BackpackGearTest
  Home Guest - Not logged in 

Reviews > Clothing > Pants and Shorts > REI Endeavor Pants > Test Report by Curt Peterson

Recreational Equipment Inc (REI) Endeavor Convertible Pants

Report Series by Curt Peterson


Below you will find:

Initial Report Contents
     Tester Background and Contact Information
     Product Specifications
     Initial Impressions
     Initial Report Summary

Field Report
    Field Report
    Field Report Summary

Long Term Report
     Long Term Report
     Final Test Thoughts

  E Pants
REI Endeavor Convertible Pants

 



Initial Report

Tester Background and Contact Information

Name: Curt Peterson
Age: 40
Gender: Male
Height: 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight: 230 lb (104kg)
Email address: curt<at>backpackgeartest<dot>org
Location: North Bend, Washington, USA

I live in the Cascade foothills, just 20 mi (32 km) from the Pacific Crest Trail via trails leading right from my backyard. My outdoor time in Washington is spent dayhiking, backpacking, climbing, fishing and skiing everywhere from the Olympic coast to rainforests to Cascade volcanoes to dry steppe. I played football in college and often evaluate products from a big guy perspective. My typical pack load ranges from 11 - 20 lbs (5-9 kg) and usually includes plenty of wet weather gear.


REI Endeavor Convertible Pants

  • Size Tested: XL with a 34 in (86 cm) inseam (available in S through XXL with options from 30" to 36" (76-91 cm) inseam)
  • Weight: 17.4 oz (493 gm) measured on my scale
  • Color: Blackened Pine (kind of a dark brown - also available in Coal, which is a dark grey)
  • Manufacturer Website: www.rei.com
  • Warranty: REI's 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
  • MSRP: $109.50 US


REI Endeavor Convertible Pants Initial Impressions

Over the past few years I've come to prefer hiking in pants. I'm not sure why. Perhaps it's because I'm hiking more in nasty weather and continuing to hike all year instead of focusing on the summer. Regardless, I find myself in trail pants more and more. There are times, of course, where I want shorts. Hot days. Stream crossings. Wading into a lake or river to go fishing. As a backpacker who focuses on lightweight gear I like the concept of convertible pants. Unfortunately, I find the reality often is more frustrating than the concept. Most convertible pants I've used are too heavy, have bulky zippers, are a pain to unzip quickly while on the trail, are super ugly, or the shorts are so uncomfortable that I choose to just take separate pants and shorts.

When the opportunity came along to test the Endeavor Convertible Pants and I saw they were different, I immediately went to my local REI to try them on. They were not like any other convertibles I had tried. Almost all convertibles I'd used before were a Supplex nylon and resembled each other closely regardless of manufacturer. The Endeavor Convertibles are a different material and different look altogether.

With a number of backpacking trips on the calendar spanning cool weather, hot weather, alpine conditions, and long trail days, my interest in convertibles has be rekindled and I look forward to giving the Endeavor Convertible Pants a thorough test.

Highlights From REI's description:

  • Rugged double-weave polyester/spandex fabric provides 4-way stretch for excellent range of motion and comfort while climbing and hiking; fabric resists abrasion
  • Fabric is wind resistant up to 30 mph and has a Durable Water Repellent coating to help shed moisture; also wicks moisture and dries quickly
  • Pants convert to shorts with No-Sit Zips that allow quick conversions without requiring wearer to sit down
  • They also eliminate the need to slip lower legs sections over messy boots when converting from pants to shorts along a muddy trail
  • Color-coded thigh zippers help you easily tell the right leg from the left leg when converting back to pants
  • With a UPF 50+ rating, fabric provides excellent protection against harmful ultraviolet rays
  • Zippered hand pockets, zippered rear pockets and a zippered side pocket provide storage space for trail and travel essentials
  • Polyester tricot lines the waistband to wick sweat and enhance comfort next to skin
  • Crotch gusset extends the range of motion

FEATURES

The most important feature of the Endeavor Convertible Pants is certainly the fabric. It's much more similar to a softshell material than it is traditional nylon pants material. At first, this was a deterrent for me. I'm not a fan of heavy, binding, softshells in general. In this implementation, however, REI appears to have found a great mix of weight and stretch and - most importantly - a good cut. Many softshell clothing pieces are too tight in my experience. This fabric is very comfortable right away, non-binding, and gives just enough to keep the advantages of stretchy softshells.

