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Reviews > Clothing > Pants and Shorts > Royal Robbins Alpine Road Pants > Test Report by Bob Sanders

Royal Robbins Alpine Road Convertible Pants

Test Series by Bob Sanders
Initial Report: June 7, 2017
Field Report: August 27, 2017
Long Term Report: October 22, 2017

Name: Bob Sanders BobBackpacking Background: I went on my first backpacking trip as a Boy Scout at the age of 16. Over the years I have hiked the Wonderland Trail in Washington and section hiked parts of the Florida Trail, Appalachian Trail, Colorado Trail and 740 mi (1191 km) of the Pacific Crest Trail. I continue to backpack and hike year round in the Colorado mountains. I have evolved from a heavyweight backpacker to a lightweight backpacker and sometimes reach ultralight weights. My three-day Spring/Summer solo adventures (using a tent) have me hovering around a 12 lb (5.4 kg) base weight.
Age: 59
Gender: Male
Height: 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight: 200 lb (91 kg)
Email: sherpabob(at)mac(dot)com
Location: Pagosa Springs, Colorado USA


June 7, 2017

PRODUCT INFORMATION (Image from website)

Manufacturer: Royal Robbins
Year of Manufacture: 2017
Manufacturer's Website:
$89.00 US
Listed Weight:
None listed
Measured Weight: 1 lb 4 oz (567 g)
Color Tested: Charcoal, also available in Khaki
Size Tested:
38 in (97 cm) waist, 32 in (81 cm) inseam
Alpine Melange Stretch - 6.5 oz (184 g) 66% Nylon, 31% Polyester, 3% Spandex

Image from Royal Robbins website

Product Description:

These pants are described as contemporary-looking with a slimming silhouette (I need that), with an active fit featuring 4-way stretch. They have articulated knees and are zip-off convertibles. Meaning they convert from long pants to shorts simply by zipping off the lower portion of the pant legs. I personally love convertibles because of the versatility. Especially when I am hiking. I start off in the morning and it is chilly and a few hours later I am sweating. They are a great way to regulate my body heat without having to carry both pants and shorts. A zippered side utility pocket is sized for a cell phone. Also included is an adjustable cord lock at each leg opening. This is a great feature to keep dirt and debris out of my boots. These pants are marketed for trekking and travel.

Initial Impressions:

When I first thought about the size I wanted to test I read the only review on their website and the reviewer indicated "Definitely on the slim side - I sized up which was necessary." I followed that advice and ordered a size up - 38 in (97 cm) waist. When they arrived I tried them on and they were too big for me. The inseam 32 in (81) was perfect. These pants are only available in a 32 in (81 cm) inseam. I thought that was a little strange because it limits the number of people that can wear these pants.

I contacted Royal Robbins customer service and they were great. She emailed me a return label and ordered me a new pair of pants in a smaller size. When they arrive I will update how they fit.

These pants are very well constructed. The fabric is really nice and robust without being heavy. Hang tag says they are made with eco-conscious bluesign approved fabrics (Not sure what bluesign approved means". I pulled on the fabric and I only detected stretch in one direction (horizontally). Website indicates 4-way stretch. The fabric is also UPF 50+ protection, quick dry, wrinkle and water resistant.

Front pockets are nice and long (mesh lined) and the rear pockets are standard. The zippered side utility pocket (right thigh) holds my phone just fine and there is room for other items. I kind of wish there was an identical pocket on the other thigh. The lower legs zipped off smoothly and were easy to re-attach. The length of the shorts - 9 in (23 cm) comes to just above my knees which is perfect for me.

When I tried them on and looked in the mirror, other than the waist being too large, they fit me pretty well. I also feel like they look more like jeans than hiking pants. It is a nice change from hiking pants especially for travel use.
  • Well made and solid construction
  • Wonderful fabric

  • None so far


August 27, 2017

Let me first start out by mentioning how wonderful the customer service department was with Royal Robbins. When I first received the pants they were too large in the waist. I contacted customer service by phone and explained the situation. The rep was super nice, sent me a return postage label by email which I printed out, taped it to the box and delivered it to the shipper. A week later I had a perfectly fitting pair of new pants. Bing, bang, boom it was as simple as that.

The new pants have a 32 in (81 cm) inseam with a 36 in (91 cm) waist and they fit me great.

