Outdoors Clothing Review: Columbia Women’s Just Right Capri
Last weekend, I walked into a few sports stores looking for my summer active outfit. Basically I wanted pants that would provide enough flexibility for scrambling, that I could walk in, that would not get in the way of my bike pedals, that would dry quickly in case I got wet in a stream, and that would be lightweight enough that I could pack them anywhere. Mostly, I wanted something easy – easy on, easy off, easy care, easy wear.
Photos – click on thumbnails to enlarge:
Initially I looked for shorts since I don’t have any in my wardrobe. However the ones I found were too bulky, too heavy or too frumpy. Either they were too fashion-oriented and not technical, or too technical and a female version of commando shorts. Convertible hiking pants were my second best option but after trying a few models, I couldn’t find anything that suited me. It’s too bad, I love the idea of unzipping the bottom parts of the legs to let your skin enjoy the great outdoors and the sun. Just when I was about to give up, my eyes were drawn to these capris in the Columbia store. Luckily, I found my size and loved the feel of the fabric. It was soft and stretchy, yet I didn’t look like I was wearing shorter sweatpants which I would hate. Good looks, good fun, done deal!
I’ve always been a capri lover and here’s what I think about these. First of all, the easy on-easy off part. The closing system at the waist is just a snap button, a zipper and a drawcord. That means they are adjustable around the waist if you want more – or less – room to breathe. However since the material is a blend of nylon and elastane, they really allow all the freedom of movement you need. I took these guys on a bike ride, on a short hike and on a tree climb and they behaved perfectly. As I’m writing, II’m wearing them on my office chair, sitting cross-legged, and they’re great. No chafing, no pulling, they are super comfy. As far as easy care, they fit the bill as they’re machine-washable at cold temps and go in the dryer – though I doubt I’d be using the dryer in the summer.
Looking at the specs, I noticed the material was treated with a UPF 50+ sun-protection – really nice thought if I’m going to be in the sun all day. I could see myself hiking in these along the coast or in mountain foothills, in areas where shade is a rare commodity. Rather sun-conscious, I always pack a sunscreen to spray on my arms and legs but I’ve never given much thought about the shirt or the pants. It’s good to know my pants are now taken care of. As far as the style, it’s simple and straightforward, stylish enough that I can wear them in the city and on trails. They exist in black and sage and I picked sage, a fave outdoors color of mine.
My only gripe comes with the pocket. I’m quite the pocket maniac and usually find ways to use them all. Swiss army knives, camera, chapstick, keys, magnifier, compass – I can find many useful things to stuff in pockets. Now, these capris only have one pocket and it’s very well concealed in the left leg. While I love how well concealed it is, it’s a tad low on the leg to just slip and zip away keys or valuables, and I’d much prefer it on the right side. I’m not left-handed and having to fumble on the left side to open and close the zipped pocket is not as easy as the rest of the design is. The price was another black spot as I paid GBP60 for these, roughly $90. Ouch! I hope they last a long time.
That said, given the nice things I’ve already said about these capris, it’s a trade-off. Columbia’s known for good quality products so I hope I’m paying for the quality and based on my previous Columbia garments, I’d say I am. If you’re looking for easy capris this summer, I can highly recommend these. In summary:
- Free movement
- Easy washing care
- Breathable and quick-dry
- Pocket on left side, too low
Disclaimer: I don’t even know why I’m writing a disclaimer because I paid for these but no, in case you’re wondering, Columbia did not send me these capris to review. I just really like them.