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Reviews > Clothing > Pants and Shorts > Columbia Silver Ridge Convertible Pants > Owner Review by Chad G Poindexter

BY Chad Poindexter

May 03, 2010


NAME: Chad Poindexter
EMAIL: stick1377 (AT) gmail (DOT) com
AGE: 32
LOCATION: Corinth, Alcorn County, Mississippi, USA
HEIGHT: 5' 10" (1.78 m)
WEIGHT: 200 lb (90.70 kg)

I am a fairly new hiker and have hiked in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, on the Appalachian Trail in Georgia, and at a few state parks in Mississippi, Tennessee, and Alabama. I initially obtained slightly heavy gear, however, I am currently making efforts to go lighter. I love my tent and appreciate a warm drink in the morning, as well as a warm meal at night. So far my distance has averaged around 10 mi (16 km) per day, depending on terrain. My wife or my son typically tag along with me on my hikes.


Courtesy of Columbia

Manufacturer: Columbia Sportswear Company
Year of Purchase: 2009
Manufacturer's Website:
MSRP: (US) $ 55.00
Listed Weight: N / A
Measured Weight: 12.6 oz (357 g)
Size Tested: Large (Also Available: S, M, XL, XXL)
Inseam: 32 in (81 cm) (Also Available: 30 & 34 in (76 & 86 cm))
Zip-Off Legs Convert pants to short with 10 in (25 cm) Inseam
(Inseam On Pants & Shorts Have Both Been Verified Accurate)
Color Tested: Fossil (Other Colors Available: Grill, Sage, Shade, & Suede)
Made from 100% Nylon Mini Rip Fabric
Elasticized Waist Band
Total of 7 Pockets
Advanced Technologies: Omni-Dry & Omni-Shade (UPF 30)
Included: 43.5 x 1 in (110 x 2.5 cm) Nylon Belt With Plastic Sliding Buckle
Part of the Titanium Series
Made In Indonesia

The Columbia Silver Ridge Convertible Pants (hereafter referred to as the "pants" or the "shorts") are part of the Columbia Titanium Collection, which is a blend of "innovative design, fabrics and technologies with an active fit for intense activity. " Basically these pants are made to be light-weight, durable, and comfortable for the active person. Also, thanks to the zip-off feature, these pants can be worn as either pants or as shorts, so they are ready for just about any situation. The nylon Mini Rip material is tough as nails, but likes to be treated delicately while in the wash. The elasticized waistband allows for a comfortable fit, and the belt is sure to hold the pants up if they happen to be just a little loose after a long day hike. And with two front slant pockets, a third front slant pocket that zips closed, two cargo pockets with nylon pull tabs and hook-and-loop closures, and two back pockets (one of which also zips closed and the other has a hook-and-loop closure) there is plenty of room to store more than I need to carry.

Columbia even went a step farther by including the Omni-Dry Technology which is the ultimate moisture management. This technology is a three-step process:

1. Perspiration from the body is absorbed (wicked) into the material.
2. The moisture spreads out across the material.
3. The moisture evaporates from the material.

The end result of the Omni-Dry Technology is dry clothing and a cool, comfortable person.

Columbia didn't stop there. They took it another step farther by using the Omni-Shade Technology which gives these pants a UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) rating of 30. The Omni-Shade Technology stops the harmful Ultraviolet (UV) rays three different ways:

1. Using a tight-weave fabric to block the UV rays.
2. Using UV reflectors.
3. Using UV absorbing Technology.

The Omni-Shade Technology not only stops the Ultraviolet A rays, but also the more harmful Ultraviolet B rays that are even present when the sun is hidden behind the clouds. According to Columbia, the UPF does not wear off of the clothing, so the protection is always present. Also, Columbia notes that sun-protective fabrics with a minimum of UPF 30 are given the Seal of Recommendation from The Skin Cancer Foundation. (More may be read through Columbia's website.)


At Amicalola Falls
I have worn these pants at least thirty times and washed them as many as twenty. I have worn them on quite a few day hikes as well as overnight trips to some of the local state parks around my home. I have worn them in most every condition: rainy, windy, hot, cold, and even snowy. Temperatures have been as low as 10 F (-12 C) and as high as 95 F (35 C), depending on the time of the year, as well as the day. I have worn them while hiking down well-maintained dirt and / or rocky trails, as well as down trails that were grown over and in desperate need of maintenance. Also, I have used knee-high gaiters in conjunction with these pants to trudge through snow.

I have worn these pants on a five-day, 40 mile (64 km) hike on the Appalachian Trail (AT) in north Georgia beginning behind the Amicalola Falls State Park Visitor Center and ending at Neels Gap. Temperatures ranged from 61 - 85 F (16 - 29 C). The days were mostly sunny with a few slightly rainy and humid days. Elevations ranged from 1,770 - 4,450 ft (539 - 1,356 m). The trails were well maintained and were a mixture of dirt and rocks.

I have also wore these pants while on a three-day hike to Sipsey Wilderness last November. The temperatures were around 25 - 40 F (-4 to 4 C), and mostly sunny. The trails were well maintained here and consisted of mostly dirt with some rocks, however, there were a few places I had to actually climb over rocks, and others where I even had to squeeze between wet and slimy rock walls. There was plenty of moisture in the air here as we were hiking inside a box canyon and following the Sipsey river the whole time.

