Hands-on Gear Review

The North Face Progressor Hybrid Tights Review

North Face Progressor Hybrid
Top Pick Award
Price:  $85 List | $84.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Abrasion resistant panels in the right places, hip pockets for small items
Cons:  Materials stretch differently, minimal features, slow to dry
Bottom line:  A great tight for hiking or trail running.
Editors' Rating:   
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Measured Weight:  7 oz
Inseam (from crotch to cuff):  28"
Fabric:  89% Nylon, 11% Spandex
Manufacturer:   The North Face

Our Verdict

The North Face Progressor Hybrid Tights are an attempt to cross a pair of running tights with a hiking pant. TNF added abrasion resistant-patches to the front of the thighs and rear of the tights. Sounds like a good idea right? In theory, yes, but in practice, they did feel a little weird at times. The two different materials stretch in different ways, and while we did like these better than REI's version, the Screeline, we liked TNF's old Hybrid Hiker Tights better. But, if you are psyched on hiking in tights and tired of ruining your $85 yoga pants by hiking in them, why not buy a pair of $85 hiking tights instead? They're a little slow to dry once wet, and not quite as versatile as a pair of convertible hiking pants.

If you need something for a multi-day backpacking trip, check out our Editors' Choice winner, the Marmot Lobo's Convertible pants instead. We also really liked the Mountain Hardwear Dynama, our Top Pick for Comfort, which is a soft and cozy pair for hiking or just hanging around the house. If you do prefer the feeling of hiking in tights instead of swishy hiking pants, the Progressor is still a great option. They're perfect for fastpacking and trail running as well, so we've given them our Top Pick for Trail Running award.



RELATED REVIEW: The Best Hiking Pants for Women


Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Cam McKenzie Ring

Last Updated:
Monday
May 14, 2018

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The North Face Progressor Hybrid Tights are made with two different materials: a 79% nylon / 21% elastane for the body of the tight and an 89% nylon / 11% spandex on the front thighs and rear. These numbers tell you all you need to know! The sides of the tights will stretch more than the rear and front. They have a 28" inseam and come in sizes XS-XL.

Performance Comparison


Taking in the view in the Progressor tights. We preferred these on cooler Spring days or for early morning trail runs.
Taking in the view in the Progressor tights. We preferred these on cooler Spring days or for early morning trail runs.

Comfort & Mobility


The North Face Progressor Hybrid Tights are not quite a mobile as their predecessor, and we gave them only a 7/10 for this category. The juxtaposition of the two different materials with different stretch feels a little off in certain scenarios. If you're used to yoga pants that move with you continuously, this pair might be even more noticeably "weird."


As for their comfort, our testers had mixed feelings on this score. While they are not too constricting (if sized appropriately) they are still a form-fitting tight, which is comfortable for a time but not the thing we'd want to wear all day. The softer, looser fitting Mountain Hardwear Dynama is a pair that we could sleep in if needed, but not so much the Progressor Tights. The internal drawstring is also gone in this updated model, and it did start to sag on us a bit throughout the day as the material stretched out on us.

The abrasion panels on the front are probably a bit much - you're not likely to wear out this section of the tight. It also makes the tights stretch in an unusual way.
The abrasion panels on the front are probably a bit much - you're not likely to wear out this section of the tight. It also makes the tights stretch in an unusual way.

Versatility


While you can do a lot in this pair of tights, they are not quite as versatile as many of the hiking pants that we tested.


There's no real option to layer under them, since they are tight, though you could easily wear them under something else, like a looser pair of hiking pants or rain pants. They come in one inseam length only, which is 28 inches. While that hit perfectly at the ankle of our 5'6 tester, it might be on the long or short side for others.

These tights are sleek and well-constructed  but not that versatile when compared to other models that convert to capris or shorts.
These tights are sleek and well-constructed, but not that versatile when compared to other models that convert to capris or shorts.

Breathability


We were impressed with the Progressor's breathability and gave it an 8/10 for this category. It's a hair thinner and more breathable than the REI co-op Screeline Tights, and while we felt overheated in the Screeline in 70-degree weather, we wore the Progressors in even warmer temps with no issues.


While the fabric itself is moisture wicking, the question is what type of bottoms will keep you cooler overall: a lightweight and loose fitting pair that allows air to circulate, or a tight pair that wicks away sweat that is generated because it's making you hotter? Overall, we tended to stay cooler in a lightweight, looser pair that can convert into shorts, like the Outdoor Research Ferrosi Convertible, than these tights. And considering that these are a long, black pair, they're better for cooler, fall hikes than hot summer ones.

