The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Outdoor Research Ferrosi Pants Review

For comfort and breathability, these pants can’t be beat.
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:  $80 List | $55.73 at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Airy fabric, very comfortable, maximum mobility
Cons:  Waist fit is loose, not great in cool weather
Manufacturer:   Outdoor Research
By Andy Wellman & Ben Applebaum-Bauch  ⋅  May 10, 2019
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78
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 11
  • Comfort and Mobility - 35% 9
  • Venting and Breathability - 20% 9
  • Versatility - 15% 7
  • Water Resistance - 15% 6
  • Features - 15% 6

Our Verdict

The Outdoor Research Ferrosi Pants takes the Editors' Choice Award for the best overall model of the bunch. They are great for a variety of adventures. These technical pants exceed the performance of the competition, garnering high scores in several metrics. They have an understated but practical set of pockets and features. Also, these pants are the single most breathable model that we tested, keeping us cool on hot days while offering quality sun protection. Though they aren't remarkable in high winds, this is a pair of hiking pants that perform well across a variety of activities. If you need a pair to ward off strong winds better, the Patagonia Quandary is our best recommendation for that.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award   Best Buy Award 
Price $55.73 at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
$49.97 at Backcountry
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$99.00 at REI$59.95 at REI
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Pros Airy fabric, very comfortable, maximum mobilityComfortable fit and fabric, very versatile, perfectly functioning featuresSupple and mobile, DWR coating works great, fair priceConvertible option looks nice and is easy to use, durable stretchy nylon, tons of pocketsComfortable, lots of pockets, integrated belt
Cons Waist fit is loose, not great in cool weatherNot much ventilation, fabric absorbs water in a heavy downpourNot many pockets, slim fit may not be awesome for larger adultsConvertible zipper rests across lower thigh, front button sometimes comes undoneRoll up snaps have limited versatility, baggy
Bottom Line For comfort and breathability, these pants can’t be beat.A favorite pair of very comfortable hiking pants.An awesome pant for 14er day hikes and chilling at the brewpub afterwards.A fantastic versatile option because of its numerous, spacious pockets, and the ability to switch quickly into shorts.These comfortable, relaxed fit pants are an inexpensive option for day hikes and short backpacking trips.
Rating Categories Ferrosi Pants Prana Stretch Zion Patagonia Quandary KUHL Renegade Cargo Converti... REI Co-op Sahara Roll-Up
Comfort And Mobility (35%)
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
6
10
0
8
Venting And Breathability (20%)
10
0
9
10
0
6
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
7
Versatility (15%)
10
0
7
10
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9
10
0
7
10
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10
10
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5
Water Resistance (15%)
10
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6
10
0
5
10
0
9
10
0
6
10
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7
Features (15%)
10
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6
10
0
8
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
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7
Specs Ferrosi Pants Prana Stretch Zion Patagonia Quandary KUHL Renegade... REI Co-op Sahara...
Weight (in oz) 12.2 oz 13.6 oz 10 oz 17 oz 9.5 oz
Material 86% nylon / 14% spandex 90D stretch woven ripstop 97% Nylon / 3% Spandex 94% nylon (62% recycled) / 6% spandex DURALUX 95% Nylon, 5% Spandex 94% nylon / 6% spandex
Water Resistance DWR finish DWR finish DWR finish DWR finish DWR finish
Sizing (waist, length options) W: 28" - 38" W: 28" - 42"
L: 28", 30", 32", 34", 36"
W: 28" - 40"
L: 30", 32", 34"
W: 28" - 42",
L: 28", 30", 32", 34", 36"
Shorts: 10"
W: 30" - 42"
L: 28" - 36"
Sun Protection not specified UPF 50 UPF 50 UPF 50 UPF 50
Convertible, or option available? No, but convertible version available No, but convertible version available No Yes Yes
Pockets 2 hand, 2 back, 1 thigh zip 2 hand, 2 back, one left side 2 hand, 2 back, 1 zippered thigh, 1 coin 2 front, 2 back, 2 side cargo 2 hand, 2 back, 2 thigh zip
Waist Strap/Fasten Button and zip fly Button and zip fly with waist cinch Button and zip fly Snap and zip fly Button and zip fly
Other Features Drawcord cuff closures, side zip pocket Ventilated inseam gusset, roll up leg snaps, adjustable waist tightening strap Front and back knee articulation, gusseted crotch, slim straight fit Articulated knees, gusseted crotch, mesh pockets for ventilation, compartment sections inside cargo pockets for organization, ankle zips and snaps for easy removal with boots Legs roll up and snap in place, gusseted crotch, articulated knees, integrated belt, UPF 50
Warranty Lifetime Full refund, credit, or exchange if you are dissatisfied Lifetime Limited warranty against manufacturer defects - will repair or replace defective products Limited warranty

Our Analysis and Test Results

We love the unique blend of materials that go into these pants. It produces a product that offers plenty of stretch while you are on the move and breathability that you wouldn't expect from synthetic clothing. These pants have a super simple 'convertibility' feature in the cuff — an elastic cord that you give a quick pull once you pull up the legs. Though they aren't perfect, all in all, this is an excellent pair of hiking pants. They take the crown on comfort, mobility, and breathability, making them a top tier choice overall.

Performance Comparison


These pants can really stretch without restricting movement.
These pants can really stretch without restricting movement.

Comfort and Mobility


When it comes to comfort, these pants ranked right up there with the Prana Brion and Stretch Zion. However, when considering mobility, no other pant can match the light, supple mobility afforded by these awesome pants.


The cut of these pants is great. They have articulated knees and a gusseted crotch. We found the fit to be in between the slim fit of the Patagonia Quandary and the bagginess of the Fjallraven Vidda Pro. The fabric is smooth against the skin, and the mobility this pair offers is second to none.

