Outdoor Research Equinox Convert Pants
Light, comfortable, and moderately fast drying pants for on trail or off. The OR Equinox Convert Pants are durable enough to handle real world abuse, yet comfortable enough to wear around the house.
- Clean well, stain resistant
- Dry pretty well
- Light and packable
- Belt buckle needlessly huge
- No L/R indicators on the zip legs
The Outdoor Research Equinox Convert pants showed up on the old Massdrop site this spring at a pretty good price, so I grabbed a couple of pair. These pants have been used extensively, on trail and off, since the day they arrived. After hundreds of miles and weeks of trail time I have lots of mostly nice things to say about them.
Fit & Comfort:
I took a chance and ordered the short legged, 30" inseam version. Excess leg flopping around in the wind or dragging in the mud is annoying, but not having enough room to climb easily is too. The length was definitely right with the legs reaching to the top of my stocking feet. Lifting my knees to simulate a step up when climbing seemed to indicate that there was enough material to allow freedom of movement. The crotch, while close when stepping up, was not overly constricted.
With living room testing completed it was time to get the Equinox Converts out into the real world. There I quickly found that the buckle on the belt that was included seemed to be too large. It didn't play well with the hip belts of my larger packs so I opted to remove the belt. (Sorry, but I can't find the belt to take a pic of it for you. I will add one if I find it.) Unlike pretty much every other pair of hiking pants I own, removing the belt didn't lead to my pants falling down. I found these pants to be true to the ordered measurements, meaning don't expect a lot of room beyond the size on the label. The waistband held them up just fine without aid of a belt, but if I put on weight the pants won't fit heh.
In action the pants moved exceptionally well. Material stayed with the legs in all positions and the lack of extra material cut down on friction while walking. In warm weather the material seemed to breath relatively well. When soaking wet, from rain or sweat, the water resistant material still felt light on the legs.
Construction & Durability:
OR used a 90D ripstop material for these pants. 86% nylon with 14% spandex gives it a small bit of natural stretch. There is a fully riveted metallic snap at the waist. YKK nylon zippers were used at the fly, thigh, and ankle. I can't tell if the thigh pocket zipper is also YKK as there is a rubber cover on the pull there. The front pockets are mesh while the thigh and rear pockets are made of the ripstop. The rear pockets have an unsecured flap at the top.
Despite the lightweight feel of the material the Equinox Converts held up to abuse surprisingly well. After an entire season of bouncing off trees and rocks neither pair has so much as a snag let alone a hole. Stains acquired on trail or foolishly wearing them while cooking at home have all come out in the wash without any special effort. The only sign of wear I can find when looking them over is a loose thread on the OR logo of one pair.
Water & Sun Resistance:
The material OR used on these pants has a light DWR treatment. This means it will repel small amounts of water and won't soak up moisture easily. Spilling a bit of water on them will lead to the water beading up rather than soaking in. If wiped off the material remains relatively dry. If left in place the water will soak in as one would expect when talking about water resistance. Exposure to heavy rain or sweat soaked the material, but it didn't seem to hold much water. Other than the belt area drying was pretty rapid. The multiple layers at the belt line dried much more slowly. OR touts an SPF 50 rating for the material though I'm not sure I could tell any difference.
Warmth & Moisture:
The 90D ripstop provided a moderate wind break. There wasn't a feeling of wind blowing through it at all. Despite that it seemed to breathe pretty well in hot conditions, at least until I sweated it out. With lower humidity the Equinox Converts seemed to dry enough to stay ahead of the sweat, but hot, steamy cloud hiking overwhelmed them.
The leg zippers that give the Equinox Converts their name function well enough, but the lack of a L/R indicator stumped me for a second the first time I went to put the legs back on. Easy enough to figure it out based on zipper position, but I was surprised that OR had opted to not include a hint.
I did really like the way the zippers were higher up on the leg than most of my other hiking pants. The zipper area can create friction when it rides over the knees, but on the Equinox Converts there was a small panel sewn into the lower leg that gave the knee an articulation point that made the pants ride very well in motion.
On a positive note, they did choose to employ an ankle zipper which most of my hiking pants lack. That allows you to swap the legs on or off without having to take off your boots. It also lets you open the zipper and pull the legs up, fully inverted over the thigh which is nice for airing things out on a break without having to actually remove the legs.
The flaps over the back pockets are a minor detail, but nicely tailored. No annoying snap or button, yet some protection to keep a comb from climbing out.
I used the Outdoor Research Equinox Convert pants as my primary trail pants for the past six months. I lost count of trail nights somewhere in the 50s back in September, with extended trips on New Hampshire's Cohos Trail, several weeks in Maine's Baxter State Park, plus time in Acadia NP on day hikes and another successful completion of the Grafton Loop Trail. We adopted a small section of the Cohos this year, so the Converts saw some use doing trail work there. Being very comfortable pants I've also worn them around the house quite a bit as well.
Being naturally cheap, err I mean, thrifty, I was a bit nervous plunking down $100 on a couple of pairs of trail pants. After a full season of use I feel I got a pretty good deal as the Equinox Converts have made me very happy so far and appear durable enough to last for years.
The gusseted crotch and just slightly articulated knees gave these pants a shape and fit that really worked for my body. They stayed with me, without getting in the way. With the 90D ripstop having a tiny bit of flex there was never any sense of being restricted. High stepping to climb steeps or butt sliding down them, my focus was never taken off my movements by pinching, friction or binding.
As a steam engine I'm used to sweating out my clothes frequently, but the material OR used seemed especially good at staying dry. Other than a hot, humid climb up Old Speck that was completely cloud wrapped I found myself with dry pants for the most part except for in the rain.
When soaked, I noted that the pants didn't take on as much water weight as I was used to, making the experience a bit easier to deal with.
My reasoning for a less than 5-star score is based on the missing L/R indicator, the slow drying of the waistband, and the too big belt buckle. These small problems don't change the fact that these pants rocked on trail, making me very pleased with the purchase. Overall I was very happy with the OR Equinox Convert Pants and definitely can recommend them.
These pants were used extensively over a six-month period. Previous hiking pants I've used and own include White Stag, The North Face, Columbia, and Mountain Hardwear.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $50 plus shipping
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