There are plenty of storage options: One front of hip pocket on each side - one with a small coin pocket inside. One thigh pocket on the right leg. One rear pocket on each side. The three front pockets are all flat welded with zipper cubbies (see picture below). The two rear pockets have thin fabric flaps to hide the zippers.

Down below, there are more zippers, but not for storage. There's a pretty robust zip-off setup that is unlike any I've used before. There are the expected around-the-thigh zippers that separate the lower leg from the shorts. This is pretty typical of other convertibles except that they are color coded. One leg uses a green zipper so it's easy to match right with right and left with left. This is actually a pretty nice feature as figuring out which leg goes where can be tricky. The lower sections, though, are different. Many hiking pants have ankle zips to accommodate getting pants off over hiking shoes or boots. They typically run part way up the pants - or lower section in the case of convertibles - and give just enough room to get them over footwear. What often happens on the trail in the real world, however, is that the inside of those lower sections gets covered with mud and trail junk as they are dragged over hiking shoes. The Endeavor Convertible lower legs completely separate (see picture below). This makes it possible to pull the lower sections off completely without sliding them over the footwear. REI calls this their No-Sit Zips and notes that the user won't have to sit down to zip off the pants. I think that the ease of getting them cleanly over the shoes is a much more interesting aspect of this feature. This certainly means there is much more zipper to deal with than traditional pants, but it's unique and I look forward to seeing if it's a better system for on-trail use.

There's a soft fleece-like waist lining on the pants. It's very comfortable, although I do worry a little bit about it being hot. As long as it wicks well it will probably be fine, but it's something I'll keep an eye on during testing.

The front snap closure is very secure. I like it better than the button and button-hole closure system that most of my trail pants have. It's got a good, solid snap to it and doesn't feel like it's going to pop open unexpectedly.

Finally, one of the best features is actually a non-feature. The pants are almost devoid of logos. There is a small REI logo that blends in well on the lower leg, but that's it. I've noticed a trend in outdoor gear lately for ridiculously huge in-you-face logos on gear. It reminds me of the early 1990s. I'm not a fan of this trend, and it's nice to see REI go much more subtle.

Endeavor Pockets
Endeavor Thigh Pockets

FIT
Initially, the fit is amazing. Well-fitting pants are often difficult for me to find. Usually REI brands run tight on me. Perhaps slim is a better description. I can find pants that easily fit in the waist, but they are tight in the thighs and rear. The length is often too short as well. The Endeavor Convertibles fit very, very well. They are a tad loose in the waist. Almost all of my jeans and dress pants are currently a size 36" (91 cm). This corresponds to an XL in the Endeavor Convertibles, so I'd say they are just a tiny bit big in the waist. A belt solves this quite easily, and I'll be using a lightweight webbing belt with them throughout testing. They are not roomy in the seat or thighs, but they are not binding or tight at all. They actually fit better than most of my clothes. I typically have to buy pants that fit my backpacker's thighs first and this means the waist is usually too big. These pants have a great cut. I'd imagine they would almost seem a little roomy for folks without big thighs. The stretch hides any spots that may be cut a little close for me. I can't do a size Large waist because the rear and thighs are too snug, but I could probably get away with it as far as the waist goes. As a sizing recommendation based on my experience so far, I'd say to err on the smaller side if you have thin legs and go with your true size if you have big hiker thighs. The gusseted crotch combined with a little bit of stretch makes them very comfortable to move around in. Squatting all the way to the ground is easy. There's not binding and no plumber's expo happening. I love that they come in longer inseams. Overall, the pattern on these pants is very well crafted and it makes me want to take a longer look at REI clothing.

