Fashion & Beauty

Western Rise Evolution Pant Review [Best Travel Pants Ever?]

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I’m a little bit of a pant snob. My family would also describe me as frugal and a minimalist. So what do you get when you combine all of those traits?

Someone who is very picky about clothing.

Being picky about clothing means that I spend countless hours researching any new purchase, oftentimes deciding not to get anything because I can’t find the perfect item.

One of the areas where I am most picky is pants. My first introduction to high-quality technical gear was probably Outlier. They were one of the originators in the travel pant/tech gear space, and they have a cult-like following, but since then, there has been a massive influx of worthy competitors. 

I have tried close to a dozen different pairs of tech pants.  And while Outlier used to be my Holy Grail, I think it’s safe to say that after trying out the Evolution Pant and AT Slim Pant, Western Rise has replaced them as my new favorite minimalist, fabric-focused clothing brand.

Why? Well, let’s get to the meat and potatoes and dive into this Western Rise Evolution Pant review.

To me, the ultimate piece of clothing must check all the boxes:

  • ✅ Fit
  • ✅ Style
  • ✅ Durability
  • ✅ Versatility
  • ✅ Value

Fit and style are obvious. If something isn’t comfortable and doesn’t look good, I’ll never wear it.

Versatility is essential to me because I like to limit the number of items in my wardrobe. For example, at one point, for over a year, I only owned one pair of pants (Outlier Slim Dungarees) and two pairs of shorts (Outlier New Ways and Patagonia Baggies). Versatility is also essential when traveling because it allows you to pack less while still doing more. 

Durability is also pretty obvious. If something rips during the middle of a month-long trip in the middle of nowhere and you only packed one pair of pants, you’re pretty much screwed. A durable pair of pants shouldn’t fray at the crotch after a month of bike commuting or rip on a sharp rock during a mountain scramble.

And finally, value. To some people, it might sound insane to say a $200 pair of pants is a good value, but when it comes to rating the value of a piece of clothing, I like to think of the total cost per wear. If I spend $50 on a pair of Levi’s and I wear them 50 times before the crotch blows out, that pair of jeans cost me $1 per wear. Alternatively, if I spend $200 on a pair of pants that last 5 years (which honestly isn’t unreasonable for thicker technical fabrics), the total cost per wear is much less than $1.

So, how does the Western Rise Evolution Pant score in each of these categories?

Let’s take a look.

Western Rise Evolution Pant Fit

Western Rise Evolution pant close up

Fit is always subjective, so I’ll do my best to highlight my personal experience to help you make an informed decision. First, I would describe the Evolution Pant as slim to regular fitting. Not too baggy and not too skinny. I am very skinny myself, so if you’re a little thicker, the Evolution Pant might be closer to a slim fit.

I’ve read some other reviews that said these pants are too baggy. Those people are wrong. It’s 2021, and you need to stop wearing skinny jeans.

It’s also important to note that these pants feature two-way stretch thanks to some added spandex. They are stretchy enough to be super comfy, but they aren’t super stretchy like 686 Everywhere Pants, which I actually think is a good thing. Some super stretchy pants “bag out” after a few wears, leaving them stretched out and out of shape. After a few days of wear, the Evolution Pant holds its shape surprisingly well.

As far as the waist goes, these fit true to size. In fact, I haven’t really needed a belt with these pants.

I should definitely mention the length. Like a lot of smaller clothing manufacturers, Western Rise only offers a 32-inch inseam. This helps keep the costs down (since they don’t have to keep a ton of different inseams in stock). I needed to get these tailored to get the perfect fit. If you need longer than a 32-inch inseam (lucky dog!), these do come with a 2-inch extendable inseam that any competent tailor should be able to work with.

Durability Score: 9/10*

*Knocking off a point because you have to get them hemmed.

Western Rise Evolution Pant Style

One of the best parts of the Evolution Pant is that they don’t look like a technical pant. Instead, they look like a five-pocket chino. They don’t look like dress pants, but they look a lot nicer than a pair of jeans.

