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Prana Stretch Zion Hiking Pants Review

Prana Stretch Zion Hiking Pants Review

Prana’s Stretch Zion Hiking Pants are my favorite hiking pants. They’re buttery soft with just the right amount of stretch. They have snaps in the legs so you can roll them up if you get too warm and include an integrated belt, something that I wish all hiking pant manufacturers provided.

Prana Stretch Zion Hiking Pants

Freedom of Movement
Fast Drying
Durability
Lots of Pockets
Weight
Sizing

Super Comfortable and Breathable

Prana's Stretch Zion Pants are so comfortable for hiking and backpacking, you can wear them in your sleeping bag. Breathable and durable, these will be the last hiking pants you ever buy.

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Specs at a Glance

I’ve logged over 500 miles over the past few years on this particular pair and I’ve got an identical pair waiting in my closet for when they finally bite the dust. I’ve used them on the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu, the Camino de Santiago, scrambling, day hiking, backpacking, kayaking, and sailing, etc.

Integrated hip belt

One of my favorite features is the integrated belt. The belt is sewn into the waistband and never crosses the fly so you can take the pants on and off without having to open or close a belt buckle. I realize that taking off your pants isn’t a huge part of backpacking (or maybe I’m just doing it wrong) but still, it’s one less thing to have to fiddle with. Adjustment is done by pulling on the end of the belt which passes through a buckle just to the right of the fly.

The Prana Stretch Zion Pants have an integrated hip belt.
The Prana Stretch Zion Pants have an integrated hip belt.

Pockets

The two front pockets are six inches deep as measured from the bottoms of the generous diagonal cut openings which are extremely easy to access when wearing a waist belt. The bottoms of these pockets are a black mesh material whereas all the other pockets on the pants have solid interiors. The pants include an integrated belt, zip fly, and some deeply moving verbiage inside the waistband. Note that there is no coin pocket.

The side pockets have front and side zippers
The side pockets have front and side zippers

The outside thigh of the left leg features a six-inch by six-inch dual-entry pocket with zippers along the top and front edges. The top zipper is covered by a flap with sewn ends. In my experience, a larger phone such as a Nexus 6P is quite difficult to get all the way into the pocket whereas a moderately sized phone such as the Pixel 1 has room to spare.

The left rear pocket has an open top whereas the right rear pocket is covered with a flap whose ends are sewn down. Both pockets are six inches deep and five inches wide.

The back has two more pockets
The back has two more pockets

Breathability and Ventilation

At around 400 grams a pair the Stretch Zions feel significantly lighter than the jeans and belt that I wear into work every day which clock in at a whopping 892 grams. However, they tend towards the heavier end of the spectrum as far as hiking pants go. But they breathe extremely well compared to other hiking pants I’ve tried and are far more durable.

The Stretch Zion Pants do tend to run a bit warm especially if you’re out in the sun all day with no shade such as the desert or the Camino, although here you’ll appreciate their UPF 50+ rating. Rolling up the legs also helps quite a bit, as does the gusseted crotch which has vents to help dry perspiration.

Rolling up the legs shaves about eight inches off of the length of the pants.
Rolling up the legs shaves about eight inches off of the length of the pants.

The legs roll up and have two pairs of snaps (one pair on each seam) at six-and-a-half and ten inches from the hem to hold them in place. Rolling up the legs shaves about eight inches off of the length of the pants. The bottom four inches of the back half of each leg is reinforced with an extra layer of fabric.

Recommendation

Prana’s Stretch Zion Pants are highly functional, comfortable, and breathable hiking pants and my long-time favorite. They have ruined me for other hiking pants – every time I try something new I always come back to my Pranas. In fact, they are so comfortable and breathable that most nights when I’m out, I’ll just sleep in my pants: I no longer bring dedicated sleep bottoms since I find I don’t need them. The Prana Stretch Zions are truly my one-and-only go-to outdoor pants. Outdoor enthusiasts of all stripes can expect many years of comfortable service from a single pair. Highly recommended.

About the Author

Michael Montgomery is a Washington State native who has been exploring the wilds of the Pacific Northwest for almost 20 years. He’s a backpacking mentor and trip leader for the Mountaineers who also dabbles in photography, scrambling, kayaking, and caving. His noteworthy international trips include the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu as well as the last third of the Camino de Santiago (because there’s only so much vacation time to go around). He enjoys helping new folks get the most out of their outdoor experiences.

