Finding the perfect pair of hiking pants can be overwhelming, considering all of the specs and features one needs to compare. Every hiker expects a lot from their outdoor clothing. We want our clothes to be weatherproof, durable, comfortable, as well as allow for freedom of movement. It doesn’t hurt if they are fashionable as well.
However, you don’t actually need to test a lot of different models in the snow, sun, or rain to find the best pants for you. Even though clothing is a really personal choice, this guide will help you pick out the best hiking pants for your next adventure.
The Best Hiking Pants
While research is important, reading gear reviews are time-consuming. If you’re in a hurry, we’ve still got you covered.
Outdoor Research Ferrosi Pants
- Incredibly breathable
- Super comfortable
- A high degree of mobility
- Excellent for hot summer hikers
Best Hiking Pants Review
PrAna Stretch Zion Pant
- Material: 97% Nylon / 3% Spandex
- Weight: 13.6 oz
- Water protection coating: Durable Water Repellent (DWR)
The PrAna Stretch Zion pants have a lot going for them from a comfort standpoint. Whether you are sitting or hiking, you won’t experience constriction or tightness in any area.
The super stretchy and soft nylon fabric makes them one of the best pants for climbing. At the same time, they look and feel like a normal pair of pants. Hikers love them for days at the crag as well.
They are a perfect fit for the average hiker; not too loose, not too tight. The roll-up pant legs come in handy when you are wading through water. The Stretch Zion naturally ranks as one of the most versatile models, as it’s a “do everything” pant that does great on the trail as well.
This pair of hiking pants have five pockets in total, only two of which are mesh-lined, so they don’t fare that well in hot weather. But the ventilation holes in the gusseted crotch (somewhat) make up for the lack of mesh pockets.
The PrAna Stretch Zion pants are a great choice for spring and fall hikes. And you can rest assured that they will keep your legs warm in colder climates.
- Perfectly functioning features
- Very versatile
- Comfortable fit and fabric
- Not much ventilation
Arc’teryx Gamma LT Pant
- Material: 88% nylon / 12% spandex
- Weight: 11.6 oz
- Water protection coating: DWR
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As far as water-resistant hiking pants go, The Arc-teryx pant is one of the best models on the market. This pair of hiking pants is quite stretchable as well, as it includes a high proportion of spandex.
Moreover, the fabric is quite resistant to tearing on branches and thorns. The tight fabric wind and DWR coating offer superior wind and water protection. The pants bead rain consistently and exceptionally well.
The eyelets at the ankle are an excellent feature. You can create an almost perfect seal by running your laces through them. Considering its performance and features, the Arc-teryx Gamma LT Pant is a surprisingly light model.
The gusseted crotch and articulated knees add some extra room. There’s also an integrated belt. The blunted corner of the snap closure at the waist is a very nice touch. It won’t poke and rub your stomach as you walk.
Thanks to the neat elastic drawstrings, you can easily roll up and secure the legs. You won’t have to stop to pull the cords too often, as they will stay put securely. Not all roll-ups do this nearly as effectively.
The pants have an exceptionally wide right thigh pocket. The gauge mesh pockets are useful, but they lack breathability since the fabric is tightly woven. Not counting the price, ventilation is the weakest metric for the Arc-teryx Gamma LT Pant.
- Great at blocking wind and water
- Very comfortable
Outdoor Research Ferrosi Pants
- Material: 86% nylon / 14% spandex / 90D stretch woven ripstop
- Weight: 12.2 oz
- Water protection coating: DWR
One of the best things about this model is its one-of-a-kind blend of quick-drying materials. It’s quite rare for such a synthetic fabric to be so breathable. At the same time, it gives you the sun protection you need on warmer days. This is thanks to its 50+ UPF rating.
The Outdoor Research Ferrosi pants also offer plenty of stretches while you’re on the move. The light, supple mobility of these pants is unmatched.
They are as comfortable as some of the most expensive hiking pants on the market, even though they cost just a fraction of the price. The material is very smooth against the skin.
