to top 10 table

10 Best Hiking Pants Tested and Fully Reviewed

last updated Sep 26, 2019
Life is full of adventures, and there is no greater one for hiking lovers than trekking on the trails, in the woods or on the mountainside. Anyone who has gone for long and vigorous walks and climbs knows the importance of the right gear.

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!

Enjoy!

In a Hurry? The test winner after 12 hrs of research

icon
Columbia Silver Ridge
94.5/100 our score
Comfort
99
Breathability
99
Durability
90
Weather Resistance
90
Columbia Silver Ridge
Why is it better?
  • Ultra-thin and lightweight
  • Packable and convertible option
  • Comfortable because of breathability in warmer weather
In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Columbia Silver Ridge
Test Winner: Columbia Silver Ridge
Amazon Link
Researched Sources
4
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
1.2K
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
12
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
20
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
Avatar
By Giselle Killebrew:

Our most recent update brings a ton of new information this time around. We have updated all of our products to make them easier to sift through and compare as well as added pictures to all of them so you can really see what you are looking to buy. Make sure to also read to the end of the page as well because we have added a ton of information to several criteria sections as well as the FAQ section

Sorting Options
Comfort Breathability Durability Weather Resistance By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.5
Comfort
99 %
Breathability
99 %
Durability
90 %
Weather Resistance
90 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.11.19)
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.3
Comfort
98 %
Breathability
97 %
Durability
94 %
Weather Resistance
84 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.11.19)
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.3
Comfort
98 %
Breathability
87 %
Durability
95 %
Weather Resistance
85 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.11.19)
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90
Comfort
91 %
Breathability
92 %
Durability
88 %
Weather Resistance
89 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.11.19)
Amazon Link
$95.40
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88
Comfort
88 %
Breathability
88 %
Durability
90 %
Weather Resistance
86 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.11.19)
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.3
Comfort
87 %
Breathability
85 %
Durability
85 %
Weather Resistance
88 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.11.19)
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84.8
Comfort
81 %
Breathability
92 %
Durability
82 %
Weather Resistance
84 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.11.19)
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
83
Comfort
82 %
Breathability
80 %
Durability
80 %
Weather Resistance
90 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.11.19)
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81.3
Comfort
85 %
Breathability
77 %
Durability
75 %
Weather Resistance
88 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.11.19)
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
80.8
Comfort
85 %
Breathability
75 %
Durability
90 %
Weather Resistance
73 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.11.19)
Amazon Link
$189.00
Backcountry Link
$189.00
See Deal
Gear Coop
$189.00
See Deal

Best Hiking Pants

1. Columbia Silver Ridge

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.5
Columbia Silver Ridge
Columbia Silver Ridge
Columbia Silver Ridge
Columbia Silver Ridge
Columbia Silver Ridge
Amazon Link
Comfort
99
Breathability
99
Durability
90
Weather Resistance
90
best offer for today
more shops
Pros:
  • Ultra-thin and lightweight
  • Packable and convertible option
  • Comfortable because of breathability in warmer weather
Cons:
  • 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

Comfort

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.

Breathability

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.

Durability

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.

Weather Resistance

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

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.3
Outdoor Research Ferrosi
Outdoor Research Ferrosi
Outdoor Research Ferrosi
Outdoor Research Ferrosi
Outdoor Research Ferrosi
Amazon Link
Comfort
98
Breathability
97
Durability
94
Weather Resistance
84
best offer for today
more shops
Pros:
  • 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
Cons:
  • 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

Comfort

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.

Breathability

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.

Durability

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.

Weather Resistance

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

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.3
PrAna Stretch Zion
PrAna Stretch Zion
PrAna Stretch Zion
PrAna Stretch Zion
PrAna Stretch Zion
Amazon Link
Comfort
98
Breathability
87
Durability
95
Weather Resistance
85
best offer for today
more shops
Pros:
  • Stretchy fabric that is super comfortable
  • Great relaxed fit that can be worn outside of hiking or camping
  • Option to roll up to capris
  • Lightweight
Cons:
  • 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

Comfort

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.

Breathability

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.

Durability

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.

