Given there are so many different brands and styles of hiking pants, the process of finding the right pair can be quite a pain. On this page, I’ll go through the hiking pants made by prAna and will show pictures of the different styles to help differentiate the options.
My goal: Find a pair of hiking pants that works equally well backpacking in the wilderness and walking around a city. I do not like pants that look too technical with many cargo pockets and zippers. I want to be able to wear my hiking pants around town after a short hike and not look like I am about to summit Mount Everest. That said, I also want to make sure the pants are functional and can handle a multi-day backpacking trip.
- To limit the search to reasonable number of options, I focused only on pants made by prAna
- Pants must be made with synthetic fabric (nylon, polyester, spandex, etc.) and be quick drying
- Cost must be less than $100
- No convertible zippers to turn the pants into shorts (I don’t like the look on those)
The options: Taking the aforementioned criteria into account, I focused on 5 different types of pants from prAna.
- prAna Zion (aka Stretch Zion)
- prAna Zion Straight Fit (aka Stretch Zion Straight)
- prAna Brion
- prAna Zioneer
- prAna Broadfield
Conclusion: To cut to the chase, I ended up buying the prAna Zion Straight Fit pants. These retail for ~$89 at REI, but can occasionally be found for $60-70 at backcountry.com. I went with this style because it is the least baggy of all the prAna pants I tried. They may feel a little tight in the but/thigh area, the stretch Zion fabric loosens over time.
As a tall and skinny guy it has been a challenge to find pants that fit well. Most varieties are either too short or super loose and baggy. The prAna Zion Straight Fit seems be prAna’s attempt at making a “slim fit” or fitted hiking pant. In my opinion it’s a welcome addition to their product line and will be appreciated by the many tall/skinny guys out there who want hiking pants that fit!
Below you will find pictures of the pants (on me) and from the REI website. For reference, I am 6′ 2″ and ~180 pounds and am wearing 33 inch waist and 34 inch inseam pants for all pictures
prAna Zion pants
I already own a pair of the traditional Stretch Zion pants. I like most of the features, but they are just simply too baggy for my taste. I previously bought them because they were best I could find at the time. Overall, the pants have some great features. The built-in belt is nice and the roll-up snaps are useful. The fabric is nice and dries quickly. Lastly, the look is pretty good with only one cargo pocket and few extra seems. Like I said, these are good pants but are just baggy on a skinny guy. If you have thicker thighs and legs, these may be a great option for you.
In online reviews, the primary complaints about the prAna Zions are that they are baggy and that the cargo pocket is a little low. Beyond that, most everyone seems to like them.
prAna Zion Straight Fit pants
The prAna Zion Straight Fit pants are the pants I ultimately ended up buying. They have all the same features as the Zion pants above (built-in belt, zipper cargo pocket, roll-up snaps, vents), but a cut with a slimmer fit. This removes much of the bagginess beneath the thighs. I find this makes the pants look much better for going around town. It also should make the pants dry faster in the backcountry since there is less fabric overall.
Despite the slimmer fit, the pants do not restrict my motion. They may feel a bit snug in the waist/butt at first, but note that the stretch zion fabric will stretch and give a bit as you wear them. I noticed this with the original pair of Zion pants. Over time the fabric loosen up a bit.
I really like these pants and have no major issues. The few complaints from online reviewers focus on these pants being “slim fit” rather than “straight fit.” If you have big thighs or prefer loose pants, the Zion Straight Fit pants will probably not work for you. I don’t know why prAna chose to call these “Straight Fit” rather than “Slim Fit,” but I think it is safe to say these are the slim fit version of the prAna Zion hiking pants.
prAna Zioneer pants
While the prAna Zion pants are marketed as backpacking pants that can also be worn to a brewery, the prAna Zioneer pants are marketed as more of an all-around pant that works for hiking, work, and going around town. In practice, I find them similar to the classic Zion in fit. They also share the same built-in belt, roll-up snaps, and vents. One difference is that the cargo pocket is differently shaped and only has one zipper on the side. The traditional Zion pocket has a zipper on the side and on the top. The cargo pocket on the Zioneer pants is a bit more obscured than on the Zion as well. This may be advantageous for those who do not like the cargo pants look.
I found the fit to be similar to the classic Zion pants and was too baggy for my taste. Since I was looking for a slimmer fit, these did not work for me. The main critique from online reviewers are that the Zioneer cargo pocket is a bit too small for large smartphones and that the fit is not tailored or slim. Thus, if you are looking for a slimmer version of the Zion pants, the Zioneer pants are not going to be much help. If you want a similar fit to the Zion pants but just want a slimmer cargo pocket, the Zioneer pants are probably good for you.
prAna Brion pants
The prAna Brion pants seem to be marketed as more of a do everything active pant that you can wear in place of jeans and take hiking, climbing, or to work. They have the pocket structure of a pair of jeans and lack a cargo pocket. However, they are made from the same stretch Zion fabric that prAna uses in their other hiking pants.
I thought these would be a good option for me given that they are marketed as “slim fit.” However, I found that they are oddly cut and are very loose around the calves. I think the only way to consider these “slim fit” is that the waist and upper thighs were a little slimmer than the Zioneer and Zion pants. The Brion pants have a sort of boot cut or bell bottom cut to them and are baggy around the ankles. I wanted a pair of pants that had a tailored fit all the way down the leg, not just in the thigh area.
The main critiques from other online reviewers are that the Brion pants do not have a slim fit cut in recent versions are now more of a boot cut fit. If you prefer to wear boot cut jeans, these may be a great option for you if you want a jean replacement with synthetic fabric. However, if you are looking for a slim fit synthetic pair of pants, the Brion pants may not be your best bet anymore.
prAna Broadfield pants
The prAna Broadfield pants are the only hiking pants shown here that are not made with the Stretch zion fabric. These pants have a 93% nylon / 7% Lycra blend fabric instead of the Stretch zion 97% nylon / 3% spandex blend. The fabric feels a bit more lightweight than the stretch Zion, so these may be a good option for really warm weather hiking since they feel like they would breathe very well.
For the fit, I felt like they were slightly more tailored or slimmer than the Zion or Zioneer pants. But, they were not as form fitting as I was hoping. I also just didn’t love the two cargo type pockets on the front of the thighs. If you like the look of the pockets though, these seem like a good option for hot weather. I expected them to be baggy given they are marketed as “Standard Fit,” but was actually pleasantly surprised by the fit.
Some online reviews mention that the Broadfields are too tight in the crotch and butt. I agree that they are tighter here when compared to the Zion and Zioneer pants. However, my motion did not feel restricted. Just be aware that this may be an issue for some people.