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Prana Stretch Zion Convertible Pants Review

   
Editors' Choice Award

Hiking Pants

  • Currently 4.5/5
Overall avg rating 4.5 of 5 based on 8 reviews. Most recent review: July 6, 2015
Street Price:   Varies from $58 - $89 | Compare prices at 6 resellers
Pros:  Comfortable, versatile for sports or casual wear, great pocket options, great fit.
Cons:  Stitching gives way over time, slightly baggy on some.
Best Uses:  Everything outdoors from yoga to climbing to hiking and travel (except extreme weather).
User Rating:     
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  • 5
 (4.2 of 5) based on 7 reviews
Recommendations:  100% of reviewers (6/6) recommend this product
Manufacturer:   Prana
Review by: Brian Blum ⋅ Review Editor, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ July 6, 2015  
Overview
The Prana Stretch Zion Convertible Pants win the Editors' Choice award as the go-to pair of pants for just about every sport, activity or social affair while traveling or adventuring outdoors. These pants offer an extremely comfortable fit with a stretchy material (nylon with a touch of spandex) allowing one to practice yoga or rock climb in them with no noticeable resistance. They keep you warm during cold fronts (long underwear fits comfortably underneath) and can be turned into shorts when the temperature bubbles up. They endure wear and tear in the roughest of conditions. These pants are practical and offer multi-access zipper security pockets as well as well sized and positioned front and rear pockets. The waist tightens up with a simple tug on the adjustable waistband. These pants breathe, resist water and in general meet an outdoor enthusiast's every need. They are by no means waterproof, but fit well enough so that a waterproof shell will easily fit over them.

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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review

Prana has many amazing products, and many different types and styles of pants to choose from, but when looking for a general purpose outdoor/travel pant, the Stretch Zion Convertible Pants offer a uniquely versatile, general purpose solution to all of your outdoor needs that not only outperform other Prana products, but blow competitor products out of the water.

Performance Comparison


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Still a long way to go up river to get to camp
Credit: Brian Blum

Comfort / Fit


From the standpoint of comfort, there's simply nothing bad that can be said about these pants. The material is soft and comfortable, they fit your body well; not too tight, not too loose (except for the very skinny frame) to accommodate all body types and situations. They stretch for yoga, climbing, or other more intense activities, and they simply look and feel great. The convertible pant legs make it an easy conversion to shorts if you'd like to go for a swim, and not the short shorts of the 80s but an actual full-length pair of shorts. We don't feel claustrophobic or constrained when sitting for long periods of time. In hotter and colder climates these pants do a great job with temperature acclimation allowing us to focus our energy on our surroundings rather than our clothing.
If we absolutely have to make a complaint about these pants we can say that they are a little bit baggy for climbing, especially for thinner individuals, and when you tighten up the adjustable waistband they develop awkward creases in the front and often become loose again soon. Note that they also run a little bit short in the legs, which actually works well for climbing but may be undesirable for some in general. However, the six different waist sizes and three lengths available should render this point moot if you purchase the right pair in the right fit.

The short video below shows the horizontal fabric stretch. The material does not stretch vertically. The balance of stretchy in one direction and non-stretchy in the other gives the pants a casual, almost dressy look combined with the flexibility and comfort of sweat pants.

Versatility


Hands down these are the top pants from the perspective of versatility. They perform while hiking to the top of snow covered peaks, becoming saturated in white water, stretching to the limit in some uncomfortable yoga poses, scraping against sharp granite on the boulders of Joshua Tree, and looking like "normal" pants when grabbing a drink in town. There is rarely a situation where throwing these on and heading out the door is a bad idea (the one exception being a recent job interview where I don't think the cargo pants look impressed the interviewer). There are of course many better solutions for specific activities. We prefer to climb in a tighter fitting pant. We prefer to do yoga in stretchy yoga pants or shorts. We prefer to swim in a bathing suit. And of course we prefer to go out dancing in something a bit more stylish. But for a general purpose solution, especially when looking for an all purpose pair of versatile pants to take with you into the jungles of Asia or the far reaches of the world, we honestly can't recommend a better pair.

Durability


Sitting in my Zion's as I write this, I must say I am quite impressed with how well these pants stand up to wear and tear. After six months of bushwacking through jungle, farming in the heat of the tropics and adventuring through caves and across mountain peaks, the pants that I wore the most, the Zion Convertibles, can take a beating and, as they say, keep on ticking. Aside from a stain or two that won't come out and some stitching that has come undone (which hasn't caused any real problems yet), these pants are in great shape and likely to last at least another six months to a year of intense general use. They don't exactly look new any more, but we can't honestly expect any pair of pants to hold up against six months in the tropics living in the elements. And while not a direct test of weatherproofing, we were happy to see that the weatherproof coating also served to resist the absorption of some spilled red wine, keeping these pants clean from stains in many cases.