A quick hike up tp engineer mountain
A quick hike up to Engineer Mountain with friends

Field Conditions:

These pants have gotten a lot of use. I have worn them for my almost daily walks in the morning, on five day hikes and on one quick overnight backpack. All of this activity has taken place in the San Juan Mountains in southwest Colorado. Mostly on local trails in and around Pagosa Springs, Colorado. Temperatures have been between 85 and 50 F (30 and 10 C) and the weather has been sunny to partly cloudy with mild afternoon rain showers. Elevations have ranged between 7500 to 12,000 ft (2300 to 3700 m). The terrain has been quite varied including gravel roads, dirt trails, scree, boulder fields and wet slippery downed trees. These pants have been a great addition to my hiking wardrobe.


These pants have been great. These are my go-to pants for anything from hiking, backpacking to a trip to the grocery store or local pub. I have even gotten compliments on how stylish they look on me. I have to agree, they are not the typical-looking hiking pants. They really don't look like convertible pants. They kind of look like jeans that just happen to convert to shorts.

I am probably going to get another pair in the
Khaki color. I actually wish they came in other colors I like them so much.

The pants are comfortable with out being tight or loose. There is not a lot of stretch but the pants are cut well enough that they move with me. I have had no trouble climbing over downed logs or jumping over small creeks. I do wear them with a small nylon belt. Whenever I wear a pack the waist-belt has a tendency over time to push my pants down.

Durability and wear have been excellent. No snags or holes and the zippers are working great. I have washed them probably 5 or 6 times and I have not noticed any fading or shrinkage. I have gotten these pretty muddy and they have come out nice and clean with no stains. I have simply washed them with other darker clothes in cold water and a mild detergent. Later they are tumble dried with those same clothes on medium heat.

The best feature of these pants is the versatility. I start out in the morning as pants because it is usually a bit nippy. After hiking for an hour or so it is time to cool off and off come the legs. If I'm wearing the trail runners I usually wear I can pull the legs off without removing my shoes. If I'm wearing the boots I'm currently testing I have to take the boots off before I remove the legs. I don't really mind it, it gives me an opportunity to sit down and take a break.

Later if it cools off, the wind picks up or if my legs get wet the leg sections get zipped back on. The first couple of times it took me a short while to figure out which leg was which and where the zipper started. Now it is easier as I can just look at the top, see where the zipper pull starts and decide which leg it is for.


Like I said before, I like these pants and they are keepers. I will continue to wear them over the next 2 months and report back on how they are holding up. At this point I don't really have any complaints other than wanting additional colors.


October 22, 2017

Field Conditions:

I have continued to give these pants a lot of use. I put them on every morning before my daily walks. I have also used them on three additional day hikes. During this test period all of this activity has taken place in the San Juan Mountains in southwest Colorado. All on local trails in and around Pagosa Springs, Colorado. Temperatures have been between 65 and 40 F (18 and 4 C) and the weather has been sunny to partly cloudy. Elevations have ranged between 7500 to 12,000 ft (2300 to 3700 m). The terrain has been quite varied including gravel roads, dirt trails, scree, boulder fields and rare stream crossings. These pants continue to be my go-to hiking pants.


These pants have continued to be comfortable, durable, they dry quickly and are versatile. Every time I head out for a hike or a backpack I grab these pants. In the past I have used convertible pants and liked them because of their versatility. But there has always been something that I didn't like about them. The fit, the fabric or slow to dry come to mind as reasons why I don't use them anymore. These pants on the other hand have everything dialed in. They fit me really well, are very durable, seem to move with me so there is no binding and the bonus is they are convertible and stylish.

I have washed these pants numerous times and they come out of the dryer looking nearly brand new. I always follow the directions on a tag stitched on the inside of the pants. Basically, cold water, gentle cycle, similar colors and then tumble dry on low. I could easily wear these pants to go meet with clients.

What more can I say. There is not a lot of hiking/backpacking equipment that I can endorse as highly as these pants. They just simply work for me. They get a 10 out of 10.

All pluses and no minuses.


I would like to thank and Royal Robbins for the opportunity to test these pants.

Read more reviews of Royal Robbins gear
Read more gear reviews by Bob Sanders

Reviews > Clothing > Pants and Shorts > Royal Robbins Alpine Road Pants > Test Report by Bob Sanders

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