I'm preparing for some traveling and I want to be as lightweight as possible and right now I'm looking for lightweight clothing. The heaviest of my clothing is my pants, obviously. I want to have a few pair of pants with me so I'm looking for something that is lightweight and packs easily and rolls up very small. Durability is important.
Loc: Portland, OR
When hiking I always wear lightweight nylon pants with legs that zip off to convert my pants to shorts whenever I desire. A new pair can look semi-stylish enough for city use, but there's enough variation in cut and fit that you'd want to try them on and have a good look at how they fit you.
The other thing to look for, especially if you go for a cheaper pair of 'convertible' pants, is whether the zippers around your thighs chaff or rub. These should be entirely shielded by a flap of cloth that keeps each zipper away from your skin.
Such pants can often be found on sale. Prices can vary from $25 up $90, depending on brand and features.
How durable are those nylon zip offs? They seem like a good idea because they're shorts and pants at the same time. I like things that can be more than one thing. I generally wear some rather heavy and bulky cargo pants.
Loc: San Diego CA
If your just walking around in them, these zip-offs will hold up for a few years...at least mine have and I do bushwacking in mine along with a little rubbing up on rock. Mine are from REI though so are not cheap; guaranteed but not cheap. Could try thrift stores/ looking for used pair until you get closer to your trip.
Depends on what you mean by durability. I've blown through multiple pairs of convertibles by using them more or less constantly (hike every week) and sitting on logs and granite a lot.
So I have a pair of 5.11's (heavy nylon ripstop) and several of the light soft convertible pants. For on trail, straightforward stuff where I'm going to have something to sit on I wear the lighter pants. If it's a light pack, cross country, brushy trip I wear the 5.11's.
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki
Loc: California (southern)
I have some Ex Officio's that I used satisfactorily for years.They are just the thing for bike touring. Eventually the zippers did blow out, so now I have just shorts. I much prefer a lightweight nylon or polyester fabric.
I have a pair that I stitched up using 1.8 oz/yd dark blue, DWR, ripstop nylon. They weigh just a skidge under 4 oz. I ordinarily wear light shorts for hiking and I carry these wind pants and a pair of Capilene 2 long johns to use if it gets cold and windy.
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I don't wear shorts (varicose veins, scars from knee surgery, above all an aversion to mosquito bites and allergy to most sunscreens) so I don't like zip-offs. I prefer a pair of just plain nylon pants. The main problem is that pockets on women's pants are completely useless, and with my ample (!) derriere I can't wear men's pants.
You can get a pair of plain (not convertible) nylon pants plus a pair of lightweight nylon swim trunks for the same or less weight as a pair of convertibles, and you won't have to feud with the zippers.
Do note that this site is about wilderness trekking, not European style "backpacking = budget travel." Savvy backpackers (American style) take only the pair of pants they are wearing.
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey
Loc: Hervey Bay, QLD Australia
I spent 4 months in a pair of REI Sahara zip offs (the only pants I had the entire time). They held up just fine. I eventually burned some holes in them sitting around a spitting campfire (that quick dry fabric burns good and quick).
i really don't think that applies to me.