Nearly 20 years ago prAna changed the adventure and travel-wear world when they released their iconic Stretch Zion line of pants. They provide a combination of comfort, good looks, durability and versatility for anyone who loves the outdoors. Stretch Zion is a nylon fabric that can stand up to just about anything—it takes up very little luggage room and you can wear it scaling cliff faces or to the office just as easily. Above all, it just feels good.
The one-of-a-kind fabric is water-resistant, quick drying, durable, wrinkle resistant, and comes with UPF 50+ protection. prAna was so proud of what they created, they named it after one of the most inspirational places on earth: Zion National Park.
I became aware of prAna some 7-8 years ago when I worked for an outdoors outfitter. My first stretch Zions were a pair of the convertible hiking pants. I liked the ability to zip off the legs as a cold morning turned into a warm afternoon.
Well, I still have that original pair, and over the years I have built my stretch Zion collection considerably. I now own three pair of shorts in khaki, blue and forest green. In addition to the convertibles I also have a pair of straight leg in the sepia color, and plain ol’ stretch Zion pants in chocolate brown.
Disclosure: I purchased all of the above prAna stretch Zion pants myself. I am not on any kind of affiliate program. I have not been contacted to provide this review. It is simply my own opinion of the products.
Are you getting the feeling that prAna stretch Zion are my favorite pants? That would be fair. With the stretchy fabric they are super comfortable. I wear them for hiking. I wear them to the grocery store. Many use them for climbing. They are certainly durable enough.
The prAna stretch Zion are four season pants. The shorts obviously are great for late spring, through summer and early fall. All of the long pants are plenty warm enough for most winter months. If the outdoors temperature is below 25° I might put on a pair of long johns beneath, but above freezing they are definitely fine.
When I’m hiking I usually have a camera with me. I get down at ground level for macro shots of wildflowers and creepy crawlies. Whether I’m squatting or laying on the ground, I can count on the stretch Zions to move with me. They stretch where you need stretch; at the knees, in the waist and butt.
The fabric is plenty durable. Kneeling on granite or rolling in dirt, scrambling over boulders or fording a stream; they always come back ready for more. I still have and use all my purchases after many, many cycles in the washing machine.
The fabric is also quite water resistant. Whether you’re walking in tall grass with early morning dew or get caught in an unexpected rain shower, most of the moisture beads up and runs off. Short of uncomfortable hard shell pants, not much will stay totally dry in a downpour, but the stretch Zion pants wick moisture away very well if they do get soaked through. They dry very fast.
Ok, I’m going to tell on myself here. I was wearing a pair of the shorts for a hike in Shining Rock Wilderness along Little East Fork River when we came to a crossing. The other guys rock hopped across just fine. I got about half way and slipped on a wet rock ending up in the drink (I’ve been known to do that). I was fine. No harm, no foul. We all had a good laugh. But my point here is that within 20 minutes the stretch Zion shorts were completely dry.
Do you like pockets? I sure do. All of these come with a double-zip cargo pocket and deep front pockets. There are two pockets in the back, one with a protective flap to keep your wallet or other valuables secure. The long pants have snap buttons on the lower legs so you can roll up the cuffs easily. There are also small vent holes at the upper inside thigh for breathability.
So what do I think? I love all of the prAna stretch Zion family of hiking pants. They are definitely comfortable, so they make a fine all-purpose pant. They look nice enough for a casual work environment and are functional enough for most outdoors activities. They will last for you too. My oldest pair are now seven years old and look just as fresh as new.
How to Get Your Own
Each of the different styles of stretch Zion pants come in multiple colors, plenty of different waist and inseam sizes, and they all come with a built-in adjustable belt if you happen to lose five pounds from all that great exercise you’re getting, or if you eat too many of grandma’s Christmas cookies.
The prAna brand can be found at most major outdoors retailers if you want to try them on before purchase. Otherwise, you can buy directly from prAna here. $69 for shorts and $89 for long pants may seem a bit pricey at first, but I feel they are well worth what you pay. If you’re patient and wait for a holiday weekend, you can sometimes grab a pair for 25% off.
Just as in-store, major online outdoors providers offer prAna products as well. I use Google to ask who has the best deals going at any given time. You can usually score a pair at a reasonable price.
This post was created by Jeff Clark. Please feel free to use the sharing icons below, or add your thoughts to the comments. Pack it in, pack it out. Preserve the past. Respect other hikers. Let nature prevail. Leave no trace.