A brief clothing review by Bobulous.
Winter Bags are trousers made by Rohan. They are constructed with a cotton and polyester material, insulated with an Insuflex lining. They feature four zipped pockets for security, and reinforced seat and knees for durability. Rohan report the mass of the trousers as 615 grams.
Winter Bags were designed for the sort of winter weather that Met Office forecasters were threatening us with in the run up to the end of 2005 — harsh cold winters. Even though temperatures in London rarely ventured below zero this winter, the bitter winds often made it seem much colder. In conditions like that, Winter Bags felt like bullet-proof armour.
The inside of the trousers is lined with Insuflex, which is cotton and Modal stuffed with polyester. This is so soft and cushiony that it's like putting on a trouser-shaped duvet. But this insulation doesn't make the trousers feel heavy or stiff. Nor does it make it much harder to bend at the knees.
The trousers have a 35″ inside leg, which means that you will most likely need to adjust the length to suit. I just fold the extra length up into the trouser legs each time I put them on. This has the benefit of creating a kind of air-plug around the ankles, which helps to keep the warm air in and the cold air out.
A set of secure pockets are featured: two zipped pockets on the front, a D-ring to attach your keychain to, plus two zipped pockets on the back. Though I've no idea why on Earth you'd want to store stuff in a back pocket.
Outside in the cold weather, the Winter Bags keep your legs so snug that they may as well still be indoors in a warm house. Even though Rohan haven't given the Winter Bags a Windguard rating (they describe them only as "wind-resistant") they do very well in cold, windy weather. Bitter gusts of wind fail to remind your legs that they are in fact outdoors.
I had been expecting the Winter Bags to make me overheat while wearing them indoors in a well-heated room. In fact, I remained fairly comfortable in such conditions, and I'm someone who is very sensitive to heat. I certainly wouldn't recommend working indoors in these trousers, because they trap heat so well that you'd probably sweat buckets.
One thing I'm not impressed with is the fact that Rohan no longer integrate a belt into their functional trousers. Which means that I had to pay to buy one separately. And I've found that the loose belt works much less effectively than the belts that used to be built-into Rohan's older trouser ranges. The loose belt seems less able to hold the trousers in place because it is not bonded to the back and sides of the waist. Seeing as I can't imagine using any other type of belt with Rohan's Winter Bags, I do wish they'd simply built the belt into the trousers the way they used to.
The Winter Bags have been reinforced in the seat and knee areas to strengthen them against wear, but I haven't yet worn them for long enough to know how durable they are. In my experience Rohan's trousers are hard-wearing, so I imagine the outer polyester material will last for ages. The only thing I wonder is how hard-wearing the insulated liner is.
Rohan's Winter Bags are excellent trousers for times when the temperature is down at around zero degrees Celsius and the wind is up. They're light and comfortable and well equipped with zipped pockets. Anyone likely to find themself outdoors in cold weather should acquire a pair of trousers like these.
If you need a winter jacket to go with these, see my review of the Rohan Pack Ice Jacket.