“Inside all of us exists an adventurous soul – a wild heart that is called from nature to live authentically and free from modern society.” That is part of the Mountain Khakis “Soul Statement,” a verbalization of the ethos underlying the high-quality apparel coming out of Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
It’s no coincidence that those who heed the pull away from cubicles and commutes often find themselves in the mountains. There’s solace in the isolation and organic cleanliness of the high altitudes. There’s also adventure in the unpredictability of what is perhaps the last bastion of untamed terrestrial wilds in North America.
But with that solace and adventure come demands. Weather shifts from sun to storms and snowy to summery with swift indifference in the mountains. Predators and prey scan the landscape and respond without forgiveness when man is caught in nature’s game. There is no building super to call when things get tough.
So the adventurous soul who rejects the carpeted confines of modern society requires heaps of self-reliance and grit. And apparel that stands up to the practicalities of self-reliance is a must.
Mountain Khakis apparel, including its Men’s Equatorial Convertible Pant and Skiff Shirt, provides highly engineered and thoughtfully rendered solutions to the demands (and pleasures) of mountain living. The apparel also brings style and sophistication to the job.
While each garment has its unique features, all share the quality and comfort demanded by the adventurous soul.
Mountain Khakis Men’s Equatorial Convertible Pant
I should be more reluctant to make this admission: I wear my Equatorial Convertible Pants virtually every day. But the pants are so easy to slide on each morning I can’t help myself. They are exceedingly comfortable, look great with just about any shirt/shoe combination, and pack tons of utility and versatility.
As we make way through spring in the mountains where I live, daily swings in temperature are approaching 50 degrees. It’s never too far from the freeze point at night, and daytime highs are now in the 80s. Rains sweep through every few days, often replaced by sunny skies that turn puddles to steam. A hot afternoon becomes shivery when the sun tucks behind the mountain peaks and sends snow-cooled air into town.
In conditions like these, it would be easy to go through three or four wardrobes in a single day to accommodate the environment. While jeans may make sense until lunchtime, shorts are needed all afternoon. Then those evening breezes require pants again.
This back-and-forth is what the Equatorial Convertible Pant was made for. I have not yet encountered conditions when the pants were not up to the task. Warm enough to ward off springtime colds, lightweight enough for midday heat, sun-blocking, water-repellent, abrasion-resistant… and oh yeah, they turn into shorts, too.
Made of nylon, the pants are free moving and breathable. Adding to the comfort is a reinforced waistband that keeps things in place even when the garment’s (multiple) pockets are loaded. “Pre-articulated” knees provide extra material for easy bending of the legs. And an “inseam action gusset” is built into the crotch for comfort. This inseam architecture is fantastic and ought to be standard in menswear. There are no seams or bunches of material in the crotch, which is most, most welcome.
The pants’ material performs ably in everyday activities like walking around town or doing sundry house chores. In more demanding pursuits like hiking and light bouldering, the high flexibility and abrasion resistance of the nylon is brought into evidence. The material also is great in the rain. Water beads and rolls right off. I haven’t yet been in the river or lake in these pants, but when I do go, they’re going with me.
The UPF 50+ rating the nylon carries is reassuring. The rating means that no more than one out of every 50 UV units reaching the pant material penetrates to the wearer’s skin. During mid-day sun, when UV levels can be high, it’s good to know skin cancer is not being fed lunch.
The pockets of the Equatorial Pant are excellent. Two traditional front pockets, a zippered security pocket at the right hip, a zippered security pocket at the right glute, and a pair of Velcro-powered back pockets encircle the garment. The front pockets and both security pockets are mesh-lined for snappy drying.
I found the front security pocket to be extremely useful for credit cards and cell. The rear pockets, useful as they can be, I ended up using less. For one, there’s always that Costanza wallet problem with rear pockets: You have to sit on whatever’s inside. And, because of the lightweight material of the pants and they way they fit (very nicely at all points), a bunch of stuff in the rear pockets throws off the profile of the garment; we still have to look good here in the wilds.
Down at the hem, there’s a reinforced heel and snaps that allow the wearer to tighten the ankle. This latter feature is great when rains crop up, and I also used it during chilly evenings spent outdoors to keep drafts down.
There’s no shortage of thoughtful features in the pants. Collectively, the workmanship and ingenuity of the pants result in a highly wearable, eminently lovable garment. It’s difficult to emphasize enough how perfectly suited to the springtime mountain clime these pants are.
For the warmest moments, the pants convert to shorts with twin removable lower leg pieces. Zippered just above the knee where the material has been guillotined, the conversion to shorts and back is simple and swift.
