REI Co-op Savanna Trails - Women's Review
Cons: Lacks structure, can feel flimsy, waist is too big
Manufacturer: REI Co-op
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REI Co-op Savanna Trails - Women's
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|Pros||Functional pockets, soft and stretchy fabric, great ankle drawstring||Mobile, wide range of fit options, shed water easily, excellent pockets||Incredibly light, soft with endless stretch, breathable, DWR finish||Lightweight, breathable, comfortable, flat waistband with a drawstring||Lightweight, easy to move in, breathable|
|Cons||Lacks structure, can feel flimsy, waist is too big||Button doesn’t appear to be durable, limited color options||Not the most flattering, low rise can be uncomfortable||Not water resistant, snags easily||Material pills, front pockets are small, sizing is off|
|Bottom Line||We like the look of these casual hikers and their handy ankle drawstring, but the wide waistband doesn’t hold the pants up||A great bargain for a convertible hiking pant the does it all||Incredibly soft, flowy, and stretchy, these pants are comfortable, except for the low rise, which can make the crotch feel tight||This lightweight pair of hiking pants is comfortable and has great mobility, but it's not very durable||A lightweight, breathable, and weather resistant pair of pants that perform adequately to get you out on the trails without spending a ton|
|Rating Categories||Savanna Trails||Sahara Convertible||Mountain Hardwear D...||The North Face Aphr...||Saturday Trail Stretch|
|Comfort And Mobility (35%)|
|Venting And Breathability (20%)|
|Weather Resistance (15%)|
|Specs||Savanna Trails||Sahara Convertible||Mountain Hardwear D...||The North Face Aphr...||Saturday Trail Stretch|
|Measured Weight, Size Regular (oz)||9.6 oz||4.10 oz||7.5 oz||9.2 oz|
|Size options and versions||0 to 16||0 to 22w, Petitie, Regular, Plus, Tall||XS - XL||XXS to XXL, Short, Regular, Plus||2 to 24w Short, Regular, Plus, Long|
|Fabric||94% nylon/6% spandex||Nylon||94% Nylon, 6% Elastane||95% nylon, 5% elastane||Omni-Shield Summiteer Lite 96% Nylon, 4% Elastane|
|Fabric Features||Quick drying||Quick dry||Ultralight||Quick dry, moisture wicking||Omni-Shield advanced repellency|
|UPF?||50+||UPF 50+||No rating||None||UPF 50|
|Pockets||2 cargo pockets, 2 rear pockets||2 hand, 2 back, 2 cargo||2 side, 1 rear, 1 zippered thigh||2 hand, 1 zip||2 hand, 1 side (zip), 2 back (Velcro)|
|Zip-Off or Roll-Up?||Roll-up||Zip-off||Roll-up||No||Roll-up|
|Integrated Belt?||No||Yes||No||Yes, internal drawcord||No|
|Fit Features||Slight elastic waist, stretch fabric||Gusseted crotch, mid rise, convert to shorts||Three inseam length options, elastic waist, stretch fabric||Stretchy fabric, gathered material along sides, drawstring at waist and feet||Gusseted crotch, mid rise, straight leg, convertible to capris|
|Social or Environmental Certifications||6% of spandex in the pants meets bluesign® criteria|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Comfort and Mobility
The Savanna's stretchy fabric never limits your movements. From massive high steps to cartwheels to yoga, you won't feel restricted. What you may feel will be your pants falling down, unless you get a belt. (We'd recommend one of those nice elastic stretchy numbers. REI has several good options.)
The cut of these makes them stylishly slouchy, but our lead tester never had to unbutton or unzip them to pull them on or off, the waist is that big. It has a flat, and flattering front panel, while the back of the waist is elastic. It is very big for the size 6 we tested and has very little stretch, doing little to hold your drawers up. The fabric is also so thin that it doesn't create much structure on its own, and it stretches further with wear. It can also feel clingy, with one tester describing it as flimsy. The resulting fit is too relaxed for many activities, like tree climbing or backpacking. They stretch out quickly and often look and feel somewhat sloppy.
