Pants: Exploring the world of Women’s plus size walking trousers

I will go on record here and now and say that I resent the hell out of not being able to get good quality, far less technical walking trousers as a woman sized over a standard UK 20, whatever that constitutes.

When I started walking in 2016 I could barely squeeze my size 24 body into a pair of generously cut size 44 men’s walking trousers.  Thankfully I just about could with a degree of waistband discomfort and chaffing as men’s trousers are obviously tailored for their specific requirements.  Otherwise, my walking gear would have comprised trackie bottoms or faux cargo pants from one of the High Street plus size retailers.  I shudder to think!

Finally last year I started to get my act together, dropped five stone and could start looking at women’s walking trousers.
That in itself opened a veritable can of worms as it would appear that what is one brand’s size 16 is an others size 20.
I cannot for the life of me fathom why there is such inconsistency in sizing. We’re not just talking an inch here or there.  Sprayway and Rohan size 18 have a 37-inch waist and Karrimor a 34-inch waist.  How does that make sense?
Oh and here’s a good time to say caveat emptor.  Some retailers seem to cobble all the different size measurements together and come up with an average which they then use as a sizing guide for all the brands they sell. Blacks!  So take the time to either look at the brands own sizing chart or go to a more reliable and savvy online retailer like GoOutdoors.
Frustrated by hours of research and trying to find size charts, sometimes hidden in the depths of a companies website I have decided to put all that research to good use.
Replicated below are some of my findings.  Whilst by no means exhaustive, I have listed the manufacturer, the name of the trousers and measurements for both waist and hips in inches and centimeters.
For the purpose of benchmarking and as most of us have easy access to an M&S store, I have also listed their sizes so you have a point of reference.
With the exception of Berghaus, whose cut is quite generous, I have included only those manufacturers whose sizing goes up to 20.  Mountain Warehouse has stood out as the only manufacturer I could find with a size 22 in a regular walking trouser.

 

Brand Product 1 Product 2 Product 3 Casual Size Size Waist Inches Waist cm Hip Inches Hip cm
M&S Trousers Large 16 33 84 43 109
M&S Trousers Large 18 35 89 45 114
M&S Trousers X Large 20 37 95 47 120
M&S Trousers X Large 22 40 101 50 126
M&S Trousers XX Large 24 42 107 52 132
Mountain Warehouse Trek Zip-off Trousers Winter Trek Trousers 16 34 87 44 112
Mountain Warehouse Trek Zip-off Trousers Winter Trek Trousers 18 36.5 93 46.5 118
Mountain Warehouse Trek Zip-off Trousers Winter Trek Trousers 20 39 99 48.5 124
Mountain Warehouse Trek Zip-off Trousers Winter Trek Trousers 22 41.5 106 51.5 131
Sprayway Atlanta Combi Atlanta Pant Hydrolite XL 16 35 89 44 111
Sprayway Atlanta Combi Atlanta Pant Hydrolite XXL 18 37 94 46 116
Sprayway Atlanta Combi Atlanta Pant XXXL 20 39 99 48 121
Rohan Striders Roamers 16 35 89 43 109
Rohan Striders Roamers 18 37 94 45 114
Rohan Striders Roamers 20 39 99 47 119
Keela Peru Trousers Rio Zip Off Trousers 16 34 87
Keela Peru Trousers Rio Zip Off Trousers Iona Trousers 18 36 91.5
Keela Peru Trousers Rio Zip Off Trousers 20 38 96.5
Berghaus GORE-TEX® Active Velum Pant Ortler Lonscale 16 33 84 43 109
Berghaus GORE-TEX® Active Velum Pant Ortler Lonscale 18 35 89 45 114
Craghoppers Classic Kiwi Aria Waterproof Nosilife Stretch 16 32 81 42 107
Craghoppers Classic Kiwi Aria Waterproof Nosilife Stretch 18 34 86 44 112
Craghoppers Classic Kiwi Aria Waterproof Nosilife Stretch 20 36 91 46 117
Karrimor Aspen Convertible Trousers Winter Trousers XL 16 31 79 41 104
Karrimor Aspen Convertible Trousers Winter Trousers 2XL 18 33 84 43 109
Karrimor Aspen Convertible Trousers Winter Trousers 3XL 20 35 89 45 114

In summary:

  1. Mountain Warehouse is the only manufacturer I could find with available stocks of regular walking trousers size 22.
  2. Sprayway and Rohan have the most generous cut in their sizing with an 18 measuring 37 inches at the waist. Rohan offers technical trousers to size 20 and Sprayway also offer a range of more technical waterproof trousers but only up to a size 18.
  3. Keela is a great manufacturer based in Scotland and I’ve worn their men’s Scuffer trousers for years, I love them as they are strong, take a lot of abuse and are wonderfully stretchy.  I haven’t tried any of their women’s trousers yet.
  4. Berghaus is a bit of a revelation here as I have managed to squeeze into a size 16 Himal trousers which apparently have a waist of 33 inches so I think the fit is going to depend on style.
  5. Karrimor disappoints with their sizing. A 20 comes in at two inches smaller than the waist on a size 18 Rohan or Sprayway trousers.

Both Mountain Warehouse and Sprayway have very kindly sent me trousers to review and you will find a link to the reviews below as I publish them.

Have you encountered similar issues and have you tried any of the brands above?  Have I missed out any manufacturers which make larger sizes?
I would really like to hear about your experiences and any tips you’d like to share.

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