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We test the Bug Barrier Discovery III pants from Royal Robbins to see if they can hold their own in a crowded market.

royal robbins bug barrier discovery iii pants sandstone
Best for...
Summer hikers who value comfort and performance over looks.
Overall Score
Comfortable and get the job done.
Quite pricey and not the most flattering cut.

The first thing we thought when we got out hands on the Royal Robbins Bug Barrier Discovery III pants, was minimalist.

These lightweight, mellow-coloured walking trousers are about as opposite to in-your-face as it's possible to get. They come in two colours, a light beige-y 'sandstone', and the darker brown 'falcon', which are unobtrusive and fit for purpose, if slightly uninspiring.

The fabric itself is a lightweight stretch nylon which is breathable, quick-drying (as we can attest after taking them for a spin in the ubiquitous British drizzle), offers UPF protection from the sun, and is insect-resistant.

The Insect Shield tech creates a great barrier between you and the flying teeth, keeping you safe from all kinds of possible disease carriers from mosquitos to ticks. Especially useful if you're heading off on an adventure to more exotic climes!

As far as fit goes, the Discovery III pants are surprisingly comfortable, helped by the stretch material which gives good freedom of movement, and a strip of soft, moisture-wicking fabric around the waistband. The fit is relaxed, in fact, you could say its's a little too relaxed, as even after consulting the sizing guide, our pair is still a little large around the waist, so consider ordering a size down if you're dithering between two options.

Another useful feature in these pants is the option to roll up the cuffs and secure with poppers to wear as capri length for extra versatility. Perfect for paddling or hiding muddy trouser bottoms.

However, having this feature does mean that there is little to no shaping on the legs - they are pretty much straight up and down and quite wide as any kind of tapering would make rolling them up much more difficult. Not the most trendy cut, but again, we can't fault the comfort level, and the wide cuffs fit well over walking boots.

On the pocket front, the minimalist approach reapers. There are two hand pockets as you might expect, as well as back pockets with poppers, but only one small zipped pocket on the right thigh, perfectly sized for the average phone.

Overall, the Bug Barrier Discovery III pants from Royal Robbins are no-nonsense, do what they say on the tin, outdoor trousers, perfect for a summer hike where protection from the sun and insects is the priority.

All our reviews are independent and unbiased. We may earn a commission when you buy from links to Amazon and other affiliates on this page.