Red Rock’s super classic Epinephrine is a hard climb on your clothes. With 600 feet of chimney climbing, I had to be ready to give my pants a good thrashing. Requiring everything from classic chimney techniques–with my back against one wall and feet on the other–to knee bars and off-width thrutching, the abrasive sandstone can really take a toll on the burliest of pants. So after several months of abuse, capped off with an ascent of Epinephrine, I was amazed to find Prana’s Tangra pants still looking new. However, when it came to everyday use, the pants are clearly designed for fashion over function.
When I first slid into the Tangra pant, I was concerned that the fit was a little snug on my thighs. But when I began moving around in them, miming high steps and stems, I was impressed with the amount of stretch this burly fabric allowed. While my wife loved the fashionable cut, I couldn’t help but wonder if this would affect the function of the pants.
Not one frequently accused of being on the cutting edge of fashion, I was perplexed at the low-riding rear pockets. It seemed to me that anything I put in there would likely fall out. This was confirmed recently when a friend accidentally flushed the rental car’s keys down a toilet when they slid out of her low-rider rear pocket, but that’s another story entirely. Next was the hammer holster on the left thigh (Really? A hammer holster…?). This touch struck me as a pure concession to fashion.
Typical of most guide pants, there is a thigh pocket on the right leg. I usually like to keep a bandanna or route topo in this pocket. On the Tangra, this small pocket is ideal for stashing a mobile phone, which is great in town, but is too small for a route topo. There is also a small zipper pocket in this same location. Just big enough for a Clif Bar, this pocket is so well hidden I didn’t even realize it’s there the first few times I wore the pants.
One of my favorite features is a small adjustable belt tab on the waist. This allows the user to cinch down the pants around the waist without a belt. I’ve found this to be a great advantage for wearing the pants under a harness. Because it concentrates all of the compression of the waist to one set of stitches, this area has shown some signs of wear, with the webbing beginning to tear away from the fabric.
As an all-weather material, this is among the best soft shell fabrics I have used. Comprised of a blend of nylon, polyester and spandex, the fabric is exceptional at shedding snow. I wore them on a recent ski tour where it snowed heavily the entire day. The pants kept me dry and warm. I got down just in time to race to a local yoga class. Without time to change, I practiced in my ski clothes. The pants were completely dry, and the stretchy fabric offered unfettered movement in the full range of poses during the class.
The cuff of the pants are perfect for my taste. With no elastic or other method to cinch the cuff, this is a critical area to get right. Big enough to easily fit over a mountain boot or lightweight ski boot, they are also trim enough to give me a good view of my foot while rock climbing.
For a dedicated climbing pant, I feel like too many concessions to fashion were allowed. However, if you are looking for a pant that moves easily from crag to cafe, from yoga class to job site, the Tangra Pant might just be what you are after.
Pros: super burly fabric; great stretch; no need for a belt.
Cons: not the most functional pockets; unnecessary hammer holster; waist belt wears out quickly.