Caught the rock climbing bug and want something trendy and practical to keep you looking as awesome as you climb? Maybe you like scaling rock walls in the remote backcountry, swinging up a boulder on the beach, or just kicking it with your crew at the climbing gym. But how do you find the best climbing pants for you? 

One of our big goals here at The Adventure Junkies is to make your life easier when it comes to gearing up for climbing. Whether you’re after something more flexible, durable, warm, or cheap, we’ll walk you through a selection of the best pants on the market and show you how to choose the best pair for you.

For more of our top climbing gear recommendations, check out these popular articles: 

Ropes | Harnesses | HelmetsBackpacks

Climbing Shoes | Approach Shoes | Pants | Shorts | Shirts

Carabiners | Cams | Nuts | Quickdraws | PulleysBelay Devices

Bouldering Shoes | Bouldering Pants | Crash Pads

 

 

 

 

 

QUICK ANSWER – THE BEST CLIMBING PANTS

1. LA SPORTIVA ARCO

2. ARC’TERYX GAMMA LT

3. OUTDOOR RESEARCH CIRQUE

4. MOUNTAIN HARDWEAR DENIM

5. PRANA STRETCH ZION

6. PRANA HALLE

7. BLACK DIAMOND ALPINE

 

 

 

 

COMPARISON TABLE – THE BEST CLIMBING PANTS

PICTURE
CLIMBING PANTS
WEIGHT
WATER RESISTANT
PRICE
RATING
CLIMBING PANTS
WEIGHT
WATER RESISTANT
PRICE
RATING
La Sportiva Arco
16.8 oz
No
$$
5.0
Arc'teryx Gamma Lt
11.3 oz
Yes
$$$
5.0
Outdoor Research Cirque
19.5 oz
Yes
$$$
4.6
Mountain Hardwear Stretchstone Denim
12.6 oz
Yes
$
5.0
prAna Stretch Zion
16.0 oz
Yes
$$
4.7
prAna Halle
12.8 oz
Yes
$
4.4
Black Diamond Alpine
12.3 oz
Yes
$$$
4.3

 

 

 

CLIMBING PANTS REVIEWS

LA SPORTIVA ARCO (MEN’S)

Check out the latest price on:
AmazonBackcountry

BEST FOR: Gym climbing, crag climbing, bouldering, everyday use

WEIGHT: 16.8 oz.

WATER RESISTANT: No

FEATURES: Foldable waist for greater comfort in a harness, articulated knees, integrated stash and toothbrush pocket (for cleaning holds)

PROS: Stylish, flexible and comfortable, breathable and light, brightly colored for great photos

CONS: Not great for multi-pitch routes due to lack of practical pockets and not water resistant

 

 

 

ARC’TERYX GAMMA LT

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

 

BEST FOR: Long, multi-pitch routes

WOMEN’S VERSION: Arc’teryx Gamma LT 

WEIGHT: 11.3 oz.

WATER RESISTANT: Yes

FEATURES: DWR (durable water repellent) finish, gusseted crotch, articulated pattern for full range of motion, thigh pocket as well as hand pockets

PROS: Flexible, warm and breathable, durable, enough pockets to carry supplies for a long day in the mountains

CONS: Pricey, overkill for the gym or cragging days

 

 

 

OUTDOOR RESEARCH CIRQUE

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Long, multi-pitch routes

WOMEN’S VERSION: Outdoor Research Women’s Cirque Pants 

WEIGHT: 19.5 oz.

WATER RESISTANT: Yes

FEATURES: DWR (durable water repellent) finish, gusseted crotch, articulated knees, zippered cuff closures, boot lace clip

PROS: Flexible, warm and breathable, durable, enough pockets for supplies for a long day in the mountains

CONS: Pricey, heavy for gym climbing or easy cragging days

 

 

 

MOUNTAIN HARDWEAR STRETCHSTONE DENIM JEAN

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Gym, sport climbing or bouldering, everyday use

WEIGHT: 12.6 oz.

WATER RESISTANT: Yes

FEATURES: DWR, straight leg, five pocket style

PROS: Durable, stylish and still flexible, decently price

CONS: 2% lycra may not stretch as much as other climbing pants

 

 

 

PRANA STRETCH ZION

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Gym, sport climbing or bouldering, everyday use

WEIGHT: 16 oz.

WATER RESISTANT: Yes

FEATURES: DWR, quick drying, abrasion resistant

PROS: Flexible, stylish, light

CONS: Not great for cold days

 

 

 

PRANA HALLE

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Gym, sport climbing or bouldering, everyday use

WEIGHT: 12.8 oz.

WATER RESISTANT: Yes

FEATURES: DWR, quick-drying, UPF 50 sun protection

PROS: Flexible, stylish, light, cheap

CONS: Some customer complaints about inconsistent sizing

 

 

 

BLACK DIAMOND ALPINE

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

BEST FOR: Alpine, ice, and mixed climbing

WEIGHT: 12.3 oz.

WATER RESISTANT: Yes

FEATURES: Articulated knees for free movement, four-way stretch, adjustable belt

PROS: Lightweight, streamlined fit, ankle cuffs

CONS: Price

 

 



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HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST CLIMBING PANTS

FLEXIBILITY

Climbing usually requires acrobatic movements such as placing your foot near your hips, so climbing pants ideally have some stretch to them, particularly around the knee. There’s no sense in getting into a scary position and then being spat off a climb because your hipster tight jeans thwarted your high-step to glory. So you want your pants to be made, in part, of lycra or some similarly stretchy material.

 

DURABILITY: THICK VS THIN

Some like them thin and light. Some like them thick and heavy. What’s right for you will depend on your goals. If you’re new to climbing, a bit of weight difference isn’t going to matter all that much.

 

THICK PANTS

Heavier pants will last longer, are generally warmer, and are much better for the acquired taste of squeeze chimneys and off-widths routes, where you wedge yourself inside a wide crack and awkwardly worm your way higher (usually with maximum knee friction). If you use thin pants in an off-width, expect some ventilation holes in the knee area immediately afterward.

 

THIN PANTS

Thin pants will be more comfortable in warmer, more humid climates, and handier for climbing at your limit – even the smallest weight difference can be the difference between success and failure.

 

WARMTH

Pants should be warm and comfortable enough for what you’re doing. There are many disciplines of climbing. Attire for cruising the self-belaying routes in the gym will be quite different to the best pants for scaling grand walls in the remote backcountry. For the latter, soft shell pants tend to be excellent – warm and water-repellent, quick-drying, and full of pockets for those crucial snacks to keep you going on long, alpine climbing days.

 

THE LOOK

Fashion is personal preference, and earthy colors are certainly easy on the eye. But bright colors photograph much better, as they make the climber pop out in the shot. Many climbing pants are also designed to look casual but dressy, to ease you from the crag to the pub or restaurant without having to change.

Top 9 Best Climbing Pants – Best Rock Climbing Clothes for Men and Women – Rock Climbing Outfits for Summer and Winter – What to Wear When Climbing Indoors

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