You can glean a lot from a name. Take, for example, the Mountain Khakis Cruiser pants. Mountain Khakis fully embraces its mountain-adventure heritage, probably to a degree that I’ll never fully appreciate. These folks are hardcore outdoorists, creating close for other hardcore outdoorists. And, perhaps accidentally, for me. The pants, therefore, are designed for mountain climbers to “cruise” to the summit. They also happen to have a classic look that works just as well in the office, allowing a wearer to “cruise” from the Cascades to the cubicle in the same pants.
That’s where I come in. I’m never going to be a hardcore mountaineer. I don’t even aspire to that. But I do fancy hiking, camping and kayaking, and I don’t want to invest in a closet full of apparel and gear for each pursuit. If I can cross-over some of those items for everyday use, then I’ve found a winner. And for the most part, that’s what I’ve found with the Mountain Khakis Cruiser pants.
Made from four-way stretch material, the 6.2-ounce pants ebb and flow with your limbs as you clamber over rocks and trees. Whether hiking up a steep rocky ascent or a grassy lakeside trail, the Cruiser pants remained comfortable throughout my journeys. The stretch was especially nice, as it was with the Cotopaxi Samburu pants, when my adventures involved a little of both types of environments. And because they have DWR (Durable Water Repellent), the Mountain Khakis Cruiser pants kept me dry if a rain shower passed overhead or if I got splashed while kayaking.
On particularly warm days I appreciated the built-in UPF 40+. I have Scandinavian heritage, so you can imagine my skin’s sensitivity to the sun. Not once did I worry about my legs being splayed out in the kayak for hours. Not once did I worry about clambering over a talus slope and being fully exposed to the sun.
And not once did I hesitate to “dress them up” and wear the Mountain Khakis Cruiser pants into the office. That’s how accommodating these pants are. Remember, they have “khakis” in the name. These aren’t suit pants by any means, but they can definitely be worn with a button-up shirt without fear of sideways glances from your coworkers.
Until you walk around. The inclusion of DWR and UPF treatments is great outdoors, but either that treatment or the pants material itself tends to make a crinkly sound when you walk. On a hike or camping trip it’s no big deal. People are used to outdoor clothing having a bit more crunch. But in an office or urban environment, that plastic-y sloshing sound as your legs rub against one another definitely stands out.
The sound is exacerbated a bit by the pants’ relaxed fit. Whereas the Samburu were tighter, the Mountain Khakis Cruiser pants have a decidedly looser fit. They’re hardly bell-bottoms, but they definitely have roomier legs, especially from the knees down. This surprised me. By definition, four-way stretch material will “go with the flow,” so I don’t know what purpose the bagginess serves. Mountain Khakis included a plastic snap at the bottom to tighten the ankle area, presumably when wearing boots. I frankly kept the pants snapped at all times just to mitigate flapping fabric. At times the baggy fabric actually interfered with my stride, especially when climbing. I’m no mountaineer, so maybe I’m just missing something with the design choice. But the pants seem a bit too relaxed to me.
One thing I really appreciated about the fit, though, was their sizing. As in, Mountain Khakis uses real-world sizes. So many outdoor apparel makers fall into the small/medium/large rut that choosing clothes is an experiment in finding out how different brands fit your body. One moment I’m a fat American wearing XL, the next moment I’m feeling good about myself in a Medium. The Mountain Khakis Cruiser pants, like all the company’s clothes, are offered in real waist/inseam sizes. And they’re true to size, to boot! This completely removes the guesswork from selecting clothes online, and I really wish more apparel companies would do this.
Other nice features include a zippered cargo pocket on the right thigh, Velcro at the top of both back pockets, and sufficiently deep front pockets, all of which make it convenient to store small gear or electronics.
I may not be born to scale mountains. My “cruising” may be just as much in an urban environment as it is on the trail. But Mountain Khakis still managed to make pants that fit me, and fit my lifestyle. For overall comfort indoors and out I’d still give the nod to the Cotopaxi Samburu, but the Mountain Khakis Cruiser pants aren’t far behind. And seriously, outdoor-apparel brands could learn a thing or two from Mountain Khakis about sizing pants for real life.
The Mountain Khakis Cruiser pants were provided for review. All opinions and words are my own and honest, and the article contains no affiliate links.
Mountain Khakis Cruiser Pants
- They come in real waist/inseam sizes!
- Five pockets, all of which are good sized
- Water resistance makes them usable for kayaking as well as hiking
- Classy look works just as well in the office as on the trail
- Nice stretch to the material
- A bit too baggy from the knees down, especially near the ankles
- They sound crinkly when you walk. Is that from the DWR or UPF coating, or the material?