5 Best Pants For Hiking : Complete Reviews for Men and Women

What are the best hiking pants

How to Pick the Best Hiking Pants An A-Z Guide

Choosing the Best Hiking Pants may cause you a headache, as there are hundreds of good products available on the market. This ultimate guide is going to show you what to consider when buying hiking pants.
Regardless of whether you are an experienced or a beginner in hiking, a solid pair of hiking pants are crucial for a wonderful trail. In general, today’s hiking pants offer much more comforts to hikers than their previous counterparts. The first thing to keep in mind is that different pair of pants are made for different conditions. The most important variables to be considered are weather, terrain, and personal comfort and preference.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 15 hrs of research

Columbia silver ridge convertible

Editor's Choice: Columbia Silver Ridge Convertible

Why is it better?

≫ Ultra-light and ultra-thin

≫ Multiple pockets

≫ Convertible pants

94/100
our score
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Researched Sources
4500
Reviews Considered
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Hours Researching
14
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Columbia silver ridge convertible
Products

Editor's Choice: Columbia Silver Ridge Convertible

 

 

Rating
94
Shop Check Price
Materials
98%
Flexibility
95%
Weight
90%
Breathability
93%
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Outdoor research ferrosi pants
Products

Best Summer Hiking Pants: Outdoor Research Ferrosi Pants

 

 

Rating
91
Shop Check Price
Materials
90%
Flexibility
93%
Weight
90%
Breathability
91%
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Arctix men's advantage softshell pants 
Products

Best Winter Hiking Pants: Arctix Men's Advantage Softshell Pants 

 

Rating
89.5
Shop Check Price
Materials
91%
Flexibility
88%
Weight
90%
Breathability
89%
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Women's columbia saturday trail stretch
Products

Best Women’s Legging Overall : Women's Columbia Saturday Trail Stretch

Rating
90.5
Shop Check Price
Materials
92%
Flexibility
91%
Weight
90%
Breathability
89%
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Arc'teryx lefroy pant
Products

Best men's hiking pants: Arc'teryx Lefroy Pant

 

 

Rating
90
Shop Check Price
Materials
91%
Flexibility
89%
Weight
88%
Breathability
92%

1. Editor's Choice: Columbia Silver Ridge Convertible

Columbia silver ridge convertible
94
Materials
98
Flexibility
95
Weight
90
Breathability
93
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Pros:

≫ Ultra-light and ultra-thin

≫ Multiple pockets

≫ Convertible pants

Cons:

≫ 100% nylon fabric

≫ Not breathable, durable, or versatile

≫ Not waterproof and windproof

With an understanding of people who love the outdoors, this company always provide products that are affordable while including all basic features.

This is their most lightweight pair of pants, which is only applicable for tight-budgeted hikers. Overall, the pants do provide some basic features of convertible pants such as zippers, pockets, etc.

This affordable pair of hiking pants is not really recommended to wear when your trail requires a wide range of movement. Its mobility, breathability, and durability are not highly appreciated. 

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2. Best Summer Hiking Pants: Outdoor Research Ferrosi Pants

Outdoor research ferrosi pants
91
Materials
90
Flexibility
93
Weight
90
Breathability
91
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Pros:

≫ UPF 50+

≫ Comfortable, stretchable and breathable

Super mobile

Cons:

≫ Not really durable

≫ Not suitable for winter hiking

The Outdoor Research team believe that if they can convince people to get outside, the world will become better and better. Thus, their products are created to inspire people to get closer to nature. 

In terms of comfort and breathability, these pants can’t be beaten. The pants keep you cool in hot weather while offering quality sun protection. The cut of the pants is so great that it offers fantastic mobility to hikers. The elastic cord at the bottom of each leg cuff is a simple but adequate solution to cool you down in the heat.

Some people say that the pants are too breathable that they are not suitable to wear in cold weather conditions. The durability of the pants is not highly rated, either.

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3. Best Winter Hiking Pants: Arctix Men's Advantage Softshell Pants 

Arctix men's advantage softshell pants 
89.5
Materials
91
Flexibility
88
Weight
90
Breathability
89
BEST OFFER FOR TODAY
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Pros:

≫ Perfect choice for winter 

≫ Waterproof and windproof

≫ Breathable

≫ Zippered hand-warming pockets

Cons:

≫ Not suitable for hot conditions

≫ Thick and heavy 

ARCTIX focuses on making affordable high-quality weatherproof outerwear for winter activities. All products are tested in extreme winter weather.  

The Arctix Men's Advantage Softshell Pants are a perfect choice for winter hiking and snowshoeing. What is great about these pants is that they can keep you warm while preventing excess sweat build-up. The focus is on cold weather hiking; thus, they are wind-resistant and water-resistant. 

They cannot be used in summer, however, as they are heavy and thick.

