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Patagonia Quandary - Women's Review

Good for moderate day hikes but not an ideal backcountry hiking pant
Patagonia Quandary - Women's
Patagonia Quandary
Credit: Patagonia
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Price:  $80 List | Check Price at REI
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
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
54
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#14 of 15
  • Comfort and Mobility - 35% 4.0
  • Venting And Breathability - 20% 8.0
  • Weather Resistance - 15% 6.0
  • Features - 15% 6.0
  • Versatility - 15% 4.0

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.

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Awards  Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award  Best Buy Award 
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$88.95 at Backcountry
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$80 List
$79.95 at REI
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$41.99 at Backcountry
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Overall Score Sort Icon
54
79
73
73
58
Star Rating
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Pros Lightweight, soft materialVery comfortable, versatile, wind and water resilientMobile, wide range of fit options, vents and breaths wonderfully, good pocketsIncredibly light, soft with endless stretch, breathable, DWR finishLightweight, easy to move in, breathable
Cons Double inseams chafe and are uncomfortable, not water resistantFit can be hard to perfect, not as breathable as the previous versionDoesn't block the wind, not a great style around townNot the most flattering, low rise can be uncomfortableMaterial pills, front pockets are small, sizing is off
Bottom Line Good for moderate day hikes but not an ideal backcountry hiking pantWith their endless mobility, comfortable details, and technical abilities, these are our favorite overall women's hiking pantsThese 2-in-1 convertible hiking pants work wonderfully, providing great breathability and excellent valueIncredibly soft, flowy, and stretchy, these pants are comfortable, except for the low rise, which can make the crotch feel tightA lightweight, breathable, and weather resistant pair of pants that perform adequately to get you out on the trails without spending a ton
Rating Categories Patagonia Quandary... Outdoor Research Fe... REI Co-op Sahara Co... Mountain Hardwear D... Columbia Saturday T...
Comfort and Mobility (35%)
4.0
9.0
7.0
8.0
5.0
Venting And Breathability (20%)
8.0
8.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
Weather Resistance (15%)
6.0
7.0
6.0
6.0
7.0
Features (15%)
6.0
7.0
9.0
6.0
4.0
Versatility (15%)
4.0
7.0
5.0
6.0
4.0
Specs Patagonia Quandary... Outdoor Research Fe... REI Co-op Sahara Co... Mountain Hardwear D... Columbia Saturday T...
Measured Weight, Size Regular 9.0 oz 9.5 oz 12 oz 4.1 oz 9.2 oz
Size options and versions 0 to 22, Short, Regular 0 to 14 0 to 26w, Petitie, Regular, Plus, Tall XS - XL 2 to 24w Short, Regular, Plus, Long
Fabric 94% nylon, 6% spandex 86% bluesign nylon (46% recylce), 14% spandex 90D stretch woven ripstop 96% recycled nylon/4% spandex 94% Nylon, 6% Elastane Omni-Shield Summiteer Lite 96% Nylon, 4% Elastane
Fabric Features Quick-dry Quick dry Ultralight Omni-Shield advanced repellency
DWR Finish? Yes No Yes Yes No
UPF? UPF 50+ UPF 50+ UPF 50+ No rating UPF 50
Pockets 2 hand, 1 side (zip), 2 back (1 zip) 2 hip, 2 back, 1 cargo 2 hand, 2 back, 2 cargo 2 side, 1 rear, 1 zippered thigh 2 hand, 1 side (zip), 2 back (Velcro)
Zip-Off or Roll-Up? Roll-up Roll-up cinch cuffs Zip-off Roll-up Roll-up
Integrated Belt? Yes, internal drawcord Yes Yes, internal drawcord No No
Fit Features Gussetted crotch, 2 inseam lengths Gusseted crotch, articulated knees, drawstring at waist, stretch fabric, harness-compatible waist Mid rise, convert to shorts, relaxed fit, straight leg, 2 inseam lengths Three inseam length options, elastic waist, stretch fabric Gusseted crotch, mid rise, straight leg, convertible to capris
Social or Environmental Certifications Partially recycled nylon 86% is bluesign approved nylon (46% is recycled) Contains materials that meet the bluesign® criteria
Contains recycled materials

Our Analysis and Test Results

But 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. But, 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


Patagonia Quandary - Women's hiking pants - we were excited by the double inseam option at first as we thought...
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.
Credit: Cam McKenzie Ring

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.

Patagonia Quandary - Women's hiking pants - something about these inseams rubbed us the wrong way! maybe because...
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.
Credit: Cam McKenzie Ring

Maybe it's because there are two of them and one rubs in a spot where we don't usually 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.

Patagonia Quandary - Women's hiking pants - these weren't the lightest or most breathable pair, but they came...
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.
Credit: Cam McKenzie Ring

Venting and Breathability


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

Patagonia Quandary - Women's hiking pants - you can roll up the bottom of these pants and secure them at a crop...
You can roll up the bottom of these pants and secure them at a crop length.
Credit: Cam McKenzie Ring

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.

Patagonia Quandary - Women's hiking pants - the dwr coating didn't work on this pant very well or for very long...
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.
Credit: Cam McKenzie Ring

Weather Resistance


The Quandary has a DWR finish, and while water does bead up a little, it quickly soaks into the fabric. Note that we tested their weather resistance after we had worn and washed them at least half a dozen times, so the DWR may have worn off in the wash. 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.

Patagonia Quandary - Women's hiking pants - the elastic drawstring is too thin and stretchy to be effective.
The elastic drawstring is too thin and stretchy to be effective.
Credit: Cam McKenzie Ring

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. 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...
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.
You can squeeze a smartphone into the zippered side pocket.

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!).

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.

Conclusion


Should they fit you well and you don't notice the inseams chafing, 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 breathe.

Cam McKenzie Ring
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