More recently, this past January, I was able to take these pants with me on a three-day hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The temperatures were around about 20 - 35 F (-7 to 2 C). The trails here were generally well maintained and consisted of a mixture of rocks and dirt with occasional roots and blow downs from recent storms on the trail that we had to crawl over. When we began our hike at the Alum Cave Trail head at an elevation of 3,830 ft (1,170 m) we encountered a few patches of ice that covered sections of the trail. As we made it to the top of Mt. LeConte at an elevation of 6,593 ft (2,010 m) we were post-holing through snow that sometimes was knee-deep. We also encountered wind gust around 35- 40 mph (56 -64 kph) while crossing some of the ridges.

On top of Charlies Bunion on the AT


I bought these pants while at a large retail store, and when I did I tried on about 5 other different name brand pants. The Columbia pants just plain fit me better and moved with me better than any of the other well-known name brand pants I tried on. Also, out of all the other pants I was trying on, there was only one other pair that was as inexpensive as these, and that was because they were marked down on clearance (the Columbia pants were marked at normal price)! The waist fit me well, and the elastic in the waistline at the back of the pants only made them more comfortable-feeling. The pants felt wispy against my legs and allowed air to circulate and the pants to breathe easily. Even where the pants zipped off was not uncomfortable, as I have found many others to be because of the bulky zipper that encircled my thigh.
River crossing at Sipsey

One of the first things I noticed about these pants was the light weight and how thin they felt. Regardless though, they have held up very well to the abuse that I have put them through while on the trail. There is not one single hole anywhere in the pants (other than the ones that are supposed to be there). Even the bottom on the back of the pants' legs are not worn, where so many of my other pants begin to wear quickly from being under my heels while walking, however, these fit around my boots well enough to generally keep the pants from slipping under my boots. Even across the butt there are no worn spots from sitting on all the rocks or the ground to enjoy a snack or a lunch or even after a long day of hiking and just taking a break.

There are, however, some stains that haven't completely come out in the wash across the butt and at the back near the bottom of the legs. The washing instructions call for a gentle wash cycle in cold water, then tumble dry on low as well, however, I typically just throw them in the wash on regular cycle (using cold water), then dry them in the dryer with the rest of my clothes on regular cycle and there has been no damage done. I have even used some of the stain treatments that rub in with a brush, and while they have helped to remove the stains, they have not caused any harm to the pants. I will occasionally take the pants out of the washer and let them air dry instead of using the dryer. Also, these pants can work up an odor after a few days of constant use, but it is not as bad as some of the other synthetic clothing that I wear. Also, they are easy enough to wash out in a stream or river and they dry out very quickly due to the thin nylon that they are made of.

As for features, these pants have them! Even though while hiking I do not carry much at all in my pockets, I am pleased with the amount of space to store stuff in the many pockets available. I especially like the front slanted zipper pocket and the back zippered pocket. I will usually keep a hanky in one of the front open pockets, and my camera in the front zippered pocket. I can also carry my wallet or just my personal ID and some cash in my back zippered pocket without worrying about losing them. I also enjoy the belt. It snaps simply and securely in the front, and then is easily adjusted simply by pulling the nylon belt through the plastic clasp. The belt is nice to have, especially on multi-day hikes where my waistline seems to temporarily shrink. Also, a nice little extra is the spare button attached to one of the tags in the pants. That could be a very handy thing to have in case the one on the front broke loose without my knowledge and was lost.

It is very nice to be able to only carry this one pair of pants and be able to quickly convert them to shorts by simply unzipping the legs. The only problem is that I then have to carry the legs, however, the weight of the unzipped legs is probably just a touch lighter than the weight of carrying an extra pair of dedicated shorts. One other problem is that if I want to take the legs off I must stop and take my boots off first to be able to take the legs completely off, or to put them back on. In cases where I only need to have the pants raised up momentarily, I have found that it is easier for me to just roll the pants legs up (such as in the picture above right where I am crossing the Sipsey River in sub-freezing temperatures).

Overall, I have been very pleased with these pants. I would definitely replace them with another pair if anything happened to this pair. Even though I like the Fossil color more than the others I would reconsider the other colors simply because these show dirt very easily. I would definitely recommend these to anyone looking for some good light-weight hiking pants, and have a few times already.


1. Comfort. The pants fit me very well.
2. Plenty of pockets, and some are even zippered.
3. The pants can easily convert to shorts.
4. They are light-weight.
5. They breathe very well.
6. They dry out very fast.
7. They clean up very easily.
8. They came with an easily-adjustable belt.
9. They even came with an extra button attached to the tags inside the pants.
10.They are very durable.
11. The price is lower than on a lot of other "hiking" pants.


1. The light color of the pants allows the dirt to really stand out.
2. After a few days they do have an odor, however, not as bad as I expected.
3. I have to carry the legs when I convert them to shorts.
4. I have to take my boots off to take the legs off.


Chad Poindexter

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