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Reviews > Clothing > Pants and Shorts > ExOfficio Roamr Mens Pants > Test Report by John Waters

EX OFFICIO TRAIL ROAM'R PANTS
TEST SERIES BY JOHN R. WATERS
LONG-TERM REPORT

INITIAL REPORT - March 24, 2012
FIELD REPORT - June 11, 2012
LONG TERM REPORT - July 27, 2012

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: John R. Waters
EMAIL: jrw at backpackgeartest dot org
AGE: 63
LOCATION: Canon City, CO USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
WEIGHT: 170 lb (77.10 kg)

My backpacking began in 1999. I have hiked rainforests in Hawaii, Costa Rica, and Puerto Rico, glaciers in New Zealand and Iceland, 14ers in Colorado and Death Valley's deserts. I hike or snowshoe 6-8 miles (10 km-13 km) 2-3 times weekly in the Cooper Mountain range, with other day-long hikes on various other southwest and central Colorado trails. I frequently hike the mountains and deserts of Utah and Arizona as well. My daypack is 18 lb (8 kg); overnights' weigh over 25 lb (11 kg). I'm aiming to reduce my weight load by 40% or more.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: ExOfficio, LLC.
Year of Manufacture: 2012
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.exofficio.com
MSRP: US $85.00
Listed Weight: N/A
Measured Weight: 11.5 oz (326 g)

Item no. 1021-6568 (Short)
Inseam Length Available: Short - 30" (76 cm)

Item no. 1021-1515 (Regular)
Inseam Length Available: Regular - 32" (81 cm)

Inseam Length: Tested Short - 30" (76 cm)
My Measured Inseam: 29" (74 cm)

Sizes Available: 30-42 waist
Size Tested: 36 waist

Colors Available: Lt. Khaki & Slate
Color Tested: Lt. Khaki

Trail Roam'r Pants
Picture Courtesy of ExOfficio

Other details: (from the manufacturer's website

FEATURES
* Welded security cargo pocket with auto-lock zipper on right leg
* Floating pocket loop in right hip pocket
* Welded security pocket with auto-lock zipper on rear
* Hidden security zip pocket in left hip pocket
* High strength fabric: Trail Roam'r Stretch -- 96% Nylon / 4% Spandex - Four-way stretch fabric
* Treated with Durable Water * Repellant (DWR) for water and stain resistance
* UPF Sun Guard 50+
* Wind resistant
* Fit Description: Natural
* Inseam gusset for maximum mobility
* Imported - Made in Malaysia

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

When I first took the Trail Roam'r Pants out of the packaging, I was impressed by the light weight of these pants and the tailoring.

Looking closer, there are 7 exterior belt loops about 0.75 inches (1.9 cm) wide. My 1.5 inch (3.8 cm) fabric belt fits just fine through these belt loops.

On the right leg, there is:

* an interior side pocket with a vertical 6.5 inch (16.5 cm) opening. This pocket is 6.5 in (16.5 cm) to the bottom of the opening from the zipper, although, since the entrance is vertical, it would be possible to put something into the pocket that was as long as 11 inches (29.9 cm) if the item extended all the way to the top of the opening. Most items, to be held securely, would need to be below the bottom of the opening. This pocket has a small interior coin pocket (2.5 in by 2.5 in) (6.35 cm x 6.35 cm) located at the bottom towards the crotch. There is a black fabric mesh on the entire front facing interior of the pocket. Except for the rear pocket seam at the top of the pocket, the entire compartment hangs separately from the pants on the interior.

* below that, and slightly overlapping the main pocket by about an inch (2.54 cm) or so, is a pretty large pocket with a horizontal zipper. This pocket is welded to the pants, not stitched, as is the nylon zipper with a small metallic self-locking pull. It's 5 in (12.7 cm) to the bottom of the opening from the zipper and 6.5 in (16.5 cm) wide at the top to approximately 6 in wide (15.24 cm) at the bottom. There is a very slight V shape slope to the bottom of the pocket. Because the self-locking zipper (which is 5 in (12.7 cm) wide) is about 2 in (5.1 cm) from the top welded seam, it would be possible to put flexible items like a map in this pocket that are around 8 in (20 cm) high. The pocket has the ExOfficio logo embroidered at the bottom in a subtle stitching just very slightly darker than the pant color. The exterior side of the pocket is the pant leg itself. The interior side is not vented.

