prAna Brion Pants
For some of you, it will seem silly to spend money on a pair of pants that you will only use while you are hiking. A lot of this depends on the frequency at which you hike. Thus begins a search for pants great for hiking and casual wear. That is where the prAna Brion Pants come into play as they will fill that void in your wardrobe.
PrAna designed their pants to be highly functional on the trails while maintaining usefulness virtually anywhere else. However, as you will see in the context of this review, these pants are not incredibly technical in their performance.
They are extremely comfortable to wear. You will probably be looking for any opportunity to wear them because of it. Made with the company’s original Stretch Zion fabric, the prAna Brion pants have a unique feel and are very stretchy.
Let’s just say for all you out there, you will probably want to take a closer look at these trousers.
Works for hiking but excels casually
The fabric feels comfortable against your skin
They have been engineered with a gusseted crotch
There is a boatload of sizing options to choose from
Designed with UPF 50+ protection
Plenty of colors are available
Features the company’s Stretch Zion fabric
They hold quite a bit of heat
Not a technical piece of outerwear
Will get drenched in rainstorms
Overall, they do not breathe or vent well at all, and there are a few reasons why. Firstly, the Stretch Zion fabric (while comfortable and durable) is thicker and heavier than other materials you will find on hiking pants. Adding to that is the fact that there is a lack of ventilation spots that would allow for airflow.
They do a terrific job of holding in heat which is not what you want for summer hikes. If you want to learn more about hiking in hot weather, read our blog on 10 tips on hiking in hot weather. Due to this, these are better served in either the spring or fall. However, and this was alluded to earlier, where these truly excel is when they are worn casually.
From walking around town to going to work to go on a bike ride in the fall, the prAna Brion pants can become useful in a wide variety of situations. Truthfully, this is what makes them such a good buy as you will always find a situation in which they will be appropriate to wear.
As was noted, prAna went through several trials and tribulations to try and create a new type of fabric that would perform how they envisioned it would. What makes their Stretch Zion fabric so amazing is the fact that it feels incredible against your skin. It is something that you will want to wear time and time again.
At the same time, as this fabric sports many stretchy woven fibers, this material will also not restrict your mobility. For outdoor adventures, it is crucial to wear garments that do not limit your flexibility, so this is nice.
Past the wonderful Stretchy Zion fabric is the implementation of the gusseted crotch. Every single man out there will appreciate this feature. Basically, in the crotch area, this gusset eliminates the seams and allows for optimal freedom of movement. In addition to providing natural comfort, this will also make crouching down a lot easier.
Still, there is something that needs to be talked about. These pants are marketed as being a slim fit. In specific, they are marketed to be slim through the seat and thigh areas. This is important because these trousers are far from actual slim pants.
In reality, they are almost a hybrid of regular and slim fit as they are not restricting or crazy tight in the slightest. At the bottom, specifically, the openings are very wide and can even flap around a little bit in the wind. From the knee down, these pants are not slim, so do take note of that.
The fabrics that are utilized in this unique fabric blend (which is mostly nylon) are going to stand up very well to the test of time. Granted you follow the care instructions for these pants, they should last you for several years to come.
Of course, the same gusseted crotch that was alluded to earlier also plays a role in this section. You see, as the gusset eliminates the seams that come together at the crotch area, it is also going to disperse the stress around the area. In turn, this is going to make the crotch less prone to tearing.
Well, here is the good news; prAna did apply a durable water repellent (or DWR) coating to them. If you have never heard of a DWR coating, it can be found on several outdoor garments and outdoor fabrics. It is a water repellent coating that is designed to bead off water and prevent it from leaking inside the surface.
The problem with this one, specifically, is that it only works decently. During light rainfall, these pants are going to do a sufficient job of repelling water droplets. However, the same is not true once the rain starts to pick up a little bit.
Especially during heavy rain, the prAna Brion pants will not be able to keep up and will become drenched before you know it. While you can always revive the DWR coating (as it will be affected by dirt, dust, etc.) it is never going to be good enough to work in conditions such as this.
No matter if you are hiking in the spring, summer, fall, or winter, the sun will come out to play. It is more welcome during colder climates, but the point remains. During the spring (in specific as these are not good summer hiking pants), you will enjoy the UPF 50+ protection that these are designed with.
The prAna Brion Pants have been lab-tested to shield you from the sun. Because these are not the most breathable trousers out there, this is a nice layer of protection to have.
Now, regarding wind protection, these are not precisely windproof. In colder climates, while their ability to hold in heat will be excellent, you will most likely still feel the freezing wind hit your legs.
However, the prAna Brion Pants have been designed with five pockets in total. So, you at least have some storage space to work with, but the pockets are nothing fancy. There are two rear pockets (that do not top enclosures) and also two standard pockets on the front (and a tiny change pocket inside of the right one). Thus, this brings the total to five.
Some of you may not be too fond of the pockets, either. If you place items of any substantial size inside the pockets, they will appear incredibly bulky. It is somewhat of a tight fit to get things inside them, let’s just put it that way. Regarding anything else, though, (such as cargo pockets or drawcords), these pants are pretty much devoid of it.
Colors such as dark khaki and charcoal could work great for your meetings, for example. Meanwhile, even if you were going to an outdoor gathering of sorts, you could go with either of those colors or even the brick red and equinox blue options.
Let’s say that this is one of those rare times where all men should be able to find a color that suits their needs. And, for just general outdoor adventures and even hiking, pretty much every available single color is going to work flawlessly.
However, due to their minimalist design and the fact that they retain way too much heat, they can somewhat hamper your hiking experience if the weather and situation are not right. And, in this sense, they are not that versatile as they are pretty much a no-on in the summer.
While this sounds like a contradiction, it is the best way to describe these pants. They will remain a fan-favorite for years to come because of how flat out comfortable they are to wear. The Stretch Zion fabric is to thank for this as it just feels incredible against your skin and will also not restrict your mobility much at all.
To wrap this up, for those of you who are looking for trousers that can be worn for multiple types of outdoor adventures you will want to pick these up. However, if you are seeking a technical pair of hiking pants that can offer protection but are also highly breathable in the summer, you will probably want to look elsewhere.
Make no mistake about it; though, these are excellent pants. It is merely one of those classic examples of something that some of you will love and others will not.