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Best Hiking Pants: A Buyer’s Guide for the Best Quality and Performance

Russell McCarty
Written by Russell McCarty

The wilderness is not one place that we can say is 100% safe. What you wear while going to spend some time in the wilderness should be something that will cover most parts of your body especially from the waist downwards to the legs. What better clothing could anyone think of apart from pants?

If you happen to be one of those people with the littlest interest in hiking, there is a high chance that you have ever heard of hiking pants. In fact, hiking pants have become a very vital necessity that anyone planning to go hiking should possess. Whether you will be in the wilderness during summer, winter or spring fall; hiking pants will come in handy.

Woman in Hiking Pantsa

If by any chance you have stumbled upon this post then we can comfortably say that you are interested in the best hiking pants. Consider yourself a very lucky person because what you are about to read past this point is exactly what you have been looking for concerning hiking pants.

What is a hiking pant?

You probably own some normal pants right now as you read this. Most normal pants look good especially jeans with some lasting for years. There is a dark underbelly to wearing the normal pants for outdoor activities because most of them are heavy, hot and becomes useless and even dangerous when wet.

Luckily for hikers, hiking pants have salvaged the situation for those hikers who need a comfortable, versatile and practical set of pants for hiking. Hiking pants are lightweight, quick-drying pants made from different types of nylon and are suitable for hiking and other outdoor activities.

Man in Hiking Pants

Hiking pants come with many pockets, are lightweight, have no bulk and also dry very fast. They also feel very comfortable when used for hiking and better still; most of them can be converted into shorts.

How to shop for hiking pants

There are very many kinds of hiking pants on the market right now, and they were not all created equal. Each brand of pants has some specific features that make them stand out from the rest. Due to this fact that each brand of pants has particular features that make them unique, it calls for a lot of research to know all the features of the different brands of hiking pants so as to make an informed decision when purchasing a particular brand of hiking pants.

Basically, we are trying to equip you with the tools you need to be armed with to be able to choose the hiking pant that is right for you. If you find yourself shopping for hiking pants, the following are some of the features that you should consider carefully:

Materials

Most hiking pants are normally made of a nylon blend. Depending on your priorities, we recommend that you look for an elastane (spandex) that will be suitable for a better range of motion. The type of material that your pant is made from will also determine how long your pant will last.

Hiking Pants Material

You don’t want to keep buying hiking pants every month so you must go for one made of a durable material. Most hiking pants made of nylon normally combine sufficient protection from wind and harsh weather with an overall excellent durability and breathability.

Pockets

While not everyone prefers to have so many pockets on their hiking pants as they may be tempted to overload their hiking pants with excess bulk, most hikers like their hiking pants having many pockets. For those hikers who can properly use their pockets, the pockets are a big plus as it means you will have to carry everything that you think you might need while hiking.

Hiking Pants Pockets

If you think you will need to carry a lot of things in your pockets, then go for one with many pockets but if you don’t want the pockets then go for a simple hiking pant.

Integrated belts

Buying a hiking pant that perfectly fits you could sometimes be tricky. If you fall in between the sizes, then you will most likely appreciate having a waistband with some adjustability. The integrated belts could also be very helpful in case you are carrying so much weight in the pockets and the hiking pant seems to sag a little bit.

Hiking Pants Integrated Belt

While going for a hiking pant with an integrated belt seems to be a big plus for hikers, it is good to think twice because those integrated belts that wrap all the way round around the waist add extra bulk which has the potential of interfering the pack’s hip belt.

Water resistance

If you are planning to be going for your outdoor activities during summer then you might need a water resistant hiking pant. You just don’t want the water to get in contact with your body when it rains and you are hiking. Only a water resistant pant can help you in such a situation.

Convertible Pants Water Resistance

Most hiking pants are good in shedding light rain very well because of the durable water repellent coating normally listed as DWR. This water repellent coating works by making the droplets bead up and roll off.

Articulated knees and gussets

These are two wonderful design features that you should look out for as you search for your hiking pant. The articulated knees and gussets should be built in the crotch of the hiking pants. Articulated knees normally mimic people’s walking motions by creating natural bends in the knee areas of the hiking pants.

Hiking Pants Articulated Knees

A gusset, on the other hand, is a patch of diamond shaped fabric that normally runs along the inner thighs of the hiking pants which replace a standard seam. The articulated knee design and the extra fabric will be useful in improving range of motion and the general comfort.