The pant leg itself is a very nice length, staying off the ground and hitting each tester at a pleasant spot around the ankle, despite ranging in height from 5'4" to 5'6". The pant legs aren't so narrow that you can't roll the pants up or that your calves ever feel restricted. They also aren't wide enough that your hems are rubbing together and announcing your arrival at 20 paces. We like them. They're comfortable and move well, we just should have sized down, or added a belt more regularly.
Venting and Breathability
You can roll the ankles of these pants up all the way to your knees if you'd like due to their stretchy fit. A well-constructed ankle cinch also keeps them off your hiking boots and can hold them up around your calves. Those actions alone can do a lot to cool you off.
Unfortunately, though incredibly lightweight, they don't breathe as well as other options. They left our legs feeling clammy on a hot hike up a staircase of a trail. They are thin enough to get away with it in most weather. But, when compared to the rest of the options tested, they fall short in sweltering temps. That gives them a narrow optimal temperature range since they are so thin themselves.
Speaking of temperature ranges, despite their lightweight, the Savanna does a pretty good job of blocking wind. Stiff winds rolling up from the frigid north Atlantic transferred plenty of chill through the fabric but didn't cut through it. That keeps you warmer than you might expect on blustery days.
They also glide over long underwear easily, extending their wearing season. But since they're too thin for cold weather and don't breathe well enough for blistering days, they're best for mild weather from spring to early summer and late summer into fall. Bonus, they do have a UPF rating of 50+, so they do a good job of protecting your skin from harmful UV rays.
A durable water repellent finish beads up splashes and lets the first few raindrops roll right off. It doesn't keep these pants dry for very long though. They do dry quickly and the fabric works well for splashy or rainy hikes in warm weather, especially since you can cinch the waterlogged hems out of your way. Extra water weight does make it even more challenging to keep the waist in place though.
One tester declared the drawstring around the ankle to be "perfectly done." The small cinches feel weightless, are a breeze to adjust, and utterly disappear while you're walking around. That keeps the hems from getting mucked up in mud season and helps cool your ankles off.
The pockets are also well done. An extra tuck of fabric at the bottom of the hand pockets lets you store more in them without tugging uncomfortably at the seams. They are plenty big for your phone, your hands too. One of the back pockets zip, the other one buttons shut. Neither is quite big enough for most smartphone models, but both would easily fit a small wallet. They also add to the casual-wear look that we so appreciate.
We appreciate the extra fabric patches at the knee, which will help these pants last a bit longer. The belt loops are also a must on such loose, stretchy, and tricky-to-size pants.
The Savanna pants look more like streetwear than purpose-built hiking pants, and that makes us more likely to wear them throughout the week. It also keeps us ready for quick midweek trail jaunts.
On the trail, we like them for pleasant weather or warm and rainy hikes. They showed a little more wear and tear during our abrasion testing (we rubbed a corner of the fabric on a granite edge) than other options. So we suspect they'd wear through faster than we'd like with frequent climbing use, particularly crack climbing.
We also don't think they are the best for backpacking since they stretch out fast, don't have an integrated belt, and lack thigh pockets, which work better than hand pockets for storing stuff while you walk. If you can nail the fit, they work well for casual to all-day hikes in cooperative weather. They are also great options for mellow kayaking or SUPing when you just want something lightweight to keep the sun off your legs.
The Savanna comes at a lower price point than many options in the test and they have a lot going for them on mellow hikes. Lightweight and a nice length, they are easy to roll up and move with you flawlessly. They did break down more in our abrasion testing though and may force you to buy a hiking-friendly (that is, very comfortable) belt, dissolving your savings. So their value feels about average.
REI claims that the 6% of spandex in the pants meets bluesign® criteria for workplace safety and environmental impact. REI also gives back quite a bit as a company. If their goals are important to you, supporting their model may add to the value of these pants.
We like these soft and stretchy pants for their street-ready style and easy-breezy movement. They are harder to size than most though and lack the technical features like an integrated belt and breathability that would keep you cool and make them easy to adjust on the fly.
— Clark Tate