Alpkit’s Parallax Men’s waterproof trousers have been designed for active comfort without being too baggy, and are made from a 2.5-layer fabric that’s claimed to be breathable and lightweight.
Although they’re not mountain bike-specific trousers, they are suited to most outdoor activities – cycling and MTB included.
Alpkit Parallax waterproof trousers details
The Parallax’s 2.5-layer material touts a 20k MVTR (moisture vapour transmission rate), which means they should provide good levels of breathability when active, and a 2ok hydrostatic head waterproof rating (which should handle heavy downpours). Its seams are taped, too.
There’s an elasticated waist and a pull-cord to adjust fit. The knee-high, one-way, water-resistant zips on both legs mean the trousers can be put on over shoes and the ankle cuffs can be adjusted using Velcro-backed cuffs.
They’ve got an articulated fit for comfort when active and can be packed away into the supplied carry bag.
My size small test sample weighed 182g. The trousers are also available in a women’s cut.
Alpkit Parallax waterproof trousers performance
My 73kg, 178cm frame best fitted the small size. Although the legs were a little short in length, the waist was the perfect fit and tight enough to stop them from falling down once they were wet and covered in mud.
The general fit of the small is fairly baggy – despite Alpkit’s claims – especially around the calves where the bagginess caused them to flap in the wind when descending.
Adjusting the cuffs’ fit with the Velcro bands didn’t reduce their volume, and I would prefer the cuffs to be pre-shaped with elasticated openings to keep them tight. Although the zips did made getting them on and off with my shoes on easy.
From the knee upwards, the fit was much tighter. Around the knee the trousers did pull tight when pedalling seated, but the small amount of stretch in the fabric meant the pads didn’t pull them down and neither did the pads fall down.
The Parallax trousers dealt with sweat well, and the insides only got wet and felt too warm once I was slogging up steep and slow climbs. But when they did get wet and sticky, the material still felt comfortable against my skin, which helped me ride for longer.
Unfortunately, the 2.5-layer material wetted out – where the outside layer gets soaked through, making them feel damp and clammy on the inside, but not actually soaked all the way through – after 20 minutes of very wet riding, especially on the backside where it was in contact with the saddle and where the material was stretched over my thighs.
This was disappointing and suggests the DWR treatment struggled with the abrasion and rubbing of being worn on a bike.
On Alpkit’s quest to save weight, the Parallax has no pockets, but they are very packable and having a stash bag is handy if weather conditions are changeable.
Alpkit Parallax waterproof trousers bottom line
Although the Parallax kept me relatively dry, they did wet-out fairly quickly, had a baggy cut on the thighs and cost nearly £80, so weren’t as good as I was hoping.
If you’re after a solid do-it-all pair of light and packable waterproofs that you can use for a variety of outdoor activities, such as hiking and biking, then they’re worth considering.
How we tested
We pitted six winter trousers against each other in some of the grottiest conditions to find out which one we think is worth your time and money.
- Decathlon Rockrider All-Mountain Bottoms
- Endura MT500 Waterproof Trousers II
- Gore Wear Gore-Tex Paclite Trail Pants
- Fox Ranger 3L Water Pant
- Scott Trail Storm WP Pant