Have you ever tried to find the best means to be comfortable while you’re hiking? Being up in the mountains can get very chilly in the early hours, but once you get going, it can start to feel sweltering. Instead of carrying a change of pants with you, it’s time to invest in the best rock climbing pants the market has to offer so that you can get the most out of your hiking experience.
Rock climbing pants are designed to be comfortable, providing insulation when it’s needed while still wicking away moisture when the going gets tough. They’re also designed to move with you, so forget those stiff pair of denim jeans that will hinder you from discovering your full potential.
However, shopping for climbing pants can presents its own set of challenges. Don’t worry because we’re here to help you out. So instead of shopping by yourself, we’ll go over what to look for in climbing pants so you end up both comfortable and protected. So let’s get going!
Our Top Picks
|Product Name||Water resistance||Fabric||Sizes||Price|
|Geval Women's Outdoor Pants||Water repellent||100% polyester||X-Small, Small, Medium, and Large||Check price on Amazon|
|Geval Men's Quick Drying Outdoor Pants||Not water resistant, but dry quickly||100% ripstop nylon||X-Small, Small, Medium, Large, X-Large||Check price on Amazon|
|Singbring Men's Hiking Mountain Pants||Water resistant||Softshell polyester||Small, Medium, Large, X-Large||Check price on Amazon|
|Outdoor Leisure Climbing Quick Dry Pants||Waterproof||Abrasion-resistant nylon||Small, Medium, Large, X-Large (tags are in Asian sizes, so are larger)||Check price on Amazon|
|Ucraft "XLite" Rock Climbing Pants||Not water resistant, but dry quickly||92% polyester and 8% elastin firm.||X-Small, Small, Medium, Large||Check price on Amazon|
|Mr. Stream Men's Outdoor Convertible Pants||Not water resistant, but dry quickly||100% nylon||XX-Small, X-Small, Small, Small Plus, Medium, Large, Large Plus, X-Large||Check price on Amazon|
|Nonwe Men's Cargo Pants||Water resistant||88% nylon and 12% spandex||X-Small, Small, Medium, Large, X-Large, XX-Large (in both regular and long sizes)||Check price on Amazon|
Things to Consider Before Buying
What will ultimately decide your climbing pant choice will involve a combination of aspects that are most important to you. We’ll discuss these aspects in great detail so that you can come to terms with what you’ll really be using these rock climbing pants for. Here’s what you should keep in mind during your next shopping trip.
Indoor or Outdoor Climbing?
Ask yourself this before we get caught up on things like fabric and style of pockets: where are you going to be climbing? Indoor or outdoor?
Climbing gyms do offer more predictability than the outdoors so that you predict what each trip to the climbing wall will be like. The walls aren’t as rough as real rocks and the temperature is controlled, so you might not need long pants. Climbing shorts may be more your style, or at least convertible climbing pants so that you can switch them up, depending on the temperature inside.
If you are climbing outdoors, there is much less predictability in both terrain and weather. To avoid scrapes and bruises, you might want longer pants. Even the type of terrain can sway your decision and narrow your options.
Consider the types of rocks and vegetation you’ll encounter. If you’ll be encountering something like cacti, consider a thicker fabric for your pants. To prepare for the weather, you might want something waterproof or water-resistant, as well as reflective if you’re climbing in dusk or fog.
The main purpose of climbing pants is to protect your skin and keep you warm. Many climbers prefer shorts because they’re the coolest, but you’ve got other options too.
For colder environments, however, a full pant or three-quarters might be better for you. The longer the pants, the more protection from not only the rocks, but the sun as well, especially if you burn easily. The one warning about long pants however, is that you want to make sure that the legs aren’t so long that they would interfere with your footwork. If you find yourself stepping on them, try cuffing them up.
Like with most outdoor clothing, cotton isn’t a great option for climbing pants. When it gets wet, cotton gets soggy and terribly uncomfortable. It can weigh you down and even put you at risk for hypothermia. Look for synthetic materials like nylon or polyester, as they help to wick moisture away from you. Spandex and Lycra can be good options for those who want to engage in casual indoor climbing.
