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Outdoor Research Ferrosi Convertible Pants Review

Outdoor Research Ferrosi Convertible Pants Review

Outdoor Research Ferrosi Convertible Hiking Pants are lightweight quick-drying hiking pants with a lot more stretch (14% spandex) than most hiking pants. They’ve quickly become my go-to pants on and off the trail because they are comfortable and look so good. Available in a convertible version or a full-leg model, they are hipbelt and climbing harness-compatible with five pockets, including two that zipper close. Elastic drawcords at the ankle let you roll them up if you want to vent your lower legs but not take the legs off, while the 90D Ferrosi ripstop fabric is remarkably durable and breathable.

RELATED: 10 Best Men’s Hiking Pants

Specs at a glance

  • Pockets: 5 (two zippered, 3 open drop pockets)
  • Front closure: Button, zipper
  • Belt Loops: Yes, in addition to an internal drawstring
  • Harness compatible: Yes
  • Convertible:  Zip-Off Legs to 10″ Shorts
  • Ankle Rollup: Yes
  • Fabric: 90d woven ripstop nylon with 14% spandex
  • DWR Treated: Yes
  • UV Protection: UPF 50+
  • Waist sizes available: 28, 30, 32, 34, 36, 38, 40, 42
  • Inseam sizes available: 30, 32, and 34
  • Weight: 13.6 oz on a men’s 38×30
  • Gender: Men’s and Women’s models available

The Ferrosi fabric has been a mainstay of the Outdoor Research product line for many years and it’s used extensively in active garments like pants and hoodies because it’s durable and highly breathable. It’s made with a 90d woven ripstop nylon that is 14% spandex giving it a fantastic amount of elasticity and stretch making it perfect for garments that require a great deal of mobility. That’s two or more times as much stretch as found in other hiking pants, which is why these convertible pants are so exceptional.

The thing that makes the ferriso Convertibles so comfortable is undoubtedly the stretch
The thing that makes the Ferriso Convertibles so comfortable is undoubtedly the stretch

The thing that makes the Ferrosi Convertible pants so much fun to wear is the stretch. They just feel fantastic when you’re hiking hard, climbing mountains, and scrambling over rock and ice. You don’t even feel the zippers on the legs if that kind of thing bothers you.

While these pants do have belt loops, you don’t have to wear a belt with them (unless you wear them to the office.) There is a drawstring inside the pants that you can tighten instead, which is particularly useful if you wear a backpack hipbelt or climbing harness because it’s much more comfortable and the two don’t interfere with one another. The inside of the waistband is lined with soft microfiber fabric for comfort and the pants have a button closure and a normal zipper fly.

No belt, no problem. There is a hipbelt and harness compatible drawstring inside to hold up the pants which is much more comfortable than wearing a belt.
No belt, no problem. There is a hipbelt and harness-compatible drawstring inside to hold up the pants which is much more comfortable than wearing a belt.

The pants have five pockets, including two zippered pockets, one on the leg which is large enough to hold a smartphone, and one on the seat. The other three pockets, including two in front and one on the seat, are open, mesh lined for breakability, and provide less secure storage. While these open pockets are less secure “drop pockets”, they lay very flat, which makes them much more comfortable under a backpack hip belt or climbing harness.

The previous version of the Ferrosi had color-coded zip-off legs, which seem to have disappeared in this newly updated version. But it’s easy to tell which lower leg goes where by looking at the elastic pulls at the base of the legs – they should be oriented on the outside. Those elastic pulls let you roll up the pants and secure them on your shins, for those times, like stream crossings, when you want more clearance without removing the lower legs.  When it comes to removing the lower legs, they do not have ankle zips because the fabric is so stretchy and it’s easy to pull over trail runners or mids. I’ve done both.

The Ferrossi Convertible Pants have an incredible amount of stretch.
The Ferrossi Convertible Pants have an incredible amount of stretch which is a real asset for mountain hiking.

While you can take the legs off of the Convertible Ferrosi Pants if you get hot, I’ve been pretty impressed that I don’t have to do that as often as I do with other hiking pants, even though I’m a heavy sweater. Still, there are humid days when it’s unavoidable and you’ll be glad that you have convertible pants then.

Other great hiking pants

Make / ModelLeg Style
Patagonia Quandary PantsFull-length
Outdoor Research Ferrosi PantsFull-length
Eddie Bauer Guide ProConvertible
Columbia Silver Ridge Hiking PantsConvertible
REI Sahara Convertible Hiking PantsConvertible
KUHL Renegade Convertible PantsConvertible
Arc'teryx Gamma PantsFull-length
Marmot Mountain ActiveFull length
RailRiders Eco-Mesh PantsFull Length
Duluth Dry On the Fly Cargo PantsFull Length


I’ve used a lot of hiking pants over the years, but I’ve switched to OR’s Ferrosi Convertible Pants this year because, damn, they’re so comfortable, durable, and breathable. That’s actually a tough combination to find in a pair of hiking pants. I like the cut, which is loose, but not too baggy, and the convenience of having zip-off legs when it gets really hot and humid outside. Be aware, that we’ve reviewed the latest version of these pants which have a slightly tighter fit than the previous model, which is widely available and heavily discounted.  There are other subtle differences between the two models, but none substantive enough to be functional.

Shop at Outdoor Research


Disclosure: OR donated a pair of pants for review. I bought several more pairs on my own dime.

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  1. “A great asset”. Philip you crack me up. Hah, hah. Nice pic!

  2. It looks like the leg zippers hit right at the knee. Is that uncomfortable when your’e hiking?

    • I don’t feel a thing and I’m the sensitive type. I think the stretch prevents any friction there.

    • I bought a pair and the zip was right at my knee, and very annoying while walking “catching” on every step. Impossible to ignore. My son bought a pair with no issues. This doesn’t happen with my other convertibles (Columbia, others), where the zip isn’t even close so I think the Ferrosi’s are higher risk than usual.

      I returned them and went with the non-convertible Ferossi’s and love them for all the reasons Phil mentions.

      • The zip doesn’t bother me, but I’ve since bought the non-convertibles as well and they are also fantastic. They look so good I also wear them in semi-formal occasions off trail.

  3. I wish that they’d make a looser leg on the women’s pant – because the zipper has no stretch, and I have thick/muscular thighs, I can’t wear them because they restrict me from raising my knee as high as I need to for hiking. It’s not just OR either, all the brands of convertible pants I’ve tried on have the issue to some degree.

  4. I have a couple pair of these pants and love them. Very light and comfortable, and also durable. Mine have taken a lot of abuse and remain in great shape.

    There is a problem with the design of stitching on the front pockets, which failed far too easily. I’d love to see them improve on that. Otherwise it’s a great product.

  5. If they had a second cargo pocket, I would certainly add them to my clothes system.

  6. I’ve been using these for a few years now and dig them. In fact, I just grabbed a heavily-discounted second set this morning…so when I saw your review, I got a good little chuckle. When my kids started backpacking with me a couple years ago, I got them each a pair. Both son and daughter were highly skeptical of my dad-approved hiking pants…but they were both full converts after our first trip. I order them slightly large and use an elastic belt with them…I find that very comfortable.

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