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Adventure pants for the sensible rider

What's a story about convertible pants doing in a motorcycle magazine? If you're wondering this you're just getting up to speed with what this magazine is all about. You, your motorcycle, your adventure and sensible ways to get from A- to Z and back home is what Sound RIDER! is all about. What you wear while riding, as well as off the bike, is always on the mind of our editors along with the buyers for our online store.

Convertible pants are one of those items that makes a road trip all the better. They pack up light and small, wash and dry fast, turn into shorts when the heat is on and last far longer than any blue jeans. They can also be worn under a pair of armored textile overpants, without all the stuffiness.

Over the last 24 months I've tested over a dozen different brands and models of convertible pants. For all their good points it seems there's always a downside in one way or another. The Sierra Design's pockets were too shallow, the Northface pockets were too deep, the REI had shoddy zippers, the Mountain Hardware were like magnets when it came to pet hair, the Columbia fabric soiled and stayed soiled too easily � and on and on.

About a year ago we visited the main office of Outdoor Research. I purchased a pair of their Equinox pants, which at the time were not available in convertible zip off format. All through the fall and winter I've worn them and they've performed very well overall. Durable fabric, well constructed and just the right pocket depth. I wear them a couple of days every week.

OR heard the cries of their customers and have responded with a convertible version of the Equinox pants!!! Yes! But before they went to work on the design they must have been doing their own scrutiny because they've overcome every issue mentioned above and more with the new Equinox Convert pant.

For starters a basic problem with convertible pants for tall and short people has always been the inseam. Few companies offer them with a variance in inseam lengths per waist size offering. OR won't either, instead the company has constructed them with a draw cored at the base of the leg so us shorter inseam types can adjust the pant leg so it doesn't dangle beyond the ankle.

Rear pockets are a bad idea when riding (many riders/drivers suffer from sciatica only to learn later that wearing a wallet in the rear pocket while driving/riding is the culprit). But around the hotel or campground rear pockets are nice for basics like a handkerchief or Mag Lite. OR gives you a left and right, while most others only offer one at best.

How to get them

The big question I always get when discussing convertible pants is where to buy them. We checked around and don't see them for sale at the usual places. We've worked together with Outdoor Research to get a limited supply (I hate that about clothing) and will make them available online through the Sound RIDER! store as long as possible.

This is what we call a guaranteed sale - I'm very satisfied with these pants and I expect you will be too, but if you're not we'll gladly accept the pants back from you for a full refund within 30 days of purchase as long as they are in new condition. In addition OR provides a lifetime guarantee on the quality and workmanship of every product they make. To order a pair or two CLICK HERE .

When you go to rezip your legs on after wearing the pants as shorts, the issue often is which one is the left and which one is the right? OR has solved that by using different colored zippers for each leg. unless you're color blind there's no way you can mismatch these. All zippers used in the construction are top grade YKK's.

The legs are zippered at the bottom as well which means if you want to strip the legs off during the middle of your ride you won't need to remove your boots. Simply shed your armored textile pants (most manufacturers' are zippered at the bottom), then unzip and slip the Convert legs off behind them.

The pants carry an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) of 30+ and are treated with a durable water repellant (DWR) finish to shed unwanted moisture.

The one drawback I find is there's no women's cut available. I suspect if the pants go well for OR this year that may come later in the future. Nonetheless most woman will find the men's cuts suitable for touring.

TM/Winter 2008


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