Terra Stretch Lite Review: Hiking Trousers in Tajikistan

Filmmaker Jessie Leong tests our Terra Stretch Lite Trousers on the epic hiking trails of the Fann Mountains in Tajikistan.

The dry arid Fann mountains are home to a network of epic hiking trails and have been described by #TeamMontane ambassador Jessie Leong as a  ‘cross between Austria, Spain, and Georgia’. These unique mountains provided the perfect testing ground for our Terra Stretch Lite Trousers. Keep reading for Jessie’s verdict…

Taking on Tajikistan

With temperatures in the low thirties, to nearly fifty degrees Celsius, having comfortable, lightweight, and fast-drying walking trousers for hot weather and travelling through remote country was important. Observing culturally appropriate modesty customs is also something you need to factor into visiting Tajikistan, including wearing a head covering in rural outposts. 

The Fann Mountains are far more rugged and remote than the usual European Alpine peaks I more regularly spend time exploring. This trip would take me into the arid rugged terrain of the stark limestone Fann mountains in Northwest Tajikistan, home to wizened Juniper trees.

Tajikistan Fann Mountains

Located with China to the East, Kyrgyzstan to the Northeast, Uzbekistan to the West, and Afghanistan in the South, Tajikistan is a cultural melting point located on the ancient Silk Road. With its Cyrillic alphabet that looks like Russian, the main language is Tajik, followed by Russian. Only a handful of people speak English.  How on earth would I navigate the food, the immersion in a new language, and the extreme fluxes in temperatures, which can get as hot as 50 degrees? 

The Fann Mountains is a dry, dusty arid mountain landscape with limestone hoodoos – giant rocky mounds embedded with pebbles the size of ostrich eggs, that are washed down from glacially formed ancient riverbeds.  At the start of our adventure in the Fann Mountains, we explored the lowlands that bordered the alpine landscapes. This is where we encountered rural villagers, often those who were dressed in traditional dress, with women covering their face and hair.

Wearing shorts, vest tops and exposing legs in general here was a no-no – so having access to long trousers that weren’t overly clingy, along with a long torso, long sleeve top, was helpful. The magic of hiking in areas that were unspoiled by modernity was very apparent.  The only signs that tourists had been through were the homestays and guesthouses we passed. But there were no chairlifts, no gift shops and not many tarmacked rural roads – it was a lot of 4x4 off-road gravel tracks, with hairy mountain roads. As we approached 3000m and above, the landscape changed once more, replaced with Alpine meadows bursting with yellow flowers and simple summer shelters known as ovuls, made of Poplar wood and tied together with tarpaulin and wool.  

Wearing my Montane Terra Lite trousers, and walking on trails that were suitable for donkeys meant we were able to follow the well-maintained tracks that wander over from the seven lakes to Tovasang and along the river Sarymat. We walked past dusty farmsteads, with trees overhanging with sour cherries and apricot fruits, greeting locals by placing one hand over the heart and murmuring ‘Salaam Aleikum’.

It’s a place that one cannot help but admire. The colours change from a clay red to the blues, greens, greys, and greens of an alpine landscape – different, but familiar, almost a bit like Austria, with snow-topped glacial peaks framing the horizon. 

Testing the Terra Stretch Lite Trousers

The Montane Terra Lite trousers were tested on a multi-day trekking trip, so these women's walking trousers needed to be made from a material that was comfortable next to the skin and not inhibit sweat and smell. 

Once on the trails, there weren’t many opportunities to clean our clothes, this was only possible once we stayed at tourist hotels in places such as Ghazza and the capital of Tajikistan, Dushanbe. The Montane Terra Lite Trousers were a great addition to my hiking clothing and complemented my other items well. Before I went out, I researched the cultural nuances of visiting central Asia and sourced some cotton kurtas (tunic) and cotton shalwars (trousers) so I could wear them when we were travelling or visiting cultural monuments and places of interest. Having trousers that weren’t bright and alpine in colour also helped to not draw as much attention - I felt this was important to get a rapport with the locals and warmer welcome when we were invited into their homes. 

Montane Terra Stretch Lite Trousers | Womens walking trousers

I wore the Terra Lite trousers with my go-to fleece layer, the sage green Montane Women's Allez Micro Pull-On Fleece Jacket and coupled it with a red Montane Waterproof Phase XPD jacket.  It wasn’t as bitingly cold in the evening as it can get in the UK, but when we were at basecamps below the mountains in the evening it was good to have a slightly warmer set up. I was easily able to layer the trousers over a pair of merino leggings for some added warmth.


I’m 5’5 and normally wear a petite leg (29 inches for these pants!). Sizing-wise, I usually wear a size 10 on bottoms in Montane - as an athletic build, these trousers are spot on. Even if you have curves i.e. a bit of a booty, they still fit well.  

In comparison, I’ve owned outdoor trousers from other outdoor brands, with size fluctuations to size 14 because they don’t accommodate women with shoulders and hips. What’s great is that these walking trousers come with a belt that helps keep the trousers secure. The petite leg was perfect for avoiding the classic ‘bunching’ that takes place.

The trousers could be improved with a small pocket for a smartphone on the top of the leg which is something that has become increasingly important for me. The two front pockets on the Montane Terra Lite were used more as venting pockets, whilst the zipped rear pocket wasn’t utilized that much as it was a little on the small side for any tech. 

Favourite Feature

I particularly like the durability and the quality of the material of the Montane Terra Lite Trousers which uses Raptor Flex fabric, with a PFC-Free DWR. whenever there was a chance of brief shower in the afternoon. The composition of using 88% Nylon and 12% Elastane means the trousers don’t feel stiff, or stop you from doing a high step on more technical terrain, plus they were able to resist the rough granite oddities that were scattered about the landscape.

Equally, what’s also important is post-adventure! Washing the Montane Terra Lite trousers didn’t create any bobbling. From a care perspective, the fabric was really tested when they were chucked into the laundry bin – it seemed to last well, despite washing on a standard 40 degrees machine wash without bobbling or visible damage, which is very important if you’re wearing these for multiple adventures where dust and mud are encountered! 

Finally, the embroidered logo also added an extra element of quality and design. I’ve worn trousers that have had a heat transfer logo which eventually disintegrates – these seem to last and be more resistant to wear. 

Concluding Thoughts

The Montane Terra Lite are a comfortable pair of go-to trousers for hiking in warm weather temperatures but are also great for British weather conditions. I’ve since worn the trousers on day trips in the Lake District in cooler temperatures, working as an outdoor instructor and walking in the Peak District and found the trousers comfortable and practical.  

Visiting Tajikistan was a privilege that was made possible thanks to USAID, Faridun at Panjakent In tours and Rasul tours. We were made to feel welcome in one of the lesser-explored countries in an unspoiled alpine mountain landscape. Our trip here was enhanced with the invaluable help of a guide who was fluent in English, Tajik, and Russian and could help us navigate the cultural customs with ease and grace. 

Montane Terra Stretch Lite Trousers | Womens walking trousers in Tajikistan

The hospitality shown by the locals and the spectacular views we witnessed gave me a longing and desire to return to Tajikistan and revisit another part of the country, such as the snowy-topped Pamirs. With luck, I hope to see another facet to the rich and diverse mountainous country and culture that Tajikistan holds so dearly.  

This gear review was provided by Jessie Leong who tested out our Montane Women’s Terra Stretch Lite Trousers. Looking for pants for men? Take a look at the Terra Lite Pants. For more walking trousers and Montane legwear take a look at our full range of Terra Pants and Shorts.