Like the Arc-teryx model, this one also has a gusseted crotch and articulated knees. If you clip a backpacking waist around the pants, the soft, felty material inside the waistband will reduce abrasion and rubbing.
If you want to cool down in the heat, you can easily pull up and secure the legs above the calves or knees. The convenient leg chich cords make this model comparable to a convertible pair.
When it comes to summer hiking pants, this model may just be the best. The pants offer decent protection against water, but they are too thin to provide serious wind protection. If you are planning a winter hike, it’s best to look elsewhere. If you are interested in these pants, check out my Outdoor Research vs the North Face comparison as well.
- Maximum mobility
- Very comfortable
- Airy fabric
- Not great in cool weather
Columbia Men’s Silver Ridge Convertible Pants
- Material: 100% nylon ripstop
- Weight: 10.8 oz
- Water protection coating: No additional treatment
If you are looking for a good pair of men’s hiking pants, but don’t want to break the bank, this model may be perfect for you. These pants are low priced, but they get the job done more than well.
One could call them the more affordable version of the Kuhl Renegade convertible pants. Although they are not water-resistant like the Kuhl Renegade, they dry out fairly quickly. These are lightweight hiking pants, and sweat evaporates from the all-nylon fabric rapidly.
For an entry-level pair of pants, this model sure can hold up well to abuse. Durability won’t be an issue.
The Columbia Silver Ridge convertible pants feature two cargo pockets on the sides. One cargo pocket is zippered, while the other is velcro. There are also two-mesh lined pockets in the rear, and two in the front.
Along with the conversion zips, they are the most prominent venting features. The convertible pant legs zip off quickly and easily. Breathability alone makes them worth the purchase.
The 100% nylon material isn’t as stretchable as a nylon-spandex blend, but the material feels smooth and soft against the skin. Still, you can get a little more stretch beyond the advertised size, thanks to the two small sections of elastic on the waist.
If your waistline shrinks on a longer adventure, the belt also allows for a decent amount of adjustability.
They won’t keep you warm enough when the temperature drops, but they are perfect for hot and dry climates.
- Not water-resistant
Royal Robbins Men’s Alpine Road Pants
- Material: 66% nylon / 31% polyester / 3% spandex
- Weight: 13.8 oz
- Water protection coating: DWR
Even though they are pants for hiking, Royal Robbins’ Alpine Road pants sport a unique formal look. If you plan on going to the trailhead straight from your office, these are an ideal choice. Their adaptability and durability make them well worth the investment.
The versatility and weather resistance of this model is solid, even though it may not look like it at first glance. Compared to the average hiking pant, this model is a bit stiff, but it still performs admirably.
To help with mobility, the pants come with articulated knees and a gusseted crotch. The Alpine Road pants are less susceptible to stretching out. If you are on the trail for a few days, you won’t have to worry whether they’ll start to loosen up and slide down.
The thickness of the fabric makes them a solid option for nasty weather, even though they are best-suited for cool-weather hiking. There’s no need to bring gaiters since the pants come with adjustable ankle cords.
Even though these pants are tightly woven, the breathability is decent. They offer some venting options, mostly in the form of mesh-lined pockets, as well as sun protection.
This model doesn’t come with many features, but the ones it has are well-executed. The horizontal zipper pocket is easy to open with one hand, and the handwarmer pockets are deeper than average. When it comes to front and backcountry versatility, hardly any other model can beat the Alpine Road pants.
- Cinc cords
- Could have more zippered pockets
Mountain Hardwear Men’s Chockstone/2 Hike Pant
- Material: 88% nylon / 12% spandex
- Weight: 11.5 oz
- Water protection coating: DWR
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Thanks to its incredibly high proportion of spandex, the Mountain Hardwear Men’s Chockstone/2 Hiking Pant is highly stretchable. The model offers superior comfort and mobility. The knee articulation and the gusset give you plenty of room to move.
In terms of reducing abrasion, this unique nylon spandex fabric really makes a difference. TheChockstone/2 Hike Pant pant is as durable as they get.
To allow for even more adjustability, the model comes with a removable belt. Unlike most belts, it doesn’t require constant readjustment.
