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The Gorewear Gore-Tex Paclite Pants are an excellent addition to any rider's winter kit bag thanks to the comprehensive waterproofing, impressive breathability and the well-executed versatility of the Velcro calf straps, which mean you can tighten them up and loosen them on the fly. I love the smart, straight cut of the leg, and they fit over a pair of my normal trousers without making me look like a Michelin man.
If you're interested in the Gorewear Paclite Pants, check out our guide to the best waterproof cycling trousers for more options at a variety of prices.
Gorewear bills these as its "whatever the weather" cycling trousers, and they can certainly stand up to some punishment. The visibility is fantastic and they are incredibly light too, but you wouldn't want to wear them in normal-life scenarios as they are made of pretty noisy material and are clearly technical bike wear. Nor is the pocket situation ideal, as there is just one small zipper pocket and no access to internal pockets in your underlayers.
These 'pants' (trousers from now on...) are designed to be worn on the bike, so as well as being quite a slim cut, there are some Velcro patches on the calves and ankles that can be used to really tighten the legs. Once that's done, there is no chance of any chain snagging. This alternative to a zip works well, though it could deteriorate over time and cause some scuffing of the material.
As well as being a neat cut, there is enough room to wear your everyday trousers underneath or cycling bibs, and I was able to squeeze my shoes through them, which is really handy for hasty roadside outfit changes.
The calf panels have been made from hi-vis material and Gorewear includes a great amount of reflective detailing. Unfortunately, these sections do attract dirt and marks, but nothing has permanently discoloured them so far. You can wash the trousers at 40 or just give them a hose down in the shower.
For anyone who needs reminding, this is how Gore-Tex is purported to work: "At the core of GORE-TEX cutting-edge technology is an extremely thin membrane that's durably waterproof, windproof, and breathable. It has over nine billion pores per square inch. Each pore is 20,000 times smaller than a drop of water, but 700 times larger than water vapor or sweat. This means that rain is kept out while perspiration vaporizes, so you'll stay dry no matter what."
So it works like a one-way system, with a tiny tunnel where raindrops can't enter, but water vapour can evacuate happily. This stood up during my test period. I wore them on pretty much every journey, even when it wasn't raining, because the breathability meant that they never got too hot. I would pair them with either my normal work trousers or a pair of bib shorts, or nothing, depending on the temperature. This varied between around 5 and 12°C.
Light and medium showers of up to 30 minutes are not a problem at all for these trousers. The precipitation rolls off and doesn't threaten to break through. They also stood up against heavy showers, and it wasn't until I gave them an absolute dousing with the hose that I managed to get damp patches to go through – but that was a slightly extreme test!
Clearly these trousers aren't designed to keep your feet dry in the rain, but if you layer them over the top of a pair of overshoes, the rain will roll off and keep that area dry. If you find yourself using them with normal shoes and socks for concentrated periods of rain, whether you use the Velcro or not, you will still end up with wet feet.
The Gore-tex technology is, for the vast majority, effective at letting the heat out, but there were periods of extended effort where my legs were slightly warmer than I would have liked. This was ever so slight and I wouldn't categorise it as a drawback. When I paired them with just bib shorts they were good at deflecting cold winds, with the exposed part of my leg remaining at a pleasant temperature. On balance, I'd say the breathability was effective for the vast majority of scenarios.
The material feels quite cool on the bare leg internally, and quite matt externally. There is a good bit of swooshing as your legs brush together, which was a small gripe and made me less keen to wear them while walking around on normal pedestrian duties.
They were comfortable to ride in, and while I wouldn't go so far as to say that I couldn't notice them, I never noticed any bunching of material or garment-specific discomfort. It's really useful how light they are, and you can stash them away pretty small. Rolled up tightly, I could even fit them into one of my bigger jersey pockets.
Talking of pockets, at the rear of the trousers is a zipped pocket that can just about fit an iPhone X. This worked okay for me as I was normally wearing the partner garment, the Gorewear Everyday Jacket, which has a pair of big pockets. However, there aren't any openings to get to your underlayers, so carrying small luggage could be an issue.
Next to the pocket is a thick elasticated and silicone-beaded band that runs around almost the entirety of the waistband. This helps create a really snug fit, plus there are drawstrings if you've somehow shed a bit of extra timber.
If you are just looking for some basic waterproof trousers then you can get much cheaper pairs – Decathlon has some for just £19.99.
But if you are interested in a technical pair of waterproof trousers that look good, can be adjusted, and really perform well, then these Paclite Pants aren't at all bad value compared with similar garments.
