These tights have a combination of stretch jersey material in most of the tight with some soft-shell patches in odd places. We stood out in this pair, and not in a good way! They are on the thick and warm side, and we were uncomfortably hot in this pair in anything above 70 degrees. The abrasion-resistant patches are supposed to add durability but are in places that don't see a lot of wear. If you like hiking in tights but are tired of trashing your yoga pants, you could still consider this pair, or The North Face Progressor, which we liked a little bit better.
REI Co-op Screeline Tights Review
Cons: Some parts of the pant are stretchier than others, abrasion panels in weird spots, saggy waist, not very breathable
Manufacturer: REI Co-op
Our Analysis and Test Results
The REI Co-op Screeline Tights are made with a 86% polyester / 14% spandex blend. It also has softshell patches on the outer thighs and inner ankles. We tested them in an olive green color, and the shiny patches had dots on them and looked somewhat reptilian — hence the nickname, "lizard legs."
Comfort & Mobility
Normally tights are the most comfortable and mobile options on the trail, but that wasn't the case with the Screeline Tights. The different fabrics have different stretch to them, so instead of the whole leg of the tight moving with your leg, you'll feel some parts stretching while others don't. It just felt wrong and was a distraction on the trail, leaving us to give this pair one of our lowest scores in this category.
We can't say that these are very versatile tights. The difference in stretch would be an even bigger distraction in a yoga class, and we wouldn't consider traveling in this pair either. They can't change into shorts or capris like a pair of convertible hiking pants can, and they felt warm on, making them less-suited to hiking in anything above 70 degrees.
Usually, nylon-based tights tend to be fairly breathable, but in the case of the Screeline the material is on the thick side, and as such, we felt overheated in this pair even in 70-degree weather. These are best for cooler weather and not hot summer months. TNF Progressor tights were slightly thinner and more breathable than this pair.
The Screeline have soft-shell panels on the sides of the hips and the inner ankles. Neither of these locations makes much sense to us. The patches on the hips may protect you a bit more when you brush up against spiky plants, but it won't save your butt when scootching down a slab. We've never had hiking pants wear out on the sides before, but we have had the butt go out, so that seems like a more logical place for reinforcement. As for the ankles, we were perplexed by that panel. Whose ankles rub together when walking? It's not like these are a pair of ski pants or gaiters that fit loosely around the ankle and will rub up against each other. The patches also make the ankle opening baggy-looking and less comfortable.
Water does bead up and does not absorb into the soft-shell panels, but it does soak into the main jersey material. Considering this is the front of your thighs, you will get wet and uncomfortable in the rain. They don't do much to block the wind either and take a long time to dry once wet.
The flat waistband on these tights fit nicely under a hip belt, but the cut is a bit on the loose side, and we found ourselves pulling them up a lot throughout the day. We did like the pockets on the Screeline — they sit on the mid-thigh and are nice and deep — perfect for holding your phone. The ones on TNF Progressor are up on the hip and are not as comfortable to use.
If you like to hike in tights but don't want to trash your $90 yoga pants, you may want to consider the REI Co-op Screeline Hike Tights. We slightly preferred TNF Progressor over this pair, but thought the Screeline had better pockets.
These tights retail for $75. If you are tired of ruining your expensive yoga pants while hiking, you could always get a pair of these instead. They aren't that versatile though — they work best for colder weather, and unlike other hiking pants, this pair doesn't double as a good travel pant (you may get some odd looks walking around an airport in your "lizard legs."
The REI Co-op Screeline Hike Tights missed the mark for us. We appreciated the attempt at extra durability, but they put the patches in the wrong places. The difference between the tighter soft-shell patches and the stretch jersey also felt weird, and they were a distraction on the trail.
— Cam McKenzie Ring