Described by Berghaus as being perfect for 'long summer days of hiking far and wide', these lightweight leggings are stretchy and comfortable, with plenty of freedom of movement, and good breathability for use in warmer conditions. The skin-tight fit doesn't leave much to the imagination, and there's a question mark over their durability, but on balance I've got on well with them.
Sporty leggings can be had for a lot less cash than this, but the Embira offer both more weather resistance and higher breathability than many of the alternatives. While I'm not sure they're built to handle a lot of climbing or mountaineering, for hillwalking they've proved great.
Fit and comfort
The Embira Tights are available in a wide range of sizes, from 8 up to 20. It's good to see women of many different shapes and sizes catered for, especially considering that some outdoor brands consistently fail to offer larger fits at all.
I'm 5'6 and can be either size UK10 or 12 depending on make and fit. Naturally, I always like to think I'm slimmer than I am, so opted for the Embira leggings in a UK10.
When they arrived I was surprised how lightweight they felt, and comfy too, with a nice elasticated waist and a soft inner face on the fabric. The Embira Tights fit exactly as their name suggests - it's like putting on a second skin and, while the four-way stretch material is very comfortable to wear, the nature of the fabric means these leggings are not very forgiving; your every lump and bump is on display, and even slimmer women may struggle. I usually wear a lightweight merino mini-skirt (versatile, and hides a multitude of sins) over other powerstretch tights, and I've worn the skirt with these too. The ankle cuffs are quite neat fitting – brilliant for preventing ticks being able to crawl up your legs, but a bit of a wrestle to pull on and off over the heel.
At just 170g (size not specified) these leggings are definitely at the lightweight end - ideal for warmer conditions but you may want something beefier (or resort to layering up) in winter. With their stretchy fabric, the Embira tights allow good freedom of movement. If I were still a runner I'd use them for that purpose, but I've been wearing them solely for hillwalking, for which they've been spot on. Over summer I've had them on in wet, dry, cool and hot conditions. The tights have a DWR treatment, so can handle a light shower, and I've found that even if they get a bit of a soaking they dry pretty rapidly.
After burning the backs of my legs on a hike into the Fisherfields I put the Embiras on for the walk out. The weather was as hot as it had been the day before and I'd thought I was going to positively melt wearing them, but was pleased that thanks to the fabric's breathability and wicking performance they really did work very well – they kept me comfortable and un-sweaty, my legs were saved from being completely fried, and I was also protected from further scratches as I walked through a scorched but recovering landscape after a wildfire back in March.
You get two stash pockets at the waist, and one on each thigh, which seems quite a lot of pockets for a simple pair of stretchy leggings. The thigh pockets are useful for stashing anything you want kept handy. I did have my mobile phone in one of said pockets, but being prone to breaking electronic devices I'll not make a habit of keeping it there. The pockets don't drag with weight, which is good. I like the elasticated waistband and, again, the four-way stretch material comes into its own here; very fitted, supportive and comfortable without being restrictive (if you're familiar with Spanx, they're kinda like that).
Durability? Not great, but...
Berghaus offer free repairs on their products. They'll fix all the gear they can, no matter how worn or weathered it is, and will aim to return your item within 21 days. If your item is beyond repair they offer two options. Firstly, a replacement if your product is within guarantee. If not, with your permission, they upcycle the item and give you 30% off something new.
The Embira tights are not so robust or hard wearing, being designed for summer use. I've been scuffing about and scrambling in these leggings, and on the strength of this I'm not sure they're really built for regular climbing or mountaineering. Stitching on my pair is already ragged across the thigh pocket and around the waistband so I'm delighted that Berghaus offer free repairs; all I have to do is pay postage costs. Brilliant.
Ethics and environment
Berghaus' MadeKind commitment promises to make more sustainable products, and in accordance with this the Embira Pant uses fabric that's over 50% recycled materials, and has a PFC-free DWR (durable water repellent) finish.