Trail trousers are one of the best things that have come about recently and the Esker is Altura’s offering in that department.
It’s no real surprise that brands like Altura make kit that functions particularly well in UK weather, but bringing the value into the equation alongside the bike-specific cut makes it far better bang for your buck than the bigger outdoor brands.
Compared to the Ridge Pertex Jacket I tested a few months go, you get very little detail on what the Altura Esker Trail Trousers are made of, so it was simply a case of throwing them on and seeing how they performed on the trail.
What we do know is that the Esker trousers are DWR coated, taper in the leg, have an articulated knee, elasticated cuffs and a zipped thigh pocket. As ever, asking price is remarkably sensible with trousers of similar spec going for more than £100 regularly.
Once they’re on your legs, the Eskers are definitely longer in the leg than offerings from Endura, Fox, Sweet Protection and Royal, so if you’re long in the leg, these will be great, but will likely be a try before you buy set of trousers. For me the waist was spot on but I had quite a lot of extra material on offer.
Out on the trail, the DWR coating will deal with the liquid wherever it’s coming from, be it the ground or the sky, up to a point. Once you have overcome this coating, the trousers do sag as they soak up water, mostly due to the fact that the material is stretchy, more so than you’d get on a pair of riding shorts.
If you want to run a set of knee pads under these, there’s room for a slim pad but not much else, nothing like the room you’d get on a set of the Fox Ranger trousers, but then they are a trail trouser, so maybe we’re asking a bit too much here. The thigh pocket doesn’t make sense here. It’s added cost and the pockets on the side of the thigh are infinitely more useful.
Being at the smaller end of the spectrum, the low number of belt loops (3) meant that you’re going to need to make sure the waist is snug before you commit. Anyone that has the right combination of waist and legs will love the Eskers for their excellent balance of low cost and high performance. They also work well as a hiking trouser, without looking like a pair of downhill pyjamas too.
What do we think?
Altura have done it again with a high performance set of riding trousers that don’t cost the earth.
You will need to make sure that you’ve long-ish legs to get the most of these though.
Double up as hiking trousers
Could do better:
Top thigh pockets don’t make sense
You can check out the Altura Esker Trail Trousers on their website here.