Vulpine Rain Trousers – Review [The Best Water Resistant Cycling Pants?]
The Careers Fair: the place where, once a term, many undergraduates pile into a room in search of employment and decent freebies.
One knows this day has come because people are more smartly dressed and the final year students have an aura of nervous anticipation.
Undoubtedly, most of the time at said careers fair is spent talking to someone about how their modular-machine-learning-open-source-blockchain solution works simply because you like the look of their free key rings and don’t want to appear rude, but you only ultimately need to impress one person and that’s the reason everyone dons slightly smarter clothes.
This leads to a few problems for cycle commuters: Sweaty Crotch Syndrome and Lycra are simply not viable options. But I don’t want to try to woo who (I hope) will be my future employer in the functional but scruffy garb I usually wear, nor do I want to be ‘that guy’ who brings in a spare change of clothes and walks around with an obtrusive – and frankly dangerous – backpack, dropping rogue garments in his wake. It’s easy to throw on a jumper and have your top half looking respectable, but this is somewhat undermined by the tattered shorts. This is one of the many times when some cycle-friendly, smart and hopefully comfortable clothing is desperately needed.
British brand Vulpine seek to answer this with their Rain Trousers which they describe as ‘Tough, comfortable and practical water-resistant trousers with classic style, for multiple weather conditions, commuting, work and exploring’. They come in at £140 (though on sale for half price at the time of writing) and are available in blue denim, universal khaki, charcoal and forest green in a range of sizes.
Rain Trousers for Cycling
On first inspection they look like any pair of everyday smart casual trousers, the sort of trousers that because of their versatile nature have proliferated throughout the vast majority of workplaces and homes. However, a slightly closer look reveals the discreet cycling features.
A reinforced diamond gusset means that comfort is ensured (none of that post-ride wincing on the toilet) and durability maintained (no awkwardly-placed holes). In fact Vulpine have made these trousers out of Epic Cotton which makes them both comfortable and sturdy. There is a slight stretch and when tested on a warm summer’s day, this fabric also proved to be breathable. They were a joy to cycle in. Epic Cotton is also tough; Vulpine promises they will last long, and from the feel of the fabric and build quality, I’m inclined to believe them.
One of the main cycling features is the fact that these trousers are fairly highly water resistant (without looking it). This was tested in drizzle and my research also found it to be resistant to Diet Coke, in case that was a concern.
Water Resistant Trousers (not Waterproof)
Ironically, during the testing period, the Manchester weather wasn’t its usual abysmal self. However, these trousers were subjected to industry’s latest rigorous water resistance test (my dad with a hose pipe) and they fared admirably. The water generally beaded on the fabric very well, far surpassing the requirement for water resistance.
As advertised, they’re not completely waterproof but I’d happily take these trousers over any waterproof ones because they are so breathable and therefore avoid the ‘internal dampness’ that occurs when exercising in waterproof trousers. Epic Cotton has the water resistance woven through it rather than just being put on top which means that these trousers stay water resistant through far more washes than other trousers.
The cut of the trousers is very conducive to cycling too. They have a modest raised back, so no nasty surprises for people I overtake, and a lowered waist and front to avoid the scrunching around one’s waist and belly that is all too common when cycling.
There is a key carabiner and a zipped valuables pocket inside one of the front pockets. And will wonders never cease: the valuables pocket is actually big enough to take your phone or wallet and still be able to close. Not only that, but it’s big enough that you don’t get reminded of said valuable every single pedal stroke.
There are also two back pockets, one secured by a nifty little magnet. The belt hooks have been beefed up in case you wished to indulge your inner bike messenger and hang stuff off them.
Vulpine have put on a drive-side button ankle adjuster to stop catching and prevent the chainring tattoo that seems to have found itself on all my other trousers. One of my favourite features are the reflective internal seams. This means that when the trousers are rolled up, either for function or style, there are three highly reflective trimmings on each leg.
Off the bike these trousers are stylish; Vulpine have cut them in a classic, comfortable cut – none of this calf-hugging rubbish: these have been made for the real world. And they don’t look at all water resistant. They also pass the spilled-packed-lunch and other-dirt-wipes-off-easily tests.
The one downside is that although these trousers definitely don’t look waterproof, they do have a certain waterproof ‘swoosh’ about them when you walk but that’s a very minor quibble and one I can easily get used to.
I have the forest green large size but they are also available in blue, charcoal and khaki. These weigh in at £140 which is slightly more than I would normally pay but they do the job very well.
Vulpine Rain Trousers: Review Summary
In summary, Vulpine have produced an impressive pair of trousers. Comfortable and durable on the bike, smart and stylish off it. Breathable enough to bear the awful modular-machine-learning-open-source-blockchain solution conversation in the stuffy fair (with a place to hang the free key ring) but also smart enough that you feel confident in them while talking to the man you hope will employ you, even after a long ride in. This will be a staple in my wardrobe for years to come.