The problem with a lot of technical fabrics is that they are shiny and make a lot of noise. Not these. According to Western rise, these pants use “Supplex® nylon technology for an incredibly soft, durable, and lightweight woven twill.” 

Another problem with some travel pants is that they have too many pockets, which affects the look of the pants. While the Evolution Pant does feature some hidden zipper pockets, they are actually hidden, meaning you can’t even tell they are there.

And the final thing I’ll say about style is that these come in all the usual colors: khaki, navy, olive, charcoal, blue-grey and shadow. I picked up the charcoal, and they are basically black (which is exactly how charcoal should look).

Style Score: 8/10

Related: The 17 Most Affordable Workout Pants Made For Men

Western Rise Evolution Pant Durability

I can’t speak to the full durability of the Evolution Pant since I have only had them for about a month. But I can say they have held up while cycling, rock climbing and golfing. And I assume, thanks to the 6″ gusset, they won’t rip where my jeans usually do.

Western Rise uses Supplex® nylon that is supposed to be abrasion-resistant and “more durable and dynamic than standard nylon.”

That fabric is 173 GSM (grams per square meter), which is pretty lightweight compared to the AT Slims, which are 280 GSM. Unfortunately, that means that Western Rise sacrificed some durability to make these lightweight and breathable – two things that I really look for in a pair of pants, especially during the summer.

Durability Score: 7/10

Versatility

Man walking wearing Western Rise Evolution pants

The versatility and functionality of the Evolution Pant are really where these bad boys shine.

You can wear them in most settings. They go great with a t-shirt or a casual OCBD. I wouldn’t wear them at very dressed-up events since they have rivets like a jean, but they could definitely pass as business casual.

You can also wear them doing pretty much any physical activity. As I mentioned before, I wore them biking around town and at the rock climbing gym, and they performed great.

They are also great for travel, thanks to those hidden pockets I mentioned earlier. There is a back right zippered pocket, which they call a security pocket, tucked behind the usual back pocket, which is big enough for a wallet and maybe even a passport. There’s also a phone pocket above the right pocket that is easily big enough for my iPhone 10s, although it isn’t the most comfortable for me, and I don’t know if it would fit the iPhone Max.

The fabric is moisture-wicking, stain-resistant and water-resistant, which are all major bonuses for travel. But I always like to mention that water-resistant fabrics need to be treated with DWR after a few washes to maintain its effects, but that’s not unique to Western Rise.

They are also the most packable pair of pants I own. They roll up to about the size of a large cotton t-shirt, which is pretty incredible for one bag travel.

Durability Score: 10/10

Value

As mentioned in the beginning, value is tricky to measure. Cheap things are great, but they can cost you a lot of money in the long run. Check out the Boots Theory of Socioeconomic Unfairness if you’re interested in this sort of thing.

The Evolution Pant is $149, which is definitely on the expensive side of things for me. This makes them $1 more expensive than Outlier Futureworks and about $50 less than Slim Dungarees. 

I think the price is fair for what you’re getting: one pair of pants that replaces your ugly hiking pants, your ugly travel pants, and your uncomfortable “daily” jeans.

I would love for the price to come down, but I understand that Western Rise is a small operation and making fabric-focused gear like this is not cheap. But to really gauge the value of these pants, I am going to have to report back in a year or two.

Value Score: 8/10

Verdict

Man pulling out phone in Western Rise Evolution pants

If you can’t tell by now, I am simply in love with these pants. They tick all the boxes for me and have replaced my Outlier SDs and Outlier Futureworks as my favorite pair of pants. If you live in a warmer climate (and never have to dress up), these could easily be the only pair of pants you own. If you live in a colder climate, I would probably pair the Evolutions with something thicker like the Western Rise AT Slim (full review on those coming soon).

The highlights for me are the fit and the breathability. They are my new go-to warm weather pants and will be the only pair of pants I bring on an upcoming two-month trip around the PNW.

Bottom Line: These are my new favorite pair of pants. Not my new favorite travel pant or my new favorite tech pant. These are my new favorite pants, period.

Final Verdict: 8.4/10

You might also be interested in: The 10 Best Tech Shorts For Summer 2021

Darin Evangelista

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