* the rear right interior hip pocket also zips (opening from right to left) and is double stitched along the top and hangs as a separate pocket compartment with its black mesh facing outward against the inside of rear pant leg.

On the left leg, there is:

* no left rear hip pocket
* the left side pocket is the same size as the right side pocket, except it has its own zippered security section. Basically, the left side pocket is like the right pocket divided in two, with two equally sized compartments: the front compartment being vented by the black mesh and the rear compartment being the zippered security section.

Pant legs:

* stitching is quite well done along the side seams, although not welded
* inside the cuff of each leg, not visible from the exterior, is a black .25 in (.64 cm) nylon pull string that runs entirely around the inside the cuff. Only the ends of the pull are exposed to the interior of the leg. Pulling the ends reduces the diameter of the cuff to tighten the cuff around the ankle. The ends of this pull cord are just tied in a loop knot which can easily come undone. My concern right now is if I will be losing the pull cord inside the cuff and having to fish it out. I'll have to see how that works out over the next 16 weeks. I am especially interested in how I can easily pull and tie this since it is inside the leg.

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

At the back of the pants at the waist, is a fabric tag with care instructions in an extremely small type font which makes me want a magnifying glass. On the back of that tag are 4 good-sized international care symbols which if I could remember would save me from eye strain. I can guess the coldwater wash, the dryer and the iron, but what a triangle with an X through it has to do with anything, I don't know.
In English, the pants requirements are to be machine washed cold with like colors and rinsed thoroughly. No bleach or fabric softeners; should be used. The pants can be tumbled dry low and ironed on a low or delicate setting. Like my wife is going to break out the iron for trail pants. Ha!

TRYING IT OUT

These pants ride lower than I am used to. They are in-between pants that would fit around my navel and those that would rest on my hips. When measured against other hiking pants I own, with the top of the pants evenly placed on a flat surface, the crotch of these pants has a good 2 inches (5 cm) less space. Measured from the top of the front waistband to the bottom crotch seam I got 10.5 inches (26.7 cm). Measuring from the top of the rear waistband to the rear crotch seam I got 14 in (35.6 cm). The crotch is gusseted between these seams with a squashed diamond-shaped section that is 4 in (10.2 cm) between the other 2 seams. So all the way around from top front waistband to top rear waistband via the center of the crotch is 28.5 in (72.4 cm).

The fabric stretches fairly well being 4% Spandex, but I will need to see how I feel out in the field wearing pants that are more below my belly button than I am use to and that have a tighter crotch than I am use to. The Spandex is a 2-way stretch along the vertical of the leg and right to left along the crotch gusset. The belt waistband has no stretch at all.

I did wear these around for several hours doing errands and working outside to "break them in" because I do not want to take off on a long distance hike with these just yet. I think, in spite of the lower waist and tighter crotch, the added Spandex and lighter weight may make up for the tighter fit. So far they seem like they will be comfortable. Only time will tell as I take these out in the field.

SUMMARY

Summer is coming in a few months here in Colorado. The high desert area we trek in will get to well over 100 F (38 C) at times and I will be wearing snake gators with these pants at times also to protect myself from rattlesnakes and cactus spines.

I'm headed out for my first outing this weekend in the ExOfficio Trail Roam'r Pants.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

I've worn the pants in a variety of field conditions over the past several weeks.

We've hiked for several days on trips of various durations under various conditions.

