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Reviews > Clothing > Pants and Shorts > Mountain Khakis Granite Convertibles > Test Report by Ben Mansfield

Mountain Khakis Granite Creek Convertible Pants

Initial Report Field Report Long Term Report
14 July 2011 27 September 2011 29 November 2011

Mountain Khakis Granite Creek Convertible Pants

Mountain Khakis Granite Creek Convertible Pants
(Image Courtesy of the Manufacturer)

Reviewer ProfileBackpacking Background
Name:Ben Mansfield

I have been backpacking for well over 15 years. These days my normal trips are long weekends, though I do occasionally get out for a longer trip. My normal stomping grounds are western Pennsylvania and southern Ohio, and I have backpacked nearly all of the North Country Trail as it runs through Pennsylvania.

I consider myself a mid-weight hiker, but trending with the rest of the community towards a lighter load. My typical base pack weight (no food, no water) is around 20 lbs (9 kg) or less, and doesn't vary much with the seasons.

Height:6' 0" (1.8 m)
Weight:175 lbs (80 kg)
E-mail Address:benmansfield27 AT gmail DOT com
City, State, Country:North Ridgeville, Ohio, USA

Initial Report

14 July 2011

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Product Information

Manufacturer:Mountain Khakis
Model:Granite Creek Convertible Pants
Year of Manufacture:2011
Manufacturer's Weight:N/A
Measured Weight:19 oz (539 g) for my size 35W x 32L
The shorts alone are 12 oz (340 g)
Size Tested:35W x 32L

Product Description

The Granite Creek Convertible Pants from Mountain Khakis are multi-purpose outdoor pants and shorts in one. They are convertible in the sense that the bottom half of each pant leg zips off just above my knee, turning what were pants into shorts. The pants come in a wide range of sizes for both waist size and inseam length so that fit can be customized to the individual. The Granite Creek Convertibles also come in a choice of four colors, all what I would consider earth tones. The ones I'm testing are an attractive brown color that Mountain Khakis calls "Earth."

Mountain Khakis Granite Creek Convertible Pants as Shorts

Granite Creek Convertible Pants - as Shorts

Mountain Khakis, as the name might imply, are known for their pants, and examining the Granite Creek Convertibles I can understand why. These pants are packed full of well thought-out features and subtle details that really add to the overall product. To start, the pants are made from 100% nylon which the manufacturer claims allows them to dry quickly and wick moisture away from my skin. The tight weave of this 6.3 oz material also affords them a UPF 50+ rating for protection from both UVA and UVB rays.

Mountain Khakis Granite Creek Convertible Pants color coded zippers

The Granite Creek Convertible Pants' color-coded zippers

The Granite Creek Convertible Pants offer the customary front pockets on each side, as well as two additional zippered pockets - one on the right front and one on the right rear. In addition to these, there is also a cargo pocket on the left thigh, above the zipper where the leg bottoms attach so that this and all pockets are useful whether the pants are in their long or short configuration. The cargo pocket also has a zippered pocket inside of it for an additional secure pouch. The main, non-zippered front pockets have a nice large opening with a squared-off, rectangular shape cutout in place of the more conventional curved opening. These pockets are made of a mesh material, so that if I happen to wear them in water the pockets should drain well rather than retain water.

Mountain Khakis Granite Creek Convertible Pants triple-stitched

The Granite Creek Convertible Pants' reinforced stitching

Mountain Khakis included some thoughtful features for the pant legs as well. For example, the zippers that join the leg bottoms to the shorts are color coded, so that it's easy to match up the correct leg when putting the pants back together. They also added a 10 inch (25 cm) zipper at each cuff so that the pants or pant legs can be pulled on over shoes or boots. In addition, the rear half of each cuff is double-layered, adding an extra level of protection from fraying pant cuffs.

The Granite Creek Convertible Pants are also treated with 3M Scotchgard™ fabric protectant to help wick moisture and prevent the pants from becoming stained. This is a nice addition and might mean that I can keep these pants looking nice enough wear them around town in addition to in the backcountry.

