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Reviews > Clothing > Pants and Shorts > Mountain Khakis Equatorial Pants > Test Report by Steven M Kidd

MOUNTAIN KHAKIS EQUATORIAL PANTS
TEST SERIES BY STEVEN M. KIDD
LONG-TERM REPORT
October 13, 2014

CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT
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TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Steven M. Kidd
EMAIL: ftroop94ATgmailDOTcom
AGE: 42
LOCATION: Carmel, IN
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
WEIGHT: 185 lb (83.90 kg)

Backpacking Background: I've been a backpacker on and off for over 30 years. I backpacked as a Boy Scout, and then again almost every month in my twenties, while packing an average weight of 50+ lbs (23+ kg). In the last several years I have become a hammock camping enthusiast. I generally go on one or two night outings that cover between 5 to 20 mi (8 - 32 km) distances. I try to keep the all-inclusive weight of my pack under 20 lb (9 kg) even in the winter.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

IMAGE 1
Image Courtesy of Mountain Khakis

Manufacturer: Mountain Khakis
Year of Manufacture: 2014
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.mountainkhakis.com/
MSRP: US $84.95
Sized Tested: 35 in x 30 in (89 cm x 76 cm)
Color Tested: Retro Khaki {Willow and Stone are also available}
Listed Weight: N/A
Measured Weight: 8.7 oz (247 g)*
Measured Inseam: 31 in (79 cm)
Measured Waist: 35 in (89 cm)

*Measured weight with tags in place. I need a 36 in (91 cm) waist, so I haven't removed the tags.

The Mountain Khakis Equatorial Pant are made with a 3.7 oz "Super High Density Weave" nylon. They are treated with a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) which they refer to as 80/20, are marketed as quick drying and offer both UVA and UVB 50+ protection from the sun. The pants offer six pockets that are mesh lined; two being zippered security pockets. One of these zippered pockets is on the right rear and the other is on the right front area when wearing them. The knees are articulated, they offer a mid-rise and relaxed fit. The cuffs have plastic snap that allows them to be adjusted snugly to the leg, and Mountain Khakis states the pants offer a diamond shaped 'action' gusset inseam.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

The moment I removed the Mountain Khakis from the package in which they arrived, I could tell they were a quality made product. The nylon material was smooth to the touch and felt very lightweight to me.

Attention to detail has been made to the seams and stitching. The pants are also rather fashionable in my opinion. Often my backcountry pants are items that I wouldn't consider wearing around town, but I could easily see myself grabbing these trousers and wearing them to the 'mall'.

I generally wear a 34 to 35 in (86 to 89 cm) waist, but this pair was a little snug in the waist, so I plan on going up one size. However, I can affirm the claimed relaxed fit, as even with these being snug on my waist the hips and crotch area are very comfortable. The knees are articulated subtly, and this aids to the aesthetic appeal in my opinion, but feel as if they will remain comfortable when I wear them in the field.
IMAGE 2
Rear Pockets including a Zippered Security Pocket
The thin and lightweight material feels breathable enough to try out on warm summer days. I find this appealing for bushwhacking in briary thickets and fending off ticks and other pests.
IMAGE 3
Front Pocket with Zippered Security Pocket

The rear pockets are what I would refer to as drop pockets and are closed with a hook and loop tab. The pocket on the right rear also has a zippered security pocket which appears designed to fit an average men's wallet. Unfortunately for me I'm left handed and stow mine on the left side.

The front pockets are angled slightly and appear deep enough that I don't believe items will easily fall from them. This is a problem I've noticed with other brands of trail pants. Once again, the right front pocket has an additional zippered pocket that could easily secure coins, keys or the like. Again, on the opposite side that I typically carry such items. Yet another reminder of being a lefty in a right-minded world!

