Only a few hours before I left for my Canadian portage trip, I had in my pack a pair of traditional relaxed khakis -- the kind you might have worn in a bush safari circa 1912. Thank God good sense prevailed with my purchase of Columbia's PFG Aruba III Convertible Pants. Instead of being soaked and chaffed, I was in and out of lakes without a second thought.

Versatile and comfy, these pants are made with a very lightweight synthetic fiber that dries almost instantly. A zipper on each leg converts them into shorts, and a mesh interior makes them good for a swim. My only complaint is a very sticky drawstring, but you can remedy this with a nylon belt. They're much more affordable than similar models and will do everything you need during a canoe or backpacking trip.

Product: Columbia's PFG Aruba III Convertible Pants Cost: $45 Available: Mad River Outfitters