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4. Best Women’s Legging Overall : Women's Columbia Saturday Trail Stretch

Women's columbia saturday trail stretch
90.5
Materials
92
Flexibility
91
Weight
90
Breathability
89
BEST OFFER FOR TODAY
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Pros:

≫ Lightweight and comfortable 

≫ Affordable

≫ Super breathable

≫ UPF 50+

Cons:

≫ Not suitable for cold weather

≫ Not really waterproof and quick-dry

≫ The pockets are too small to put hands inside

From the cutting edge of technology, all products of Columbia are tested tough to make sure the hikers can enjoy the outdoors longer.

The Omni-shield treatment and UPF 50+ of these pants are highly appreciated, while its price is below $60. Its breathability is among the best compared with other options of the same price. This is a good deal when you think about the fact that you’ll get to have this lightweight pair of pants for a variety of uses.

They are not recommended when hiking in cold weather conditions. Besides, they are not very water-resistant and aren’t as quick-dry as some other models at the same price.

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5. Best men's hiking pants: Arc'teryx Lefroy Pant

Arc'teryx lefroy pant
90
Materials
91
Flexibility
89
Weight
88
Breathability
92
BEST OFFER FOR TODAY
See deal

Pros:

≫ Ultra light and super breathable thanks to the Aequora AirPerm fabric

≫ Stretchable and durable

≫ Versatile

≫ Fashionable 

Cons:

≫ Pricey

≫ Small pockets

This Canadian Company believe that the only way to build the right product is to build a company in the right environment. Idea and manufacture cannot be separated, according to them.

Lefroy’s pants are made from Aequora AirPerm, which makes the pants ultra light and super breathable. The combination of nylon and elastane fibers adds performance stretch. Moreover, the versatility of the pants is highly rated, as they are mainly designed for hiking and trekking, but the design is suitable for travel and casual wear as well. 

Most hikers complain about its price and its small pockets, however.

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In General, What Makes For The Best Hiking Pants?

A combination of the factors listed below is what all hikers should look for when buying hiking pants.

1/ Type

 •    For men

Cargo pants for hiking or combat pants are preferred by many male hikers. They are loose and originally designed for outdoor activities. They look unique thanks to the convenient cargo pockets, which help people to carry items during day trips on foot.

Roll-up pants are another popular kind of hiking pants as they offer more versatility to hikers. They normally come with buttons on the lower leg or elastic in the cuff. This is considered as a solution to excess heat when hiking.

•    For women

Leggings for hiking are especially popular among female hikers. They are light and elastic to help women walk so easily that it could feel like wearing nothing. They are not recommended when hiking through locations with lots of insects.

What Makes For The Best Hiking PantsA Mans legs with ski pants and hiking boots    

2/ Flexibility

Have you ever heard of convertible hiking pants? This kind of pants creates more flexibility for hikers to conquer any trail at any time during the year. These pants for hiking have bottom legs which can be removed to become a pair of shorts.

Moreover, the idea of flexibility also concerns the number of pockets and their sizes to improve the storage during your trail.

3/ Materials

Nowadays, with great achievements in the textile industry, backpacking pants are made of different materials to offer the best comforts to hikers. Overall, synthetic (polyester) and nylon are the two most popular materials used for pants for hiking. This is the reason why hikers often argue about whether nylon or polyester hiking pants are better for outdoor activities. The answer to this question depends on your personal preference.

Nylon was developed by the chemist Dr. Julian Hill in 1930. He discovered a kind of polymer that can remain soft, strong, and flexible. A decade later, polyester was invented.

Nylon and polyester are made of crude oil, but they have different qualities and properties. 

Firstly, nylon absorbs more water, while polyester absorbs more oil. In other words, polyester is suitable to wear in winter as it dries faster and warmer.

How about nylon? When is it good to wear nylon hiking pants?

Nylon is more versatile as it is applicable in warmer weather conditions.

Furthermore, nylon hiking pants today are more comfortable and stretchable, as most manufacturers mix nylon with some spandex or elastane.

The only kind of material that hikers should avoid is cotton. Cotton is unable to offer you a comfortable trail compared to these materials such as nylon, polyester, elastane, etc.

4/ Weight

Next, the weight of hiking pants is another crucial factor when it comes to choosing the best hiking pants.

Ultra-light hiking pants are indispensable when you hike in summer or in certain hot places.

For half-day hikers, ultra-light backpacking pants can be a minor concern, but for a long trail, hikers should take into consideration the weight factor.

5/ Breathability

As you walk during your trail, you’re likely to sweat a lot. Breathable hiking pants can allow sweat to wick away and keep you dry as you hike.

Ventilation zips are a great feature to look for when choosing your hiking pants. Wet pants make you feel sticky and create a bad smell; thus, the quicker your pants can be dried off, the more you would enjoy your trail.

