If you're looking for one pair of pants to choose for your carry-on, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better option than the Western Rise Evolution Pant 2.0. If you were to pick one and only one pair of pants to bring with you on a trip, these would handle whatever you throw at them.
|Spill-resistant - no need to worry in transit.||Only 30" and 34" inseam length options, which is a little weird.|
|Pack down incredibly small and take up minimal space in your carry-on.||The thin and lightweight material can be an issue in cooler climates.|
|Can easily wear these all day long, very comfortable.||The pants do make a small noise with some movements.|
|Can be used outdoors or in the office and nobody would bat an eye.|
|Gusseted crotch to help prevent blowouts.|
|Sustainable and transparent manufacturing.|
|More affordable than some other travel pant options.|
- You're a minimalist traveler who's looking for one pair of pants to rule them all.
- You're looking for pants that are comfortable but can be dressed up or down to match the situation.
Don't Buy If
- You're traveling in primarily colder environments and need more warmth.
- Woven twill
- 90% Nylon
- 10% Elastane
- 107 gsm
- 4-way stretch
- Lightweight durability
- C0 PFC Free Durable Water Repellent
About Western Rise
If you're not familiar with Western Rise, they are quickly becoming a household name in the travel community. Their innovative materials and attention to detail throughout the design process lead to some of the best travel clothing around.
They focus on creating simple, timeless designs that can take you from the office to the airport and into the mountains, all without missing a beat. A lofty goal but one that, after wearing their pants, has been admirably achieved.
They have a few different pant options, but in this review, we are focusing on the Evolution Pant 2.0. These pants are specifically designed to be the only pants you need, especially in a travel context. This sounded right up my alley.
Materials and Aesthetic
When you start looking for pants suitable for travel, everything is synthetic materials, save for the companies like DUER, who make travel-friendly denim. But for the most part, you're dealing with synthetics. This comes with a few issues; most notable is that they can look like, well, travel pants. You know the type, a little too shiny, too many pockets, and just this look to them.
Some of us prefer to not have someone look at us and our pants and immediately think, "tourist." Granted, there are probably a million other reasons why someone can know you're a tourist, but I don't want my pants to be one of them. That's probably my own insecurity I need to work through, but I digress.
Anyway, after a few weeks with the Western Rise Evolution pants, they nailed it. There's a "grittiness" to the fabric that gives the pants a nice tactile quality. Enough so that it doesn't feel too synthetic, which I appreciate.
If you look closely, the nylon weaving looks denim-esque, but since they use tiny threads, it's hard to tell from far away. Maybe in a color other than black, you might be able to see the texture a little better.
When you're out and about, they mostly look like standard 5-pocket pants - nothing noticeable or distinct about them - which is a good thing. With the Evolution Pants, Western Rise did a pretty good job hitting that sweet spot between casual and can be dressed up in a pinch.
Western Rise implemented one of my favorite features - the gusseted crotch. All pants should come standard with this in 2023. But sadly, not all do, so it's worth mentioning when a pair does. If you're not familiar with the feature, a gusseted crotch is a diamond-shaped piece of fabric that prevents four parts of stitching from coming together at one point. This leads to increased movement, flexibility and decreased chance of the dreaded crotch blowout. So yeah, it's a big deal.
If I were to have one gripe about the material and aesthetic, it is the noise. You know how some hiking pants tend to make some noise when you're walking? That swish swish swish of nylon rubbing together. I don't like that sound. At all. Unfortunately, the Evolution pants have the tiniest bit of it. It's not the most egregious or loudest, but it is subtlety there in certain movements. It's a minor gripe, but hey, small gripes are what I get paid for.
The fit is slim but not too slim. My legs are relatively small, and I've been told repeatedly that I have little to no ass. So, fitting into pants typically isn't much of an issue for me. But even if you have bigger legs, you should be fine with the Evolution Pant 2.0. Though they are tight enough, and the fabric thin enough, to see a phone and wallet bulge in the front pockets.
My only real qualm with these pants is the length of the inseam. There's only one option on the website, meaning every Evolution Pant comes with a 34" inseam, which is a bit long for my taste, even being 6'3" tall (I usually opt for a 32" inseam). So I've resigned to cuffing the pants, especially when wearing them with a pair of boots.
I'm curious to know why Western Rise opted for only one option on the inseams, I imagine manufacturing costs, but it is a little frustrating.
Another thing to note is that, similar to jeans, the material gets looser as you wear them. It's not visually noticeable, but you will feel it a bit. I started off without a belt, but a belt felt more necessary after a couple of weeks of wear. I haven't put them through the wash quite yet, but they should return to their normal size.
I've taken the Evolution Pants on a field test for the last 4 weeks. First was a trip to Italy, then to Portugal, taking trains, flights, car rides, and buses. So far, they've held up perfectly and handled everything in stride.
The first thing you'll notice about these pants is how comfortable they are. I could, and have, easily spent entire days in these things and haven't felt any kind of "get these damn things off me" fatigue yet. Even during transit, these pants have been extremely comfortable to wear. Better yet, I find myself lounging around the Airbnb or hotel with these on and don't even think about changing out of them.
I also managed to test these out in the rain. In light rain and mist, the water beads and is repelled well. However, I got caught in a storm in Porto and the rain soaked through my pants after a few blocks. Granted, this was a torrential downpour, and I'm not sure any fabric would have faired much better, but it is worth mentioning. To the credit of the Evolution Pants, they did dry incredibly fast.
The one issue you might experience, similar to most travel pants, is the cold. Once you get to freezing temperatures, you'll probably feel it in the Evolution Pants. But that is the tradeoff you're making with a lightweight, breathable, and comfortable fabric. On the flip side, you could probably put these things in warmer climates, and it wouldn't be an issue (though I have yet to test that).
The two outstanding questions I have for the Evolution Pants are:
- How do they hold up after repeated usage for another six months?
- How do they hold up in the outdoors? Can they actually handle some serious wear and tear? Or are they just designed with urban life in mind?
After putting them through some more tests and various climates, I'll update this review with my thoughts.
After about a month of use, the Evolution Pant 2.0 from Western Rise has surpassed expectations and found a place in my ultralight packing list. They pack down extremely small, dry fast, are incredibly comfortable, and look pretty nice - I'd say Western Rise did a pretty damn good job crafting a near-perfect travel pant.
When making a purchase like this, the price will likely impact your buying decision. At $128 (at the time of writing this), I'd say the Evolution Pant 2.0 are priced pretty reasonably. This is about $100 cheaper than my other favorite, the Outlier Slim Dungarees, and you're getting a pant that is just as well made. Anything cheaper than $128, and you'll start getting into worse materials, fit, and sustainability.
Given the quality and price considerations, the Western Rise Evolution 2.0 is probably the best travel pant I've tested to date.
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