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Reviews > Clothing > Pants and Shorts > Columbia Omni Dry Venture Pants > Test Report by Patrick McNeilly

Columbia Omni Dry Venture Convertible Pants
Reviewed By Pat McNeilly

Initial Report: May 3, 2007
Field Report: July 2, 2007
Long Term Report: September 18, 2007

Name: Pat McNeilly
Age: 44
Gender: Male
Height: 5’ 8” (1.7 m)
Weight: 155 lb (70 kg)
Email address: mcne4752 at yahoo dot com .
City, State, Country: Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA

Backpacking Background:
Full Length ViewI have been hiking for at least 20 years but backpacking for only the last four years.  Most of my backpacking is done as overnight trips and occasional weekend and weeklong trips.  My typical packweight is approximately 18 to 20 lb (8 to 9 kg) before food or water.  Most of my backpacking is the three season variety in the mountains of Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.  In addition to backpacking, I also fish, hunt, and have been involved in disaster relief.  As a result, some of my backpacking equipment gets use in a number of different venues.

Product Information:

Product: Omni Dry Venture Convertible Pants
Size: Waist 32 in (81 cm); Inseam 30 in (76 cm)
Manufacturer: Columbia Sportswear
Year of Manufacture: 2007
Color: Sage
Listed Weight:   Not listed
Measured Weight: 17 oz (482 g) 
MSRP: $59.99 USD

Initial Report
Report Date: May 3, 2007

Product Description (as described on the manufacturer’s website):
“One pant worn two ways.  This summer essential first caught on with the backpacking set and soon spread to savvy travelers, kayakers, trekkers and more.  It’s got good, classic looks thanks to its rugged nylon canvas fabric, and it has all the feature that make it a must-have with outdoor enthusiasts everywhere.”

Product Review:
Front pocketThe pants arrived in a white shipping package along with a packing slip.  Inside the packaging the pants were inside a clear plastic bag with a barcode label (written in English and French) identifying the product, size, and the fact that the product was manufactured in Indonesia.  Attached to one belt loop of the pants are six hang tags describing that (1) the pants belong to Columbia’s Titanium line of products; (2) the pants provide UPF 50 UV protection; (3) the pants are made using Omni Dry fabric; (4) the pants are convertible to shorts; (5) the pants have an active fit that fits close to the body; and (6) the size, color, and price of the pants.

The pants appear to be fairly well constructed, however, I note that there are many loose threads on the seams.  This is particularly evident where seams end.  I will have to pay close attention to how well the stitching holds up during the test.  All zippers appear to operate smoothly.

Rear PocketWorking from the top of the garment to the bottom, the pants have a 32 in (81 cm) waist which includes two 2 in x 5 in (5 cm x 13 cm) elastic panels on the sides.  The waist also has four 2 in x 2 in (5 cm x 5 cm) belt loops on the front and sides, along with a 2 in x 3 in (5 cm x 8 cm) trapezoidal shaped belt loop in the back.  This back loop is embroidered with the word “TITANIUM” with a similar thread color to that of the pants.

The front of the pants closes with a 6 in (15 cm) zipper and a rivet style button at the top.  The two front pockets measure 12 in (30 cm) deep and are constructed with a mesh material on the inside.  Inside of the right pocket is a third pocket which closes with a 5.5 in (14 cm) zipper.  This zipper has a 3 in (8 cm) loop of cord attached to it.  The rear hip pockets measure approximately 7.5 in x 8.5 in (19 cm x 22 cm) and close with a 0.5 in x 1 in (2 cm x 3 cm) patch of hook and loop fastener.  These rear pockets have no flap over them and the openings slope diagonally toward the sides of the pants.  The interior of the rear pockets are also made of a mesh nylon material.  Overall, the pockets appear to be of adequate size to hold a variety of items and do not seem to be too deep to easily retrieve those items.  The rear pockets seem to open a bit wider than I expected (even when fastened shut) and I am interested to see if they gather debris more than other pants I have worn.
Zip-off leg
Two side bellows style pockets measuring 6.75 in x 7 in (17 cm x 18 cm) are positioned on the thighs approximately 2 in (5 cm) below the front pockets.  These side pockets are covered with a 2 in (5 cm) flap which secures with a 0.5 in x 1 in (2 cm x 2.5 cm) hook and loop fastener.  Centered along the bottom of the flap is 0.5 in x 1.25 in (2 cm x 3 cm) plastic tab with “TITANIUM” imprinted on it.  The term “OMNI DRY” is embroidered approximately 1 in (2.5 cm) below the left side pocket.

