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Prana Stretch Zion Review

A favorite pair of very comfortable hiking pants.
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $85 List | $48.50 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Comfortable fit and fabric, very versatile, perfectly functioning features
Cons:  Not much ventilation, fabric absorbs water in a heavy downpour
Manufacturer:   Prana
By Andy Wellman ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 5, 2019
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74
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 12
  • Comfort and Mobility - 35% 9
  • Venting and Breathability - 20% 6
  • Versatility - 15% 8
  • Water Resistance - 15% 5
  • Features - 15% 7

Our Verdict

The Prana Stretch Zion pants have so much to like about them that it was a natural Top Pick for Best Climbing Pants. They are one of the most comfortable models that we tested, combining a super soft and stretchy nylon fabric with a nearly perfect fit. They also have an impressive and simple feature set, highlighted by a single dual-zippered cargo pocket, a very low-profile waist tightener, and snap buttons on the lower legs that enable the wearer to roll up the cuffs easily. The final feather in these pants' cap is their versatility. Not only did we find them comfortable for many different climates, but we also enjoyed wearing them for daily tasks and travel. While we have featured many pairs of great hiking pants in this review, the truth is that the Prana Stretch Zion is hard to beat.

This model also comes in a convertible option, the Prana Stretch Zion Convertible. The lower legs zip off, increasing the versatility of this already awesome pair.


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This Product
Prana Stretch Zion
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award   
Price $48.50 at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
$55.73 at REI
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$124.95 at Amazon
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Comfortable fit and fabric, very versatile, perfectly functioning featuresAiry fabric, very comfortable, maximum mobilityComfortable, look good, versatile, blocks wind and water better than the restSupple and mobile, DWR coating works great, fair priceConvertible option looks nice and is easy to use, durable stretchy nylon, tons of pockets
Cons Not much ventilation, fabric absorbs water in a heavy downpourWaist fit is loose, not great in cool weatherExpensive, no rear pocketsNot many pockets, slim fit may not be awesome for larger adultsConvertible zipper rests across lower thigh, front button sometimes comes undone
Bottom Line A favorite pair of very comfortable hiking pants.For comfort and breathability, these pants can’t be beat.These functional, high-quality pants look and feel the part.An awesome pant for 14er day hikes and chilling at the brewpub afterwards.A fantastic versatile option because of its numerous, spacious pockets, and the ability to switch quickly into shorts.
Rating Categories Prana Stretch Zion Ferrosi Pants Arc'teryx Gamma LT Pant Patagonia Quandary KUHL Renegade Cargo Converti...
Comfort And Mobility (35%)
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
6
Venting And Breathability (20%)
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
6
10
0
7
10
0
6
Versatility (15%)
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
9
Water Resistance (15%)
10
0
5
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
6
Features (15%)
10
0
7
10
0
5
10
0
7
10
0
6
10
0
9
Specs Prana Stretch Zion Ferrosi Pants Arc'teryx Gamma LT... Patagonia Quandary KUHL Renegade...
Weight (in oz) 13.6 oz 12.2 oz 11.6 oz 10.0 oz 17.0 oz
Material 97% Nylon / 3% Spandex 86% nylon / 14% spandex 90D stretch woven ripstop 88% nylon, 12% elastane 94% nylon (62% recycled) / 6% spandex DURALUX 95% Nylon, 5% Spandex
Water Resistance DWR finish DWR finish DWR finish DWR finish DWR finish
Sizing (waist, length options) W: 28" - 42"
L: 28", 30", 32", 34", 36"
W: 28" - 38" W: 28" - 44" L: 31.5" - 33" W: 28" - 40"
L: 30", 32", 34"
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, but convertible version available No, but convertible version available No No Yes
Pockets 2 hand, 2 back, one left side 2 hand, 2 back, 1 thigh zip 2 hand, 1 side 2 hand, 2 back, 1 zippered thigh, 1 coin 2 front, 2 back, 2 side cargo
Waist Strap/Fasten Button and zip fly with waist cinch Button and zip fly Integrated belt and zip fly Button and zip fly Snap and zip fly
Other Features Ventilated inseam gusset, roll up leg snaps, adjustable waist tightening strap Drawcord cuff closures, side zip pocket Gusseted crotch, articulated knees, integrated belt Front and back knee articulation, gusseted crotch, slim straight fit 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 Full refund, credit, or exchange if you are dissatisfied Lifetime Lifetime defect/material warranty, wear and tear damage may be repaired for a fee Lifetime Limited warranty against manufacturer defects - will repair or replace defective products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Prana Stretch Zion pants look and feel like a "normal" pair of pants. We loved this because it meant we could wear them out around town. They have a comfortable and laid back style, perfect for everyday use. They also feel great to hike in, and we loved them for days at the crag as well. While the Stretch Zion score highly for comfort and mobility, versatility, and their nearly perfect features, we don't want to let them off the hook too easily. We found them to lack adequate ventilation options compared to the competition, and consequently, they didn't seem to breathe as well in our comparative tests as some other models. There is no doubt that these pants are comfier for cooler weather, but they wouldn't be our first choice for the heat of summer. Likewise, despite coming with a DWR coating, these pants took on water faster than most. They performed fine in a drizzle, but we would also be cautious if heavy rain is a guarantee in your itinerary. With these two caveats aside, they are still one of our favorite pairs of hiking pants.

