Note: This Columbia Silver Ridge convertible pants review is for the boys’ and girls’ versions–we packed both.
These pants go by different names online–Silver Ridge III, Columbia convertible pants, Omni-Shade convertible pants–which is in part how I ended up ordering a pair for my son from one source and a pair for my daughter from a second source without realizing they were exactly the same (other than boys vs. girls and size) until they arrived. Fortunately they proved to be just what both kids needed for a more intense portion of our Florida Everglades/Big Cypress Swamp adventure last month.
You see, of the numerous convertible (AKA zip off) pants on the market for kids, most are quick-drying and claim to be of rugged rip-stop nylon. That’s great. But when you have a very fair-skinned child, and especially one whose skin rashes up the moment he thinks about unfamiliar brush or insect bites, you don’t always want to convert the pants to shorts just because it’s hot.
In southern Florida, it’s hot.
That’s where the Omni-Shade fabric used in the Silver Ridge III convertible pants make them worth every tiny bit of space they take up in the suitcase. It’s actually so lightweight that it almost gives a papery feeling rather than that of cloth. But unlike some synthetic travel fabrics, it doesn’t make noise when it rubs against itself. Best of all, it not only shields kids from sun with UPF 30 sun protection–it keeps the skin cooler by creating shade without trapping in the heat.
In southern Florida, that’s a very good thing.
Both my daughter and son wore their Silver Ridge pants the day we spent 4 hours exploring Big Cypress National Preserve (shown above) and during other parts of our trip and didn’t mind keeping the full legs on no matter the temperature. I have to say that with so few “practical” shorts options in the market for girls this spring, it was also nice to have these in their converted form–and with the ultra-fast-drying fabric, they were great for pulling on over the swimsuit when changing activities.
Only one thing could improve upon the theme, I figured, and so in advance of our trip I treated the pants with Permethrin to help fend off biting bugs of all sorts as well. In southern Florida, as I learned the hard way last month, there are a few of those.
Also good to know:
Both boys and girls Silver Ridge convertible pants include hidden adjustable elastic waistbands to help ensure a good fit.
Columbia’s sizes for kids can be a bit confusing if you’re new to them. For example, kids’ size XXS they say is equivalent to a kids 4/5, but in the boys’ Silver Ridge III pants it seems a solid size 5 if not a 5/6, and the girls’ Silver Ridge pants were also on the larger size. Click here to see the Columbia sizing charts for boys and girls.
The Silver Ridge III convertible pants for kids come in two colors, but if you’ll be in extreme sun, your kids may keep much cooler in the lighter shade.
Find them online at: Amazon.com