Another aspect of fabric is how restrictive they are. Denim and cotton T-shirts are only going to make you miserable; breathable fabrics that move with your body will help you to stay more comfortable, no matter how long you’ve been climbing for. Fabric that is too stiff will lead to abrasions as it rubs against your skin, so consider soft, stretchy fabric as your best choice.
As simple as it sounds, get the right size pants. Too tight or too loose can cause discomfort and hazards. Make sure you’re buying pants in the correct size by looking at the waist measurement, which we’ve done for the products listed below.
Adjustable waistbands and belts can provide extra comfort as your weight fluctuates on long trips, which is another point to consider before purchasing. Rock climbing is an ordeal, so it can put a toll on the body that results in weight loss/gain, depending on your level of activity and your calorie intake.
Last but certainly not the least, you need to get a pair of climbing pants that provide the best fit. This is not just in terms of looks, but comfort and performance as well.
You should pay attention to the fit of the pants and evaluate if it’s something that you will want. Ill-fitting pants will not only do more than compromise your getup but it can greatly affect overall comfort and climbing performance.
Best Products on Today’s Market
With all of these features laid out for you, it’s time to take a look at the best products in the market. Not only will they provide you with comfort during your climb, but they also won’t break your wallet. These products are affordable, can take the punishment of any climb, and also look great.
Price: $31 – $40
Fabric: 100% Polyester
Specific features: Two zip pockets, zipper closure, breathable coating, surface layer water repellent, inner layer polar fleece, come in two colors
Best use: Climbing, winter sports, camping, hiking
Description: The Geval Women’s Outdoor Pants are a good option for colder weather climbing. They’re not only great at keeping you warm but they won’t limit your mobility. You can stretch and move in these pants quite easily, so you won’t feel worn down or hindered while hiking. After all, you’re going to need all of that energy to get back to your campsite at the end of the day, and you don’t want to waste it battling against your own clothing.
These pants run true to size but it’s worth noting that customers have said they aren’t as narrow or skinny legged as they had anticipated. They fit inside boots as well as outside of them, and have elastic in the ankles to keep the warmth in.
The large pockets are also large enough to store the smaller objects you have with you that you’re not interested in leaving behind in your tent. This is especially important for those who are keen on using their GPS to get around in the woods without getting lost.
- Keep you warm
- Variety of size options
- Large pockets
- Could have more pockets
- A bit expensive
Related: Nothing is more uncomfortable than being cold all night long in your tent. Keep the chill away with the Rocky Women’s Thermal Underwear Set, available in a wide range of wonderful colors. You can sleep in this alone with just your sleeping bag for comfort, or you can wear these under your clothing during those wintery months when you need the extra help in staying warm.
Price: $23 – $38
Fabric: 100% nylon ripstop
Specific features: Zipper closure, lightweight and moisture wicking, designed for warmer temperatures in mind, Omni-Shade UPF 40+ sun protection, exterior adjustable waistband, zip-off legs convert pants to knee length shorts, come in five colors
Best use: Climbing, hiking, camping, summer sports, traveling, fishing
The Geval Men’s Quick Drying Outdoor Pants are unique in that they are convertible pants. Just zip off the bottom halves of the pants to get shorts that fall just below the knee. The pants legs are also interchangeable so there’s no need to keep track of which bottom leg belongs to which top half of pants leg. This added convenience is a valuable feature for some multi-sport and multi-weather adventurers.
By carrying one pant, you’ll save on weight by not carrying a long pant and shorts. Each pocket on these pants is zippered, keeping your belongings secure. The pockets are on the front, sides of the thigh, and on the back. The front and back pockets have zipper pulls.
The fly on these pants closes with a zipper as well as a hook. These pants are straight legged and slim fitting, with an elastic waistband. Other features include an ultra-light nylon webbing belt to help you keep your pants up if you find that you’ve gotten a size that’s a little too big.
- Dry quickly
- Feel cheap for the price
- Threading frays with wear
- Length is a bit long
Related: Nothing says being prepared like having the means to see where you’re going, long after the sun has set. With the Lighting EVER LED Headlamp, you’ll be able to see your path while still keeping your hands free. On its brightest setting, the beam distance is more than 20 feet, which is a lot more than you’ll ever need. It’s not only useful for hiking either. Wear it while you’re biking so that drivers will notice you; work on your car in the garage; or just take your dog for a late evening walk.
