Does my bum look sustainable in these? 100% recycled pants by a climate neutral Australian outdoor gear maker… Yes please!
I’ve been sent a couple of bits of Zorali kit to review in recent times and I have to say I’m impressed by the quality of this new kid on the block.
The Recycled Venture Pants are a bit like a slim fit version of the Cargo pants of my (90s) youth, reimagined for the environmentally conscious, outdoors urban type. OK. That’s a bit of a mouthful: “hiking pants that don’t look like hiking pants” is what the website says.
The pants arrived a bit later in the season than I’d like (pants don’t feature much in my life when I get outdoors from November to March – read that whichever way you want!). However, an unseasonably cool and wet, La Nina summer gave me the opportunity to test them out on a few day walks, a family holiday and a couple of car-camping/road trips.
Functionality – 8/10
These bad boys have a lot of pockets. Eight in total. Count ‘em. I never thought I could use that many. And then, a stove lighter found its way into my left zip pocket while my phone stayed to the right. Then I had to put my wallet and a shopping list somewhere… Anyway, you get the idea: if you want to store something in these pants, you’ll be able to.
The pants have a built-in nylon webbing belt with a plastic buckle. The belt buckle didn’t loosen anywhere near as much as similar belts, possibly because the webbing is quite thick (ergo: they didn’t slip off my hips).
Comfort – 7/10
I wore the pants in fairly benign temperatures (15-22) over summer and never overheated. In fact I totally forgot I was wearing them whether I was hiking around Fitzroy Falls on a muggy morning or chilling at camp on a rainy afternoon. And that’s a good thing: the best piece of outdoor clothing is the one that doesn’t call attention to itself.
I then got to test them in frigid winter-like conditions when a cold change cut through Wollemi NP, bringing the temperatures close around freezing (with wind chill). A pair of thermals wouldn’t have gone astray in those conditions but the pants again proved very versatile, both for day walks and trying to stay warm in camp.
The fabric is on the thicker side so won’t breathe or dry as well as “techier” pants like Patagonia’s Quandary or Outdoor Research’s Ferosi pants.
My main gripe? They didn’t sew in a gusseted crotch or put elastane in the fabric. This limits the potential for adventure sports (notably climbing) where you need to do a lot of high-stepping and other contortions. But they’re perfectly fine for your average hike.
Another (small drawback) is the lack of fly, which makes them a bit harder to get in and out of: you need to fully loosen the belt before sliding them off. And those bush wees will require a fraction more effort (for men at least).
Style – 7/10
The cargo-pants look won’t appeal to all. While I had some misgivings I quite liked them by the end. Suffice to say, you’ll feel comfortable walking into Katoomba’s Station Pub after a weekend of bushwalking (in fact, you’ll feel pretty well dressed compared to some of the other dirt bags). The recycled nylon fabric has a slight gloss to it, redolent of Adidas tracksuits. I wouldn’t categorise these as genuine travel/crossover pants.
Durability – 9/10
I’ve taken these on a couple of longer trips now but I’m confident these pants will last a long time. The fabric doesn’t have a denier rating but it’s heavy duty. Expect them to withstand everything from sliding between sandstone boulders to bush bashing through scrub. The canvas pockets are even tougher! The quality is top notch too. My only concern is the elasticized waste band and built-in belt: if either goes (and elastic usually does) then the pants will never be the same again.
Weather (and insect) resistance – 9/10
The pant’s durable water-repellent coating (DWR) was a nice surprise, though also to be expected at the price point. I wore these around camp during an afternoon and evening of steady rain and the water beaded on the surface. They also hold up well in colder conditions too, thanks to the thick fabric, but you’ll want to think about some thermals if hanging around camp when the mercury is below 5 (but that would be true of most pants).
Finally, what they might lack in breathability they make up for in bug-proofness. As mozzies cut through my merino top like tissue paper one evening, my legs remained as safe as the US Capitol Building (pre-2021).
I was provided the Venture Pants for review purposes and got to keep them. The views are entirely my own.
At $150 these pants aren’t cheap. But that’s only in absolute terms: compare them to the segment and you’ll find decent value, especially when the environmental credentials come into play. You also get what you pay for: a pair of well-made, versatile and practical pants that will last you many, many years. If you’re looking for just one pair of pants for your camping, hiking and café trips, give this Australian brand some love.