Together with a good pair of hiking boots and a hiking backpack, hiking pants are an essential item on your hiking packing list. But how do you know what are the best pants for hiking that suit your needs best?

It’s important to realize that not every pair of pants is made for the same conditions. Weather, terrain and personal comfort levels are all variables. This means that there are specific pants for various types of hiking.

In summer, you will need a lighter pair of hiking pants, maybe even with a zip-off feature. In winter, on the other hand, there will be the obvious need for warmer and tougher fabrics. Seasonal differences are probably the most important thing to think about when looking for the best pants for hiking.

 

 

FREE BONUS! Click here to download the AJ Quick Starter Guide to Hiking

 

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FIND THE BEST PANTS FOR HIKING

PICTURE
PANTS
POCKETS
CONVERTIBLE
MATERIAL
PRICE
RATING
PICTURE
PANTS
POCKETS
CONVERTIBLE
MATERIAL
PRICE
RATING
Arc'teryx Gamma LT
3 (2 Hand, 1 Thigh)
No
100% Nylon
$$$
4.8
prAna Stretch Zion
5 (2 Hand, 2 Back, 1 Thigh)
No
97% Nylon, 3% Spandex
$$
4.8
Montane Terra Pack
4 (2 Hand, 1 Back, 1 Thigh)
No
100% Tactel
$$
5.0
Outdoor Research Cirque
4 (2 Hand, 1 Back, 1 Thigh)
No
50% Nylon, 43% Polyester, 7% Spandex
$$$
4.7
The North Face Paramount Peak II
6 (2 Hand, 2 Back, 2 Thigh)
Yes
100% Nylon
$
4.3
Fjallraven Vida Pro
7 (2 Hand, 1 Map, 1 Axe, 1 Knife, 1 Inner, 1 Knee Pad)
No
60% Polyester, 40% Cotton
$$$
4.5
Columbia Silver Ridge
6 (2 Hand, 2 Back, 2 Thigh)
Yes
100% Nylon
$
4.5
Outdoor Research Ferrosi
5 (2 Hand, 2 Back, 1 Thigh)
No
86% Nylon, 14% Spandex
$
4.6
prAna Stretch Zion Convertible
6 (2 Hand, 2 Back, 2 Thigh)
Yes
97% Nylon, 3% Spandex
$$
4.7
ExOfficio Kukura
5 (2 Hand, 2 Back, 1 Thigh)
No
92% Nylon, 8% Spandex
$$
3.9

 

HIKING PANTS 101

 

4 THINGS TO CONSIDER TO FIND THE BEST PANTS FOR HIKING

There are a few other factors you should consider before handing over your money to an outdoor gear salesperson. You should think about hiking pants as an investment. A good pair will last for years, even under intense use.

 

1. WEIGHT

While weight isn’t a major issue with regards to the best pants for hiking, it’s always good to try and cut weight. Nowadays, pretty much all modern hiking pants are lightweight. This often has the added benefit of more comfort and greater freedom of movement.

Try to find the lightest pants possible. But, make sure that less weight isn’t the result of lower-quality materials or lower water resistance. Those features are important too, if not more important than weight.

 

2. MATERIAL

This might be the main thing to consider to find the best pants for hiking. Ideally, hiking pants should be water resistant yet able to breathe, and quick-drying. This trio of characteristics is achieved with the use of a mix of different materials.

Many hiking pants are entirely made of nylon, which is one of the most durable materials. Polyester is used to make the pants more water resistant. Spandex is often used, as an addition to nylon, to increase stretch and comfort.

Look for a mix of two or more of these three materials if you can.

Tactel is a modern lab-created material that offers the best of all these other materials. Cotton is rarely used in hiking pants nowadays. Even though it does make pants much warmer, it is terrible in terms of water resistance.

 

3. POCKETS

Depending on the purpose and length of your hiking trip, it can be useful to have plenty of pockets. Some people like having as few pockets as possible. Others find it useful to be able to keep things within easy reach.

All the best pants for hiking listed in this article have at least two hand pockets and one thigh pocket. Often, they come with back pockets as well.

Zippered pockets are better than standard pockets because they prevent things from falling out. This is a big plus when rock scrambling and mountaineering, or even when sitting down and resting.

 

4. CONVERTIBLE VS. STANDARD

If you would like to use your hiking pants throughout the year, consider convertible pants. This means that they have zippers that allow you to make them into shorts. This feature enables you to wear them in hot as well as cold weather.

 

best pants for backpacking

 

 

PANTS FOR HIKING REVIEWS

TOP 10 BEST PANTS FOR HIKING OF THE YEAR

 

EXOFFICIO KUKURA PANTS

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: People looking for a versatile pair of outdoor pants

WOMEN’S VERSION: Women’s Kukura Pants

POCKETS: 5 pockets—2 hand pockets, 2 zippered back pockets, 1 zippered thigh pocket

CONVERT TO SHORTS: No

FEATURES: Internal elastic waistband, UPF 50+, four-way stretch nylon, DWR coating

PROS: Great for multi-use, stretch fabric, comfortable, water resistant

CONS: Noisy when walking

 

THE NORTH FACE PARAMOUNT II CONVERTIBLE PANTS

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Short summer hikes, hikers on a budget