Mountain Khakis Granite Creek Convertible Pants mesh pockets and grosgrain waistband

The Granite Creek Convertible Pants' mesh pockets
and grosgrain ribbon-reinforced waistband

The quality of these pants is very good. There is triple stitching and bar tacks in all of the high stress areas. The waistband is reinforced with grosgrain ribbon to keep it from stretching out. All stitching is neat, even, and well finished.

The care instructions for these pants are pretty simple - machine wash and tumble dry. There's nothing better than simple care instructions, especially when it means that I can just throw the pants into the normal wash with the rest of my clothes. It will be interesting to see, however, how long the Scotchgard™ protectant lasts through multiple washings.

Mountain Khakis offers a warranty on the Granite Creek Convertible pants. Details of this warranty are available on the manufacturer's website, but it's a pretty standard one-year warranty against defects in materials or workmanship.


Initial Impressions

I really like this style of pants for hiking and backpacking because it allows me to adjust to not only temperature changes throughout the day, but also trail conditions. If the trail is overgrown with thorns or poison ivy, for example, I can opt to add the pant legs back on, even if the temperature were better suited to shorts. Being able to quickly turn pants into shorts and back again means one less piece of gear to pack, and less time stopped on the trail to change.

Besides this basic functionality, I can see that the Mountain Khakis Granite Creek Convertible Pants are really well thought-out. They fit me well if not a little loose, though this is on purpose. I ordered a size which I can wear year-round and right now I'm closer to my lighter "summer weight." They're certainly not too big, and I'd say that they fit true to size. When converted to shorts, they are a good length on me - above my knee but not so much that they couldn't be worn in public.

Aesthetically, these pants look really rugged. However, they are brushed nylon so they're much lighter than I expected and also a bit softer. At the same time, they give the impression that they won't be easily messed up.

I'm impressed with the attention to detail on these pants - the various pockets, color-coded zippers on the legs, zippers at the ankles to help pull the pants over boots, and so on. I never really thought much about pants, though now that I am becoming accustomed to these I'm very pleased. I might even turn into a hiking pants snob, I guess only time will tell.


Field Report

27 September 2011

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Field Conditions

I have worn the Mountain Khakis Granite Creek Convertible Pants a lot since I received them... and by "a lot," I mean multiple times per week. Not all of these uses were in the backcountry, obviously, though I did wear these pants (as shorts, mostly) for about 12 days of hiking and backpacking, including two weekend backpacking trips to the Allegheny National Forest, car camping with my daughter in Findley State Park in Ohio. Day hiking excursions include several trips in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio and a couple of hikes in the Phoenix, Arizona including one up Camelback Mountain and one in the North Mountain Preserve area.

Car Camping with my Mountain Khakis

Car Camping with my Mountain Khakis

The weather on these trips was consistently hot, sometimes a little rainy, and sometimes a little buggy. That is, with the exception of the couple of hikes I did while in Arizona, which were insanely hot to me but I'm sure somewhat comfortable for the locals as highs were just above 100 F (38 C). As I mentioned above, I haven't had much experience wearing the pant legs just yet, mainly due to the weather. I'm sure that now that Fall is upon me here in Ohio and in my normal hiking areas that I'll start to put the legs back on.


Field Observations

I really like these pants, though for now I'll probably refer to them as shorts, since that's the majority of my experience to date. The fit, first and foremost, is right on for me. I'd say they fit true to size, though that may be a misleading statement in today's world of seemingly arbitrary sizes (for example, I used to wear an XL T-shirt, then a L, and now, more often than not, I wear a M size T-shirt, though I'm not sure my actual body size has changed much).

Hiking with my Mountain Khakis Granite Creek Convertible Pants

Hiking with my Mountain Khakis Granite Creek Convertible Pants

The pockets are right where I would like them to be - when I reach for a pocket my hand finds it naturally. The pockets are accessible even when wearing a backpack. The cargo pocket on my thigh has proven to be a great place to store a granola bar or some other snack that I intend to eat between meal stops while hiking... it's plenty big enough.

