For a recent trip to East Africa, when I spent three weeks in Kenya and Tanzania traveling between outdoor adventures and NGO meetings, so I needed clothes that did double- and triple-duty. UPF and breathability were a must — temps ranged from the 80s to low 100s during my visit — but because running water was at times scarce, the gear I kept reaching for was the stuff that could be worn for several days in a row and washed out in a sink or a river. One of my faves: Outdoor Research’s Sentinel Pants.
These are the thinnest hiking pants I’ve ever worn — the Supplex nylon quick-dry material is almost tissue-weight and stayed ultra comfortable even in the heat. (Shorts are a no-no in this part of the world so “barely-there” pants are next best.) The tan color kept them looking reasonably clean, despite a constant layer of dust deposited by wind and driving on unpaved roads, and the anti-bug coating meant no mosquito bites on my ankles when sitting outside of my safari tent at night. I washed the pants twice during the trip — cold water in a sink — and they line-dried in about half an hour.
I was already sold on the Sentinels when I caught my reflection in a dirty storefront window and that’s when I discovered an unexpected bonus — a spec Outdoor Research can’t really tout next to UPF ratings and fabric content, but that really matters in a garment you wear day after day, sometimes without showering: These super technical khakis hug your butt like a perfect pair of yoga pants.