Price: $28 – $30
Fabric: Softshell polyester
Specific features: Adjustable waist for comfortable fit, zippered front pockets, waterproof, runs small, come in seven colors
Best use: Three season (Spring, Summer, Autumn), climbing, hiking, traveling, camping, mountaineering, fishing
The Singbring Men’s Hiking Mountain Pants have all of the features that you’ll ever need in hiking pants without overburdening you with choices you’ll never use. They are designed with comfort in mind, providing you with both an elastic waist as well as an ultra-light nylon belt. That means no struggling to hike your pants up every few minutes, which is when you need your hands the most.
And don’t worry about leaving your gear behind; the pockets on these pants are on the front (two) and one on the back (right). They are deep and zippered so you’ll never have to worry about losing or dropping items out of these secure pockets. You can take your keys with you, your mp3 player, and a protein bar to provide you the energy you need to keep going. The possibilities of what you can keep in these deep pockets are endless.
- Fit well
- Not as waterproof as stated
- Can tear easily
- Could have more pockets
Related: Why get stuck out in the rain during your hiking trip when you can get the GIVBRO Hooded Softshell Jacket to keep you warm and dry? Available in four wonderful colors, this jacket will keep you dry in two ways. First, it’s water-resistant, so that means not worry about rainfall, and it also wicks away moisture from the skin with its breathable fabric. At the same time, this jacket won’t let in all of that cold air, so you can still remain warm when you need to.
Price: $30 – $33
Fabric: Two and four-way stretch fabrics, abrasion-resistant nylon
Specific features: Wicks moisture quickly, stretches for a wide range of motion, breathable, soft, come in four colors, UPF 40 sun protection
Best use: Climbing, hiking, traveling, camping, mountaineering, and fishing
The Outdoor Leisure Climbing Quick Dry Pants are multi-purpose pants that stretch easily for comfortable mobility. They’re also lightweight and packable which makes them easy to wear and store, especially if weight and space are a concern. Just fold them up easily and shove them to one side of your gear pack, and you’re ready to go. Invest in a few pairs to add some variety to your outfits, as well as having a backup pair in case something happens.
These pants stand up to the elements too. They are waterproof as well as windproof but they have that noisy, crinkly, wind-pants feel which bother some customers. However, the nylon material makes these pants soft and a great option to protect you from the sun, so it may be easy to ignore all the noise they make. Unless you’re going on a bird viewing expedition that requires you to be absolutely quiet, there’s no reason to be bothered by the crinkly material.
- Fit comfortably
- Keeps you dry
- Legs are a little long
- Feel somewhat cheap
Related: What’s the point of hiking if your feet aren’t comfortable? Instead of hiking with bunions and callouses, consider adding the innotree Two-pack Merino Hiking Socks to your hiking arsenal. They’re cushioned in all the right places so that your heels and toes aren’t taking all the damage from your journey. They’re also breathable, so your feet won’t sweat and increase your chances of contracting Athelete’s Foot.
Price: $43 – $67
Fabric: 92% polyester and 8% elastane
Specific features: Belt with natural thin elastic, ankle drawstrings, breathable, durable fabric offers protection from terrain, three outer pockets, one zippered pocket, come in four colors, chalk bag loop
Best use: Climbing, hiking, camping, yoga, tai chi, capoeira, slacklining, trampoline
The Ucraft “Xlite” Rock Climbing Yoga Pants were designed by professional climbers. They are made of strong, breathable fabric that moves with you, allowing you to engage in those difficult climbs without feeling held back.
These pants stand up well in abrasive environments, such as those in Red Rock Park in Nevada, which features not only rocks but tough vegetation too. That goes to show that these pants were designed to withstand a lot of punishment and won’t give out after just one trip. They will last from hike to hike, climb to climb, but are also soft enough that they won’t cause any abrasions on your skin.