The ventilation they offer is quite effective. To throw some heat, you can unzip the mesh-lined front and rear pockets. There’s also an elastic cord in each ankle if you want to roll them up and secure them in place.
The fabric is loose and light enough to keep you cool in hot weather. But versatility may be the best perk of the Chockstone/2 Hiking Pant.
The pants perform great on chunkier trails as well as on flats and gradual switchbacks. Scrambling and high-stepping are no problem. They are also great for water-adjacent or water-based sports like fishing or canoeing. You can even do yoga in them.
Considering how stretchable these pants are, they are surprisingly weather resistant. They will protect you from moderate precipitation. If you are seeking protection from harsh UV rays as well, you will appreciate the UPF 50+ rating.
- Zippered pockets
- Highly versatile
- Highly stretchable
- Shallow pockets
Fjallraven Abisko Midsummer Outdoor Trousers
- Material: 100% polyester (Fjallraven’s G-1000 Air Stretch fabric)
- Weight: 10.5 oz
- Water protection coating: Wax
The Abisko Midsummer Outdoor Trousers are unlike any other model on this list. Yet, they tick all the boxes—they are durable, breathable, and flexible where you need them to be.
The unique multi-fabric design makes the Abisko Midsummer Outdoor. The amount of stretch these pants offer is quite impressive. The inseam crotch gusset allows you to scramble up the mountain without feeling restricted.
Unlike most hiking pants, this model isn’t made from nylon. Instead, it’s made from quick-drying polyester. They don’t have a DWR finish, but the wax coaching offers superior weather protection. It does a great job of keeping dewy brush from saturating through and shedding light rain.
The fantastic attention to detail exemplifies Fjallraven’s signature Scandinavian design. There is a well-placed pocket at each thigh, one is a slim cargo pocket while the other is a classic zippered thigh pocket.
If you want to increase ventilation, you can simply unzip the 10-inch thigh zippers and the two mesh hand pockets in the front. You can also pull the cuff over the calves and secure them with the drawstring.
You’ll probably need to consult the size chart because the Abisko Midsummer Outdoor Trousers come in European sizes. But Fjallraven will hem them for free and give you a fully tailored fit if you buy them at one of their brick-and-mortar stores.
The Abisko Midsummer Outdoor trousers are one of the more expensive models on the list, but the aesthetics and the quality make them a worthy investment.
- Highly mobile
- Reinforced wear areas
Patagonia Quandary Pant
If you are out in the rain, these pants will do a great job of limiting how soaked you can get. Their DWR treatment is rather effective at forcing light rain to run off the fabric. On top of that, they have a UPF 50 rating.
The pants are made from a blend of recycled nylon and spandex. For a synthetic material, the fabric is surprisingly soft. And even though it’s quite stretchy, it cuts the wind well.
This model is not convertible, and it could use more mesh lining inside the pockets. Still, the pants are more cooling and more breathable than most models—despite the fact that they don’t have many vents for air to escape.
The Patagonia Quandary pants are cut thin. They are designed for lean-to-medium builds. The stretchy drawstring that hides inside the waistband allows you to get a perfect fit—even as your waistline and body weight fluctuates.
The pants are supremely mobile, despite the narrower fit. The mesh liner around is a nice detail. It feels great and does a great job of wicking away sweat.
In addition to the rear pockets and hand pockets, there’s one extra pocket recessed inside the pant. It’s useful, but a couple of cargo pockets would have been a better solution.
Even though this model doesn’t offer do-it-all functionality, its elegant simplicity and high flexibility make it worth the purchase.
- Mobile and supple
- Very effective DWR finish
- Could use some cargo pockets
Feel free to check other brands on the market like Patagonia.
Like the Gamma LT, the Arc-teryx Lefroy is elegant and minimalist hiking pants that offer exceptional durability.
And, like the Alpine Road pants, they are great for those who want to look the part. They are stylish enough to wear around town, and they offer the mobility you need for high stepping activities.
