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.
Specs at a Glance
- Fabric: 97% nylon/3% spandex
- Gender: Mens (Prana calls the women’s version Halle Pants)
- Pockets: 5
- UPF Rating: 50
- Side Cargo Pockets: Yes
- Roll Up Legs: Yes
- Gusseted Crotch: Yes
- Convertible Legs: No (but Prana makes a Stretch Zion Convertible Pant, as well)
- Weight: 14 oz
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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
Disclosure: The author owns these pants.
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