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Reviews > Clothing > Pants and Shorts > Mountain Khakis Cruiser pants > Test Report by Bob Dorenfeld



Mountain Khakis Men's Cruiser Pant
Test Series By Bob Dorenfeld
Initial Report
    May 30, 2015
Field Report    August 11, 2015
Long Term Report    October 8, 2015
Tester Bio
Name: Bob Dorenfeld
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 pleasurable.
Email: geartest(at)sageandspruce(dot)net
Age: 56
Location: Central Colorado, USA
Gender: M
Height: 5' 6" (1.68 m)
Weight: 140 lb (64 kg)

Product Overview

Manufacturer:   Mountain Khakis Website:   www.mountainkhakis.com
MSRP:   
US$94.95
Measured
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) Inseam
Colors Available:  Freestone, Truffle
Color Tested:   
Freestone
Materials: 
91% 6.2 oz Stretch Nylon, 9% Spandex
Pockets: 
2 Front & 2 Rear, 1 Cargo Pocket with Zipper Closure

 Cruiser Front

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.

- Initial Report -

First Impressions     

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.Pockets  The photo below right shows the side leg pocket with zipper, a rear pocket with closure, and the nicely contoured front hand pocket.

CuffThe 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 snaps. 

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 -

Field Conditions     

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 3400 m).

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.

Comfort

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 in.

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.

I 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.


Durability

When walking through a field of razor-sharp yucca is any test, the Cruisers passed with fabric intact: no tears, holes, punctures or rips.  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).


Weather Resistance

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 wet.


Cleanup

dirty pantsclean pants  
Before washing                                 After machine washing   
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 (see photos). 

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.

Summary

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 -

As summer 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 the pants.

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.

My only 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. 


rolled upHere's 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.













 




SUMMARY

Pros
   
- durable
    - comfortable
    - clean easily for most kinds of dirt
    - useful pockets
    - waist circumference true to size

Cons
   
- too baggy for my preference


Acknowledgments    

A big thanks to BackpackGearTest.org and to Mountain Khakis for the chance to test the Mountain Khakis Cruiser Pants.


Reviewed By
Bob Dorenfeld
Central Colorado Mountains



Read more gear reviews by Bob Dorenfeld

Reviews > Clothing > Pants and Shorts > Mountain Khakis Cruiser pants > Test Report by Bob Dorenfeld



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