For long I had been wearing a merely okay-ish pair of budget hiking pants for our outdoor adventures, so I was head over heels when I got the chance to test the CimAlp Interstice Light pants in return for an unbiased review. I received the pants in the beginning of the year and have thus had more than half a year to test the pants under various conditions. I can therefore safely say that the CimAlp Interstice Light pants are suitable for:
The CimAlp Interstice pants are made of the brand’s own CimaFlex 160g/m2 fabric (97% Polyamide, 3% Elasthane) which is light weight and quick-drying. The fabric is made with 3D-flex technology, meaning that it has been woven in 3D as opposed to the conventional (and ancient) 2D-weaving technique. This should make the fabric stronger, and indeed the CimAlp hiking pants feel very robust in spite of the low weight. The material is also DWR-treated to offer some basic weather protection. There is very little horizontal stretch in the fabric, while there is a lot of vertical stretch for good freedom of movement when it comes to bending and stretching your legs. This characteristic combined with the sturdy material and articulated knees make the Interstice pants particularly suitable for technical trails such as via ferratas and scrambling, where you are basically climbing rather than hiking.
The side pocket and two hip pockets are made of a light, but strong mesh fabric, and equipped with sturdy, yet discrete YKK zippers with loops for easy handling. Also the opening in the front features a (hidden) YKK zipper as well as a metal hook-and-eye button with CimAlp’s chevron logo embossed. The full logo is embroidered at the left hip pocket. The Interstice Light hiking pants are available in four colors – I got them in “Brown” which is more like plum, but very pretty.
Comfort, Fit and Sizing
As I have wide hips and a narrow waist I determined my size based on my hip circumference rather than waist circumference. It is sometimes a problem for me to find pants which fit properly as they often gape in the waist if they fit me around the hips. I first asked for size 34 (UK) as I had a hip circumference of around 105 cm (41’’) in the beginning of the year. The size fitted me nicely, but I thought it was too tight around the thighs for good freedom of movement, so I swapped the pants for a larger size, which felt much nicer to move around in. But then I started to lose weight shortly after – so much so that the size 36 felt dangerously large in the waist.
Fortunately I discovered the very handy internal elastic belt of the Interstice pants which made it possible to adjust the waist circumference perfectly. I honestly hadn’t noticed the internal belt before as it is very discrete, but it makes the CimAlp pants great for women with ‘a fluctuating body type’. Maybe I could fit into the size 34 as of now, but as I will soon stop with breastfeeding it is entirely possible that the kilos will return. With the internal belt, the size 36 (French size 46) will fit me, regardless. The length of the hiking pants is just perfect, but as I am relatively tall (5’8”/173 cm) they might be too long for a more petite person.
Being thin and light-weight, yet sturdy and relatively wind-proof (to around 60 km/h or 17m/s) plus DWR-treated, the CimAlp Interstice Light pants are suitable for hiking in all seasons except winter. They might be entirely suitable for the coldest season too, if you wear them over ski underwear or Merino tights. I also wouldn’t hesitate to wear them in the warmest summer weather although they aren’t as such convertible, i.e. they can’t be transformed to shorts or capri pants by zipping off or securing the rolled-up pant legs. The thing is that the mesh pockets can easily double as air vents, and you can of course roll the pants up slightly at the ankles and tighten the draw cord string at the bottom hem for extra ventilation.
I love the little detail that the drawcord toggle itself is attached to the bottom hem with a ribbon, as drawcord toggles otherwise tend to dangle here and there – especially if the drawcord has lost its elasticity. Another good little (functional) feature is the mini compass attached to the zipper loop on the side pocket.
Washing and drying
The CimAlp pants are so-called “easy care” as they are crease-free and dry quickly – no need for tumble-drying them ever. They should be washed at 30 ⁰C (cold cycle), but there might be less need than expected as they feature an anti-stain treatment in addition to the DWR-treatment. Should you ever wash the DWR-treatment out, you can reapply DWR-spray yourself.
I am very happy with finally having a pair of high-quality well-fitting hiking pants. I am particular satisfied with the comfort and possibility to adjust the waist as well as the articulated knees. While the CimAlp Interstice pants are not for everyday use, they are definitely among the most stylish and flattering of their sort, and you won’t be embarrassed to enter a super market wearing them, before or after a hike.
If you have any questions about this product, drop me a line in the comments below.