11 Best Hiking Pants Tested and Fully Reviewed
And while many focus on good boots when picking out gear for their adventure, the best hiking pants are just as important. A good pair of hiking pants will be lightweight and breathable while also having the ability to resist wind and water.
Some of the hiking pants on our list are also pretty versatile and stylish--without sacrificing functionality--so if you need to run some errands before you go on your hike you can definitely do that as well. Check out our top picks below!
In a Hurry? The test winner after 12 hrs of research
Ultra-thin and lightweight
Packable and convertible option
Comfortable because of breathability in warmer weather
Best Hiking Pants
1. Columbia Silver Ridge
Ultra-thin and lightweight
Packable and convertible option
Comfortable because of breathability in warmer weather
Not ideal for cooler hikes in high elevation
Thin material means not much protection from brushes, shrubs, etc
No DWR finish for if it rains
With UV sun protection and moisture-wicking and evaporation properties, this pant is ideal for both sunny and rainy hikes. The best part is the pants can be detached above the knee to wear as shorts. This is a thin and light, breathable option made from ripstop nylon. It has a stretch band waist for a great fit that can work with a web belt.Read more
Even still, there is plenty of movement in these pants thanks to its gusseted crotch and overall fit. The Silver Ridge pants are among the cream of the crop when it comes to convertible hiking pants. That’s because of how light they are and its overall fit—for a great price. It has a partial elastic waist with a belt.
These pants come from many different sizes, making it easy for everybody to find their perfect fit. It also includes pockets with a hook a loop closure and mesh pocket bags.
These pants are made with 100% nylon ripstop fabric with Columbia’s OMNI-Shade (sun protection) technology for its main body. It also features polyester and Omni-Wick (high-performance wicking fabric) mesh panels. While this adds to its breathability, overall these pants are extremely thin and light.
Thanks to the high-quality and durable materials these pants are made, these are some of the most durable selections out there. They are designed to take on the tough terrain and will definitely last you the long haul if you want something you can rely on.
These pants are designed to be worn on those warm hikes, especially in the summer. That’s where its thinness and breathable nature comes in. There is the option to unzip above the knee to wear these as 10-inch short. All of these features make them among the best to wear mild to warmer weather. They are quick to dry and won’t leave the consumer feeling overheated or too sweaty.
Although this all makes them a bad choice for when it gets cold or when it rains.
2. Outdoor Research Ferrosi
Breathable, lightweight and great for most weather
Durable enough to last many long hikes
Comfortable for both outdoor exploring and for hanging around town
Lots of movement with its stretchiness
More form fitting fit
Can’t be worn alone in the cold
Might run short in length for taller consumers
Lightweight for hot hikes in the sun and not to weigh the consumer down, the Ferrosi pants are airy and comfortable. Made from nylon and spandex, they provide ample stretch and mobility. They are water-resistant for light rain protection and are quick to dry. These are durable and rugged and have a great fit.Read more
The Ferrosi pant is made with nylon, spandex and stretch weaved ripstop fabric. This makes it light, flexible and stretchy, with an emphasis on the stretch to mimic real leg movement without feeling confined. This is like the Ferrari of hiking pants when it comes to its level go comfort. These pants have a more snug fit, which looks flattering on athletic builds without being too tight.
This fit doesn’t hinder flexibility and mobility, which are important in a hiking pant.
Designed for optimal breathability, these pants are so good for the hot weather that you can't really rely on them for the cold weather. They effectively keep you cool and dry and ensure that you get the breathability you need to prevent any chafing or blisters from occurring.
These pants have a quick drying time and are both winds- and water-resistant thanks to its DWR finish. They are durable enough to withstand abrasion without having the sticking come to part, although rock climbers should expect from wear.
These are great to wear in both cool and warm weather and can be worn as a base layer when things get more than just chilly. Its water-resistant properties hold up pretty well and will protect the legs from potential cuts when scaling the mountains. It has ample pockets, which is perfect for those who like to have maps, tools, and snacks on hand.
