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Product Review - Craghoppers NosiLife Cargo Trousers

Big mountains, haggis and whisky aren't the only things Scotland is famous for. In the summer months you're likely to encounter a few biting midges, especially near streams and damp, muddy areas.

If you suddenly find yourself in among the swarm it can be quite an unpleasant experience and you'll soon be hot-footing it out of there, we can assure you.

However, help is at hand, as top outdoor company Craghoppers thinks it's come up with the perfect solution to this problem: NosiLife, a pioneering clothing technology whereby synthetic fabrics are impregnated with permanent insect repellent that is supposed to provide up to 90% protection from biting insects.

Scotland: The Ultimate Midge Testing Ground

Given Scotland's reputation for being a haven for biting insects, Trekwear blogger Rich Ward figured a trip to Fort William would be the ideal opportunity to put the company's claims to the test by donning a pair of its NosiLife Cargo Trousers and making for the top of Ben Nevis, Britain's highest peak.

The Test

Despite it being a hot day, amazingly the only midges I encountered during the entire walk were high-altitude ones on the summit of Carn Mor Dearg (1,220 m).  While this meant I didn't get much chance to test the repellent qualities of the trousers in the midst of a swarm, it perhaps suggests that NosiLife clothing is so repugnant to midges that they stay well clear.

Clearly further testing is required but, midges aside, how do these trousers perform in a more traditional sense? After all, trousers are a vital bit of walking gear that keep your legs warm, protect them from scratches and scrapes, and give you somewhere to store bits of kit, such as mobile phones and GPS devices - as well as avoid the fate of the infamous Naked Rambler, of course.

Well, at around 300g and with a part elasticated waistband, Craghopper's Cargo Trousers are extremely lightweight and comfortable to wear, making movement easy. However, this is not at the expense of build quality, which is excellent.

The moisture control technology also seemed to do its job, even with a pair of waterproofs over the top that could have easily created an unpleasantly sweaty situation underneath.

As for pockets, there were eight on the pair of trousers I tested and I reckon that you'd be hard pressed to fill them all. Two large velcro-secured pouches are located both front and back, there are two pockets beneath the waistband for keeping your hands warm, and, finally, two zip pockets on the sides.

The most useful one of all however is a plastic clip lock pouch that actually fits within one of the main thigh pockets by way over a piece of cord and a velcro attachment. This is ideal for storing things like facial tissues that would otherwise become soaked in sweat as it is wicked away, or for keeping your mobile phone nice and dry.

All in all, these are very practical trousers, ideal for summer walking in the hills - regardless of whether you run into any midges!

The Verdict

A very functional pair of lightweight, yet sturdy, walking trousers that would make a great addition to any rambler's wardrobe, regardless of whether or not NosiLife actually does keep the midges away.