observations on gear, adventure, and the world

Review: Prana Stretch Zion Pant

The Prana Stretch Zion Pant I’ve been beating these guys up for a few weeks now, I’ll have to check back in with a durability update but here’s my review:

I’m a one pair of pants kind of guy. If I can’t wear pants for a week straight, I’m no fan.

So when I pulled these out of the box a week ago I put them on and wore them for a week straight.

Here they are out of the box:

Run-down of the features. Light breathable material that feels good on the legs. Super stretchy. Integrated belt. Roll-up conversion snaps. One low-profile cargo pocket. Two hand-warmer pockets in front. Two patch pockets in the back, one has a little lid to it.

PrAna’s version:

“The Skinny: Made with four-way stretch fabric that resists abrasion, dries quickly and (of course) travels well. Our most popular climbing pant also features roll and snap legs and zippered cargo pockets.

Update to our Stretch Zion Pant
Quick-dry stretch nylon performance fabric
All weather finish
Abrasion resistant
Angled dual entry cargo pocket
Streamlined adjustable waistband
Ventilated inseam gusset
Roll-up leg snaps
97% Nylon / 3% Spandex”

-Note: I don’t know what “all weather finish” refers to – they don’t seem to have a DWR. When I spilled water on them they got wet and dried quickly, there was some water beading but once the spill stood still it soaked in. Also – there is only one cargo pocket though “The Skinny” above refers to “pockets.”

Here’s what I look for in pants:

(1)Moisture management

(2) Temperature Management

(3) Protection

(4) Durability

(5) Mobility

(6) Versatility

(7) Comfort

(8) Utility

(9) They have to be better than my 14$ wrangler kakis.

That’s not in any important order but I’ll break it down for you now.

(1)Moisture management: This is where my cotton kakis fall very short. I want to be able to get wet then dry out quick. Also I don’t want to get sweaty under my harness leg loops. This week I had plenty of chances to test the harness sitting comfort of these guys. Wait I’ve got a picture, of these guys hang-dogging an 11b in Rock Canyon (I got sandbagged into believing I could on-sight the route, and maybe I could have but the clipping jug at the 4th bolt was full of bugs so I took a hang… and this picture).

I it was a hot day and I stayed totally dry under my harness (which is OLD and wasn’t helping matters). Same story on a hanging belay when Data Mike and I broke Gordon’s Hangover into two pitches.

(2) Temperature Management

To be warm enough to wear most of the year, while not sacrificing durability and protection good pants will be too warm to wear for some of the year. I’d say that the weight of the Stretch Zion Pant is going to be only too warm on days when it’s too hot to be climbing. When it’s too hot for these pants, I think that only a pair of back packing pants designed to be light and cool while protecting against bugs, sun and plants would work. That’s a pretty specific niche. The great thing with these pants is that they roll-up and become a man-pris really nicely, which I love. Still protects my knees and keeps bugs from crawling up my legs… not a problem most of the time but something I worry about. The plastic snaps will probably be the least durable part of the pant, but they roll fine with out them.

Score: 9/10 (I don’t think that a 10 exists… and it’s certainly not a zip-off!)

(3) Protection

A granite talus field approach and three pitches on granite, including a pin-scarred slab, an off width grovel, an over hang, a knee bar, and a hanging belay – all went down fine without any damage to my legs. Now hands and elbows… that’s another story.

(4) Durability

Not only did the granite grovel not damage me – my pants survived too! No sign of the adventures so far – I’ve got high hopes for their durability.

8/10 (10=Carharts)

(5) Mobility

10. I’m a relatively bendy guy, with mountaineer/cyclist quads – so I need a pant that can really move if it’s not going to get in the way of my climbing. These pants are AMAZING. I think that Prana’s Yoga roots come through in their clothes. I can do yoga in them very comfortably.


(6) Versatility

Do they hide dirt and chalk well? Do they hold they shape after wearing for several days? Does the Girl think that they look good?

Color is key here. So is shape. My wrangler kakis are too light to hide dirt and stains – and they are really loose so that I can climb in them. The Stretch Zion is, according to The Girl, a good color for me and a flattering fit.

Since they manage moisture and temperature well and are very comfortable, I can climb, hike, and cook in them. Then chill around camp, or the house in them, and as long as they aren’t too dirty I can wear them to dinner.


(7) Comfort

I wore them every day for seven days. Then washed them and put them back on. Now… a few weeks later they were the only pants I packed/wore (which is to say I wore them and didn’t pack any other pants) for a weekend in Maple, and I’m wearing them again today.


(8) Utility

I’m not a fan of pockets. These pockets are good. They make sure I have my wallet, keys, and phone when it’s time to change venues. There’s no real scenario where I wouldn’t be willing to wear these. Maybe if they had a DWR coating and were nearly rain proof I’d like them more… but it’s Utah… I’ll never really have to test that.


(9) Compared to the low-cost option:

The Stretch Zion retails for $75 direct from PrAna, that’s roughly three pairs of my trusty wrangler kakis… but I haven’t used my wranglers since these pants showed up. If I run into real durability issues I’ll change my tune, but as longs as these last a couple/three seasons I’ll consider the upgrade more than worth it.

Review note: The DOJ wants some disclosure mumbo-jumbo. Well, no one gives me anything for the purpose of review. I find deals, pro-deals, pay retail, talk to friends, get things from my mom for my birthday. I’ll make sure I let you know once I join the ranks of the real gear reviewers, but for the time being all of my biases are not purchased. Also – since I’m buying most of what I review with my own coin… or the Girl’s coin, I’m not often disappointed. I don’t usually buy stuff that I’d give a bad review to… some stuff does surprise though. 


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