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Patagonia Quandary Review

An awesome pant for 14er day hikes and chilling at the brewpub afterwards.
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Price:  $79 List | $79.00 at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Supple and mobile, DWR coating works great, fair price
Cons:  Not many pockets, slim fit may not be awesome for larger adults
Manufacturer:   Patagonia
By Andy Wellman ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 5, 2019
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74
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 12
  • Comfort and Mobility - 35% 8
  • Venting and Breathability - 20% 7
  • Versatility - 15% 7
  • Water Resistance - 15% 8
  • Features - 15% 6

Our Verdict

We recommend the Patagonia Quandary as an excellent pair of pants for tackling day hikes and backpacking adventures. Its lightweight, slim-fitting blend of recycled nylon and spandex offers freedom and mobility while also doing a more-than-admirable job of warding off wind and light rain. It has a simple yet functional array of pockets that might provide less room for a map or snacks than some other models, but also won't slow you down.


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Patagonia Quandary
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award  
Price $79.00 at REI
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Supple and mobile, DWR coating works great, fair priceAiry fabric, very comfortable, maximum mobilityComfortable, look good, versatile, blocks wind and water better than the restComfortable fit and fabric, very versatile, perfectly functioning featuresConvertible option looks nice and is easy to use, durable stretchy nylon, tons of pockets
Cons Not many pockets, slim fit may not be awesome for larger adultsWaist fit is loose, not great in cool weatherExpensive, no rear pocketsNot much ventilation, fabric absorbs water in a heavy downpourConvertible zipper rests across lower thigh, front button sometimes comes undone
Bottom Line An awesome pant for 14er day hikes and chilling at the brewpub afterwards.For comfort and breathability, these pants can’t be beat.These functional, high-quality pants look and feel the part.A favorite pair of very comfortable hiking pants.A fantastic versatile option because of its numerous, spacious pockets, and the ability to switch quickly into shorts.
Rating Categories Patagonia Quandary Ferrosi Pants Arc'teryx Gamma LT Pant Prana Stretch Zion KUHL Renegade Cargo Converti...
Comfort And Mobility (35%)
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
6
Venting And Breathability (20%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
6
10
0
6
10
0
6
Versatility (15%)
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
9
Water Resistance (15%)
10
0
8
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
5
10
0
6
Features (15%)
10
0
6
10
0
5
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
9
Specs Patagonia Quandary Ferrosi Pants Arc'teryx Gamma LT... Prana Stretch Zion KUHL Renegade...
Weight (in oz) 10.0 oz 12.2 oz 11.6 oz 13.6 oz 17.0 oz
Material 94% nylon (62% recycled) / 6% spandex 86% nylon / 14% spandex 90D stretch woven ripstop 88% nylon, 12% elastane 97% Nylon / 3% Spandex DURALUX 95% Nylon, 5% Spandex
Water Resistance DWR finish DWR finish DWR finish DWR finish DWR finish
Sizing (waist, length options) W: 28" - 40"
L: 30", 32", 34"
W: 28" - 38" W: 28" - 44" L: 31.5" - 33" W: 28" - 42"
L: 28", 30", 32", 34", 36"
W: 28" - 42",
L: 28", 30", 32", 34", 36"
Shorts: 10"
Sun Protection UPF 50 not specified not specified UPF 50 UPF 50
Convertible, or option available? No No, but convertible version available No No, but convertible version available Yes
Pockets 2 hand, 2 back, 1 zippered thigh, 1 coin 2 hand, 2 back, 1 thigh zip 2 hand, 1 side 2 hand, 2 back, one left side 2 front, 2 back, 2 side cargo
Waist Strap/Fasten Button and zip fly Button and zip fly Integrated belt and zip fly Button and zip fly with waist cinch Snap and zip fly
Other Features Front and back knee articulation, gusseted crotch, slim straight fit Drawcord cuff closures, side zip pocket Gusseted crotch, articulated knees, integrated belt Ventilated inseam gusset, roll up leg snaps, adjustable waist tightening strap Articulated knees, gusseted crotch, mesh pockets for ventilation, compartment sections inside cargo pockets for organization, ankle zips and snaps for easy removal with boots
Warranty Lifetime Lifetime Lifetime defect/material warranty, wear and tear damage may be repaired for a fee Full refund, credit, or exchange if you are dissatisfied Limited warranty against manufacturer defects - will repair or replace defective products

