dhb Flashlight Waterproof Trousers review

Reliable protection in miserable weather, but might not be as durable as some

dhb flashlight waterproof trousers
(Image credit: Emma Silversides)
Cycling Weekly Verdict

Dhb’s Flashlight Waterproof Trousers are a great outer layer to keep you commuting through bad weather. With decent levels of breathability, 360° reflective detailing and reliable protection in rainy conditions, they make a good addition to any year-round cycling wardrobe. Leg length shouldn’t be a problem; Wiggle offer three different lengths in every size. The only concern I’d have with them is longevity; the fabric is exceptionally thin, making them vulnerable to wear and tear.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Good protection against rain

  • +

    Breathable

  • +

    Decent refelctive detailing

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    Comprehensive sizing

  • +

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Thin fabric

  • -

    Very wide leg with only one adjuster

The lightweight, packable nature of these trousers is certainly appealing. They do exactly what you want them to when the rain starts to fall; keep you dry and warm without boiling in the bag. However, the thin fabric could well have its downsides in the long run. 

Fit and construction

I followed Wiggle’s size guide to test a medium, with a regular leg length. This wasn’t a clear cut choice; according to the size chart, my waist was a small, my hips a large. It’s great that Wiggle give three different leg length options, short, regular and long, with each size though - it would be good to see this from more manufacturers. The guide is obviously taking into account clothes under the trousers. However, I still found them very baggy around the leg, even with layers underneath. I’m not sure sizing down would address this issue; the leg width may be the same across all sizes to allow for shoes.

The waist band is reinforced with an elasticated shockcord that can be adjusted with a toggle.

The wide leg end has one Velcro adjuster at the ankle to pull in excess fabric.

The polyurethane (PU) laminated 2.5-layer trousers feature fully taped seams and carry a 15K/15K waterproof and breathability rating.

The ride

There's no split or zip to create a wider opening at the leg end. However, the leg width is generous, with no tapering. I’ve been testing primarily with Giro Rumblers (opens in new tab). I could ease them over my size 8's without too much bother; it's not a super quick operation but it's certainly not impossible. There is some give in the fabric and a little coercion gets them over the heel.  A chunkier pair of trainers proved more of an effort. I’d say a quick ‘pull-on’ is only possible for those with smaller feet.

The Velcro adjuster never failed me while riding, even in high winds. However, I definitely needed a tighter fit at the ankle, preferably even another adjuster higher up. There was just too much excess fabric flapping around the lower leg, brushing against the chainset at every revolution.

In terms of protection, these are what you'd expect for a £50 pair of trousers. They held off moderate, continuous rain for well over an hour, everything under them staying bone dry. Breathability is very good too. I was happy commuting and doing errands in them while it was cold and miserable; I never once felt too cold (tested down to 3 degrees) or too hot. 

After several wears, they were not holding off the rain as they did at the start of the test. After a good hour of riding in (continuous) rain, the fabric was starting to show signs of wrinkling on the interior side and the weight of the water, at certain points, was starting to permeate the fabric.

Naturally, these garments have a shelf-life, the DWR treatment will wear off over time. They can be revived somewhat with certain in-wash products. Wiggle have a 365 returns policy if you feel that they are not performing as they should.

The trousers are exceptionally lightweight and packable, great for stowing away in a pannier or rack bag. However, they are actually so paper thin, that I've been concerned about durability. Waterproof trousers need to be durable, particularly at the seat and inner ankle, where they are in constant contact with a surface and exposed to micro-abrasions. While I haven’t noticed any drastic signs of wear on these, given the lightweight fabric, I’d be concerned about the longevity in these areas.

Value

For £50, I’d say that you are getting what you pay for- reliable protection when the cold, damp weather hits, but with a limited lifespan. Altura’s Nightvision Women’s Over Trousers, for £64.99, are pretty much on a par with the Flashlights, but do have a more durable feel about them.

Verdict

The dhb Flashlight waterproof trousers are a good option for those wanting ‘emergency’ trousers, stowed away in a bag, for occasional use. With decent levels of breathability, 360° reflective detailing and reliable protection in rainy conditions, they make a good addition to any year-round cycling wardrobe.The fabric’s fragile nature may not stand up to regular, prolonged use however.

Specs

  • Sizes: XS-XXL, with short, regular and long leg options
  • Fabric: 100% Polyester
  • Waterproof/Breathability rating: 15K/15K
  • Contact: wiggle.co.uk/dhb (opens in new tab)

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