Approximately 1.5 in (4 cm) below the bottom edge of the side pockets are the zippers attaching the lower leg sections of the pants.  These zippers are covered, both inside and out, with a 1 in (2.5 cm) fabric flap.  When worn as shorts, the inseam measures 10 in (25 cm) and comes down to just above my knees. 

Lowe leg zipperAlong the lateral side of each lower leg section is a 12.5 in (32 cm) zipper to help in removing the leg potions when wearing shoes.  The zippers are covered on the inside and out with a 0.5 in (2 cm) flap of fabric. 

The lower leg sections also have small 2 in (5 cm) seams located approximately 4 in (10 cm) below the zippers which appear to provide some articulation to the knees.

I have tried the pants on and they fit well.  The sizing does not appear to be a problem.  I have somewhat short legs and I typically look closely at inseam measurements to ensure that I won’t be dragging pants though the mud.  When worn as shorts, my initial impression is that they seem to feel a little tight around the upper thighs.  I don’t notice this as much when they are worn as full length pants.  This is a phenomenon I have noticed with other convertible pants I have worn and may be a function of my particular shape.  I will be evaluating whether this factors into the comfort of the pants while hiking.

My overall plan is to give these pants a thorough test, both as pants and shorts.  I will be looking for overall wear, as well as wear at certain places such as at the inner ankles.  I will also be looking at the overall fit of the pants and whether there are any problems with chaffing, etc.  I will be evaluating the properties of the pants such as their wicking ability and ultraviolet protection. 

Field Report
Report Date: July 2, 2007

Field Information:
I have worn the Columbia Venture pants on two day hikes in central Maryland and a three day backpacking trip in the Monongahela National Forest of West Virginia.  The weather conditions included temperatures 45-80 F (7-27 C) and I encountered fairly dry conditions with only small amounts of rain.  These hikes were strictly done on trails with only moderate amounts of rock.  The elevations ranged from 300-4800 ft (90-1460 m) on these trips.

I gave the pants a workout at an orienteering event in Maryland where I actually ran through the course in the pants.  The temperature that day reached 85 F (29 C) after starting out much cooler [approximately 60 F (16 C)].   I have also worn the pants around town while running errands and to other outdoor events.

Product Review:
When I initially received the Columbia Venture pants I was pleased with them but after wearing the pants for a couple of months, I am finding the good and bad points.  In general, the fit is good but I find that the pants are somewhat tight through the seat.  I have found this more noticeable when I have items in the pockets, particularly the back pockets.  This hasn’t produced any problems such as excess chaffing but is noticeable.  I don’t believe this is an overall size issue since I feel the waist and inseam size are just about right.  From now on when I hike in these pants, I will try to keep larger items (e.g., wallet, keys) in a pack or in the side pockets to provide as much room as possible.

I was caught at one point in a rainstorm while in town and I found that the Omni Dry fabric does seem to dry quickly.  I noticed this as well when wearing the pants on hikes where I had worked up a sweat and noted that the fabric dried out nicely.