Our Analysis and Test Results

Although they can't speed you down to treeline when the thunder starts booming, the Patagonia Quandary will do an excellent job of limiting how soaked you get if you are out in the rain. They also offer UPF 50 sun protection, a serious bonus at high altitudes, where the sun's rays can be pretty intense, and the nylon fabric's tight weave is both stretchy and cuts the wind well. While they don't have a lot of vents for air to escape, we found their lightweight fabric to be more breathable and more cooling feeling while working up a sweat than most, assisted by an absorptive, moisture-wicking band around the waist. The truth is that these high-scoring scoring pants offer excellent value.

Performance Comparison


The Quandary is relatively affordable and super comfortable. We also like their simple look for wearing around town on top of their great hiking performance.
The Quandary is relatively affordable and super comfortable. We also like their simple look for wearing around town on top of their great hiking performance.

Comfort and Mobility


The Quandary pant is cut thin and features a slim fit that Patagonia recommends for lean-to-medium builds. We would agree with this recommendation, as we found them to be slightly restrictive around the tops and outsides of the thighs where they meet the hip flexors and pelvis, as well as in the seat. If you have cross-fit thighs or like competing in triathlons, we suggest you try these on before you purchase a pair.

Despite a narrower fit, these pants are supremely mobile. They have 6% spandex blended into their nylon weave, allowing them to stretch any which way that you do. They also have a stretchy drawstring recessed into the waistband, which facilitates a perfect fit without a belt, even as your body weight and waistline fluctuates. While they didn't fit as well for our testers as some other models, we love the feel of the fabric against the skin, which is impressively soft for a synthetic material.

Made of recycled nylon combined with 6% spandex  these pants are seriously stretchy! While they were a bit trim fitting  their insane stretchiness  and therefore mobility  meant we never felt constricted while hiking in them.
Made of recycled nylon combined with 6% spandex, these pants are seriously stretchy! While they were a bit trim fitting, their insane stretchiness, and therefore mobility, meant we never felt constricted while hiking in them.

Venting and Breathability


When it comes to venting features, this pant does not have a lot to offer. It has mesh lining half of the two front handwarmer pockets as well as the tiny coin pocket, and a small piece of mesh on the inside of the right thigh pocket, but none on the back pockets. Likewise, there are no other features that accommodate venting, and it does not come in a separate version that is convertible into shorts.

Although venting is not a strength of this model, we did find that the super-thin fabric feels cooler and breathes better than most of the more substantial materials found on competing pants. This pair also has a moisture-absorbing mesh liner around the waistband that is designed to wick away sweat, and even feels nice. We think these pants perform toward the top of the review in this metric.

Testing the Quandary for breathability and venting while running up this steep hill in the hot sun. While they didn't have a lot of features to aid in venting  we found that their very thin  light fabric did a more effective job than most at breathing.
Testing the Quandary for breathability and venting while running up this steep hill in the hot sun. While they didn't have a lot of features to aid in venting, we found that their very thin, light fabric did a more effective job than most at breathing.

Versatility


The light, thin construction of the Quandary pant makes them a good choice for either warm or cold climates. However, they are a bit thin for cooler weather, and likewise, do not offer much ventilation for scorching temperatures. The fact that they do a good job repelling a light rain adds to their versatility. Because of their thin fabric, we wouldn't choose to intentionally use these pants for heavy outdoor work other activities, like rock climbing, that offer ample opportunity for abrasion.