Besides wearing these pants at every opportunity casually, on the first of the past two months' overnights (March 30-31), my hiking took place in the Cooper Mountain range where we can access public lands right from the north boundary of our ranch. With elevations that fall between 5300 ft (1600 m) and 9,100 ft (2800 m). There are developed trails in this wilderness area of junipers, pinon pines, and cactus growing among the rocks and boulders. There are lots steep gullies and granite mountain faces to negotiate to make it fun.

It's been unseasonably warm and during the weekend of March 30-31, the high was 67 F (19 C) and the low was 55 F (13 C). It was very dry with little wind and no rain at all.

Over Mother's day weekend in May, I wore the pants on three separate day hikes in Sawatch Range in Colorado. Trail conditions were as follows:

#1. The Colorado Trail along the south shore of Twin Lakes to Interlaken
Elevation: about 9200 ft (230 m)
Temperature: 44 F (7 C) - 69 F (21 C)
Brief light drizzle

#2. Independence Pass
And Maroon Bell in the Snowmass Wilderness (Crater Lake Trail)
Elevation: (the 2nd highest mountain pass in Colorado at 12,095 ft/3,687m).
Temperature: 40 to 44 F (4 to 7 C)
Partly cloudy with low humidity. There was quite a bit of snow at the Pass and I did end up post-holing several times though remaining drifts.
Taking a break
Taking a Break at ghost resort InterLaken
Quandary Peak Trail
On the Quandary Peak Trail

The last week of May, Kathy and I spent in Breckenridge, Colorado checking out the Ten-Mile Range. We did three day hikes which were the White Falls Trail, the Quandary Peak Trail and Boreas Pass Trail. Trail conditions were as follows:

#1. White Falls Trail
Elevation: 11100 ft (m) to 11900 (m)
Temperature: 40 to 69 F (4 to 21 C)
No rain and low humidity

#2. Quandary Peak Trail
Elevation: From 10979 to 13424 ft (3346 to 4092 m)
Temperature: 40 to 69 F (4 to 21 C)
Super windy, mostly sunny

#3. Boreas Pass Trail
Elevation: 11481 ft (3499 m) at trailhead which climbs to a saddle 12159 ft (3706 m) and separates Bald and Boreas Mountains from Hoosier Ridge.
Temperature: 40 to 69 F (4 to 21 C)
Mild and mostly cloudy.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

I've worn the ExOfficio Trail Roam'r pants at least a half-dozen times over the last two months on the trails. Additionally, I've worn them for casual use and for work. The pants are neat and stylish, so they don't look like I just stumbled out of the wilderness. This makes them a very versatile piece of clothing. I like that.

As the weather has changed from early spring to early summer, I have often still been wearing a base layer at altitude. For example, when hiking in Twin Lakes, I wore a lightweight synthetic fabric base layer under my Trail Roam'r pants since these pants are on the lightweight side. Though I'd rather be a little cooler than warmer, this combination worked just fine even in very windy conditions I experienced on Quandary Peak. Even at the coldest temperatures I encountered, my legs never felt cold with this combination and I was never too warm, either.

The lack of a left rear pocket did make it difficult to find room for everything I normally carry in my pants. For example, I had to put my car keys into the top pocket of my backpack so I could put my wallet into the right rear pocket. The left front pocket was used for tissues and the front right side pockets were used for coins and a small pocket knife. My cell phone was put into the right leg lower zipped pocket (the one with the horizontal zipper on my thigh) and was easily reachable.

I carry a 10mm pistol in a belt-loop holster when in the back-country and I was able to easily access all pockets while wearing the holster.
I like having the ties on the pants cuffs. That worked well to keep a lot of snow out of my boots when I did posthole and kept the wind from getting up my legs; probably why the lightweight base layer worked well.

I continue to feel the pants are too tight in the crotch area, but not so tight as to make it uncomfortable to hike in because the fabric is so flexible. I'm wearing my usual size and if I went up a size, I don't think the waist would be right for me. I just wish there was some more room to move around. The tightness in the crotch creates a visual I'd rather not have.

