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The North Face Utility Hybrid Hiker - Women's Review

Techy tights that combine all the things we love about hiking pants and put them into a fashion-forward tight that functions on big trail days.
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Price:  $80 List | $79.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Great pockets, fashionable and functional, lots of mobility
Cons:  Don’t breath well, potentially awkward fit, slow to dry
Manufacturer:   The North Face
By Meg Atteberry ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 16, 2019
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73
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 12
  • Comfort/Mobility - 30% 8
  • Versatility - 15% 8
  • Durability - 15% 7
  • Weather Resistance - 15% 6
  • Features/Conveniences - 15% 9
  • Breathability - 10% 4

Our Verdict

The North Face Utility Hybrid Hiker Tights expand the definition of hiking pants. The functional pockets double as a fashionable feature that not only looks great but works well too. Although this hiking pant doesn't breathe as well as we would like, it's a significant step forward in the evolution of the hiker tight.


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Our Analysis and Test Results

The Utility Hybrid is a unique addition to our lineup. They are technically a hiker tight, but their features create a fashion-forward look that isn't your typical set of tights. Not to mention, the big, zippered pockets function much like a hiking pant. All this makes them part mobile tight, part pant, and part fashion statement.

Performance Comparison


On a sunny day  the Utility Hybrid Hiker was actually a bit sweaty  but they provide for ample range of motion while climbing the Flatirons.
On a sunny day, the Utility Hybrid Hiker was actually a bit sweaty, but they provide for ample range of motion while climbing the Flatirons.

Comfort & Mobility


When we set out to free solo a Flatiron in Boulder, Colorado, we were stoked to put the Utility Hybrid Hiker to the test. As we ascended 600 feet of slabby rock, we often had to step high and with confidence. The Utility Hybrid's performed beautifully, giving us a full range of motion without feeling like they were too clingy or inhibiting.

On a thin framed person, they almost fit perfectly; however, we found the crotch to be a little baggy. Curvier women will love the large waistband and ability of these pants to stretch.

The 95% nylon and 5% elastane blend felt a little itchy to us on our first wear. However, once washed, the itch factor disappeared, although they still felt just slightly stiff. They aren't as soft as tights you might be used to, as they have more of a hiker pant feel to them. The North Face aptly named this "Hybrid" that lands directly between hiking pants and tights.

The high waist of the Utility Hybrid Hiker allows you to move with confidence. You don't have to worry about falling out of these hiker tights.
The high waist of the Utility Hybrid Hiker allows you to move with confidence. You don't have to worry about falling out of these hiker tights.

Versatility


These pants are highly versatile, working great at the crag, on a run, and around town. The fashionable design of the pockets gave these pants a hip, almost urban feel to them. You can easily dress them up after a quick hike and hit the town. Unlike the Kuhl Spire Roll-Up, the Utility Hiker Tights don't have any cotton, making them a better choice for those looking for a stylish option who also tackle tougher objectives.

Durability


Overall, we didn't notice any pilling or stitching issues while testing the Hybrid Hiker. We did notice that the pants appear to be of two different materials, with the front side being softer than the backside. To the best of our knowledge, this is to protect the rear when scooting over obstacles. The front side of the tights may be more susceptible to wear and tear over time. These tights retain most of their shape if you plan to wear them all day, there was a bit of sag in the rear, but our primary tester doesn't pack much junk in the trunk and tends to have this problem with almost every pair of tights, so it could just be us.

The front and rear of the Utility Hybrid are made of slightly different materials.
The front and rear of the Utility Hybrid are made of slightly different materials.

Weather Resistance


Hiker tights don't repel water all that well, and the Utility Hybrid's were no exception. Next to the Khul Spire Roll-Up, these pants performed poorly when inundated with water. You might want to put on something else or pack rain pants for wet days on the trail. It took hours for these pants to dry out completely.

On windy days, since the Utility Hybrid's aren't as breathable, they did a decent job keeping the wind out of the pant. However, keep in mind that hiker tights, in general, tend to be cooler than hiking pants.

The Pack-Out (left) and the Hybrid Utility Hiker (right) both make for a great hiking tight option. The North Face pant is preferred by our testers in chilly weather.
The Pack-Out (left) and the Hybrid Utility Hiker (right) both make for a great hiking tight option. The North Face pant is preferred by our testers in chilly weather.

Features


If useful pockets are important to you, then you'll love the features on the Utility Hybrid Hiker Tights=. Two roomy, zippered hand pockets, as well as two zippered thigh pockets, allow for plenty of functional storage options. We could fit most modern phones in these pockets and truly appreciated the attention to detail with this feature. Not to mention, the design of the pockets adds some style, which we loved. The two rear pockets weren't as useful to us, but they did help round out the pant's look.

The four zipped pockets of the Utility Hybrid Hiker Tights give you plenty of storage options.
The four zipped pockets of the Utility Hybrid Hiker Tights give you plenty of storage options.

Breathability


Usually hiking tights have the issue of becoming too cold, but we found the Utility Hybrid to be a bit too hot. On warm weather days, these tights didn't breath that well and we wished that they let in a little more of a breeze. However, if you plan to hike in colder environments, these tights offer more insulation than you might expect from tights.

Best Applications


With its stylish, yet functional design, The North Face Utility Hybrid Hiker Tight pushes the limits of what a hiking tight can be. They perform well on good weather days in cooler to mild conditions. The fabric allows for a full range of movement, while the features add tons of function and style to the tights. Hikers who like wearing tights and want something that functions with a touch of fashion will love the Utility Hybrid Hiker Tight.

The Utility Hybrid Hiker Tights work great on everything from leisurely hikes to tough terrain.
The Utility Hybrid Hiker Tights work great on everything from leisurely hikes to tough terrain.

Value


For $80, you get a hiking tight that functions, fits, is durable and flattering. It's not a bargain price, but certainly, a fair deal considering what you get. This fashion-forward tight comes with the bonus of being a great addition to the wardrobe off the trail, giving the pant a value boost over some of the other hiker tight models.

Conclusion


The North Face Utility Hybrid Hiker pushes the boundaries of function and fashion. Although there is certainly room for improvement in breathability and weather resistance, these are a great option for those looking for a pair of hiking tights with some flare.


Meg Atteberry