AESTHETICS
I really like the look of the Endeavor Convertibles. They are very "clean". The fabric is smooth. They are not floppy, but they are certainly not skinny jeans type pants either. The Blackened Pine is a great color. I've never been a fan of the look of convertibles in general, but for all of the leg zipper action going on with these pants, they are hidden well and blend in nicely. They are definitely more subtle than my other convertible pants from various manufacturers.

INITIAL CONCERNS
I'm pretty pleased with the Endeavor Pants initially. Of course, I've only used them in my house to inspect them for fit and features. On the trail, a lot of other factors come into play. Things on my initial "watch" list include:
  • Heat. The fabric is certainly heavier than thin nylon and I'm not sure of its breathability. If the fabric traps heat and they get super hot, even zip-offs won't help. 
  • Durability. I have no idea how this fabric handles abrasion, bushes, and wear and tear. Does it pill? Snag? I really don't know so I'll keep a close eye on that as well.
  • Inner zippers. This is the first pair of convertibles I've seen that don't have a flap of some sort on the backside of the leg zippers. I like this idea to reduce weight and bulk, but I'm wondering about snags and rubbing. Because the zippers will be right up against my skin, I'm sure this will become obvious relatively soon in the testing process.
Inside Zips
Leg Zippers - Interior


Inside Zips 2
Leg Zippers - Interior

Initial Report Summary

The REI Endeavor Convertibles are certainly one of the more unique convertible pants I've experienced. With a different fabric, great color, fantastic fit, and plenty of features, they appear to be a pretty solid option for trail use. I look forward to getting them out in the mountains for some real world use!


Field Report

Field Report

The REI Endeavor Convertibles have seen quite a bit of use in the past couple months - although not the use I expected. Western Washington is usually much drier in the summer, but this summer has been exceptional. We are currently flirting with the record for the longest stretch without rain in our weather history. At almost 50 consecutive days without precipitation, we're risking losing our reputation for sogginess! I had expected to report on the wet-weather performance of these pants, but that will have to wait. What they have seen is lots of dry trail usage. I have had them on two backpacking trips - one overnighter and one two-nighter - in addition to well over a dozen dayhikes.

The Endeavors really have become a dual personality pair of pants for me thus far. My views of them ON trail are completely different than my view of them OFF trail. With that said, I'll focus my report on these two different uses.

IN CAMP
In camp, lounging, hanging out, and in town I'm a fan of the Endeavors so far. They fit me extremely well and are comfortable, look nice, and do a great job of hiding dirt. I haven't had any issues with bugs biting through them, although I haven't experienced any significant bug pressure this summer. Both relaxing in camp and wearing them around town has been a pleasure. The soft belt lining, flat pockets, and slightly stretchy fabric make them very comfy to wear.

ON TRAIL
On the trail, however, I find them much less comfortable. To be fair, I've always preferred leg freedom. In particular, I don't like anything that even mildly restricts lifting my knees. Hiking in the Endeavors with the lower legs on definitely does this in my case. The gusseted crotch helps, but there's enough weight to the fabric and the stretch is just tight enough that there is a noticeable restriction when hiking. This is most obvious when gaining elevation, obviously.

The heavy-ish fabric also makes them pretty toasty. In temperatures in the mid 70s F (mid 20s C) and higher they are hot. They're not insulated, so it's not that kind of hot. More of a steamy and sweaty hot. Even with the lower legs removed, the shorts remain too warm for my taste. I'm hoping that as the weather cools they will become a more comfortable hiking pant and I'll be able to report on that in the Long Term Report.

The durability of the Endeavor pants has been excellent. They look brand new. Nothing seems to stain them. No pilling. No frayed threads. They definitely seem tough enough for backcountry use and I don't have any concerns about them wearing out anytime soon.

The lower legs remove easily and cleanly. There is not a lot of extra fabric around the zipper and that's definitely appreciated. They are easy to unzip and are by far the easiest convertibles to get over shoes or boots that I've ever used.


Field Report Summary

When I'm not super active, the REI Endeavor Convertible Pants are fantastic. Superb fit. Tough fabric. Wears like iron. Nice color that hides dirt. Unfortunately for me, so far, is that when I'm active they are proving to be a little too restrictive and too toasty for my high summer trail time. I imagine that they should become more usable as the weather cools.


