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Ex Officio BugsAway Sandfly Pants Review

Ex Officio's Sand Fly Pants have mesh vents on the inside of the thighs to help vent sweat and keep you cool in hot weather.
Ex Officio’s BugsAway SandFly Pants have mesh vents on the inside of the thighs to help vent sweat and keep you cool in hot weather.

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.

Ex Officio SandFly pants have snaps that roll up along the legs.
Ex Officio SandFly pants have snaps that roll up along the legs.

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. 

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  1. Thanks for mentioning the women’s version. That’s the one thing I don’t like about Rail riders. They don’t have a very good selection for women.

  2. Its neat to see how fast you’ve picked up fly fishing and combined it with backpacking. You’ve got me interested in following your example.

  3. I wish all pants had snaps at the bottom to allow us to cinch the cuffs tighter around our ankles.

    • I like to roll mine up, especially in winter when my calves sweat the most and wet out my socks.

    • Late comment, but adding in case it helps others. It’s very easy to add snaps! You can buy a kit at JoAnn Fabrics, Hobby Lobby or similar stores, instructions included. I prefer the 5/8″ snaps and the plier-style tool (doesn’t slip like the little gadget that needs a hammer). Try to avoid bulky seams, and add a little square of scrap fabric behind the snap area if the garment is thin to prevent tearing. It’s worth ‘wasting’ a snap to practice on something old if you’re doing it for the first time. Anyway, Philip, I’d be happy to share a photo demo if needed. You and your readers’ comments have helped so much that I’d love to do a little payback. :-)

  4. Like the pants, hate the pockets, stuff slips out.
    Up to this point a was a RailRiders Eco-mesh pants guy but these Sandfly pants are super comfortable in hot (usually dry) California Sierra weather. RailRiders has the sense to include pockets that you can zip close. The tiny patch of velcro on the rear pockets of the Sandfly pants was not doing the job. I added velcro to all the pockets and I now have enough confidence to use them as my main hiking pants.
    Note: Sandfly pants are not as durable as EcoMesh but I do not bushwhack and am not too proud to patch with tenacious tape if needed. The zip open/close function of EcoMesh is great. Switching to SandFly means re-adding Dynamo wind pants to my gear list. Time will tell…

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