When it comes to hiking pants, versatility is key. It’s too much of a hassle to change clothes from trail to campfire, or from wilderness to civilization. Think of Merrell’s Chameleon pants as a “one style suits all” option for cool-weather hiking and casual use.

Merrell Chameleon Features:

  • Fabric construction: 96% polyester / 4% elastene
  • Merrell Aeroblock technology
  • Durable Water Repellant (DWR) finish
  • Low profile snap closure
  • Double needle stitched seams
  • Articulated knees
  • Bonded leg zip pocket stores
  • Zip-secure slash hand pockets
  • Rear patch pockets
  • Snap-adjustable leg cuffs
  • MSRP $89

Merrell Chameleon Pants Review

Problem: Product reviewer receives pair of cold-weather hiking gear during a warm Indian summer in coastal California. Solution? Take the pants underground – not to the black market, but to subterranean caves where temperatures are cold and conditions are challenging.

Such was the opportunity I had while exploring a network of caves at Lava Beds National Monument, where temperatures drop into the 30s, crouching and crawling around tests your range of motion, and commando crawling tests the toughness and durability of the fabric.

Caving at Lava Beds National Monument

For the most part, the Merrell Chameleon Pants performed quite well. The articulated knees and stretchy 4% elastene construction allow full range of motion with ease. The interior surface has a brushed finish that’s comfortable against the skin, but the exterior is rugged enough to repeatedly brush against irregular rocky surfaces without worry of tearing.

Merrell uses Aeroblock fabric technology with the Chameleon, which wicks moisture effectively while still providing solid wind resistance. The entire exterior has a DWR coating for water resistance if you get stuck in a deluge.

Durable fabric construction; classic hand pockets plus secure zip pocket for cell phone on R thigh; low-profile waist snap

One occasional problem I found is that the low-profile waist snap, designed for comfort underneath a pack belt, sometimes comes unsnapped when my knees are tucked up closely to my chest. Granted, I might be carrying a few pounds more than I should be right now … but since the snap stays nicely in place when I’m standing or walking, I’d like to trust that it will stay secure when I’m in unusual positions as well.

Styling of the Chameleon is equally suited for trails or casual use, and they’re comfortable enough to go from one setting to another with ease. One minor drawback (noted by my wife) is that the fabric makes a slight whooshing noise when rubbing against each other, even when the ankle cuffs are snapped narrow.

Good Chameleon

  • Comfortable, durable fabric
  • Versatile styling
  • Good range of motion
  • Solid wind and water resistance

Bad Chameleon

  • Waist snap should be more secure
  • Mild whooshing, if that’s an issue for you

Bottom Line: Merrell Chameleon Pants

If the weather’s turning cold and you need a single all-purpose pant for a variety of activities, Merrell’s Chameleon is strong and comfortable enough for virtually any task.

Buy Now: Hiking Pants at REI

About Author

Donald is a physical therapist, ultrarunner, barefoot aficionado, and father of three with more than 20 years of experience in endurance sports. When he's not training for ultramarathons, he enjoys hiking or slacklining with his family in Monterey County, CA.

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