Fjallraven Vidda Pro Review
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
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Fjallraven 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. 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.
Comfort and Mobility
The Vidda Pro trousers have a roomy, almost baggy fit, that is not constricting in any way. The heavily articulated knees enhance this quality. The G-1000 fabric is made from a blend of polyester and cotton fibers, and 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 many other pairs we tested. At the end of the day, they aren't as comfortable or as mobile feeling as the highest scorers.
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 weighty, 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.
Versatility and Style
When it comes to versatility, we feel that the Vidda Pro falls 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.
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 had 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.
In our initial shower test, after having washed these pants clean, they did an admirable job of holding up to 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 heavy rain, although it took many repeated applications of wax for seriously impressive water resistance. While this was a neat system, we rated them slightly lower than other more repellant, less absorbent models.
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 have 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 reinforced knees have fabric with 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 of the metric.
Despite their lofty price, we think they provide a good value, as they are durable enough to last a very long time, and will surely outlast their thin nylon competitors.
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 everyday hiking or around town pant.
— Andy Wellman