Fjallraven Vidda Pro Hiking Pants Review
Vidda Pro Pants are tough hiking pants made by Fjallraven, a Swedish company that makes technical expedition clothing and gear. They are constructed from Fjallraven’s G-1000 fabric which is a blend of 65% polyester and 35% cotton. While cotton is treated as a taboo for outdoor clothing, this fabric blend makes the Vida Pro Pants breathable and fast drying. Wearers can make the pants waterproof by applying Greenland Wax to them with an iron or wash it out when it’s not needed, using a process unique to Fjallraven. Since the wax is made with natural ingredients, it’s an environmentally friendly process that represents an interesting alternative to the use of waterproof/breathable fabrics that require DWR coatings to remain breathable and shed precipitation.
Specs at a Glance
- Outer Material: G-1000 Original: 65% polyester, 35% cotton
- Gender: Available in men’s and women’s sizes
- Weight: 590g/20.8oz
- Leg ending: fixed-length, lace hook and adjustable hem
- Features: hand pockets, knife pocket, map pocket, compass pocket, cargo pocket, cell-phone holder, pre-shaped knees, boot gaiter system, kneepad compatible
- Number of pockets: 6
- Waist: mid waist
- Reinforcements: knees and butt
Ever since I was young, I have loved military surplus cargo pants for all of my outdoor adventures. Whether playing in the woods out back of the house, camping with my father or heading into the backcountry as an adult, the one constant was a pair of pants with cargo pockets. I love the ability to stash varied odds and ends into cargo pockets, and then having them at the ready on the trail and in camp. With a reinforced butt and knees, a ripstop weave, and adjustable hems, military pants set the standard for what I look for in hiking pants.
Three years ago, I discovered Fjallraven’s Vidda Pro Trousers, and since then I have worn them on treks in Iceland, the BWCA, and Capitol Reef National Park – and many points in between. In fact, most times that I head into the woods for any reason, I wear my Fjallraven Vidda Pro pants.
What is Fjallraven?
Fjallraven, which means arctic fox in Swedish, is an outdoor gear manufacturer that was founded in the 1960s. The founder, Ake Nordin, started the company because he was dissatisfied with the technical backpacks and clothing options available at the time. Nordin introduced the G-1000 fabric in 1968 with the aim to offer durable, functional, and dependable clothing. While the Fjallraven Vidda Pro pants are made with the original G-1000 fabric, Fjallraven also offers it in a variety of different weights and blends for varying climates and conditions.
Fjallraven’s G-1000 Fabric
Fjallraven’s G-1000 Fabric is a tightly woven blend of 65% polyester and 35% cotton usually comes pre-waxed when used in garments. The G-1000 fabric is extremely durable, provides UV protection, it’s mosquito proof, and water and wind-resistant. To increase water resistance, one applies Greenland Wax (a proprietary blend of beeswax and paraffin) to the whole or parts of the pants where more protection is desired. Machine-washing the pants will reduce the amount of wax impregnation in the fabric, but it typically takes a few washings to remove all of it.
Increasing the waterproofness of the pants also decreases their breathability, so it can take a little bit of experimentation to find the right amount of wax to suit your preferences. Personally, I prefer to wax the lower legs, knees, and seat areas of the Vidda Pros and then leave the rest of the pants with little or no wax for maximum breathability where I need it most. The cotton yarns in the G-1000 fabric make the un-waxed areas highly breathable, soft and comfortable.
Typically, before any trip into the backcountry, I assess the type of weather, temperature, and conditions I might be facing and then wax the pants in a way that best meets those conditions. Over time, I have found that I prefer the same waxing pattern on most jaunts, and thus I end up only waxing my pants about 2-3 times per year depending upon the amount of use they get, and mine get a lot.
Vidda Pro Pant Features
The Vidda Pros are loaded with features that make the cargo pant aficionado inside of me go giddy with gladness. The pants have six highly functional pockets around the legs, and this makes it possible carry most everything you need for a short day hike or to efficiently manage key tools of the trail on longer trips into the backcountry.