This includes front slash pockets and zippered thigh and back pockets. It has a button and zipper fly, articulated knees, drawcord cuff closure, and a waist that is compatible with a harness. It’s brushed tricot-lined waistband is also smooth and comfortable for backpacking.
3. PrAna Stretch Zion
Stretchy fabric that is super comfortable
Great relaxed fit that can be worn outside of hiking or camping
Option to roll up to capris
Doesn’t perform well in heavier rains
Not so breathable
This best-selling Prana pant is lightweight and flexible, with a four-way stretch that is water-resistant with quick drying time and has 50+ UPF sun protection. It is great for hiking, camping, backpacking, travelling and more. It has a relaxed fit with more room in the thighs, along with an adjustable waistband and roll-up leg snaps.Read more
Ultra-stretchy, but with a not tight or baggy fit, this is one of the most comfortable hiking pants on the market. Soft to wear, moveable and breathable (although not as much as other options), the Stretch Zion can be worn all day long (or longer) without being itchy or feeling constricting. With a standard fit, these pants look great on—and feel good on too.
That’s because over its stretchy fabric that makes ascending and descending unrestrictive, as well as its streamlined adjustable waistband that isn’t uncomfortable with a pack on. It has an angled dual entry cargo pocket with lots of room to store valuables, and hand pockets on each side. It’s available in multiple color options, looking great for the trails as well as for hanging out.
It has a ventilated inseam gusset for that extra room and airflow, and roll-up leg snaps to turn into capris when it’s too hot. These also offer more insulation than other lightweight hiking pants, making them great for more than just the spring/summer, although cold temperatures call for more layers.
Constructed from the company’s “Stretch Zion” fabric, which consists of nylon and spandex, a sustainably made fabric that is lightweight, airy and sturdy enough to withstand abrasion and weather without restricting movement. This makes it a popular option amount climbers, hikers, and other outdoor enthusiasts.
The fabric is treated with a DWR finish to make it water-resistant, and it has a quick drying time. It also has up to UPF 50+ sun protection to keep harmful rays at bay. The fabric also has anti-wrinkle properties that will have the consumer looking their best after the pants are folded up in their backpacks.
4. Helikon Outback OTP
Patented pocket design
Reinforced stitching around pockets and knees
Lightweight and stylish
Some users did not like the velcro waist closure
A bit pricey
The low profile design and stretchable material of this pant provide the versatility and capability to fulfill the needs of professional users and amateur users in many different settings. The patented pocket arrangement allows you to carry all of your essential equipment in an organized fashion without losing your tactical advantage.Read more
Users report that these pants feel super-light, yet the seams and pockets feel strong. They are stylish and functional. The pockets stay flush to the body and the fabric doesn't dig into the skin like some other types of hiking pants. Everything about these pants is well designed and you will continually find small features that show a high level of engineering. The pants are superb for anyone who is mobile, active and needs clothing that is functional.
Incredibly breathable, these hiking pants will definitely ensure you stay cool and dry while you are out on your runs. They are also moisture-wicking so they will ensure your pants dry up quickly so you don't have to worry about your pants sticking to you.
The 4-way elastic fabric in these hiking pants is composed of 93% nylon and 7% spandex. Because of its composition, it has a stretchability helps take the stress away from any particular part of the pants. They are also coated with Dupont Teflon for durability and stain resistance and feature reinforced stitching and padding around the knees for added comfort and durability.
With its unique pocket set-up, these pants enable you to carry all your essential equipment in an organized fashion, while keeping your outdoor gear close to your body’s center of gravity. They feature a number of useful low profile pockets placed at the front, the rear and on both thighs.
5. Mountain Hardwear Chockstone
What we liked most about this design from Mountain Hardware is that it boasts a lightweight and stylish look while keeping your legs protected.Read more
This option is made from a blend of 91 percent nylon and 9 percent elastic. The blend of these materials provides a flexible fit that promotes a full range of motion, and it is super lightweight so it won’t weigh you down.
The interior shell is composed of 100 percent polyester that feels great against your skin.
It is composed of quality materials that will keep you comfortable and will not restrict your full range of motion when hiking in difficult terrain.
