I'm an active hiker,
snowshoer, skier, and of course
backpacker. Home base is the Southern
Colorado Rockies, ranging from alpine
tundra to piņon-juniper scrub and desert
at lower altitudes. Many of my backpack
trips are two or three nights (sometimes
longer), and I usually shoulder about 30
lb (14 kg). My style is lightweight but
not at the expense of enjoyment, comfort
or safety - basic survival gear plus
extras like a camera and air mattress
make my trips safer and more
||Central Colorado, USA
||5' 6" (1.68 m)
||140 lb (64 kg)
Manufacturer: Mountain Khakis
Weight: 11 oz (300 g)
Sizes Available: Men's
30-44 in (76-112 cm) Waist, 30-34 in
(76-86 cm) Inseam
Size Tested: 32 in (81 cm)
Waist, 30 in (76 cm) Inseam
My Measurements: 32 (81 cm)
Waist, 28 (71 cm)
Colors Available: Freestone,
Color Tested: Freestone
Materials: 91% 6.2 oz
Stretch Nylon, 9% Spandex
Pockets: 2 Front & 2 Rear, 1
Cargo Pocket with Zipper Closure
These men's nylon outdoor pants are designed
for a loose fit and with a brushed
interior for comfort close to the skin.
There is a DWR (durable water repellent)
coating on the outside to help with
quick drying, and Mountain Khakis claims
a UVA-UVB 40+ rating for the material.
The knees are articulated, and the cuffs
can be snapped together to reduce
flapping. The men's waist sizes
come in 1 in (2.5 cm) increments, making
it easier to find a good fit.
There are belt loops to accommodate up to
a 2 in (5 cm) wide belt.
These are very
comfortable pants on first wearing. The 32
waist fits me perfectly without a belt, neither
loose nor tight (a metal stud closes the front)
but I will probably add a
belt since I like to fine-tune the fit while
hiking. I like the brushed interior, very
soft for a mostly nylon material, and a small
amount of Spandex allows the pants to slightly
stretch four ways. The front pockets are
generous for both my hands and small items I
might want to store there. I'm impressed
with the gusseted right-side leg pocket (with
drainage hole) - it's big enough with room to
spare for a camera and small notepad, and the
zipper ensures that whatever I store there won't
fall out while scrambling on the rocks.
Both rear pockets are closable by a short
hook-and-loop strip centered on the pocket top,
but these pockets are not fully securable.
The four front and rear pockets use light mesh
(dark gray color) for their inner linings,
floating free inside the pants.
The photo below right shows the side leg pocket
with zipper, a rear pocket with closure, and the
nicely contoured front hand pocket.
only problem I see at this time is the pants'
length. Since my inseam is 28 in (71 cm)
and the Cruisers do not come less than 30 in (76
cm), they are too long by 2 in (5 cm).
However, to my knowledge no outdoor clothing is
sized 32 W x 28 L, so I either fold up the extra
fabric, or more usually, I have the pants
altered to fit my shorter legs. In the
left photo are shown the adjustable snap cuffs,
which may help a little bit with leg and cuff
fit. The backs of the cuffs with the snaps
are reinforced with an extra hem above the
Finally, the Freestone
fabric color is a nice tan, very common in
outdoor clothing, and one that I find pleasing
to wear anywhere.
I'm looking forward to
taking the Cruiser pants out for hikes and
backpacks very soon. I'll be looking for
comfort and durability while trail and off-trail
hiking, and on some rock scrambling. There
will be some cool and warm temperatures to test
them in, as well as rain and perhaps snow in the
high country of my favorite nearby mountains.
- Field Report -
Backpacking: Two 3-day
trips into the San Juan and Wet Mountain ranges
of Colorado, where conditions ranged from clear
and sunny to overcast, and one afternoon of
alternating hail and rain. Temperatures
varied from freezing to the 70s F (20s C).
Some trails (and off-trail hiking) were dry,
others wet from rain or early-morning dew.
Altitudes ranged from 8200 to 11,200 ft (2500 to
Dayhiking: Three one-day
trips also in the Colorado mountains, with
similar trail and environmental conditions as
the backpack trips. Altitudes were about
the same as well.
In a word, very comfortable! I think the tight
weave of the nylon/spandex combination has a lot
to do with that, and I never felt any stiffness
or chafing against my legs. The two front
pockets are just right for my hands while
walking, and definitely generous enough to
swallow tissues, keys, and other random stuff I
like to pick up or take along on hikes without
crowding out the fingers. The right-front cargo
pocket has been great for carrying my pad and
pencil, and the cargo
pocket zipper has been easy to use with no
snagging so far. Generally I don't use
back pockets while hiking, but occasionally I'd
stuff a bandana or light pair of gloves into one
of the Cruisers' back pockets, where they'd stay
put but accessible.
The six belt loops
around the waist, especially the two back loops
placed closer together then the others, were just right for my homemade
1 in (2.5 cm) webbing belt; that seems to help keep my shirt tucked
These pants are baggy,
a design characteristic I've found in most pants
marketed for the outdoor industry; I wished that
the Cruiser Pants were just a tad tighter so
that they wouldn't flop around quite so much.
