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REI Co-op Screeline Review

A loose fitting and durable hiking or outdoor pant, ideal for warm climates
REI Co-op Screeline
Credit: REI
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Price:  $80 List
Pros:  Lots of ventilation, loose and stretchy fit, affordable
Cons:  Reinforced nylon panels not water resistant, fewer pockets than most hiking pants
Manufacturer:   REI
By Andy Wellman ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 17, 2017
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  • Comfort and Mobility - 35% 7.0
  • Venting and Breathability - 20% 9.0
  • Versatility - 15% 7.0
  • Water Resistance - 15% 5.0
  • Features - 15% 5.0

Our Verdict

REI no longer makes this version of the Screeline.

The REI Co-op Screeline us a durable, looser fitting, and highly stretchy hiking pant that performs well in a wide variety of outdoor activities. Besides day hikes, we also took them rock climbing, camping, and while doing outdoor work around the house. In every instance, they exceeded our expectations. One of this model's best attributes is its large mesh ventilation gaps in the pockets and at the backs of the knees. On the downside, their entirely synthetic material is not super comfortable against the skin, and the stronger 100% nylon panels over the knees, butt, and lower legs soaked through quickly 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.

Our Analysis and Test Results

The REI Co-op Screeline is made out of two different fabrics. In the areas that typically move and require more stretch, like the pelvis, inside of the legs, and back of the hamstrings, these pants feature a blend of 88% nylon and 12% spandex, a higher-than-average stretch blend. This construction combines 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.

The compromise here is that while the stretchy nylon is highly 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 soaked through in a matter of seconds during our testing. This pant also comes with fewer useful pockets and features than nearly every other competitor. Though there are things that we like, there are also aspects that hold this pant back from the top.

Performance Comparison

REI Co-op Screeline hiking pants - the screeline were the most well-ventilated pant in our review, and...
The Screeline were the most well-ventilated pant in our review, and we especially liked them for their relaxed fit that allowed us great range of motion.

Comfort and Mobility

These pants have an excellent fit and offer a high degree of mobility. However, the completely synthetic fabric was not exceptionally comfortable against the skin. Except for the Fjallraven Vidda Pro, they had the most spacious fit of any hiking pants 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 hyper-mobile.

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 wasn't very smooth or soft. Instead, we found it to be rough and at times, itchy. The result was that this pant landed roughly in the middle of the pack in this metric.

REI Co-op Screeline hiking pants - this is a shot of the inside of the leg of the screeline. the middle...
This is a shot of the inside of the leg of the Screeline. The middle panel of fabric is very stretchy fabric that greatly helps with the mobility of these pants, while the panels on the inside and outside are 100% nylon that is more durable. These pants have a decidedly relaxed fit.

Venting and Breathability

We think that this pant does 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 seems to promote airflow better, while the huge mesh vents behind the knees work nicely to allow hot air to escape and fresh air to penetrate the sweaty interior. Mesh also lines the two front hand pockets, a single rear pocket, and a single right side stash pocket. Even the thin and light Patagonia Quandary pants don't feel as cool while hiking as these pants do, so if hiking in pants in hot or steamy weather is in your itinerary, this would be one of the first pants we would check out.

REI Co-op Screeline hiking pants - these large mesh vents on the back of the knees of the screeline...
These large mesh vents on the back of the knees of the Screeline were very effective at allowing for air flow within the pant, helping to make this the most ventilated pant in our review.


We think this pant has limitations due to its poor performance in our water resistance tests as well as its limited pocket offerings. 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 and are durable enough for work, climbing, or lots of camping. Overall they were a pretty versatile pant, similar to the super durable Fjallraven Vidda Pro.

REI Co-op Screeline hiking pants - despite being one of the more breathable and well ventilated pants...
Despite being one of the more breathable and well ventilated pants in this review, the Screeline were also a pretty good choice for cold weather, as we discovered here in a frigid wind at Paulina Lake, OR.

Water Resistance

When it comes 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 coating, allowing water to bead up and run off, with minimal absorption taking place. On the other hand, the more durable nylon panels in the seat, knees, and lower legs don't seem to be water resistant whatsoever, are highly absorbent, and soaked through instantly. This fabric performed worse than the cotton fabrics found on the Mountain Hardwear Men's Hardwear AP Pant as well as the KUHL Kontra Air. Perhaps the DWR coating washed off in these sections in the few months that we used them, but either way, this still presents a problem, and all the pants tested at the same time, after a very similar amount of wear and usage.

REI Co-op Screeline hiking pants - immediately after the shower test, you can see how the stretchy...
Immediately after the shower test, you can see how the stretchy nylon has an awesome DWR coating where the water is beading up without soaking in. On the other hand, the darker panel on the right is the 100% nylon that is soaked all the way through.


Another slightly disappointing aspect of this promising pant was the comparative 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 feel that the plastic snap button for the front of the waist seems a bit cheap for an expensive hiking pant, and think this could upgrade easily with a standard metal button and hole.

REI Co-op Screeline hiking pants - this included belt was one of the nice features on the screeline...
This included belt was one of the nice features on the Screeline, enabling us to more comfortably carry a pack, without using a regular belt. That said, the webbing running through this grey plastic buckle often loosened up easily by itself.

Best Applications

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 wouldn't choose this model if we knew we were going to get wet, but it excels in drier climates. We think it looks nice enough to wear around town and is also a good choice for work or climbing.

REI Co-op Screeline hiking pants - hiking pants should stretch across multiple areas of outdoor...
Hiking pants should stretch across multiple areas of outdoor recreation -- hiking, backpacking, or simply scrambling around on the rocks, as we are here at Sparks Lake, OR.


These pants retail for $80. Since we think they are a solid and durable pant and have REI's return policy behind them, they represent a pretty good value.

REI Co-op Screeline hiking pants - testing hiking pants on a beautiful day hike around sparks lake...
Testing hiking pants on a beautiful day hike around Sparks Lake, Oregon Cascades with South Sister in the background.


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 several laudable strengths, it also comes with a few annoying flaws, and so was right about average in our overall comparative ratings.

Andy Wellman
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