They are also versatile enough to be used just about anywhere: yoga class, running, or even gymnastics. As comfortable as they are attractive, you’ll run out of exercise regimens to wear these in. The knees of the pants have been anatomically curved with your comfort and expansive range of motion in mind.
- Fabric is a bit thin
Related: Don’t lose your grip with the Black Diamond White Gold Loose Chalk. The packaging comes with magnesium carbonate-filled mesh balls that are easy to pick up and apply the chalk to your hands without creating too much of a mess. It’s designed to keep the sweat away to maximize on your grip power during your rock climbing excursion.
Price: Approx. $30
Fabric: 100% nylon
Specific features: Lightweight, it’s quick drying and breathable, exterior adjustable waistband, zip-off Legs, Omni sun protection, can be folded into a smaller volume, one center button, front fly zipper, six closed zipper pockets, come in four colors
Best use: Climbing, hiking, camping, traveling, three seasons (Spring, Summer, Autumn)
These Mr. Stream Men’s Outdoor Convertible Pants are as comfortable as they are useful for outdoor sports. Made from nylon, they are great against the elements, keeping you cool, dry, and protected from the sun.
They also don’t take up much weight or space. When it’s getting too hot, just undo the zippers at the knees, and you have a lovely pair of shorts, allowing you to stay cool, no matter the weather.
Because of the material, these pants have more of a windbreaker feel to them. An elastic band at the waist for added stretch and comfort is another worthwhile feature of these pants. Customers report that these pants tend to run small and a little long which might be fine if you like to tuck your pants into your boots to cuff them to keep out the wind.
The closed zipper pocket is also guaranteed to keep your belongings exactly where they are, so you won’t risk losing and breaking your small gadgets and electronics while you’re in the middle of climbing.
- Zippers are a bit cheap
- Stitching can tear if you’re not careful
Related: Staying hydrated is important, especially when you’re out in the wilderness with very few sources of clean drinking water. Put your mind at ease with the Platypus Big Zip LP Reservoir, hydration bladder that comes in 3-litre, 2-litre, and 1.5-litre sizes. No more carrying a water bottle, weighing you down. Instead, this fits neatly inside any backpack, and has a hydration nozzle that you can drink directly from without pulling the bladder out.
Price: $25 – $36
Fabric: 88% Nylon and 12% Spandex, elastic on each side of the waist to help with the fit
Specific features: Button with zipper fly closure, zipper pocket at side, Velcro pocket at back, water-resistant, breathable, lightweight, quick dry, comes in seven colors
Best use: Climbing, hiking, camping, traveling
The Nonwe Men’s Cargo Pants are built for warm weather sports. They’re water resistant, quick drying, lightweight, and feature a partially adjustable waist and multifunctional pockets. The pockets are fairly deep and all have zippers to keep your stuff exactly where you need them to be.
The pocket on the leg is big enough for a passport, for example. The right leg pocket has a flap with Velcro for easy access. The internal pockets are all mesh which adds to these pants’ light weight and fast-drying nature.
There are belt loops on these pants as well, if the wearer wanted to attach a casual use carabiner or belt. These pants run true to size and have gussets at the knees to allow for a deeper and more comfortable bend when scaling rocks. They are 12% spandex which makes for a light but comfortable stretch. You’ll still have form fitting pants but with the right amount of give.
- Reduced water-resistance over time
Related: Being comfortable while you’re going up and down the trails is vital, and you can’t do that without a good pair of hiking boots on your side. Try out these KEEN Men’s Targhee II Hiking Boots to provide you with the traction you need over those rough and uneven terrains. They have a low profile so your ankle won’t feel restricted, and the leather will wear in with use to get that perfect, comfortable feeling with every curve and bend of your foot.
In this article we’ve discussed what makes up a decent climbing pants, as well as provided you with a list of some of the greatest products out there, and we hope you’ve gotten a clear look at what you should be looking at during your outdoor shopping spree. It’s not enough that you go out and purchase the first thing you find or see on TV. Instead, putting some real thought in what you want to get out of your hiking pants will only lead you to success.
Let us know in the comments below what you climb in and what you’d want to try! We’d love to share your words with other readers.