A very popular article of clothing is the prAna Stretch Zion pants. A mixture of 97% nylon and 3% spandex for an efficient mix of durability, abrasion resistance, breathability, comfort range, light moisture repellency, and reasonably quick-drying properties. And aesthetically pleasing to many people. The pants can be used on the trail and look presentable enough for traveling into town after.
They are also $85 at REI and $50+ on Amazon if they happen to have your size at the lower end of the price range.
The alchemy of nylon and spandex that is both utilitarian and work well in the non-outdoor world is nothing too grand. But prAna has a name and people will purchase clothing based on that branding.
Imagine a budget alternative of a similar mixture of fabrics, styling, utility, and usefulness outside of an outdoor setting? Well, your imagination may direct you to UB Tech Travel Pants by Union Bay. Originally for sale at Costco, I wore three different colors of these pants for over a year on the road, The khaki pants ended up being my “go-to” pants for backpacking over that year and included a thru-hike of Canada’s Great Divide Trail.
Currently available on Amazon for about $25 in various sizes, lengths, and color choices I can quite honestly say they are perhaps my favorite pair of outdoor pants I’ve owned.
These pants are a 96% nylon and 4% spandex mix. They are not as tailored as dress pants nor as baggy as cargo pants. In other words, classic outdoor pants styling. The zippered back pockets are convenient for keeping my “wallet” handy and not losing it, and the side pocket works well for holding my folded map along with a compass and not bulging out like a cargo pocket.
Are they as good as the praAna pants? Couldn’t tell you. I’m not going to spend $85 on pants that will end up looking like a thrift-store special anyway. 🙂
What I can tell you is that after a year of constant use of the gray and sage colored pants, they are still good enough to wear for non-outdoor activities. And the khaki pants ended up getting snagged on a blowdown in Canada and ripped on the cuff. But otherwise looked serviceable (if perma-stained!). A bargain at $25 for their performance, price, and usefulness over the long haul.
If you want a pair of pants that will work well for the outdoors at a good price, and they meet your criteria of options, the UB Tech Travel Pants are an excellent choice.
Disclosure: I purchased these pants with my funds.
I’ve been wearing a few pairs of these, and also hoped to make them a cheaper prana substitute, but I have huge problems with the design of the front pockets: they don’t hold anything. If I ever sit on the ground, everything falls out. During normal use, I’ve lost my phone and car keys multiple times in a single day. That is a problem I’ve never had with any other pair of pants. So now I have 3 pairs sidelined. Perhaps I’ll try to rip out the front pockets and make them deeper, because otherwise they are very very nice… Read more »
Hmm…my experience has been different as you can see by the photos. Then again, I used them for traveling and hiking and not as much for strictly casual use.
Can’t comment on the shirt. Not familiar with it.
I picked up two pair of pranas and Columbia silver ridge on Amazon for under $30 each…you have to shop, be flexible with colors, and it helps my wife can sew… modify inseams. Prana: impressive fabric and high quality construction…not a fan of the cut/fit…a bit too “athletic” and the pockets don’t work for me on the trail…esp the cargo on the convertible. The silver ridge: crazy light, next best thing to shorts. Again, cut and pockets are less than ideal. My favorite is Duluth…firehose and Duluth flex…great fit, quality, best pocket layout…but pricey.
…and have the right size that happens to be on sale! I ain’t so flexible that I am going to gain inches on my waist or legs to get on sale clothing. 😉
Happy New Year! I love reading your posts!
Thanks! I am sure you will see lots skiing, running, and assorted fun in assorted fun in 2019!
After reading this article I ordered a pair in Khaki. Darn, they fit and feel nice. I am going to pick up another pair or two and they will become my travel pants. Thanks for the tip.
Glad you liked them!
I ordered two pair, in khaki and charcoal. They fit really nice and feel good around the house. I’ll be trying them out on the trail this weekend.
I love these pants! Even though they are supposedly Mens the adjustable waist makes them fit beautifully for women. I came across some last week at one Atlanta Costco. Unfortunately they did not have my size or I would have stocked up. I checked costco.com and another Atlanta area store and they did not have them. Will keep checking.
Great recommendation! Just picked up a pair of the travel pants $25.99 at Amazon. Oh so close in design and material to a pair of OR hiking pants I got on sale at REI. Excellent fabric, feel, and fit. Thanks for the tip on these!