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Maier Sportsendurance test

Monika Neiheisser tests the Nata pants.

Nicaragua in May, Namibia in June, Corsica in July, the Karwendel mountain range in August and Bali in September. No two days are the same for a travel journalist. And it’s not easy to find the right pants for all the activities in different climate zones, especially when you have the legs of a gazelle and standard pants are always five centimetres too short.

Looking at the climate chart for Namibia or Nicaragua, you would only need to pack shorts. But when you think of the undergrowth that eagerly scratches your legs, sunburn and unwelcome wildlife in the desert, then long pants are a better choice. So, I usually go for zip-off pants, which you can quickly turn into Bermuda shorts when the situation calls for it. The NATA model has become a constant companion on my trips. We had freak weather only recently while trekking along the legendary GR20 long-distance trail in Corsica. In order to get to Lac de Capitello, we had to cross snow fields while battling icy wind and thick fog. We then continued to the Punta Alle Porte summit in pouring rain. The pant legs obviously stayed zipped on during those kinds of conditions. These pants can withstand the wind and cold really well. Their water-repellent properties, similar to softshell, also helped them defy the first drizzle. I only had to slip on my rain pants when it started bucketing down.

But just before we got to our camping site not far from Manganu, the sun decided to show its forgiving face again. We were able to take off our waterproof clothing and the wind dried the NATA pants in a jiffy. I sat down on a stone to zip off the legs and hiked the rest of the stage through the valley with a sunny 24 °C. I greatly appreciated not needing to take off my hiking shoes when I turned the pants into Bermuda shorts because of the vertical zip on the legs. The polyester fabric has also proven to be effective on my trips. It is breathable and robust enough so that you can even sit down on a stone to take a break.

The elastic band in the waist and belt are very practical as they ensure the pants won't slip after the 5th trekking day when you have lost a few pounds and the pants maintain their good fit. The preformed knees and bi-elastic fabric provide plenty of freedom of movement even on steeper climbs in the mountains. And sure, the extra-long legs are the best part as my endless search for pants for taller people has finally come to an end. Admittedly you will look more stylish if you pack a pair of short and long pants for your travels as you won’t have the bulge on the legs and the lateral zips that zip-off legs have. But it just can't get any more practical than T-zip pants when you’re on the road.

Text and photos: Monika Neiheisser