When Sarah Hannibal got in touch about a ski touring and mountaineering adventure in Kyrgyzstan we helped kit her out with some Helly Hansen gear. This is her HH Odin Muninn Pants review, very handy softshell mountain activity trousers.
For me there are two types of clothes to wear on your legs for mountain activities: Ski trousers in the winter and shorts in the summer. The Helly Hansen Odin Muninn Pants do not fall into either of these categories.
The first time I wore these softshell pants was at 3,800m. The day before I’d spent several hours of “dry land” crevasse rescue training, for which I had decided it was definitely warm enough to wear shorts. I was definitely wrong.
The next day it was too warm to wear ski trousers and I reached for my shorts. As I looked down at the cuts on my knees from prusiking up a rope wearing said shorts I realized that maybe, just maybe, despite my usual habits, the Odin Muninn Pants might be my answer.
And boy did I give them a run for their money. Before I get in to the details of that, it goes without saying that how you look when doing physical activity is just as important as functionality, and these pants have a great cut.
The length was perfect, they sat nicely on my hips, the waist band was comfortable under a climbing harness and the leg was straight, covering my shoes nicely. These softshell mountain activity trousers also fitted in a reasonable fashion over my ski touring boots.
I had kind of been caught a little by surprise (or by bad organization and timing if you will) when we went on our first acclimatization tour in Kyrgyzstan. This meant that I toured in these pants and they certainly proved to me that they were not just a hiking pant.
Despite the height and temperature, I was soon sweating with the high altitude exertion. My legs however had a well-regulated temperature thanks to the breathability of the material and at no point did I suffer from that hot and sticky feeling that I hate.
On our first rest day after acclimatization, a couple of us decided to go on a rekki to spot potential objectives. Looking for lines and peaks, that we wanted to climb and ski, since due to unforeseen circumstances our base camp in this undiscovered area of the Ak-Shirak mountains in Kyrgyzstan ended up being 15km further down the valley than planned. So far below the snow, and hence our plans had to adapt accordingly.
The sky was blue and the sun was shining, it was definitely warm enough to walk in a base and mid layer. Usually I would have been all “shorts will be fine” but the previous experience told me that maybe I should go for the Odin Muninn pants.
We walked along the bank of the river and took a line close to the feet of the mountains. This ended up being a less than flat walk and as we got further in to the valley, we started to cross creeks that were filled with snow.
It took us a couple of these crossings and breaking through the spring snow up to our thighs to decide that we didn’t want to risk breaking a femur. Which would be less than optimal in the middle of nowhere with no form of communication. So we needed a new tactic to get across.
We started with the bum slide. This was relatively effective and the pants kept my behind dry (not warm, but I cannot blame them for that). However we were still breaking through and the snow was not always slidable.
So we developed the rolling tactic to spread our weight over as much surface space as possible. This is where the pants confirmed their claim of being water-repellant.
On the walk back out of the valley the weather started to close in, and the last 7 or so km we had the pleasure of walking in the wind and horizontal snow. Helly Hansen claim that the Odin Muninn pants are water-repellent, windproof and breathable.
This last stretch of the hike was final confirmation that these softshell mountain activity trousers, that I was so reluctant to like, were fantastically wind and water repellent, just as they claim.
Two last design elements that I was really impressed with:
When you have a habit of your phone falling out your trouser pocket on a mountain, one may believe you should start keeping your phone somewhere more secure. The Odin Muninn’s had an alternative solution to this, with deep functional pockets that zipped up, there was little risk of the phone coming out.
At the end of the trip, having lost some weight, I was able to tighten the adjustable Velcro straps on the waist band. Unfortunately I didn’t get to try the reverse of loosening them after a great meal. This feature provides great flexibility and means that you never have to worry about needing a belt.
I was a bit worried that I had ruined the pants and thinned out the material due to abrasion. But after the post trip wash, not only did they finally smell socially acceptable, they also looked as good as new.
At £160 they are certainly not the cheapest pair of pants you can buy for outdoor activities. But they are true to their claim of being all-season and all-purpose. The price means they definitely fall in to the outdoor kit “investment” category, but I believe they are worth every penny.
We hope you found this HH Odin Muninn Pants review useful and interesting. If you’re looking for softshell mountain activity trousers they are a great option. Find out more: www.hellyhansen.com/w-odin-muninn-pant.