For Christmas 2011, we got Boo 2 pairs or REI Sahara zip-off pants. We bought the girls, but the only “girly” thing about them is the tag and waistband elastic are pink. http://www.rei.com/product/827106/rei-sahara-convertible-pants-girls
They have the button elastic in the waistband, which is a requirement for anything beyond sweatpants for us.
I have no idea what size they are, since somebody cut the size part of the tags off. I’m sure they were the smallest size offered, but I think it was a 5-6 range. I expected them to be too long, and they were. At 4, they were over 3” longer than she needed. Which ended up being 1 roll at the waist and 3 rolls at the cuffs since I was too lazy to shorten them (just taking the cuffs up would have made the zippers not work). At 5 years and 43” tall, they barely hit the dirt.
The knees are shaped a bit
We bought 2 pair so that if one got totally nasty we could trade it out. I will not take a little kid who regularly rolls in the mud and puts her dinner in her lap into the wilderness without a second pair of pants. Chipmunks might get her in the night.
So she’s rolled in the mud, climbed on rocks, shimmied up trees, spilled her food and drink, fallen down, bushwhacked, and generally abused them as much as a 4 year old can.
One pair the stitching is broken on the back pockets (one set of the double stitching). One pair is slightly faded (we hang our laundry in the summer). They are still in great shape.
Update Sept 22, 2013: The bottom hem of one leg is starting to show wear. After almost 2 years.
My favorite thing about these pants is the zips. The entire around zipper is colored (not just the pulls like my pants). And the vertical zipper goes all the way up. So they can be taken off without taking her shoes off. The zipper pulls are on the outside of the leg. The amazing part is that I can take the bottoms of her pants off while she is riding on my shoulders.
She doesn’t use the rear pockets yet, but she loves to put found treasures in the other pockets. They are nicely sized for her, and reinforced so I’m not afraid she’ll tear them out before she outgrows them.
We bought her convertible pants because she hates the feel of grass on her bare legs, but then gets overheated easily. These keep the grass off without overheating, and then can be turned into shorts when we’re out of the grass. They’re summer weight, and when it’s chilly or windy we layer them with some sweatpants or leggings.
They dry quickly. All the pockets have drain holes.
She rolls in the mud. The mud rinses right out. They’ve had a year of reasonably hard wear and don’t have any stains. I’ve never picked burrs off them.
I like that they can zip off for hot summer days and they can zip on for cold and grassy days. For medium and cold days and for snowy and hot days I like to have my zip ups off and in the summer we took them to Duluth and they have excellent washing machines. You should go there. Yes you really should. They fit perfect but I don't like how the fabric feels on my legs.
She likes them for hiking, we like them. They're pricy, but they will fit 2 summers, maybe three, putting them into a more normal kid pants price range. If she wasn't so bothered by grass, we'd have stuck with normal nylon pants and shorts, but the trading them on and off was getting too much. So, not for everybody. But if you want zip-off kid pants, these are a good choice.