We couldn't help but test the versatility of the Quandary out at the local sport crag. While we loved their mobility  their thin  lightweight fabric likely won't hold up to too much rubbing against the rock. We loved them for hiking in all seasons  but wouldn't use them for highly abrasive activities  like climbing or yard work  very often.
We couldn't help but test the versatility of the Quandary out at the local sport crag. While we loved their mobility, their thin, lightweight fabric likely won't hold up to too much rubbing against the rock. We loved them for hiking in all seasons, but wouldn't use them for highly abrasive activities, like climbing or yard work, very often.

Water Resistance


The Quandary comes with a surprisingly effective DWR treatment. In our shower test, it scored near the top of the pack. Even after many days of wear and more than a couple of times in the washer, these pants still repelled light rain well. In a solid downpour, they eventually ended up soaked, but somehow our legs stayed dry inside, which was more than we could say about other pairs of pants in this review. The nylon proved to be not very absorptive, and they also dried quickly and efficiently, even after a substantial soaking.

Before jumping in the shower  we tested the Quandary under a simulated light rain and found that their DWR coating was quite effective at preventing moisture from soaking in  rather forcing it to run off.
Before jumping in the shower, we tested the Quandary under a simulated light rain and found that their DWR coating was quite effective at preventing moisture from soaking in, rather forcing it to run off.

Features


The feature set on this pair of pants is simple and effective. The most notable feature is a stretchy, thin drawstring on the inside of the waist that works similar to the ones you would find on a pair of running shorts. We think it helps cinch up the fit slightly if it is too loose, and gives one the option of wearing these pants without a belt, a feature we prefer for hiking or backpacking with a pack.

The Quandary has a simple feature set with only one extra pocket in addition to the hand pockets and rear pockets. This recessed  zippered pocket lives high on the right thigh  and is plenty large enough to carry a phone  wallet  or other trail necessities.
The Quandary has a simple feature set with only one extra pocket in addition to the hand pockets and rear pockets. This recessed, zippered pocket lives high on the right thigh, and is plenty large enough to carry a phone, wallet, or other trail necessities.

In terms of pockets, it has two front hand-warmer pockets with a tiny coin pocket, and two rear pockets, the left of which has a zipper. On the right thigh is a zippered storage pocket, recessed inside the pant, rather than resting on the outside. With no other features to speak of, this pant projects elegant simplicity more than do-it-all functionality.

A feature unique to the Quandary is this drawstring on the inside of the waist belt that helps make micro-tuned adjustments to the fit  and helps you avoid needing to wear a belt underneath a pack waist strap. You can also see the mesh wicking material inside the waist belt designed to allow sweat moisture to evaporate quicker.
A feature unique to the Quandary is this drawstring on the inside of the waist belt that helps make micro-tuned adjustments to the fit, and helps you avoid needing to wear a belt underneath a pack waist strap. You can also see the mesh wicking material inside the waist belt designed to allow sweat moisture to evaporate quicker.

Value


As a top scorer, these pants are worth it, especially for peak-bagging. Backed by the Patagonia Ironclad guarantee, there is no doubt that these pants present a great value.

Hiking on a trail in the San Juan Mountains  contemplating value. These pants package together great performance at a below-average price.
Hiking on a trail in the San Juan Mountains, contemplating value. These pants package together great performance at a below-average price.

Conclusion


The Patagonia Quandary pants are a slim fitting but highly flexible pant that does a great job protecting from the sun, wind, or light rain, and look good enough to rock in town as well as on the trail. Though their fit may not be ideal for larger adults, they do a good job of offsetting their sleekness with stretchy fabrics. Despite their price point, there is little compromise when it comes to the quality of these pants, which we would happily recommend for all styles of hiking from day hikes to long treks.

One of the best parts of living in Ouray is the huge network of trails that surround town. Hiking in the evening in the comfortable Quandary Pant  it almost felt like going for a stroll in our pajamas.
One of the best parts of living in Ouray is the huge network of trails that surround town. Hiking in the evening in the comfortable Quandary Pant, it almost felt like going for a stroll in our pajamas.


Andy Wellman