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REI Co-op Savanna Trails - Women's Review

We like the look of these casual hikers and their handy ankle drawstring, but the wide waistband doesn’t hold the pants up
REI Co-op Savanna Trails - Women's
Photo: REI Co-op
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Price:  $55 List | Check Price at REI
Pros:  Functional pockets, soft and stretchy fabric, great ankle drawstring
Cons:  Lacks structure, can feel flimsy, waist is too big
Manufacturer:   REI Co-op
By Clark Tate ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 19, 2021
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59
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#13 of 15
  • Comfort and Mobility - 35% 7
  • Venting And Breathability - 20% 6
  • Weather Resistance - 15% 5
  • Features - 15% 4
  • Versatility - 15% 6

Our Verdict

With their infinite stretch and laid-back vibes, the REI Savanna transitions easily from lounging to stretching to hitting the trails. They look less like dedicated hiking pants than many of the other options, which we like when we're just running around town. These laidback hikers don't have enough substance or support to be our first choice for epic days in the backcountry, but they move well enough and look cute enough to help us squeeze more day hikes into our lives. The extremely light fabric can feel almost flimsy, lending very little structure to the pants, and they aren't always flattering for curvy and muscular body types. Our testers also found the waist way too big, even though the thighs fit well. It's one of the few options without an integrated drawstring or belt, though belt loops let you use your own. The Savanna pants don't have enough technical features for backpacking, where thigh pockets and a drawstring help keep us happy on the trail, but if the fit works for you, they are comfy casual hikers.

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Pros Functional pockets, soft and stretchy fabric, great ankle drawstringMobile, wide range of fit options, shed water easily, excellent pocketsIncredibly light, soft with endless stretch, breathable, DWR finishLightweight, breathable, comfortable, flat waistband with a drawstringLightweight, easy to move in, breathable
Cons Lacks structure, can feel flimsy, waist is too bigButton doesn’t appear to be durable, limited color optionsNot the most flattering, low rise can be uncomfortableNot water resistant, snags easilyMaterial 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 upA great bargain for a convertible hiking pant the does it allIncredibly soft, flowy, and stretchy, these pants are comfortable, except for the low rise, which can make the crotch feel tightThis lightweight pair of hiking pants is comfortable and has great mobility, but it's not very durableA lightweight, breathable, and weather resistant pair of pants that perform adequately to get you out on the trails without spending a ton
Rating Categories REI Co-op Savanna T... REI Co-op Sahara Co... Mountain Hardwear D... The North Face Aphr... Columbia Saturday T...
Comfort And Mobility (35%)
7.0
7.0
8.0
9.0
5.0
Venting And Breathability (20%)
6.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
9.0
Weather Resistance (15%)
5.0
7.0
6.0
5.0
8.0
Features (15%)
4.0
9.0
6.0
5.0
4.0
Versatility (15%)
6.0
7.0
6.0
4.0
4.0
Specs REI Co-op Savanna T... REI Co-op Sahara Co... Mountain Hardwear D... The North Face Aphr... Columbia Saturday T...
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
DWR Finish? Yes Yes Yes Yes No
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

Performance Comparison


These stretchy pants keep up with you but the waist is oversized.
These stretchy pants keep up with you but the waist is oversized.
Photo: Ryan Reed

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.)

Despite the lack of a gusset, these pants offer plenty of stretch...
Despite the lack of a gusset, these pants offer plenty of stretch and room to move.
Photo: Ryan Reed

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.

The pants are easy to roll up and you can cinch the ankles.
The pants are easy to roll up and you can cinch the ankles.
Photo: Ryan Reed

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.

A bit of a breeze on your lower legs will do a lot to cool you down.
A bit of a breeze on your lower legs will do a lot to cool you down.
Photo: Ryan Reed

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.

A durable water repellant (DWR) finish helps the first few splashes...
A durable water repellant (DWR) finish helps the first few splashes of water bead up and runoff, but it soaks in eventually.
Photo: Clark Tate

Weather Resistance


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.

Wind doesn't just whip right through these, though the thin fabric...
Wind doesn't just whip right through these, though the thin fabric transfers cold temperatures quickly.
Photo: Ryan Reed

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.

We like the roomy hand pockets up front and the drawstring at the...
We like the roomy hand pockets up front and the drawstring at the ankles.
Photo: Ryan Reed

Features


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.

A clever little toggle lets you quickly tighten or loosen the...
A clever little toggle lets you quickly tighten or loosen the drawstring in each hem.
Photo: Ryan Reed

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.

Their lightweight and easy movement make the Savanna pant...
Their lightweight and easy movement make the Savanna pant appropriate for a wide range of day hikes.
Photo: Ryan Reed

Versatility


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.

Though the fit of these pants isn't perfect, we think they offer...
Though the fit of these pants isn't perfect, we think they offer pretty impressive street style.
Photo: Clark Tate

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.

These pants are on the less expensive side and will certainly get...
These pants are on the less expensive side and will certainly get you out on the trail, offering a decent value.
Photo: Ryan Reed

Value


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.

Despite their imperfections, we really enjoy wearing the Savanna...
Despite their imperfections, we really enjoy wearing the Savanna pants.
Photo: Ryan Reed

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.

These are easy-breezy trail pants, as long as you can figure out...
These are easy-breezy trail pants, as long as you can figure out their fit.
Photo: Ryan Reed

Conclusion


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