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Reviews > Clothing > Pants and Shorts > Mountain Khakis Snake River Pant > Test Report by Katie Rampala

Mountain Khaki Snake River Pants

Test Series by Katie Rompala

Initial Report
Field Report
Long-term Report

TESTER INFORMATION


Name: Katie Rompala
Age: 27
Gender: F
Height: 5'11" (1.8 m)
Weight: 145 lb (66 kg)
Email: krstull [AT] gmail.com
City, State, Country: Dillon, Montana, USA

BACKGROUND

I've been hiking since I was young. Current activities include car-camping and medium to long hikes in the Utah red rock, and hiking and snowshoe trips in the West. Southwest Montana is my current base for weekend trips in the area, while vacation time is usually dedicated to ~10 day trips to west-coast national parks and other wilderness spots. I hope to plan more backcountry trips in the future. For now, I don't worry much about lightweight packing, since I'm more involved in day hikes than overnights and therefore carry less. I enjoy cycling and running.

INITIAL REVIEW

October 21, 2009

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Manufacturer: Mountain Khakis
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Manufacturer's Website: www.mountainkhakis.com
MSRP: N/A
Measured Weight: 12.4 oz (350 g)
Size: 8 (Measured: 32 in, 81 cm)
Inseam: regular (Waist measured: 33 in, 84 cm)
Color: Ash
Material: 100% Nylon


FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Construction: These are made of 100% nylon so they're light and comfortable. I'm glad there's no cotton in the fabric, since that would mean longer drying times out in the field and the possibility of them shrinking in the wash.

The waist band has belt loops that are 2.25 in long (5.7 cm) and 0.5 in wide (1.3 cm). The waist-band stitching is reinforced by curved stitching just below, which I'm quite happy about since that's where the bottom of my backpack usually sits.

Back Reinforcement and Belt Loops


The zipper area is reinforced by a gold strip of sturdy fabric, and is fastened by a strong metal button attached to the waist band by a metal shank.

Zipper and Button


There are three large pockets -- two angled hand pockets and one zipping cargo pocket on the left side. There are no back pockets.

Top Pocket


The cargo pocket does not seem as useful as it could be, since it is too small and hard to get into -- my hand barely fits through the top.

Cargo Pocket



The hand pockets are long and made of mesh.
Internal Pocket Size

Unfortunately, because these pants are designed to hug at the hips a bit, the length of the pockets does not add much extra room, unless I want my pockets to be bulging. 


Sizing: Though I normally wear a size 6, I'd found from other Mountain Khaki product reviews that their pants can run a bit small, so I chose an 8 instead. I also normally wear long pants, but I'm picky -- 34" is just right, while 35" is always too long. So when I received 8 Regulars for review, I was dubious, since the length was wrong and it was a size larger than normal. Fortunately, the pants fit pretty well. The regulars, at 33", are a decent length for me. I could, perhaps, add half an inch to an inch, and the pants would be perfect. The waist, too, fits well -- I normally wear pants more around my hips than exactly at my waist, and the 8 was perfect in that regard.


Style: These look like pretty standard pants -- nothing too fancy or unique, and not too many extra features built in. They fit pretty well though, and the design is nice for a hiking pant. They are basically straight-legged, a bit roomy through the legs but not overly baggy. There is slight stretchiness to them, which I like because it means when I sit down, the pant legs don't ride half way up my calf, and that I can move easily and freely while hiking. The pockets complement the overall design, and the ash gray is neither too light or too dark. The pant legs are boot cut. Although there is no slit to give the bottom of the pant legs a wider girth, the circumference of the opening is about 10 in (25.4 cm), which is wide enough to fit around my bulky winter boots quite easily.


Overall I'm fairly pleased with these pants. I like the look and feel, and the design and construction seem to have been done with care -- sturdy for rugged conditions while also light for quick drying times and apparent weightlessness on trail. I am annoyed at the inseam inconsistency, particularly because I have a hard time finding pants long enough. The regular inseam is longer than is standard, and I wonder if the longs would be too long. Finally, I'm concerned that the pockets won't be as useful as they could be -- the waist pockets look long and roomy but hug the leg too much to be very useful, and the cargo pocket on the left side is too narrow.

