10 Best Hiking Pants Tested and Fully Reviewed

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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, hiking pants are just as important.

Hiking pants are made to provide the athlete with enough comfort, breathability, and durability needed. They are typically thin and lightweight to not wear the consumer down as they are heading uphill. A good pair may also have wind- and water-resistant properties that further make braving the elements easier. There are also many versatile options that can be worn from cooler and warmer weather, as well as for just hanging out or running errands. This means the pair is stylish, but overall —and most importantly—functional for hiking.

Last Updated: August 27, 2018
By Eve Anderson:

Check out our newest update from Columbia! The Pilsner Peak pant is a great choice for warmer weather, so take a peek if this appeals to you.

Columbia Silver Ridge
  • Columbia Silver Ridge
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Convertible + Omni-wick Technology
  • Price: See Here
Outdoor Research Ferrosi
  • Outdoor Research Ferrosi
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Breathable & Lightweight
  • Price: See Here
PrAna Stretch Zion
  • PrAna Stretch Zion
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • 50+ UPF Sun Protection
  • Price: See Here

 

10 Best Hiking Pants

 

Columbia Silver Ridge

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.
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Materials

These pants are made with 100 percent 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.

Comfort

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.

Style and Fit

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 partial elastic waist with a belt. These pants come many different sizes, making it easy for every body to find their perfect fit. It also includes pockets with a hook a loop closure and mesh pocket bags.
Pros
  • Great option to enjoy activities in the sun
  • 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

Outdoor Research Ferrosi

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.
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Materials

The Ferrosi pant is made with nylon, spandex and stretch woven ripstop fabric. This makes it light, flexible and stretchy, with an emphasis on the stretch to mimic real leg movement without feeling confined. These pants have a quick drying time, and are both wind- and water-resistant thanks to its DWR finish..

Comfort

This is like the Ferrari of hiking pants when it comes to its level go comfort. 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. It’s water-resistant properties hold up pretty well, and will protect the legs from potential cuts when scaling the mountains. They are durable enough to withstand abrasion without having the sticking come part, although rock climbers should expect from wear.

Style and Fit

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. It has ample of 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.
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

PrAna Stretch Zion

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, traveling and more. It has a relaxed fit with more room in the thighs, along with an adjustable waistband and roll-up leg snaps.
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Materials

Constructed from the company’s “Stretch Zion” fabric, which consists of nylon and spandex, a sustainable 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.

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. It has a ventilated inseam gusset for that extra room and air flow, 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.

Style and Fit

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.
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

HELICON-TEX Outback OTP

HELICON-TEX Outback OTP
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.
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Materials
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.

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.

Style and Fit
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.
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

Outdoor Research Cirque

Outdoor Research Cirque
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.
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Materials

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

Comfort

This soft shell pant is made with high-quality materials that pays 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 discomfort.

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 allows 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.
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

Columbia Men's Pilsner Peak Pants

Columbia Men's Pilsner Peak Pants
This pant is made of 100% synthetic fibres 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.
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Materials

Made with omni-wick technology to keep you dry, these pants are made of 100% synthetic fibres. Omni-shade features keep you protected from UVA and UVB up to UPF 50.

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.

Style and Fit

The pants are not a 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.
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

Marmot PreCip

Marmot PreCip
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, made to be a shell over other layers for cooler temperatures. It has a regular fit with a elastic waist and draw cord, and other features like ankle side zips.
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Materials

These pants are made with 100 percent nylon ripstop with Marmot’s patented NanoPro coating. The NanoPro tech allows for lots of air flow 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 a outer shell in the snow.

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.

Style and Fit

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.
Pros
  • Great for windy and rainy hikes
  • Very breathable
  • Stretchy to be worn over layers
  • Affordable
Cons
  • No belt
  • No front zipper

Exofficio BugsAway Damselfly

Exofficio BugsAway Damselfly
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 leaves 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.
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Materials

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.

Comfort

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 in sight to become more breathable. It has a quick drying time when wet, although no DWR finish.