Weather Resistance


In general the Zion Convertible Pants held up across a range of weather conditions. In light rain they did a great job of keeping us dry, although in the tropics we also got to experience saturating rain where nothing but full waterproofing would have sufficed. Unless saturated they also dried relatively quickly both on and off the body, a nice feature when you get pretty tired of being wet all of the time.
At high elevations at near freezing temperatures they functioned pretty well to keep us warm, although long underwear is a must have for those not acclimated to very cold climates. For the most part they were effective as well against cold winds, although some holes in the crotch which serve well to ventilate hot air also become a spot for cold frigid air to enter, sometimes quite uncomfortably. In hotter climates they offered some breathability through these ventilation holes, but still became quite warm, pushing us to take advantage of the zip-off legs at the risk of high sun exposure.

Features


The Zion Convertible Pants offer four front and two rear pockets, a tightening waist strap, zip-off pant legs (convertible), and functional ventilation holes. The open front and rear pockets are well designed to be easily accessible, deep enough to hold ample material without risk of falling out, and offer mesh netting increasing the overall breathability of the pants. The two lower front zipper pockets are extremely useful for securing valuables and important items when on the move, and offer two zippers for top or side access, something we felt at first was overkill but later came to appreciate when accessing these pockets sitting down or while in a harness. The waist tightening system was functional, although often loosened up during activity and hangs awkwardly down the front of the pants as there is no place to tuck the fabric away. The stretch Zion Convertible Pants are offered in six waist sizes and three lengths, and come in three different color options, providing enough variety to meet your style preference (note: we do wish a few more color options were available).


Best Applications


The Stretch Zion Convertible Pants are absolutely perfect for hiking, general outdoor activities and especially multi-faceted travel. They are uniquely suitable for higher intensity activities like yoga, rock climbing, slacklining, dancing and general play. They are sufficient for both warmer and cooler climates, although specialized excursions call for specialized equipment.

Value


The Stretch Zion Convertible Pants provide excellent value. These pants are priced in the middle range of those we tested and provide an all-purpose multi-faceted solution to looking and feeling good at home or on whatever adventure you undertake. In general they are not cheap pants, but they are also not cheaply made. We did have some frustration with the stitching coming loose, which directly degrades their overall value and longevity. However, we love Prana as a company and we especially love their policy of providing a full refund at any time if you are unhappy with their product.

Other Versions


The Stretch Zion Convertible Pant is available in a 30, 32, and 34 inch inseam

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Prana Stretch Zion Pants
  • Cost - $79.00 ($10 less than the convertible version)
  • Features roll and snap legs instead of zip-off legs
  • Offered in 4 more colors than the convertible version

Prana Halle
Click to enlarge
  • Cost - $75 ($14 less than Stretch Zion Convertible Pant)
  • A superb and comfortable pant for women
  • Top Pick Award

Conclusions


The Prana Stretch Zion Convertible Pants win Editors' Choice award because they provide everything we want, and more, in a general purpose hiking/outdoor pant. Having travelled for six months with these and four other pairs of top hiking pants, we found that no matter what we were doing, regardless of the conditions, we were well served by these pants.

Brian Blum

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: July 6, 2015
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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  • 5
 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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  • 5
 (4.2)

100% of 6 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
7 Total Ratings
5 star: 57%  (4)
4 star: 29%  (2)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 14%  (1)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Sort 7 member reviews by: Most Recent | Most Helpful
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
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   Jan 13, 2014 - 02:02pm
Michael67 · Backpacker · Chico, CA
These are the best for hiking and backpacking. The material is very breathable and stretchy. Lots of pockets. I love the adjustable belt, so that as you lose weight on a backpacking trip, you can cinch up the waist.

They are fairly warm, which I consider a plus when I zip on the legs at night or at the summit.

The material does snag a little and show a little wear, but the material is very tough.

