Hiking is about getting outside, reconnecting with nature, and the joy of physical exertion in wild places.
The last thing you want when you’re out in the hills is to have to deal with the nuisance of an uncomfortable or unsuitable pair of pants that just isn’t stretchy or versatile enough for hiking.
If you’re looking to buy a new pair of hiking pants, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all of the choices out there in today’s market.
That’s why we’ve come up with this buyer’s guide to the best hiking pants to help you decide which pair is right for you.
Note: If you’re looking for hiking pants made specifically for women, check out our Women’s Hiking Pants Buyers Guide.
Best for most people: Kathmandu Flinders Men’s Pants
Pros: Lightweight yet durable, water-resistant, two colour options
Cons: No integrated belt
Kathmandu’s Flinders Pants are designed specifically for fast and light hiking. They’re lightweight and durable and are made from a breathable four-way stretch fabric that will move with you.
A DWR finish means they’ll keep water off your legs when it rains, while the elasticated waistband ensures a comfortable fit.
Plus, the two front zip pockets give you plenty of space for all of your valuables.
Best for hot conditions: Macpac Drift Hiking Pants
Pros: Lightweight and comfortable, two colour options, integrated belt, affordable
Cons: Not water-resistant
The Macpac Drift Hiking Pants are lightweight and comfortable. They are moisture-wicking, fast-drying, and provide UPF 50+ sun protection.
There are two hand pockets and two low-profile back pockets that are perfect for storing your phone, map, or snacks while you’re out hiking. The zippered thigh pocket is great for storing smaller items like lip balm, and the webbing belt included with this pair of hiking pants keeps them in place while you’re out on the trail.
When comparing these to the Kathmandu pants reviewed above, consider that the Macpac pants are much lighter weight (280g vs 380g) so might be the best option if you’ll be hiking in hot conditions. However, the Kathmandu pants feature a DWR water-resistant finish, while the Macpac pants do not. Finally, Macpac the pants feature an integrated belt, which some people prefer.
Best convertible: The North Face Paramount Trail
Pros: Convertible to shorts, water-resistant, lightweight, three colours
Cons: Less secure pockets than other options
If you’re looking for a pair of pants that can do it all, check out the North Face Paramount Trail Pants.
These pants are made with a durable, lightweight fabric that’s fast-drying and water-repellent thanks to a DWR finish.
They’re easily convertible from long pants to short by simply zipping off the legs. These versatile pants are perfect for hiking, travel or other outdoor activities where you need to be comfortable and protected from the elements.
Two secure-zip side pockets give you easy access to your essentials while on the go, and an integrated belt keeps your pants in place when you’re moving around. The relaxed fit is comfortable enough for everyday wear around town.
Best for around town: Kuhl RevolvR Hiking pants
Pros: Highly wicking, stylish, good flexibility
Cons: Not water-resistant, not great for wet environments
Kuhl is known for combining style and functionality and the Revolvr pants are no exception.
Constructed out of Kuhl’s proprietary UBERKUHL STRETCH fabric, these pants magically combine the breathability of cotton, the durability of nylon, and the stretchiness of spandex into one great package.
While they’re not water-resistant, the Revolvr pants are wicking, so they’re great for hot and dry conditions when you’re really charging uphill.
Plus, the vintage patina dye that’s built into the fabric helps these pants fade with style, giving them a vintage look after repeated use and multiple washes, so they’ll stay stylish years after purchase.
Best value: Forclaz Men’s Trekking Trousers
Pros: Affordable, stretch zones, multiple pockets, available in different lengths
Cons: Only one colour option
This durable pair of hiking pants is a great choice for anyone who wants to be comfortable and dry while out on the trail.
Forclaz Men’s Trekking Trousers are built to last with fabric inserts that are strong enough to stand up to rugged terrain but still lightweight and breathable.
The stretch fabric at the seat, knees and lower legs ensures that these pants will move with you as you walk, climb or run.
The quick-drying materials will keep you cool in hot weather while the water repellent zones help protect against rain and snow. These trousers have 5 secure pockets so you can keep your valuables safe while out on the trail.
Best for winter: Kathmandu XT Verso
Pros: Durable Water Repellent (DWR) treated, feature-packed
Cons: Only one colour option, less suitable for summer hiking
When you’re out on the trail, you want to be able to move freely and keep warm. That’s why we love Kathmandu’s XT Verso Hiking Pants.
These pants are made with a lightweight, breathable fabric that is wind-resistant and DWR treated for water protection. They also have an articulated fit for increased movement.
These pants feature a microfleece-lined waistband, reinforced scuff guards, four zip pockets, hidden shock-cord closure, and an integrated belt to ensure a secure fit.
Premium option: Arc’teryx Gamma LT Pant
Pros: Great quality, very durable materials, highly weather-resistant
Cons: Very expensive, may be too warm for mid-summer hikes
Arc’teryx consistently creates the ultimate in outdoor performance wear and the Gamma Pants are the epitome of quality.
A versatile and durable pair of hiking pants with high-levels of abrasion resistance and weather resistance, the Gamma is ready for the harshest of conditions.
The Gamma’s fabric is made to move with you as you hike up the trail. Plus, the pants’ slim cut minimizes bulk and reduces the chance that you’ll catch a pant leg on trail debris or a pair of microspikes or snowshoes.
Also Great: Marmot Scree Hiking Pant
Pros: High-quality softshell fabric, water-resistant and breathable, zippered pockets protect gear
Cons: Expensive, might be too warm for summer
The Marmot Scree pants are designed for the mountains. Built with a double weave nylon softshell fabric with plenty of stretch, these pants are both water repellent and breathable for high-octane activities in foul weather.
The zippered hand, back, and cargo pockets are also great for storing maps and compasses while you hike. Plus, the articulated knees and stretchy fabric provide maximum flexibility in the hills.
Hiking Pant Buying Guide
Finding the perfect pair of hiking pants can be a bit challenging. When you’re shopping for your next pair of hiking pants, here are some things to consider:
Type Of Pants
Hiking pants come in three main models: standard, convertible, and roll-up.
Standard pants are exactly what they sound like – a pair of pants made for hiking. They tend to be stretchy, durable, and ready to protect your legs from the elements.
Convertible pants, on the other hand, have zippers just above the knee so they’re quickly convertible to shorts on a hot day.
Roll-up pants combine the best of both worlds, as they offer the protection of a standard pair of pants while also providing buttons or elastic cuffs to help you roll up your pant legs to cool off.
Hiking pants usually offer some sort of weather resistance. This can come in the form of UV ray protection, wind resistance, or some semblance of water resistance. Generally speaking, you’ll pay more for these features, but you may find that they’re worth the investment in certain locales.
As with any piece of clothing, the fit is a critical factor. If a pair of hiking pants just don’t fit right, you’re not likely to wear them on your next trek, so be sure to find a pair of pants that works well with your body type and build.
Fully waterproof pants are not ideal for hiking as they are heavy and not very breathable. For these reasons, most hiking pants are constructed from a lightweight and stretchy material and then treated with a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) finish that causes rain to bead off the surface.