Small quality of life features really makes this design stand out from the pack. The interior has drawstring toggles that cinch on your ankles to keep bugs away from the bottom of your legs. It has zippered pockets to keep your belongings safe and prevents them from slipping out. Keep in mind, however, that one complaint of this design is that the pockets are a little shallow.
If you need something that is incredibly versatile, this is a great option. It may come in at a pretty steep price point, but users feel that this opinion is well worth the higher cost. They wash up incredibly well and are made it fit all sizes and shapes of outdoorsmen comfortably without hindering your full range of options.
6. ExOfficio BugsAway Damselfly
Best protection against Zika, West Nile and bug bits
Smooth waistline and overall comfortable for hiking
Can roll up to be capris
Insect Shield only lasts 70 washes< Not many pockets
These pants will solve any pesky mosquitos problem when hiking and camping. The fabric is treated with Insect Shield that is bound to the fibers that leave odorless protection for the legs and ankles. Along with tick, flies and other bug protection, these pants are lightweight, have a security zip pocket on the back and a drawstring waist for a great fit.Read more
Simple, yet not unattractive, the Damselfly Pant is available in a few colors and has a natural fit. It has a drawstring waist for a good fit, with a smooth waistline that won’t hurt or cause chaffing when the gear is on. It has articulated knees for flexibility and a zip pocket on the back.
Made from 100 percent nylon, these pants are lightweight and breathable. The pants have a treatment by Insect Shield that is applied that gives it bug repellent properties. The finish is invisible and odorless, providing protection against ticks, ants, flies, chiggers and the dreaded mosquitoes. While this is great for summertime hikes, it’s also crucial in areas where these bugs can spread life-threatening diseases.
As far as durability goes, the construction of the pants are built to last. However, these hiking pants will lose their bug protection after 70 washes--so, don't go crazy when it comes to washing these pants.
Great for humid and sticky hikes, these pants are roomy enough to get some air circulated without being baggy. The pants can be cuffed and snapped into place to be worn as capris when there are no bugs insight to become more breathable. It has a quick drying time when wet, although no DWR finish.
7. Outdoor Research Cirque
Great weather protection
Packs away small
Too light to be worn alone in snow
Some find inseam too long, with waist too small to size down
The best words to describe these pants are comfortable and durable. It has a low-profile flat waistband with an adjustable belt that fits under the harness while being comfy. It has abrasion patched and articulated knees, and a gusseted crotch. These pants are warm, yet breathable—perfect for making the ascent in the snow and ice.Read more
This softshell pant is made with high-quality materials that pay off when it comes to comfort. It’s tough without feeling stiff. Plus it keeps the consumer dry to prevent chafing, ward off a chill and other discomforts.
The construction of the Cirque pant includes nylon, polyester and spandex. This makes it breathable and stretchy.
This is a heavyweight option that is extremely durable, holding its own against abrasion.
The double-weave fabric also makes it impressively weather-resistant.
8. Columbia Pilsner Peak
Moisture wicking material
Sun protection up to UPF 50
Dedicated knife pocket
Best suited for warmer environments
Sleek fit does not allow for added layers
Not the cheapest pair out there
This pant is made of 100% synthetic fibers for optimal moisture-wicking properties. These pants also include UVA and UVB protection, and feature articulated knees and a dedicated knife pocket for more intensive-trail hikers. These pants are moderately priced at about $60 per pair and is best suited for warmer climates.Read more
The pants are not tight but are also not loose. They have articulated knees, and material also includes some spandex for stretch to move with your body. The pants are not a relaxed fit, but also not too tight against your body. They are more "stylish" than the traditional hiker's pant, for a more sleek look as you hit the trails.
Made with Omni-wick technology to keep you dry, these pants are made of 100% synthetic fibers. Omni-shade features keep you protected from UVA and UVB up to UPF 50.
Although these hiking pants are not the most durable selection on our list of reviews, you will find that they are definitely built to last relatively long in comparison to many selections out there.
These hiking pants are perfect for the hot summer months. They are incredibly durable and provide you with the breathability and sun protection that you need to tackle both the sun and the hot weather.
