Though these hiking pants have some functional flaws, they’re so comfortable we can’t help pulling them on for hike after hike
Stretchy with articulated knees
Convertible to capris
Pockets are too small
Snap fastening to convert to capris too fiddly
Not for cold weather
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Columbia Women’s Saturday Trail Hiking Trousers: first impressions
These women's hiking pants are built for fair-weather day hikes when you want to be comfortable and aren’t too bothered about technical performance. The Omni-Shield Summiteer Lite nylon is soft against the skin and these have enough stretch (plus articulated knees) that you can move comfortably. They’re water-repellent in a shower but breathable enough to wear on hot days. They can also be rolled up and fastened into capris if you’re feeling sweaty, plus the fabric offers UVA and UVA protection.
• List price: $70 / £65
• Gender specification: Women’s
• Sizes: 2 - 18 US / 6 - 22 UK
• Weight: 270g / 9.5 oz (women’s US 4)
• Materials: 96% nylon / 4% elastane
• Colors: India ink / Black / City gray / British tan
• Best use: Hiking
The design does have a few flaws for hiking, however. First of all, though they have five pockets, none are really big enough to be functional, and the two rear pockets are so well disguised that it took us a while to notice them. If you want to roll them up into capris, you might find that the snap fastening is really fiddly to use and doesn’t stay put. That said, these are a great price and extremely comfortable, making them a solid choice for casual day hikes and brilliant for travel.
Columbia Women’s Saturday Trail Hiking Trousers: in the field
I got to test out a pair of these hiking pants on a hut hiking trip in the French Alps where we were testing the new line of Columbia gear. The weather ended up being unseasonably warm for the fall, so I was happy to get such a lightweight pair of trousers for my alpine adventure. Since I’ve returned from that trip, I’ve actually been wearing them loads around town and for other trips as well as for local hikes.
Here’s how they performed:
Sizing and fit
I tested a US size 4 which is my usual size and they fit perfectly. I have a slim/athletic build and they’re loose enough to be comfortable but not so much that I need a belt or that they flap around, and they also don’t catch anywhere. I was pleasantly surprised by this as I’ve had trouble with Columbia pants fitting me right in the past.
Stretch and breathability
These pants are stretchy enough for any scrambling you might want to do in them, and have articulated knees. They’re comfortable for sitting on a plane, so I wore them as my travel pants for my Alps trips as well as several other quick trips I’ve taken since. They also have great breathability for warm weather hikes, which is what I experienced during the days in France.
I was surprised to discover that these pants are water-repellent, which I did recently when I got caught in a light rain while wearing them and the water just beaded and rolled off nicely. I certainly wouldn’t wear them for a hike I knew was going to be rainy, but they will deter a splash.
They also have UVA and UVB protection, which I tend to think most hiking pants are since they’re not generally made from a loose-weave material like linen that could arguably let some sunlight in, but I’m mentioning it out of due diligence.
What these pants won’t protect you against is the cold. They’re built for fair weather and as we’ve had a few very cold weeks here in Scotland, I’ve switched to my more rugged trousers for getting out on the trail.
Pockets and other features
These trousers have five pockets, including a zipped thigh pocket, but honestly none are big enough to really be functional. I suppose you could put a car key or a credit card in the zipped pocket, but basically I just ignore them. Because these are fair weather pants, I can see this being a problem for some as you’re less likely to be wearing a jacket with pockets, but if you’re like me you’re usually wearing a backpack for gear anyway. It would be annoying to have to find a place for your phone if you like to have it handy though.
Another odd flow is that once I met up with the rest of my group in France, I saw that some of my fellow journalists had rolled theirs up to capri-style and fastened them. I tried to do this but found that the snap fastening is so well-concealed that I couldn’t get it to fasten, and the only time it did it quickly came undone. It definitely doesn’t work on my pair, but as I’ve said others seemed to have managed it, so perhaps there’s an inconsistency in the design. In any case, I wouldn’t rely on this function.
Columbia Women’s Saturday Trail Hiking Trousers: the bottom line
If you’re looking for a comfortable and largely practical pair of pants that you can wear on a mild-weather day hike, for adventure travel or for lounging, you’ll like these trousers, but if you’re seeking something rugged and technical for hardy adventures, keep looking.
Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.