EX OFFICIO ROAMR PANTS
TEST SERIES BY JERRY ADAMS
INITIAL REPORT - March 16, 2012
FIELD REPORT - May 23, 2012
LONG TERM REPORT - July 25, 2012
Portland, Oregon, USA
6' 1" (1.85 m)
195 lb (88.50 kg)
I started hiking about 45 years ago. My first backpack was 40 years ago. I currently try to do one backpack trip of 1 to 5 nights every month (which can be tricky in the winter). Mostly I stay in the Western half of Oregon and Washington. In recent years I have shifted to lightweight - my pack weight without food and water is about 12 lb (6 kg). I make a lot of my own gear - silnylon tarp-tent, bivy, synthetic bag, simple bag style pack.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: ExOfficio LLC
Year of Manufacture: 2012
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.exofficio.com/
Listed Weight: 11 oz (312 g)
Measured Weight: 12.6 oz (357 g)
Waist: 40 inch (1.02 m)
Inseam: 32 inch (0.81 m)
Color: Light Khaki
The ExOfficio Trail Roam'r Pants are "adventure" pants that I will use for backpacking and hiking. I'll also wear them around town some.
On the ExOfficio website it says that the best uses are: Backpacking, Camping, Everyday, Hiking, Outdoor Work, Roughian Adventures, Urban Exploration. I will try to have some "Roughian Adventures" to test these.
On the website, there are two versions of Trail Roam'r pants. I got the 90% Nylon/10% Spandex version that's marked down to $59.91. There's another version that's 97% Nylon/3% Spandex that looks very similar.
I got the Light Khaki color - a fairly light color that should be good at reflecting sunlight to stay cooler in the hot weather. They're also available in Slate - an almost black color.
On the hang tag they are specified as "natural" fit (as opposed to "relaxed" fit which are looser) so they're somewhere in the middle between tight fitting and loose fitting. There seems to be plenty of room for leg movement during hiking.
The fabric is 90% Nylon and 10% Spandex. It stretches in two directions, but it stretches more lengthwise than width wise. There is a standard fly on the front with what appears to be a #3 coil zipper and a button closure on the top. There are 7 belt loops.
There are two conventional front pockets that are right where I'd put my hands into them. On the right side, there is an additional "cargo" pocket a little lower, with a zipper closure. On the right rear there is another pocket with a zipper closure. The front cargo pocket is glued to the main fabric (or maybe it's heat bonded). The other three pockets are sewn and suspended from the waist. Inside the left front pocket there is another, hidden pocket that closes with a zipper. All the zippers are #3 coil zippers.
Regular "cargo" pants look rather outdoorsy and not so appropriate for in town wear. The cargo pockets are very prominent. The one cargo pocket on the Roam'r is fairly subtle. The way the fabric is bonded to the main fabric it's hard to see. In my opinion, the Roam'r pants are more appropriate for in town use than regular cargo pants.
There's a subtle logo on the outside of the cargo pocket. The button has "EXOFFICO" printed twice. "EXOFFICIO" is subtly printed on the rear, top, left.
The bottom of the legs are hemmed. Inside the hem is a black nylon webbing that's 3/8 inch wide. I tied the webbing to make the opening a little smaller. I think this will reduce drafts a little to make it warmer. Of course, it would be worse if I was warm and needed ventilation to reduce sweating. It would work a little better if the webbing was elastic. Then I could make it tighter but still be able to put on and take off my pants.
The fabric is UPF 50+ so these pants should provide pretty much total sun protection. The website says they have a DWR finish so they should resist water and stains. I'll be evaluating the water resistance during my testing. The website says they're wind resistant. I'll see how well they resist wind in my testing. Just looking at the fabric, it has a very tight weave so it looks like it should be wind resistant. Also, it looks like they should be insect resistant, but I couldn't find anywhere that they talked about this. Some fabric is looser and insects can stick their proboscis right through it and bite me.
