Prana Brion II Short Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Look good, comfortable
Cons: Few pockets, no water resistance
Compare to Similar Products
Prana Brion II Short
|Price||$56.21 at Backcountry|
Compare at 3 sellers
$79.00 at Backcountry
|$39.00 at Backcountry|
Compare at 2 sellers
|$56.21 at Backcountry|
Compare at 2 sellers
$59.95 at REI
|Pros||Look good, comfortable||Comfortable, stylish, water resistant||Lightweight, odor resistant, zippered pockets||Very comfortable, integrated belt, discrete crotch vents||Good water resistance, many pockets, inexpensive|
|Cons||Few pockets, no water resistance||A little tight when sitting down, no integrated belt||Not super stylish, liner limits versatility||Difficult-to-access pockets, not super stylish||Utilitarian appearance, pocket openings a little small|
|Bottom Line||A super simple pair of comfortable hiking shorts that looks good on trail and in town||These comfortable, functional shorts really impressed us on our adventures||A lightweight, breathable pair of shorts that are equally comfortable on a run as they are on a backpacking trip||A comfortable, feature-filled pair of shorts with a unique array of pockets and an integrated belt||These 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%)|
|Versatility and Style (20%)|
|Venting and Breathability (10%)|
|Weather Resistance and Dry Time (10%)|
|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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
— Ben Applebaum-Bauch
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