The Rab Torque Pants are close fitting softshell pants made from a combination of Matrix DWS and SWS fabrics. They are primarily designed for Alpine climbing, with a slim, technical fit - ideal for long rock routes or summer mountaineering - but would be equally at home out walking on the UK hills.
Durable Matrix DWS (Double Weave Stretch) fabric is used for the main body of the pants, with Ripstop Matrix SWS (Single Weave Stretch) in articulation zones such as the knees. Matrix fabric is a membrane-free stretch nylon, meaning it is very light and breathable but still has a good degree of weather resistance.
The Torque pants are designed with Alpine climbing in mind - ankle zippers accommodate larger boots and there is a low profile elastic waistband with shockcord adjustment. The knees and kick patches are reinforced to help combat wear against rock and crampon use. For stashing topos and snacks, there are two zipped front pockets and a single zipped rear pocket.
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Very nice trousers (aka "pants" - shame on Rab!). Quite a bit of stretch, and thin fabric (in a good way), so they almost feel as if they aren't there. Nice zip ankle feature to fit around large boots. No braces attachment points, although the slim fit means they don't tend to fall down too easily. I had to drop a star because the washing instructions are daft - a 30-degree 'delicates' wash, for tough outdoor gear that you might wear continuously day and night!
They are a pretty slim fit, and I found the largest available size to he just perfect for 38 inch waist. If you're larger than this, then you're out of luck. Wearing tights under these would make them probably too tight. They behave well with eVent overtrousers over them though - no friction or unwanted grippiness.
Quick disclaimer: I used this product for 4 days before the draw cord broke and i got a different pair of trousers in that time i wore them climbing at a gym and walking on my way to work, so my experience with these trousers is somewhat limited so i will provide what information i can.
Fit-3/5- The fit is very trim as a person with very typical climber body i had no issues with this and enjoyed seeing my feet when climbing but the trim cut would only really work for rock climbing any amount of layering under them would lead to binding up and restricting mobility so these guys are out for winter climbing straight off the bat simply due to a VERY trim fit. I bought a size 30 though if you wear a size 30 inch waist as i do these guys will be pretty snug straight off the bat making the draw cord closure pretty much useless.
Fabric usage-2/5- The Light weight fabric was fine, stretchy and very breathable but would be to light duty for a climbing trouser without appropriate reinforcement so they did, unfortunately the reinforcement fabric proved to be a big let down feeling scratchy still fairly fine (it didn't inspire confidence as a crampon reinforcement) and not stretchy. Looking at the wear in patterns on my beaten to near death arcteryx trousers it got 2 out of the 4 big wear points covered by the reinforcement fabric it got the in steps and the knees, but they neglected the bum and upper thigh, the bum being the biggest down sides of these two i could easily see me tearing straight through the bum after only 2-3 months of dartmoor granite making the trousers useless, poor fabric and poor usage overall.
Seams-2/5- THEY'RE EVERYWHERE, now i have your attention. Rab seem to have been very stingy with the template of this piece putting seams just about everywhere this reduces overall stretch and comfort of the piece, for example they have a seam running straight in the middle of crotch gusset why one might ask, the only thing i can think of would be that the gusset is made of scraps after the larger pieces are cut same applies for random contrast panels behind the knee (same fabric as everywhere else from what i could tell) this is clearly once again to make the pieces small and to get more out the sheet these are cut from. Not impressed.
Closure system-1/5- When the closure system failed i got a very rare little insight into what goes on in the little fabric tube around the waist what i found was poor design, the elasticated draw cord was first stitched (not bar tacked) to a fine tube of scrap fabric and then that stitched to the main body of the trousers (again not a bar tack in sight), the biggest flaw in this system is the use the round draw cord not only is it not very comfortable but also hinders the ability to actually attach it to the garment this means they have to attach it to a scrap piece first and then attach the scrap piece to the main body this is once again poor design as they have introduced another place where it could fail as the stitching on the cord or the scrap could fail. The cord lock system was fine to use no issues with it. It could have been improved upon by using a mixture of standard flat webbing and elastic webbing, this would not only be easier to sew but disperse the tension from the elastic over a wider area.
Pockets-2/5- poor pocket design, the standard two on the side go inwards towards the groin rather than dropping down over the thigh this makes holding a phone and wallet less comfortable and makes it look rather odd when combined with the trim nature of the trousers. Rear pockets are always terrible and should never be included in any technical trousers anywhere ever they have zero practical use and a pocket on the thigh would be much much better.
Refinement-1/5- The zips are all automatic sliders which makes unzipping them a hassle with one hand (my most hated thing about these trousers), the crotch zip is standard semi auto locking like you would find on jeans. The internal waistband is just the same band they use on their underwear line which to me seems lazy, i would appreciate a little more thought into plusher more comfortable waist band than the one they have which is just okay. I can't comment on the expansion zip at the bottom as i never really needed to use it. The logo is sewn on while one may think that's a great thing it's really not, all it's doing is just permanently branding you with their logo at the expense of the performance of the fabric if you are buying these trousers you probably don't care if your logo is still there 2 years from now.
Value-1/5- With poor overall performance, refinement, design and looming durability concerns you could do allot better for almost £80.
Overall-2/5- A big disappointment overall and I'm actually glad they broke even if i did end up buying something considerably more expensive i was happy I now didn't have to stick it out till these ones wore out (i'm sure that wouldn't have taken long). I expected better from one of the biggest names in the industry with as big a pedigree as Rab has.
These pants are hard wearing and provide the right amount of protection, without being to insulative. Their cut fits perfect and the stretch fabric is a wonder. Whether getting out and about on programs in Australia or trekking and climbing in the Himalaya, the Rab Torque pants suit all conditions.
I took a bit of a punt on these Rab pants and I was not disappointed. They are lightweight and seem to be fairly waterproof (even though this isn't one of their 'features'). Not tested in the pouring rain but was tested under running water and I couldn't get any water to seep through, even with some rubbing. They have a drawstring/cinch cord waist so it's important to get the right size. They are a fairly 'skinny' fit round the legs but the material is relatively stretchy. Different, tougher, material on the knees and some grey flashes round the back. The red is such that mountain rescue won't miss you if you get lost, but it's better than the alternative grey version which is a bit drab. High quality product from Rab as usual and you can really feel it with the material and build of these pants.
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