Columbia Silver Ridge Pants: The Choice of Outdoor Pros
With decades of experience, Columbia is not a new name in the sportswear industry. In spite of its reputation, its products don't always cost a fortune. In fact, you can find a cheap and quality pair of hiking pants, like the Silver Ridge range, when compared to other brands.
But how does a product with a lower price hold up against other best hiking pants on the market?
Let's find out in our Columbia Silver Ridge pants review and see whether they're for you.
How to Get The Right Pair of Hiking Pants
Based on their design, we can divide hiking pants - or outdoor pants in general - into three categories.
These are the ones with a traditional design. These standard pants are a great choice for hiking since, compared to shorts, they are better at keeping your legs warm and protecting them from bugs, exposure to elements (such as wind and sun), and abrasion from thorns and rocks.
Convertibles, or zipper pants, is the design of the Columbia Silver Ridge, which has zippers on both legs, just above the knees. This allows you to unzip the lower part and turn your pants into shorts.
You can transform convertibles into a pair of shorts
Many hikers love the versatility that the convertible design offers as it enables them to reduce weight and save space.
Another selling point of this design is how easy it is to wash the lower parts - usually the dirtiest part of the pants. This design means you don't need to completely take off the pants anymore.
Because of its popularity among the hiking community, sportswear brands often offer their models in both convertible and standard versions.
This is another alternative design to standard pants. There are some models of hiking pants with elastic or buttons on the lower part or in the cuff, allowing you to roll up the pants to a capris style.
Roll-up hiking pants
You can already roll up most pants with ease, but with these extra mechanisms, your pants can stay in this higher position during your activities.
This creates some relief in hot days, at least more than the traditional design, while requiring less hassle than convertible models.
Size and Fit
Though the most common recommendation is that you should go for a relatively well fitting pair of hiking pants, this is not restrictive advice.
Many hikers like more loosely fit pants instead. But if they are too baggy, they are heavier and flap in windy days, causing resistance and noise. An improperly fit pair of hiking pants is also more likely to get caught on bushes, which is especially annoying during a long-distance hike.
And when your pants are too tight, they will lead to chafing, limiting your mobility, and are also prone to wear and tear around glutes, crotch, and knees.
The most comfortable hiking pants, which also results in the greatest mobility, often have gusseted crotches and articulated knees.
This means they have a patch of fabric around the crotch area (in order to reduce strain and improve mobility) while the knee part has fabric cut according to the shape of your legs.
A high proportion of elastane and spandex blended in also makes a difference in terms of mobility and comfort.
Hikers tend to lose some weight during a long-distance hike. That's why you should get a pair of pants with belt loops, drawstring, or integrated belts. With them, you can adjust the pants to fit you during the weeks you spend on the trail.
Although hiking pants manufacturers have already taken into consideration most weather conditions hikers typically see on their hikes, some models are better suited for some specific situations than the others.
For example, there are hiking pants that are better at keeping you cool in the summer while you can also find other models designed to insulate legs in wetter or cooler climates.
Knowing the time of the year and your destination of your hike means you will likely be satisfied with your choice in the end.
Now that you have learned the basics of hiking pants and how to know which one will serve you better on your hikes, it's time to take a quick look at the main product we’re going to talk about today.
The Columbia Silver Ridge convertible pants are an entry-level model from Columbia. They are intended as a basic option at a low price, aimed at newcomers to hiking or those who don't want to spend too much one a pair of pants that they don't use that often.
Silver Ridge convertible pants
With that in mind, some of the limitations of the Columbia Silver Ridge pants should come to no one's surprise.
For example, you won't find any water-resistant coating, which means these hiking pants absorb the water immediately. On top of that, they provide little with regards to stretch - the reason you may feel pretty restrictive at the hip and knee joints.
As a whole package, this convertible model is still a solid choice for beginners or casual hikers, as long as your hikes don't involve rugged terrain or require too much mobility.
- Available in various colors and sizes
- Not for hiking in rugged terrain
- No water-resistance
- Restrictive material results in limited mobility
Columbia Silver Ridge Pants
From the previous parts of our article, we believe you have a basic idea about who should (and shouldn't) consider these hiking pants. And if you don't mind some of the drawbacks of the Columbia Silver Ridge, great! Why not go further and see in detail whether they are worth your consideration with our Columbia Silver Ridge convertible pants review?
In a nutshell, the Silver Ridge provides a decent set of features while there is still room for improvement in some important areas.
These hiking pants have as many pockets as you will need: two cargo pockets (one zippered, one velcro) on the sides, two regular ones in the rear, and two hand warmers on the front part.
Like other convertible pants models, you must remove your shoes before taking off the lower legs. As a pair of sorts, they work decently. But the zippers don't have the top-notch quality, not running smoothly and even getting stuck. This might make you not want to stop your activities in order to reattach or remove the legs.
The belt included in the package is a nice touch. It doesn't come across as a premium-tier product, but it's still easy to tighten, fasten, and remove altogether.
