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The Stio Coburn XT Convertible Pant is an outdoor-focused pant with zip-off legs so you can convert them into shorts.
To get us a closer look, Stio sent Man Makes Fire a review unit. After testing them while camping and fly fishing, this is what we learned:
For backpacking, it’s hard to beat a lightweight pair of convertible trekking pants. You can start out backpacking in chilly mornings then simply zip off the legs as you heat up on the trail. And then after the sun dips below you the horizon, you can zip them back on. Plus, you don’t have to pack the weight of a separate pair of pants and separate shorts.
So cool, right?
Not so fast. Most convertible pant/short combos suck. The shorts are often too short, and the fit is all over the map. And there is just so often something off about the design.
The result, when I see most zip-off convertible pants out in the wild is me making mental notes to myself to stay away from zip-off pants.
And yet, at least a few times each year, I’m either a bit cold and need pants — or I’m a bit warm and wish I had shorts.
Enter Stio’s Convertible Pant Design
Stio, to its credit, acknowledges right up front in its product description that zip-off pants “were never known for their high style.”
For starters, the Stio Coburn XT Convertible Pants are the most stylish convertible pants I’ve seen in years. The fit is regular, not slim or baggy. Compared to regular pants, the fit is spot on.
The fit is helped by the gusseted crotch and articulated knees, as well as a bit of spandex for some stretch. So when you’re scrambling down a rocky river bank to go fishing . . . or lifting a leg over a deadfall while backpacking . . . the fit is pretty darn good.
But Are They Stylish?
While I could easily say that the Stio Eddy Drift shirt will amp up your sex appeal by 20 percent, you’re not going to get the same boost out of Stio’s convertible pants . . . but they’re not going to drag you down either — and that’s a win.
Let’s put it this way: If you tend to wear ill-fitting, low-quality pants, the Coburn XT Convertible Pants will be better than what you usually wear. If you’re already wearing great pants with smart cuts and good quality stitching and materials, the Coburn XT Convertible Pants will fly under the radar. And when it comes to convertible pants, flying under the radar is a win.
The fabric is a bit heavier than typical lightweight adventure pants, but it’s not as heavy as soft-shell pants. It’s a solid mid-weight fabric made with Stio’s Tetonic Twill weave. It’s constructed from 94 percent nylon and 6 percent spandex and it has a water-repellant finish. I like the fabric choice a lot. It seems reasonably durable, and has a great look to it (without appearing to be too synthetic).
The pants fit well but deliver great range-of-motion without being baggy.
In fact, the zip-off legs are surprisingly trim — significantly more slim than most convertible pant bottoms. This trimmer lower leg definitely helps make the Coburn XT Convertible Pants more stylish. The downside is that you’re going to have to take off your hiking boots in order to zip on or remove the legs.
To me, that’s a small price to pay for a better looking/fitting convertible pant.
You get two trim back pockets and two front hand pockets. The interior of the pockets are made from mesh, which keeps them from becoming hotspots when the temp ramps up.
You also get a right-side thigh pocket. The outside of the pocket is open, which makes it easy to slip your phone into it — but it can also fall out if you’re very active over rough ground. Fortunately, Stio also includes, right under it, a zippered pocket for extra security. It’s just barely tall enough to fit my iPhone XS Max, which is admittedly, a larger smartphone.
Right now, Stio offers three color options: Boundary Black, Sage Root, and Monument. These colors are basically a dark charcoal, a light brownish-tan, and a light gray.
If you want to the zip-off pants to fly under the radar in a mountain-town bar, go with the Boundary Black. I think the darker color helps hide the shading you get (from the sun or lights) around the leg zippers, making the zip-off feature less obvious.
All-in-all, I think Stio delivered a zip-off pants win here. While I don’t personally think they deliver extra style, the Coburn XT Convertible Pants are significantly better than every other zip-off pants I’ve seen and tried on (and rejected) myself. They’re worth the risk if you want the functionality of a zip-off pant but don’t want to look like a grampa backpacker. You’ll just have to try them on for yourself. Stio offers free shipping and free returns — so it’s hard to go wrong by giving them a fighting chance.