Mammut Base Jump Advanced Pant – First Impressions

 

The Mammouth

Facewest was once again victorious with its Advent offer series, and with free shipping to France and a reward scheme discount, it made sense, especially as I am just about to enter a busy winter period of climbing, walking and assisting with a winter skills groups.

Initial Verdict [for the impatient!]

A seasoned, classic pair of mountain trousers, which excels through its combination of Schoeller softshell fabric and wide range of waist and leg measurements.

Neat detailing from the Mammut mark

Preamble

After many years of sterling service, my ‘go-to’ trousers, Rohan Uplanders, used for all-year round, mountaineering, climbing and hillwalking finally came to their demise. Their replacement is the classic Mammut Base Jump Advanced Pant in its most recent incarnation, hence the ‘Advanced’.

There are several approaches to mountain trousers, which are ultimately rather a mundane necessity, unless you opt for the high contrast, high visibility, brightly coloured, European approach. Most of us would rather not have to spend too much time, effort and cash on what is the ‘work horse’ of the outdoor wardrobe. One approach is to specialise, having a purpose-built item for each specific activity, i.e., winter and summer garments for their respective activities. Winter trousers might be thicker, warmer and have braces, for example. The second approach is the middle way – a garment that does everything pretty well, and with a bit of help, can be modified (for winter purposes mainly). For example, layering a summer pair of walking trousers with a merino baselayer.

The first method is probably more attractive, but for its cost, yet lacks the efficiency and versatility of the second approach. Since outdoor gear costs such a lot, but makes a big difference when chosen carefully and utilised properly, the ‘holy grail’ are the bits of kit that do everything, weigh little and are tough. Therefore, for that reason I chose the Base Jump Pants, feeling on balance that they go a long way towards this goal.

Waistbelt and brace loops

Fit

There is no magic formula for finding well-fitting outdoor kit, and often a good fitting item wins the day over a more technical one. And this is why I would recommend that you try the Base Jump first. This is not least so that you stand a chance of understanding the confusing and ambiguous European sizing numbers. If you look at the Mammut sizing chart under EU converter, there are three options to each waist size, so EU 48/23/98 equates to UK 32 inch waist (regular leg)/32 (short leg)/32 (long leg). At first this seems bizarre and unnecessarily complicated, but it gives a far wider range of fit than you might otherwise find with another trouser. The fit is regular, so is comfortable, without baggy material, and gives the option for layering a baselayer underneath in winter. The stretch of the schoeller fabric allows dynamic movement for climbing, or when you trip over a boulder.

Instep reinforcement

Aesthetics

Mammut have thankfully avoided the pitfall of highly contrasting reinforced areas on the Base Jump (the Montane Terra Pant is particularly bad for this). It has reinforced panels to combat abrasion and stress, but these are mercifully the same colour as the rest of the trouser, apart from the seat of the pant and instep of the bottom of the leg, which are grey, inconspicuous and not too garish. I found the leg to be slightly flared, but do not see this as a problem, and it should help with the fit of the trouser over big boots. The velcro patches can also help with cinching it down, if required. The overall look is pretty sleek, and the red detailing of the logos adds extra flair.

Velcro fastenings

Technical

The bottoms of the legs have a short zipped gusset with velcro fastening, which helps with fit over big boots, and there is the reinforced crampon patch as mentioned. I am not entirely sure how useful both of these features will be, which is partly because my previous trousers had neither. It is unlikely that you would be able to pull the trousers over boots, or even crampons, but I cannot imagine why you would want to do that, and crampon points will go through pretty much any fabric, so I will have to reserve judgement on these two features until I test the trousers in anger.

The knee areas are nicely articulated, which I have found to be helpful on other garments, so with the stretch of the fabric, this should make for good freedom of movement. The pants have three pockets, one on the thigh, which appear to tick the right boxes, but as I avoid putting anything in pockets, this does not matter overly to me. However, I am impressed that the bags of the pockets are made with mesh, which is a neat trick to allow venting when unzipped. Lastly, you can add a belt or webbing, if you like, but I will definitely be buying a pair of braces to utilise the loops for winter. To me this is a good technical feature, which will keep undergarments tucked in, draughts out, and allow thrutching and squirming when climbing.

The stand-out quality of the Base Jump Pants, though, is the fabric itself, Schoeller FTC, a softshell, which is lightweight, stretchy, breathable and fast-drying. Schoeller avoids incorporating a membrane within the fabric, which although adds windproofing, decreases the breathability of a garment. I have read much about the fabric, and seen the Base Jump reappear year on year, so am eager to see how it measures up to its reputation in reality.

Reinforcement on the seat of the pant

Verdict

In the same way as the Rab Baseline Hoodie, the Mammut Base Jump combines an excellent technical fabric with just the right number of technical features, so as not to make it unwieldy or irrelevant. I have a feeling that this pair of trousers will more than live up to my old Rohan Uplanders.

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