Hiking requires us to venture back into nature and hits that primal sweet spot that still craves mud, crisp air, and non-manicured bushes.
Most of us are confined to the polished, environmentally controlled setting of an office throughout the week. Therefore, your weekend escapades are likely to come as a welcome respite – but one that will need appropriate gear and special clothes. Hiking pants must be baggy enough to be comfortable, but resist the frequent scratches and unpredictable weather of the mountains.
The best hiking pants listed below will protect you from the elements and provide you with clever and comfortable advantages.
As its name clearly suggests, 5.11 Tactical Wear is devoted first and foremost to hunters, military, and other lovers of the extreme, but that makes their hiking pants extremely resilient, rather than cumbersome. The brand’s motto is “always be ready,” and their TacLite Pro model stays true to this philosophy. We all may want our next hike to be seamless, but if you know you will be seeking extra risks, then these are the kind of pants that will watch your six.
Made from mechanically-stretched rip-stop cotton with a bit of polyester, these are great pants for anyone who likes to venture into craggy mountains or rough terrains. When it comes to sturdiness, these pants go above and beyond the basic perks. The fabric is treated with Teflon, and all inseam and delicate angles are gusseted and reinforced in order to ensure their durability.
Finally, these pants are equipped with 8 different pockets, which include a pair of standard, roomy pockets, cargo pockets, a strap and slash seat pocket, and a big knife pocket. They come in 9 different colors, so you can match them with your favorite hiking boots.
The North Face may have leapt into the mainstream arena of mall wear, but they have not stopped devoting most of their R&D budget to their first love: outdoors and mountain gear that will resist harsh climates while still looking classy. Their Paramount convertible pants are a great example of this. They will not look odd at a tailgate party or barbecue, but they won’t leave you unprotected in the wilderness.
The remarkably wide leg opening (which offers a full 15.25 inches of space) and the flexible yet firm materials offer a neat look that still allow you to move freely and securely. The zip-off legs allow you to turn these moisture-wicking and snug pants into 9-inch shorts in a matter of seconds – but what’s rarer is that they can be reassembled in less than a minute. The knees are darted, and the waistband hides a drawcord beneath the expected button and zipper, which enhances comfort significantly.
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The versatility offered by convertible pants is exactly what makes a great investment, even if it’s for weekend gear. This may be why convertible pants are the new hit model in the hiking niche, and why MIER has so excitedly embraced them in their new collection. As a brand, MIER has recently become one of the most popular names for travelers and backpackers thanks to their range of insulated backpacks, cooling lunch boxes, and warm winter gear.
Their Quick Dry cargo pants are made from a relatively simple blend of polyester and elastane that keeps the overall product light and breezy. If the day is chilly, these may not be the ideal companions – at least not until you’ve tried a couple of sprints. On the other hand, the 4-way stretch fabric will keep you comfortable even during the height of summer, and if things get too steamy, a quick dip in the river will be an easy option. Simply turn them into 9-inch shorts and keep everything secure in any of its 8 pocket or its hook and loop watch pocket.
Although founded in California, Patagonia has never strayed far from the remote locations that provided it with its name, or its founders with their lifeblood. The company began as a one-man operation in Yvon Chouinard’s backyard but has now transformed itself into one of the most easily recognizable names among hikers and mountain climbers. They were among the first to introduce fashion and color into sportswear and have persisted in their efforts to create beautiful yet functional clothes.
The straight-lined and smooth Quandary model looks deceptively elegant, for example. However, it is made from a highly resilient stretch-woven fabric, equipped with moisture-wicking capabilities, a sleek DWR finish, and UPF 50 sun protection. Nevertheless, they remain warm and wrinkle-resistant and are therefore great travel pants, and ideal for a casual Friday at the office. They are available in 4 different colors.
