For our Grand Canyon trip to Havasu, Columbia gave us a pair of the Back Up Passo Alto Straight Leg Pants to wear along with all of our Omni-Freeze Zero gear. Designed to keep you cool, dry, and protected without holding you back, these slim fitting hiking pants quickly became a trail favorite.
With a European style and straight leg fit, the Passo Alto hiking pants leave no loose or baggy material to flap around or make you look dumpy. All the women on the trip remarked how nice it is to wear a pair of feminine hiking pants, ones that don't look like you borrowed your boyfriend's pair in order to hit the trail.
I almost always hike in pants regardless of weather for both the wildlife (ticks, poison oak, etc.) and sun protection. The Passo Alto hiking pants feature Omni-Shade with UPF 50 sun protection so I never worried about frying my legs on the hike in and out of Havasu.
The breathable stretch nylon material incorporates Columbia's Omni-Wick technology, where sweat is quickly wicked away so you don't feel like you are hiking in your rain pants. If you are wearing a backpack, the Back Up waist can get a little sweaty but quickly dries out as soon as you remove your pack.
The bottom cuff of the hiking pants features a bungee with boot lace hook so you can create quasi-gaiters to keep dirt and rocks out of your shoes, something that came in very handy for the Grand Canyon. Two zippered hip pockets and one zippered right leg pocket offer just enough room for your chapstick, money, or keys.
In addition to hiking, I found the Passo Alto pants perfect for climbing. I have been wearing them all week in Chamonix and found the fabric durable enough to withstand abrasive rock and stretchy enough to give you complete freedom of movement. The slim profile ensures no extra material will get in your way and best of all, the Back Up waist means not showing too much skin with your harness on, especially during rappels or lowering.
The Back Up Passo Alto pants run true to size. Keep in mind the hiking pants are going to be close fitting and will stretch a tiny bit as you wear them, so don't panic when you first try on your normal size and they seem tight. If you order a size up, the hiking pants may end up being too loose, especially around the waist.
Bottom Line: The Passo Alto make an extremely flattering pant choice for hiking, climbing, riding your bike, camping, and a variety of other outdoor activities.
The Columbia Back Up Passo Alto Straight Leg Pants retail for $70 and are available now.