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Outdoor Research Ferrosi Pants

rated 5 of 5 stars
photo: Outdoor Research Ferrosi Pants soft shell pant

A very solid pair of hiking pants suitable for a variety of conditions across four seasons. These best sellers have been re-designed to meet Bluesign environmental standards, and to provide additional comfort. These trousers come in a huge variety of sizes so that you can find the perfect fit.


  • Comfortable
  • Breathable
  • Wind resistant
  • UP 50+ sun protection
  • Lightweight
  • Stretchy
  • 46% recycled material
  • Soft stretch waist band with an internal drawcord for stability
  • Quick drying, light water repellency


  • Waist size is small: order up a size



In most conditions, I prefer to hike in shorts or 3/4 length pants. I tend to hike pretty warm, and sometimes full length pants are too warm. But there are times, especially in the winter and shoulder seasons, when a full-length pair of pants are the perfect option. Outdoor Research is currently advertising that their best selling Ferrosi pants have been “redesigned for more comfort,” so I was eager to give them a test.

Fit is snug… recommend sizing up

Fit: I am a pretty solid size 38" waist, and most other pants/shorts I’ve tried in 38" fit perfectly. I found the Ferrosi Pants to be pretty tight in the waist, and OR recommends “sizing up for the classic Ferrosi fit.” At the same time, OR says that they are a “standard fit,” which I find a little puzzling. Personally, I’d prefer that waist 38" just be 38". I would recommend sizing up with these pants for a nice relaxed fit.

One of my difficulties in sizing pants in general, is that I have short legs, and it’s often hard to find pants with a 30" inseam. OR solves this problem by offering these trousers in thirty-three different men's size options—waist sizes from 28" to 42", all of them with three different inseam sizes: 30"/32"/34". The 30" inseam fits my shorter legs perfectly.

The women’s version of the pants also have a vast number of sizing options: from size 0 to 16, in short, regular, and long. In addition, there is a "plus size" series for women from 16" to 24" waist in all three lengths.  

Comfort & Breathability: The waistband is a soft chamois-like material, which I appreciated on all-day hikes where I experienced no rubbing or chafing at any time. The nylon rip-stop fabric is fairly soft against the skin, has breathability comparable to other hiking trousers I have tried, and never felt clammy, even on warmer days. 

Protection is first rate in cooler conditions. The fabric has excellent wind resistance, and light rain beads up on the the DWR finish. I haven’t yet tested it in heavier or extended precip, but did note that the fabric dries pretty quickly (depending on the level of dampness) when it gets wet.

The articulated knees and stretchy fabric provides excellent mobility when hiking up talus fields or steep Sierra steps.

Stretchy for those big steps

Adjustability: The soft waistband also has an internal drawcord. At first I was kind of skeptical and annoyed by it, but after trying it, found that it really helped them stay on my hips with no sagging (we’ve all been there!). I found this feature to be more about stability, than actual “waist size tweaking.”

Waste drawcord, more effective than expected. Nice soft waistband.

The leg cuffs also have drawcord adjustability, so if you really needed to batten down the hatches, you could do that.

Cuff drawcord  for tightening things up

On one warmer than expected Sierra Foothill hiking day, I pulled the cuffs above my knees and locked them into place with the drawcords. While not super comfortable, it helped the trouser legs stay up as I cooled off. (OR also makes men's and women's Ferrosi Convertible Pants.)

Time to vent!

Other features:  These trousers have five pockets: two mesh-backed standard hand pockets; a zippered security pocket on the right thigh; a zippered security pocket on the right rear; and an open pocket on the left rear. The zippers operate smoothly with no snagging, and without having to struggle to get them open or closed. The meshed-lined thigh pocket is cavernous, and easily fits a larger phone or a folded map.

Large thigh pocket
RH zip pocket, LH open pocket on back

The ripstop nylon fabric is 46% recycled material and meets Bluesign criteria. 

Construction & Durability: These trousers are solidly put together. From the metal button closure to the consistently clean stitching, these are made to last. The ripstop nylon fabric is super durable. With scrambles on warm Sierra granite and spiky volcanic rock, there is no abrasion showing so far. OR also makes a version of these called Ferrosi Crux Pant, which has extra reinforcement in high stress areas, for activities such as rock climbing, scrambling, etc. 

Machine washable

These are machine washable (cold), and can be tumble dried on low or line dried, so are easy to care for. 

