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 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 like these better than REI's version, the Screeline, we like 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 scrambling 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 like 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.
The North Face Progressor Hybrid Tights Review
Cons: Materials stretch differently, minimal features, slow to dry
Manufacturer: The North Face
Our Analysis and Test Results
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 back and front. They have a 28" inseam and come in sizes XS-XL.
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 have 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 want to wear all day. The softer, looser fitting Mountain Hardwear Dynama and The North Face Aphrodite 2.0 are pairs that we could sleep in if needed, but not so much the Progressor Tights. There's also no internal drawstring in this updated model, and it does start to sag on us a bit throughout the day as the material stretches out.
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 can 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.
We are 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 your sweat but is 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.
The abrasion-resistant panels 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 as well.
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 pulling them over our hips. So far it is 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.
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 20 minutes. If you're only day hiking or trail running, this might not be much of an issue, but for multi-day hikes where you might get wet and need to dry your pants quickly, this is not the best pair to wear.
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 like the pockets on the REI Co-op Screeline a little better, as they sit lower 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.
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 and runs. The wide, flat waistband is nice and comfortable though and works well under a backpack hip belt or climbing harness.
The North Face Progressor Hybrid Tights are a great choice for 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.
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.
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