EX OFFICIO TRAIL ROAM'R PANT
TEST SERIES BY MIKE PEARL
INITIAL REPORT - March 20, 2012
FIELD REPORT - June 18, 2012
LONG TERM REPORT - July 31, 2012
Hanover, New Hampshire, USA
5' 9" (1.75 m)
155 lb (70.30 kg)
I have a great appreciation for the outdoors and get out at every opportunity. I am a three-season backpacker and year round hiker. Currently, my trips are two to three days long as well as an annual week long trip. I utilize the abundant trail shelters in my locale and pack a backup tarp-tent. I like to cover big distances while still taking in the views. I have lightweight leanings but function and reliability are the priority. I mostly travel woodland mountain terrain but enjoy hiking beautiful trails anywhere.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: ExOfficio LLC
Year of Manufacture: 2012
Manufacturer's Website: www.exofficio.com
MSRP: US$ 85.00
Listed Weight: 11 oz (312 g)
Measured Weight: 11.1 oz (315 g)
Colors Available: Lt Khaki and Slate
Color Tested: Lt Khaki
Sizes Available: Waist 30-42 in (76-117 cm)
Inseam 32 or short length 30 in (81 or 76 cm)
Size Tested: Waist 32 in (81 cm)
Inseam short length 30 in (76 cm)
Materials: 96% Nylon 4% Spandex
Other details: DWR (Durable Water Repellent) treated - water/stain resistant
High strength four-way stretch fabric
UPF Sun Guard 50+
Inseam gusset for mobility
Hidden pocket in left hip pocket
Cargo and rear pocket
Floating pocket loop in right hip pocket
Care Instructions: Machine wash cold water and tumble dry low heat. Do not use bleach or fabric softeners. Iron on low/delicate setting.
The Trail Roam'r pants arrived neatly folded in a clear plastic bag. They have a soft, smooth texture and a slight stretch to the fabric. The materials and workmanship looks excellent. There are no blemishes on the fabric and all stitching is tight and symmetric. Two tags were attached to the pants. One with statements about ExOfficio, their purpose, goal and ways to contact the company. I particularly like that their goal is singular, "comfortable performance". The other with size, fit and pant description and features.
The Roam'rs have a plastic button and nylon zipper closure. The belt loops can accommodate up to a 1.75 in (4.45 cm) belt. Embroidered on the back left of the pants is the ExOfficio name. The company logo is embroidered on the right thigh cargo pocket.
There are four pockets on the pants. Two on the front, one on the back right and one on the right thigh. The front and rear pockets are made of two different pieces of material. The half that is next to the skin is the same material as the pants. The other half is a black nylon mesh.
The front pockets are deep, a full 12 in (30 cm). The right pocket has a 2 in (5 cm) floating loop. There is a spare button sewn to the right pocket on the interior of the pants. Within the left pocket is a secondary hidden pocket. Not visible from the front of the pants is a zipper closure. The zipper is found by reaching about 1.5 in (4 cm) into the left pocket. It runs the full length and width of the true pocket.
The right thigh pocket is cargo style without the classic bulky look. It is made of the same material as the pants. The cargo pocket and the zipper ribbon are welded in place rather than sewn. ExOfficio calls this closure a welded security auto-lock zipper. The zipper ribbon looks like it is heat sealed to the pants. The zipper pull when less than ninety degrees from the zipper drops flat to the zipper on its own. Thus preventing the zipper from opening. The back pocket closes the same way.
Moving down the Roam'rs past the cargo pocket they are pretty much plain ol' pants. Then reaching the bottom hem more utility is found. The Roam'rs have cinchable hems. A 0.375 in (1 cm) piece of nylon webbing is sewn into the hem. I did not find mention of this feature anywhere and find it a nice surprise. I like being able to cinch my pants up when crossing waterways.
READING THE INSTRUCTIONS
The only instructions pertain to washing. They are found on a label sewn inside the waist of the pants.
-machine wash cold
-no bleach or fabric softener
-tumble dry low
-iron low setting
TRYING IT OUT
While writing this we are having record setting warm temperatures. The kids were revving to go hiking the day after the Roam'rs arrived. Perfect timing for a family walk in the local wood. I put on the Roam'rs and headed out into 77 F (25 C) spring day.