Convertible and roll up pants

The ability to zip off and convert into shorts has made convertible shorts a very popular choice for most all year round hikers and outdoor adventurers. A two in one hiking pant means you will have to pack less clothing while going for the hike and will quickly allow you to increase your leg ventilation. We should keep in mind that while most people appreciate convertible hiking pants, others do not like them.

Convertible Pants

Most people are normally not happy with the look of the pants and most zip off pants may prove to be difficult to use especially the zippers which may sometimes fail and add more weight and bulk to the hiking pant no matter how they are designed.

If you consider these features keenly while looking for a hiking pant, the chances that you will get it all wrong are close to zero. As a matter of fact, you are more likely to get what is right for you and never regret it at all. We have discussed into details some of the best pairs of hiking pants that are currently available on the market.

Top hiking pants available on the market

Whether this will be your first time going for a hike or you have been camping seasonally, you will most likely find a hiking pant that melts your heart in this comprehensive compilation.

Outdoor Research Ferrosi Pants

Weight: 12 ouncesOutdoor Research Ferrosi Pants

Dimensions: 9 x 10 x 6 inches

Features: Blend, zippered pocket on thigh, abrasion and wind-resistant nylon/spandex stretch-woven ripstop, 2 front slash pockets; 2 zippered back pockets

Best use: Hiking, pack packing, trailing, scrambling, climbing

If you are looking for an ideal climbing and hiking soft shell pant, then the Outdoor Research Ferrosi Pants should be your number one choice. These hiking pants are water resistant, wind resistant, breathable, lightweight, quick-drying and durable among many other great features.

These hiking pants offer ample stretch necessary for smooth movement. It is also worth noting that they are tough and resistant to abrasion against jagged rocks. These hiking pants are also very comfortable to wear because of the free-hanging brushed tricot lining. They are also very stretchy.

The good news is that these hiking pants come at an affordable price. These pants can be used almost anywhere whether you will be hiking or skiing meaning that they can be used in hot and cold weather. They are also super packable and weigh very less. The only thing that most people who love pockets would not be happy with in this hiking pant is the somewhat small front pockets. If you don’t fancy pockets, then this hiking pant is just right for you.

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Prna Zion Inseam Pants

Weight: 15 ouncesprAna Zion Inseam Pants

Dimensions: 32 x 32 inches

Features: Abrasion resistant, quick dry stretch performance fabric, original stretch ‘Zion’ fabric with durable water repellent (DWR) finish, 100% Other Fibers, ventilated inseam gusset

Best of Use: Rock climbing, hiking, pack packing, trekking

These hiking pants have been designed to take on your toughest demands. These Prna Zion Inseam Pants are packed with action durability. The material used to make these pants is an ultra-resilient fabric that is both water and abrasion resistant. What’s more, there is also an included ventilated inseam gusset responsible for providing a full range of motion.

With the streamlined adjustable waist and roll-up leg snaps, this hiking pant provides a lot of versatility for wherever the day may take you. It is worth noting that these hiking pants are very light, dry very fast and are very comfortable to wear. If you love climbing rocks, then these should be your ideal hiking pants.

These pants has understated everyday style by going with a performance ability for several weeks in the wilderness. The only shortcomings of these hiking pants that we can inform you about are the somehow short depth front side pockets and a short front fly zipper depth.

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Columbia Silver Ridge Convertible Pant

Weight: 14.4 ouncesColumbia Convertible Pants

Dimensions: 28 x 32 inches

Features: Omni-wick advanced evaporation technology, omni-shade UPF 50 sun protection; zip-off legs convert pant to short with 10″ inseam, straight-leg convertible pant with side cargo pockets, belted waist, and rear flap pocket, 100% Nylon

Best of Use: Hiking, pack packing, trailing, scrambling, climbing

Most manufacturers normally try their best to make hiking pants that offer a great balance of performance, features and style. This Columbia Silver Ridge Convertible Pant fits the bill because it checks all the boxes that make a hiking pant an extraordinary one. If you have been worried about sunburns while in the wilderness then it’s time to forget all your worries as this hiking pant blocks UVA and UVB rays to help in preventing sunburn and long-term damage to the skin.

The material used in making these hiking pants is light, stretchy and durable. The fabric seems to have been developed in the future and sent to Columbia by a time machine. Another great aspect of this hiking pant is that it is convertible and can be converted into a short very fast. This makes sure that you carry fewer luggage in your backpack as you go hiking.