They are very comfortable and functional. The fit is slightly baggy, I also have the shorts version which fits a little slimmer.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
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   Mar 10, 2015 - 11:10am
Quadzilla · Hiker · Keansburg, NJ
Click to enlarge
Day Hike near Delaware Water Gap in Prana Stretch Zion pants and Osprey Talon 22 Backpack, both worked great.
Credit: Quadzilla
OK so I think at this point you get the idea that these are great pants, I agree with the post on all of the positive aspects of the product. Once downside that I noticed is that the zippers are a little small, which is a good and bad thing. I've worn this in the snow and the zippers are downright impossible to open with gloves on. Also they are hard to access when you are in a hurry. The upside of having small zippers is that they don't jingle around when you walk and they make the pants more stylish. Also I got a pair of these for $51.00 USD from the PRANA site. The mud colored ones are on sale as of 3/10/15. I would recommend buying them, great price and nice color.

I a 6'3" 220lbs and size Large 32 fit fine

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Jul 1, 2015 - 10:33pm
Srbphoto · Climber · Kennewick wa
I really like them, especially as shorts. Most convertible pants are baggy, these have a nice fit to them.

You don't notice them when wearing them climbing, which is all I ask.

One huge plus: I got mine at TJ Maxx for $24. They have been getting some Prana stuff in lately.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Jul 1, 2015 - 03:44pm
The best all around outdoor (and indoor) pants I've found to date. The only negative comes from what I consider poor communication of sizing by Prana and all the different sizing codes used by online retailers. But this negative amounts to nothing once you find the size best for you and this might not be a problem for anyone else.

I am 6'1" 192lbs and have multiple pairs of LrgX32L.

I've used these in a variety of conditions from cold, hot, dry, wet, humid, beach, mountains, forest, and on. I've climbed, hiked, canoed, slept, and even herded a bunch of Scouts around Summer Camps. The breathability is key in the Southern states and humid weather. Yet they are warm enough in altitude of Colorado at night.

The adjustable belt, stretchy fabric, and amount of pockets increase the value of these pants. As one reviewer mentioned the pocket zippers can be hard to access at times, especially while walking, but I prefer this so nothing slips out of my pockets. Converting them is easy and I like the slight extra length of the "shorts" to protect the knees.

My only advice would be to try them on if possible in order to find the correct fit. Then find them on sale and search for a coupon. If you find them under $55 I suggest buying several pair and enjoy.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Mar 10, 2015 - 02:57pm
WML · Climber · Edge of the Electric Ocean Beneath Red Rock
These pants were at first what I thought "FINALLY, a reliable pair of climbing pants - the holy grail"

They climbed well, breathed fine, were way comfy, etc

I even went out and bought a second pair.

Well, the second pair, after not too many trips into the hills to go climb, have started to show signs of failure. Their second trip out the zipper on the cargo pocket failed. Most recently, the pants developed a hole in the knee from doing some moderate chimneying on sandstone, and certainly not the most burly of wiggling. I will be returning these to Prana for a replacement pair and hopefully they hold up better.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Dec 2, 2014 - 11:21am
WhiteTomato · Hiker
Bought these after hiking a year in a pair of Colombia Silver Ridge convertible pants and REI Sahara convertible pants. Returned the REI pants after hiking Mauna Loa due to the fact that the fabric tore from the rocks (I only had the pants about 4 months at the time). The Colombia ones held up but were a little tight, making full range of motion a bit uncomfortable.

The Prana pants have been great so far. The material is stretchy, making hiking up hill VERY comfortable--I never felt like the pants were getting tight as I did with the Colombia pants. The material seems far more durable, although only time will tell if that will actually be the case. I love the integrated belt--you never have to take it off (actually you can't) and both of the other pairs had separate belts. The tightening system is great. Haven't converted on the trail yet, but feel fairly confident I will be able to get them off without removing my shoes (I had to do that with the Colombia pants--annoying!!)

My only reason for giving it four stars is the lower cargo pockets. It would be nice if they were a bit bigger. I have trouble getting my hands in them and they don't hold much, although some people probably wouldn't have an issue with this. I like using those pockets for my maps and it definitely was too small for that.

I am 6'6" and about 200 pounds. I was worried about the length (longest is 34") but they fit fine. Probably helps they are a bit baggy, which I prefer for comfort anyway.

Overall they seem great. I will likely buy another pair at some point.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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Apr 21, 2014 - 06:41pm
 
I am a little confused on the rating. The Prana got the Editor pick but the North Face got the Top Pick. Is the editor pick better?

I am looking at these pants mainly for travel. It will be hot around 90 - 100 degrees. Will the stretch material on the Prana's be OK or too hot?
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Prana Stretch Zion Convertable pants shown in Khaki. Also available in brown and charcoal.
Credit: Prana
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