The Roam'rs fit great, with about two fingers width of space at the waist. I really dislike pants that are tight in the seat. But still do not need a belt to keep them from falling down. I still looped a 1 in (2.5 cm) nylon web belt through the loops for any adjustment needed in the field. When not wearing shoes/boots the inseam covers my ankle without touching the floor. The Roam'rs feel light and subtle against my skin. Bending down to lace my boots I notice stretch fabric right away. There is no binding or clumping in the pants with away movements I made. The Roam'rs were so comfortable I almost forgot that I was supposed to be paying attention to them. The only thing that drew my attention was a light crumbling or rustling sound made when walking. The fabric, while smooth and pliable, is rather noisy. Mostly when the legs brush each other but not with every step.
The ExOfficio Trail Roam'r pants are well made and very comfortable. The pockets are accommodating and well positioned. I am quite impressed with the range of motion provided by the four-way stretch fabric.
I am looking forward to roaming the trails in the Trail Roam'r pant!
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
Date / Location - April 1 / Mt. Peg
Distance / Elevation - 4.5 mi (7 km) / 1100 ft (335 m)
Conditions - 45 F (7 C) sunny and windy
Terrain - gentle 400 ft (120 m) climb on narrow trails overgrown with brush
Date / Location - April 8 / Mt. Tom
Distance / Elevation - 12 mi (19 km) / 1350 ft (411 m)
Conditions - 40 F (4 C) windy with spits of snow/rain
Terrain - steep 650 ft (200 m) climb on rocky trails
Date / Location - April 13-15 / Mt Ascutney
Distance / Elevation - 20 mi (32 km) / 3144 ft (958 m)
Conditions - Daytime highs 63 and 75 F (17 and 24 C), sunny and very windy at the summit, nighttime lows 29 and 32 F (-2 and 0 C) clear skies
Terrain - 5000 ft (1520 m) gain and loss summiting twice via three trails
Date / Location - April 29 / Trail work day on the Appalachian Trail
Distance / Elevation - 6 mi (9.5 km) / 775 - 1295 ft (236 - 395 m)
Conditions - 50 F (10 C) sunny and windy with 30 mph (48 km/h) gust
Terrain - varying from gentle to steep trail with three stream crossing
Date / Location - May 13 / Mt Ascutney
Distance / Elevation - 10 mi (16 km) / 3144 ft (958 m)
Conditions - 75 F (24 C) sunny and breezy at the summit
Terrain - trail increases in difficulty including scaling large granite slabs as it gains 2100 ft (640 m)
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
I wear pants for several reasons while hiking. I want my legs protected from the elements, blocking the sun and/or wind. I also want to keep dirt, bugs and vegetation along the trail off of my skin. But most importantly I do not want my range of motion to be obstructed while doing any of the above. The ExOfficio Trail Roam'r pants have done well on all counts.
Under the conditions encountered with the Trail Roam'rs my legs were neither cold or overheated. They feel thin but the Roam'rs wind resistance is impressive, two incidents stand out. One a 50 F (10 C) day with 30 mph (48 km/h) wind gust that I needed to wear a wool hat to keep my ears warm. Second atop the fire tower on the summit of Mt. Ascutney on which my fingers started going numb after a few minutes. On both occasions, I never felt the wind on the lower half of my body. Heat has not been a factor during this test period nor the sun very intense. I anticipate this will be more of a factor during the Long-Term testing. I have seen precipitation on only one outing. It was a very light mix of rain and snow. The little that found the Roam'rs did not penetrate the pants.
An unusually dry winter has meant virtually no mud season this year. I was lucky enough however to find some mud while clearing water bars on a trail maintenance hike. Mud accumulated on the lower 4 - 6 in (10 - 15 cm) of the pants. The pants were dry very quickly and by the end of the hike most of the mud flaked off. My boots, socks and skin were all free of dirt or mud where they were covered by the Roam'rs. The dry winter also means low mosquito and black fly populations but very high tick population this year. When encountering open fields or tall grass I have cinched the cuffs tight at the ankles. This is in hopes of preventing any ticks from crawling under the pants. On two different hikes I found a total of six ticks creeping up the Roam'rs. I am not sure if closing the cuffs made all the difference, but the khaki color definitely makes it very easy to spot ticks.
The Trail Roam'rs have done great in the "armour" category, but all that means little to me if I am not comfortable. The Roam'rs fit closer to my body than most pants I wear. I thought this might become uncomfortable or restrict range of motion. The Roam'rs are very light and feel nice against my skin. They have not caused any restriction of movement. Some pants need to be "hiked up" at the thigh when taking a big forward or upward step. The Roam'rs four-way stretch fabric accommodated every move I made without any assistance from me. On Mt. Ascutney the Roam'rs felt fluid while scrambling up and over large rocks. The closer than usual cut of the pants has been commented on by my wife. She says they are too tight in the seat. I always say function before fashion. So this makes for a very minor mark against the Trail Roam'rs.
