A lightweight softshell pant, the Simple Guide is heavier and less breathable than other hiking pants in this review, but in turn are more suitable to alpine rock climbing or spring ski touring. This pair would make the best cool weather hiking pant.
Hiking in Yosemite in the Patagonia Simple Guide Pants. These pants are stretchy and comfortable, though thicker and heavier than other models.
Comfort & Fit
Even though they are slightly thicker than other pants in this review, the Simple Guide Pants are extremely comfortable to hike in. The pants have a slim fit, being form fitting around the rear and thigh, which makes them flattering and particularly comfortable. The spandex included in the matarial makes the pants conform to fit to your body.
These pants are made out of 100% recycled polyester, and breathe decently well and even though they have no convertible features built in. They can still be rolled up at the cuffs for more temperature regulation while hiking or climbing. Lighter weight options such as the ExOfficio Nomad Roll-Up Pant - Women's or zip-off pants like The North Face Paramount II Convertible will offer more ventilation.
These pants protect against the elements with a water-resistant DWR treatment. They will get wet in a downpour but they dry quickly, which a huge plus.
The Simple Guide Pant has one zippered rear pocket, two zippered hand pockets, and one thigh pocket. The zippered thigh pocket is well placed for use with a pack waist belt or a climbing harness. If you are planning a long backpacking trip, these would not be the most ideal pants. Though they are comfortable and easy to move in, they have no convertible features like other pants in this review, and no waist adjustment for on-the-go changes after wearing for multiple days in a row.
The Patagonia Simple Guide Pants are amazingly stretchy and comfortable and move well with you while hiking. They are gusseted under the legs, have articulated knees, and constructed with 9 percent spandex, making them very flexible and moveable pants. These same features are what makes them ideal for rock climbing, particularly alpine climbing. Lengthy multi-pitch routes typically involve a long-ish hike to the climb, which demands a pant that is comfortable to hike in as well as climb in, and these pants fit the bill.
The Simple Guide pants are best used on long climbing approaches, short spring ski tours, or hikes that involve a lot of scrambling. Since they are the stretchiest and easiest to move in, they also are the best for climbing. They make the best pants for an adventure that involves more than simply hiking, but are not the best choice for a backpacker. Those wanting to do multi-day hikes will be more comfortable in something like the Columbia PFG Aruba Convertible Pant - Women's
The Simple Guide Pants are on the upper end of the price spectrum for hiking pants, but they are very cleverly constructed and comfortable. For a softshell pant, they are a great deal. Since Patagonia offers a reliable satisfaction guarantee, buying these is virtually risk free.