Royal Robbins – Backcountry Convertible Pants

I’m off on my holidays next week, travelling by Motorbike around Spain where the weather could be anything from boiling hot to flippin’ cold, wet or parched, sunny or bleak. So I’m thinking about which trousers to take to maximise my chances of being comfortable in whatever the weather throws at me when I’m not on the bike.

And it suddenly struck me that the Backcountry Convertible Pants which I’ve had on test for a while now are ideal.

royal robbins

I often feel that Trousers are a neglected part of the outdoorsman’s wardrobe. They’re always second fiddle to the sexy jackets and are always squirrelled away in the darker recesses of stores. So I appreciate it when I find a pair into which a lot of thought has obviously gone. Let’s run through the features of these Pan… no, I have to call them Trousers, sorry.

Starting at the top, you get a nice cosy and broad waistline which is lined with a soft material and doesn’t chafe when you get hot and sweaty. I ordered a 32 waist and the overall fit isn’t snug, but it isn’t roomy either… they’re sort of just well-tailored to normal active-shaped legs.

The waist is closed via a zipper fly and a popper. The only part of these trousers I don’t like is that popper. It pops too easily, even after a small lunch… it’s just not very secure.

The gusset is fairly high, so if you’re wearing these high on your waist you get a comforting (of disconcerting, depending on your point of view)… support in the nether regions. I instinctively wear my trousers a little lower (steadfastly refusing to stare middle-age in the eye yet), but appreciate that the higher gusset means easier lifting of your legs to straddle boulders and bikes. The gusset is also ‘running’ which means that there’s no central seam under your perineum. Anti-chafe-tastic.

royal robbins

The whole thing is made out of a soft-feel nylon material which is as light as linen but will dry really quickly if you get caught in the rain. And handily for travel, they don’t need ironing because creases drop out nice and quickly once you put them on.

The front pockets are mesh lined so they don’t get extra sweaty, and they’re big enough for cold hands or a wallet. There’s an extra zippered pocket on the left leg which is big enough for some cash but I found it uncomfy for a phone, and there are butt pockets on both cheeks – one is zippered and the other velcro’d.

Of course, the party trick for the Backcountrys is that they are zip-offs and become shorts at the drop of a knee. The zippers are super-soft and flexible, never rubbing or chafing. I think these are the most comfortable cut-offs I’ve worn so far.

royal robbins

And to help with the getting on, off and on-trail separation there are zippers on both lower legs so you can get them over your boots easily.


If indeed my prayers are answered and the sun comes out in Spain, my Irish ancestry will not be a problem because these bad boys have an SPF of 50+

So, all in all, a nice little package for travel pants, and they won’t break the bank at £65.

4-hammers Price: £65
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