Vaude's Farley trousers are now on their fifth version having been a consistently popular seller in the range. They're designed as a hiking/travel cross-over trouser which makes them ideal for us here at Active Traveller. We tested these trousers on gentle hikes in the Cotswolds as well as during camping trips, and we were surprised by the performance of these modest looking pants.
First off, we love the fit which is not tight like some dedicated hiking trousers can be. There's plenty of space around the crotch, thighs and hems without being too baggy anywhere. This makes them very comfortable to wear but they also look pretty good out and about, foregoing a more technical look ultimately makes them a more versatile pair of trousers. At the waist the two elasticated sections give stretchy comfort on the go and the simple button closure holds everything together securely. A zipped pocket inside the right hand pocket holds cash and cards securely, it's on a slant but is deep enough to stop items falling out. Below the hand pockets there are two subtle zipped cargo pockets, these aren't cavernous but are certainly big enough for day to day items. Zipping the lower legs off leaves a pair of semi-smart shorts, these are above knee height for maximum sartorial sophistication but are a little too high for this tester's personal preference. Leg drawcords gives the option to turn the Farley ZO into three-quarter lengths or simply to tighten over your boots.
The material is soft but not stretchy. We feel it's more durable than most with decent defence against rips and general wear and tear, added stretch is always a bonus but it wouldn't suit the Farley ZO. With a wicking finish and fast drying properties these are ideal trousers for multi day use and the UPF 50+ protection adds to their hot weather capability.
As a hiking/travel trouser the Farley ZO are lightweight at 380g and can be rolled into a very small package which suits the stingiest of baggage allowances.
The Farley ZO IV are durable and versatile multi-activity pants, and although the price is right up there with the likes of The North Face, Patagonia and Arc'teryx, so is the quality. They perform well in a variety of situations and climates, and whilst an element of stretch is always nice, we feel this would detract from the travel friendly looks and durability in this particular case.