The North Face Paramount 3.0 pants are an updated version of the popular Paramount Peak 2.0 pants that we have previously worn, reviewed, and loved. They are a bit thinner, lighter, and have a sleeker fit than the older version, updates that we think lead to a better overall hiking pant, and which make them an excellent choice for all climates, something that doesn't hold for their very warm predecessor. Though we chose to review the standard model, these pants also come in a convertible version for those who like the added versatility.With only a single zippered side pocket, they do not have the enormous carrying capacity that comes with dual cargo pockets, but in exchange, they are more comfortable for walking long distances and look nicer for wearing around town. These pants are solid in nearly every way, and they ended up as the fourth highest overall scorer in our review, with above-average scores for every metric that we assessed.
The North Face Paramount 3.0 Review
Cons: Fabric not as soft as some, few storage pockets
Manufacturer: The North Face
Our Analysis and Test Results
In many ways, the Paramount 3.0 pant is very similar to the Patagonia Quandary. They are both very affordable and have a sleek, straight-leg fit. They each have only one extra pocket, an angled zippered pocket, located on the upper side of the right leg, that is perfect for a phone or a couple of trail snacks. They both employ a small percentage of stretchy fibers to increase functional mobility, and they both look nice enough for use around town as well as on the trail. If there is any difference between the two, it would be the fact that the fabric used in the Quandary pant feels slightly smoother and softer against the skin, and the DWR coating is sturdier. Otherwise, these pants are remarkably similar and are two of our favorites for day hikes.
Comfort and Mobility
We loved the fit of the thin, but not too thin, Paramount 3.0 pants, which aren't nearly as baggy or cumbersome as the older version that we tested previously. They fit our head tester almost perfectly but were ever so slightly tight at the tops of the thighs where they joined with the hip flexors. This issue was easily offset by the 4% elastane blended into the nylon which gave it the perfect amount of stretch. On the other hand, the nylon fabric wasn't as soft and smooth as the similarly synthetic Prana Stretch Zion.
Venting and Breathability
The thin, light, stretchy fabric found on this pant did an adequate job of keeping us cool during hikes in the desert of Utah as well as during our comparative breathability and venting testing. It also has fully mesh lined hand warmer and rear pockets. The single zippered side pocket also has a mesh liner that aids with ventilation. Finally, a soft, wicking fiber lines the waist and is designed to absorb moisture from sweat, helping it evaporate faster. Despite having relatively few ventilation features, we thought the Paramount 3.0 was an excellent choice for wearing in hotter weather, and rated it the same as the KUHL Renegade Cargo Convertible, which had far more venting zippers, and the Patagonia Quandary.
The Paramount 3.0 is one of the more versatile pants in this review. While we chose to test the standard version of these pants, there is a convertible option available for those who love that added versatility. We think these pants are optimal for cooler weather but also function reasonably well in the heat. They are decent in light rain, but we would opt for the Arc'teryx Perimeter Pant if we knew that we were likely to encounter a lot of wet weather.
These pants are ideal for day hikes and camping, as well as traveling and wearing around town. They weren't our first choice for climbing, and they seem a little light for intensive outdoor work. While we wouldn't wear them quite as often as the Prana Stretch Zion, they are more versatile than most.
Once again, the Paramount 3.0 was one of the more effective hiking pants in terms of water resistance. Of course, none of the pants we tested is a perfect substitute for a dedicated rain shell hiking pant, but in this case, it handled a light misting and gentle rain quite well. In our shower test, the DWR coating eventually caved after a prolonged dousing, when water began to run down the inside of our legs. This situation happened with most of the pants we tested, however, and we think that only the Arc'teryx Perimeter and Patagonia Quandary have more effective DWR coatings. As long as you aren't going to get soaked, we think these pants handle the rain pretty well.
Much like the feature set found on the Patagonia Quandary, the best way to describe the features found on the Paramount 3.0 is "simple and effective." Our favorite feature is the included waist belt, comprised of a band of thin nylon webbing and a low-profile plastic buckle that wraps around the waist in a sleeve. Though there are also regular belt loops sewn in place, we like this feature because it allows us to carry a pack without needing a belt, a far comfier setup.
It also has the standard dual front hand warmer pockets as well as double rear pockets, as well as the single side zip pocket like the one found on the Arc'teryx Perimeter. This simple pocket setup doesn't have as much space as models with cargo pockets, but we like its sleek design and think it looks better. We always had plenty of space for what we needed at hand while out on day hikes.
The North Face Paramount 3.0 is an ideal pant for day hikes in both cool and warm conditions. If we were looking for a pant for long backpacking trips, we would probably choose the versatility of the convertible option instead. We think these pants are nice enough for wearing around town, but they wouldn't be our first choice for working or climbing.
The Paramount 3.0 pants retail for $80. Without any major deficiencies in performance, we think this model presents excellent value, and we would be happy to own these pants at this price.
The North Face Paramount 3.0 is a simple hiking pant that scores well compared to other models in this review. They are affordable, comfortable, and do a reasonably good job at protecting the wearer from precipitation. While their nylon fabric wasn't quite as comfortable against the skin as our top scorers, this was rarely something we noticed during a hike, and these are a pair of hiking pants we would happily recommend to just about anyone.
— Andy Wellman