9. Marmot PreCip
Great for windy and rainy hikes
Stretchy to be worn over layers
No front zipper
These pants are made to be worn in the rain, making them a great option to wear when mountain hiking or backpacking in all kinds of conditions. It includes Marmot’s NanoPro waterproof fabric and 100 percent taped seams to ward off rain to keep the legs nice and dry. These are extremely thin and lightweight, and made to be a shell draws other layers for cooler temperatures. It has a regular fit with an elastic waist and drawcord and other features like ankle side zip.Read more
Comfort isn’t a problem here since the consumer will be nice and dry in the PreCip Pant. It has taped seams, as well as side zips at the ankle for more ventilation. There are snap tabs at the cuffs to keep water away from seeping into boots.
With a regular fit, these plants are light enough for trekking on the trails. They can also fit over shorts or other base layer pants as an outer shell for when it rains or in windy conditions. It has an elastic waist with a drawcord for an adjustable fit, as well as pockets in the front and back for storage.
Incredibly durable, these hiking pants are designed to last you for the long haul and will definitely be able to handle the tough terrain you may want to hike.
These pants are made with 100 percent nylon ripstop with Marmot’s patented NanoPro coating. The NanoPro tech allows for lots of airflows which helps shed moisture vapor, making these pants waterproof and breathable. This means that these hiking pants one of the best to wear in the rain. Thin and lightweight, it is a pair for hiking and backpacking in mild weather and works well as an outer shell in the snow.
10. The North Face Paramount 3.0
DWR finish and UV protection
Can be turned into shorts
No cargo pockets on each side
Not as soft as other options
North Face improved its popular Paramount Peak pants with the 3.0, making it slighter thinner and less baggy in the fit. It also has handwarmer pockets that are mesh-lined, and protect well against cooler winds. This is a versatile option that can also be worn for everyday outings.Read more
Because of changes from the Paramount 2.0, this is a much more comfortable option when it comes to fit. It is thinner; however, the material, in general, isn’t as “soft” as other options. Still, it is stretchy, moves well, and has room for storing items in its front handwarmer pockets and single side zippered pocket.
These pants much more slender than its predecessor, with a straight fit that makes them much for comfortable and functional. This is a convertible option, so the legs zip-off to become 8-inch shorts. It has a zip at the leg opening, and a utility zippered pocket, as well ask an adjustable belt. It has a simple, sleek design that makes it ideal for the trails and the streets.
The Paramount 3.0 pants have a nylon construction, with woven elastane stretch. It features a DWR finish and has an ultraviolet protection factor of 50. The fabric is lightweight to help regulate temperature to avoid overheating when hiking up the mountain. It also has FlashDry fabric, which speeds up the evaporation process to keep the consumer dry from sweat and rain.
This is a comfortable hiking pant that is made for long walks or adventures because it is light and cool for hotter days.
11. Arc'teryx Gamma LT Pant
Extremely durable, so long lasting for serious hikers for multiple years
Versatile to be worn as a mid or outer layer in many weather conditions
Comfortable and stylish
Lightweight, airy and packable
While most lightweight hiking pants are geared more for milder weather, the Gamma LT is a go-to for even cooler adventures. It has an adjustable integrated webbing belt, pockets on the side and thigh, as well as an adjustable cuff drawcord.Read more
The Gamma series is the company’s light and breathable line, the LT here really emphasizing its feather-like design. However, it isn’t too thin. It is still durable and provides enough warm, although it can be worn as a mid-layer in windier or cooler weather. This soft-shell pant is stretchy and airy, which is ideal for comfort. It also has great abrasion resistance. It also includes a brushed polyester waistband that is smooth and ultra-comfortable.
This pant features Arc’teryx’s Fortius DW 2.0 fabric that is designed to be moisture-wicking and dry quickly. It is also contracted with double weave stretch nylon and elastane, with a DWR finish.
