Ask the Gear Guy

Good pair of convertible pants for backpacking

Q. I can’t seem to find a good pair of convertible synthetic pants for hiking/backpacking. Could you point me to where I should look? I’m looking for something that doesn’t cost more than $45 to $50.
– Pantless Paul, Olney, Md.

A. We have just the pants you are looking for, Paul. The official BSA Centennial Switchbacks have it all: moisture-wicking and quick-drying nylon construction, UPF sun protection, lots of cargo pockets and other extras. The legs zip off to make perfect hiking shorts, and the price is right in your wheelhouse: $49.99. Find them at your local Scout shop or at

Comments about “Good pair of convertible pants for backpacking”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for your suggestions. I am shopping now as by fall they are sold out of my son’s size. Any new great zip-off/convertible pants for boys recommendations?

  2. Anonymous says:

    These shorts are like short shorts from the 80s on my tall boys. Any suggestions for convertable shorts in the correct color for taller boys?

  3. NanVet says:

    White Sierra makes a good, nylon, youth convertible pant. You can get them online at Campmor for around $25. Other online stores sell them as well, but usually for $10 more. The color you want is New Sage. They must be popular because they often sell out, but so far they’ve been replenished with each new season (I’ve bought them three years in a row.)

  4. Sly Fox says:

    Scout pants are nice, but if you want compact conversion pants our guys buy “Zip offs” at Dunham sports. They cost about $12.00 and compact down to 1/3 the scout pants size (They are light weight material). They also come in many colors: scout green, black, cream, blue and tan. As an ultra lite camper, these are all I use in the summer months in the BWCA. They also have a draw rope so no belt.

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