Initial conclusions

Though I will hike in shorts on hot summer days in the Sierra, these durable trousers really fit the bill in cooler conditions. I would recommend them for hiking, backpacking, or trekking in cooler conditions (shoulder seasons), or year-round for those who always like to wear long trousers no matter the weather. If you are doing a lot of scrambling or rock climbing, I’d probably consider the Ferrosi Crux version.

I am looking forward to testing them in the winter when the rain and snow starts falling.

Outdoor Research offers several versions of this basic pant, with shorts, cargo pants, and convertible pants for men, and shorts, convertible pants, shorts, and capris for women. They also make gaiters, skorts, and tops to round out the Ferrosi line.

Review update (8/23): I purchased another pair of these pants in a more reasonable color (khaki), and included them in my kit for a three-week tour of England and France this summer. The weather throughout the three weeks alternated between warm and sunny to cool and rainy conditions. I wore these a lot during our time there. Our first week was in Exeter in the southwest of England, leading my choir in a residency at the Cathedral. This was followed by a few days in London, and a week in Paris. These trousers were GREAT, and worked in a variety of situations… conducting a choir in an English Cathedral, touring the champagne caves in Reims, or wandering the gardens in Giverny and Versailles. These are nearly perfect “travel” pants, and I was glad that I took them along.


Numerous all-day hikes in the Tahoe Sierra backcountry, and the Sierra Foothills around my home. Chilly, damp walks on the Southern Oregon Coast. Weather from cool and damp to sunny and warm. Three weeks in England and France in mid-summer.

Source: received for testing via the Trailspace Review Corps (Sample for testing and review provided by Outdoor Research)

About the Author

David Link is a cathedral musician, hiker, backpacker, road cyclist, husband, grandpa, dad, and coffee/wine/beer drinker (though not all at once). His favorite places to hike are the High Sierra, Southern Cascades, and Trinity Alps, and he has begun exploring the Pacific Northwest. David climbed Kilimanjaro via the Western Breach in 2004, and thru-hiked the High Sierra Trail in 2010.

The Outdoor Research Ferrosi Pants are extremely comfortable. They are breathable, water-resistant, wind-resistant, and move with you during activity.


  • Comfy
  • Stretchy
  • Zippered back pockets and zippered thigh pocket
  • Water-resistant
  • Wind-resistant
  • Ankle adjustment
  • OR Infinite Guarantee


  • Not fully waterproof

I bought these pants (that are technically rock-climbing pants) in an attempt to get some super comfortable hiking pants that move with me and that were not baggy on my legs. These are not Outdoor Research (OR)'s most slim fitting pants but they are not "relaxed." I bought these at Rock Creek in Chattanooga, Tenn., by recommendation of one of their employees and I could not be more happy with my purchase. 

Right away when I put them on, I noticed how amazing they felt and how lightweight they were. My pants, which are size 32 regular weigh 10.1oz.  They have a lining on the waistband that is super-soft and feels amazing up against your skin (and under a pack). I also loved the belt loops, they are sturdy but big enough to fit your belt through with no problem. They also have two zippered back pockets (which I like to keep things secure) and a convenient zippered thigh pocket.  

In the store they felt stretchy, but they really proved themselves to me on the trail. The way that these pants stretch and move with you is incredible. There was very little to no restriction in movement, even on the tricky parts of the trail.  

I wore these on a hiking day that was very windy (25mph gusts) and was around 35 degrees. Under them I wore a lightweight Columbia Omni-Heat base layer. I stayed very comfortable these entire day and the wind-resistance proved to be true for these pants. Some wind broke through them, but they really helped knock the chill off of the big gusts. 

One amazing feature of these pants in the ankle adjustment. You can cinch down these pants to stay in place around your boots and to keep the elements out. The adjustment it done with a drawcord and there is a little pocket type space for the buckle to sit it so that it doesn't get in the way or get caught on anything (great attention to detail by OR).

This would have been a feature that I wouldn't have really cared about, but on the trail I found out where it really comes in handy for me. I cinched them down over my boots while crossing a stream and I ended up stepping in a part that was a good bit over the top of my boots. With the pants cinched down and the water resistance of them, my feet stayed dry! I got out of the deep part quick, but the water-resistance and ankle cinch gave me that extra bit of time before my feet got wet, which would have made for a miserable rest of the trip! 