I did have a problem (see the picture) that I've never had before with a pair of hiking pants. I managed to get a hole in the pants when I stood up after sitting on a rock while having lunch. Apparently a small irregular spot on the boulder I was sitting on caught the fabric and created a small tear. I heard it "pop" when I stood up. The hole is small and I will see how putting an iron-on patch works to fix it. I wore the pants on several more hikes since then and the hole has not gotten any larger.

There are no other signs of wear. The pants have been washed several times now in an automatic washer on cold water cycle using a liquid tech wash and then dried in an electric dryer on permanent press. Other than the hole in the seat, the pants still look good.
hole in pants

SUMMARY

Despite the hole in my pants, I'll be out there backpacking in them often these next couple of months. It's going to be a great summer and I've got lots of backpacks planned, so continue reading below to see how it went.


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

I've worn the Trail Roam'r pants on at least a half-dozen day-long treks during the last few weeks, all of them close to our home in Canon City in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, mostly the Fremont, Cooper and Wet Mountain ranges. Our last overnight-hike was on June 15-17 and took place in BLM (Bureau of Land Management) territory of the Cooper Mountain range which we can access directly from the north boundary of our property. The Cooper Mountain terrain is an undeveloped wilderness area filled with juniper and pinon pine-covered hills and is very rocky. Elevation ranges from 5300 ft (1600 m) and 9100 ft (2770 m). It has been very hot with daytime temperatures almost continuously in excess of 90 F (32 C). We've had no rain during our outings.

I've also worn the pants casually about town another 7 or 8 times.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

Pants on Trail
Relaxing on trail in Trail Roam'r pants
First off, I do not hike in shorts because I do not like thinking about all the things that can scratch and bite me. Since we do a lot of hiking in desert terrain, cactus is the thing that comes to mind first. Gnats are a close second. The Trail Roam'r pants have done a great job of keeping my legs protected and they haven't shown any adverse effects from frequent brushes with thorns, pine needles, etc.

Even though we are experiencing record breaking temperatures well up to 105 F (41 C), I wear long pants. The nice thing about these pants is that they are light-weight, stretchable and comfortable (all except for the tight crotch issue). I never felt overly hot and sweaty in these. They seem to vent and breathe quite well even during active use at these high temperatures.

After our May adventures in Breckenridge, Colorado, we trekked to Wal-Mart (didn't do an overnight though) and picked up a iron-on cloth patch to repair the hole in the pants that I managed to make while sitting on a boulder eating lunch (see the Field Report). My wife did the repair at home and it turned out quite well. What's important to note is that the hole did not get larger even though I continued to wear the pants quite a lot during hiking activities before we were able to buy the patch. I was concerned about the hole progressively getting larger before the hole was patched but it did not.

The pants have been washed at least 6 times in a liquid tech wash and dried in a front loading high performance dryer on delicate cycle. No problems at all. No change in size or fit. No signs of any degradation. They look like new except for the patched hole on the left side of my backside.

After extended use, I've found the interior change pocket to be a little too small for my liking. I find getting stuff out of it a challenge. Otherwise, all else is okay with me.

WHAT I LIKE

The look - this material looks fresh, new and elegant, almost dressy. These can be worn almost anywhere.

The feel. - these pants are very comfortable and would be perfect if the crotch had a little more room.

The ankle ties - since I am paranoid about bugs and stuff, having the ability to seal off the opening at the pants' bottom is really neat. This works especially well with gaiters, too.

WHAT I DON'T LIKE

The lack of room in the crotch.

SUMMARY

After four months of wear, I'm pleased with the performance of the ExOfficio Trail Roam'r pants in the rough and tumble terrain of my usual backpacking locations. I'm also just as pleased with the good looks of the pants when off the trails in more civilized settings. I will most likely wear these pants until they fall apart which from the looks of things will be a long time coming. I just wish I hadn't ripped them on that boulder. Oh, well.

Thank you, BackpackGearTest.org and ExOfficio for the opportunity to try out the Trail Roam'r Pants.

John R. Waters

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2012. All rights reserved.

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