Patagonia Quandary pants offer movement-centric comfort and performance for hikers. Breathable materials breathe, rolling up to shed heat or block sun glare, but items may slip out of slanted front pockets, and lack secure rear or thigh pockets – potential drawbacks to wearing these trousers while hiking.
Pricey fabrics and stretch materials with brand names command high premiums.
Climbing gear often makes an excellent hiking/backpacking pant; an example is the Black Diamond Alpine Light Pants which are known for being both breathable, packable, and providing weather protection.
These nylon ripstop fabric shorts can take the beating of rugged trail days with ease, featuring hook-and-loop pocket closures to keep things secure, 50 UPF sun protection for legs, as well as versatile design features such as rolling up into capri length for summer hikes or zipping them into full-length mode for added warmth during colder seasons.
While these pants may breathe well and roll up to shed heat effectively, they weren’t the most suitable options in our test for keeping out sweltering temps or blocking wind. Their internal drawstring was narrow and stretchy–making them difficult to use when worn with backpack straps or hip belts.
The Quandary Pants were specifically created for three-season hiking and travel, offering maximum performance while remaining practical. Crafted of durable but lightweight nylon fabric, they resist abrasion while repelling wind and rain, with articulated knees to ensure good mobility and several pockets to store essential items and belt-in lace hooks on each cuff for effortless attachment to boots.
As with most soft-shell pants, the Patagonia Quandary is a versatile option for hiking in cool weather. Not only can these versatile trousers withstand rocks and brush, but they also have hook-and-loop pocket closures that stay shut when necessary.
Though thin, Quandary pants are tough enough to resist abrasion from rocks and brush on trails and do a decent job at keeping away wind and light rain. Unfortunately they don’t provide sufficient insulation against scorching temperatures or vigorous bushwhacking activities.
These trousers feature two front hand-warmer pockets and one small coin pocket, in addition to one rear zippered pocket for storage purposes. There are no ventilation options, and the waist has a narrow stretchy cord sewn into its fabric which ties securely around a metal button and zip.
This version of prAna’s Stretch Zion range is made with ReZion fabric which feels cheaper. However, it is still an excellent hiking choice and can easily be converted into shorts by zipping off its legs.
Your hiking pants needs will depend on what kind of hikes you like to take; durability and mobility may be of prime importance if you traverse rugged terrain frequently; conversely, comfort could be more of an interest if traveling or using hiking pants for other activities like camping.
Our selection of hiking pants covers an array of conditions and uses. There are lightweight models for warmer climates like Patagonia Quandary Pants that effectively repel wind and light rain, and convertible models like prAna Stretch Zion IIs that zip off to become shorts if desired.
Though slightly heavier than some of the more technical pants we tested, the Quandary Pants proved comfortable enough for use on anything from an after-work hike to backpacking trips. They’re breathable, roll up easily for heat dissipation, and offer UPF sun protection – though their slanted front pockets and lack of secure pockets may present certain drawbacks.
Kathleen Sheehan and Clark Tate bring extensive trail experience, scrambling up granite chimneys in the Sierra Nevada. Cam McKenzie Ring also regularly treks to crags throughout California and beyond in his van lifer lifestyle and wears and destroys many pairs of hiking pants while bushwhacking through remote terrain – giving each an in-depth understanding of what makes a great pair of hiking pants, how they should be used and which features to look for. Our testing team members understand precisely what constitutes great pairs of hiking pants.