I highly recommend these pants to anyone looking for a comfortable pair of hiking pants that can help keep the elements out. Plus, they come with Outdoor Research's Infinite Guarantee, so if anything ever goes wrong with them, they'll fix them or replace them... you can't beat that! 






Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $55

My go-to for my first spring hike this season!


  • Lightweight
  • Flexible
  • Breathable
  • Pull cord in cuffs for cinching
  • Dry easily

Wooohooo, it's finally hiking season again! I've owned my OR Ferrosi Pants for a year now, and they have made me a very happy hiker! I can't say enough about OR's Ferrosi material. It's lightweight, breathable, and stretches to allow easy movement on steep hiking terrain.

The Ferrosi Pants are a great option for spring hiking as they can be adjusted easily as the temperatures change. I appreciate having the full length of the pant on chilly mornings. As I heat up and the weather warms during the climb to the summit, the pant can be converted into capri length. There is a pull cord in the cuff, which can be cinched to fit snuggly against your leg. I've hiked for miles with the pants adjusted to capri length and have had no issues with the cuff slipping, or with chafing from the pull cord. Here is a photo- please excuse my blinding white legs!


A constant to New England hiking, especially in the spring, is water — rain, rivers, muddy trails, etc. The Ferrosi material dries quickly, and does not seem to chafe the skin even when it is wet. The pockets are great as well. There are two standard pant pockets in the front and back, and the two back pockets have zipper closures. There is also a front zipper pocket midway down the thigh. If I'm going to be taking pictures as I hike, I often stick my phone in this pocket- it's the perfect size. 

All and all, I'm really happy with the Ferrosi Pants. As a bonus, they fit really well, are incredibly comfortable, and look great! I've been known to wear them even when I'm not planning an outdoor adventure!


Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $80

Extremely comfortable, great wind resistance, very stretchy, and fit great.


  • Comfort
  • Wind resistance
  • Good fit

I was in the market for a wind resistant pair of pants (not windproof as I get warm absurdly easily), after having wearing (and loving) the Ferrosi Jacket for a couple of years, I decided to try these out.

The first time I tried them on, I loved them. I then wore them out on a bike ride in 45 degree weather, and wondered how I ever lived without them. Right when I got back from my bike ride I bought another pair. These pants are great, from a leisurely walk in the woods all the way up to extreme activities.

As with all of my Outdoor Research products, they are well made, very durable and extremely comfortable. These are the most free moving pair of pants I've ever come across. It almost feels like wearing sweatpants the way in which they stretch so well. I can't imagine doing a movement that these pants would hinder.

5 stars, highly recommended.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $55

Great quality as always. Very comfortable pants. Converted to shorts they look cool even for everyday use. No complaints.


  • Price
  • Extra pocket is very useful
  • Quick dry


  • Little wider than expected

I have used this gear for about two months already in multiple 2-3 day hiking trips in woods. These pants are very comfortable and easy to convert to shorts. I bought it new on sale so the price for me looks lower than quality. overall quality shorts.

To be honest I expected a little narrow fit, but this works great as well. Thanks, Outdoor Research for quality product.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: 57$

LOVE these pants! I have paired with a long john a few times on colder days and kept warm. Summer months the light colours are perfect for every activity!


  • Length
  • Fabric
  • Comfort


  • None

Fit is spot on—all OR products fit the same.

Warmth when needed and cool in hotter temps.


OR has an exceptional warranty and return process. Ordering is super easy!

Source: bought it new

Excellent lightweight pants.


  • Tough
  • Comfortable
  • Stretch
  • Not too hot in hot weather
  • Breathable


  • None in warm weather

The thinnest softshell pants I have seen, but a much more substantial feel than the wispy ultralight nylon pants. Some people use these over a baselayer in winter as well, as they are water repellent and wind resistant, but I have the Marmot Durango for that.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $52

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Price MSRP: $99.00
Current Retail: $68.99-$99.00
Historic Range: $26.83-$99.00
Reviewers Paid: $52.00-$57.00
Weight 10.7 oz / 303 g
Fabric bluesign approved 86% Nylon (46% Recycled), 14% Spandex 90D Stretch Woven Ripstop
Inseam 30in, 32in, 34in
Price MSRP: $99.00
Current Retail: $59.37-$99.00
Historic Range: $15.00-$99.00
Reviewers Paid: $80.00
Weight 8.95 oz / 253 g
Fabric bluesign approved 86% Nylon (46% Recycled), 14% Spandex 90D Stretch Woven Ripstop
Product Details from Outdoor Research »

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