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Backpacker Magazine – Online Exclusive

Gear Review: Women's Active Bottoms

For those times on the trail when serious hiking pants are overkill.

by: Katie Herrell

PAGE 1 2 3 4
Patgonia Solimar Shorts (Courtesy Photo)
Patgonia Solimar Shorts (Courtesy Photo)
Horny Toad Chilena Skirt (Courtesy Photo)
Horny Toad Chilena Skirt (Courtesy Photo)
Prana Bliss Carpri (Courtesy Photo)
Prana Bliss Carpri (Courtesy Photo)
Patgonia Multi-use Skirt (Courtesy Photo)
Patgonia Multi-use Skirt (Courtesy Photo)

This just in: There’s a time and a place for yoga pants. Sure, they’re super comfortable and great for downward dogging, but release them into the wild and they are about as resilient as a plastic poncho during a three-day deluge. Problem is, not every hiking outing calls for your uber-durable, Gore-Tex-enforced trekking pants either. Say you’re hiking with a toddler (or a grandmother), going on an impromptu vacation hike, or commuting from pavement to trail to office – situations that require some performance and protection but not necessarily a force shield. In these cases consider one of these other bottom options, specifically made for ladies.

[travel favorite]
Patgonia Solimar Shorts

If the testament to a great pair of shorts is that they can be scrunched up into a tiny, wrinkly ball and then, WITHOUT the aid of an iron or any physical effort by the wearer, be wrinkle free within 10 minutes of putting them on, than the Patagonia Solimar Shorts are a great pair of shorts (and made for travel). Our tester wore them off & on for days in the blazing Salt Lake City & Boulder summer heat and every time they emerged from their ball in the corner wrinkle and odor free thanks to the lightweight stretch nylon fabric (which also happens to be coated with DWR). Small slits in the hems and the option to roll the mid-knee length up above the knee (and secure with one button) make them flexible enough for hiking & casual biking (although the slippery fabric slides a bit on the saddle). Bummer: Although there are three pockets (all on the front; 2 jeans style and one shallow vertical pocket on the right leg), none of them can be securely closed. The fit is slim & straight, but not skinny per se. $65; 4.2 oz. (6); sizes 2-14; colors: earthenware (mint green) and black; patagonia.com


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READERS COMMENTS

LA
Sep 07, 2010

Joining the rant--are you listening, ANY Company That Makes Outdoor Wear?!?!

TOTALLY agreeing with the others, regarding price, size (or lack thereof, over "small-average"), availability....

I have hips, folks. And I LOVE the outdoors. I do. 'Nuff said. What's so horrible about making clothing for me? I'd give you my money, if only you'd make something that fit me. Lower rise than men's pants, but fuller butt--is it so hard? Is it YOUR vanity--would it be too humiliating to have something THAT BIG (read: anything over size 14-16) in your company's closet? Because I truly do feel the message being sent is--"If you're bigger than what WE say is acceptable, stay out of our winderness."

Regarding price--explain to me why women have to pay more for the same performance as men? Again, the message is subtly--"C'mon, guys! Let's go play!....Gals, if you can afford to join us...."

Getting off soapbox....Sorry. But thanks, that was therapudic.

MrRedwood
Sep 07, 2010

Love that title.

jessie's girl
Sep 06, 2010

i so totally agree with the other comments--women's outdoor-wear NEEDS to be practical first! and wanna tell me why i have to buy men's pants to find zip-offs? either the women's don't have any OR they are 3x the cost--so not fair!

imo, 'performance' skirts (or any other clothing for that matter) are not really 'performance' if they contain ANY cotton--duh! that is the first thing i look for when shopping for hiking gear.

Kathy Handyside
Sep 04, 2010

And while they're at it, it would be nice if clothes manufacturers would make clothes that fit AMERICANS!! We are NOT little tiny petite ASIANS.

Kathy Handyside
Sep 04, 2010

I wish these clothes manufacturers would get back to PRACTICAL OUTDOOR CLOTHING FOR WOMEN!!instead of all this prissy "lets all look cute for the boys" cr@p! I want clothes that fit and make sense for on the trail. I don't go into the wilderness to make a fashion statement and I'm sick and tired of clothes manufacturers only catering to those who do!

Kathryn
Sep 02, 2010

I LOVE hiking in performance skirts! They are comfortable, fast drying and offer a LOT of airflow, which came in handy while hiking the PCT through the Mojave - kept me nice and cool.

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