Hands-on Gear Review

Columbia Saturday Trail Stretch - Women's Review

A lightweight and comfortable pair that won't break your budget.
Columbia Saturday Trail Stretch
By: Cam McKenzie Ring ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 15, 2016
Price:  $60 List  |  $55.87 at Amazon - 7% Off
Pros:  Lightweight, easy to move in, breathable.
Cons:  Material pills, front pockets are small.
Manufacturer:   Columbia
75
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 12
  • Comfort/Mobility - 30% 9
  • Versatility - 15% 7
  • Durability - 15% 5
  • Weather Resistance - 15% 7
  • Features/Conveniences - 15% 6
  • Breathability - 10% 10
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  • 5
Best Buy Award

Our Verdict

The Columbia Saturday Trail Stretch is a comfortable, breathable, and affordable pair of hiking pants. They don't convert into shorts or have the best weather resistance, but they do work well for single or multi-day hikes in warmer weather, without feeling overpriced. With some models selling for $90 and up, it's nice to know that you can still buy a great pair of hiking pants for only $60, and for this, we've given them our Best Buy award. If you're looking for something that convert into shorts, then our Editors' Choice winner, the Marmot Lobo's Convertible Pant, was our favorite of the bunch. We also liked the Prana Halle for rock climbing and bouldering. For an extra $5, you can get this pant in a convertible version that zips off into 10" shorts.


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Our Analysis and Test Results

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Columbia Saturday Trail Stretch are made with a 96% Nylon/4% Elastane blend (Columbia's "Omni-Shield Summiteer Lite"). It has the "Omni Shield" water and stain repellent treatment, and a UPF 50+ rating. These pants are available in three inseam lengths (Short 29.5", Regular 32", and Long 34.5"), and convert to a 24" crop. They come in sizes 2-16, however, the cut is tailored and the sizing runs small, so we had to order up a size to get a good fit. These pants come in Grill, Fossil, Black and Cypress colors.

Performance Comparison


Our Best Buy award winner is lightweight  breathable  and easy to move in. Best of all  it's affordable!
Our Best Buy award winner is lightweight, breathable, and easy to move in. Best of all, it's affordable!

Comfort & Mobility


When it comes to comfort, it doesn't get much better than these pants. Only the Mountain Hardwear Dynama pant was more comfortable and easy to move it. The soft fabric feels great when hiking or sitting, and it moves with you, offering great mobility. The articulated knees make taking big steps easier, which is helpful because the cut of the leg is fairly tapered. The inner waistband is made of the same soft material as the rest of the pant, which feels nice under a hip belt or even a rockclimbing harness.


It also sits at the perfect height (in our opinion) for wearing a hip belt: right at our hips. Too high and the waist can bunch under the hip belt and feel uncomfortable, too low and the hip belt pushes your pants down all day. This one gets it just right. There is no internal drawstring though, so if the waist is a little large on you, you might have to wear a belt with it, which is not ideal in our opinion. We also noticed a bit of stretch as the day went on, so if they start out a little loose on you, you may want to throw in a belt just in case.

Articulated knees and stretchy material let you hike with ease in this pair.
Articulated knees and stretchy material let you hike with ease in this pair.

Versatility


While these pants are not quite as versatile by nature as a convertible zip-off pair, they can be used for a variety of outdoor adventures. They are lightweight enough for warm weather hikes, and if you buy them even another size up, could accommodate a baselayer underneath thanks to the stretchy fabric.


They don't scream "hiking pant" in their styling like a zip-off pair does, and would be fine to wear to dinner or the pub after a day in the mountains. They'd even work ok for water sports where you hopefully won't be getting too wet, as they do offer some water resistance.

The legs roll up and secure at a crop level.
The legs roll up and secure at a crop level.

Breathability


This pant was one of the most breathable models that we tested.


This pair's mesh-lined pockets help with air-flow, and the thin material vented well. While they don't convert into shorts, you can roll them up to a crop on hot days. This pair is a great choice for summer hikes in tick-prone areas where you need to wear long pants, but don't actually want to.

These lightweight pants breathe well - we stayed cool even on a hot day in the desert.
These lightweight pants breathe well - we stayed cool even on a hot day in the desert.

Durability


Unfortunately, Durability was one area where we felt this pant was not on par with the other models in this review. The soft, comfortable material is prone to pilling in high friction areas like between the thighs and on the rear.


