Swazi Huttie Pants
Picture this: it’s mid-June … you’ve just been released from COVID-19 confinement, and after a couple of months of staring at the same four walls, you’ve decided it’s time to update the interior décor. Maybe a new floor rug? Or some kind of exotic animal skull for the wall? Come to think of it, the freezer could do with replenishing too since there’s been nothing to do all day but eat. It’s obviously time to go shopping! As we’ve all grown so accustomed to in this strange new lockdown culture, another online purchase is made – this time with Air New Zealand – and before you know it, you’re boarding a flight south in pursuit of those big fluffy monarchs of the mountain. Just in time for the temperatures to plummet to a grim -10 degrees Celsius for a week – no better time to test out Swazi’s newest pieces of kit in their collection: the Huttie pants and Skål cap!
What’s a Huttie?
When I heard Swazi was sending me a pair of ‘Hutties’ to review, I wasn’t sure what to expect; after a quick Google, it turned out the internet didn’t know what they were either.
However, after speaking with the team at Swazi HQ, I came to learn they were a yet-to-be-released pair of pants designed to be worn around the hut. And given how much I enjoyed wearing my trackpants all lockdown, I was thrilled to have the chance to try out Swazi’s new equivalent. That’s right, they’re hut pants but with a cooler name and packed with useful features. They’re simple, they’re ingenious, and they just make sense.
For the Swazi fanatics out there, think Micro Pants but on steroids. They’re made of 210 grams per square metre microfleece, so they’re about 50% heavier than Micro Pants but also about 50% warmer; for a bit of a reference, my size 10 Huttie pants only weighed in at 286 grams.
Technical specs aside, the next thing I look for in an item of clothing is comfort, and these pants score high on that scale for me. I don’t particularly like mooching around camp in long johns, especially around the Canadian hunting camps I work in (I’d rather my clients didn’t see that, and I’m sure they feel the same way) so what I like about the Huttie pants is that they’re not too tight and there’s no restriction in movement – climbing up to that hard-to-get-onto top bunk in the hut was no more trouble than normal! In saying that, they’re designed with a slightly fitted cut so they’re not too loose either, which means they don’t snag on everything I walk past.
One more thing that Swazi have incorporated into this garment to add to their overall comfort is the use of flatlock stitching along some of the seams to reduce bulk and irritation in places like pockets or seams running across the legs.
Storage isn’t an issue with these pants: there are two good-sized zippered front pockets, and there’s plenty of room to stuff all sorts of goodies in there. Headlights, pocket knives, lighters, snacks, inReach … like the magician’s hat, they hold way more than you might think! The only downside to that is that when both pockets are loaded up like a packhorse carrying two moose quarters, it really starts to weigh you down! A drawstring or built-in belt – like some of Swazi’s other pants have – would be a welcome addition to help keep them up.
One other distinguishing feature these pants display in comparison to the Micro Pants is a contrast panel at the bottom of the legs, or as Davey calls it, a ‘racing strip’. Its sole purpose? To keep the fashionistas happy. Functional and fashionable all in one package – what more could you ask for? Did I mention Swazi designed them in a women’s fit as well? Kudos to you, Swazi, for recognising that sometimes women like to wear gear designed to fit us rather than scaled-down men’s garments.
The women’s Huttie pants have three different colour schemes to choose from: black on black, black on glacier and olive on black – available in sizes 8 through to 22. For the men, Hutties are available in black on olive and olive on black, in sizes XS through to 4XL.
Overall, they’re a well-thought-out piece of kit, and if I’m honest, I’ve hardly taken them off since I got them. For me, it’s quite a luxury to be able to get back to camp at the end of a big day and get changed into something warm while you dry out the day’s gear – something I’d usually forgo while on those trips where I’ve backpacked in to my destination. In my opinion, the Huttie pants are perfect for those trips where you can drive or fly right to the hut or camping spot, and they’ve already earned themselves a well-deserved spot in my gear bag on my next trip.
Like the Hutties, the Swazi Skål cap is made from 210gsm microfleece. At first glance, it appeared to be deceptively small and thin, especially in comparison to Swazi’s original beanie despite being made from the same material. So, it’s only natural I was concerned about how my noggin was going to fare in this -10°C weather we had coming our way. What I really liked about the original beanie was the ability to roll it down to cover your neck when it gets freezing cold, and I was a little afraid the Skål cap wouldn’t provide that same coverage, especially with trying to fit all my extra hair under it as well.
Both these issues were soon dismissed when I tried it on – the Skål cap far exceeded my expectations! In fact, its lack of bulk proved to be more of an advantage than disadvantage. For starters, it uses only a small amount of room in my pack – or pocket for those times I want to access it easily on the go. And secondly, the close-fitting style means it can be worn under a helmet and go almost unnoticed for those times you’re out on the farm or hunting on quad, mountain bike or horseback (and perfect for underneath those kind of useless, tiny hoods a lot of jackets seem to possess).
The Skål cap is available in all of Swazi’s signature colours; black, olive, tussock and glacier.
I’ll be honest, English isn’t my strong point, and I just assumed that the Swazi clan were suffering from the same struggles. However, it turns out they didn’t misspell the word ‘skull’ when naming their new Skål cap but made an intentional play on words – I’ve since learned that Skål translates from Scandi as ‘cheers’. So, on that note, to the Swazi clan, I say, “Skål” for putting yet again another couple of quality products on the market and giving me the chance to put them through their paces. If they’re anything like my first piece of Swazi clothing, they’ll probably last forever … or be stolen by other family members before then!
Be in to win a pair of Huttie Pants and a Skål Cap. Enter here.