On the hang tag it says: Machine wash cold; Wash with like colors; No bleach or fabric softeners; Tumble dry low; Iron low/delicate setting. I'll wash it a few times during my testing. I won't be ironing it.
On the website it says that the inseam is gusseted, meaning there's a diamond shaped piece of fabric sewn into the inseam at the top to make a little more room.
The pants are made from 4 main pieces that are sewn together lengthwise with serged seams. The pockets are made out of the pants fabric facing my body and a netting fabric facing the pants, sewn together with a French Seam. The pockets are sewn to the pants at the top, and this is covered by a strip of fabric that goes around the waist, with straight stitches There are several other pieces of fabric.
Front and back of pants:
Close-up of rear pocket:
Close-up of front pocket and cargo pocket:
On the website it said they were imported. On the pants, it said they were made in Malaysia.
The pants are well made. All the seams are perfect as far as I could see.
I tried on the pants and they fit well. It was comfortable walking around the house. They look good for around town. They look rugged enough to sustain backpacking use.
The ExOfficio Trail Roam'r Pants are a nice pair of pants for outdoor activities, and they look good enough for around town. I will need a belt to keep them up.
They're made out of a stretchy nylon fabric.
They have several pockets.
They have a DWR coating so they should be good in rain.
They're sun and wind resistance and I think they'll be insect resistant.
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
March 23 - 29, 2012 - 4-night backpack and 2-night car camp on lower Metolius River in central Oregon. 28 - 55 F (-2 - 13 C). Occasional showers but mostly dry. 30 miles (48 km). Mostly a level trail walk with several miles climbing over trees and boulders and walking through brush.
April 11-16 - 5-night car camp on the beach in Southwest Washington. Hiked about 25 miles (40 km). 45 to 60 F (7 to 16 C). Used the pants the same as when backpacking, all the time including sleeping. It rained some of the time.
April 27 - May 3 - 3-night backpack and 3-night car camp in Badger Creek area of North central Oregon. Hiked about 25 miles (40 km). 26 to 65 F (-3 - 18 C). Did a lot of trail clearing. Got pretty wet one night.
May 21 - day hike in steady rain, 3-miles (5 km).
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
The ExOfficio Trail Roam'r pants have worked really well for me.
I used the pants for a total of 7 nights of backpacking and 10 nights of car camping. I hiked about 83 miles (135 km). I wore the pants the whole time including sleeping. Temperatures ranged from 26 to 65 F (-3 - 18 C). There were some rainy days. Most of the hiking was on typical trails but I also did some bushwhacking. I did some trail clearing where the pants provided good protection from branches, including thorny branches. I washed the pants 3 times.
Most of the time I wore lightweight gaiters to keep dirt out of my boots.
The pants were very comfortable. I like the feel of the fabric against my legs. I like the stretchiness which helps when I'm stepping over logs or rocks.
Most of the time I carried my GPS in one pocket and my small camera in another pocket. The pants carried that weight comfortably.
The pants got dirty but cleaned up nicely after washing.
When my wife first saw me wearing the pants, she was surprised they were outdoor pants. They looked like around town pants. I think this is a major advantage of these pants. In particular, the cargo pockets of some pants make them look weird around town, but the pockets on the ExOfficios are more subtle and normal looking. In accomplishing this, I don't think they sacrificed any outdoor related performance.
The pants kept me from getting too cold down to 26 F (-3 C) and protected me from wind. This is, obviously, pushing the comfort limit for single layer nylon pants. The fabric weave is tight enough that it prevents any significant wind from getting through. It was fairly windy on a number of occasions.