Style and Fit

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 gear is on. It has articulated knees for flexibility, and a zip pocket on the back.
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 lasts 70 washes
  • Not many pockets

The North Face Paramount 3.0

The North Face Paramount 3.0
North Face improved its popular Paramount Peak pants with the 3.0, making it slighter thinner and less baggy in the fit. This is a comfortable hiking pant that is made for longer walks or adventures because it is light and cool for hotter days. It also has hand warmer pockets that are mesh lined, and protect well against cooler winds. This is a versatile option that can also be worn for every day outings.
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Materials

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.

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.

Style and Fit

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.
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

Arc'teryx Gamma LT Pant

Arc'teryx Gamma LT Pant
While most lightweight hiking pants are geared more for milder weather, the Gamma LT is a go-to for even cooler adventures. 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. It has an adjustable integrated webbing belt, pockets on the side and thigh, as well an an adjustable cuff drawcord.
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Materials

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.

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.

Style and Fit

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 which provides the ability to move comfortably. It has ann adjustable pant cuff drawcord, thigh pocket that zippers and two hand pockets. It has a sleek look, and is available in a few colors.

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

 

Criteria for Choosing the Best Hiking Pants

The pants reviewed in this guide include options that are designed to be pants for hiking. This includes longer single day walks, multi-day adventures, backpacking trips, camping, rocking climbing and more. Keep in mind that depending on the adventure, the consumer may need features that some provide and others don’t. This means extra pockets when climbing or water-resistances when rafting.

While needs of the consumer may change, the pants should be able to perform like they are made to. To determine which are the best hiking pants we used a set of criteria described below.

Comfort

Imagine wearing jeans while climbing up a steep mountain. While some may prefer to, hiking pants should be much more comfortable. This includes soft fabric that has the flexibility to allow for mobility without any restraint. The pants should have enough stretch be able to bend the knees without any problems. Depending on the climate, the heaviness of the pant will vary; lightweight for warmer climates is ideal, and heavier (more insulated) pants for cooler.

Breathability

Hikers want their pants to be breathable, especially in warmer conditions, because all that walking and climbing has them working up a sweat. There needs to be enough ventilation to not have sweat become an issue or start to overheat. Look for this feature in clothing appropriate for the weather conditions, as even cold climate gear can accommodate these features.

Protection and Durability

Good hiking pants need to be able to last more than just one wear. This is especially so since many wear the same pair throughout their journey. The fabric needs to be durable enough to not rip or tear. Many options also have sun protection, bug protection and wind and rain resistance. These are features that make a pair stand out.

Style and 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.

Other Factors To Consider

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.

Protection

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.

Layer Up

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 the cold away.

Convertible vs. Roll-Up Style

The main difference here is convertible hiking pants have a zipper above the knees so that the consumer can detach the bottom legs to wear shorts. This is a great option for summer months, while having the option for more protection for nighttime or if the weather takes a turn.

Pants that have a roll-up feature allow the consumer to fold the bottom leg up and fashion it by snapping the cuff or using buttons. This makes them a cooler option without having to fuss with taking anything off.

Storage

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.

The Waist

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.

FAQ

Q: What makes good hiking pants?

A: The pants should be lightweight and breathable, and comfortable for the long amount of walking. 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 when hiking?

A: In short, yes. However, longer hikes call for proper pants, especially in the rain or cold. Jeans are also less breathable for hot hikes and do not have moisture-wicking properties.

Q: Can you wear layers under hiking pants?

A: Many options are loose enough in the legs to wear a base layer. This is ideal for winter weather.

Q: Are these pants good for winter hikes?

A: Most of the options on this list are lightweight or mid-weight like the Fjallraven Keb. This means it isn’t enough to wear alone. But hiking pants that are moisture-wicking and water-resistant are great as an outer shell in the snow. Outdoor Research’s Cirque pants are best for keeping warm for winter sports.

Q: Is the size for waist or inseam?

A: The size is for the waist, but the company’s sizing chart reveals the inseam length for that size.

Sources

  1. Matt Heid, The Best Hiking Pants? Key Features to Look For, Mountain Club Organization, Mar 14, 2016
  2. Prana, Substainability Clothing Movement, Outdoor Apparel Website,
  3. Marmot, Nano Pro, Outdoor Apparel Website,
  4. Michelle Powell-Smith, Can You Wear Jeans While Hiking?, Informational Health Website, Jul 18, 2017
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