Breeks - who wears them

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Billy-o

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Apr 19, 2018
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Just speculating, like.

I had a pair of waterproof 3/4 length trousers when I was younger in the UK, but grew out of them when I was eighteen. For hiking. They were pretty popular in the 70s and 80s in the Outdoor Pursuits milieus, but gone now ... and I have never seen them in Canada, or spoken to anyone else who has.

In this early winter weather, I took to wearing 3/4-length merinos under 10" shorts. It works well as a comfy combo especially going at a clip, but merino doesn't much like the brambles. So, I was thinking about breeks again.

I see tweed hunting ones (Filson, Hoggs etc), which look tweedy, but possibly too heavy for actual hiking. Also, I just saw Hilltrek have some Ventile ones. I wondered if there were any other or better options that people used.

Still not entirely certain about the whole idea though. Not sure I aren't going to look like Bertie Wooster golfing. :)
 
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bigbear

Full Member
May 1, 2008
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Yorkshire
Would love to find some decent breeks, the old Rohan striders were bloody great, but apart from those you mention cannot find any.
 
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DocG

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Dec 20, 2013
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Moray
Fjallraven eBay- there are several "hiking knickers" (I think that's the term in the US - certainly heard it used in Canada in the '90s when I lived there).
Also look at "Capri" style Craghoppers.
I too liked breeks but don't see many around apart from in the shooting world. Tweed was used in the 70s+ for climbing but I feared the erosion that wet material could inflict on the nether regions. "Tweed breeks with a goatskin gusset" was the gallows humour in the uni climbing club Happy days!
 
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Duggie Bravo

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Jul 27, 2013
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Dewsbury
I last saw a load in a Surplus Shop, I almost bought some but they didn’t have my size. This was several years ago, so probably no real help.


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Billy-o

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Apr 19, 2018
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Breeches, britches, breeks, knickers, plus fours, plus twos, capris .. take your pick :) 3/4 length, well-articulated trousers that button/velcro at the knee ... preferably breathable in polycotton

Seeing a few modernized versions from Arcteryx, Mountain Hardware and some others now I have a broader vocab
 

Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
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Berlin
They are quiet popular in southern Germany and Austria.


Deer /Hirsch sämisch is the superior quality and the only original material for adult men. They last a lifetime or better: They last several generations.
They cost between approximately 1000 € and with a lot of decorations 2000 €.

Who can afford it takes custom made deer leather shorts for the summer and knee long ones for the colder weather.





But cheaper versions in other leather exist as well and they also can last for decades if not chosen too thin.


In more northern parts of Germany we prefere less decorated leather trousers and knickerbockers for hunting.

Such models, leather shorts an knickerbockers, are very popular in German boy scout circles, because they are comfortable, long lasting, traditional and especially:
You don't need to wash them!
That means, you don't have to carry spare trousers.


I currently don't wear them so often because I am traveling a lot professionally, wearing polycotton mix trousers, but privately the deer leather shorts and leather knickerbockers are my first choice for outdoor use.
 
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Billy-o

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Thanks for these Erbswurst. I don't think I'd be able to carry them off, and the last thing I want to feel is self conscious halfway up a mountain :) I guess they are ideal for what they are for, though. Now you mention them, I realize that I used to see them a lot in Chicago in the old German Catholic areas of the city round about Maifest/Oktoberfest

Do people really go up hills in those expensive/detailed ones or is that something more akin to a dress kilt kind of thing?

Has anyone tried Hilltrek's cotton analogy material. I see they are making breeks in double ventile (which I think may be too much and cotton analogy (as well as single layer ventile).

What is cotton analogy? Like a fleece or something? Think I may have to drop them a line and enquire a bit.
 
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Erbswurst

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Mar 5, 2018
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I think nowadays in really high alpine conditions mountaineers wear modern materials , softshell, polyesterfleece and Gotetex, because leather doesn't dry so fast.

But below the tree limit and slightly above it, in the area where you still find cattle in the summer the leather shorts and knickerbockers work very well and are still in use.

How much they are decorated and how exactly depends on the personal taste and the local traditions. And on the wallet of course...

If I see them in Bavaria they are usually pretty decorated.

If one is Bavarian and lives there one just needs a pair of shorts and a pair of knickerbockers and can wear them always and everywhere. They work well for outdoor activities, were originally developed as farmers work clothing and are accepted everywhere, for example if you work in a bank, in church, in the opera.

I don't know if there are really bavarians who only own leather shorts and knickerbockers, but I have to tell you, that I assume it, because even the normal ones in larger towns have usually a pretty traditional mindset.

As I am radical enough to wear them (not decorated) in the middle of Berlin were they aren't traditional generally, but a traditional Scout uniform item, I absolutely can imagine that people like me who are Bavarian and live in Bavaria don't mess around with other stuff.

If you enter Munich at the railway station you see them immediatly.
 
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cipherdias

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Jan 1, 2014
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Wales
Unless Iam totally missing something (quite likely!) I don’t see any real advantages to wearing this type of garment.


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Billy-o

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Apr 19, 2018
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Cipherdias: Do you mean the lederhosen or 3/4s in general?

Erbswurst: Thanks for the picture. Though Canadian, my wife is half-Bavarian (dad from Marktl) and whilst there is quite a lot of stuff from Bavaria in our the house, in those of relatives and in those of the extended 'family' of Germans who came to Canada in the early 1950s, sponsoring each other .. it is a bit like a lot of them quickly tried to 'modernize' and lose their German-ness for public life ... stopped speaking German, declined their German passports etc. Definitely no lederhosen or hats with a feather. Good skiers/skaters though.
 
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Erbswurst

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Mar 5, 2018
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Oh, Billy-o!

If you have already a Bavarian wife, you of course should get leather knickerbockers!

:encourage:

And perhaps a domesticated nice little Wolpertinger???

 
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henchy3rd

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Apr 16, 2012
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Breeches, britches, breeks, knickers, plus fours, plus twos, capris .. take your pick :) 3/4 length, well-articulated trousers that button/velcro at the knee ... preferably breathable in polycotton

Seeing a few modernized versions from Arcteryx, Mountain Hardware and some others now I have a broader vocab
Isn’t the difference between plus fours & plus twos something to do with finger widths below the knees or is it inches?
 
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Billy-o

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As I inched closer and closer to placing an order with Hilltrek (which I may yet follow through with), I found these Ferrosis from Outdoor Research. Then found them at nearly half price on the next site I went to. Regarding this as a sign, I immediately clicked on Pay Now. They used to make them with an adjustable hem ... maybe not so much now. I have a Ferrosi jacket, the material of which is great. So, I have high hopes here.

 
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Erbswurst

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If you continue like this you probably never will become a real Bavarian.

 
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