One understated comfort feature is that the inside of the waistband has a strip of soft, felty material that reduces rubbing and abrasion if you have a backpacking waist belt clipped around them.

The felt liner inside the Ferrosi waist is a nice touch that minimizes abrasion and increases comfort.
The felt liner inside the Ferrosi waist is a nice touch that minimizes abrasion and increases comfort.

One drawback to the fit of this pair is the waist sizing. We suppose that this model is designed to be worn lower on the hips, but we felt like we really wanted a belt with this pair, which is less than ideal while wearing a climbing harness. It does come with traditional belt loops, so it's not a huge deal, but you might want to try sizing these pants down in the waist.

Venting and Breathability


It is breathability that really carries these pants. On warmer days, we felt like we were getting the sun protection we needed while retaining way less heat (and sweat) than we would expect while wearing a pair of hiking pants.


In terms of ventilation, the two front hand pockets are partially lined with mesh on the inside, as is the thigh pocket. Additionally, the bottom of each leg cuff has an elastic cord that allows the wearer to pull up and secure the pant legs above the calf or knee. Though not wholly comparable to a convertible pair, this feature offers a solid, simple solution when you need to cool down in the heat.

The primary ventilation feature is the ability to roll up the pants and secure them with a cinch cord.
The primary ventilation feature is the ability to roll up the pants and secure them with a cinch cord.

Though these pants have only a couple of features that could be considered venting points, in our head-to-head testing, running uphill revealed that their super light and highly breathable fabric more than made up for it; ultimately, we felt cooler in our Ferrosi pants. Our only critical note is that when the wind whips on chilly days, these pants are a little bit too breathable.

Versatility


This model provides an excellent combination of attributes for many outdoor activities. This pair features an 86% 90D stretch ripstop nylon and 14% elastane blend, the airiest-feeling material of any pant that we tested, making them great for both hiking and climbing. They are the perfect choice on warmer days and good in the late summer and early fall, just as the weather is about to change. On multi-day adventures, we wouldn't hesitate to keep them on as a pair of in-camp pants or even use them as a pair of on trail pajamas.


The Ferrosi pants are perfect for hot weather and offer the extra options afforded by the leg cinch cords. If you need a pair of cooler weather pants, we would look elsewhere to the Patagonia Quandary or Arc'Teryx Lefroy — the material on the Ferrosi is just too thin to provide serious wind protection. They can also get pretty beat up while climbing.

These pants are better in warmer weather and can be rolled up if it gets hotter.
These pants are better in warmer weather and can be rolled up if it gets hotter.

On the other hand, we think they look pretty good. A little on the tech side but we wouldn't hesitate to run weekend errands in them.

Water Resistance


These pants do an effective job of shedding water, at least while the DWR coating holds up. They don't offer nearly the level of beading and shedding that we saw with the Arc'teryx Lefroy but noted that they did significantly better than the Prana Brion or the Mountain Hardwear Men's Hardwear AP Pant.


With a spritz that simulated a drizzle, the water effectively beaded up and fell off the front of these pants. In a full-on downpour, water soaks into the outside layer of nylon, so our legs got wet. On the plus side, when the clouds part, their thin fabric dries out very quickly.

Water beads well on these pants. It will eventually soak if the rain is heavy enough  but they dry quickly as well.
Water beads well on these pants. It will eventually soak if the rain is heavy enough, but they dry quickly as well.

Features


These pants have just a few simple features, but they all function quite well. There are five pockets overall — two partially mesh-lined front hand pockets, as well as a side pocket on the outside of the right thigh that includes a horizontal zippered opening. We found that the front pockets were adequately deep, and appreciate the subtle but thoughtful angle of the thigh pocket zipper, which makes it easier to open and close with one hand.


On the back, these pants have two open pockets with no zippers. We didn't mind not being able to close the rear pockets in the backcountry — we found that we rarely used them and when we did it was to temporarily hold a bandana or some small object to free up our hands. However, wearing them around town, we would like to be able to close them for peace of mind when walking around with a wallet.

The angled zipper of the cargo pocket makes it easier to open and close with one hand.
The angled zipper of the cargo pocket makes it easier to open and close with one hand.

These pants also come with a 50+ UPF rating, which means that they are ideally suited for sun protection.

Another somewhat unique feature these pants offer is the elastic cinch cord at each leg cuff. Not only does this give the wearer another option for cooling down, but the cord can be used to keep the pants up when crossing streams or to cinch the cuffs down around the tops of boots like gaiters. Though the Ferrosi is not the most feature-packed pair, we are still pleased with what they do offer.

The elastic cinch cord holds the pants in place for a little while when you roll them up.
The elastic cinch cord holds the pants in place for a little while when you roll them up.

Best Applications


These pants are ideally suited for any hiking or backpacking, especially when you want protection from the sun in hot climates. They are also a great choice for travel as they are very comfortable and light. They work great for flexibility in a climbing session, but the thinner material is not the most durable.

Value


Retailing for $80, these pants are a good value. You are getting what we deem to be the best pants available, and if top performance is your top priority, then we think you will be happy with them. Our only concern is how well they hold up down the road. We suspect that we might find ourselves swapping them out sooner than some other thicker models.

This really solid pair of pants will keep you moving at a competitive price.
This really solid pair of pants will keep you moving at a competitive price.

Conclusion


The Outdoor Research Ferrosi is the highest performing technical hiking pant that we have tested, and is a very worthy recipient of our Editors' Choice Award for best overall. These pants are supremely mobile, very comfortable, and highly breathable. Whether you are out on a day hike or a multi-week adventure, they will keep you cool and comfortable while on the move.


Andy Wellman & Ben Applebaum-Bauch