Bob from Nature Travels puts Flexitog’s Active Chill insulated trousers to the test.
It’s been a while since we had the opportunity to review a product from workwear manufacturer Flexitog, but I’m actually still regularly using the Flexitog Maxim gloves that I first tried all the way back in 2017 (see our review here), so when they invited us to test their new X14T Active Chill Trousers, we were keen to take a look.
The X14T trousers are insulated trousers designed for active use in cold environments. They are rated for use in temperatures between +5 and -5 degrees C and are manufactured in Europe, with 80 gsm of insulation. Sizes are available from S-2XL, and the trousers are currently priced at just under £70 + VAT.
The invitation to review the Active Chill Trousers came a little too late to fit with my trips to the snow this season, which took place earlier in the winter, but the cold early spring here in Dorset still provided a very suitable testing environment.
After looking at the Flexitog size chart, I choose a Large size. I’m normally always a “34 inch short” in trousers (32 inch is always too tight, 34 inch is usually a bit loose). With the Large size rated as suitable for 34-36 inch waist, I was expecting the trousers to be a little too big.
That wasn’t the case, actually, and I’m glad I chose the larger size. The waist was fine (plenty of room but not too baggy), as was the overall length (slightly too long for me, but any trousers always are unless provided in a “short” fitting) but what surprised me is that the legs were cut to be rather more close fitting than I’d expected. I’d expected the legs to have a looser cut, and that I’d have plenty to space to fit some base layer leggings underneath for extra warmth if needed, but this wasn’t the case – while certainly not tight, the legs felt quite snug, so I’m pleased I didn’t order a smaller size.
But the trousers were perfectly comfortable. Because the crotch is also padded, it’s difficult to escape the hint of a feeling initially that you’re wearing a nappy – much like wearing cycling shorts. But I found I soon forgot about this and, anyway, I appreciated the “all-round” insulation once I got out into the wind!
- The trousers are quite a nice, dark blue colour, and the material, zip and stitching all look to be very durable and able to withstand years of use.
- Flexitog specialises in workwear, so functionality, durability and affordability are prioritised over style. If you’re looking to be the darling of Instagram with fashionable shots showing you looking glamorous while enjoying outdoor adventures in exotic locations, these are probably not the trousers you’ll choose to wear for the camera. That said, they look quite smart. The Flexitog website describes them as having a “modern, corporate look”, which I think is about right.
- There are reflective strips on the sides to improve visibility, which is a nice touch, and I immediately liked the deep, cosy hip pockets. These turned out to be particularly comfortable to have your hands in when walking along in the cold. Although they don’t fasten, they are covered by a flap and should keep keys or other small items pretty safe.
- There is also a side pocket in each leg, and one back pocket. These are perfectly usable, but as they’re fastened with buttons rather than zips, I probably wouldn’t keep anything too important in there. The back pocket is nice and deep, while the side pockets are a little shallower.
With the thermometer showing a balmy -1.9 degrees C, I ventured out for a walk in the countryside surrounding the Nature Travels office in Dorchester to put the trousers through their paces.
Although it wasn’t the Arctic (though, very unusually, the Northern Lights were seen here just a couple of nights ago!), there was a bitter, icy wind blowing, and it was the kind of English winter day where the cold can cut right through you. In my experience, there’s something about the humidity of the English climate that makes -2 degrees (or even +2 degrees) in Dorset far more uncomfortable than -20 degrees in Lapland!
The wind hit me as soon as I opened the front door, and intensified once I got out onto the hill, so it was clear the Flexitog Active Chill Trousers were going to have to work hard to keep me warm today…
And they certainly did. Despite fitting closer on the legs than I’d expected, they were very comfortable to walk in – the padding felt soft and comforting next to the skin – and the thick fabric kept the wind out very nicely. As the name suggests, they’re meant for active use and intended to be breathable, and even after walking at a brisk pace for some time, up and down hills, my lower body remained warm but without becoming sweaty.
There were no noticeable cold spots and the trousers seemed to insulate evenly throughout the lower body.
I liked the Active Chill Trousers – they are warm, comfortable and durable, and very fairly priced.
I can see them being useful in a number of scenarios – especially if you don’t feel you can justify choosing a higher priced alternative from a more “outdoorsy” brand – and I’ll certainly be taking them on adventures in the future.
For the type of outdoor experiences we offer, I would take them on a winter trip as a warm pair to use before/after the main tour, or in the evenings around the cabin or camp. They’re of course not intended to take the place of specialist winter clothing such as a snowmobile overall that you would use when out dog sledding during the day, for example, but would work well as general extra trousers for use at other times.
I can also see that I’ll take them for tours in spring or autumn as a warm pair of trousers to have with me when needed during a canoe or hiking tour, particularly when camping.
Ideally, I would probably have preferred a looser fit on the legs so that I could have the option to wear them with a base layer, and perhaps to have zips instead of buttons on the hip and back pockets for greater security. But these are minor points, and in general the trousers were comfortable and performed very well.
And of course you don’t need to wait until your next holiday to use your Active Chill Trousers – as I discovered, they’re also very usable for walks at home and would also be great when working outside on cold days.
So, while we’re longing for the warmer days of summer, I’m already also looking forward to next winter and my next dogsled tour or ski touring trip, when the Flexitog Active Chill Trousers will certainly be going in my pack!
For more information on the Active Chill Trousers and the other cold-weather clothing offered by Flexitog, see www.flexitog.com