Fjallraven Abisko Lite Trousers Review

9th Oct 2017

Fjallraven Abisko Lite Trousers

Fjallraven will be a brand familiar to many and regular readers of the Peak Mountaineering blog will remember that I have reviewed some of their other key products including their Keb jacket here and Keb trousers here).  The brand offer a range of high quality products inspired for use in the Swedish wilderness that is the brands home.  The company is very popular in the UK and rightly so - there are many similarities between Swedish backcountry conditions and those we enjoy here.

With this in mind I was really looking forward to testing some of Fjallraven’s Abisko Lite trekking trousers - looking forward because every Fjallraven product I've used so far has been excellent and I was also excited because it seemed the Abisko Lite’s would be a really versatile garment that I would use for a range of activities and conditions.  Fjallraven sent over a pair in an attractive two tone blue and I got to work……

Features

Fjallraven always seem to nail it with garment features and materials.  I have no doubt this is the result of a thorough and careful design process backed up by lots of real world pre production testing.  The Abisko Lite features are no exception.

The materials used are a combination of stretch fabric on the upper legs and thighs with Fjallraven’s G1000 Lite fabric on the knees and lower legs.  They have added pre shaped knees for ease of movement and a waist belt that is slightly raised at the back for comfort when wearing a rucksack.

There are 2 hand pockets and a right side zipped leg pocket with mesh inner pocket (designed for securely housing things like a mobile phone).  Fjallraven have left the leg length unfinished so that users can hem them to their exact length requirements.  

The Test

The Abisko Lites have spent time on many navigation course trekking days in the Peak District during the summer.  This involves lots of heather bashing across open moorland and use in a wide range of conditions.  The heather is often damp and, this summer in particular, there’s been plenty of rain to contend with too. I then contrasted this with use on my recent Morocco trip where the trousers were used daily in dusty, dry and very warm conditions.  

In Use

Fjallraven describe the Abisko Lites as ‘light, well ventilated trekking trousers for lighter trekking and daytrips in the summer mountains and warmer conditions’.  

It is just the sort of terrain and conditions I tested them in with a typical navigation training day in the Peak District involving walking through thick moisture laden heather, crossing peat bogs, sometimes high heat output pacing across open moorland and usually with a fair amount of wet stuff falling from the sky too.  

In these conditions, the Abisko Lites have excelled.  The stretch fabric used for the upper legs and thighs along with the pre shaped knees offers great freedom of movement.  This combines brilliantly with the G1000 Lite fabric which Fjallraven have used on the lower legs as this is a fairly water resistant material that does a great job of shrugging off moisture and is really hard wearing.  The relative weatherproofness of the pants also means that I tend to wait longer before pulling over trousers on because I know I won't get uncomfortably damp.     

The materials used breathe really well and dry quickly.  There is an option to enhance the waterproofing of the G1000 Lite fabric by waxing it (there’s information about that on the excellent Fjallraven website here) but I haven't done that on these trousers and don't think I will need to in the conditions I anticipate using them in.

The other positive thing I've noticed is how windproof the Abisko Lites are.  I've been out on some very chilly days over the summer and early autumn and they’ve been great.  Similarly, the hot dry conditions of Morocco tested the fabrics comfort in hot conditions.  Again, they have been superb.

I don't tend to use hand pockets so much but they will certainly work well if you do.  I do, on the other hand, find the side leg pocket a really useful feature.  It will hold a phone or compass or anything else you might need quick access to.  Inside the pocket there is a mesh pocket that is designed to securely hold a phone. 

Of course, no amount of performance will be worth anything if the trousers don't fit well but again I have been really impressed.   The stretch fabrics and pre shaped knees ensure ease of movement and the overall fit is excellent.  For me they are a roomy, but not baggy, fit and thus ideal for walking activities.  It is noticeable that the rear part of the waistband sits a little higher and, although I can't specifically say this makes for a comfier rucksack carry, I can certainly say they are comfy with a rucksack on and so maybe that is the waistband?

The waist fastening is a traditional button with zip and belt loops are provided for belt wearers.  I don't personally want to wear a belt when I'm carrying a rucksack and this is one aspect of the trousers that I think I would change - I would prefer to see the addition of an adjustable waist as I have on various trousers from competing brands.  

Fjallraven have left the leg bottom unfinished so that the user can turn it up to their required length.  This is a bit of a faff but, as these trousers are very much built for the long haul, it will be worth the effort to do this.  It does also, of course, mean that you get the perfect length once they are sewn up.

Summary 

I had high expectations of the Fjallraven Abisko Lites and they have delivered on every level. The fit and freedom of movement is great, the fabric combinations work superbly in UK conditions and the features are just what you need and nothing more.  They also come with Fjallraven’s superb build quality.

The Abisko Lites are, at a RRP of £130, at the pricier end of the market. However, that cost should  easily be offset by the longevity.  Another big thumbs up from me for this Fjallraven product.

Posted by Paul

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