Weather Resistance

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

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90
Helikon Outback OTP
Helikon Outback OTP
Helikon Outback OTP
Helikon Outback OTP
Helikon Outback OTP
Amazon Link
Comfort
91
Breathability
92
Durability
88
Weather Resistance
89
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$95.40
Pros:
  • Patented pocket design
  • Stain-resistant
  • Reinforced stitching around pockets and knees
  • Lightweight and stylish
Cons:
  • 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

Comfort

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.

Breathability

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.

Durability

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.

Weather Resistance

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. ExOfficio BugsAway Damselfly

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88
ExOfficio BugsAway Damselfly
ExOfficio BugsAway Damselfly
ExOfficio BugsAway Damselfly
ExOfficio BugsAway Damselfly
ExOfficio BugsAway Damselfly
Amazon Link
Comfort
88
Breathability
88
Durability
90
Weather Resistance
86
best offer for today
more shops
Pros:
  • Best protection against Zika, West Nile and bug bits
  • Smooth waistline and overall comfortable for hiking
  • Can roll up to be capris
Cons:
  • 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

Comfort

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.

Breathability

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.

Durability

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.

Weather Resistance

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.

6. Outdoor Research Cirque

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.3
Outdoor Research Cirque
Outdoor Research Cirque
Outdoor Research Cirque
Outdoor Research Cirque
Outdoor Research Cirque
Amazon Link
Comfort
87
Breathability
85
Durability
85
Weather Resistance
88
best offer for today
more shops
Pros:
  • Great weather protection
  • Durable
  • Packs away small
Cons:
  • 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 is 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

Materials

The construction of the Cirque pant includes nylon, polyester and spandex. This makes it breathable and stretchy. The double-weave fabric also makes it impressively weather-resistant. This is a heavyweight option that is extremely durable, holding its own against abrasion.

Comfort

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.

Style and Fit

These pants have an articulated knee for movement, a low-profile, smooth was it that fits under a harness comfortably, a gusseted cloth and a reinforced boot lace hook. It also has allowed for accessory suspenders.

It includes zippered things pocket for storing a map or energy bar, as well as zippered side pockets. It has a trim fit that is less baggy then some options without being restricting.

7. Columbia Pilsner Peak

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84.8
Columbia Pilsner Peak
Columbia Pilsner Peak
Columbia Pilsner Peak
Columbia Pilsner Peak
Columbia Pilsner Peak
Amazon Link
Comfort
81
Breathability
92
Durability
82
Weather Resistance
84
best offer for today
more shops
Pros:

Moisture wicking material

Sun protection up to UPF 50

Articulated knees

Dedicated knife pocket

Stylish look

Best suited for warmer environments

Cons:

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

Comfort

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.

Breathability

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.

Durability

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.

Weather Resistance

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.

8. Marmot PreCip

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
83
Marmot PreCip
Marmot PreCip
Marmot PreCip
Marmot PreCip
Marmot PreCip
Amazon Link
Comfort
82
Breathability
80
Durability
80
Weather Resistance
90
best offer for today
more shops
Pros:
  • Great for windy and rainy hikes
  • Very breathable
  • Stretchy to be worn over layers
  • Affordable
Cons:
  • No belt
  • 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, an 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

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.

Breathability

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.

Durability

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.

Weather Resistance

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.

9. The North Face Paramount 3.0

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81.3
The North Face Paramount 3.0
The North Face Paramount 3.0
The North Face Paramount 3.0
The North Face Paramount 3.0
The North Face Paramount 3.0
Amazon Link
Comfort
85
Breathability
77
Durability
75
Weather Resistance
88
best offer for today
more shops
Pros:
  • Great fit
  • DWR finish and UV protection
  • Can be turned into shorts
Cons:
  • 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

Comfort

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.

Breathability

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.

Durability

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.

Weather Resistance

This is a comfortable hiking pant that is made for long walks or adventures because it is light and cool for hotter days.

10. Arc'teryx Gamma LT Pant

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
80.8
Arc'teryx Gamma LT Pant
Arc'teryx Gamma LT Pant
Arc'teryx Gamma LT Pant
Arc'teryx Gamma LT Pant
Arc'teryx Gamma LT Pant
Amazon Link
Comfort
85
Breathability
75
Durability
90
Weather Resistance
73
best offer for today
more shops
Pros:
  • 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
Cons:
  • Expensive
  • Not warm enough to wear alone

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

Comfort

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.

Breathability

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.

