Fjallraven Abisko Trekking Tight - Women's Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Durable, breathable, excellent pockets, cinch-able high waist stays put
Cons: Feel a bit odd at first, tricky fit, expensive
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Though the patches look like they could be restrictive, the stretchy polyamide/elastane fabric blend provides as much mobility as an average pair of trail tights. Pre-shaped knees help. These pants run from XXS to XXL, which is handy because they work best if you nail the fit.
Comfort and Mobility
Leggings are beloved for their comfort and mobility. These tights offer the same endless stretch and are as soft to the touch as the rest. A gusseted crotch ensures easy movement, and a high-waisted cut uses your body's proportions to hold the pants in place. The wide waistband means no pressure points when sitting or bending over to tie a shoelace or pick up a pack. But, the thick patches and tricky fit keep us from giving the Abiskos top comfort scores.
While the textured reinforcement patches have a soft interior lining, the seams are thick. You feel them, and they feel odd. Combined with some extra fabric that bunched around the ankles and calves for us, the fit can be irksome. But the discomfort never lasts past the pull-them-on-and-adjust-them phase. Once we started hiking, running, climbing, or yoga-ing, it faded away.
These pants are built for curvy, muscular legs, which we love. They are long and run a little big, so you may need to size down to reduce excess fabric. Those that nail the fit, rave about it. We ordered our usual size small and should have tried the XS. Even then, they would probably be a bit long. If they're big on you, they may sag, resulting in what one online reviewer referred to as diaper butt. It's the perfect description. We found tying the internal drawstring to pull the pants back up on our hips solved the issue.
Venting and Breathability
You can roll these tights up to air your ankles. That's it for ventilation. But, man, these pants can breathe. Despite the big knee and bum patches that restrict airflow, we're impressed by how well these pants regulate your temperature. We brushed past cactus on hot hikes in southern Arizona and crossed streams on long walks in muggy Appalachia. We got hot, but we never lost airflow.
These leggings are the easiest in the review to breathe through, noticeably better than even the other hiking tights tested. They offer virtually no resistance when you hold them against your mouth. Still, they are thick enough that we wouldn't reach for them on the very hottest days.
These pants aren't water-resistant and don't have a durable water repellant (DWR) treatment. Though water does bead on them tights momentarily, it doesn't roll off so much as it sinks in immediately. If it's raining, you'll be wet. On the upside, they dry out pretty quickly.
Since they are synthetic, they don't pump heat from your body as cotton would, but they don't keep you very warm either. Our lead tester got pretty chilled wearing these on cool, rainy days in the mountains. If you're heading into wet weather, you'll need a backup plan. Luckily, the low-profile nature of tights makes it easy to pull rainpants over them.
Though all fabric blocks the sun to some degree, these pants don't have an official UPF rating. Wind doesn't cut right through the Abisko, and the knee and bum patches block it altogether. Because of this, they keep you pretty comfy in a range of temperatures from early spring to late fall.
You may think the reinforced patches are the most notable feature of these pants. You'd be wrong. It's the pockets, those glorious pockets. The right side version has a clever cap to hold your phone securely without making you slide your hand through zipper teeth. It's big enough to fit any smartphone model. Then there's a small zip pocket at the waist for credit cards and a zip pocket on the left for a compass or small map. We're fans.
But, yeah, you can't ignore the patches. From kneeling in duff to resting on a log, there is just so much less hesitation than we usually have in a thin pair of tights. For us, adjusting to the unique feeling of the patches themselves is worth the additional wear and tear that we'll get out of them.
We like the internal drawstring as well. It's elastic and holds the plants up at their highest point without feeling restrictive. There is also a little loop tab on the left side of the waist to clip a small layer in, like a Patagonia Houdini that stuffs into its own pocket. Again, it seems silly. But, we love that it makes multiple pieces of our gear more useful.
These pants have a look. If you go with black or grey options, they will work around town, as well as your yoga leggings. The brighter colors are certainly fun to sport, but they stand out. You'll have to decide if you love or hate that about them. While we didn't wear them to work, dinner, or out for drinks, we had no problem wearing them on errands when heading to or from hikes.
Out on the trail, they work in a range of temperatures, and the rough-and-tumble reinforcements and durable fabric help them hold up on hikes that involve scrambles, brambles, and bum-slides. They're comfortable enough to climb in as well. We wouldn't pick them for full-on bushwhacking, but they took on all the cacti we accidentally threw at them. After months of wear, they show no sign of it. Tights are always easier for bugs to bite through, and a few patches won't do much to save the rest of your legs.
Aside from the seams on the patches, here lies the rub. These pants are pricey. Are they worth it? Probably not for most people. They give you a lot for the money, but not more than you can get from a more traditional hiking pant at a lower price point.
Among our testing team, only a few loved hiking in leggings enough to invest in a super durable and breathable pair. The rest of us would jump on them during a solid sale. If you've been looking for trekking tights that can go these distance and hike often, you may get enough use per mile to make them worth it.
The Fjallraven Abisko Trekking Tights are crazy cool, and kinda pricey. Technical features like excellent breathability and durable patches make these pants exceptionally ready to tackle almost any adventure. But they require more care when choosing your fit and balancing your budget.
— Clark Tate