Prana Stretch Zion Pant Review
October 2, 2015
The Prana Stretch Zion pants are, without a doubt, my favorite pants of all time. Not just favorite hiking pants but favorite pants, ever. I’d wear these things all day every day if I could get away with it. They are comfortable, have excellent breathability, work in both hot and cold temperatures, and are super durable. To make things even better Prana recently started offering the Zion’s in multiple colors so now maybe I can wear them every day… these pair with a suit jacket and tie right? Lets dive into the individual features that make these my favorite pants ever as well as take a look at the one thing about these pants that make me want to throw my laptop out the window in frustration.
First off, I’ve had a pair of these pants now for roughly 5 years. They have gone everywhere with me and been put in almost every outdoor situation. I have yet to find a place that I wish I had something else on. The prime things I like about these pants are the comfort (due to the stretchy fabric and cut) as well as the breathability. Really its the breathability that makes them so awesome. I’m generally a sweaty guy. More sweaty than your average sweaty guy so I get swampy and irritated pretty quickly when I’m wearing long pants. The Prana Zion’s breath so well that I rarely get uncomfortable. This is not to say that I don’t sometimes overheat in them. When I do another extremely underrated feature comes in clutch – the “roll-up leg snaps” on the bottom cuffs. These allow you to turn these into capris and vent a ton of heat by securely rolling these pants up several inches to hit just below your calf. I love this feature and I can’t understand why more pants don’t do this. It increases their temperature versatility immensely. As a side note, it’s this feature that also makes them my favorite sea kayaking pants. I can roll them up and snap them in place so when I get in and out of my kayak my pants don’t get wet. Brilliant!
I’m also a huge fan, as I mentioned above, of the cut of these pants. I have a hard time finding outdoor pants that really fit me well. So many times when I’m trying out various pairs of pants I feel like I’m back in the 90’s rocking some baggy jeans attempting to be a cool kid. Or, if they aren’t super baggy, they are so “slim” that I can’t raise my leg high enough to step over a large rock. The Zion’s strike the perfect balance. With that being said, we come to the one thing about these pants that extremely irritates me. These pants come in two versions – the traditional as well as convertibles that zip off into shorts. The convertibles, even though they are advertised as being identical to the traditional version have much wider legs. I even double checked with Prana’s customer support and they “confirmed” that they are identical… liars.
Moving on though there are a few other things about these pants to discuss. They come with DWR treatment to give them a bit of water resistance. Don’t expect them to keep you dry but they will brush off a couple drops if you accidently spill some hot coco on them. The built in belt is great. I don’t really like wearing belts when I’m backpacking because your waist belt on your backpack can press the buckle uncomfortably into your stomach so the built in belt works nicely to keep my pants up. From a size perspective these run a bit large. Normally I wear a medium but with these the XS fits me quite well. The pocket setup is great with the traditional front and back pockets along with a side cargo pocket that zips shut to keep your small stuff safe. While the list of features is short all of them are appreciated, well thought out and expertly implemented.
The Prana Zion pants are not groundbreaking. There are no features that have never been thought of before. But, if you are looking for a solid pair of pants that I would consider the most versatile pair of outdoor pants I’ve ever owned you don’t need to look any further.