Name: Fuzzy Monkey (David)
Date of Review: May, 2012
Photo Album – The North Face Pants
Background: I successfully thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2007. I successfully thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail in 2010. I also have numerous other backpacking trips under my belt. The weather conditions I’ve dealt with range from the desert heat to snow-packed mountains. I wore North Face Pants with me for my Appalachian Trail thru-hike and its also the reason for this review.
Manufacturer: The North Face
Item: Hiking Pants Zip off Bottoms
Disclaimer: I don’t remember when I purchased these. I don’t remember the specific model. I have been told they are older North Face Paramount pants but can not verify this for sure. I don’t remember how much I paid for them. The purpose for this review is to describe the features and how they worked for me. If anyone out there can confirm the specific model of these that would be great. I acquired them in 2006 or early 2007 prior to my Appalachian Trail hike.
Description: The pants appear to be made of thicker 100% nylon material. There is a built-in adjustable black belt. There are separate belt loops for an additional belt if needed. There is a solid plastic loop below one of the belt loops. The pants have a lots of pockets. There are two square front pockets one on either thigh that is held together with velcro. There is two upper pockets on either side of the pants that are open. These are large and very deep. The right side of the pant has a small mesh pocket that zips. The right side of the pant has two additional smaller pockets, one with velcro and the other is open. The lower portion of the pants zip off to convert to shorts. Two square butt pockets with velcro round out the features of these North Face Pants.
Field Review: I specifically used these pants for my 2007 Appalachian Trail Thru-Hike. It became a noticeable piece of gear in many of my photos. Because they are so durable they have become my gear for my daily walks.
When I first started long distance hiking in 2007, I was not even aware of the term “ultra-light” hiker. Shopping for light gear never occurred to me. When I went looking for clothing at the time, there were several things I was looking for. I wanted something that would hold guidebooks and maps. The other feature, I was interested in was the ability to convert them to shorts. The North Face Pants fit the criteria for what I was looking for and consequently what I ended up with.
The pockets are great and hold a lot of stuff. When you are hiking it becomes a pain to stop and open your backpack all the time when you need something. Having pants with lots of pockets minimizes the amount of times you have to stop and unpack your backpack. These pants worked great for that. I was able to keep all my guidebook and maps really handy by keeping them in the large pockets. I also carried snacks, wallet and knife in the pockets.
Another great feature is the zip off bottoms. During the warmer summer months it was nice to remove the bottoms and turn them into shorts. I like the concept of this, but over time found that it became much more of a hassle to remove and zip on the bottoms. Call me lazy, but after a long day of hiking it just wasn’t worth my time. For the most part I just keep the bottoms on while hiking. If I get too warm or take a break, it’s just easier to unzip the sides of the bottoms to get more air.
A third reason I have come to really like these pants is for the durability. I acquired these pants back in 2006 or 2007 and I still use them today. They have held up really well and I have been pleased with the durability of the material they are made out of.
The only drawback I can come up with is they are heavier than other pants that are out there. I tend not to use all the pockets so sometimes its overkill to have so many pockets. For the hiking I did in 2007 they worked out perfect. Now that I’m trending towards being a “lighter hiker” I don’t see my self wearing something like this for future long distance hikes. They are well designed and I would most likely wear them for shorter hikes and my daily walks.
Overall they are great pants and worked well for my Appalachian Trail hike. The pockets are large and can accommodate maps and guidebooks. The zip off bottoms are a nice to have but not necessary for my hiking style.
Fuzzy Monkey likes:
- Lots of large pockets
- Small mesh zip pocket
- Durable Material
Fuzzy Monkey dislikes:
- Too many pockets
- Zip bottoms not used very often
Fuzzy Monkey Approved: Yes