Although the sequels to Grease and Caddyshack may deter you from ever wanting to improve on a classic, The North Face managed to beat the odds and upgrade their best-selling Paramount Peak Convertible Pant. They retained all of the staples of a dependable pair of hiking pants, while also taking the time to improve details wherever possible. The fit strikes a nice balance between being relaxed enough to comfortably allow high stepping through steep talus, yet athletic enough to avoid billowing like a pillowcase on a clothesline in a strong breeze.
The material itself was upgraded with TEX40 thread for increased durability. During testing at Channel Islands National Park, the pants handled abuse with aplomb. Scraping across the diverse geology of Santa Cruz Island left the fabric unfazed, and the DWR finish repelled ocean spray on a morning scramble just as well as spilt wine at sunset. In addition, the fabric is bluesign ® approved (a standard for environmentally-friendly production methods), which helps reinforce the concept that you can both be green and tough.
If you’re the sort who likes to stay organized from the waist down, the myriad pockets provide ample opportunity. The side cargo pockets are big enough for large maps, the hip and back pockets remain accessible with a pack on, and a secure, zippered stash pocket on the right hip protects important items.
Personally, the real coup de grace on these pants is their actual performance as shorts. Other convertibles have notoriously emphasized the ‘short’ in shorts; fortunately for all parties, the 10” cut gets close enough to the knees to be acceptable in more social situations than just night hikes. As a bonus, The North Face color coded the zippers to avoid the seemingly inevitable confusion that stems from trying to reattach the pant legs in a hurry.
Bottom Line: Fortunately for users and The North Face, these pants are more Indiana Jones than Grease 2. If you’re looking for a dependable pair of hiking britches that will confidently get you through most three-season hikes, the Peak Paramount pants are tough to beat.