FIELD REPORT

January 10, 2010

During several months of field testing, the Snake River Pants have performed well in some capacities and not so well in others. To test the pants, I took them on at least 10 short off-trail day-hikes in southwest Montana, where temperatures ranged from 20 F (-7 C) to 55 F (13 C), and where I've experienced a wide range of conditions (snow, wind, rain, and mud, sometimes all at once!). I wore them for three 10-mile (16-km) hikes in southwest Utah, where mornings started out below freezing (20 F, -7 C) and warmed to around 65 F (18 C) -- conditions were windy at times, but I did not encounter much inclement weather. Finally, I wore them for two half-day hikes in hot, humid Ecuador (55-85 F, 13-29 C).

These pants have proven durable. Overall they show very little wear. One day of hiking in Montana involved  bushwhacking through brambles and thorns, and still, I could not find any punctures or tears in the fabric. After several washes, the fabric and fit have remained unchanged.  Additionally, light rain does not seem to affect the material much at all. In fact, I was surprised to find these pants fairly water-resistant -- light rain did not penetrate the fabric. The fabric also dried very quickly after significant showers, and after having traipsed around in deep snow or mud, which soaked the bottom of the pant legs.

The pants are also fairly comfortable. In freezing conditions, I've chosen to layer long underwear under the pants, and still felt that the fit was right for me. Hiking in heat and humidity was slightly less comfortable due simply to the weather itself, but I did not feel that the pants stuck to my skin, and I felt like that fabric "breathed" a bit, as I did not notice excessive sweatiness. Under ideal conditions (i.e. moderate temperatures), the fabric and fit were nearly perfect, as I felt mobile, and my skin felt cool. I am, however, still disappointed in the length of the pants. The regulars are just not quite long enough for me, and I got progressively more annoyed at this slight problem the more I wore the pants. 

The other design flaw I've found is the pocket issue. I have not found the waist pockets very practical, as they are too difficult to access, being slightly too small to put my hand in or to store much when I'm wearing them. Thus I haven't been able use them to store food or other small items that I might like quick access to. I'm also frustrated by the lack of back pockets. Many times, especially when I'm out with my camera and need somewhere to put my lens cap, I would much rather have easy access to a back pocket than reach down to the cargo pocket at mid-leg.

Finally, I wish these were convertible pants. My hikes in the tropics started out rather cool but quickly turned hot and humid, and I was consistently deterred from wearing these pants because it was too much of a hassle to change out of the pants mid-hike.

In general, I am not ecstatic about these pants. They have so many quality features that I really do like, but the pant length and pocket issues have been enough to dampen my enthusiasm.

LONG TERM REPORT

March 2, 2010

For the two months of final testing, I wore the Snake River Pants on ~7 more short day-hikes (2-4 mi, 3-6 km) and two days of snowshoeing in southwestern Montana. Weather conditions were invariably cold (~20 F, -7 C), snowy, and overcast, with light breezes. The ground was generally covered with variable amounts of snow (light dusting to several feet high). Throughout all these trips, I wore long underwear layers because the pants just weren't warm enough on their own.

The pants have continued to hold up despite many short day-hikes bushwacking through thorns and brambles. They still have no signs of rips, tears, puncture holes, scratches, scuffing, unraveling seams or zipper break-down. They've also maintained their fit after many washings, and I continue to consider the cut and fit to live up to the "stylish" quality Mountain Khaki has advertised. Durability is a shining feature of these well-constructed pants.

I've found them most remarkable in their water-resistance. During one day of snowshoeing, I sat down in the snow to look for wildlife for a good 15 minutes, and when I got up again, there was only slight evidence of wetness, and what water had seeped into the fabric dried extremely quickly. I've been quite pleased at this aspect, because it certainly makes winter and wet conditions more comfortable!

I have continued to be disappointed with the pant length and pockets, as detailed in the field report, which deters me from feeling completely satisfied with the pants. I essentially stopped using the pockets altogether, preferring coat pockets as more convenient.

Nevertheless, because of the durability, water-resistance, and quick-drying nature of the material, I will continue to wear these pants for hikes in cool and/or wet conditions.

PROS:
Lightweight
Durable
Water-resistant
Quick-drying
Breathable
Wicking

CONS:
Pant leg length
Pocket issues
Not convertible

This concludes testing of the Mountain Khaki Snake River pants. Thank you to Mountain Khakis and BackpackGearTest for the opportunity to test these pants.

Read more reviews of Mountain Khakis gear
Read more gear reviews by Katie Rampala

Reviews > Clothing > Pants and Shorts > Mountain Khakis Snake River Pant > Test Report by Katie Rampala



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