The lateral leg zippers work well but I had some trouble with the right leg zipper sticking which I attribute to dirt in the zipper from mud on the trail.  The outside leg zippers are long enough to allow for easy removal of the legs while wearing sneakers and trail shoes, but I have trouble removing them when wearing boots.  I found removing the legs very useful, particularly at the orienteering event I noted above where the temperatures over the course of the day required that I go from long pants to shorts.  The zippers which attach the lower leg sections work easily.  When re-attaching the lower sections, I found that I have to pay close attention to which leg I am working with because the zippers are aligned specifically for each leg.  The problem is that if I am not paying attention, I might try to attach the lower section of the left leg onto the right leg and find that the zippers don’t match up.

I have found a couple of problems with some of the pockets on the Venture Pants.  I found that since the back pockets do not have any flap over them, debris has a tendency to collect in them.  I found this to be true even though the pocket was closed with the hook and loop closure.  I also find that the small cord on the zippered front pocket is situated in such a way that I frequently catch my finger in the loop while reaching into the pocket which is very annoying. 

I have laundered these pants a number of times and at this point I have not noticed any problems with loosening of threads or other problems with the fabric.

Long-Term Report
Report Date: September 18, 2007

Field Information:
I wore these pants as the only long pants during a 12 day trek at Philmont Scout Ranch in northern New Mexico.  The weather conditions included temperatures from 45-90 F (7-32 C) with the only rain being in the form of afternoon thundershowers.  The elevations on this trip ranged from 6700-12400 ft (2040-3780 m).

I have also used the pants on a number of day hikes in central Maryland over moderate trails from 5-7 miles (8-11 km) long.  Weather conditions on these hikes were generally clear but with temperatures ranging from 75-95 F (24-35 C) and relative humidity up to 90%.  In addition, I have worn this product as both shorts and long pants around town while running errands, etc.

Product Review:
After wearing these pants for the last four months, I am quite pleased with the overall durability and comfort of them.  My trip to New Mexico really gave them a workout both as shorts and long pants, as both were needed on that trip.  I was frequently either removing or attaching the lower leg sections as the weather required. 

The fabric has held up well and I have not encountered any major weaknesses or tears in the fabric.  I had some concerns early on that there may be a greater amount of wear on the inner portion of the leg near the ankle where boots may rub the fabric.  I am glad to say that I have not seen much in the way of wear on the lower legs.  I will note that I have been testing this item in the summer months and have worn them as shorts quite a bit which could influence wear on the lower legs.

In my Initial Report, I had concerns with the number of loose threads on the pants.  At this point, I find that these concerns were not valid.  I have not seen any separation of seams and these loose threads appear to be simply errant strands left over after finishing the seam.

One observation which came to light during the long-term testing phase was that I had trouble keeping the side pocket hook and loop fasteners closed.  I noticed this on my New Mexico trip and found that the fasteners on the pocket and the flap did not seem to align properly and kept opening.  I realized that on this trip I would put a greater amount of items in the pockets and the overall weight of the items would pull down on the pocket.  This is what appeared to have caused the hook and loop fasteners not to line up.  I found that I did not have items falling out of the pockets because as the bottom of the pocket was pulled down, the top edge of the pocket was pulled tighter against my leg effectively closing the pocket.

The Columbia Omni Dry Venture Pants are a versatile garment that easily convert from long pants to shorts using zippers on the legs.  The Omni Dry fabric is soft, comfortable, and dries quickly.  The rear pockets of the pants tend to collect debris while the side pockets may not close securely if too many items are placed in them.  In general, the pants have a good fit with the exception of being a bit tight through the seat. 

Things I like:

            1. Quick drying fabric
            2. Easy on and off legs
            3. Versatility of having both shorts and long pants

Things I don’t like:

            1. Tight fit through seat
            2. No flaps on back pockets
            3. Front zippered pocket cord

I would like to thank Columbia Sportswear and for the opportunity to test this item.

Read more reviews of Columbia gear
Read more gear reviews by Patrick McNeilly

Reviews > Clothing > Pants and Shorts > Columbia Omni Dry Venture Pants > Test Report by Patrick McNeilly

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