A holiday in the Alps can be a great challenge – not only for yourself but also for your clothes. Rough rocks, damp caves and steep climbing paths demand a lot from the material. These are the exact conditions I put my new Norit hiking pants through. Curious how the Maier Sports model performed? Read my review and my experiences below.
Norit outdoor pants – light and comfortable
The big summer holiday was coming up, and my old pants had seen their better days. I had heard a lot about Maier-Sports outdoor clothing – and that they had the perfect size for anyone. I’ve always had a problem finding pants that were long enough for me. I own a rain jacket from Maier Sports, and it’s been my trusty companion for years. So now it’ s time to try out a pair of pants from a true fit specialist.
Thanks to the “Hiking Pants Guide”, I was able to find my favourite pair. Then I saw Maier Sports’ Instagram post “Testers wanted”. That was my chance! Aside from long walks and hikes, our summer holiday had much more in store, such as:
- Walking through damp caves
- Ascent to over 2,000 meters above sea level (in hot weather)
- Extreme via ferratas
My tester application must have piqued their interest because I received my requested pair – the Norit 2.0 – and to my surprise, they sent me the shorter version, the Norit Short, and a couple of shirts from the manufacturer as well. With these, everything was set for a trip to the Alps.
At first sight, both pants were very lightweight and were pleasant to the touch. The zips are well-made and easy to open. I came across the first special feature – the side zips along the legs close downwards! When walking, you can check if your pockets are really closed or not; usually you zip upwards, but it became apparent that this closing direction prevents the zips from opening and something falling out unnoticed.
Another discovery was that the leg pocket was quite large so you can store your hiking maps and other important things easily. When I put the pants on, I was pleasantly surprised about how nice they felt: somewhat cool, very lightweight and soft. I didn’t feel any seams either. Was this material really ready to withstand the activities I had planned?
Top performance in extrem conditions
The waistband is very comfortable thanks to the integrated elastic band with a flex zone, which can be worn without a belt on light trails. The elastic band also prevents annoying friction of the backpack. Inside the waistband you’ll find a practical fastening hook and a button that prevents the pants from opening, which could happen when tightening the waistband of the backpack.
Our first destination was the Sigriswiler Rothorn and the ascent of an underground cave, the Schafloch. The cave leads through the mountain to the other side of the Rothorn. The Schafloch is a giant ice cave that the Swiss Confederates extended to protect the Bernese Highlands from intruders. The experience was not only historically exciting but in general as well.
The hot, late summer weather and the ascent of 900 meters to 2,051 meters above sea level made us sweat a lot. But the Norit wicked the humid air out well and all wet spots caused by dripping water or sweat were dried up in no time thanks to the dryprotec technology.
Even long strides and high steps were easy to manage thanks to the mSTRETCH tec 4 light. Inside the cave and tunnel, it was between 8 °C and 22 °C and cooler than outside in the sun; it was dripping from the cave ceiling incessantly. Here too, the pants proved to be very comfortable, and the cold moisture in the air didn’t penetrate through, I never felt uncomfortable wearing them. The dirt from the clay floor was also easy to brush off.
Climbing really brought out the quality of the stretch material
I wanted to put the shorts to the test, so two days later I wore the Norit Short. We took on the demanding via ferrata “Allemalp” in the Kander valley of the Bernese Highlands. To get from the starting point to Allmenalp, we hiked 2,5 km and 600 meters in altitude between waterfalls and gorges, and over sharp rocks and rope bridges. There were sun-exposed rock walls with hanging ladders, and rugged rocks in cool shady gorges and the pants 4-way stretch material proved its worth through it all. The constant climbing movement on the ladders, rungs and stones didn’t cause any chafing or annoying pinching of the pants. Even high steps and long lunges could be made without any problems.
After reaching the peak, we hiked to Alp Rychenbärgli, where we wanted to spend three days hiking and climbing. Before we enjoyed a typical Rösti lunch, I changed out of my Norit Short and put on the Norit pants. I washed the shorts out as they had gotten a bit dirty in the gorge and hung them in the sun to dry. Thanks to the special dryprotec technology I could have put the shorts back on after the meal because they were already dry.
My conclusion: Highly recommendable
Motivated by the durability and the option to still have the freshly washed Norit Short in my luggage, I decided to wear the Norit pants for climbing the next day. I understand the manufacturer didn’t make these pants for climbing. The thin, lightweight material wasn’t designed to come in contact with such rough rocks, but I was supposed to “put them to the test”, wasn’t I? When the route “Wassermaa” (UIAA Grade 6b/7) led us through the most challenging part, I realized the Norit had passed the test with flying colours. They had a lot of contact with the rough rock of the “Üschenen Flue”, and they made it through without any problems.
Both pants proved their worth, and despite the heavy strain, neither showed any signs of wear. I am happy to have finally found a pair of outdoor pants that can be worn in so many different situations. It took some time to get used to the zips that were turned 180°, but they have proven to be more secure for the contents of the pockets, I couldn’t find anything that I disliked about them. Both the pants and the shorts receive top marks from me, and I will definitely recommend them to others.