Though hiking pants are often taken for granted, they can have a big impact on the quality of your hike. Those who don’t give much thought to the bottoms they wear on their outdoor excursion are missing out on some great potential bonuses. For instance, for the same price as a pair of standard denim jeans, you could have the ability to store important belongings, carry critical survival tools, increase your mobility, easily convert to shorts, and avoid dampness and discomfort from the start of your hike to the very end. When you think about it, slipping into a pair of hiking pants is an easy step that you can take to dramatically improve your entire day.
So what should you be looking for in hiking pants? For starters, you’ll want durability. Take into account fabric and material construction, water resistance, and thread count of any pants you’re looking at. Mobility is also an important factor to consider. How well will you be able to move? Will you be comfortable as you do so? Pockets and storage compartments are also nice. Many hiking trousers will have cargo storage areas for knives, flashlights, carabiners, and other critical tools. Other pants may be able to zip off into a pair of shorts.
When it comes down to it, your personal preferences and individual needs should be considered first. For that reason, we have created a list of some of the best hiking pants currently available.
We start out with a pair of hiking pants designed by the well-known outdoor apparel company, North Face. North Face has been clothing the adventurous and bold for decades and have some of the best garments available to protect you from extreme conditions. This pair of convertible hiking pants are not only attractive and stylish, but they’re also totally utility friendly. Made of 100% nylon, the Paramount Trail pants by North Face are abrasion resistant and coated in a smart water repellent finish. Perfect for taking on any obstacle in your path, they fit in a relaxed and comfortable way that allows you ultimate mobility. They also convert quickly to a 10′ short for fishing, wading through water, or warmer weather. They are fully adjustable and have more than enough pockets for critical item storage. All around, these pants are a convenient and utility-friendly option.
When you’re hiking, climbing, or backpacking, you need to be able to move freely; these pants won’t stand in your way. They’re made of a genius blend of 97% Nylon and 3% Spandex so that you’ll be able to stretch, move, run, and exert yourself in total comfort. Like the North Face pants, they’re coated in durable water repellent finish so that you can stay dry and fresh for your entire venture. This also means that if you get wet, you will drip dry quickly, which will help reduce chafing and rubbing. Another great feature is their abrasion resistance. This can come in handy when walking through dense brush or forested areas. Their mesh pockets and ventilated seams are another awesome bonus. As far as drawbacks go, they only have 6 pockets: 2 in the back, 2 in the front, and 2 on the sides. This works for many people, but if you’re fishing or hunting, you might need a bit more storage. Still, for hiking, backpacking, and climbing, these pants are fantastic.
These pants are a premium option. They’re comfortable, multifunctional, lightweight, quick-drying, and good for all seasons. Made of 94% nylon and 6% spandex, they’re similar in material to the prAna Stretch Zion pants listed above. The big difference here comes in with the fit and material thickness; they’re a little more stretchy and also a bit tighter in the thigh. Additionally, they’re more tightly woven and less ventilated in the inseam due to the tailored design. This could be a bonus if you’re planning on hiking in colder areas. The curved waistband and straight-slim fit give these pants a designer feel. There’s not a lot in the way of baggy fabric to slow you down on the trail. The gusseted crotch and front and back knee articulation allow you to access a full range of motion when you’re on the move. They’re really great for climbing and trekking through rough terrain or thick brush. Durable enough for the wilderness, stylish enough to wear anywhere, and light enough for easy movement, these are truly one of the best high-end hiking pants options out there.
With treated and coated ultra-dry soft-shell fabric, a UPF 30 rating, a tailored and body-mapped design, plenty of pocket space, and a lightweight and breathable feel, these pants are an awesome option for any outdoor enthusiast. They have large front thigh map pockets for any essentials that you need to carry with you. Additionally, these pants have durable Cordura stitching, silicone bottom bands, and a cinch drawstring waistband. The silicone fits snugly over a pair of boots or shoes so dirt and debris are kept out. They’re light, easy to adjust, extremely durable, and totally protective. A great option for anyone expecting to encounter unforeseen adventures.
