We're not sure what to call the Mountain Hardwear Dynama. They are much softer and more comfortable than your average hiking pants but have more structure than say, a pair of yoga pants. They are stretchy, breathable, and super comfortable, with a casual look that makes them suitable for travel or regular wear. They are not water-resistant and are slow to dry, so these are not a tremendous thru-hiking option. They work for a variety of uses, including day hikes in hot weather and climbing. If we have to pick one from the group that we'd want to lay on the couch in, the Dynama is it.
Love the Dynama fabric and want to outfit your entire wardrobe with it?
We do! Luckily for us, Mountain Hardwear makes a range of bottoms in this super soft fabric, including a skirt, short, Capri, and the Mountain Hardwear Ankle Dynama pant, which has a 28" inseam and a tapered leg.
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Mountain Hardwear Dynama pants are made with a 96% nylon / 4% elastane blend. They have a basic cut with a flat waistband and no drawstring. Sizes range from XS to XL, with Short (30"), Regular (32"), or Long (34") inseam lengths available.
Comfort and Mobility
The Mountain Hardwear Dynama earns top marks for comfort and mobility. A lot of the pants in our test group were comfortable enough for hiking, but this pair is comfortable enough for doing yoga in or even wearing to bed!
We're surprised by how comfortable these pants are considering the material blend. Most of the more traditional feeling nylon pants that we tested also have a 96% nylon / 4% elastane or spandex mix, but felt nothing like this. The softer pants in this review usually have a higher percentage of stretchy material (up to 14%), and we've come to look for that when seeking out a comfortable pair. We're not material engineers, so we can't say how Mountain Hardwear got this material so soft and stretchy, but we are now big fans of the Dynama fabric.
The material is both lightweight and stretchy, so it moves with you in every way. The cut is loose and not tight at all through the thighs. Some pants, fit on the slim side. While great for looks, that doesn't always help when you're trying to take a giant step. We wore the Dynama hiking, as well as rock climbing and bouldering, and they felt great in every activity.
Venting and Breathability
This pair feels highly breathable to us, earning it a high score in this category as well. They weigh 7.5 ounces in the small size, making it one of the lightest pairs in this review. They are so thin that the air circulates well, and they are an excellent choice for warmer days when you still want full leg coverage.
The weather resistance of this model leaves something to be desired. When it comes to wind, the material is so thin that even a light breeze rips right through it. That's nice from a breathability perspective, but these are not the pair to wear in cold weather.
As for rain, we sprayed water on all the pants to see how they would resist light rain. On this pair, the water immediately soaked in. That means that you'll get pretty wet in even a drizzle.
We timed how long they took to dry after getting thoroughly soaked, and these pants took almost two hours to dry completely (the waistband was damp even after the legs dried out). This amount of time is a lot longer than some of the quick-drying pants we tested. So, if you're looking for a backpacking pair that you'll want to wash on the trail or that might get wet while hiking, the Dynama is not the best choice. On a final note, they do have a UPF 50 rating, which is excellent.
There aren't a lot of features on these pants, though we do like the few things that are there. The hand pockets are deep enough to accommodate your whole hand or a smartphone. So many pairs that we tested have shallow, rather useless hand pockets, so it's nice to get a pair with good ones. There are two open pockets on the rear, though we're not sure how best to use them. If anything, they provide an extra layer of protection in a high wear area. Better to put a hole through the pocket when butt-sliding down sharp rocks than in the rear of the pants!
We do appreciate the flat waistband when wearing a hip belt or climbing harness. There's nothing to get in the way or irritate you. However, there's no drawstring or way to tighten the waist of these pants, either, which is a serious drawback if you don't have a perfect fit. We sized up in this pair because reviews said they ran a little small, and we're glad that we did. However, the pants do loosen up as you wear them and may start to sag.
While these pants are comfortable, we can't say that they are very versatile. For this metric, the Dynama hits the middle of the pack. While it's true that you can do a lot of activities in these pants, they are just that, pants. They don't convert to capris or shorts, and there's no roll-up-and-snap option either. You can cinch up the bottoms a bit with the drawcord, but that doesn't make them much shorter, and because the material is so soft, it doesn't like to stay rolled up for very long.
These pants fall in the middle of the price range for hiking pants. They aren't as expensive as some pairs that have a lot of features, like removable legs. Considering that they're comfortable enough to wear every day, you'll probably get a lot of use out of them.
While we didn't experience any pilling issues with the Dynama during our initial testing, after hanging on to them and wearing them regularly for several months, the pills did appear. That doesn't surprise us, because the material is so soft, and pills can form faster on more delicate nylon than a smooth ripstop pair. Online user reviews confirm that pilling is a frequent issue with these pants. If you scramble around a lot or butt-slide your way down rock faces, go for a thicker pair of pants.
We love many aspects of the Mountain Hardwear Dynama pant, particularly the soft and stretchy material and the comfortable waistband. You'll want to live in this pair every day, but they aren't the best heavy-duty hiking pant.
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