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Prana Brion II Short Review

A super simple pair of comfortable hiking shorts that looks good on trail and in town
prana brion ii short hiking short review
Credit: Prana
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Price:  $75 List | $56.21 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Look good, comfortable
Cons:  Few pockets, no water resistance
Manufacturer:   Prana
By Ben Applebaum-Bauch ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 10, 2022
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
65
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#9 of 11
  • Comfort and Mobility - 35% 6.0
  • Features - 25% 6.0
  • Versatility and Style - 20% 9.0
  • Venting and Breathability - 10% 6.0
  • Weather Resistance and Dry Time - 10% 5.0

Our Verdict

The Prana Brion is a great-looking, comfortable pair of shorts. This model performs well in hot, dry climates and on adventures where pocket capacity and security aren't a concern. They are well-suited for situations when you need activewear that also looks nicer than your average outdoor shorts. They aren't super technical as far as hiking shorts go. They lack zippered pockets and aren't water-resistant. We like them quite a bit and would keep a pair on hand; however, we would also want them to complement a more practical pair made for the backcountry.

Compare to Similar Products

 
prana brion ii short hiking short review
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award 
Price $56.21 at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
$79 List
$79.00 at Backcountry
$39.00 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$56.21 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$60 List
$59.95 at REI
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Look good, comfortableComfortable, stylish, water resistantLightweight, odor resistant, zippered pocketsVery comfortable, integrated belt, discrete crotch ventsGood water resistance, many pockets, inexpensive
Cons Few pockets, no water resistanceA little tight when sitting down, no integrated beltNot super stylish, liner limits versatilityDifficult-to-access pockets, not super stylishUtilitarian appearance, pocket openings a little small
Bottom Line A super simple pair of comfortable hiking shorts that looks good on trail and in townThese comfortable, functional shorts really impressed us on our adventuresA lightweight, breathable pair of shorts that are equally comfortable on a run as they are on a backpacking tripA comfortable, feature-filled pair of shorts with a unique array of pockets and an integrated beltThese thin yet water resistant shorts are a great option for the practical, budget-minded hiker
Rating Categories Prana Brion II Short Patagonia Quandary... Patagonia Nine Trai... Prana Stretch Zion... REI Co-op Sahara Ca...
Comfort and Mobility (35%)
6.0
8.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
Features (25%)
6.0
8.0
8.0
9.0
7.0
Versatility and Style (20%)
9.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
Venting and Breathability (10%)
6.0
8.0
8.0
5.0
8.0
Weather Resistance and Dry Time (10%)
5.0
8.0
7.0
5.0
8.0
Specs Prana Brion II Short Patagonia Quandary... Patagonia Nine Trai... Prana Stretch Zion... REI Co-op Sahara Ca...
Weight 7.9 oz 7.1 oz 6.6 oz 9.1 oz 5.9 oz
Material 95% recycled nylon 5% elastane 95% nylon 5% spandex 100% recycled polyester 95% recycled nylon 5% elastane 96% recycled nylon, 4% spandex
Water Resistance Not specified DWR coating DWR coating Not specified DWR finish
Sizing (Waist, Length options) W: 28" - 42"
L: 9", 11"
W: 28" - 41"
L: 8", 10", 12"
XS - XXL W: 28" - 42"
L: 8", 10", 12"
W: 30" - 44"
Sun Protection UPF 50 UPF 50+ Not specified UPF 50+ UPF 50+
Convertible, or option available? Pants available Pants available No Pants available Pants, convertible available
Pockets 5 5 (plus right coin) 3 5 6
Waist Strap/Fasten Button and zip fly Button and zip fly Elastic/Draw string Button and zip fly Button and zip fly
Other Features Standard fit, low profile button closure, reinforced rivet details, belt loops Classic fit, curved waistband, gusseted crotch Odor control liner, waist drawcord, reflective logo Standard fit, integrated belt, ventilated gusseted crotch, elastic key loop Relaxed fit, Elastic on back waist, gusseted crotch

Our Analysis and Test Results

These shorts are meant for an active day in the front country and a night out with friends. They certainly stand out from the pack in terms of their style, but we wish they had just a feature or two that appealed to the hiker in us. This pair would run away with the top spot if this category was something like summer shorts. The Prana Brion is buoyed by its comfort and style but is missing the water resistance and features that would put it in contention for a top spot.

