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Prana Brion II Pants Review

A solid pair of everyday pants that are also good for hiking or climbing
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Prana Brion II Pants Review (The Prana Brion II is one of our favorites for its trail-to-town readiness. It's actually their simplicity and lack of...)
The Prana Brion II is one of our favorites for its trail-to-town readiness. It's actually their simplicity and lack of additional pockets and drawstrings that make them stand out.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch
Price:  $85 List
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Manufacturer:   Prana
By Ben Applebaum-Bauch ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 13, 2023
68
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 13
  • Comfort and Mobility - 35% 7.5
  • Venting and Breathability - 20% 7.0
  • Weather Resistance - 15% 5.5
  • Features - 15% 5.0
  • Versatility - 15% 8.0

Our Verdict

The Prana Brion II keeps things simple. It doesn't have the frills and features found on a lot of high-end hiking pants, but this pair looks great and performs well, too. They are right at home on the trail and in town. With a slim fit, these pants are made from a comfortable and durable stretch fabric blend (95% nylon, 5% spandex) but could easily pass as a decent pair of slacks that go well with a button-down shirt. They aren't especially water-resistant, so they're better suited for dry climates. However, their minimalist set of features makes them a great choice for everyday wear at home or the office.
REASONS TO BUY
Simple design looks good
Comfortable
Affordable
REASONS TO AVOID
Minimal features
Not water resistant
Editor's Note: This review was updated on November 13, 2023, to ensure that it reflects the most recent version of the Brion II.

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Bottom Line The simplest hiking pant that also proved to be the most stylish for everyday wearFor comfort and breathability, these pants can’t be beatThis stellar pant surprised us with its high performance at an affordable priceThese pants offer mobility without skimping on featuresThese pants are lightweight, but offer limited mobility and therefore limited versatility
Rating Categories Prana Brion II Pants Outdoor Research Fe... Patagonia Quandary... REI Co-op Sahara Co... Columbia Silver Rid...
Comfort and Mobility (35%)
7.5
9.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
Venting and Breathability (20%)
7.0
8.5
6.5
8.0
8.0
Weather Resistance (15%)
5.5
6.5
7.0
5.0
6.5
Features (15%)
5.0
5.0
7.0
7.5
7.0
Versatility (15%)
8.0
7.5
7.5
5.0
5.0
Specs Prana Brion II Pants Outdoor Research Fe... Patagonia Quandary... REI Co-op Sahara Co... Columbia Silver Rid...
Weight 10.7 oz 12.2 oz 9.7 oz 11.9 oz 10.4 oz
Material 95% recycled nylon, 5% spandex 86% nylon, 14% spandex; 90D stretch woven ripstop 94% nylon (62% recycled), 6% spandex 96% recycled nylon, 4% spandex 100% nylon Silver Ridge ripstop
Water Resistance DWR finish DWR finish DWR finish DWR finish No additional treatment
Sizing (Waist, Length Options) W: 28" - 42"
L: 28" - 36"
W: 28" - 42"
L: 30"- 36"
W: 28" - 40"
L: 30", 32", 34"
W: 28"- 50"
L: 28" - 34"
W: 28"- 44"
L: 28" - 36"
Sun Protection UPF 50 UPF 50 UPF 40+ UPF 50 UPF 50
Pants/Shorts Convertibility No No (but have ankle cinch cord and fully convertible version available) No Yes Yes
Pockets 2 hand, 2 back, 1 coin 2 hand, 2 back, 1 thigh zip 2 hand, 2 back (1 zip), 1 thigh zip, 1 coin 2 hand, 2 back velcro, 2 thigh (1 zip, 1 flap) 2 hand, 2 back velcro, 2 thigh (1 zip, 1 velcro)
Waist Strap and Fastener Button and zip fly Button and zip fly Button and zip fly, integrated elastic cord Button and zip fly, elastic across back Button and zip fly, full belt, elastic on hips
Other Features Gusseted crotch, belt loops, mesh pockets Drawcord cuff closures, side zip pocket Front and back knee articulation, gusseted crotch, slim straight fit Removable legs with color-coded zippers and vertical zippers, elastic in waist Gusseted crotch, full belt, elastic waist

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Brion II is very functional as a hiking pant but also excels as a casual, everyday pair. The stretch fabric ensures that they are super comfortable against the skin, while also offering superior mobility, durability, and protection you would expect from an outdoor pant. This model has a relatively slim and straight cut. They come in a wide variety of earthy colors, ensuring that you will look as comfortable in a meeting at work as out on the trail.

Performance Comparison


prana brion ii pants - the prana brion is a very simple pair of nylon pants that work both...
The Prana Brion is a very simple pair of nylon pants that work both on trail and in town.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Comfort and Mobility


The Brion II is a very comfortable pant that ranks up there with our favorite pairs in this metric. In particular, we love the 95%/5% nylon/elastane blend that offers just the right amount of stretch in the crotch and upper legs. The fabric feels soft against the skin, and we appreciate that even though they are cut a little slim, mobility is rarely limited. We like the gusseted crotch. The fly zipper could stand to extend a bit lower but it's totally functional.