Although CQR chose to market these as “tactical,” the truth is that they make for a superb hiking and hunting option. CQR is a newcomer to the outdoors game, and they have mostly devoted itself to providing affordable alternatives to Big Brand names. However, it is hard to miss the plain truth: they have struck gold with this model, as they have hit the elusive mid-point between quality, durability, and friendliness.
These pants are made from a polyester and rip-stop Duratex blend, which sharply increases their resistance when compared with similar polyester and cotton alternatives. The 8 cargo pockets offer enough room to carry all the basics for quick escapades and long camping trips alike. The knees and sitting area are reinforced and quick-wicking, which ensures the pants will remain functional even after a fall or two. The baggy fit allows you to hide polypro underpants during the winter without sacrificing some much-needed breeze during the summer.
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Cheeky and innovative, COALATREE specializes in eco-friendly products that can help you experience the wonders of roughing it under the stars. Founded in Utah, this company has quickly embraced the “mountain to city” lifestyle by ensuring all their products remain flexible and versatile, yet capable of resisting the unexpected.
Take their Trailhead “Adventure” Pants. Equally useful while kayaking or biking through the mountains, they are essentially hiking pants. Made from recyclable and sustainable materials, their unique four-way stretchy fabric will keep you comfy while traveling, jogging, and climbing rocky surfaces.
They are antimicrobial, quick to dry, and resist stains. The ergonomic crotch gusset and reinforced pockets, which will extend their shelf life for much longer. Finally, the DWR finish was applied using vapor deposition, which keeps the fabric soft and their factory’s surroundings cleaner.
Our guide on top-rated water shoes for hiking offers more reliable products for hikers. Don’t miss them.
A premium supplier targeted at professional athletes and devoted mountaineers; Fjallraven pays homage to its Nordic origins by providing one of the top-ranked winter gear lines currently available. This is the brand to chase if you are planning a demanding winter hike, whether it’s in the Andes or the Fjords.
At first glance, they look simple enough to go unnoticed. The fabric is 100% polyester, which has an undeserved poor reputation when it comes to odors and climate resistance. However, the three-layered fabric will keep warmth in while still allowing enough opportunities for your skin to breathe. The full-length zippers further improve their adaptability to changing weather without compromising mobility.
The lower legs and knees are reinforced to add extra resistance if you fall or slide over rocks. Fully wind proofed and waterproofed, these pants are available in dark olive and black.
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This Canadian winter gear supplier firmly believes that there is always room for improvement. Whether it’s about manufacturing technology, sourcing of materials, or talent recruitment, they never stop looking for the edges that still need to be smoothed out – or even revamped altogether.
It is clear that the Gamma LT Pant is the result of an ongoing development process. Their elastane, polyester, and nylon blend is light, easy to compress, and wrinkle resistant. It can also be machine-washed and tumble-dried with minimal nuisance, ensuring your pants will always be ready before the next hike.
They’re also equipped with an extra soft-shell layer that preserves warmth and protects them from tears and scratches. A zipper-protected thigh pocket and a sturdy embedded tactical belt complete the ensemble, which offers room for all your gadgets without leaving anything to chance.
Started in 1993, Mountain Hardwear began as a response to what the founders found was an unimaginative and unexciting outdoor wear market. They have devoted themselves to designing a range of products that can serve professional athletes and weekend hobbyists alike. In order to do this, they combine high-quality materials, eye-catching designs, and comfortable fabrics.
This is why their Chockstone Hike pant are made from a softshell, double-wave synthetic blend that is capable of keeping you simultaneously warm and dry for hours on end. The design includes a straight leg cut, which fits snugly on top but offers wide knee movements and enough room for zipper-secured cargo pockets. The integrated belt offers extra loopholes that will allow you to easily secure your utility knife, compass, or other useful gadgets. This model is available in black, shark gray, and tundra brown.
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Still relatively unknown in the Americas, UK Outdoor manufacturer Rohan merges the best of Old World elegance and rugged tactical functionality. Their Gobi Hiking Pant model adds a unique type of minimalism on top, which strays a bit from the classically expected baggy cargo silhouette – which is not always the most flattering one for all body frames.