Also, the front snap is very tight and hard to undo, requiring a substantial force be applied to the thin material. We worry that this will cause a tear over time if the snap doesn't loosen up, though we didn't have any issues with that during the course of the review, and we snapped and unsnapped those buttons a lot. Look to the Marmot Lobo's or The North Face Paramount 2.0s if you are preparing for a long thru-hike and need something that can go for a thousand miles or so without breaking down.

This material pilled a bit in high wear areas  and the front snaps are so tight that we worry about tearing the waistband when unsnapping them.
This material pilled a bit in high wear areas, and the front snaps are so tight that we worry about tearing the waistband when unsnapping them.

Weather Resistance


While water beads up initially on these pants, it is much quicker to saturate through than on the Marmot Lobo's or The North Face Paramount Convertible 2.0. This pant will handle a light drizzle, but if it starts raining in earnest you'll want to put a pair of rain pants on over them.


Once wet, they took longer to dry than the Lobo's or Paramount 2.0s, but not nearly as long as the cotton Kuhl Splash Roll Up Pant. The thin material also lets the wind pass right through, which is nice from a breathability perspective but not so great on a blustery day. The material has a UPF 50+ rating, which means that only 1/50th of the sun rays will penetrate the fabric. This is a welcomed feature on a pant that is designed to be breathable and worn in the summer months. If you're looking for a pant for cooler weather Spring and Fall hikes where you may encounter a lot of moisture, check out our Top Pick for Wet Weather, the Arc'teryx Gamma LT.

The water repellent treatment made water bead up on the surface of these pants  but they eventually wet through and took longer to dry than some other models.
The water repellent treatment made water bead up on the surface of these pants, but they eventually wet through and took longer to dry than some other models.

Features


These pants initially seem like a no-frills model, but do have a few features that we really liked.


The side zip-up pocket is a welcomed feature, as it gives you a place to stash your keys or ID without having to worry about losing them. It can just barely accommodate a smaller cellphone as well. The mesh-lined front pockets feel comfortable on a hot day, but are a little on the small side, and whatever you put in there might pop out when you squat down.

The front pockets are on the smaller side  and you'll want to be careful what you keep in there as it might pop out when you squat down.
The side zippered pocket is a great feature for securing valuables  and will even hold a phone or small camera.

The crop roll-up tabs tuck up into a little pocket to snap on. It's not too difficult to finagle and adds a nice style touch. There are also two back pockets that fasten with Velcro tabs.

This unique method of securing the pants is attractive  if a little finky to secure and undo afterward.
This unique method of securing the pants is attractive, if a little finky to secure and undo afterward.

Best Applications


The Columbia Saturday Trail Stretch pant is best used for day hikes or backpacking in warmer months. They breathe well but are not very warm, so if you plan to take them into the backcountry at elevation where the nights get cool, you'll want to be sure you can fit a base layer underneath them. They do repel a light rain but are not as water resistant or quick to dry as some other models, so keep that in mind before plunging into a cold lake with them on. If you're looking for something different in your next pair of hiking "pants," you could also consider our Top Pick for Trail Running, The North Face Hybrid Hiker Tights.

Heading out on the Arizona Trail in our Best Buy winner. These lightweight pants are great for warm weather hiking trips or travelling.
Heading out on the Arizona Trail in our Best Buy winner. These lightweight pants are great for warm weather hiking trips or travelling.

Value


Having given this pant our Best Buy award, we obviously feel like it is a good value. Oftentimes, lower priced models sacrifice performance or features for cost, and don't end up scoring well in our tests. Not so with the Saturday Trails. While they don't quite have the same technical features as our Editors' Choice winner, the Marmot Lobo's, they are $20 less, which could be a pretty good trade-off depending on your objective. If you don't care for a zip-off leg feature and prize breathability over water resistance, then this model is a great buy.

Conclusion


Our Best Buy award winner is a great addition to anyone's outdoor apparel closet. The Columbia Saturday Trail Stretch pants look great on, and even better, are comfortable enough for all-day wear. The stretchy material moves with your body and provides little resistance, and the good breathability prevents you from getting too sweaty on a hot day. They offer some water resistance and have a few well-thought-out features. They are not the most durable pair that we tested, but are certainly the most affordable and ranked high enough in other categories to be well-deserving of our Best Buy award.

Cam McKenzie Ring

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