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IR: REI Endeavor Convertible Pants (Curt)

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  • nwcurt
    In the test folder at: http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/test/TESTS/REI%20Endeavor%20Pants%20-%20Curt/ Thanks for the edits! -Curt
    Message 1 of 2 , Jun 22, 2012
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      In the test folder at: http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/test/TESTS/REI%20Endeavor%20Pants%20-%20Curt/

      Thanks for the edits!

      REI Endeavor Convertible Pants
      Report Series by Curt Peterson

      Initial Report - June 2012

      Below you will find:

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

      Field Report

      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


      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 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.

      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.

      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.

      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 an 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.

      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

      Please check back in August for my experiences using the Endeavor pants in the backcountry.

      My thanks to BackpackGearTest.org and REI for the opportunity to test these trail pants!
    • RyanC
      Curt, Sorry for the delay in getting your edits to you. I was out of town for 11 days and consequently, this week has been a killer at work. Nice report as
      Message 2 of 2 , Jun 30, 2012
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        Sorry for the delay in getting your edits to you. I was out of town for 11 days and consequently, this week has been a killer at work.

        Nice report as usual. Just a few minor items for you to address and you are good to post in the appropriate folder.

        EDIT: I was not able to navigate to the manufacturers webpage via your link -- please correct as you see fit

        EDIT: <it's going pop open unexpectedly> - believe you need a "to" between "going" and "pop" -- please correct as you see fit

        EDIT: <reduce weight an bulk,> - "an" should be "and" -- please correct

        See you in a couple of months.

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