I like being able to squirrel things away but want to be able to get to them. So I really like pockets on my clothes. The pockets on the Trail Roam'rs are well positioned for easy access. They hold just enough to make them useful without becoming bulky. I have utilized the cargo and left hip zipper pockets the most. I like being able to secure cash and ID in the left hip zipper pocket. The cargo pocket has been great for holding trail maps.
I have yet to wash the Trail Roam'r pants. They just haven't met my definition of dirty yet. I will report on this after putting them through the wash during the next test period.
|Me & My Favorite Hiking Partner|
-close cut in the seat
Thus far the ExOfficio Trail Roam'r pants get top marks for backpacking. I have been comfortable in these pants every mile hiked. The pockets are well position for use while on the trail. I find the cut of the pants ideal for hiking. There is no extra fabric to snag when negotiating overgrown vegetation. The cut is less appealing to me for casual wear. I guess for me the name says it all. A Trail Roam'r I look forward to being as the temperatures are warming and the trails are turning green.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
Date / Location - June 10 / Storrs Pond Recreation Area, New Hampshire
Distance / Elevation - 8 mi (13 km) / 400 ft (120 m)
Conditions - 83 F (28 C) clear and calm
Terrain - gently rolling hills through tall pine forest
Date / Location - June 16 -17 / Amity Pond Natural Area, Vermont
Distance / Elevation - 10 mi (16 km) / 1200 - 1600 ft (360 - 490 m)
Conditions - Daytime high 81 F (27 C) abundant sunshine and breezy, Nighttime low of 48 F (9 C) clear skies
Terrain - Open grassy meadows and dense hardwood forest
Date / Location - July 13 - 14 / Franconia Notch State Park, New Hampshire
Distance / Elevation - 7.5 mi (12 km) / 1800 - 2760 ft (550 - 840 m)
Conditions - Daytime high 90 F (32 C) and sunny, Nighttime low 50 F (10 C) clear and cool
Terrain - Variable, rock strewn to muddy to fine gravel trails
Date / Location - July 18 / Smarts Mountain, New Hampshire
Distance / Elevation - 8 mi (13 km) / 1050 - 3238 ft (320 - 990 m)
Conditions - Hot and humid, starting with 74F (23 C) and 74% humidity, ending with 85 F (29 C) and 42% humidity
Terrain - Wet, muddy trails and big slick granite rocks
Date / Location - July 29 / Giles Mountain, Vermont
Distance / Elevation - 3 mi (4.8 km) / 1873 ft (571 m)
Conditions - 80 F (26 C) and mostly cloudy
Terrain - Rocky, muddy trails with gentle climb
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
The Trail Roam'rs continue to work just as well during this stage of testing. I have only two new observations. First after washing, the fabric makes less noise when walking. Second on the two humid days I felt a lack of ventilation. This came to my attention only after pulling the Roam'rs up to my knees to wade in Lonesome Lake. Even before entering the water the cool breeze that swept across my legs was shocking. Then the water felt so refreshing I could not resist going for a swim. After splashing around in the cold lake I was again happy with the Roam'rs wind resistance. The next hike was again humid and the Roam'rs felt stuffy on the way up. Then having lunch in the fire tower above the trees with the winds blowing I quickly cooled.
Before and after wash in standard front load washer and dryer.
Some mud stains remain but all my hiking pants look this way.
The hills here have a way of leaving their mark.
- fabrics stretch and strength
- ties at ankles
- pocket placement
- close cut in the seat
After roaming 89 mi (143 km) of trails I can say I really like the Roam'rs. They are tough yet flexible, comfortable yet protective, these are all around good hiking pants. The function is excellent the fashion gets one strike due to the closer than usual fit in the seat. But I do not hike to make a fashion statement so that leaves the troubles on the humid days. While I have mixed feels on breathable versus wind resistant. In the end I have to lean toward wind resistance as cooling off happened quicker than warming up. In the areas I hike hypothermia is a bigger risk than hyperthermia.
The ExOfficio Trail Roam'r pants do everything I want a pair of pants to do. I will reach for them on all but the hottest and most humid days.
This concludes my Long Term Report. My thanks to ExOfficio and BackpackGearTest.org for putting this test series together.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5
Copyright 2012. All rights reserved.
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