Marmot Kodachrome Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
These are high-performing day hikers with classic good looks. They still look like hiking pants, but cool ones. They fend off splashes with their durable water repellant (DWR) finish and dry quickly after a soaking rain. Their lightweight, breathability, and sun protection make them an excellent choice for hot day hikes with little shade, though they can carry you through a range of cool to warm weather adventures. But they don't offer our favorite fit and lack an internal drawstring to adjust it. They also have sub-par pockets. Marmot makes the Kodachrome in plus sizes and has a convertible, zip-off version.
Comfortable and Mobility
These pants are comfortable. With a gusseted crotch, articulated knees, and all-day fabric stretch, they don't hinder your movements very often. The waistband is a small exception. It doesn't stretch. Its generous cut usually makes up for it, but not always. These pants can bind into your belly while gapping in the back when sitting at your desk.
These pants have a touch of that age-old problem for many active women. The thighs are a little tight, and the waist is a bit loose. It's subtle, and they don't slide down your very easily. The high rise in the back of the pants drops to a mid-rise in the front. This gives them an everyday aesthetic in the front but helps hold the waist up in the back. A light, fleecy, moisture-wicking material lines the waistband. It feels lovely against the skin.
If you do go with these pants, you'll want some extra room around the middle for natural weight fluctuations. Online reviews praise the fit in many instances, so they work well enough for many women, including us, but we find other options more comfortable.
Venting and Breathability
The lightweight nylon fabric with a hint of elastane rolls up easily. Internal tabs and external clips hold the rolls in place about halfway up your calf. That delicious direct airflow makes a big difference on hot days while keeping most of your leg protected from the sun. They breathe well, too, among the best in the test. They are well-suited to hot weather and strenuous adventures where you'd like to keep your legs covered.
These pants have a PFC-free durable water repellant (DWR), which slows down the soak-through process in the rain. It doesn't buy you much time, though. The water beads up for a moment before the fabric starts absorbing it. In our shower test, the pants were pretty good and soaked in two minutes. They still feel light and comfortable when wet and don't settle down too far on your hips due to increased weight. It's also nice to be able to roll the wet pants up and secure them off your ankles. Without the straps, wet pants tend to roll back down, swamping your ankles. The pants are UPF 50. Since they breathe so well, this makes them excellent sun protection on hot, exposed hikes. Wind doesn't just rip right through them, but they don't do as well in cold weather. The thin fabric lets the chill in quickly.
Aside from the tabs to secure rolled hems, these pants are pretty straightforward. They don't have an internal drawstring to adjust the waist size. We wish the waistband was stretchy and that they did include an adjustment option since weight fluctuations are frequent when traveling or exercising. They do have belt loops, so you could add a low profile and stretchy belt if needed.
The pockets leave a lot to be desired. The thigh pocket on the right side can fit a phone, but the thin fabric doesn't do much to cushion it. It's not the most comfortable way to haul stuff around, though a small map is less annoying. The front hand pockets are too small for hands and too insecure for much else. The back pockets are also undersized, though a second zippered pocket layered on the right side is handy for a key or credit card.
On the trail, these pants work well for warm weather and strenuous hikes, and they can handle some bushwhacking and rock abrasion. They do let the chill through when temperatures dip in the early spring and late fall and will need long underwear to get you through frigid days. They are loose enough to fend bugs off in most circumstances, though the thin fabric is easy to bite through.
These pants don't master street style. Though they look fine and work in a casual office environment, we don't feel that put together in them. They're long for average heights and extra fabric bunches around the articulated knees. The effect is slightly sloppy.
These pants aren't a steal, but they're a decent value given their durable construction, their reliable performance on the trail, and their acceptable street style. There are also your values to consider. The DWR treatment on these pants is free of perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), which can be harmful to you and the environment.
The Marmot Kodachrome pants move with you, feeling light and effortless on the trail and keeping you cool and collected as the temperatures or elevations rise. But the rigid waistband without a drawstring means you'll need a belt to deal with any on-trail weight-loss, which is pretty standard on a longer trek. So these are best for daily or shorter-term adventures.
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