To hit the trails like a true hiker, hiking pants are a must. They offer a comfortable fit, durability, breathability, and water-resistance that can’t be found in other types of pants. What type of hiking pants will work best for you will depend on a variety of factors such as style and season. We’ve reviewed the best hiking pants on the market to make sure you’re fully prepared for your next adventure.
Comparison Table of the Best Hiking Pants
Below is a list of the best women’s hiking pants and the best men’s hiking pants. Click on the name to read reviews and check prices.
|Outdoor Research Ferrosi||86% nylon, 14% spandex||12.5 oz.||No|
|Columbia Silver Ridge Convertible||100% nylon||12.6 oz.||Yes|
|prAna Stretch Zion||97% nylon, 3% spandex||13.6 oz.||No|
|Patagonia Quandary||94% nylon, 6% spandex||10 oz.||No|
|Kuhl Renegade Convertible||8% nylon, 12% spandex||17 oz.||Yes|
|Arc'teryx Gamma LT||88% nylon, 12% elastane||12.3 oz.||No|
|Fjallraven Vidda Pro||65% polyester, 35% cotton||21 oz.||No|
|REI Co-op Sahara Roll-Up||94% nylon, 6% spandex||Unavailable||Yes|
|The North Face Paramount Trail||100% nylon||15 oz.||Yes|
|Outdoor Research Cirque Pant||50% nylon, 43% polyester, 7% spandex||20.5 oz.||No|
What to Look For in Good Hiking Pants
These are the most important things to consider when you’re in the market for hiking pants.
Most hiking pants are made of a nylon material. If you’re doing simpler hikes, this type of pants is fine. Nylon doesn’t have much stretch to it though, so if you’re going to be doing more active hiking, climbing, or bouldering, consider looking for pants that also have a bit of spandex in them. Pants with spandex will give you better range of motion.
You may also see some pants made of G-1000, a super durable material, or a lightweight nylon softshell which increases protection against water and wind. These are solid options as well depending on the type and location of the hiking you’ll be doing.
2. Thickness (Durability / Season Use)
Thickness is directly related to durability, resistance to tearing, and seasonal use. Most hiking pants are geared toward three-season use. They’re perfect for shoulder seasons, should be breathable in summer, and will even work into the early winter. When full winter temperatures hit, most hikers will either choose to wear a base layer under their pants for warmth or purchase a pair of thick, cold-weather hiking pants.
Thin pants designed for summer hikes do a better job keeping you cool, but they may be easily damaged by something like a simple brush up against a rock. These pants are fine for casual hikes, but you’ll probably want something more durable if you’ll be doing challenging hikes or climbs. Thicker pants will keep you warmer in cool conditions and they’re designed to be more durable and resistant to tears.
Pockets are more important to some than others. You don’t want to weigh your pants down by filling your pockets, but they can be beneficial for carrying things like your phone or a map.
It’s important to consider the number of pockets as well as the type of pockets. Some prefer having zipper pockets to keep things secure and others are okay with standard front stash or back pockets.
4. Versatility (Convertible / Roll-Up Pants)
When it comes to versatility, we’re talking about pants that can be rolled up or zipped off into shorts. Buying these types of pants means you can pack less clothing for your adventures. These are typically popular among year-round travelers.
Roll-up pants are becoming more popular because they’re easier than zip-off pants. A button and some tabs will help secure the pant legs to help your legs cool off in a breeze.
Zip-off or “convertible” pants are still pretty popular, but not as simple. Zippers add weight to the pants and can be difficult to use.
For hiking pants, weight may or may not be a deal-breaker. If you’re only hiking with the pair of pants you’re wearing, weight shouldn’t be a big deal. Unless you’re wearing pants heavier than one pound and are carrying things in your pockets, you probably won’t even notice the weight. If you’re traveling with several pair of pants in your hiking backpack, then you probably will want to be mindful of how much they weigh.
Also, if you do a lot of winter-weather hiking, heavier pants may be more beneficial to fight the wind and cold temperatures.
