The North Face Paramount Convertible - Women's Review
Cons: Lacks useful pockets, heavy, take a long time to dry, waistband stretches quickly
Manufacturer: The North Face
Our Analysis and Test Results
The North Face Paramount Convertible Pant is now made of a 90% polyester and 10% spandex, with "FlashDry" technology that's supposed to help them dry faster (we found this to be far from the truth).
Comfort & Mobility
Out of the bag, these pants feel heavy for hiking pants. Weighing 11.2 ounces, they are some of the heavier pants we tested. The Paramounts feel secure, but all that weight tends to create a sag in these pants, and we found that the waistbelt stretched a full size bigger and needed a belt after two miles of hiking.
The pants themselves fit quite comfortably with a soft material blend that maintains durability. The fit is one of the baggiest that we tested, which is mostly a personal preference, but we didn't find them that flattering.
Fashion aside, these pants are extremely mobile, faithful to the Paramount reputation. At first, we were nervous that the baggy, substantial nature of these pants would hinder us over technical terrain, but we experienced zero issues scrambling over sandstone with a loaded backpack while wearing the Paramount.
Despite the fit and mobility issues, these pants still maintain decent versatility, since you can opt to wear it as long pants, cropped, or Bermuda shorts. Although, much to our disappointment, they fell short a few places here. First, the roll-up option doesn't stay rolled up, since the button is only on one side of the pant. It is removable though, which we liked if you don't care about capri mode.
As shorts, they are much longer than previous models of the Paramounts. We also appreciate the color-coded zippers and the baggier fit when making the conversion between pants and shorts. Unlike other convertible models we tested, we don't have the same tightness around our thighs.
These pants are heavier than many of the pants we tested, but they are still surprisingly breathable. Since they are baggier, it's easy to layer underneath with a base layer should you need extra protection on a chilly day.
Overall, these pants feel durable and well-made. The material resists abrasions and didn't pill in our testing. However, some of the stitching looked a bit lesser in quality than other pairs in the review. The front closure on the pants seems very sturdy, with a re-enforced gasket to prevent ripping.
Our biggest complaint is their consistency of fit - or lack thereof. These pants quickly stretch out. With no drawstring or built-in belt (which we feel is a significant oversite), we needed to bring a belt. This arrangement isn't ideal on longer trips as a belt can clash with the hip belt of a backpack.
The North Face ditched the DWR coating in favor of their FlashDry technology, which we did not find very effective. Water doesn't bead up on the surface, and when these pants got wet, they stayed wet. It took a surprising amount of time for these pants to dry, and we aren't too confident they will perform well in rainy weather. There are far better choices for water resistance in hiking pants.
The biggest let down of the updated Paramount lies in the features. They seem to have all but disappeared, however, there are a few things we liked. The convertible zippers are color-coded, which makes putting the pants back together as simple as matching.
Although the hand pockets are larger than some, they still can't handle a modern cell phone. The newest Paramounts also did away with the cargo pocket. We couldn't fit a smartphone securely anywhere in these pants, which was something we disliked.
There's also a small zippered security pocket inside the right-hand pocket for keeping small items safe, although we can't hold anything other than a car key or lip balm. The zippered security pocket mostly just ends up adding weight to these pants.
Lastly, the Paramount lacks a drawstring or built-in belt, which means that you have to provide your own as the pants inevitably stretched quickly, which is a letdown since previous models didn't require a belt.
Due to the lack of features, downgrade in material, and weight, we feel that these pants ring up a bit steep compared to others. Simply put, the Paramount doesn't offer the value that they used to.
We are disappointed to see The North Face Paramount Convertible change so much for the worse with its latest update. What used to be a great pair of pants is now closer to just average. While the baggy nature of these pants may not suit everyone, they might be fine for you, and they are an okay choice for the average day hike.
— Meg Atteberry