Durability

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

Weather Resistance

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

Comfort

Regardless of what you are doing, you need to make sure you wear something that makes you feel comfortable--no matter what the weather is. We made sure to rate each of our top picks based on comfort to ensure our readers only had comfortable hiking pants to choose from!

This is usually the number one factor for just about any piece of athletic apparel you can think of, whether its running shoes or hiking pants. No matter how good the other factors are if the piece of gear isn't comfortable to wear, or even worse, There are a few different things that cause the user pain during use, you shouldn't buy it.

Period. 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.

We only added products that have the right cut to allow the freedom of movement that's essential when you're exploring the wilderness. But it's also up to you as the consumer to select the right size pants before buying. Before you start shopping, we suggest that you find whatever pair of pants that have the most comfortable fit without being overly loose or too tight and note the inseam and waist size.

Then, after you find the pair of pants that you like the best, order them in the same size. It can be a good idea to check some user reviews before buying however to see if anyone noted whether the pants run large, small, or true to size. In many cases, we were able to find and note this information for you, but don't just take our word for it, it's your money you're spending after all.

Breathability

Breathability is key when you are outside--even if it's cold out. We made sure the hiking pants we chose offered the amount of breathability needed for the terrain and weather they were designed to be worn in.

Because 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. Luckily, the companies that make the best hiking pants know this truth all too well and have taken it into account in the design of their products.

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.

This means that your sweat will pass around the fibers to the outside air where it can evaporate naturally. Conversely, natural fibers such as cotton love to absorb moisture and are really good at it. So while they may be really comfortable, fabrics made of natural fibers will hold onto moisture and take a long time to dry out.

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.

Also, we highly recommend letting your hiking pants and other apparel made of synthetic fibers to air dry to prevent shrinkage which can tighten the weave and impair breathability. Doing this will also ensure that you don't reduce the amount of sun protection you get from your clothing, so you can count on it for as long as you need to.

Durability

We all want to invest in hiking gear that is designed to last us the long haul, so we made sure to take a look at countless reviews and the materials each of the hiking pants are made of to see if they will hold up to the test of time.

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.

The quality of the material and construction is the biggest factor here. The manufacturer needs to do a good job with the stitching so that it doesn't come apart prematurely. To score each product on our list in this category we looked at the design, the materials, and the reputation of the brand.

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!

Weather Resistance

Hiking means you will be in the great outdoors--where the weather can take an unpredictable turn at a moment's notice. 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.

While none of the options on our list are fully waterproof, you don't want to get saturated and have to take shelter to change clothes just because of a light sprinkle or mist. Because of all of these things we looked for products for this list that have wind, sun, and water-resistant properties, if not all three.

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

Most Important Criteria (According to our experts opinion)
Sort criterias acording to:
Experts Opinion Editors Opinion Users Opinion By Default
Click on a to rate the most important criteria:
#1
Comfort
Rate This Criteria as Most Important
#2
Breathability
Rate This Criteria as Most Important
#3
Weather Resistance
Rate This Criteria as Most Important
#4
Durability
Rate This Criteria as Most Important
Pants vs. Shorts

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.

Go for a loose fit

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.

Other Factors to Consider

Features

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.

The pants should be lightweight, but this is the best for warmer weather. There are options that are better suited for winter months or at higher elevations, but this still means the hiker needs to wear layers to really keep them away. Another nice feature some hiking pants will have is the ability to convert to shorts by zipping away from the lower legs.

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.

Style

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.

We also took a look at the different colors available with each pair. We know some of you hike a lot and might need more than one pair--so, make sure to check out the different color selections available with each pair of pants we have on our list. All in all, you can definitely look and feel great with all of the hiking pants on our list of reviews.

Fit

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.

A great hiking pant varies among consumers based on their needs, wants and style preferences. However, the best hiking pants aren’t too tight and aren’t too loose to allow for mobility and do not weigh the wearer down or get in the way. However, you can definitely veer to the tighter or looser fitting options if you prefer one or the other.

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?

a:

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?

a:

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?

a:

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?

a:

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.

Sources

  1. Matt Heid, The Best Hiking Pants? Key Features to Look For, Mountain Club Organization
  2. Editorial Team, Substainability Clothing Movement, Outdoor Apparel Website
  3. Editorial Team, Nano Pro, Outdoor Apparel Website
  4. Michelle Powell-Smith, Can You Wear Jeans While Hiking?, Informational Health Website