(In the past I have resorting to modifying pants
where I didn't need the extra room.) I was able
to adjust somewhat for the extra 2 in (5 cm)
pant length (because the Cruisers are not made
for my inseam measurement) by using the second
cuff snap and folding the cuffs up on the
inside. That's tight enough to hold in place on
my boots through some rough trail walking, so
I'm pleased about that, although it's not as
comfortable with sandals since the turned-up
cuffs tend to ride down on my feet.
found the pants to be reasonably warm for me on
cool evenings and mornings when the temperatures
reached near-freezing. Hiking through the
mornings as temps warmed up was still
comfortable, although by the time a sunny day
reached into the 60s F (high teens C) I'm ready
to shed long pants for shorts, no matter how
easy the Cruisers are to wear.
When walking through a field of razor-sharp
yucca is any test, the Cruisers passed with
fabric intact: no tears, holes, punctures
Likewise, hiking off-trail through brush (some
thorny), branches, over trees, and climbing
rocks hasn't fazed these pants at all, so far.
Here's where the stretchy fabric is nice—no
binding in the knees or crotch—as I scale
some smaller rocks and steep places (but short
of actual bouldering).
A typical Colorado summer hail- and
rainstorm let me give the Cruisers a good wet
test, as I skipped the waterproof coverings and
just let the pants take it for about 30 minutes.
Winds of 10-20 mph (16-32 kph) helped to soak
the pants as well. My legs did get wet as
expected, since these are not waterproof rain
pants, but they didn't get as wet as they would
have with some other nylon pants I often wear while
hiking. After the storm the sun came out
strong, drying out the Cruisers quickly after
about 10 minutes.
I'm glad I'd moved my notepad from the cargo
pocket, however, since it would have come out
On my first backpack with these pants there was a lot of dark,
wet, organic soil to hike through on the meadow
trail, and the bottom 8 in (20 cm) of both pant
legs became quite stained over 3 days.
This gave me a good test of how the Cruisers might clean up:
following Mountain Khakis' directions (printed
on a sturdy waistband label) I machine-washed
the pants cold (with my usual mild liquid
detergent), but hung them to dry outside like I
do with most of my clothes. (But according
to the label, they can
"tumble dry low".)
Not only did all of the other small stains and
mild dirt wash away, the cuffs cleaned up nicely
After machine washing
Conifer tree sap is
another common clothes problem in the woods, but
I've have good luck removing it from these pants
(and other clothes) by using rubbing alcohol.
The sap should still be wet, sticky, or only
recently dried (which is the case for me after a
3-4 day backpack or day hike). With a rag
or paper towel moistened with rubbing alcohol I
just gently rub the sap off and let the spot
dry. A technique I like to use for
mitigating sap in the field is to rub off onto
my finger some powder from the bark of an aspen,
then scrub it onto the sap, getting the mixture
to ball up and slough off. Another way I
handle larger amounts of sap (after I've
returned home) is to place the clothes item into
the freezer for an hour or two, whereupon the
sap will usually pick off in one chunk.
I've found it best not to machine wash clothes
that I know have sap on them, since that may fix
it into the nylon or polyester and make it
difficult or impossible to remove later.
So far I'm impressed by the Cruiser pants.
They're comfortable and durable, and they clean
well by either hand or machine. I'm
looking forward to more hikes and backpacks with
them in the next couple of months.
- Long Term Report
grades into fall, I've made good use of the
Mountain Khakis in many diverse environments.
A long road trip through the American Northwest
took me from dry interior mountains to the
temperate and wet coastal ranges, from high
desert to the sandy beaches of Oregon. I
wore the Khakis at least 12 days (and some
nights) in temperatures from just below freezing
to the 60s F (high teens C), in very damp
coastal fog and in low humidity deserts.
Although I wasn't able to get in any overnight
trips since my Field Report (above) I did enjoy
this wide variety of conditions in which to test
At this point I can do no
better than to second my opinions and conclusions
from the Field Report. The pants are
comfortable and very functional. They are
durable. They clean easily (except for the
slight staining from the organic soil reported
above), and all of the pockets continue to be
useful (front hand, back, and right leg
storage). While it's still true that the
32 in (81 cm) waist size that I'm testing fits
well, I also am using my webbing belt most of
the time to keep the pants snug.
continuing complaint, albeit a small one, is
that I find the Khakis excessively baggy,
especially since they are not designed with
zip-open pant legs for taking them off while
wearing shoes. I may have the inseam taken
in to allow the pants to fit my legs better.
a photo on an Oregon beach with the pant legs
rolled up. Using the cuff snaps for
cinching, I was able to keep them just at my knees
while ambling along the sandy and rocky beaches.
This was nice on those humid warm days when the
fog cleared and the sun shone brightly.
- clean easily for most kinds of dirt
- useful pockets
circumference true to size
- too baggy for my preference
A big thanks
to BackpackGearTest.org and to Mountain Khakis
for the chance to test the Mountain Khakis