Long Term Report


Long Term Report


After a long dry summer in the Northwest, the rains most definitely returned during the last stage of testing the REI Endeavor Convertible Pants. It has rained more often than not in the past couple months, and I had the chance to get in some cooler weather trips as fall finally arrived. During most hikes the temperatures were still in the 50s and 60s F (10-20 C), however. I had them on all backpacking and hiking trips, but used them primarily as camp pants on overnight trips because they were just too uncomfortable for extensive uphill hiking. It wasn't until the last week or two of testing that I was able to hike in the lower 40s F (5 C). What a difference! Where the pants were hot and steamy and somewhat binding in the warmer temperatures, they became super comfortable in the cooler weather. It seems for me, then, that while working hard and generating body heat in the Endeavors, comfort is negatively affected primarily due to internal heat and moisture buildup.

Interestingly, though, this didn't seem to be the same story when moisture came from the outside. On my last hike of this testing period I hiked in non-stop rain, uphill, and worked plenty hard. It was in the lower 40s F (5 C). Not only did the pants feel great, not bind, not feel clammy or uncomfortable in any way, they didn't let moisture in from the outside. I wouldn't call them fully waterproof, but especially when active I can't imagine what kind of downpour it would take to make me want to trade these for a pair of sweaty fully waterproof pants. They handled pretty heavy rain the entire hike with no problems. They barely wetted out, actually (see photo below). My legs didn't get wet. My wool boxers didn't get wet. My socks didn't get wet.

These might now be my favorite winter pants. If they can handle rain this well, I imagine they would handle snowy condition with ease.

The obvious question for me, then, is why have a convertible pant for winter use? I don't have a good answer for that at this point. REI does make a version of the Endeavor that is not convertible. I would have no hesitation at all making those my primary winter active pants. As it stands now, I'm not finding a lot of use for the zip off option on these pants. If I didn't generate so much heat in my legs or primarily hiked on flatter trails, I'm sure the temperature range I could use these in would be much broader.

Durability has been stellar. They look brand new. No loose threads. No snags. I intentionally didn't wash them for multiple uses and they don't seem to retain any stink, either. All snaps and zippers are perfectly functional with no loss of usability.

Fit remains a highlight, with the caveat that they do grab a bit on my thighs when I'm hot and gaining elevation. The length, seat, waist, etc. - all have an almost tailored fit. I have zero complaints as far as general fit is concerned.

Endeavors Wet

Final Test Thoughts

Sadly, for me, the Endeavors are just too hot for active use. I generally don't run too hot, either. This is not something I have experienced with other trail pants. When they do get hot and steamy, they bind a tad and make it uncomfortable to hike - especially with elevation-gaining knee lifts. As it turns out, though, they seem to be a fantastic cold weather pant. They will probably be my go-to winter pants. Based on how they handle the rain, I'm guessing they'll handle the snow really well. They're tough, very well built, and fit extremely well. I almost find myself wishing I had two different pairs of Endeavors - a convertible with the exact same cut as these but in a lighter fabric - and a version just like these but without the zip off option for cooler weather. They will continue to be a great camping pant or chilly weather pant and I look forward to continued use as we enter the winter hiking season.

My thanks to BackpackGearTest.org and REI for the opportunity to test these trail pants!



Read more reviews of REI gear
Read more gear reviews by Curt Peterson

Reviews > Clothing > Pants and Shorts > REI Endeavor Pants > Test Report by Curt Peterson



Product tested and reviewed in each Formal Test Report has been provided free of charge by the manufacturer to BackpackGearTest.org. Upon completion of the Test Series the writer is permitted to keep the product. Owner Reviews are based on product owned by the reviewer personally unless otherwise noted.

If you are an avid backpacker, we are always looking for enthusiastic, quality reviewers. Apply here to be a gear tester.


All material on this site is the exclusive property of BackpackGearTest.org.
BackpackGearTest software copyright David Anderson