It is still lightweight but performs extremely well in the rain and snow. It has a double weave, abrasion-resistant fabric that is quick to dry and stretchy for climbing
The Gamma LT has a straight leg and comes with an adjustable integrated webbing belt. It features a front fly and a snap closure, with a gusseted crotch that provides the ability to move comfortably. It has an adjustable pant cuff drawcord, thigh pocket that zippers and two hand pockets. It has a sleek look and is available in a few colors.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Regardless of what you are doing, you need to make sure you wear something that makes you feel comfortable--no matter the weather.
There are a few different things that make a pair of hiking pants comfortable, or not.
The first thing is the materials the pants are made of. You want the pants to feel soft against your skin. The next factor to take into account is the cut and fit. Most hiking pants are made for performance first with style coming in a distant fourth or fifth so you won't find any "skinny" pants here.
Then, after you find the pair of pants that you like the best, order them in the same size. We made sure to comb through hundreds of user reviews to ensure that each design that we selected fits as expected. Even some of the high-end brands may run a little bit big or small, so we made sure to make note of any inconsistencies in the fit.
Breathability is key when you are outside--even if it's cold out.
Due to the fact that hiking can work up a lot of sweat and is often done in moderate to extreme heat, you'll definitely want to choose a pair of hiking pants that allow air to circulate as well as ones that wick moisture away from your skin.
While having a pair of pants that aren't too tight is definitely an important factor here, the next thing you'll want to look for is materials that are breathable. The breathability of the material comes from the type of fiber they're made from. Synthetic fibers such as polyester are the best option because they are literally incapable of absorbing moisture.
Another quick thing to be aware of here is that even with synthetic fabrics if the weave is too tight moisture won't be able to pass around the fibers as easily as something with a loose weave and the breathability won't be as good even though it's made of the right type of fabric. Sun protective clothing is typically woven tightly which is how it stops UV light from penetrating, so keep that in mind.
We all want to invest in hiking gear that is designed to last us the long haul.
When you head out for a hike you never know what you're going to run into and the best rambles often include scrambling up and over boulders, hacking through overgrown bramble, and strolling through forests that have branches that create a fun obstacle course for you to navigate.
While all of these activities can be super fun, they also come with the potential for snagging and ripping your clothing. Because of this, it's definitely important that the clothing you wear while hiking is tough and long-lasting. Even if your hikes are milder than the ones mentioned above, for you to get your money's worth out of a pair of hiking pants they'll need to last a long time.
We also considered over 1200 reviews from real-world users to see what they had to say about how well the product stood both the test of time and all the things a good hike can throw at a pair of pants. So, although some of the hiking pants on our list are less durable than others, they are still pretty durable overall--so you can count on all of our picks to last!
It's important for you to plan for the weather and terrain you will encounter as well as for any surprises you think may come your way while you are out hiking your favorite trails!
Having a pair of hiking pants that's wind and water-resistant is definitely a good idea. Wind can sap your warmth a lot quicker than you'd think which can be dangerous when you're far from civilization, and having the hot sun beat down on your can certainly take its toll as well. So, make sure you plan accordingly before you make your purchase.
A lot of what you'll value most highly will depend on the location you are going to use your hiking pants most. If you're a desert trekker, sun and wind protection will most likely be the most important things to look for. If you regularly hike in wetter climates you'll obviously want to look for an option that is highly water-resistant.
Outdoor gear makers realize that weather protection is important in hiking pants and have designed their products accordingly. We looked at the materials and construction of each product, as well as over 1200 product reviews to help us assign each product on our list a score in this area.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
While you can get hiking pants or shorts, hiking pants are better because they provide more coverage and keep you better protected. If you are going on extensive trails or deep into the forest then you will want to wear a pair of pants to keep pests away.
You can also get convertible pants that have zip-away lower legs which transform them into shorts which gives you the best of both worlds.
They don't need to be baggy, but having pants with a loose fit will allow more air to circulate which will help you stay cooler as well as help prevent hot spots and chafing.
One thing that hikers often overlook is pockets. If you are leaving your backpack at home for a quick afternoon hike, you want to make sure that your pockets can hold your phone and car keys. Be sure that you select a design with zippered pockets. If you don't, your car keys may slip out while climbing up a difficult trail!