Performance Comparison


The Stretch Zion pants have long been a favorite pair among our testers and friends. Here we are checking out Cascade Falls from behind the water during low season  not something you can do most of the year.
The Stretch Zion pants have long been a favorite pair among our testers and friends. Here we are checking out Cascade Falls from behind the water during low season, not something you can do most of the year.

Comfort and Mobility


From a comfort standpoint, these pants have a lot going for them. The material is soft, and we found that they offer an excellent fit; not too tight, not too loose. They provide the right amount of stretch for hiking and are a suitable option for activities like yoga or climbing. The snap-up pant legs offer an option for warmer weather or when wading through streams. We didn't feel constrained when sitting in them for long periods, and in colder climates, these pants did a great job with keeping our legs warm.


We wish the fly zipper were slightly longer in these pants — it feels like it stops too short. That said, we didn't experience tightness or constriction with the cut of the crotch, and these pants fit well in the upper thighs and front hip area. The overall result is one of the most comfortable pants in our review.

The Stretch Zion are among the most comfortable hiking pants in this review  due to the softness of the fabric against our skin  as well as the awesome fit of the pant. You can see here the ventilation holes in the gusseted crotch  which are a nice touch but not super effective  in our opinion.
The Stretch Zion are among the most comfortable hiking pants in this review, due to the softness of the fabric against our skin, as well as the awesome fit of the pant. You can see here the ventilation holes in the gusseted crotch, which are a nice touch but not super effective, in our opinion.

Venting and Breathability


This model felt a bit hot compared to some of the other lighter pants in this review. Though the thinner cut legs seem to allow less airflow within the pants, they have tiny vent holes in the crotch region to facilitate breathing. However, we found that these holes have a minimal effect while adventuring in the heat of the day.


Mesh-lined pockets are a common approach to increase ventilation in a pair of hiking pants, but this pair has only two mesh-lined pockets — the front handwarmer pockets. And while they do have small plastic snap buttons to hold the cuffs up if you need some extra air on your lower legs, this design is not the most efficient. At the end of the day, while they are some of the most comfortable, they don't fare as well when the going gets hot, and we enjoyed them more as a spring and fall pant than a summer one.

Running uphill in the sun on a hot day to test the venting and breathability capabilities of each pair of pants. The Stretch Zion were a pretty warm pant overall  and we preferred them for cooler weather.
Running uphill in the sun on a hot day to test the venting and breathability capabilities of each pair of pants. The Stretch Zion were a pretty warm pant overall, and we preferred them for cooler weather.

Versatility


Whether day hiking or trying to select a single pair of pants for a long backpacking trip, the Stretch Zion is a good choice. These pants are also the perfect choice for rock climbing, working, travel, or hanging out at the local pub. As a "do everything" pant that also thrives on the trail, they naturally rank as one of the most versatile. As a pant that can handle a lot more than merely hiking, it crushes in this metric.