The front secures with a button closure. We appreciate that it is relatively low profile, which makes it more comfortable underneath a backpack hip belt or a climbing harness. Though it doesn't have a felted waist we didn't experience any hip abrasions while hiking. These pants also retain their stretch, that is, they can be worn many, many times between washes before the waist starts to get noticeably looser.

prana brion ii pants - the gusseted crotch (the diamond shape in the middle) creates a...
The gusseted crotch (the diamond shape in the middle) creates a little more space in these otherwise slim fit pants.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Venting and Breathability


During our hiking field tests, we noticed that these pants hold more heat compared to the competition. The stretch fabric is a bit heavier than the material found on the most breathable pants. Weighing in at 12 ounces, the pair is about average for the category, however, the slimmer fit suggests there is also likely less material through the legs and there are few other features to add weight, so we suspect that the fabric itself is heavier than most pants. In addition, the Brion II has very few ventilation features. It comes with mesh-lined front hand pockets. However, considering the openings for these pockets lay flat against the leg, it's not a significant feature for releasing heat.


There are no crotch holes or roll-up cuff snaps. However, we did notice that the gusset is a slightly lighter material than the rest of the pants. Even with this subtle addition, they are not our favorite choice for hot weather. Having said that, because of the slimmer fit, the legs do roll up securely if you need some relief on a warmer day.

prana brion ii pants - one of the primary ventilation features are the mesh pockets. to be...
One of the primary ventilation features are the mesh pockets. To be honest, we don't find them to be especially effective.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Weather Resistance


Though these pants come with a durable water-repellent (DWR) coating applied to the outside, we found that water soaks in much more quickly than most hiking pants we tested. In a light mist, water droplets bead up and run off, but in a true rainstorm, these pants rapidly become saturated. Not only that, but they also start to feel wet on the inside against the skin almost immediately. If you need a pant that has solid water repellency, we recommend looking elsewhere.


However, when it comes to wind resistance, this model is a little bit sturdier. The mid-weight fabric insulates better than its airier counterparts. In addition, these pants dry comparatively quickly. Despite their underperformance in wet weather, they are durable. Their simple design means that there are no small plastic parts to fall off or break. Riveted pockets and a reinforced waist also add to their durability.

prana brion ii pants - the prana brion ii has decent initial resistance but eventually it...
The Prana Brion II has decent initial resistance but eventually it moisture seeps through the fabric.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Features


The Brion takes a minimalist approach to features. In fact, there is nothing extra at all. There are two front handwarmer pockets (with an inset coin pocket on the right side), two rear pockets, and belt loops, and that's it. The front pockets aren't especially deep, and we never felt totally comfortable stashing anything essential like car keys in them while out on the trail. Having said that, they are totally serviceable throughout the day to day. The same goes for the rear pockets; they are proportional to the overall slender style of the pants.


There are no extra cargo pockets, drawcords, zip-off bottoms, or any of the features found on most comparable hiking pants. It is worth mentioning, though, that these pants have a UPF 50+ rating, meaning their ability to shield you from the sun has been lab-tested and confirmed. They are also manufactured with recycled nylon, and the fabric is Bluesign-approved. We actually rather enjoy their simplicity; it's just important to know what you are getting with this model.

prana brion ii pants - there aren't extra features on these pants except for two front and...
There aren't extra features on these pants except for two front and two rear pockets.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Versatility


These pants lack the technical features that would expand their versatility across a wider array of activities and seasons. As discussed above, they have thicker fabric, are not convertible, and don't have any substantial ventilation points to help cool you off, like roll-up cuff cinch cords or snaps. All of this diminishes their versatility for hot weather or long backpacking trips.


On the other hand, they are still quite functional for outdoor work around the house, for traveling, and for car camping. On top of that, they look great. Their stretch makes them a good option for hiking, but these pants are easily passable as officewear in many settings. They come with traditional belt loops, so it is simple enough to make them look even nicer (as opposed to many hiking pants that come with an integrated outdoor-looking belt). In fact, these pants are more notable for their fashion-forward aesthetic than their technical expertise.

prana brion ii pants - the prana brion ii is one of our favorites for its trail-to-town...
The Prana Brion II is one of our favorites for its trail-to-town readiness. It's actually their simplicity and lack of additional pockets and drawstrings that make them stand out.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Should you Buy the Prana Brion II?


The Prana Brion II look, feel, and perform far closer to an average pair of casual pants than they do to a technical piece of outerwear. We think this model provides plenty of good value for the right wearer. Though they are super simple and lack all of the technical features of typical hiking pants, we have to admit that we love this pair for its style and cross-functionality between trail and town.

prana brion ii pants - a low-profile button closure makes these pants more comfortable with...
A low-profile button closure makes these pants more comfortable with a backpack hip belt.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

What Other Hiking Pants Should You Consider?


For those who just need more features, the Outdoor Research Ferrosi is also a simple model but comes with an additional leg pocket and internal drawstring. If style is what you are after, the Royal Robbins Alpine Road is another office-ready pair. If you like the simplicity of these pants but prefer a techy aesthetic, the Arc'teryx Gamma is a good pair to look at as well. Lastly, in the other direction, if you like the Prana brand, don't care about frontcountry style, and want highly functional pants, the Prana Stretch Zion II is a sure bet.

prana brion ii pants - these simple pants are a nice, stylish addition to any wardrobe.
These simple pants are a nice, stylish addition to any wardrobe.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Ben Applebaum-Bauch