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The Gore Power Trail Active Pants are lightweight and well-made all-purpose waterproof cycling overtrousers. The fit, though on the loose side, is good, and they've been reliable and comfortable during commuting and longer excursions over the past few months. They're very much at the higher end of the waterproof overtrousers market, but they are a very good pair of trousers.
They're made from Gore-Tex Active fabric, suggesting that – according to Gore – they are intended for "fast pace, high intensity" activities, in addition to being durably waterproof, windproof and extremely breathable. It is the most breathable fabric in its range. Generally, I'd agree, more of which below.
When it comes to waterproofness, all seams in the trousers are neatly taped. Water beads well on the three-layer fabric, which kept me dry in torrential downpours. I've even given them a pressure hose test and they kept my legs dry there too. They're also windproof, protecting me from biting winds during sub-zero riding.
Breathability is very good too. Compared with my old Gore Bike Wear Fusion overtrousers (constructed using standard Gore-Tex), I'd say breathability is improved. Even when really pushing on for prolonged periods I found only very minimal build-up of moisture inside.
The Power Trail trousers come in 'comfort' fit, as opposed to Gore's snugger 'slim' and 'tight' fit. I found the fit generally good. The trousers have ample length in the legs (often an issue for me with my 6ft 5in frame) and plenty of room to fit regular trousers and jeans underneath. If I was being picky then I'd say that I found the waist too loose. However, while my body proportions are mostly the same size as the XXL measurements on the Gore sizing chart, I'm much smaller around the waist at 86cm. The elasticated waist can be tightened using a drawcord and, once done, the trousers stayed in place well. I found it needed to be tied in a bow since there is no toggle.
At the knee the trousers are 'pre-shaped' (or even 'shaped'), meaning that the tailoring assumes a slight bend in the leg and I found this worked well, keeping the trousers over shoes. Below the knee the trousers taper to give a tighter fit, which kept the fabric away from the crank without the need for cycle clips. There are vertical zips on the outside of each leg, which go up easily high enough to allow all but the largest of boots to be kept on when taking the trousers on and off.
The material at the hem around the feet is both stiffened and sculpted to curve around the ankle, keeping the material pointing down and much of the rain from making it into my shoes. That said, as with any waterproof trousers, the only way to really solve this is to pair them with waterproof shoes or overshoes.
The inside of the waist band has silicone gripper dots that help to keep the waist in place, and between the gripper dots the material is a super-comfy soft brushed fabric. The seat of the trousers (including the inner thigh) is made from more hard-wearing fabric intended to aid longevity.
The zips are covered by outer storm flaps, adorned with a short length of reflective flashing, and the zipper itself has a chunky rubberised end that works well with wet hands. The legs each have a reflective logo too, a bigger one on the right leg than the left – great for those countries that drive on the right but not ideal for us in the UK.
Their one pocket, inside the waist and made from mesh, is big enough for credit cards.
As trousers designed for year-round use they're impressively light, weighing just 254g for the XXL, and they pack down so they can be stuffed into a jersey pocket. They feel very light on, too, notably lighter than my old Fusion pair. There are lighter trousers out there – such as the Altura Nevis III – but as a more all-purpose pair of waterproof trousers that can be worn day-long, they compare well with their rivals.
Note that these are general-purpose overtrousers, only available in black. Gore also does the slightly cheaper Element Active Pant at £139.99, a commuter-specific design that comes in black/fluorescent yellow, with more reflective piping.
Very good multi-purpose waterproof overtrousers for multi-hour trips - waterproof, very breathable, comfortable
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Gore Power Trail Gore-Tex Active Pants
Size tested: XXL
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Gore says: "Stay dry even in the worst conditions, any time of year: Gore-Tex Active Pants are breathable, waterproof, lightweight and pack small. Worn as overpants or directly next-to-skin, they are ideal in wet conditions for barely-there protection."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Small inside key pocket on waistband
Gore-Tex Active Product: Lightweight, extremely breathable, durably waterproof and windproof
Grippy insert at the waistband
Wear-resistant seat reinforcement
Comfortable elastic waistband
Reflective logo on front and back
Zippers at lateral hem for easy access with shoes
Very well made overtrousers.
Worked extremely well during multi-hour use. Waterproof in the heaviest of rain; survived pressure-washer test too. Excellent breathability too – only very minimal build-up of moisture when really pushing on for prolonged periods.
Feels solidly made and has more material intended to be more durable in the seat, including the inner thigh.
Generally well fitting, though my unusual proportions meant the trousers were a bit loose in the waist – drawcord and silicone gripper dots meant the elasticated waist could be tightened sufficiently, though, and stayed in place.
Sizing as per the size chart – no need to go up or down a size.
Impressively lightweight for multi-purpose, year-round-use overtrousers.
Very comfortable when worn for multi-hour rides.
Expensive, but well made, very nicely featured, comfortable and – most importantly – waterproof and very breathable.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Machine wash at 30.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very good pair of overtrousers, kept me dry during heavy rain on long trips.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Nice sculpting and stiffened fabric around the feet helps keep the fabric pointing down, with less water ingress into shoes as a result.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Waist is perhaps too loose but may be a consequence of my unusual sizing – drawcord works fine, keeping trousers in place.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
Very good multi-purpose, year-round overtrousers that can be worn all day; they're nicely featured, waterproof, comfortable and very breathable. Yes they're expensive, but worth it for the performance.
About the tester
I usually ride: Trek Fuel EX9.9 2012 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, mountain biking, audax