REI Sahara Convertible Pants
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $65
The REI Sahara pants are versatile pants wearable as shorts or long pants, depending on the situation. They are pretty much what one wants in terms of usability. Unfortunately the construction is sub-par and as a result these pants should be considered "disposable" after relatively little use.
- Quick drying
- Versatile for varying conditions
- Pant material is durable
- Convenient pockets
- Poor construction
- Expensive when not on sale
- A bit awkward to install or remove the pant legs while wearing the pants
The REI Sahara Convertible Pants sold by REI are more or less exactly what the backcountry traveler needs. They are lightweight (4.1 oz for pant legs, 9.2 oz for shorts, total = 13.3 oz). The pant material is durable, and they dry quickly when they get wet. The bonus is they serve as either long pants or shorts depending on the situation.
What's the downside? They (literally) fall apart at the seams. If it weren't for this flaw I'd rate these a "5".
During (and starting early in) my 30-day trip when I first wore these pants, the following happened:
- The stitching holding the velcro onto the pocket flaps came apart
- The pockets themselves came apart. I feel very fortunate that important items (such as my wallet) did not fall out unnoticed on the trail
- The crotch seam came completely undone, resulting the backside of my underwear being displayed to numerous hikers. I hope it was clean. Oh, wait, I was hiking the JMT. :)
I would recommend these pants based on their functionality if REI resolves their vendors' manufacturing issues and offers a quality-built product. I should mention that I have given them a second chance ... based on the functionality and a special sale price .. so I have a second pair which so far has stood up to 6 nights of backcountry travel.
If and when the replacement pair proves to be more durable than the first, I'll update this review with an amended score.
No image available to show the disintegration of the pockets on the inside ...
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $24.99
Comfortable, light, dries fast, and it turns into shorts!
- Dries fast
- No snag zips
- Packs small
- Incorporated belt
- Tons of pockets
- Small zippers on cargo pockets fail with heavy use
- Belt loosens, requires multiple adjustments on long hikes
When looking for a good pair of hiking pants, there are many options. I chose to purchase the REI Sahara Convertibles because of the discount I received and the construction, fit, and build.
The fit is great in my opinion and it almost feels like you're not wearing anything since it felt so light. It was baggy enough for me and I didn't find any issues with when hiking in terrain that requires you to stretch or bend your legs when going over rocks, climbing over downed trees, etc.
It's comfortable to wear even on long hikes, when wet, the fabric dries fast even when there is no breeze. On cold months, I would layer a pair of long johns underneath to give you extra warmth. On warm months, you can zip the bottom halfway or completely remove the bottom half cool your legs. It's a great option to turn your pants into shorts.
One of two issues I have had so far with these pants are the zippers on the pockets. I had to break off the zipper on one of the cargo pockets because it refused to open. Second issue is with the belt system. When doing long miles, the belt can get loose and requires you to adjust and tighten them from time to time.
Overall, these are a great pair of hiking pants and the price is fairly competitive.
REI Sahara Convertible (Shorts Mode)
Fabric Type: Nylon/Nylon Blend
Moisture Wicking: No
Quick Drying: Yes
Side Cargo Pockets: Yes
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $40
I have purchased a few different brands of convertible hiking pants in the past. My favorite so far is this style from REI. They breath well and are very durable. I found them to be excellent at repelling water for a while and dry extremely fast.
- Low cost
I now have three pairs of these convertible pants to keep in rotation. They are very comfortable and have held up very well. I enjoy wearing these for hiking especially but any outdoor activity really. They bead water fairly well but dry quickly once it has soaked through.
I sweat a lot so it is important for me to find clothes that breath well. These breath well enough for me so I don't mind spending a few bucks on them.
I find these to be just as good (for my purposes) as some of the name brand versions.
Price Paid: On Sale $36
I wore the REI Sahara on three different hikes in varying terrain.
The first was a 10-mile hike where the morning starting temperature was 32 and warmed to 50. I wore a light baselayer underneath. Had plenty of freedom of movement and felt no restriction in the knee and thigh area. My perspiration was being wicked away as described. I never felt hot nor cold in them. But felt comfortable and this hike had 20 mph winds.
My second hike was in the 20's and I wore a mid weight baselayer still plenty of movement and freedom and no restriction in the knee and thigh area. I felt of you went to a higher weight than mid you would need to order a size larger. Because you would feel restriction.
My final hike was a light rain in the 30 degree tempature range. The REI Sahara's are 100% nylon and do get wet.They did dry quickly the longer I hiked or got to a shelter to Build a fire. My baselayer was a little damp but I was warm.
As for the Left and Right pockets they measure 7X6 plenty of room for a small map and compass I found. The left pocket's separate cell phone pocket is large enough to hold a 3g phone for you techy's. The right pocket is the secure pocket with a zipper closure and Rip and stick closure. Rear pocket and Left thigh pocket both only have Rip and stick closure. As for the UPF 50 protection. I tested these this past winter. weight is 10.oz
front pockets are not deep enough to protect valuables or keys
Easy movement, non restricting