If you want a pair of soft outer shell pants for climbing and hiking, these may be ideal. Their design allows for a greater range of motion than most other shell exterior bottoms currently available. They also help you to regulate a comfortable body temperature in a variety of weather conditions. They block wind without ever becoming too hot. They also do a great job of protecting you from light rain and precipitation. These pants are lightweight, rugged, breathable, and even stretch pretty well. It’s a shame that they come with only four pockets. If you need a pair of bottoms that are wind and moisture repellent that will also allow you to climb and scramble if you need to, these are a great pick.
No list would be complete without some great options for women. These hiking pants are similar to the Mammut Base Jump Advanced SO Pants. They fit snugly and are water and wind repellent, designed to stand up to lots of wear and tear, and cinch easily at the ankle to help you keep dirt and debris out of your shoes or boots. They come in five great neutral colors and have an adjustable belt for a custom feeling fit in the waist. They are stretchy enough to wear under conditions that necessitate extreme mobility and have plenty of pockets. Additionally, they’re air permeable and very breathable so you can stay comfortable and dry all day long. These are a great option for women who plan on hiking, climbing, backpacking, and venturing out in rough terrain.
Are you looking for a pair of hiking pants that will help you stay prepared for anything? These are an awesome option for any highly efficient and tactical minded outdoor adventurer. They’re designed to combine utility and durability seamlessly with easy accessibility and versatility. They’re comprised of a polyester and rip-stop cotton blend so they aren’t prone to tearing, chaffing, or wearing down. Additionally, these pants have a Teflon finish that keeps them from going threadbare over time. As if all of that isn’t enough, built in the cargo pockets maximize your carrying capacity while an external knife pocket and rear web strap let you stay prepared for everything and anything that may come your way. Gusseted construction adds an extended range of motion with plenty of flexibility and strength. There’s no question about it, if you want a pair of versatile, comfortable pants, these are a great option.
Just like North Face, Colombia is a long-time trusted brand of outdoor enthusiasts around the world. These pants are very similar to the North Face ones at the top of our list as they zip off to become shorts. They are also ideal for hiking, backpacking, climbing, and other mild to hot weather outdoor activities. Additionally, the Columbia Men’s Silver Ridge convertible pants come in a wide range of color options and are extremely versatile. They offer a relaxed and comfortable fit and are made of a UPF 50 sun resistant fabric for maximum protection against those hot and harmful rays. They also feature a type of water wicking technology that helps to pull moisture away from your skin to keep you cool and dry. They’re durable, convenient, and attractive. They are a bit tighter in fit than many other cargo pants, so that may be a downside for some and a plus for others. All in all, these are a versatile and durable option.
These lightweight trekking trousers are great for backpackers and hikers who want lots of ventilation and the ability to carry all of their essentials along with them in style. They are also really attractive with large belt loops, a well-fitted design, and plenty of color options. They are one of the more stylish options on our list and compare well with the prAna Stretch Zion pants up at the top. These are the perfect pants for hiking or backpacking in humid and stifling conditions. They allow you to stay cool and dry and don’t weigh you down in the slightest. They’re also durable, dirt resistant, and made from high-quality materials like recycled polyester and organic cotton. A great option for anyone hiking in warm, wet, or hot weather.
Another great option for women, the Haglofs Rugged II Mountain Pants are great for extreme conditions where material construction may be put to the test. They are made of flexible and durable materials that can help you stay dry and keep your skin protected from things like sharp rocks, scratchy branches, and irritating underbrush. They sport open and close snap legs, plenty of pockets for small item storage, and a stretchy waist with hook and loop closure for total adjustability. Zippered ventilation maximizes airflow and helps to wick off sweat and moisture as you trek or climb. These are a rough and durable pair of pants that can stand up to the elements and abrasive materials.