The Rab Bergen Pant is made of three-layer eVENT, with a minimal feature set to minimize weight to 10.8 ounces (men's large). Rab calls them "overtrousers," but I found them to be a lot more versatile than that, as I explain in this review.
The Rab Bergen eVENT Pant doesn't have any pockets or fly, but it does have three-quarter-length side zips, articulated knees, and a simple elastic waistband - perfect for lightweight cool weather outerwear.
Although my torso requires frequent adjustment of insulating layers for comfort, my legs don't easily get cold during active cold weather pursuits - like backcountry skiing, snowshoeing, and hiking. Although the Rab Bergen Pant is intended as a rain pant, I decided to try them for winter outerwear. To my pleasure, they worked perfectly! After testing them on a number of local snow travel day trips and a few overnight igloo camping trips, I was confident in their performance. I next took them on an eleven-day winter camping trip in Yellowstone National Park, where I wore them daily with only lightweight wool long johns under them. I was totally satisfied with their performance and versatility on an extended winter camping trip where they were subjected to demanding and variable conditions.
The Bergen Pant has a fairly trim fit, but there is still enough room to wear them over insulating layers. Photo by Bill Webbe.
For me, the Rab Bergen Pant in size large is an excellent fit. Their elastic waist in relaxed mode fit my thirty-four-inch waist perfectly and expands to fit a larger girth. I especially liked their thirty-three-inch inseam for my long legs, and opening their side zips allowed them to be easily donned without taking my boots off.
The Bergen's articulated knees (sewn to provide extra room in the knee area) allow more freedom of movement. Wearing tall gaiters holds the pants in the right position. Photo by Bill Webbe.
Worn with a shell jacket and tall gaiters, I found the Bergen to be an excellent pant for snow sports and other cold/cool weather pursuits. On warmer winter days (above about 15 °F), I found the Bergen to be comfortable by itself, without any underlayers. In cold weather, for example, backcountry skiing on a 0 °F day, I wore thin wool long johns (Ibex Woolies) under them. For winter igloo camping, I added a synthetic insulated pant (Montbell Thermawrap) under them.
For comfort on warmer days, the Bergen's side zips can be opened for extra ventilation. Double sliders allow more adjustment.
So far I have focused on snow sports; how does the Bergen Pant perform for hiking? I found them very comfortable for cold/cool weather hiking, wearing them in the same way as a hiking pant. However, as you would expect, they simply get too hot as a hiking pant in warmer temperatures. When worn as a typical rain pant over shorts or hiking pants, their eVENT fabric and side zips give them an extra measure of comfort.
The Bergen Pant worn over a hiking pant provides excellent rain protection and an extra measure of comfort, due to the breathability of its eVENT fabric.
Weight-wise, the Rab Bergen Pant shares the distinction of lightest eVENT pant with the Integral Designs eVENT Rain Pant (10.5 ounces, men's medium). The main difference between the two is the Bergen Pant has three-quarter-length side zips and the ID Rain Pant has ankle zips, plus a zippered opening at the hips. The inseam of the Bergen is thirty-three inches (men's large), while the ID Rain Pant is listed at thirty-one inches. The Bergen is also a good value compared to the ID eVENT Rain Pant, $180 compared to $250.
Note that there are lighter rain pants to be found; for example, the GoLite Reed Pant weighs only six ounces. Their polyurethane laminate waterproof/breathable fabric is not nearly as breathable as eVENT, but fabric breathability is not as important a factor in legwear as it is in torsowear.
Overall, I am very pleased with the fit, performance, and versatility of the Rab Bergen Pant when used as outerwear for cold/cool weather active pursuits. The Bergen is also an excellent choice when the extra breathability of eVENT is desired for rainwear.
Specifications and Features
- Manufacturer: Rab (http:rab.uk.com/)
- Year/Model: 2008 Bergen Pant
- Materials:: 3-layer eVENT
- Features: Elastic waistband with drawcord, three-quarter-length waterproof side zippers with two pulls, articulated knees, drawcord cuff
- Weight: measured weight men's L 10.8 oz ( g), manufacturer specification 10 oz (290 g)
- MSRP: $180 US