Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Comfy, stylish, wrinkle and water resistant, convert to capris.
Cons: Belt buttons lack function, the dual function pockets seem unnecessary.
Best Uses: Traveling, day-hiking, around town.
The Patagonia Byway Pant is a go-anywhere, do-anything garment, and can be worn for many days on end, but is not the most ideal choice for hiking. They are stylish, wrinkle and water resistant, and heavily featured for versatility of use, but they are not the most breathable or flexible pants. For something more comfortable and flexible, the Patagonia Simple Guide has the best movement score; for the lightest, most breathable hiking pant, the Outdoor Research Reverie Pant wins our Editors' Choice award. Another pair of pants with many versatile, modular features but that functions better for hiking is The North Face Paramount Peak Convertible Pant - Women's.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
Since the Byway Pant was designed to be a multi-use garment, it has some interesting features that the other pants do not have. The hand pockets have button flaps that can be worn out of the pants for easy access and a cute look, or the flaps can be folded in and the pockets zipped up for those times when you are carrying important items in your pockets that you can't risk losing. This feature is interesting and stands out compared to the other pants, but it adds weight and seems superfluous. They could simply be zippered pockets that would retain function and eliminate weight, but that would sacrifice some of the style of the pants. The rear pockets and one cargo pocket on the leg have matching contrasting buttons. They convert to capris with one button on each leg for versatility when hiking or traveling in different temperatures.
The waist of the pant is designed with belt loops, but also with a snap feature that supposedly can help tighten the pants without a belt. There are fabric tabs on each side of the waist with a couple snap options, so theoretically you could fold in the waist of the pant if they were too loose and snap them in on the tighter snap. Our reviewer felt that this feature did nothing, and was continually coming unsnapped. The integrated belt on the OR Reverie functioned much better at being able to tighten the waist of the pants after they loosen over multiple days of wear.
Comfort & Fit
The Byway Pant has a very comfortable and stylish fit, making them a great choice for around town. They are form fitting along the rear and thighs and have the widest cuff along the ankles. On long hikes the waist begins to chafe uncomfortably, making these pants more suited to shorter hikes without a large pack.
These pants are the least moveable and flexible of the pants reviewed, feeling restrictive around the thighs, but for the most part are comfortable to wear for many days in a row.
The nylon and polyester combination weave that makes up the Byway Pant is the least breathable of the pants reviewed. They still breathe fairly well, but for a long hike a more breathable option such as the Reverie pant would be desirable.
The Byway Pant has Patagonia's DWR water resistant finish, so they repel small amounts of water very well. They have no additional sun protection added to them, like all the other pants in this review, though the layer of the pants protects against the sun to some degree.
Though these pants lack some of the qualities of the other hiking pants reviewed, such as sun protection and provision for huge amounts of movement, they do seem to be the most wrinkle resistant and the most stylish for wearing around town, making them the best travel or short day-hike pants. They can be worn for multiple days on end and function in many different circumstances, from hiking to climbing to eating out in restaurants and sitting on buses.
Our tester brought these with her on a hiking and climbing trip in South America. They were the only casual pants she brought for entire trip, and wore them day in and day out for a month. She wore them on airplanes, around town, on long hikes, and even on some short sport climbs. The material the Byway pants are made of is very durable and wrinkle resistant, which is conducive to traveling and short hikes, but for longer hikes stretchier and more breathable pants such as the OR Reverie would be preferred.
At $80, these pants are on the expensive side. They are worth the investment if you want a versatile, multi-featured pant, but spend your money somewhere else if you are looking for the ideal hiking pant.
Patagonia Byway Pant - Men's
— McKenzie Long
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: March 8, 2012
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