The shorts feature a 9-inch inseam that offers a decidedly modern and athletic look. The shorts are ideal for walking around and more intense activities. My only quibble is that, when seated, the shorts do have a tendency to ride up a bit, exposing more thigh than I’m accustomed to showing before my third drink.
All told, the Men’s Equatorial Convertible Pant is highly, highly recommended.
One final note relates to sizing. When I purchase clothes anymore, sizing is a bit of a guessing game. Depending on brand, I wear anything from a 28 to 32 in the waist. I’ve noticed with many clothes-makers that, for me, a 32 results in serious sagging, while a 30 from another brand is loose. So, with MK, I ordered a 30 waist, which is right in the middle of my “safe zone” for sizing. It was too tight. But 32’s fit perfectly. Lesson 1: with MK, order a size larger when in doubt.
Lesson 2: Mountain Khakis has unbelievably, incredibly, wonderfully fantastic customer service. Whoa. Off-the-charts helpful, courteous, friendly – awesome. When I called to explain the situation and ask for an exchange, I was ready for a fight, which seems to be par for the course with most call centers these days. Instead, it was just nice. The exchange happened quickly, and voila: great-fitting pants.
Mountain Khakis, by the way, does have its “MK Fit Guarantee”: “When you buy Mountain Khakis apparel expect it to fit right. If it doesn’t we’ll make it right. Simple as that.” Yes, simple as that. Well done.
Mountain Khakis Men’s Skiff Shirt
The Mountain Khakis Men’s Skiff Shirt is a four-way stretch, cross-ventilating button down shirt that is made for sloughing off humidity and heat. Woven of 86% nylon and 14% Spandex (with polyester mesh), the shirt features a pair of front pockets, an integrated sunglasses chamois, snap-up collar (for neck UV protection), more vents than an HVAC system, and 96% UV blockage.
The aesthetic narrative I can’t help shake for this shirt is: “Yeah, I just flew in on my seaplane for lunch. I heard the fresh catch was good today.” The shirt is sophisticated in design and thoughtful in technical details; it is the garment of one who’s accomplished much and isn’t yet finished achieving.
The shirt is at its most natural when the sleeves are rolled up and held in place by buttoned straps above the elbow. The archetypal wearer of this shirt knows little other than rolled up sleeves.
I wore the Skiff Shirt most when I would have otherwise donned either a poplin button down or short-sleeved collared tee. The Skiff Shirt can read either outdoorsy-casual or showered-up-for-supper clean, depending on what it’s paired with.
Yes, as a statistical artifact of wearing the Equatorial Convertible Pant almost all the time, I often wear the Skiff Shirt with it. The pairing is excellent – as one might expect – but it’s also not too matchy-matchy. It just looks like both pieces came from the same sophisticated-adventurer closet. The shirt also goes great with cargo shorts, jeans or regular old khakis.
To me, the Skiff Shirt is best in warm sun. The ventilation is top-notch, and the fabric is lightweight, wicking and easy-moving, so what little perspiration does happen is quickly eviscerated. There is very little insulation in the Skiff Shirt, however. It’s not recommended for wear when things turn chilly.
Like the Equatorial Pant, the Skiff Shirt denies wrinkles faster than banks turn down loan applications. So it’s highly packable and perfect for multi-day seaplane jaunts to the coast. The fabric feel of the shirt is soft, buoyant: much more fun than serious. And, despite its four-way stretch credentials, the material does not easily abrade. There’s little risk of ruining the shirt when climbing out of your seaplane.
A minor quibble with the fabric is that, because of its high flexibility and easy-moving stretchiness, it does not have quite as much structure as traditional button-down shirts. For those accustomed to starched shoulders and razor-edged collars, this shirt offers a different look and feel. The appearance is casual. No neckties are welcome here, and don’t bother tucking the shirttail.
In sum, the shirt is ideal for what it’s made for: warm weather adventuring, and maybe a scenic water landing.
Final Thoughts: Mountain Khakis Men’s Equatorial Convertible Pant and Skiff Shirt
Mountain Khakis needs to be on your radar. Even if you’re still slogging through traffic to a sterile cubicle, the MK attire is an excellent way to feed that adventurous soul slumbering inside. For those souls already let off the leash, treat yourself right with this attire. It’s of the highest quality, comfort and style. And the customer service is excellent.
If you’re in the mountains or going to be there anytime soon, definitely look to MK for your needs. Highly, highly recommended.
For the Equatorial Convertible Pant, my recommendation is to order on the larger side of your typical sizing. For the Skiff Shirt, sizing runs true.
Men’s Equatorial Convertible Pant MSRP: $89.95.
Men’s Skiff Shirt MSRP: $99.95.
For more information, visit mountainkhakis.com.