6. Resistance to Water
Many novice hikers think it’s best to look for the best waterproof hiking pants so they’re protected in all types of weather. The truth is that fully waterproof pants aren’t very breathable, so if you’re hiking in the summer you won’t want to be wearing fully waterproof pants.
When looking at many pairs of hiking pants you’ll see DWR (durable water repellent) coating. When hiking pants have a DWR coating, water will bead up and roll off. This type of coating is typically sufficient for most hikers. Also keep in mind that nylon material is quick-drying and won’t soak up large amounts of water.
7. Range of Motion
Not only does the material affect your range of motion, but gussets and articulated knees also play a big part.
Since many pants are straight-legged, articulated knees offer a natural bend in the knee area of the pants. A gusset is a fabric patch that takes the place of a traditional seam along the inner thigh. Gussets and articulated knees allow hikers to have a greater range of motion and generally make for a more comfortable pair of pants.
8. Adjustable Waistband
Finding pants that fit well can be a real challenge for some people. Adjustable waistbands will benefit those who are between sizes so the fit can be secure and comfortable.
Best Hiking Pants Reviews
Now that you know what to look for, here are the best pants for hiking.
1. Outdoor Research Ferrosi
Materials: 86% nylon, 14% spandex
Weight: 12.5 oz.
The Outdoor Research Ferrosi pants are definitely one of the best hiking pants. Not only are they super breathable, but they’re durable, resistant to wind and water, and moisture wicking. They only weigh 10.7 ounces and are made from a mixture of nylon and spandex. These pants offer articulated knees and a movement-mirroring stretch to help you move naturally on the trail. They have front stash pockets, back pockets that zip, and a zippered thigh pocket. There are also belt loops as well as a zipper and button fly. Ideal for climbs where you’ll be a couple hundred feet off the deck and for long approaches, the Outdoor Research Ferrosi pants are great for nearly every type of hike.
2. Columbia Silver Ridge Convertible
Materials: 100% nylon
Weight: 12.6 oz.
The search for the best convertible hiking pants is over. The Columbia Silver Ridge Convertible pants are made of a ripstop nylon and offer ample storage and a UPF rating of 50. These pants offer full mobility thanks to the gusset detail and they also have an adjustable waistband to ensure they fit securely. Because they’re high-quality, convertible, and moisture-wicking, they’re also some of the best hiking pants for hot weather. Whether you’re only spending a weekend in Big Sur or tackling the Great Ocean Walk, you’ll love taking on new adventures in the Columbia Silver Ridge Convertible pants.
3. prAna Stretch Zion
Materials: 97% nylon, 3% spandex
Weight: 13.6 oz.
These are some of the best pants for hiking, whether you’re spending weeks in the wilderness or just taking a day hike in the local park. The prAna Stretch Zion pants are quick-drying and resistant to wrinkles, water, and abrasions. They offer a streamlined adjustable waistband along with mesh pockets and an angled cargo pocket that’s dual entry. In addition, there’s a cinch belt system, roll-up leg snaps, and a ventilated inseam gusset. If you find yourself scrambling or bouldering a lot, consider taking along the prAna Stretch Zion pants.
4. Patagonia Quandary
Materials: 94% nylon, 6% spandex
Weight: 10 oz.
No matter where you find yourself on the map, the Patagonia Quandary pants will be the perfect companion. They are durable and lightweight and were designed to provide complete freedom of movement. These pants have a gusseted crotch along with front and back knee articulation. The waistband contours to the shape of your hips and has a close fit and metal button closure to keep them in place. With a total of five pockets, you’ll easily be able to stay organized throughout your hike. For impressive comfort and performance on your favorite hikes, check out the Patagonia Quandary pants.
5. Kuhl Renegade Convertible
Materials: 88% nylon, 12% spandex
Weight: 17 oz.
Some of the best hiking pants for summer, the Kuhl Renegade Convertible pants have a patented zip-off system that doesn’t include the typical fabric flap but still lets the zipper be effective and smooth. These pants are made of a soft-shell Duralux fabric which offers high performance, comfort, and style. These pants allow total freedom of movement thanks to the full fit and gusseted crotch. The large cargo pockets even have compartment pockets inside to make sure your items stay organized while you’re hiking. Great in tough conditions, the Kuhl Renegade Convertible pants always come highly recommended.