I notice small attentions to detail that appear to allow these pants to stand apart from many competitors on the market. The knees are articulated like many trail pans, but as earlier stated this is subtle. The gusset, stated to be diamond shaped is comfortable when wearing and is notably more arced than a traditional pair of men's trousers or chinos. I often find the latter to have sharp and angled contours. In trying the pants on, this was noticeably comfortable.

The snapped cuffs are an interesting touch. Often I find trail pants to have zippered cuffs that taper, particularly if they are convertible. The Equatorial pants have no such zipper. I do enjoy that the snap will allow me to secure the pants in a snugger manner when I feel the need for this flexibility, and the opportunity to drape more loosely when in town or camp.

Another subtle nicety that I noticed was a polyester strip on the interior of the waist line. My assumption is that this is designed to allow a shirt to be tucked into the pants and aid in keeping it from coming untucked. I've noticed similar designs in higher end dress trousers.
IMAGE 4
Plastic Snapped Cuffs
IMAGE 5
Diamond Gusseted Crotch
IMAGE 6
Articulated Knees


























SUMMARY

I've long noticed Mountain Khakis products and admired the quality of the heavy duty canvas items they offer. These have never fit into my backcountry needs, but when I was given the opportunity to try these lightweight nylon trousers I quickly jumped!

The Equatorial pants appear to be well made with attention to the smaller details. They are comfortable and I look forward to getting the right size and starting to wear them around town and in the backcountry.

At the summary of most reports I generally offer a roses and thorns bullet point, but I truly can't find any thorns at this point. Sure I'd love to have the zippered pockets offered on the left side, but that would be picky! As for roses, they are lightweight, comfortable, and soft to the touch and appealing to my eyes.





FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

IMAGE 1
Casual Enough for Dinner in Town

7-8 June, 2014; South Cumberland State Park, near Tracy City, Tennessee. Before my family relocated to Indiana to join me, I was able to return to my former Tennessee home and take in one last overnight outing in my old stomping grounds with the children. We did a quick overnight on the Fiery Gizzard Trail, a familiar spot for my 5 1/2 and 7 year old cohorts. Elevations average a fairly constant 1750 ft (533 m) along the nearly 3 mi (4.8 km) trek to the Small Wilds camping area. Conditions were dry and temperate in my opinion. Lows were around 65 F (18 C) and I measured a high of 79 F (26 C).

28 June, 2014; Eagle Creek Park, Indianapolis, Indiana. Having relocated to Indiana in advance of my family and yet without my backpacking gear I decided I needed to get into the woods for some sanity as well as an opportunity to test these pants. I took a 6.75 mi (11 km) hike along the Red Trail at a local city park in Indianapolis. I wasn't too familiar with the area, but a local website stated the following about the area: Eagle Creek Park has 1,400 acres (5.7 km2) of water and 3,900 acres (16 km2) of land. There are about 10 miles (16 km) of paths. Elevation in the area averages 700 ft (213 m), and although the trail is listed as moderate-to-difficult, I found it refreshing. It was a nice retreat for the day, and a good test in humid conditions. The temperature was around 82 F (28 C), but it was sticky outside.

26 July, 2014; Eagle Creek Park, Indianapolis, Indiana. After my family finally arrived to the area, I thought it would be a great idea to spend an afternoon outside in the closest nature I've been able to find to date. I returned to the park, but chose the 2.5 mi (4 km) Orange Trail for the kids. The loop was easily manageable for my wife and the youngsters. Temperatures were around 78 F (26 C) with low humidity.

15-17 August, 2014; Hoosier National Forest, Charles C. Deam Wilderness Area, near Bloomington, Indiana. I finally was able to get the children out on a 3-day/2-night outing in the new state. We only hiked a total 5.5 mi (9 km) total on the trip and carried our own water. Temperatures were great for August with nightly lows around 55 F (13 C) and daily highs around 80 F (27 C) with elevations averaging 650-800 ft (198-244 m).