The webbing belt Columbia provides, which is made from nylon, is also removable. But compared to other hiking pants that have integrated belts, it feels bulkier.
These convertible pants do not include DWR coating, and the obvious result is they lack a water resistance capacity.
The Silver Ridge will start to absorb the water immediately when it starts to rain. And when you wear a rain jacket, water will still run down, soaking the front part entirely. But since the material used to make them is pretty lightweight, once the rain stops, the situation will be not that bad.
But we still don't recommend these pants from Columbia if your hike is going to take place during the rainy season. They will make you wetter and colder than you should be, especially during a rainstorm.
UPF sun protection
The sun is a vital factor you should always keep in mind while exploring nature or hiking. This also applies to your pair of outdoor and hiking pants.
With the Omni-Shade UPF 50 and Omni-Wick moisture-wicking technologies, the Columbia Silver Ridge grants incredible protection from skin conditions like sunburn, which may happen when you are exposed to sunlight for a long time.
This UPF 50 sun protection is integrated directly into the material of the Columbia Silver Ridge. It consists of both UV absorbers and reflectors to help reduce the total heat retention your pants receive during your hikes.
This useful coating is a godsend for those who must always deal with sunburn and skin damage in the areas under their pants. It means you don't need to think about sunscreen too much anymore.
Mobility and Comfort
Lounging around in these lightweight pants will provide you decent comfort. But this is not really the purpose of these hiking pants, right?
Due to the lack of flexible fabrics such as elastane or spandex, the Silver Ridge - made entirely from nylon ripstop - offers limited mobility during steep and rugged ascents.
When you sit down, the legs will slide up a little bit, exposing your skin to bugs and sunlight and also making it pretty annoying as well.
But on the positive side, there are two small elastic sections on both sides around the waist, which can enable some stretch beyond their advertised size. The included belt also allows some level of adjustability when your waistline starts to shrink after a long hike.
However, all things considered, the Columbia Silver Ridge is not the best product when it comes to mobility for serious and professional hikers.
Like other Columbia nylon pants, the Silver Ridge doesn't have a great level of flexibility you may expect. It's fairly tight with no stretch, impeding movement, and providing no warmth in high-elevation trails.
But many customers have said nice things about these Columbia pants when used during mountain climbing. They are surprisingly flexible in this kind of activity, allowing great movement around the knees to help the climbers lunge forward.
Breathability and Venting
If your plans are adventures in wet and moist climates, it's a great idea to buy a pair of hiking pants with good moisture-repellent materials or coatings. This willensure that you don't take any unnecessary additional weight on the trail.
The 100% nylon ripstop used to make the Columbia Silver Ridge has gone through the treatment of tight weaves.
The moisture will get pulled away from your legs and hips, sweat will evaporate quickly, and as a result, it will take less time to cool you down. On top of that, this improved evaporation also helps prevent heat-stroke and dehydration.
These hiking pants also come with the Omni-wick technology from Columbia. It's designed to transfer moisture from the hip and leg area in order to cool you and help you dry faster.
And solid breathability is the obvious result of all those features. And we can also say the same thing about venting with two rear and front mesh pockets in addition to the conversion zips. Even though they may absorb a lot of water during a rainy day, these hiking pants also dry out quickly.
Unfortunately, this is not a strong selling point of the Columbia Silver Ridge.
Compared to other hiking models, their materials are more restrictive when it comes to movement, and you may find activities such as bouldering, climbing, and scrambling more challenging. But on the other hand, if walks, travel, or mild hikes are your thing, it's not a problem at all.
Though the Silver Ridge dries quickly, they don't offer any water-resistance. So it will be best for you to wear only in dry environments. And as this light material is not able to keep you warm enough if the temperature keeps dropping too much, these pants are better fitted for hot weather.
When you take off the lower legs, they perform well as shorts. But don't expect a top-notch experience from it. In fact, Columbia should extend the length of the shorts a little to cover the knees more.
Colors and Styles
Here, Columbia doesn't disappoint with a wide range of color and style options they provide for the Silver Ridge lineup.
Although this may not be a deal-breaker for most hiking enthusiasts, this is still a nice thing for those who want to express their personal flair and style while exploring the environment.
They offer standard and bigger sizes with up to 11 colors, from Dark Mountain, City Grey to Columbia Grey and Olive Green. Whatever your style is, you can always find a model that fits your personality.
Not only is it one of the best entry-level models among Columbia hiking pants for men, the women’s version of this model is also available.
The Silver Ridge is one of the cheapest convertible hiking pants from a reputable brand you will find, so at least durability is not a big concern compared to other average models on the market.
With this price range, we can't demand much from Columbia. When you don't do much rugged-hiking, this is a decent value for money.
As you can see from the Columbia Silver Ridge pants review above, they perform well in many cases while lacking many important features from high-end models. They provide a good pocket set, but the restrictive material and lack of water-resistance ability mean they don't have much versatility.
But having said that, we don't mean they are a low-quality product in any means. In fact, if you are looking for an affordable option for casual travel or short-distance hiking, the Columbia Silver Ridge is still worth your investment.
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