch high on Red Mountain Pass in the San Juans, losing light and losing warm weather. For this cool hike we were wearing the Vidda Pro.
Andy Wellman

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: January 23, 2018
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
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 (4.0)

100% of 2 reviewers recommend it
 
Rating Distribution
3 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 100%  (3)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
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   Jan 23, 2018 - 02:19pm
goochisdrunk · Skier · MD
I own a pair of these and I believe the review is spot on. The pants are warm, burly, well constructed. Ideal for cooler weather hikes and activities. The waxing thing is a little odd at first but totally doable, I think of it like a seasonal chore. When temps start dropping in the early fall, these come out of storage and get waxed up. Then I just use them without washing, re apply wax once or twice as needed throughout the fall and winter. Once warmer weather shows up in the spring time, these will get their annual wash and put away for the summer. Start it all over again in the fall. They've treated me well over the last few seasons, with no sign of wear and tear or damage, despite being my go-to for more rugged pursuits. They are comfortable to wear, and look ok for going out in town, but they wear a bit baggy, and the two tone scheme isn't the exactly fashion forward. With the deep and secure pockets, they definitely shine in the wilderness.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.

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   Dec 29, 2017 - 01:51pm
Coolsocks · Hiker · Michigan
I own these pants and the review is spot on. On their own these pants are good between 40-60 F in moderate weather, a little rain and wind. I extend their use with baselayers and the awkward use of wax. I use these pants for day hikes and bushwacking in the fall and spring

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.


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