Did we mention how efficient these hiking pants are when it comes to wicking away moisture? The omni-wick advanced evaporation technology makes sure that you will always feel comfortable on your skin while hiking especially in hot weather. If you like deeper front pockets, then that is the only thing that will get you disappointed with this hiking pant.

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Patagonia Quandary Pants

Weight: 7.2 ouncesPatagonia Pants

Dimensions: 12 x 6.7 x 2.7 inches

Features: Lightweight stretch-woven nylon/spandex blend, 40-UPF sun protection, DWR (durable water repellent) finish, slim-straight fit, 2 handwarmer pockets, one right coin pocket, one zippered pocket on the right thigh, metal button closure with zip fly

Best of Use: Rock climbing, hiking, pack packing, trekking

If you are looking for a multifunctional hiking pant that will be suitable to be used almost anywhere then the Patagonia Quandary Hiking Pants have been made specifically for you. These hiking pants will make every hiker’s dreams come true. They are all season pants that have been made using a strong, lightweight, stretchy woven nylon/spandex blend with a durable water repellent (DWR) finish and 40 UPF sun protection.

These hiking pants are very comfortable and will offer the best performance for you to explore some of the wildest places you can ever think of.  What’s more, the curved waistband will follow your hips’ contours for a personalised fit. The knee articulation and gusseted crotch come in handy in allowing a full range of motion. If you love many pockets, then this is the hiking pant you should buy.

It has two front hands warmer pockets to keep your hands warm in the wilderness, two rear pockets and another side leg pocket which has a security zipper which will help you stay organised and know all the items in each pocket.

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Arc’teryx Palisade Pant

Weight: 1.1 poundsArc'teryx Palisade Pants

Dimensions: 17 x 15 x 3 inches

Features: Integrated belt, 2 zippered front, 2 zippered thigh, TerraTex (94% nylon, 6% elastane)

Best of Use: Hiking, pack packing, trailing, trekking, scrambling, climbing

Wearing Arc’teryx Palisade Pants on the trail is as comfortable as someone wearing a pair of shorts to hot yoga. You are going to fall in love with these hiking pants as they will not let you down whether you will be hiking in winter or summer. Go for your adventure in hot, muggy weather or even in freezing cold places and you will still stay dry and comfortable.

The waist is exceptionally soft and this will make a big difference especially if you will be wearing a backpack. The pockets are located just at the right places. With the many pockets, you will be able to keep your snacks, maps and even cameras with you as you go about exploring the wilderness.

You will agree with me that a lot of thought and care went into the design of this hiking pant. These hiking pants are ideal for almost anything be it hiking, backpacking or even climbing rocks and mountains. These hiking pants are somehow expensive but you will never regret spending your hard earned cash on these hiking pants.

Did we mention that these hiking pants are also slim fit? If you don’t want to appear baggy while enjoying the adventure in the wilderness, this is the ideal hiking pant to go for. What’s more, with the integrated belt just about anyone can use these hiking pants.

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Rab Vertex Pant

Weight: 8 ouncesRab Vertex Pants

Dimensions: 13 x 6.8 x 2.9 inches

Features: Double snap waist closure, belt loops, hem draw cord, knee articulation,2 YKK zipped hand warmer pockets, 1 YKK zipped thigh pocket, 35+ UPF rating

Best of Use: Hiking, pack packing, trailing, trekking, scrambling, climbing

Rab’s Vertex Pants are a lightweight mountain climbing pants with an incredible stretch that will surely move with your entire camping activities. The Vertex is generally a versatile hiking pant that is ideal for your fair weather activities. Rab’s design know-how has manifested itself in a plethora of creative touches that help these pants excel in the wilderness.

The availability of the hem draw- cords adds lots of versatility to this hiking pant. The fabric used to manufacture these pants is very stretchy and light making these hiking pants to be ideal for warmer days. Did we mention that these pants have articulated knees?

These articulated knees ensure that there is very little resistance throughout the hiking pant. The hand warmer pockets and the thigh pocket will make sure that you are always organised by knowing which pocket to use to carry various things like maps, cameras and compasses. Sadly, these hiking pants lack anti-microbial treatment meaning that the pants work up an unattractive stink that might upset your tent mates if you will be hiking for many days.