I got them wet several times. I walked in moderate rain several times and once I got wet sleeping overnight. I did an additional day hike in steady rain to better test this. The DWR coating worked well to keep light rain beaded on the surface where it evaporated after a while. With heavier rain, the ExOfficios started absorbing water. They were clammy and cold against my skin, but that's just how all pants I've ever worn are. The good thing about the ExOfficios is that they don't absorb a lot of water so after I got out of the rain, body heat evaporated the water enough that the clammy/cold went away after about half an hour, but were still damp. After an hour or two they felt pretty much dry. Overall, the ExOfficios are as good as any other pants I've worn regarding rain.
I wore the ExOfficios going through a lot of brush. I cut and drug a lot of branches off the trail. Once, I slashed the pants with my saw. My legs were totally protected and I didn't notice any damage to the pants either.
I didn't really get too much opportunity to test insect protection or performance in hot weather. I should have opportunities to do this during the Long Term Test period.
Front of pants:
Rear of pants:
I really like the ExOfficio Trail Roam'r pants.
The fabric is very comfortable.
The pants are loose enough and they stretch a little in length so that they were comfortable stepping over trees and boulders.
The pants are rugged enough to sustain walking through brush and sticker bushes without my legs getting scratched.
They kept me warm enough down to 26 F (-3 C) and protected my legs from wind.
I wore the pants in the rain The ExOfficios were as good as any other pants I've used.
I didn't get good testing for insect protection or sun/heat performance, but I will do so during the Long Term Test period.
This concludes my Field Report.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
May 25, 2012 - 5-night backpack on Herman Creek in North central Oregon. 35 miles (56 km). 40 to 70 F (4 to 21 C).
This is how I wore them most of the time:
June 28, 2012 - 4-night backpack on Mt Hood in North central Oregon. 34 miles (55 km). 48 to 75 F (9 to 24 C).
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
I did one trip with a lot of rain. I walked through a lot of wet brush and slipped a little in a stream which got the ExOfficios pretty wet at spots. The DWR works for a few minutes, then they get wet through. It's not comfortable or warm when they're wet, but after I got out of the wet brush and stream they dried pretty quickly and then were comfortable.
When I went through brush and slipped in the stream there was a lot of abrasive force on the pants, but after washing I see no sign of wear on the pants.
I did notice that after the 5 trips of my total testing, after washing, the pants do have a few stains, but hardly noticeable.
On my last trip, it was a little warmer. On one day I wore shorts some when hiking uphill and then I wore the pants the rest of the trip which made me sweat a little more. I think the pants are better when they're needed - warmth, sun, or insect protection - but otherwise I like shorts better.
On my last trip I used a 1/8 inch (3 mm) nylon cord to hold up the pants rather than a belt. A regular belt is so heavy and when I wear it sleeping the bulk is a bit uncomfortable, especially the buckle. The cord was better in these regards, but it didn't hold up the pants as good - it needs to be stiff to work with belt loops. Next time I'll just wear a regular belt.
On my last trip there was some sun and some mosquitoes and flies and the pants provided good protection.
I still really like the ExOfficio Trail Roam'r pants.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5
Copyright 2012. All rights reserved.
The fabric is really good. It gives wind, sun, and insect protection. It provides some warmth. It gives some rain protection although it's not perfect - uncomfortable when wet, but it dries pretty quickly. The fabric stretches a little up and down the legs so the pants were comfortable climbing over rocks and branches.
The construction is good. It fits well. All the sewing is good. There are some places where the fabric is glued or heat welded.
Maybe the best thing about the ExOfficio pants is they're well suited for in-town wearing without compromising outdoor functionality. They don't have the "cargo pants" look that is sort of weird looking in the city.
The only think I don't like about the ExOfficios is they have a belt loop top that requires a heavy, bulky, stiff belt. I prefer a drawstring top but that doesn't work so good with belt loops like the ExOfficios.
In the future, I will probably use my ExOfficio pants more for in town use because I usually wear shorts and I have some other pants that have a drawstring top rather than belt loops so they work better for me.
This concludes my report. Thanks to ExOfficio and BackpackGearTest.org for letting me test these.
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Read more gear reviews by jerry adams