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

I've been quite satisfied and impressed with the Mountain Khakis Equatorial Pants to date. They are lightweight and have performed well in hiking and backpacking use. I was a little concerned about testing pants that didn't have the ability to convert to shorts in the midst of the summer, but it hasn't been an issue for me this year.

I attest this to multiple factors. First the summer season has been extremely mild in Indiana. We've yet to have a 90 F (32 C) day this year. Secondly, I find the material of the pants not to be too thick and they do tend to wick away moisture when they do become damp. I've have a few hikes and worn them around town casually on some extremely humid and muggy days and haven't been miserable during any of these instances.

The product has been durable and I've yet to notice any wear during the field reporting portion of this series. Granted, I've worn them more often around town in a casual manner than I have in the backcountry, but they are holding up well. I'm actually happy to wear them out casually, which is something I rarely do with trail pants. When I've worn them on overnights and the multi-day trip I didn't notice any odor after use, which is always a positive.

I haven't experience any rain during use, but recently I was wearing the trousers while working on the pool filter in the back yard. I opened a valve and was doused with water. I continued to work and do a few other things around the yard and noticed the pants were dry enough within a half hour or so.

The material feels really nice against the skin; it is soft to the touch. The waist does sit a little higher than most trail pants I currently own, but the crotch and hip area is very comfortable and doesn't tend to bunch or gather during hiking. I appreciate this feature!

I like the security zipper feature. When hiking and backpacking I prefer not to carry my wallet. I generally carry my ID, one credit/debit card and a little cash. All these items bound by a rubber band slip conveniently into the zippered pocket on the right front and are basically unnoticeable during use.

SUMMARY

To date I've been thoroughly impressed with the Equatorial Pants. I enjoy the feel of the material, and cut of the pants and the look of the product.

They have performed to my satisfaction during hiking and backpacking use and be fashionable enough to wear to a casual dinner in town.

I generally always have some type of thorn to report on a product, but to date I really can't think of one on these pants, and I'm certainly not going to find anything to nit-pick at this point. I look forward to continued use and some cooler weather over the final months of the report.



LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

IMAGE 1
Hanging with my children at Gnaw Bone

5 - 7 September, 2014; Camp Gnaw Bone, Brown County, Indiana. I joined a local group of fathers that do a monthly outing with their children sans mothers. The season opens post Labor Day and ends post Memorial Day weekends with camping trips at a camp in southern Indiana. Most spent the weekend in large family sized tents in a clearing on a parade field. My seasoned rug rats and I hung our hammocks on a wooded hill adjacent to the field. Weekend temperatures started around 72 F (22 C), but after a rainy Saturday morning and early afternoon dropped significantly and we awoke to 51 F (11 C) on a dry Sunday morning. On Thursday, the day prior to leaving temperatures were 90 F (32 C), so the dramatic change was very noticeable. Camping was base-camp like, but we went to a lake to swim for the afternoon, had dinner, skits and a bonfire that culminated with a 1.5 mile (2.4 km) round trip to a 'ghost house' around 11 PM Saturday evening. It made bedtime oh so easy, and both my pups required use of their night lights until they dozed off.

7 - 10 October, 2014; Pine Mountain Trail, eastern Kentucky and western Virginia. This was a four-day/three-night outing in which I met up with six hammock camping buddies at the Birch Knob Observation Tower shelter and hiked to the trailhead in Elkhorn City, Kentucky. The rest of my comrades had already been on the trail for three days encountering torrential downpours and extremely steep climbs. This caused three of the crew to call an audible and remain at the shelter for the final leg of the trip. Four of us set out on the next morning and covered 14 mi (22.5 km) over the next two days. Elevations ranged from roughly 2800 ft (853 m) to around 800 ft (244 m) just outside of town. After emerging from the trail we were shuttled back to the tower for a final night in the woods. Temperatures on the trail were as high as 75 F (24 C) and conditions were bright and sunny. On the evenings in base camp temperatures dropped to around 45 F (7 C) and poured rain on and off.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

