Prana Stretch Zion II Pants Review
Cons: Not much ventilation, few pocket zippers
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Prana Stretch Zion II Pants
$56.99 at REI
$89.00 at REI
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$85.00 at Amazon
|$50.97 at Backcountry|
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|Pros||Durable, integrated belt, leg roll-up snaps||Airy fabric, very comfortable, maximum mobility||Supple and mobile, DWR coating works great, fair price||Look good, don't stretch, cinch cords in ankles||Simple design looks good, comfortable, affordable|
|Cons||Not much ventilation, few pocket zippers||Waist fit is loose, not great in cool weather||Not many pockets, slim fit may not be awesome for larger adults||Stiff, most pockets don't have zips||Minimal features, not water resistant|
|Bottom Line||A hardy model that easily crosses over into multiple outdoor recreational activities like climbing due to their relaxed fit and stretchy material||Our favorite pant and the most comfortable and breathable pair that we tested||An awesome pant for 14er day hikes and chilling at the brewpub afterwards||A true enigma, these pants look great whether you find yourself in the wilderness or at the office||A solid pair of everyday pants that are also good for hiking or climbing|
|Rating Categories||Prana Stretch Zion...||Outdoor Research Fe...||Patagonia Quandary...||Royal Robbins Alpin...||Prana Brion II Pants|
|Comfort and Mobility (35%)|
|Venting and Breathability (20%)|
|Versatility and Style (15%)|
|Weather Resistance (15%)|
|Specs||Prana Stretch Zion...||Outdoor Research Fe...||Patagonia Quandary...||Royal Robbins Alpin...||Prana Brion II Pants|
|Weight||13.3 oz||12.2 oz||10.0 oz||13.8 oz||12.0 oz|
|Material||95% recycled nylon, 5% spandex||86% nylon, 14% spandex; 90D stretch woven ripstop||94% nylon (62% recycled), 6% spandex||66% nylon, 31% polyester, 3% spandex||95% recycled nylon, 5% spandex|
|Water Resistance||DWR finish||DWR finish||DWR finish||DWR finish||DWR finish|
|Sizing (Waist, Length options)||W: 28" - 42"
L: 28" - 36"
|W: 28" - 42"
L: 30"- 34"
|W: 28" - 40"
L: 30", 32", 34"
|W: 30" - 40"
L: 30" - 34"
|W: 28" - 42"
L: 28" - 36"
|Sun Protection||UPF 50||UPF 50||UPF 50||UPF 50||UPF 50|
|Convertible, or option available?||No||No, but convertible version available||No||No||No|
|Pockets||2 hand, 2 back, one left cargo, 1 coin||2 hand, 2 back, 1 thigh zip||2 hand, 2 back, 1 zippered thigh, 1 coin||2 front, 2 rear, 1 cargo||2 hand, 1 front coin, 2 back|
|Waist Strap/Fasten||Button and zip fly with waist cinch||Button and zip fly||Button and zip fly||Button and zip fly||Button and zip fly|
|Other Features||Ventilated inseam gusset, roll up leg snaps, adjustable waist tightening strap||Drawcord cuff closures, side zip pocket||Front and back knee articulation, gusseted crotch, slim straight fit||Gussetted crotch, tapered leg, cinch cord at cuff||Gusseted crotch, belt loops, mesh pockets|
Our Analysis and Test Results
At first blush, the Prana Stretch Zion II looks and feels like a typical pair of pants. They have a comfortable and laid-back style and are also nice for hiking and climbing. They don't seem to breathe as some other models, but they disperse heat in other ways. There is no doubt that these pants are comfier in cooler weather.
Comfort & Mobility
From a comfort standpoint, these pants have a few things going for them. The interior material is soft, and the interior of the waist is also lined with a felt-feeling fabric, both of which reduce chafing. They provide the right amount of lateral stretch for hiking and are a suitable option for activities like yoga or climbing. We didn't feel constrained when sitting in them for long periods. They have a great amount of space in the gusseted crotch as well as at the knee. We found them to be true to size, but if you need to adjust the waist, the integrated belt is convenient, simple to use, and comfortable, even underneath a backpack hip belt.
