Ex Officio’s BugsAway SandFly Pants are the coolest pants I own. They’re perfect for hot and humid weather since the material they’re made with is very thin and they have mesh vents along the inside of the thighs to help vent sweat in the summer heat. I also like the fact that they’re pre-treated with Insect Shield, so I don’t have to worry as much about Lyme-infected tick bites when I wear them.
Permethrin, the active ingredient in Insect Shield, is invisible, odorless, and so tightly bonded to the fabric fibers that it retains effective repellency through the life of the garment. It repels mosquitoes (including those carrying West Nile virus and malaria), ticks, ants, flies, chiggers and midges (no-see-ums). Insect Shield repellent lasts 70 washings.
When it’s really hot, these pants have metal snaps that let you roll up the legs and secure them at the knee. Snaps are so much better than the zippers you find on convertible pants because they don’t break or jam.
While I have used Ex Officio’s SandFly Pants for hiking, they’re a bit on the fragile side if you find yourself scrambling over logs and boulders, and I’ve ripped up the mesh when it snags on a branch. I find them better to use for fly fishing when I want a long pant that dries very quickly or for walking along the beach with the legs rolled up.
How do they compare with the Railrider’s Eco-mesh pants, I frequently wear for hiking? The Ex Officio SandFly Pants are much thinner, lighter weight, and much cooler in sweltering hot and humid weather.
Ladies – Ex Officio makes very similar pants called the DamselFly Pant.
Disclosure: Ex Officio provided Philip Werner (SectionHiker.com) with a sample pair of SandFly pants (and I used them for over a year before writing about them) for this review.