Folks often say that good help or a good man is hard to find. I say that a good pant is what’s truly hard to find. Sometimes, it feels downright impossible. And you know, sometimes you just want a solid hiking pant — not a legging — to take with you on those backcountry explorations. The North Face’s Progressor Pant is a technical hiking pant, thoughtfully designed for movement and durability with an attention to style throughout.

The North Face Women’s Progressor Pant Features:

  • Durable rip-stop material on the knees and seat
  • Gusseted crotch and articulated knees
  • Straight-leg cut
  • Cinch cord at the ankle
  • 3 pockets (2 hand, 1 thigh)
  • Treated with a durable water-repellent (DWR) finish
  • Four-way stretch
  • MSRP: $99.00
The North Face Women's Progressor Pant

Heading up Mt Baker in the early summer has me all grins, sporting the Progressor’s all the way.

The North Face was aiming for durability in movement with the Progressors, and in that regard the Progressors excel. Rugged rip-stop is strategically placed on the seat and knees — areas most susceptible to the wear of backcountry adventures. Between post-holing, scrambling, and even a little glissading, these pants show remarkably little abuse. The only spot where I noticed any imperfection develop was by the pocket on the right hip, where the material seems to have snagged or pilled.

The North Face Women's Progressor Pant

An area of evident wear. Note the excellent, low-profile seams and zipper.

The Progressor Pants are also very sleek in design. The waistband is wide and flat, and the pockets are all no-fuss: two zippered pockets, one open pocket. The purple color is a lovely, not-too-bright shade. These pants just look good. From the minimalist, bright pink zippers to the white embossing on the thigh, these pants are somehow sexy (which we all know is an added bonus when you’re in the wilderness and haven’t showered in days). The elastic cords tighten up the ankle opening, which I used often during my testing.

I loved the breathability of the Progressors. In high exertion, they performed exactly as the North Face claimed they would: with ultra-breathability. I don’t recall ever wishing that I had opted for shorts, even when those I hiked with would promptly zip off their convertible hikers into shorts. And the predominantly nylon material would dry quickly, which I appreciated at the end of an exerting hike.

Another example of the North Face’s impressive attention to detail was the easy simplicity of the pockets. I have had pants in the past that are challenging to fit a phone into the pocket. The Progressors easily fit my iPhone 7 in any of the 3 pockets, and I loved that the thigh pocket could hold items if the hand pockets were inaccessible due to a harness or hip belt.

The North Face Women's Progressor Pant

The details of the Progressors looking good on Mount Hood.

Now, I have a very hard time finding pants that fit me well. A couple years ago I lucked out and found a couple pants I wore so frequently that, eventually, I wore the seams apart and the material became thin and translucent. While I loved the Progressor’s attention to durability and style, I was disappointed to discover that these pants just wouldn’t fit– with no adjustments to aid in that regard.

I tried a 6 (the size recommended for me by the North Face’s “Fit Finder” online). Then I tried a 4 — the size that most often fits me correctly. Finally, I tried on the 2 and concluded that was as close as I’d get to a proper fit. The legs were snug, but still the waist was gaping. I am 5′ 4″, about 135 lbs with an athletic build. My thighs are built for climbing mountains, but my waist has always been rather narrow. The result is an impossibly difficult time finding pants that fit both my thighs and my waist. It’s often one or the other.

The North Face Women's Progressor Pant

Getting ready to go up. And no, I was not trying to intentionally coordinate my outfit colors.

Unfortunately, the Progressors offers no adjustment in the waist, nor any belt loops. Consequently, on a climb of Mount Baker I was left with a pair of pants that started out too loose in the waist and only stretched out from there. Eventually, I would hold the waistband of my pants when walking around camp, just to keep them from sagging lower and lower on my body. While the concept of an ultra-sleek waistband seems appealing in theory, in practice it was annoying at best, uncomfortable and frustrating at worst. This lack of adjustments is specific to the women’s version of the Progressor. The men’s Progressor has low-profile belt loops (queue envy). The women’s Progressor Pant offers more variety in fit than lots of pants often do, giving the option of a short, regular, or long inseam. But not having the option to fit the waist to my size was a real bummer.

Overall, the Progressor is a sleek pant with well-integrated features. However, the fit and inability to adjust the pants to my body –via belt loops, drawstring, etc. — resulted in a garment that was too often impractical for hiking and climbing. I want to focus on the activity at hand, not on tugging up my pants.

The Good

  • Attractive pant with slick details
  • Breathable
  • Durable in all the right places
  • The pockets are great, and very functional

The Bad

  • Poor fit with no waist adjustments
  • My pair has an odd spot of snagging/pilling by one of the pockets

The Bottom Line: The North Face Progressor Pant

If these pants happen to fit you well, you’re in for a stylish, breathable, and durable hiker. The Progressor excels in all these areas. However, if these pants don’t fit you, you are unfortunately out of luck. I’d love to see the women’s version of the Progressor pant with belt loops in the future, making a great performance pant appropriate for a variety of body types.

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About Author

Bella was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, and loves exploring it through backpacking, climbing, and camping. Although she adores the Cascades, she dreams of one day living in the desert. She works and guides for Peak 7 Adventures.

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