The REI Co-op Screeline are a durable, looser fitting, and highly stretchy hiking pant that served us well for nearly all outdoor activities. Besides day hikes, we also used them rock climbing, camping, and performing outdoor chores around the house, and thought they exceeded expectations every time. Their best attribute is the large mesh ventilation gaps in the backs of the knees and every pocket that make them, in our testing, the most ventilated and coolest hiking pants in this review. On the downside, their entirely synthetic construction was not super comfortable against the skin, and the stronger 100% nylon panels over the knees, butt, and lower legs soaked through quicker than a towel in the rain. They were not among the top scorers in this review, but we think they are a solid pant for hiking, and recommend checking them out, especially if you appreciate a looser fit.
REI Co-op Screeline Review
Cons: Reinforced nylon panels not water resistant, fewer pockets than most hiking pants
#9 of 13
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The REI Co-op Screeline is the only pant in this review to be made out of two different types of fabric. In the areas that typically need to move, like the pelvis, inside of the legs, and back of the hamstrings, these pants feature a very stretchy blend of 88% nylon and 12% spandex, the highest ratio of stretchy fibers in any model in this review. This is mixed with 100% nylon panels in areas that experience high wear, like the butt, knees, and lower legs. In our testing it seemed that combining these two fabrics was a good idea, providing a perfect solution to the necessities of an outdoor pant — mobility and durability.
However, we also discovered an annoying compromise in the fact that while the stretchy nylon was very water resistant, the 100% nylon panels on the knees and butt retained virtually none of their water repellency after a couple of washings and some normal wear, and wetted through entirely in a matter of seconds during our testing. This pant also came with fewer useful pockets and features than nearly every other competitor, so while there were things that we liked, there were also aspects that held this pant back.
Comfort and Mobility
When assessing for comfort and mobility, we noticed that these pants had a perfect fit and excellent mobility. However, the completely synthetic fabric was not exceptionally comfortable against our skin. With the exception of the Fjallraven Vidda Pro, they had the most spacious fit of any hiking pant in this review, but stopped short of what we would call baggy. They also had large panels of the stretchiest material in all the right places, making them hypermobile.
On the other hand, much like we found with the synthetic fibers that make up the Arc'teryx Perimeter Pant or The North Face Paramount 3.0, the material simply wasn't very smooth or soft against our skin. Instead, we found it to be rough and at times itchy. The result was that this pant landed roughly in the middle of this metric, 7 out of 10.
Venting and Breathability
We thought that this pant did a better job than any other at keeping us cool while working up a sweat on an uphill run in the sun. While the KUHL Kontra Air featured more ventilation locations and a lighter fabric, the more spacious fit of the Screeline seemed to promote airflow better, while the huge meshed vents behind the knees worked nicely to allow hot air to escape and cool air to infiltrate the sweaty interior. Mesh also lined the two front hand pockets, single rear pocket, and single right side stash pocket. Even the thin and light Patagonia Quandary pants didn't feel as cool while hiking as these, so if hiking in pants in hot or steamy weather is in your future, this would be one of the first pants we would check out. 9 out of 10 points.
When considering versatility, we think this pant is somewhat limited by its poor performance in our water resistance tests and its few pockets. Obviously, it is a good choice for hot weather, and we thought it also did an equally good job in cool and dry weather, better than the KUHL Kontra Air. We also liked how its included integrated waist belt allowed us to hike with a pack on without needing the extra bulk of our belt. These pants look good enough to wear around town if need be, and are durable enough for working, climbing, or lots of camping. Overall they were a pretty versatile pant, similar to the super durable Fjallraven Vidda Pro.
When it came to water resistance, the performance of the Screeline was a tale of two fabrics. The stretchy main fabric found in the pelvis and upper legs proved to have an awesome DWR component, forcing water to bead up instantly and drip off, with minimal absorption taking place. On the other hand, the more durable nylon panels in the seat, knees, and lower legs didn't seem to be water resistant whatsoever, were highly absorbent, and soaked through pretty much instantly. This fabric performed equal to or worse in our testing than the cotton fabrics found on the Mountain Hardwear Men's Hardwear AP Pant as well as the KUHL Kontra Air. Of course, we admit that perhaps these pants did have DWR coating in these panels that had simply washed off in the few months we used them, but either way, this still presents a problem, and all the pants were tested at the same time, after a very similar amount of wear and usage. We couldn't give these pants more than 5 out of 10 for this metric.
Another slightly disappointing aspect of this promising pant was the relative lack of functional features and pockets. We liked that it came with an integrated flat webbing belt and plastic buckle, much like The North Face Paramount 3.0, but found that the buckle didn't stay super tight on its own. We also wish that this pant had more than the two hand pockets, one single rear pocket, and one zippered stash pocket on the side of the right leg that was smaller than the ones found on every other pant with a similar design, such as the Arc'teryx Perimeter or Patagonia Quandary. Lastly, we felt that the plastic snap button for the front of the waist seemed a bit cheap for an expensive hiking pant, and thought this could have been easily upgraded with a standard metal button and hole. We gave this pant 5 out of 10 for features.
The Screeline is a solid and durable hiking pant that is a great choice for hot weather and also handles a cool wind nicely. We would avoid wearing it when we knew we were going to get wet so that it will thrive in drier climates. We thought it looked nice enough to wear around town and was also a good choice for working or climbing in.
These pants retail for $80, the same amount as the most affordable pants in our review. Since we think they are a solid and durable pant and are backed by REI's return policy, they represent a pretty good value.
The REI Co-op Screeline is a loose fitting hiking pant that offers better ventilation than any other pant in our review, making it an excellent choice for hiking or traveling in hot climates. At the same time, it was a disappointment when it came to water resistance, limiting its use to dry climates or seasons. While it has a number of laudable strengths, it also comes with a few annoying flaws, and so was right about average in our comparative overall ratings.
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Most recent review: November 17, 2017
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