Other Factors to Consider
At its minimum, the pants need to protect the legs from cuts and the weather (sunburn, wind, and rain) when hiking in the great outdoors. In general, wearing pants as opposed to shorts is ideal for this. The best options have a DWR (durable water repellent) finish or some other water-resistant feature for when it starts to rain, however, this doesn’t mean completely waterproof.
All in all, you need to make sure to write down what features you know you need. Not everyone needs the same types of hiking pants with the same features--of that were the case then there wouldn't be so many options to choose from nowadays! So, while you read through our reviews make sure to keep your needs and preferences of your decision-making process.
Even though many hikers bring along a backpack filled with supplies, it’s a good idea to have pockets to be able to store items and have them at an arms reach. Deeper pockets allow the consumer to store things like their smartphone, map, or a multi-tool. Pay attention to how the was it is designed. A hiker doesn’t want the waistline to bunch up or feel uncomfortable with a waist belt.
This can cause discomfort and chafing, so it’s best for the pants to be fitted well with a smooth waist--this way you can prevent any unwanted symptoms. That being, when it comes to style, we also took a look at the fit of the pants. For the most part, hiking pants fit loosely, but some offer more of a slim fit than others do--and it is really up to your personal preferences.
Many hikers prefer a standard, relaxed fit. This is typically the most common style. Some options run tighter on the thighs, but keep in mind that with this fit there isn’t room to wear a base layer for colder hikes. Some options are convertible, ideal for hikers who go out in all seasons.
Another important thing to consider here is the size. Your hiking pants may not be the same size as your favorite pair of jeans, after all, they are a completely different type of pants. If you are able to go into the store and try on the pants before you buy is ideal, but if you have to purchase them online make sure to refer to the sizing charts carefully.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: What makes a good hiking pant?
The pants should be lightweight and breathable, and comfortable for a long amount of time. Functionality is also key. Your personal comfort and style preferences will also play a part in your choice. We recommend trying on a few styles in person to see what feels good for you.
q: Can you wear jeans to hike?
Well yes, but we certainly don't recommend it. First of all, jeans are typically made from natural fibers that absorb a lot of moisture and dry slowly. This can lead to chafing which is super uncomfortable. It can also be dangerous and lead to hypothermia in extreme cases if you are wet and the weather drops suddenly which happens a lot in the backcountry.
Also, jeans aren't flexible, which is a factor you'll want when you're scrambling over boulders or navigating a natural obstacle course.
q: Are these pants good for winter hikes?
Most of the options on this list are light or mid-weight. This means they aren't enough to wear alone. But hiking pants that are moisture-wicking and water-resistant are great as an outer shell in the snow. Many options are loose enough in the legs that you can wear a base layer underneath them which will be a pretty good layering strategy in the cold.
q: What are some useful additional features I can look for?
Additional features in the best hiking pants are the zippered lower legs so you can turn the pants into shorts. Another handy thing that a lot of people don't think about before buying is pockets that zip shut so that whatever you're carrying in your pockets don't fall out when you're negotiating obstacles. Wind, water, and sun resistance are also nice features to have.
q: Where to buy hiking pants?
For a wider range of brands and varieties, you want to head to your local sporting goods store. By heading to a local sporting goods store, you can try on each design and find one that fits your body right so that it feels comfortable and easy.
If you don’t have access to your local stores, there are plenty of online retailers that provide many of the big brands. While you will not be able to try them on when shopping online, there are a few benefits from ordering directly from the retailer. First of all, there will be many more colors and styles available online rather than in a store. Plus, you are more likely to find your size rather than just settling for the size that is stock at the store!
q: How long should hiking pants be?
The answer to this question is a matter of personal preference, but there are a few things to keep in mind before landing on a specific style. If you love shorts because you want your gams to breathe, go for it! Shorts allow for a full range of motion, but they also provide a lovely landing pad for all of those annoying biting bugs.
To keep the critters of the forest from using your legs as a smorgasbord, select a design that hangs down over the top of the laces of your boots. If you are a stickler about security, there are also designs out there on the market that has drawstrings at the ankles to keep bugs out and to also prevent the cuff from dragging on the ground behind you.