While we preferred to use these pants in cool weather and did our best to find something else to wear when it was hot  we thought they were pretty versatile for climbing  camping  hiking  backpacking  traveling  or simply wearing around town. Here at a local sport crag in the San Juan Mountains of CO.
While we preferred to use these pants in cool weather and did our best to find something else to wear when it was hot, we thought they were pretty versatile for climbing, camping, hiking, backpacking, traveling, or simply wearing around town. Here at a local sport crag in the San Juan Mountains of CO.

Water Resistance


Water resistance is the weakest aspect of these pants, and if you are searching for a pair of hiking pants for your next trek through the tropical rainforest, we will urge you to stay away. While this pant does come with a DWR coating on top of its 97% nylon weave fabric, the truth is that by the time our three-month test period had come to a close, any notion of water resistance had worn off the pants and out of our minds.


In a light mist, there was a bit of resistance; however, anything more than that led to pretty much immediate absorption. That said, we found that these pants dried out relatively quickly. With relatively poor test results, it slid toward the back of the pack here.

Despite coming with a DWR coating in place  these pants were some of the more absorptive in our water resistance testing  especially for a completely nylon fabric. They wouldn't be our first choice for trips where we knew we were likely to get wet.
Despite coming with a DWR coating in place, these pants were some of the more absorptive in our water resistance testing, especially for a completely nylon fabric. They wouldn't be our first choice for trips where we knew we were likely to get wet.

Features


The Stretch Zion pants have three front and two rear pockets, an adjustable waist belt, snap-up pant legs and marginally helpful ventilation holes in the crotch. The open front and rear pockets provide easy access while keeping their contents secure. The mesh fabric interior of the pockets increases the Zion's breathability. The cargo zipper pocket on the side of the leg is handy for securing valuables and important items when on the move. The dual-access thigh pocket (zippered access on top and the side) is useful. Initially, we thought this might be gimmicky, but we appreciated the side access when wearing a harness. The waist tightening system is low profile and works great, and we were happy to have the option of not wearing a belt underneath our pack waist strap.


Overall, we thought these pants had a robust set of features, based mostly on quality, not quantity. But while they didn't offer the most storage or pockets, all the zippers, buttons, and the waist tightener worked pretty much perfectly.

This simple buckle is not a belt that wraps the entire waist  but simply a short strap that can be pulled to help cinch up the pants a bit. This feature is nice for making micro adjustments to fit on long hiking trips where waist size fluctuates  and is also nice for avoiding an actual belt when wearing a pack waist belt or climbing harness.
The single cargo pocket on the Stretch Zion has the cool feature of being zipper enclosed on both the top and the side. When sitting in a harness  the side entrance becomes very convenient.
The Stretch Zion are a good pant for hiking during cooler temps and seasons  like we are here exploring in the Amphitheatre near our home in Ouray  CO. While they work ok in the heat of the summer  they are a bit hot for our tastes during that time.

Value


These pants are about as affordable as high-quality hiking pants come. Since they are one of the top scorers in our review, and we recommend them as our Best Climbing Pants, we think that you will find great value in this purchase. We also love that Prana will honor their policy of providing a full refund at any time if you are unhappy with their product.

Our testers find the price well worth it for these pants. They sit right in the middle of the typical hiking pants price range  but offer more than most.
Our testers find the price well worth it for these pants. They sit right in the middle of the typical hiking pants price range, but offer more than most.

Conclusion


The Prana Stretch Zion earns a Top Pick Award because of their comfort and effectiveness while climbing. They are awesome for nearly any outdoor activity, not just hiking, although they are great for that too! Their nearly perfect feature set was highly functional and simple. While they aren't our preferred choice for wet weather, we love them for pretty much everywhere else, and we think you will too.

Hiking along the Crooked River at Smith Rock  OR  in the Prana Stretch Zion. We felt like these comfortable pants were ideal for both hiking and climbing.
Hiking along the Crooked River at Smith Rock, OR, in the Prana Stretch Zion. We felt like these comfortable pants were ideal for both hiking and climbing.


Andy Wellman