As for comfort under a heavily-loaded backpack, it's all good news - the waistband lays flat and does not bunch or roll, the shorts don't ride up or down, and the front button does not dig into my abdomen. I have not worn a belt (nor needed to) with these shorts.

One of the major benefits of these convertible pants is how quickly they dry. They really don't get wet all that easily. Morning dew from tall grasses along the trail just beads up and rolls off like a recently waxed car. I have been caught in a good rain a couple of times, and they are quite comfortable even when they do get wet - they don't get excessively heavy feeling or swell up and chafe. In addition, they also dry relatively quickly - I got a morning soaking in the Allegheny National Forest and the shorts were completely dry by right around lunchtime.

The Granite Creek Convertible Pants are also fairly robust, from the perspective of both stain and abrasion resistance. The shorts do get dirty, especially when I wear them for a few consecutive days without a wash, but so far they have always come out of the wash clean and fresh-looking. I've also not noticed any snags or other damage from thorns and the like, and I certainly haven't babied these shorts. In fact, there have been a few times when my lower legs have been scratched up but the shorts came through unscathed (probably would have been a good time to try out the pant legs to save my legs).


Long Term Report

29 November 2011

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Long Term Observations

I've continued to wear the Mountain Khakis Granite Creek Converible Pants on my outings this fall, and I'm happy to report that I finally had some weather that allowed me to wear them as pants as opposed to shorts only. I added two more trips to the Allegheny National Forest for a grand total of 16 days of trail use.

Beautiful scenery in the Allegheny National Forest

No wonder I spend so much time in the Allegheny National Forest...

I'm still in love with these pants, probably even more so now that I've seen how multi-dimensional they can be, replacing a pair of pants and an extra pair of shorts for warmer days with a single piece of gear. They've proven to be plenty durable - no visible rips, tears, scuffs, snags, or other damage can be seen despite the use I've put them through. I certainly don't baby them, and I'm perfectly comfortable charging through areas of trail that are overgrown or thorny. I have noticed that the pant cuffs can get a little dirty, especially with a somewhat wet trail, but that's a non-issue for me, especially in the backcountry. They're not so long that they drag on the ground, just long enough to get a little muddy and wet. They do dry quickly once in camp - quickly enough that they were dry in time for me to climb in to my sleeping bag at night without worrying that I'd get the bag wet or dirty.

Mountain Khakis Granite Creek Convertible Pant cuffs get a little dirty

Mountain Khakis Granite Creek Convertible Pant
cuffs can get a little dirty

The fit for me is still spot-on, and I'm impressed with how well they stay in place despite long days of hiking with my pack's hip belt doing its best to push them down. Zipping the pant legs off and back on is easy, though I do wish the colored zippers were a little easier to distinguish at night... perhaps tactically different zipper pulls or a more obvious color difference would make it a bit easier, but a bright moon or a headlamp easily mitigates this concern.

As far as care is concerned, I've had no issue just putting them through regular machine wash and dry cycles with other laundry (though my wife prefers if I wash them separately, or at least with other hiking kit if they're really dirty). They've always come out as good as new, plenty clean and no shrinking or deformation.



Love my Mountain Khakis Granite Creek Convertible Pants

Love my Mountain Khakis Granite Creek Convertible Pants

I love these Mountain Khakis Granite Creek Convertible Pants in a lot of ways. They're comfortable, they fit great, they are stain and abrasion resistant, they don't get wet easily and when they do, they dry quickly. On top of all of that, they are good looking - so much so that I wear them around town quite regularly. I think I may pick up another pair or two to put away in cold storage in case Mountain Khakis ever decides to stop making them.

Key Features
Areas for Improvement
  • They're comfortable, they fit well - even with a backpack, and they look good
  • Stains and abrasions are not welcome to hang out with these pants
  • They shed water readily and dry faster than bottle of water spilled in the desert
  • Would be nice if the pant leg zippers were a little easier to distinguish in dark

  • I would like to thank Mountain Khakis and for the opportunity to test the Granite Creek Convertible Pants.

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