Columbia Rebel Roamer Review
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Columbia Rebel Roamer
|Price||$38.49 at Backcountry|
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|$77.97 at Backcountry|
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$59.96 at Backcountry
|Pros||Best inexpensive pant, above average durability, excellent storm-worthiness||Lightweight, stormworthy, quiet fabric, good breathability, 3/4 length side zips, effective elastic cuffs||Mega stretchy fabric, best breathability in the review||Ultralight, super compact, good mobility, extremely comfortable elastic waistband, stows nicely in a reversible pocket||Fantastic price, very light, impressively small compact volume, solid storm protection, respectable breathability|
|Cons||No pockets, low breathability and ventilation, not easy to put on without removing footwear||No zip fly, one marginally useful pocket||Not quite as abrasion resistant as other models, so-so weather-resistance||Lower durability, feels clammy, hard to pull on over most boots||Not as breathable as other models, not as durable or as long-lasting, no ventilation options|
|Bottom Line||A killer pant for the price, offering better than expected feel and weather resistance||Highly protective pants that are light and compact for tucking away in your backpack||A fantastic all-around pant with rad stretchy fabric that offers exceptional freedom of movement and the best breathability||Hard to beat for any trip where weight and packed space are at a premium||A simple, lightweight, and compact rain pant that excels at a range of outdoor activies at a price that's tough to beat|
|Rating Categories||Columbia Rebel Roamer||Outdoor Research Fo...||Mountain Hardwear S...||Outdoor Research He...||Marmot PreCip Eco Pant|
|Water Resistance (25%)|
|Comfort and Mobility (20%)|
|Breathability and Venting (20%)|
|Packed Size (10%)|
|Specs||Columbia Rebel Roamer||Outdoor Research Fo...||Mountain Hardwear S...||Outdoor Research He...||Marmot PreCip Eco Pant|
|Measured Weight||12.5 oz||10.2 oz||10 oz||6.5 oz||8.5 oz|
|Waterproof Fabric Material||Omni-Tech Waterproof/Breathable||2L Gore-Tex with PacLite Technology||2.5L Dry.Q Stretch Ripstop||2.5L Pertex Shield Diamond Fuse||NanoPro Eco|
|Face Fabric and Layer Construction||70D 100% nylon||100% polyester 50D||100% recycled polyester||30D 100% nylon ripstop||100% recycled nylon ripstop|
|Side Zips Length||None||3/4 length||3/4 length||1/4 length ankle zips||1/4 length|
|Put On Over Hiking or Mountaineering Boots||No||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
|Stows Into Pocket||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Waistband Closure||Elastic + shock cord||Elastic + shock cord||Nylon Belt + Elastic Band||Elastic with drawcord||Elastic + shock cord|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Columbia Rebel Roamer is, simply put, the best-performing rain pant for the least amount of money. This very functional rain pant makes a few concessions regarding breathability, features, and tear-resistance, but it offers a similar level of water resistance and comfort as many of the premium options. The Rebel Roamer is lightweight and compact, a boon for hikers and backpackers.
The Rebel Roamer provided exceptional weather resistance and kept our testers dry in our side-by-side garden hose and shower tests, as well as in real-world use on soggy day hikes and backpacking trips. The DWR held up far better than we expected and is comparable to several more expensive pants in our fleet.
Compared to other similarly-priced contenders, the Rebel Roamer is incredible. It offers some of the best weather resistance of any rain pant in its price range.
Comfort and Mobility
These pants are pretty darn comfortable. The waistband has a low profile, allowing a backpack's waist belt to be worn over the top with minimal pinching. The Rebel Roamer's shock cord and cinching toggle did not interfere or bother us while hiking or wearing a pack; it functioned as intended and did a fine job of preventing our pants from inching down.
The internal fabric was comfortable against our bare skin, and the wider cut (and overall design) gave the Rebel Roamer a bit more mobility. This pant crushes most others in its price range. It's worth mentioning that the Rebel Roamer is a little baggier than average, though most of our testers didn't find the issue to be significant.
Breathability and Ventilation
Overall, these pants lacked breathability and were likely the least breathable contender that we tested. They did not feature any ventilation options. The Rebel Roamer performed poorly here comparatively, even with the other models having their vents zipped completely closed.
However, for a just-in-case rain pant, or for someone saving their pennies, they will work fine. In fact, we wore them on three resort ski days, where their minimal breathability didn't prove to be a big issue.
The Rebel Roamer clocks in at a respectable 12.5 ounces on our scales, weighing less than several of the more expensive models. Despite a relatively heavy construction style, it achieves this low weight by not offering many features (like pockets) or zippers of any kind.
This competitor offers a surprisingly decent packed size, especially considering its durability and price point. Overall, they are smaller than average and are more compact than many of the more expensive (though more featured) options.
There aren't a lot of "extra" features on the Rebel Roamer - this pant is as basic as it gets. There are no pockets or side zippers (not even short ankle length zippers). The only true extra feature is the Velcro pant tighteners/closures on the lower cuffs of the pant, which help seal out snow or other debris. Despite this relatively basic feature, our testers found it performed surprisingly well during snow-based adventures.
The Rebel Roamer is the most basic pant we tested. It doesn't have any side zippers (even 1/4 length ankle zippers), though we found it wasn't difficult to pull the pants over lower profile shoes like trail runners or light hiking shoes; this is due to the Roamer's looser fit and slick internal fabric. When pulling over medium to large volume footwear, like more traditional hiking boots, we had to remove our boots in order to put these pants on and visa-versa.
Despite weighing in on the lighter side, this contender is durable; in fact, the Rebel Roamer is one of the more abrasion-resistant pants in this review. We would easily ski in these pants and use them on trips with off-trail travel.
Should You Buy the Columbia Rebel Roamer?
A spin on the old mantra of "There are better pants, and there are cheaper pants, but there are no better, cheaper pants" stands. If you are willing to spend a little more, you can buy a slightly lighter pant that will breathe better and will have more features (like pockets). We believe the Rebel Roamer is the best pair of rain pants you can buy in this price range. They're basic with minimal features, and it's hard to pull them on over hiking boots, but they are quite protective, durable, and versatile for everything from backpacking to skiing. These are a no-brainer if you need an occasional rain pant or just don't want to drop a wad of cash on something you'll wear infrequently.
What Other Rain Pants Should You Consider?
If you like these pants but wish they had a few more features, we'd recommend giving the Marmot PreCip Eco Pants a look, as they are similar in versatility and durability but with more features, like 1/4-length side zips, pockets, and better breathability. Our favorite overall pant is the Outdoor Research Foray, offering incredible weather resistance and comfort and a small packed size. For the smallest pack size and weight, take a look at the Outdoor Research Helium Pants.
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