The Columbia Saturday Trail Stretch is a comfortable, breathable, and affordable pair of hiking pants. They don't convert into shorts, 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. Although this pant did not win our Best Buy Award, (that went to the slightly more expensive REI Co-op Sahara), it is still an excellent pant for those on a budget. For the extra money in the REI Sahara, you get a pair of pants and shorts in one and higher performance overall. That said, the Saturday Trail Stretch is also available as a convertible pant.
Columbia Saturday Trail Stretch - Women's Review
Compare prices at 4 resellers Pros: Lightweight, easy to move in, breathable
Cons: Material pills, front pockets are small, sizing is off
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Columbia Saturday Trail Stretch features 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. We measured the regular at more of a 30" than 32", so sizing may be inconsistent. They come in sizes 2-16, but the cut is close-fitting, and the sizing runs small, so consider sizing up.
Comfort & Mobility
Pants and clothing are already subjective, and the fit of the Columbia Saturday Trail Stretch is no exception. Our primary tester has an athletic build, is tall, and lacks curves. The Trail Stretch's fit excessively awkwardly, with material bunching around the crotch and squeezing tightly on the thighs and butt. However, many pear-shaped women swear by these pants, so if you have a curvier body with wider hips and thinner legs, these are well worth a look.
When it comes to comfort, the Saturday Trail Stretch landed in the more mobile realm (despite the poor fit on our lead tester). The the Mountain Hardwear Dynama is more comfortable and easy to move in. The soft fabric feels great when hiking or sitting, and it moves with you, offering high mobility. Even though these pants felt tight around the thigh, we had no problems scrambling up steep sandstone. The articulated knees make taking big steps easier, which is helpful because the cut of the leg is reasonably tapered. The inner waistband is the same soft material as the rest of the pant, which feels nice under a hip belt or even a rock climbing 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 are a little loose on you, you may want to throw in a belt just in case.
The pant's inseam is certainly not as advertised, and the shorter legs, awkward bagginess on top, and tightness in the legs meant our tall tester struggled to feel good when wearing these pants. We couldn't wait to get them off. Sure, we could still step high, but this pant suits a specific body type.
While these pants are not quite as versatile by nature as a convertible zip-off pair, you can use them for a variety of outdoor adventures. They are lightweight enough for warm weather hikes, but the tight thighs made wearing a base layer underneath uncomfortable.
They don't scream "hiking pants" in their styling like a zip-off pair does, and are 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. However, compared to other pants, such as the The North Face Hybrid Hiker Tights and the Outdoor Research Ferrosi, offer far more versatile options across the board.
Unfortunately, durability is one area where we feel that this pant is not on par with some of 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. We found that the pant did well on rough sandstone, but we could see the stitching straining under the awkward fit.
Also, the front snap is very tight and hard to undo, requiring a substantial force each time. Since the material is so thin, we worry that this will cause a tear over time if the snap doesn't loosen up. Look to the Marmot Lobo's or Outdoor Research Ferrosi if you are preparing for a long thru-hike and need something that can go for a thousand miles or so without breaking down.
These pants out-performed everyone in the weather resistance category except for the REI Co-op Sahara and the Acr'teryx Gamma LT. Water falls away on these pants, so much so it never soaked in, even after having the water sit for 30 minutes.The thin material also lets the wind pass right through, which is helpful from a breathability perspective but not so great on a blustery day. The fabric has a UPF 50+ rating, which means that only 1/50th of the sun's rays will penetrate the fabric. This feature is welcome 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.
These pants could use an overhaul on their features. With much more robust models, like the REI Co-op Sahara and The North Face Utility Hybrid Hiker paving the way for what a hiking pant can provide, the Saturday Trail Stretch pants fell a little short.The zip-up side pocket is a nice thought, but it can't handle anything more than an ID and some lip balm. None of the pockets provided any place to stash a phone, and the rear pockets were rendered useless by the tight fit. There is one tiny zippered hand pocket, but we aren't quite sure why, since it couldn't even fit a car key.
The crop roll-up tabs tuck up into a little pocket to snap up. Again, it's a great thought, but it's nearly impossible to snap them up without fiddling with everything. More than once we thought that we had snapped the pants up, only to find that it came undone a few steps later.
This pant is one of the most breathable models that we tested. It was almost too breathable and became quite cold in a hurry with a cold breeze. Since we couldn't comfortably wear a base layer underneath, we wouldn't recommend these pants for cold weather.
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 an excellent choice for summer hikes in tick-prone areas where you need to wear long pants, but don't want to, and for those who want extra coverage from the sun but don't want to overheat.
The Columbia Saturday Trail Stretch pant is best 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 (sizing up may help with this). They repel water exceptionally well, and would be ideal in hot climates where you are dealing with water but want full pant protection.
Although these pants are well-priced, we don't feel you get quite as much bang for your buck as you do with our Best Buy Winner, REI Co-Op Sahara Convertible. Often, lower priced models sacrifice performance or features for cost, and don't end up scoring well in our tests, which is what we saw happen with the Saturday Trails. While they don't quite have the same technical features as other pants in our lineup, they are still a great budget buy. If you don't care for a zip-off leg feature and prize breathability over water resistance, then this model is a great buy.
These trousers are a great addition to an outdoor apparel closet. The Columbia Saturday Trail Stretch pants are for the curvier woman, and they 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 great water resistance but lack the features of other pants. They are not the most durable pair that we tested, but are certainly the most affordable.
— Meg Atteberry & Cam McKenzie Ring