Performance Comparison


prana brion ii short hiking short review - the prana brion ii is a basic pair of shorts that look good in a...
The Prana Brion II is a basic pair of shorts that look good in a variety of settings.
Credit: Sarah Van Cleve

Comfort and Mobility


These shorts conform without constricting, as the 95%/5% nylon/spandex blend fabric is surprisingly stretchy. The fit is advertised as standard, but our testing showed that they have a slimmer fit than many other models. Even our lanky testers enjoyed how they fit and didn't find that our movement was restricted in any significant way while hiking. They do slide up the thigh a bit when sitting down, but the crotch isn't restrictive. The 9" inseam we tested will hit most folks just above the knee.

prana brion ii short hiking short review
Credit: Sarah Van Cleve

These shorts earn some points because they are the pair with the waist that stretched out the least after multiple wears and multiple days of hiking.

Features


As comfortable as they are, these shorts lack hiking features. They have four traditional pockets; two front, two rear, plus a coin pocket on the right. They include traditional belt loops, a metal button closure, and a center gusset to increase space in the crotch and legs.

prana brion ii short hiking short review - these shorts have very simple features. two rear pockets are useful...
These shorts have very simple features. Two rear pockets are useful for small items but have no zipper or snap closure.
Credit: Sarah Van Cleve

Despite their simplicity, they do have some durability features like a small strip of webbing to reinforce the button, a large, sturdy zipper, and rivets at the corner of each pocket (like on a pair of jeans).

Versatility and Style


These shorts have limited versatility, but they make up for it with style. They are fine for walks and day hikes in dry weather if you are bringing along a pack, or don't need to secure any items in a zippered pocket.

prana brion ii short hiking short review - the brion's biggest asset is that they are both trail ready and look...
The Brion's biggest asset is that they are both trail ready and look great.
Credit: Sarah Van Cleve

On the flip side, these shorts excel in the front country. Even if we weren't outdoors-obsessed, we would get a pair to wear around. The details on their styling are reminiscent of jorts but are more refined.

Weather Resistance and Dry Time


These shorts are made for dry weather. Our testing showed that they have no water resistance; they absorb precipitation immediately, making for a heavy slog if caught in the rain.

prana brion ii short hiking short review - these shorts have no water-resistant coating and absorb water...
These shorts have no water-resistant coating and absorb water immediately.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

However, they do dry rather quickly.

Venting and Breathability


The stretch fabric is breathable. This model isn't terribly lightweight with the metal button, rivets, and zipper, but we didn't get noticeably sweatier in this pair than other comparable models.

prana brion ii short hiking short review - mesh-lined pockets are the only attempt that these shorts make at...
Mesh-lined pockets are the only attempt that these shorts make at ventilation.
Credit: Sarah Van Cleve

The handwarmer pockets are fully mesh-lined (the rear are not).

Should You Buy the Prana Brion II?


The Prana Brion is an excellent pair of casual wear. This model is stretchy and comfortable. They aren't water-resistant like the top contenders and don't have the same functional features to put them in the upper tier of this review. However, we do have to admit that we really, really like these shorts. They are hands down the best-looking of any model in the category, and we would be happy to have them as part of a wardrobe that includes a pair with a little more utility.

What Other Hiking Shorts Should You Consider?


If you are looking for another pair of shorts to partner with these, we recommend the Patagonia Quandary, which also looks good and offers the perfect set of pockets and other features. If you like the Prana brand, then the Prana Stretch Zion II will also offer additional functionality with an integrated belt and more pockets. The Patagonia Nine Trails will fit the bill if you are more of a trail runner than a hiker.

prana brion ii short hiking short review - the brion ii is a nice, simple pair of shorts for casual hiking.
The Brion II is a nice, simple pair of shorts for casual hiking.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Ben Applebaum-Bauch
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