The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

The North Face Paramount Convertible - Women's Review

A very stretchy and mobile pant that falls behind the top contenders in multiple metrics.
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Price:  $80 List | $79.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Durable, roomy, easy to move
Cons:  Lacks useful pockets, heavy, take a long time to dry, waistband stretches quickly
Manufacturer:   The North Face
By Meg Atteberry ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 16, 2019
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66
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 12
  • Comfort/Mobility - 30% 7
  • Versatility - 15% 7
  • Durability - 15% 7
  • Weather Resistance - 15% 6
  • Features/Conveniences - 15% 5
  • Breathability - 10% 7

Our Verdict

The long-time staple in The North Face lineup, the Paramount Convertible Pant underwent a significant redesign this go-around. We were excited to see this long-standing fan-favorite get a makeover; however, the newest model left us wondering what happened. The new design is baggy, heavy, and bulky without any of the great features of the previous models. The water resistance capability also left a bit to be desired. With stiff competition this year, these pants fell short of our expectations.


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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).

Performance Comparison


The Paramount is a heavier pair of hiking pants with a baggy fit.
The Paramount is a heavier pair of hiking pants with a baggy fit.

Comfort & Mobility


Out of the bag, these pants feel heavy for hiking pants. Weighing 11.2 ounces, they are one of the heavier pants we tested. The Paramount feels secure, but all that weight tends to create a sag in the pant, and we found that the waistbelt stretched a size and needed a belt after two miles of hiking, similar to the Marmot Lobos.

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 were 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. However, since we needed a belt, we couldn't give them high marks like comparable REI Sahara, which includes a built-in belt.

There were no mobility issues to report scrambling over boulders with the Paramount.
There were no mobility issues to report scrambling over boulders with the Paramount.

Versatility


Despite the fit and mobility issues, this pant still maintains decent versatility, since you can opt to wear it as a pant, cropped or Bermuda short. Although, much to our disappointment, the pants 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.

The shorts are much longer than previous models of the Paramount. We appreciated that dual-colored zippers and the baggier pant fit when converting the pants. Unlike the Marmot Lobo's and to a certain extent the Outdoor Research Ferrosi, we didn't have the same tightness around the thighs while the pants converted to shorts.

The Paramount converts into shorts mode  where they extend further down the leg than some other convertible models.
The Paramount converts into shorts mode, where they extend further down the leg than some other convertible models.

Durability


Overall, these pants felt 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 as compared to the Outdoor Research Ferrosis. The front closure on the pants seemed very sturdy, with a re-enforced gasket to prevent ripping.

Our biggest complaint is the durability of fit. Just like the Marmot Lobo's, these pants quickly stretched out. Since neither has a drawstring or built-in belt (which we felt was 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 pack.

Weather Resistance


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 as it does with the REI Co-op Saharah, 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 would perform well in rainy weather. There are far better choices for water resistance in hiking pants.

Features


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.

The Paramount no longer has any side pockets. Due to small hand pockets  this meant that there wasn't a secure spot for our tester's phone.
The Paramount no longer has any side pockets. Due to small hand pockets, this meant that there wasn't a secure spot for our tester's phone.

Although the hand pockets were larger than those on the Columbia Saturday Trail Stretch, they still couldn't handle a modern cell phone. The Paramount 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 couldn't hold anything other than a car key or lip balm. The zippered security pocket ended up adding weight to the pant, where a zippered, streamlined cargo pocket, like what you find on the Outdoor Research Ferrosi, would have been more useful.

We aren't quite sure what the point of this small  zippered pocket is. It could hold little else aside from a car key.
We aren't quite sure what the point of this small, zippered pocket is. It could hold little else aside from a car key.

Lastly, the Paramount lacks a drawstring or built-in belt, which meant that we had to provide our own as the pants inevitably stretched quickly, which was a letdown since previous models didn't require a belt.

The Paramount only has one snap per leg for Capri mode. They rarely stayed up during our testing and would slouch to the side.
The Paramount only has one snap per leg for Capri mode. They rarely stayed up during our testing and would slouch to the side.

Breathability


These pants are heavier than many of the pants we tested, but they were 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. They aren't quite a breathable as the Outdoor Research Ferrosi, but they didn't heat up and make you sweat like The North Face Utility Hybrid Hiker Tights.

Best Applications


If you're looking to go on simple day hikes in varied climate conditions, The North Face Paramount is an average pair compared to the models we tested. We don't think that these pants would be a great idea for your next backpacking trip since the fit gives out pretty quickly and if they get wet, they take quite a while to dry.

The Paramount pants are stretchy. Pulling them over footwear is a breeze.
The Paramount pants are stretchy. Pulling them over footwear is a breeze.

Value


With the lack of features, downgrade in material, and weight, we feel that $80 is a bit steep when compared to what else you can get for the money. Simply put, the Paramount don't offer the value that they used to. For less dough, we prefer the REI Co-op Sahara, our Best Buy Winner.

Conclusion


We were disappointed to see The North Face Paramount Convertible change so much with its latest update. What used to be a great pant 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