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Patagonia Quandary - Women's Review

Good for moderate day hikes but not an ideal backcountry hiking pant.
Patagonia Quandary
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Price:  $80 List | $54.99 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Lightweight, soft material
Cons:  Double inseams chafe and are uncomfortable, not water resistant
Manufacturer:   Patagonia
By Cam McKenzie Ring ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 9, 2019
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56
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#11 of 11
  • Comfort and Mobility - 30% 4
  • Versatility - 15% 5
  • Durability - 15% 7
  • Weather Resistance - 15% 6
  • Features - 15% 6
  • Breathability - 10% 8

Our Verdict

The women's Patagonia Quandary received mostly average scores across the board, except for in the comfort category, because the double inseams chafed against our inner thighs all day. This fact made them one of the least comfortable pairs in the review, which is too bad because otherwise, they are a solid pair of hiking pants. The material is lightweight and relatively breathable, and they can roll-up and snap into place on hot days. They aren't very water-resistant and take a while to dry, so we don't recommend these as a backpacking option. These pants are best for shorter hikes close to home and while rock climbing.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Patagonia Quandary is made with 94% nylon (62% recycled) and 6% spandex. It has a DWR finish and has a 50+ UPF rating for sun protection. The Quandary comes in Short and Regular inseams (but not Long) and sizes 0-14. We did find that they fit true to size; however the material stretches out a lot during the day, so even if they are tight on you to start they won't stay that way for long.

Performance Comparison


We were excited by the double inseam option at first as we thought it might make the pants more mobile  but instead  all we noticed was them rubbing against our inner thighs.
We were excited by the double inseam option at first as we thought it might make the pants more mobile, but instead, all we noticed was them rubbing against our inner thighs.

Comfort & Mobility


We were initially intrigued by the double inseam design on the Quandary pants and were hopeful that it would make them a highly mobile pair. Instead, it just rubbed us the wrong way - literally! Some of the convertible pants in this review irritated us from the zipper for shorts conversion rubbing against our thighs, but in no other pants did we notice the inseams as much as we did on this pair. Maybe it's because there are two of them and one rubs in a spot where we don't normally have an inseam. Maybe it's because the material is so thin that the inseams stick out more. We don't know for sure. But we do know that every time we put these on we noticed it and we couldn't wait to take them off again. We didn't want to knock this pair for something that could be just one lady's issue, so we passed them around to a few girlfriends, and they all reported the same thing. If that doesn't bother you, this pair is quite mobile, and we wore them while rock climbing with no issues or impingements.

Something about these inseams rubbed us the wrong way! Maybe because there are two of them  or because they stand out from the flat material.
Something about these inseams rubbed us the wrong way! Maybe because there are two of them, or because they stand out from the flat material.

Versatility


This model can convert to a crop with a tab and a snap. The shortening system works well, and the inner tab never bothered us or got in the way. It also has a fairly neutral look to it, so it could easily double as travel pants.

You can roll up the bottom of these pants and secure them at a crop length.
You can roll up the bottom of these pants and secure them at a crop length.

Durability


We don't have any durability concerns during our testing, nor did we find any common issues when looking through other online reviews. Overall this seems like a well-made option that should hold up to the rigors of the trail.

The elastic drawstring is too thin and stretchy to be effective.
The elastic drawstring is too thin and stretchy to be effective.

Weather Resistance


Patagonia states that the Quandary has a DWR finish, and while water did bead up on them a little bit, it quickly soaked into the fabric. Note that we tested their weather resistance after we had worn and washed them at least half a dozen times, so it's possible that the DWR wore off in the wash. However, who's not going to wash their hiking pants regularly? If you plan to wash your pants a lot, you'll want to get some special wash to renew that DWR coating. They are on the lighter side, thickness wise, and didn't do much to block the wind, but they do have a UPF 50+ rating.

The DWR coating didn't work on this pant very well or for very long. It can repel a light drizzle  but that's about it.
The DWR coating didn't work on this pant very well or for very long. It can repel a light drizzle, but that's about it.

Features


There are just a few basic features on the Quandary. The hand pockets are on the small side and don't even fit our hands into them well. The zippered side pocket is nice and large though and can accommodate a smartphone. There are two flat pockets on the behind, one of which has a zipper. We think the internal drawstring is a bit of a joke though - it's a thin and stretchy piece of elastic that doesn't tighten the pants very effectively, which is unfortunate because the Quandary pants tend to sag and stretch out during the day, and we were hoping for a better way to keep them up. Luckily there are belt loops, though that is usually not our favorite option for tightening our hiking pants if we're wearing it under a hip belt.

The hand pockets are shallow and you can't really fit your hands in them! We prefer deeper pockets that we can use while hiking.
You can squeeze a smartphone into the zippered side pocket.

Breathability


The material is on the lighter side and feels fairly breathable. We didn't overheat in 75-degree weather, and rolling up the legs helps them vent even more.

These weren't the lightest or most breathable pair  but they came close! They worked well for warm spring days that start of cool in the morning but heat up quickly.
These weren't the lightest or most breathable pair, but they came close! They worked well for warm spring days that start of cool in the morning but heat up quickly.

Value


The Quandary retails at a standard rate for a pair of hiking pants these days. They don't convert to shorts or capris, making them less versatile than the two-for-one options (though not everyone likes that look or style). There are a handful of pants that score better than the Quandary while costing the same (or less!).

Conclusion


Should they fit you well and you don't notice the inseams chaffing, the Patagonia Quandary is a good pair of hiking pants. The material is a nice weight; thick enough to hold up to some wear and tear but light enough to still be fairly breathable.


Cam McKenzie Ring