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Columbia Royce Peak Pants

Weight: 1.1 poundsColumbia Royce Peak

Dimensions: 19 x 14 x 3 inches

Features: 96% nylon/4& elastane, zip-closed security pocket, straight leg, 2-way comfort stretch, gusset detail

Best of use: Rock climbing, hiking, pack packing, trekking

If by any chance you are looking for a hiking pant with clean lines as well as modern functionality, look no further as the Columbia Royce Peak is here for you. This pant boasts of the best Omni-shade UPF sun protection(UPF 50). Due to the Omni-Shield technology, this hiking pant is capable of shedding moisture as well as stains and is, therefore, ideal for both outdoor and indoor use.

This hiking pant has some of the best pockets that will make sure that you keep your things stored without even worrying about losing them because these pockets have a hook and loop closure. These pant is more or less like pyjama pants, and are exceptionally good on the trail. In case the hiking pants come into contact with water, the water will bead off, and if it happens that the pants get wet, then it dries off very quickly.

These hiking pants are also ideal for all the three seasons and are very comfortable to wear for longer periods of time. The only thing you should be concerned about is the meshed pockets; this is because if you carry anything sharp in your pockets like keys then the keys can cut the pockets.

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REI Classic Sahara Convertible Pant

Weight: 13 ouncesREI Co-Op Sahara Convertible Pants

Dimensions: 13 x 6.6 x 2.8 inches

Features: 50+ UPF rating, reinforced cuff backs, several pockets, relaxed fit, soft waistband liner, flat seams, lightweight nylon fabric with durable water repellent (DRW) finish, no-sit zippers

Best of use: Hiking, travelling, trailing, trekking, scrambling, climbing

Recreational Equipment Incorporation (REI) is a very popular name when it comes to offering outdoor recreation services. One of the best hiking pants that they have introduced onto the market is the REI Classic Sahara Convertible Pant. This hiking pant is lightweight and therefore will be ideal for many hikers. These hiking pants also offer a zipper design that is efficient in offering a quick and easy transition from pants to shorts.

These pants will protect you from the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun because of the 50+ UPF rating. The relaxed fit of this hiking pant will allow you to move comfortably. What’s more, the reinforced cuff backs will help in dealing with the abrasion from the boots.

If you love carrying so many essentials to the wilderness while hiking, then the many pockets with secure zip closures or secure hook and loop closures will come in handy for you. Did we mention that this hiking pant is made using a lightweight nylon fabric that packs small, sheds precipitation and dries very fast?

Most of these hiking pants are not very expensive. They are generally affordable, and anyone who wants quality hiking pants can buy them. We highly recommend that you check our top list to get some of the best hiking pants that money can buy.

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Happy adventures!

Whether you are man or a lady, hiking pants are very important whenever you will be going to the wilderness for one reason or another. These pants will play a significant role in making sure that you enjoy your time in the wilderness and above all stay safe and healthy.

Best Hiking Pants

If you anticipate that you will be spending a lot of your time in the wilderness, then these hiking pants listed above are just perfect for you. According to your own tastes and preferences, we are sure you will be able to get one hiking pant that fully suits your needs.

Do you believe there is a hiking pant that deserves to be on this article but did not make it? Do you prefer any of the hiking pants that we listed above? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Russell McCarty
Russell McCarty

Russell considers backpacking one of his great passions in life. He actually managed to transform his passion into a living becoming a professional adventurer. Russell loves long-distance backpacking and he enriched his portfolio with famous trails like the Alaska-Yukon Expedition or the Appalachian Trail. With thousands of miles under his feet, Russell is the expert to consult when it comes to how to prepare for a successful outdoor adventure.

  • Paul Magda

    I think the Columbia Royce Peak Pants are about the perfect pants for outdoors. They’re tough, quiet, and have a great fit. They also appear to be stain resistant; important for outdoors pants!

  • Russell McCarty

    This is one of the best pants around – look, UPF50! That’s a lot of protection and most users are also looking for these excellent feature. Their Omni-shield technology is one of the best in the industry and affordable, too. You can even buy several to use off-track.

  • Michelle Decker

    Now, I can’t say this for certain, but I think the REI Classic Sahara Convertible Pant has become my guy’s favorite pair of pants because he is wearing them on almost all of the hikes we go on! Water beads right off of it, they dry fast and it’s just an overall great three seasons pair of pants; good for temperatures from 40 degrees to 80 degrees.

  • Russell McCarty

    Whoever thought about creating this convertible pants is a genius, don’t you think? I love convertible pants and it’s great to wear this. You can easily change from pants to shorts in not time- amazing!

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