On the downside, we wish that the fly zipper was slightly longer in these pants — it feels like it stops a little too short. That said, we didn't experience tightness or constriction and think that the low-profile button closure pairs well with a climbing harness. All things considered, the comfort and mobility of these pants are high.
Venting & Breathability
This model feels hot compared to some of the other lighter pants. Coming in at 13.3 ounces, they are one of the heavier pairs among modern hiking pants we've tested over the years. The fabric is thicker than most and consequently, they retain more body heat. To help counteract this, the front pockets are partially mesh-lined and the crotch has three vent holes on each side of the inner thigh (though we aren't entirely convinced that this made much of a difference).
These pants also come with small plastic snap buttons to hold the cuffs up if you need some extra air on your lower legs. Though this feature only takes them up to about calf height, they can easily be rolled up higher, just without the extra snap security. Ultimately, we enjoyed them most as a spring and early fall pant more than one for the heat of the summer.
Versatility & Style
We found that the Stretch Zion II is a valuable asset for a variety of outdoor activities. In addition to hiking, they are a good choice for rock climbing and travel. However, as noted above, we don't think that they are the best choice for summertime hiking. With that in mind, they are super durable. Almost all of the stitching is reinforced and the thicker fabric stands up to the abrasion that comes with regular wear.
In terms of style, these pants have what we would characterize as a regular fit (that is, not slim). They are straight through the leg and sit at the waist. In terms of style, they aren't the most flattering. The indiscrete cargo pocket, vent holes in the crotch, flappy integrated belt strap, and visible leg snaps all detract from the appeal of these pants for a casual night out. Having said that, they are practical out on a trail or around the house for any number of activities and are a great move for a laid-back weekend at home or in the backcountry.
These pants are climate-sensitive. If you are searching for a pair for use in humid environments, we would recommend looking elsewhere. However, this pant does come with a DWR coating on top of its 97% nylon weave fabric which does fairly well at repelling water. We also appreciate that their fit allowed us to wear long underwear underneath to increase the warmth factor in cold weather. However, if you are in a big storm, they get very heavy in the rain, and also take a comparatively long time to dry.
We doappreciate them for their solid wind resistance (save for the vent holes in the crotch). They avoid the pitfall of other pants by with a softer, slightly insulated liner, which prevents them from feeling cold when the wind presses them against your skin. They also come equipped with a UPF 50+ rating, meaning that they add increased protection to your legs from sun exposure.
The Stretch Zion pants have a full complement of features that we found to perform decently. This pair has five pockets; two front handwarmer, two rear (one with a security flap, one without), and a thigh cargo pocket with both vertical and horizontal zippers. Neither the front nor rear pockets have zippers, which always makes us nervous about the security of items, but they are plenty deep. The cargo zipper pocket on the side of the leg is handy for securing valuables and important items when on the move. The thigh pocket has zippered access both on top as well as on the side. This second, side zipper is on the small side but allows you to easily grab items from the pocket even if you are sitting down on a snack break.
It also comes equipped with an adjustable integrated belt, which is nice for its low profile, and roll-and-snap-up pant legs. There are traditional belt loops as well, though we found their inclusion to be a little confusing; with the presence of the integrated belt, wearing a regular belt on top is redundant and lumpy. The front button closure is hearty, much like the rest of the pants.
Should You Buy the Prana Stretch Zion II?
The Prana Stretch Zion is a solid all-around pair of pants. If you are already inclined to buy this model, then they offer a solid value. Even with some of the downsides that we have pointed out, these pants are well-constructed and durable enough for daily wear. The fabric is thick and the stitching is robust. If you think that there is enough to like about them, then we are confident you will see their long-term value as well.
What Other Hiking Pants Should You Consider?
Though the Zion II has unique pocket formats, the Royal Robbins Alpine Road and Outdoor Research Ferrosi are also highly practical options with a leg pocket. If you like Prana but want a simpler pant, the Brion II is a super stylish option. Lastly, an even warmer model is the REI Activator 3.0, which can keep you covered well into the shoulder seasons.
— Ben Applebaum-Bauch
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