The pants have a regular, high waist and two chino-style pockets on the front face. There are no rear pockets, as all the gear pockets surround the legs at about mid-thigh. On the left leg, there is a larger side cargo pocket, much like those on a pair of military cargo pants, and on the right leg, there is a top of the thigh map and compass pocket, as well as a side knife pocket.
The left cargo pocket is big enough to carry a cell phone (and it has an internal cell phone sleeve), some snacks for the trail, and other miscellaneous gear that you may want to keep at hand, such as a bandana or a foldable hat. Three pockets surround the right leg. The two pockets on the front of the leg function as flat pockets that work well to store a map and compass, and other low profile items. On the side of the right leg is a knife or hatchet pocket. This pocket snaps on both ends and can easily carry a long blade knife or a small hatchet, and actually is quite balanced while walking with a long-handled and relatively heavy tool.
The best part about the leg pockets is that they do not irritate your legs while hiking. Unless you overload them, it is almost as if you have nothing in the pockets. I load mine up with beef jerky, nuts, Jolly Ranchers (AKA hill busters), a lighter, my cell phone, a map, compass, and other odds and ends that I want to keep handy at all times. These pants keep me organized on the trail and in camp. If there is something I need at the ready and don’t want to lose, it goes into one of these pockets. I can always find my lighter, not so sure about the other guy.
The final feature on these pants, which really sets them apart from the competition, is the integration of an adjustable hem gaiter system. The pants have a brass hook on the front of each ankle hem that you hook into your boot or shoelaces, and then an adjustable webbed strap with robust metal snaps tightens the hem of the pants around the ankles. In effect, the lower third of the pants become a gaiter and this works extremely well at keeping ticks, debris, and water from overtopping your boots. I always wax heavily below the knees on these pants, and on many occasions, I have stepped into water up to the mid-calf level and have not gotten wet.
The fit of the Vidda Pros is a bit unique, and they have no stretch. The pants are high in the waist, and I find that I always need to wear a belt. I typically wear size 34×32 pants, and that translates to a European size 50. The Vidda Pros tend to have a longer leg than most pants, but this is because of the gaiter function and having a longer leg length helps to keep them from being too tight on the knees when sitting down. If you tend to be a bit taller, consider getting these pants in the long version. The Vidda Pros come in regular, short and long lengths and have both men’s and women’s sizes.
I consider the Vidda Pros to be a three-season pant, and I use them extensively in the winter with long johns (20+ degrees), Spring and Fall. My general rule of thumb is that if the temperature is mostly going to be 65 degrees or hotter I put them away and grab my Absiko Lite (zip off) Trekking Trousers, which are made of G-1000 lite and a stretch mesh material that breathes much better in hotter temperatures. Where I live, in Northeastern Minnesota, the weather is mostly colder and thus my Vidda Pros get a lot of use. Up here we say that there is no bad weather, just bad clothes – ya sure, you betcha!
The Vidda Pros would also make a good work pant for outdoor or construction type work. Mine have been used hard for three years, and I expect to get many years out of them. I typically only use my trekking gear for trekking or hiking, but my Vidda Pros are the exception because they are such a hard-wearing pant. I am always finding a reason to put them on.
The Fjallraven Vidda Pro Pants are a workhorse pair of hiking pants for outdoor adventures. With six practical leg pockets, reinforced knees and butt, and an adjustable hem that attaches to your boots like a gaiter, the Vidda Pros have proven to be a durable and practical clothing choice on numerous treks in varied landscapes and temperatures. While these pants are best used in slightly cooler settings (less than 65 degrees), they are flexible enough to perform well in all environments and at higher temperatures. Weatherproof, UV resistant and mosquito-proof, the G-1000 fabric sets these pants apart from other technical clothing. Sustainably manufactured, and built to last, the Vidda Pros are well worth the price of admission.
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