Highly functional three-season convertible hiking pants, which transform from long trousers to shorts in seconds, and repel bugs too.
Lightweight material not massively durable
Leg zips can fail
Possible to lose a leg
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Royal Robbins Active Traveler Zip ’N’ Go Pants: first impressions
Convertible walking pants like these Royal Robbins Active Traveler Zip ’N’ Go Pants come into their own in later summer and the shoulder seasons of fall and spring, when you can transform them from long trousers to shorts (or visa versa) in seconds.
During these times, when mornings and evenings can be chilly but the middle of the day is too hot for full leg coverage when you’re hiking trails, it’s great to be able to remove the lower sections of your best hiking pants and get some breeze on your knees (see also: what to wear hiking in hot weather). They’re also excellent on warmer days on rough or technical terrain, when you might start in shorts but add the longer legs when you encounter nettles and brambles, or reach an altitude where the temperature starts to drop.
The Royal Robbins Active Traveler Zip ’N’ Go Pants convert from full length pants to a pair of 9.5in shorts in seconds. But they’re not just a one-trick pony; the Zip ’N’ Go Pants are also impregnated with Insect Shield, which repels mosquitoes, ticks and other annoying insects.
Made with stretchy nylon, they’re breathable, durable and quick drying too, and the fabric is specially designed so it won’t stick to your skin. The ankle hem can be tightened with a bungy. There are pockets aplenty for all those hiking essentials, including hand pockets, a zipped thigh pocket and two back pockets.
These trousers are designed for men, but Royal Robbins’ Women's Bug Barrier Jammer Zip ’N’ Go Pant is very similar in design (it converts to a capri), features and price.
• RRP: $115 (US) / £82 (UK) / €100 (EU)
• Style: Convertible long-to-short pants
• Gender specificity: Men’s
• Sizes: Waist 30-42 Leg 30-34
• Weight (Men’s large): 303g / 10.7oz
• Materials: Main fabric Nylon (94%), spandex (6%)
• Colors: Asphalt / Falcon / Khaki
• Compatibility: Ideal for taking traveling on walking holidays in warmer climates
Where we tested these Royal Robbins Active Traveler Zip ’N’ Go Pants
We wore these Zip ’N’ Go Pants on multiple adventures this year, but they came in particularly useful during a late-summer ascent of Cader Idris (Cadair Idris) in Snowdonia.
Royal Robbins Active Traveler Zip ’N’ Go Pants: on the trails
The weather was almost stiflingly hot while we were climbing in the wind shadow, but as soon as we rounded the cirque and reached the exposed summit approach, a chilly northerly had us shivering, and it was a relief to get the long legs on.
The zips are clearly marked left and right, so thankfully it proved to be an easy and faff-free process getting them on (once we remembered where we’d stashed them).
The in-built ‘Bug Barrier’ insect repelling ability of these trousers also proved pretty effective on various hikes and campsite scenarios throughout the season.
As hiking pants, they proved comfortable to wear with the legs on and off. The material is fairly light, so they won’t see us through into winter, but as three-season walking trousers, they’re excellent.
There are ample pockets, including a sneaky zipped one which is great for stashing stuff in when you are travelling (although, being on the back, it’s not exactly pickpocket proof).
Author of Caving, Canyoning, Coasteering…, a recently released book about all kinds of outdoor adventures around Britain, Pat has spent 20 years pursuing stories involving boots, bikes, boats, beers and bruises. En route he’s canoed Canada’s Yukon River, climbed Mont Blanc and Kilimanjaro, skied and mountain biked through the Norwegian Alps, run an ultra across the roof of Mauritius, and set short-lived records for trail-running Australia’s highest peaks and New Zealand’s Great Walks. He’s authored walking guides to Devon and Dorset, and once wrote a whole book about Toilets for Lonely Planet. Follow Pat’s escapades on Strava here and instagram here.