6. Arc’teryx Gamma LT
Materials: 88% nylon, 12% elastane
Weight: 12.3 oz.
Some of the best hiking pants for women and men, the Arc’teryx Gamma LT pants are designed for hiking, climbing, backpacking, and any other of your favorite outdoor activities. The Fortius™ DW 2.0 fabric is stretchy, weather-resistant, and comfortable. Movement is made super easy thanks to the gusseted crotch, and storage is simple thanks to the zippered hand and thigh pockets. The makers of the Arc’teryx Gamma LT pants pride themselves on offering comfortable pants that have a quality, trim fit without being too tight in order to optimize performance on the trails.
7. Fjallraven Vidda Pro
Materials: 65% polyester, 35% cotton
Weight: 21 oz.
The Fjallraven Vidda Pros are the best hiking pants for men who love taking rugged adventures. The fabric is a durable G-1000® and the pants are reinforced at the knees and rear. The knees are pre-shaped to help with range of motion and the bottom of the pants have an elastic ending so they can be adjusted. The pants are equipped with enough pockets even for backcountry hikes. They have two hand pockets, a map pocket, a multi-tool pocket, an internal phone pocket, and even two knee pockets for knee pads. For super tough and rugged pants, Fjallraven Vidda Pros are the way to go.
8. REI Co-op Sahara Roll-Up
Materials: 94% nylon, 6% spandex
When in the market for lightweight hiking pants, be sure to check out the REI Co-op Sahara Roll-Ups. These cargo pants are made from a durable and stretchy nylon fabric that repels water and easily packs down small into your backpack. The pant legs roll up and snap in place at two different inseam lengths both to keep you cool and allow you to do things like trek through streams. These pants even have reinforced cuff backs to prevent you from getting abrasions from your hiking boots. They also have plenty of pockets, but most people absolutely love the hidden passport pocket. Thanks to their water repellency and weight, they’re among the best pants for hiking in rain, so the weather will never ruin your hike again. Wherever your travels take you, the REI Co-op Sahara Roll-Up pants will be a perfect companion.
9. The North Face Paramount Trail
Materials: 100% nylon
Weight: 15 oz.
These ultralight hiking pants are designed for you to stay comfortable on multi-day hikes all around the world. The pants are made from a water-repellent nylon, have a UPF rating of 50, and have a relaxed, straight fit. They have welt hand and rear pockets as well as a zip-close cargo pocket. These pants are durable and versatile, and they have legs that zip off into 10” shorts. The inseam is gusseted and the pants have a snap center front with a zip-fly. For quality pants that will last throughout countless adventures, go with the North Face Paramount Trail pants.
10. Outdoor Research Cirque Pant
Materials: 50% nylon, 43% polyester, 7% spandex
Weight: 20.5 oz.
On the hunt for the best winter hiking pants? The Outdoor Research Cirque Pants have been designed for active travelers ice climbing, mountaineering, and more. The fabric is breathable and has plenty of stretch along with being resistant to water and wind. The waist is adjustable and low-profile, which means the pants will easily fit under your climbing harness. The fit can also be changed between climbing and casual use by adjusting the ankle zippers and drawcord cuff closures. Articulated knees and a gusseted crotch allow for full range of motion. Without a doubt, the Outdoor Research Cirque Pants are the best pants for cold weather hiking on the market.
Comfortable hiking pants are one of the best investments you can make for your hiking gear collection. Not only are they great for hiking, but they can also work well for climbing, trekking, and mountaineering. You’ll love discovering all of the benefits that come with quality hiking pants.
Don Davies says
I’m so into hiking pants! I’m a bit of an outdoors man. Sportswear and outdoor wear are a staple in my closet! That’s why some of the brands here are really a part of my wardrobe! I also support sustainable clothing brands like Coalatree. They make clothing out of eco-friendly materials and the fabric is just so comfy! I specially love the hiking pants from them! I think I’ve got 10 pairs already!