While this fabric was moisture-wicking and breathable  we still got hotter in them on a warm sunny day than we would a loose-fitting pair that could also convert into shorts.
While this fabric was moisture-wicking and breathable, we still got hotter in them on a warm sunny day than we would a loose-fitting pair that could also convert into shorts.

Durability


The abrasion-resistant panels will increase the longevity of this pair compared to a plain pair of tights. TNF put the panels on the rear, where you tend to wear out your pants first. We're not sure why they are on the front of the tights though — maybe to protect them from brush and scrub? REI put their panels on the sides of their Screeline tights, which seems like an odd choice.


While this pair is well-constructed, and all of the seams on the multiple panels are double stitched, we did pop some seams when putting them on. The abrasion-resistant panels have only a little stretch to them, and we could hear the threads popping when we put them on. So far it was only in the one spot, but we'd recommend not getting this pair in too small a size, as you'll need the smaller waist to stretch over your thighs and rear without ripping.

We tore this seem a little just by putting the pants on. The panels don't stretch very well and these tights are tight!
We tore this seem a little just by putting the pants on. The panels don't stretch very well and these tights are tight!

Weather Resistance


These pants didn't offer much in the way of water and wind resistance and received a 6/10 for this metric.


Water barely beads up on this pair, and once they get wet, they are very slow to dry. We dunked them in a bucket of water, wrung them out and hung them to dry, and after two hours they were still wet. That's a big difference to compared to some of the quick dry models, like the Marmot Lobo's or The North Face Paramount 2.0 that dried in about 30 minutes. If you're only day hiking or trail running, that might not be much of an issue, but for multi-day hikes where you might get wet on the trail and need to dry your pants quickly, this is not the best pair to wear.

Water beads up on this material initially  but quickly saturates through  and once it does  these tights are very slow to dry.
Water beads up on this material initially, but quickly saturates through, and once it does, these tights are very slow to dry.

Features


These tights are fairly simple and don't have much going on features-wise.


There's an open pocket on each hip that can fit a phone or set of keys. You probably won't be too comfortable running far with much in the hip pocket, but it is a convenient option for hiking. We liked the pockets on the REI Co-op Screeline a little better, as they sit down on the thighs. A lot of running tights have a zippered pocket on the small of the back. While that is great for runs around your neighborhood, if you are carrying a CamelBak or small daypack on your trail runs or hikes that setup won't work so well, so we liked the side pocket option better.

Phone  pack of tissues  car keys ... this pocket can't hold much  but it's big enough for any of the above if you want to keep something close at hand.
Phone, pack of tissues, car keys ... this pocket can't hold much, but it's big enough for any of the above if you want to keep something close at hand.

The previous version had an internal drawstring to cinch the waist in a little, and we wished they would have kept it in this one, as it got a little baggy during our hikes or runs. The wide, flat waistband is nice and comfortable though and works well under a backpack hip belt or climbing harness.

The wide  flat waistband pairs perfectly with a hip belt - no belt loops or buckles to get in the way.
The wide, flat waistband pairs perfectly with a hip belt - no belt loops or buckles to get in the way.

Best Applications


The North Face Progressor Hybrid Tights are a great choice or people who like to move fast on the trail, and those who don't like the feel of a more traditional hiking pant. Because they are slow to dry, they are better used on day hikes and runs only.

Some people don't like hiking pants - if that's you  then the Progressors are a great option.
Some people don't like hiking pants - if that's you, then the Progressors are a great option.

Value


These tights retail for $85, which is about on par with the other hiking pants in this review, though those do tend to have more options built into them, like the ability to convert into capris or shorts. However, $85 seems to be the going rate for a pair of running tights as well! If you'd like to save a few dollars, our Best Buy winner, the Columbia Saturday Trail Stretch costs only $60.

Conclusion


Sometimes a company updates a product, and we're not always thrilled with all of the changes, but hopefully with some fine tuning the Progressors will improve a bit more and have good mobility and durability. In the meantime, The North Face Progressor Hybrid Tights are still a great option for those who prefer to hike in anything but hiking pants, and those looking for a pair that can also be used for running.

Cam McKenzie Ring

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Most recent review: May 14, 2018
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