Ventilation zips are an effective way to regulate the temperature. It normally runs along the side of the hip, which allows for good airflow when you open them. Open the zip when you are sweating that bit more and zip back when you start feeling cool.

6/ UPF ratio

Sun exposure is something you need to be very conscious of. When you are out on the trail, you are totally exposed. As you are generally higher up in terms of altitude, you are getting closer and closer to the sunlight, which is really harmful to your skin.

Having a UPF rating is something to look for as part of your hiking pants purchasing decision, especially when you hike in sunnier and hotter climes.

UPF is a new and broad topic, but in general, UPF is a kind of ratio to prove that the clothing contains some elements of protection from the sun.

UPF stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor. More specifically, if a clothing item shows UPF 50, it means that if 50 units of UV fall on the fabric, only 1 unit will pass through to the skin.

This factor is essential to prevent your skin from sunburn and other problems caused by excessive sun exposure.

7/ DWR coating

Water-resistant hiking pants are proved useful for hiking throughout the year, especially during winter.

DWR stands for Durable Water Repellent, which is used to coat the outside of hiking pants. A DWR coating allows your pants to resist water to keep the pants breathable.Please note that even if your pants are coated with DWR, it does not mean that your pants are 100% waterproof. It is recommended to reapply the DWR coating to ensure that the pants continue to perform in this respect.

8/ Price

Price is the last factor on this list, but in fact, it is the decisive factor when choosing the best hiking pants. This, of course, varies depending on the type of pants and their specific function.

In my opinion, you should spend around $50 - $100 on hiking pants. Please be aware that the more functionality you want from your pants, the more expensive they will be.

One more tip is that you can check the price offered on some famous online platforms and try to bargain with your local stores. You may get a great deal!

hiking pants BreathabilityHiker with backpack on top of a mountain

What’s next?

This part is indispensable to make sure you are opting for the best pants for hiking. You must try them on to feel whether the pants provide you with comfort and freedom of movement.

How to test your hiking pants for comfort and freedom of movement

•    Sit down and stand up

Try a larger size or change to another option if you feel tightness when sitting down and standing up.

•    Bend and flex your knees

This is to test if the pants are stretchable enough for hiking. During your movement, if the pants bind at any time, they are not going to make you feel comfortable during your trail.

•    Other motions

Depending on your trail, you may have to perform some particular motions. You should try to duplicate the motions several times before making your final decision.

How about making your purchase online?

My advice is that you can make a list of hiking pants you are considering and then try to go to a sporting goods store to try them on. It may be time consuming, but you may find the best pair of hiking pants at the very best deal when shopping online.

Last, but not least

After you’ve decided to invest in a good pair of hiking pants, you would think of the ways to take care of them. Though you might end up buying very expensive pants, without proper care, your pants cannot last for long. The things we are going to share below are just basic for all kinds of pants. Some pants will require more special care. You should ask the seller for more instructions.

How to take care of your hiking pants?

Storage and cleaning: Remember to wash your hiking pants right after coming back from your trail. The reason is that sweat and bacteria can kill the materials, as they penetrate into the fabrics. If they are still smelly, it is better to hang them out to dry. After that, put them somewhere flat.

Washing: Avoid using hot water and strong detergent. They will not remove stains on your hiking pants but instead, they will wear down the materials and fade. On the sporting goods market, there is a kind of soap used for washing hiking pants. Don’t be worried; the price of the soap is very affordable.

Drying: In any conditions, you should allow your hiking pants to dry out. Please do not put them into your dryer. The extreme heat of the dryer can misshape and over-stretch the pants. Most hiking pants nowadays are made of quick-dry fabric.

How to take care of your hiking pants

Waterproof trekking boots wade a rocky mountain stream

Recommendation

Which hiking pants you are going to buy depends on where your trail is, how often you’ll be suing them, and to do what. You may start hiking and then decide to go camping or climbing. Or you may want a pair of pants that are comfortable enough to wear from trail to town.

It is a bit hard, right?

In reality, it is hard to find a pair of pants which can be suitable for all conditions. Our recommendation is that you buy at least two pairs of hiking pants. One is for hot weather and the other is for cold weather.

In summary, the best hiking pants are the ones made of the mix of materials such as nylon/polyester with some spandex or elastane. Moreover, they need to have at least two pockets for carrying essential items. Breathability is a must to look for when choosing the pants.

Final word

We hope that this guide on how to pick the best hiking pants can somehow help you to make the right decision. Personally speaking, I will be glad to see how technological advancements will enhance the quality and capability of hiking pants in the coming years. I am sure that they will just get better and better.

william  cawley
William is the editor-in-chief at TheKingLive, in which you can come across his writings in almost every imaginable product category. Dog lover, baseball fan, yoga enthusiast, and a believer. Formally working as a freelance copywriter and part-time photographer before channeling his passion into “hunting” for best products available on the market.

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