WOMEN’S VERSION: Paramount II Women’s Convertible Pants

POCKETS: 6 pockets—2 hand pockets, 2 back pockets, 2 thigh pockets

CONVERT TO SHORTS: Yes

FEATURES: Zip-off legs, DWR finish, 90% bluesign (environment-friendly) fabric, elastic waistband at back and webbed belt closure in front

PROS: Affordable, converts to shorts, includes a belt, plenty of pockets, water resistant

CONS: Lower-quality fabric, baggy

 

FJALLRAVEN VIDDA PRO PANTS

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Wilderness adventures, hunting and fishing

WOMEN’S VERSION: Vidda Pro Women’s Pants

POCKETS: 7 pockets—2 hand pockets, 1 map pocket, 1 knife pocket, 1 axe pocket, 1 inner pocket, 1 knee pad pocket

CONVERT TO SHORTS: No

FEATURES: Double fabric on back and knees, elastic adjustable placket ankles, repellent wax, G-1000 fabric

PROS: Exceptionally durable and tough, lots of different pockets

CONS: Heavy, not water resistant, rather pricey

 

COLUMBIA SILVER RIDGE CONVERTIBLE PANTS

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon |REI

BEST FOR: Casual hiking in pleasant weather

WOMEN’S VERSION: Aruba Convertible Pant

POCKETS: 6 pockets—2 hand pockets, 2 back pockets, 1 zippered and 1 regular thigh pocket

CONVERT TO SHORTS: Yes

FEATURES: Zip-off legs, Omni-Wick evaporation technology, Omni-Shade UPF 50 sun protection

PROS: Plenty of pockets, affordable, lightweight, quick-drying breathable fabric, value for money

CONS: Less durable, lower-quality zippers, thin fabric

 

OUTDOOR RESEARCH FERROSI PANTS

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon |REI

BEST FOR: Year-round hiking

WOMEN’S VERSION: Women’s Ferrosi Pants

POCKETS: 5 pockets—2 hand pockets, 2 zippered back pockets, 1 zippered thigh pocket

CONVERT TO SHORTS: No

FEATURES: Low-profile waistband, wind-resistant stretch-woven ripstop, button and zipper fly

PROS: Wind resistant, breathable, durable

CONS: Not for daily wear, small hand pockets

 

PRANA STRECH ZION CONVERTIBLE

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon |REI

BEST FOR: Long hikes in warmer weather

WOMEN’S VERSION: Monarch Convertible

POCKETS: 6 pockets—2 hand pockets, 2 back pockets, 2 thigh pockets

CONVERT TO SHORTS: Yes

FEATURES: Quick-dry stretch performance fabric, cinch belt system, ventilated free-range gusset, mesh pocketing, zip-off legs, all-weather finish

PROS: Converts to shorts, lots of pocket space, comfortable, abrasion resistant

CONS: Unsuitable for winter hiking

 

OUTDOOR RESEARCH CIRQUE PANTS

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon |REI

BEST FOR: Mountaineering, ice climbing and snowshoeing

WOMENS VERSION: Women’s Cirque Pants

POCKETS: 4 pockets—2 zippered hand pockets, 1 zippered back pocket, 1 zippered thigh pocket

CONVERT TO SHORTS: No

FEATURES: Button and zipper fly, zippered pockets, double-weave stretch fabric, brushed nylon face with polyester backing

PROS: Extremely tough and durable, water resistant and breathable, great for winter sports

CONS: Heavy, expensive, not ideal for summer adventures

 

ARC’TERYX GAMMA LT PANTS

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon |REI

BEST FOR: Hiking in wet and cold climates

WOMEN’S VERSION: Women’s Gamma LT Pants

POCKETS: 3 pockets—2 hand pockets, 1 zippered thigh pocket

CONVERT TO SHORTS: No

FEATURES: Brushed polyester waistband, zippered fly with snap, adjustable wedding belt,

PROS: Water resistant, very durable, good range of motion

CONS: Very expensive, less versatile

 

PRANA STRETCH ZION

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon |REI

BEST FOR: Multi-use

WOMEN’S VERSION: Prana Halle Pant

POCKETS: 5 pockets—2 hand pockets, 2 back pockets, 1 thigh pocket

CONVERT TO SHORTS: No

FEATURES: Roll-up leg snaps, stretch fabric, ventilated free-range gusset, cinch belt system

PROS: Plenty of pockets, very comfortable and fitting, durable

CONS: Legs are short, a bit heavy

 

MONTANE TERRA PACK PANTS

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Everything from mountaineering trips to afternoon yard work

WOMEN’S VERSION: Women’s Montane Terra Pack Pants

POCKETS: 4 pockets—2 zippered hand pockets, 1 zippered back pocket, 1 zippered thigh pocket

CONVERT TO SHORTS: No

FEATURES: Wind and water resistance, twin needle seams, Tactel fabric, tailored waist, lightweight belt, stuff sack

PROS: Zippered pockets, comfort, lightweight

CONS: Expensive compared to other options

 

Best Pants For Hiking – Hiking Clothes for Summer, Winter, Fall and Spring – Hiking Outfits for Women, Men and Kids – Backpacking Gear For Beginners
4K Shares
Pin4K
Share1
Tweet
Flip