I’ll admit it: in the past, I have been a bit scornful of plastic over-trousers. I thought they looked a bit silly; a bit unflattering. Now, I never leave home without them.
My conversion occurred during my walk along the length of Hadrian’s Wall. I had been packing my bag, preparing to set off––sans Kendal Mint Cake––whilst keeping an anxious eye on the following week’s weather forecast for Cumbria and Northumberland, and the prospect was looking decidedly grim. ‘Unsettled’ was the forecaster’s favourite euphemism, but I knew what that really meant: rain. Or, if not rain, storms. Whatever, it suggested that a good proportion of my walk was going to be completed in a downpour. And yet still I dithered. Those plastic over-trousers remained in that strange hinterland between going in my rucksack and being left behind. Like a judge on X-Factor, I had a decision to make: not everything was going to make the cut; there was a limit to what I could carry; weight and space were at a premium.
It was touch-and-go but, in the end, the plastic over-trousers––Regatta Pack It Waterproof Trousers to be precise––got the nod. And, Boy! was I grateful. Like a slacks-equivalent of Susan Boyle, they soared beyond their humble origins to prove themselves the most essential kit in the bag.
Although I ended up being pretty lucky with the weather during my coast-to-coast walk, there was some rain almost every day and, on a couple of occasions, it was a veritable torrent. There is nothing worse than walking in sodden jeans but, with a quick donning of the plastic over-trousers at the first hint of a dark cloud, I managed to keep my legs both dry and warm. Additionally, they proved a great protection against mud. Many of the tracks were fairly boggy and, even when the route looked mud-free, I still seemed to attract mud like a pig at play. Now, though, I didn’t mind; my plastic over-trousers took all the dirt and grime, and they were easily washable each evening so that I could emerge looking fresh and clean for a new day of hiking.
The only thing that took a bit of getting used to were the bottomless pockets. I lost count of the number of hankies, face-masks, pieces of small change that I mindlessly slipped into those gaping cavernous openings, only for them to gather in an increasingly bulky bundle at the elasticated ankle bands.
© E. C. Glendenny
E. C. Glendenny likes to set off on the right foot. Or the left one.