Hollis was impressed by the Albion Zoa Rain Trousers, for example, and their toughened seat material and pocket access seem to be the main improvements over the Paclites, but they are £200. Hollis also found the fit slightly fiddly with some ankle bunching, but that might help with keeping rain away from ankles.
The Pas Normal Studios Escapism Pants don't seem to be available any more, but were a tenner less than the Gorewear Paclites – but then they didn't boast any 'proper' waterproofing, just DWR.
Altura's Ridge Thermal Waterproof trousers are £125 and have similar capability in terms of waterproofing and breathability, but the fit sounds slightly less intuitive than the Paclites.
These are a seriously versatile pair of waterproof and breathable trousers that I would happily use in a range of scenarios. They were perfect on my commute, keeping me dry on the outside and not clammy on the inside.
Thanks to their light weight and thin, packable material they are ideal for stashing in a saddle bag, ready to be thrown on during longer rides. The Velcro ankles mean they are very easy to put on, and the reflective details and visibility are excellent. The high price is a consideration, but they stack up favourably against the Albion Zoas.
I loved wearing them, and while they might be slightly out of my price range, I would keep my eye on the sales where you can often find them for closer to £100.
High-performing technical garment that keeps rain and wind out and adjusts on the go
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Gorewear Gore-Tex Paclite Pants Mens
Size tested: Large
Tell us what the product is for
From Gorewear: "Wind and rain protection yet breathable to keep you dry on the inside, even when pedalling hard. For those who want to ride, whatever the weather."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
GORE-TEX PACLITE® Plus product: extremely breathable, ultralight and packable while durably waterproof, windproof and robust
2,5 layers: less material, less weight
Wear-resistant seat reinforcement
Adjustable leg width with velcro fastening for chain protection
Adjustable waistband with draw cord
Back zip pocket doubles as a stow-away pocket
Shell: 100% Polyester
Back Panel: 100% Polyamide
Super well-made pair of trousers. Simple design with neat sealed seams and thoughtful panels at the knee to aid with fit. I was perhaps expecting some pockets, or at least a zipped window to my own inner pockets, but there aren't any – just the zipped stash pocket on the rear panel. The internal waistband gripper is very effective.
Very waterproof and breathable trousers that you can adjust on the go.
The material is very thin, and though I didn't come off during test, I wouldn't be surprised if the trousers were susceptible to tearing during use on technical trails or the like. All fine so far, though. I can't find any evidence of the 'wear-resistant seat reinforcement' – though the material on the front panels feels ever so slightly smoother than the rear panels. Perhaps this is it.
Gorewear says these are a regular fit, with a straight cut from pelvis to waist, hip and thighs. And they can be worn over baselayers and heavier mid-layers. I don't disagree with any of this. The large was a good fit for me at 6'2" and 83kg - I wore these over my day-to-day trousers and they felt pleasant even in that combination.
The lower leg has Velcro attachments so you can make them superskinny and keep the material away from your chain. A very useful detail. Also handy to be able to pull them on without taking off shoes.
The size large was good size for my 33" waist and there are drawstrings if you need them, but the leg stopped just above the shoe, which does mean that a certain amount of rain is directed towards your ankles and shoes.
Superior to the competition. Coming in at under 200g makes them extra packable – perfect for stashing in your bag in case of emergencies.
Slightly crunchy and noisy when your legs brush together, but this doesn't impact on comfort. They feel light and cool when wearing as standalone trousers.
Certainly an investment at £179.99, but that's £20 less than Albion Cycling's... And so long as the slightly thin-feeling material holds up to any bumps and scrapes, these should last for years.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Very straightforward and machine washable – no issues.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
A really practical and effective garment that uses Velcro effectively to create excellent versatility.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The light weight is great and they are incredibly visible and packable. Plus, the ability to keep you totally dry from the ankle up and provide breathability is excellent.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The noise they make when you're walking about normally isn't ideal, but it's a small drawback. I can just about fit my iPhone X in the only pocket but it's a tight squeeze, and there is no access to pockets beneath.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
They're on a par with comparable offerings from Albion Cycling, but if all you're after is waterproofing then Decathlon will sell you some boxy numbers for just £19.99.
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 overall score
The Gorewear Gore-Tex Paclite Pants do everything required of them with few flaws. Pocket provision could be better, and they're not cheap, but overall they're an excellent piece of kit that I found useful on pretty much every day of a British autumn.
About the tester
I usually ride: Pearson Hammerandtongs My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, Ultra endurance