The North Face Paramount Convertible Trousers
OK so convertible trousers may not be hip, but they are just the ticket when going light is important and the weather is mixed. I've had a few pairs of convertibles before - convertible, if you're not familiar with the term, means that the lower part of each leg unzips to leave you with a pair of shorts when things get warm - but these are my favourites to date. The material is a mid-weight nylon meaning they should have some durability (my previous convertibles have been literally worn to death) with some basic water and wind repelling qualities. Interestingly it claims to have Ultraviolet protection (UPF 30+) qualities too. Mine are a dark grey which is practical if not flattering. They feature 5 pockets - two at the back, one on the front left just above the knee, and two on the front in the standard spot. The two rear and one above the knee each have small Velcro tabs to keep them closed. There's a sixth pocket with a zip for important things like car keys. This is situated on the outer leg above the knee pocket. On the opposite leg in the same place is a 7th pocket which is simply an open topped sleeve suitable for a camera or phone needed for quick access. The zips to connect the legs to the shorts are compact meaning that it's a teeny bit fiddly to connect them up and get started, but they run very smoothly and turning from one garment to another is little more than a minute's job. The legs are big enough to get off over a regular sized approach shoe without removing the shoe, and feature a second zip running part way up the leg to enable them to go over a larger walking boot. They include an integral belt and a semi elasticated waist band, but also a suitable number of belt loops should you wish to use your own. The one improvement I could see being made would be for them to develop some use for the legs when not being used. Inside there's a hanging loop for drying / keeping off the floor in campsite showers. It seems a shame to carry around a tube of material with a zip and not be able to use it for anything ;-)
In use they've proved to be comfortable., with little or no restricted movement when climbing. They're so far proving to be nicely abrasion resistant. I haven't noticed much in the way of sweating and they are very quick-drying. All in all a decent practical set of shorts / trousers that retail at £65 which is very reasonable considering you are getting two garments for the price of one.