There’s a few criteria that are important to me in a pair of pants, especially one made for the outdoors. First, I should be able to pull them out of the bottom of a pack, drawer, or pile of clothes (I hate folding laundry) and put them on and have them look semi-presentable, if not immediately, then shortly after donning. Second, they should either be resistant to stains/dirt, or hide them very well. Third, they should fit well and be very, very comfortable.Fourth, they should be versatile and functional. Fifth, they should be capable of being worn several days in a row without smelling too horrible (exception is made for pants that are not meant to be worn on outdoor endeavors like camping or hiking trips).

The Granite Creek Pant met all of my criteria. It was love at first wear. I wore these pants during a camping trip on the bank of a rather silty and sandy river. When my hands got dirty with silt or food or sweat, I was able to wipe them on my pants and the dark gray color hid everything. They also dried surprisingly quickly when we got a quick rain shower. They didn’t hold the smell of the campfire smoke so I was able to wear them on the way back to society at the end of the trip without wrinkling any noses.

At first I wasn’t sure how I felt about the fit of the pants but they grew on me. The front of the waist sits just under my belly button but the back rises up a bit higher. Someone who doesn’t like high rise pants might not like this aspect of the pants but I appreciate it, especially since I don’t have to worry about my back being exposed if I am bent over or if my shirt does that annoying “creep up while wearing a pack and hiking” thing. My initial impression of the legs was that they were WAY wide, almost like a pair of bell bottoms that didn’t actually taper up the leg. When worn though, they don’t look awkward and aren’t annoying in any way: I actually appreciated the width when it came to putting on rain boots or a base layer (or both).

The fabric is a little stiffer than what you’d get with a pair of soft shell pants but it softens up after a few washes and is perfect for what the pants are intended to do. I can’t say enough how happy I am with how well the dirt and grime is hard to notice and how quickly they dry. It’s tough too, so if you’re hiking through scree or spending a day at the crag, you really don’t have to worry about ruining your pants on the rocks.

Two thumbs way up for the Granite Creek pant by Mountain Khakis. They are a go-to choice of mine for just about everything short of dressing up.