Disclosure: The author owns these pants.

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13 comments

  1. Nice review. I too made this discovery several years back and I now must have at least 5 or 6 pairs of these. I have not found anything better. I have the shorts version as well. Super comfortable, super durable.

  2. Well I’m super excited by this post, as I’ve been looking for hiking pants for a couple of years now that roll up to the knee with loops to keep them up. It’s hard to see in the photos if the pockets on the women’s version have zippers but I guess I’ll find out when they arrive next week. Thanks for the info!

    • Beware, women! I just bought two pairs of the women’s version (Halle) and while I do like them a lot there are some substantial differences between these and the Halle. The hip pockets are not remotely six inches deep, they are actually even shallower than your standard jeans pockets. There is one zippered pocket on the right leg that is a decent size but it would be nice if it were bigger and if there was also one on the left side (I don’t understand this about women’s pants; this is not the first pair that I have owned that only has one zippered pocket). The really nice integrated belt that Michael describes, which I was really excited about, is non-existent on the Halle pants. I was rather disappointed about that. Instead of that nice belt there is an interior drawstring which barely does anything, and I am anti-interior drawstring anyway because they tend to cause unnecessary chafing. Luckily there are belt loops so I guess I’ll just keep wearing my regular old belt with these pants.

      Pros: they dry really quickly when wet and have a good coating on them to keep them from getting too wet in the first place. They are nice and lightweight and roll up to a good length for shorts without feeling like there’s too much material around the knees. They also seem to attract a lot of cat hair, which I suppose won’t bother a lot of people but it does mystify me as to why it does.

      Anyway, I do like the pants overall, I just thought I’d mention the differences for any women who are interested in them. Thanks again for the review, Michael!

  3. I wore a pair of the convertible pants every day for two years until the material in the ass wore so thin they ripped when I squat down. They tend to be on the warm side and don’t breath that well but that’s compared to running short or swimsuit. I have switched to running shorts and wind pants since. The Zion pants were great while they lasted.

    • I have a pair that I have worn on every single backpacking trip for the last two or three years. If it’s warm, I just roll them up. Walking through wet brush or rainstorms, they dry out very quickly and are way more soft and comfortable than rain pants. On the last trip, I had to bushwhack through a large thorn bramble to get to the ideal tree for a bear bag hang. I thought they would get ripped to shreds, and the thorns did pull some of the fibers out from the material but I was amazed at how tough and durable these pants are. I also sleep in them during colder nights as they are quite soft and comfy. Highly recommend!

  4. My daily wear man. I have 5 pair all in diff colors. 3 covertibles/2 pants that roll up and snap.

    Love them.

  5. Same experience as others — I have two pairs of the shorts which I altered by trimming 2.5 inches
    off the leg length. I wear them all summer and have hiked with them hundreds of miles
    wearing thin black compression tights underneath. Wonderful product.

  6. Great review!

    Also my daily wear – both the Zion and more town friendly Prana Brion.

  7. They are great pants. I pretty much wear them all the time. Kinda like pj softness and tough too!

  8. What’s the next best thing that’s in a size 44? Apparently they stop at 42.

    • Michael Montgomery

      I was going to say maybe try the Patagonia Quandary or the OR Ferrosi, but they stop at 40 and 38 respectively.

  9. This is the only pant I wear now, for hiking, work, church, dances, weddings… Like Philip, I sometimes sleep in the pants because they stretch–not “stretchy,” just a little “give” when you squat.

    My old 100% nylon pants didn’t stretch and split in the rear and were baggy. These Zions have never split and are quite tear resistant. I especially like the cargo pocket on the left leg–it has a top zipper but also a side zipper, which I use all the time.

    I no longer use zip-offs, partly because the zipper rubbed on the top of my knee (being 5-8) and because I beat melanoma once and don’t need more o’dat sunburn on my legs!

  10. My recommendation for hiking pants that are well designed and rugged AND a good product for your money is
    DULUTH TRADING synthetic work/hiking pants including their fleece lined nylon cargo pants for winter. DT makes several all synthetic pants and they are comfortable and tough.

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