White Sierra Trail Convertible Pant Review
It was a full summertime day in the mountains: out early to take the dog for his daily constitutional; sundry duties in the yard and garage mid-morning; lunch on the deck collecting UV rays; a cross-town bike ride to an open air concert in the park; a quick late-afternoon jaunt through the weekend festival taking place in town; then drinks and dinner al fresco as the daylight waned.
The weather ranged from the mid-40s while out with the pup up into the low-80s while at the concert and in town during the afternoon. Formality also ranged widely. The open-air concert was decidedly casual, but dinner and drinks required greater attendance to decorum. And then there was the level of athletic demand. Biking, as I like to do it, implies some extra-curricular fun while en route. Lounging on the grass at the park, on the other hand, brought me close to napping.
It’s this sort of variety that makes summertime so much fun. But it also places high demands on attire. For days when temperatures, activities and propriety vary, there’s a smart choice in clothing to be found in the White Sierra Trail Convertible Pant.
I wore the garment in both pants and shorts form (and then as pants again) throughout the varied conditions and pursuits of the day. I couldn’t have been more satisfied. They stood up to the demands and tasks and looked good along the way.
Nylon fabric treated with DuPont’s Teflon Shield+ fabric protector comprises the exterior of the garment. The nylon fabric is UPF 30, which gives good protection from UV damage. And the Teflon Shield+ protector means water, oil and stains are repelled from the fabric.
In my use, the UPF 30 was quite welcome and is a nice touch in outerwear like these pants that tend to be used in outdoor pursuits. But I found the Teflon protector to be the coup de grace for this fabric. While at the park for the open air concert, a lack of planning left me without a blanket (or anything else) to sit on. So I just plopped down in the grass. That would not have given me any pause normally, except that an unanticipated mid-day rain shower had rolled through an hour earlier and left some damp on the ground. Most fabric would have sopped up the water with osmotic gusto; the White Sierra pants did not absorb a drop.
The Teflon treatment also rejected stains from my aged and deteriorating bike seat, which often leaves dark marks on shorts and pants. And, when a park bathroom facility’s sink splashed soapy water onto my front, the agua beaded right up and was brushed from the pants with no trace left behind.
All of which means these pants can stand up to the elements with no problem. And when an adventure’s over, they won’t look stained and haggard.
The material also resists snags. During yard duties, a thorny bush grabbed at my pant leg. I thought the pants were sure to be torn. No way. The thorn did not tear the fabric at all, and I was able to extricate the claw without any mark.
In general, the nylon weave holds a good middle-ground between lightweight breathable and heavy-duty durable. The fabric hangs nicely, is not prone to bunching, does breathe well, moves with you, and takes on terrain well.
The material is best suited to mid-range and warm temperatures. In colder conditions, the absence of a second layer of insulation would leave the wearer cold.
These are convertible pants, so the essential design element is the mid-leg zipper that enables conversion between pants and shorts.
Designing a useful and aesthetically pleasing convertible pant is no easy task. After all, the zippered circumference in the pant leg can take on a life of its own. If the zipper is too rigid relative to the pant material, the result can be mid-leg “hoops” that make the wearer look like a clown. On the other hand, relatively flimsy zipper material, which melds into the pant profile with ease, can be tough to use.
The White Sierra convertible zipper gets the balance just right. There’s no clown-hoop effect, but the zipper’s still easy to work with. If anything, use requires just a bit of attention to keep nylon overhangs on either side of the zipper from snagging. But this is just normal prudence when working with biting forged teeth. (There’s Something About Mary has forever emblazoned on my consciousness the import of zippering slowly.)
By the way, the zippers feature “R” and “L” tags to help keep things orderly when it’s time to replace the pant legs. This feature turned out to be surprisingly helpful.
Nifty back pockets featuring Velcro enclosures are made to fit the lower leg portions of the pants when shorts are desired. This is a great feature that makes a ton of sense and yet is not always found in convertible pants.
A pair of cargo-pant style Velcro pockets is found at each outer thigh, and customary slash pockets are at each hip. The slash and cargo pockets are lined with nylon mesh, so they air out quickly. A final Velcro-enclosed pocket is found on the right thigh. This pocket is made for cellphones and the like, and the fit is perfect for my standard-issue smartphone. This pocket is a favorite for me since it keeps my phone within easy reach but out of harm’s way.
Down at the ankle, the pants feature more Velcro, which can be used to taper the ankle if needed.
And vertical side zippers at the pant cuffs enable the lower leg sections to easily be slipped over shoes or boots. Again, a very smart utility-oriented touch. However, one side benefit of this vertical side zippering is that the pants can be worn with the zipper up a bit to add some flare to the ankle and allow a little more ventilation at the lower leg.
Fit is awesomely comfy. White Sierra’s attention to comfort is perhaps most in evidence at the waist. Equipped with lateral elastic sections, the waist is never restrictive but always fitted. Whether walking or seated, before a meal or after, the pants (or shorts) are easy to live in.
The garment comes with a woven nylon belt. The belt is a very cool aesthetic touch since it covers the elastic parts of the waistband and since it adds some neat color contrast. I tended to wear the belt just ever-so-slightly loose because the waist fits me so well without it. I ordered Medium size, and my normal waist size is in the 30-32 range.
The gusseted inseam adds to the comfort and ease of movement.
As for length, the fit also is right on. The 32” inseam for me is perfect. I normally order 32” inseam pants, and I would say these pants fit very true to size.
As shorts, the inseam goes to 10.25”. And that’s got to be – on some scientific basis yet to be identified – the ideal shorts length. Sometimes a 9” inseam on shorts leaves you feeling a bit exposed. And going to 11”, the other common short length, can encumber movement. The 10.25” is great – kudos to White Sierra for this bit of fit genius.
Who the White Sierra Trail Convertible Pant Is For
It’s hard to think of someone for whom these pants would not be fantastic. They’re comfortable, good-looking, easy-wearing, and uber-versatile. I really like them, and they are, in my estimation, a great value for money proposition.
Sizing, Styles, and Colors
Sizing is true, so you can order with confidence.
I’ve been wearing the Caviar color, which is a great name for the hue. It’s a dark olive. The pants also are found in Stone and Bark colors, both of which are khaki-esque tints.
These pants/shorts are excellent and come highly recommended for their easy-wearing versatility, comfort, thoughtful utility and design features, and high value.
For more information, visit whitesierra.com