IMAGE 2
A Summit on Pine Mountain Trail
The Mountain Khakis Equatorial Pants continued to impress me throughout this report. They are quite comfortable and have held up well over the test. One thing I failed to mention in the Field Report section was the fact that I exchanged the pants at the outset of the test. I'd originally mentioned that although I generally wear a 34 to 35 in (86 to 89 cm) waist I found these pants to be a little snug. I reached out to Mountain Khakis early on and found the replacement very simple. In fact they shipped out a size 36 (91 cm) pair before I ever had a chance to fill out a return merchandise authorization and ship the smaller size back. That stated, I've worn the larger size for the entirety of the test series and they feel great.

I've enjoyed wearing them around town, something I rarely do in trail gear, and used them on two more distinct outings. The fact that the pants have traditional belt loops for use with my own belt causes me to pause. I like the choice of my own belt for the fashion sense of the pants, but I have grown accustomed to integrated belts on my other trail pants. I'd have to say the jury is still out for me as to which style I prefer. I primarily want my trail pants to be functional not stylish, and for me these pants certainly fit that bill.

I spent one weekend outing with my children in what I would refer to as base camping. It was a camping trip with a group of local dads in southern Indiana. There was rain over the course of the weekend and I can pleasantly report that they dry out rather quickly. I found that to be a positive.

Just as the test was closing out I wore them on a backpacking trip in the mountains of Kentucky and Virginia. I was again pleased with the pants. I did find it interesting that on this trip, I found myself rolling the legs up to my knees during the day. It wasn't the hottest weather I hiked in over the course of the test, but it was some of the more strenuous mileage that I logged. I haven't been hiking on as many extended distance trips over the course of the past few months, and the elevation changes of this trail tested many of us. I can't say I'd prefer to have had the legs zip off as I find those zippers merely add trail weight, but I can report that once I rolled the legs up I was sufficiently cool on the trail.
IMAGE 3
Power Even in the Backcountry

I also used the cuff snaps for the first time during this trip. At the outset of the first hiking day the trails were really muddy due to all the recent rain. I snapped the legs and used a pair of gaiters for the first few miles to keep my trail shoes from getting too much scree in them.

The diamond gusset and the articulated knees really did come in handy when wearing these trousers in the mountains. They ride on my body very well and I never once noticed any bunching or gathering. I never once had any chaffing issues with them, so that is yet another key aspect to my approval of the Equatorial Pants. I did regularly use the zippered pocket on the right front to secure my identification, a credit card and a little cash when I was on the trail. The items would sit unnoticed, but secure on my thigh. If this were a pocket I wished to get into repeatedly I'd prefer one on the left side as well, but as I only rarely access it I've learned it is simply another facet of the aforementioned left-handed life I lead.

SUMMARY

IMAGE 4
Rehydrating with the Pants Rolled Up
Overall, I'm quite impressed with the pants. I've not worn Mountain Khakis before this series, but I can affirm that I believe in these pants. They are comfortable, well made and rather stylish for backcountry gear. I wouldn't hesitate to purchase a second pair in the future.

Customer service with the company was impeccable, and I learned this due to the fact that I needed to swap the pants out for a larger size. I'm pretty consistent in the sizing of the pants I wear, so I may suggest the reader attempt to try on a pair before purchasing them. They definitely ran small on me and I noticed some other online reviews stated something similar.

I truly don't have anything particularly negative to report on the pants. I jest when complaining about the right-handed zipper pockets, and as I mentioned earlier in this final portion of the test I can't quite decide if would have preferred an integrated belt or not. I believe they look more stylish without it, but could see some ounce/gram savings with one.

I certainly look forward to continuing to use these pants in the backcountry. I certainly see them as a go-to piece of gear in the spring, summer and fall seasons. I like the leg protection they give me even in the warmer months, but found that I could easily roll them up when I got a little warm.

I'd like to thank Mountain Khakis and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to test the Equatorial pants.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.

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