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Fjallraven Vidda Pro Review

A high quality and expensive pant that may be best used for hunting or bushcraft rather than simple hiking.
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Price:  $150 List | $149.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 4 resellers
Pros:  Thick and durable fabric, tons of pockets for storage and organization, unique natural waterproofing technique
Cons:  Thick and heavy, very warm, expensive
Manufacturer:   Fjällräven
By Andy Wellman ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 17, 2017
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65
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 13
  • Comfort and Mobility - 35% 6
  • Venting and Breathability - 20% 4
  • Versatility - 15% 7
  • Water Resistance - 15% 8
  • Features - 15% 9

The Skinny

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 fell out of favor long ago in the outdoor clothing world. This cotton blend pant uses an old-school manufacturing technique- impregnating the fibers with wax- to ensure that you don't end up water-logged while out on trail. 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 has continued to this day.

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.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

Fjallraven, meaning "Arctic Fox," is a Swedish brand, established in the 1960s, built on sustainability and durability. It is quickly expanding its reach into North America and beyond with some quality products. 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 pull off in the Mountain West. They are some thick, burly pants that seem much more ideal for harsh climates or heavy work, such as elk hunting or building a cabin in the wilderness than for warm weather day hikes or trekking.

These pants are made to last. 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 improves their 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 enhanced by the heavily articulated knees, and they fit much like the KUHL Renegade Cargo Convertible. Made from a blend of polyester and cotton fibers, the G-1000 fabric doesn't feel quite as soft and smooth as some, but is not overly abrasive or synthetic-feeling.

While their loose fit allows for a decent amount of mobility, they are also noticeably thicker and heavier than other pants in this review and they don't offer any of the light, stretchy qualities present in a pair like 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


Designed for the cold, the Vidda Pro has few features that accommodate either ventilation or breathability, and thus received the lowest score for this metric. Unlike every other model in this review, these pants didn't have a single mesh-lined pocket or zippered vent designed to allow warm, moist air to escape. Despite claims to the contrary, we found that the very heavy, thick fabric trapped heat very quickly. It is apparent to us that these limitations mean that this pant is best suited for 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 in the heat of summer.

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 the 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. Similarly, their aesthetic isn't one that we would opt for in a pair of casual, around town pants. 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 preferred them to 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 of Greenland wax. A small, affordable block of wax must be purchased separately. 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 a combination of fun, tedious and mildly time-consuming. Because of the investment in time and labor, we could easily envision rarely washing these pants after the first treatment.

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 that these pants have a lot of features. They have two deep front hand warmer pockets, but none in the rear. There is a large cargo pocket with mesh divider on the right side, and dual overlapping cargo pockets on the left 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 inserting knee pads if your activity requires that type of protection. 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 the KUHL Renegade Cargo Convertible.

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 those occasions. These pants were born in the Arctic, and if your home or dream trip is the Scandinavian wilderness, they are 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, 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 we tested, and they come with a ton of cargo pockets for organization and storage. They also rely on a unique Greenland wax treatment for customized 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