One of the most common questions in our community is something along the lines of, “What’s your favorite pair of pants for travel?” While there are many variations on that question, there are not many variations in the answers. Up at the top every single time is Western Rise and their hugely popular Evolution pants. Will Watters and the team at Western Rise have been collecting feedback for years, and they’re finally ready to share their latest iteration on the Evolution line of products. We got our hands on a pre-release set to poke and prod over the past few days, and wanted to share some thoughts with you before we get started on more in-depth coverage.
Now, that line includes three items; pants, chinos, and shorts. Each pair stays true to the ethos of the Evolution collection, enabling travelers to pack light and stay on the move. The brand new four-way stretch fabric ensures that you can wear these all day in comfort, and for multiple days without worrying about any odor developing. Even in our extensive use of the 1.0 Evolution Pants, we almost never found it necessary to pack another pair for a long weekend trip, even if we needed to dress them up. The only time we packed anything else was when we wanted to tag in some shorts on a hotter day.
The fabric upgrade is wonderful. While the 1.0 was comfortable, the fabric didn’t have much stretch, and the waistband wasn’t quite as soft as we’d have liked. The new air-textured nylon twill is a huge upgrade in our eyes. It’s got a nicer handfeel, and the stretch lets me eat dinner without feeling ashamed after every bite.
This goes double for the new waistband. Gone is the everyday double-needle waistband, and in its place is a modern, super soft, smooth, four-way stretch waistband. The old waistband was honestly one of the only things I didn’t love, and Western Rise listened and delivered.
While the Chinos and Shorts have typical seamed pockets, the new Pants have sharp-looking, shaped, bartacked pockets. The slight angle at the midpoint adds a bit of overall length to the entrance to the pocket. This means access is easier, even when sitting down. Something I didn’t think would make much of a difference was the removal of the metal rivets at the corners. But I actually noticed it quite a bit. These pockets overall feel sturdier and easier to get your items in and out of.
While mostly everything else will feel familiar here, like zippered pockets within pockets, one of my favorite little upgrades is the new device pocket. The old Evolutions had a more typical five-pocket setup. But along with the newly shaped front pockets, Western Rise has also redesigned the “fifth” pocket to actually be usable. It fit my Pixel 6 Pro perfectly, and still left me room to dump my wallet and keys in the pocket right below without access issues. It’s a pleasure to use.
In the “personal security” department, Western Rise has opted for a locking YKK zipper on each item in the lineup. This means no accidental zipper mishaps that aren’t self-inflicted. Below, you may also notice the drawstrings, and they are wonderful. They’re only on the Shorts, but I almost wish they were on the Pants as well. The Evolutions are well known for being lightweight, and often more warm-weather oriented; so sometimes I don’t want to rock a belt if I don’t have to, especially in the middle of summer. Drawstrings feel a bit more grab-n-go.
The Evolutions are some of my most worn pants over the last few years. And on more than one occasion they were the only pair of pants I brought on a long weekend or even week-long trip. The 1.0s were comfortable and great looking, and the 2.0s have improved on them in every way; from fit to finish. In general, Western Rise makes some of our favorite travel and everyday clothing, and not just pants. Their StrongCore merino shirts are some of the softest out there. And lately, their X-Cotton t-shirts have become my absolute favorite everyday shirt – I own multiple in almost every color.
If you loved the 1.0s, you’ll love everything about the 2.0s. We recommend ordering your normal waist size for slimmer-cut pants. If you’re familiar with Western Rise’s fit, you’ll feel right at home here as well. Go check them out on Kickstarter, grab a deal on your next favorite set of travel pants, and stay tuned for more in-depth coverage on Western Rise’s Evolution 2.0 lineup!
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