The Lefroy pants feel tighter compared to most of the competition, but they are still comfortable for regular hiking. The unique Aequora AirPerm fabric offers more stretch than the average nylon-spandex blend. The model also comes with a crotch gusset.
Even though this pair is designed for cooler temperatures, it offers moderate breathability. You can roll the legs up for ventilation without them falling, and there is some mesh in the pockets.
Like the other Arc-teryx model on the list, this one offers superior weather protection. In fact, these pants may be the best on the market when it comes to wind and water resistance.
The rain beads up immediately, and the fabric is quick-drying. While they are not exactly rain pants, the Lefroy hiking pants come pretty close.
This pair comes with a thoughtful set of features, albeit a limited one. The right thigh pocket has a gently angled zipper that allows you to easily open it with one hand. The embedded belt is elegantly covered by a sleeve, and the hook fastener is easy to use.
For hikers who like to combine performance with style, the Arc-teryx Lefroy hiking pants are a great choice.
- Great embedded belt and buckle
- The fly could be more practical
The Prana Brion hiking pants are great for hikers who like to keep things simple. This model excels as a casual, everyday pair on top of being a very functional hiking pant. The fabric allows for a lot of mobility and feels great against the sin.
Due to the hefty and warm fabric, these pants may not be the best choice for hot weather. But they are great for a wide variety of activities. These include climbing, paddling, hiking, camping, and working outside or in an office. The gusseted inseam adds to the flexibility.
Thanks to the DWR treatment, the fabric repels light precipitation before it gets a chance to soak into the material. The pair won’t protect you in a true thunderstorm, but it still offers solid water repellency. The Brion pants also have a UPF 50+ rating, so you can rely on them for sun protection.
Keep in mind that these pants sport a minimalist design, so they don’t come with any of the features found on most comparable models. Nevertheless, they still provide plenty of great value for the right wearer. If you are looking for pants that transition seamlessly from trail to town, this model is an excellent choice.
- Very comfortable
- Too hot in warm weather
Best Hiking Pants Buying Guide
Do You Really Need Hiking Pants?
The short answer is: yes, you do. The best hiking pants are made of fabrics (mostly nylon and spandex blends) that are designed to keep you dry as you sweat more. If you wear plain cotton pants on a trail, you will get drenched in sweat in no time. Cotton absorbs sweat like a sponge and traps air near your skin. When the air pockets in the fabric fill up with water, cotton ceases to insulate. As it gets saturated with water, it gets heavier.
You’ll feel uncomfortably hot and clammy if you wear plain cotton pants on a summer hike. When it comes to winter hikes, cotton pants can literally kill you. Since cotton conducts heat away from your body and leaves you drenched in sweat, it’s a recipe for hypothermia in freezing or even marginal weather.
The synthetic fabric of hiking pants will keep you cool in summer and warm in winter.
Wearing a good pair of wool pants is slightly better than wearing cotton pants, but wool still doesn’t wick moisture as well as synthetic fabrics. Nylon spandex blends also tend to be more abrasion resistant than natural fabrics. To learn more about hiking pants fabrics, I recommend checking out my post on the best softshell pants.
Is It Better to Hike in Pants or Shorts?
Compared to shorts, hiking pants offer a lot more protection from harmful plants, bugs, as well as the elements. They also offer better sun protection in the summer. Pants are a better choice if you are hiking in an area full of ticks or pests, or if the weather on the trail can change quickly.
However, hiking pants are heavier than hiking shorts, and they can make it difficult to regulate your body temperature in hot weather. They can also make it harder to climb over blow-downs or rock scrambles.
Thankfully, the best hiking pants address these problems. There’s also a third option: leggings. Check out our reviews of best hiking leggings.
Pant Length: Full-Length, Convertible Pants and Roll-Up Pants
Convertible Hiking Pants
When things get hot, roll-up pants and convertible pants give you more control over your body temperature. Convertible hiking pants best suit year-round outdoor adventurers and hikers simply because they are pants and shorts at the same time.
A convertible pair of pants allows you to zip off the lower part of the legs. That’s why some also call them zip off pants.
The 2-in-1 style means that you can increase leg ventilation in a jiffy. You also don’t have to pack extra clothing. So that the convertible pant legs can come off easily, they typically have a very relaxed fit.
While some hikers appreciate the flexibility convertible pants offer, hiking gear reviews often complain that they are too baggy. If you prefer slim fit pants, convertibles may not be the best option for you.
Roll-Up Hiking Pants
Roll-up pants transition easily from town to trail. They allow you to quickly change the length of the pants. Roll-ups tend to have a more flattering fit than convertible pants. A typical pair of roll-ups comes with some tabs and a button that allow you to secure the pant legs. Other models use drawcords.
The average pair of roll-up hiking pants allows you to roll up the legs from full length to ¾ length, but you still get many of the benefits of a zip-off. One drawback of roll-ups is that the legs can feel a bit uncomfortable when rolled because of the extra fabric.
While you can’t adjust the pant length on regular hiking pants so easily, high-quality full-length pants often come with mesh pockets and zippered vents to increase airflow.
There really is no such thing as truly waterproof hiking pants. But, most high-quality hiking pants have a DWR finish that makes them water-resistant.
Durable water repellent (DWR) coating causes the water to bead and rolls off the fabric while maintaining breathability. It is used to treat almost all rainwear, and the quality of the coating can vary.
However, all types of durable water repellent coating wash out over time. To ensure your pants will offer weather protection through their entire lifespan, you can use sprays, such as the Nikwax TX Direct, to restore their DWR coating.
Some high-quality hiking pants, like the Abisko, steer clear of DWR, but still offer water resistance. For instance, the aforementioned model uses wax instead of DWR.
- Relaxed fit: If you prioritize comfort, the best hiking pants for you are the ones that have a relaxed fit. The relaxed fit gives you a little more wiggle room and makes it easier to move around.
Relaxed fit pants are great for hot weather because they tend to stay cool throughout the day. They are usually heavier due to the extra fabric.
- Straight Leg/ Slim Fit: If you are looking for a pair of hiking pants that you can also comfortably wear around town, slim fit pants are the way to go.
Slim fit hiking pants have some stretch to allow for freedom of movement, even though they usually look like everyday pants. They also tend to be more lightweight than other styles of pants.
- Articulated knees and gussets: Some pants have special seams sewn in the knee area of each pant leg. Knee articulation makes it easier to move around in the pants. When you take a big step up, the fabric doesn’t pull on you.
Similarly, hiking pants can have a gusseted crotch. The gusset increases the overall range of motion and durability by taking the stress off the seams.
- Integrated belts: Hikers who are in-between sizes tend to love integrated belts. An integrated belt allows you to dial in the fit. It comes in handy on long-distance adventures, such as the Camino, where hikers tend to lose a lot of weight along the way. However, an integrated belt adds extra bulk.
Weight and Thickness
On average, men’s hiking pants weigh from 8 to 17 oz. Unless you plan to carry more pairs of pants in your backpack, the weight of the pants is usually not an issue. Many hikers prefer to bring just one pair of pants and clean them along the way.
The thicker the pants, the heavier they are. Thicker pants are more durable and abrasion-resistant pants. However, some top-shelf models, like the Arc-teryx Gamma LT Pant, are exceptionally abrasion-resistant and lightweight at the same time.
The best overall pair of the bunch is the Outdoor Research Ferrosi Pants. They exceed the performance of the competition and are a great choice for a variety of hiking adventures.
But they are especially great for summer trails. They will protect you from the sun and keep you cool at the same time. If you are looking for lightweight, durable, flexible, breathable, and reasonably-priced hiking pants, the Outdoor Research Ferrosi Pants are a no-brainer.
I love hiking, backpacking, and camping. From the Camino de Santiago to the West Highland Way in Scotland or simply a great day hike on the weekend. Hiking refreshes me, my mind, and keeps my body reasonably fit. So far I have walked three Camino routes and many other long distance hikes in the UK, Canada, and around the rest of Europe. One of the best was my hike up Ben Nevis.