The result is a superb pair of pants that can be worn both at the airport lounge and during the hike itself, an ideal blend for those who travel with limited time. In addition, its polyamide and elastane blend is light and quick to dry, so it won’t weigh down your already bulky pack during a long camping trip (it weighs under 9 ounces!). It is equipped with two standard front pockets and a zipper pocket in the back. Finally, the fabric offers 40+ UPF sun protection and can be neatly rolled into a tiny package and placed in your hiking backpack.
Specialized outdoor supplier PrAna has targeted the premium tier in an odd, yet very appropriate manner. This Californian manufacturer has partnered with activists and travel writers worldwide in order to develop and market their high-quality, practical, and sustainable range of products. Preserving the wilderness and ecosystems that their clients love so much is one of the cornerstones of their philosophy.
Their Zion pants are made from a proprietary nylon and spandex blend, made mostly from recycled materials. Don’t be fooled by the “Stretch” label. These are no skinny jeans but rather a pair of forgiving tactical pants that will let you move easily without getting stuck or tangled with its surroundings. Their functionality is improved thanks to an integrated belt buckle, cargo pockets, and cuff snaps. They also offer a short and convertible version.
Outdoor Research has spent more than 35 years trying to maintain founder Ron Gregg’s spirit and personality. This adventurous and daring skier and Alpinist lived and died on his own terms, chasing ever-larger challenges, training vigorously, and enjoying every second of his journeys. Their products are therefore created to be functional and resistant, designed especially to provide a layer of comfort and security even in extreme scenarios.
The Ferrosi model draws inspiration from its Alpine name. These pants are warm, they dry quickly, and they offer discreetly articulated knees that increase your range and ease of movement. In addition to the standard cargo pocket, they also include a zippered thigh pocket for your life-saving devices, and a sturdy drawcord to keep your cuffs neat and safe. Available in 5 different colors, they’re sure to suit your taste.
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Both the brand and the model make a strong statement with their chosen names, and then meet every expectation created after such a sonorous start. The all-American Columbia Outdoor company has never shied away from its founder’s German roots, but always pays its dues to the country that allowed him to build his new home. The company itself has spent over 80 year providing both premium and affordable outdoor equipment – from hiking pants and hiking shoes to professional fishing clothes.
The Pilsner Peak pants are made from a proprietary fast-wicking synthetic fabric (Omin-Wick). The deceptive slim fit helps them look polished enough for a casual Friday at the office, but they still remain flexible and cozy for a long or arduous trek. They are also equipped with a knife pocket and offer UPF 50 sun protection. They are available in 8 different colors, ranging from Gray Ash to New Cinder Brown.
Utilitarian and unassuming, Bienzoe seeks to embody the Great Outdoors in its materials and attitudes alike. Their Outdoor Pants is the latest among a string of affordable releases meant to seduce new souls into the trekking coven.
Made from polyester and rip stop cotton, these warm pants remain extremely comfortable even when bitter winds seek to send you back home. Nevertheless, the fabric is still water-resistant, dries quickly, and offers moderate UV protection. The pockets are roomy and protected by resilient zippers. The straight legs make the pants look casual without delving into beachwear territory – even if you choose to take off the lower leg section and turn them into fishing-worthy shorts.
The REI (Recreational Equipment Inc) Co-op was born as a collective enterprise that sought to make life easier for fellow outdoor lovers. Dating back to 1938, they have characterized themselves for their practicality and affordable prices and always strive to invest back into the trekking community thanks to their Stweardship program.
The Savannah Pants are made mostly from recycled nylon. They offer a fast-wicking alternative for anyone who likes to stay close to rivers or muddy banks during their hikes. In addition, they are mildly water repellent and offer strong UV protection, which makes them an ideal choice for those who like to explore in warmer weathers. Cuff cords, gussets, two roomy pockets, and a hidden cargo pocket complete the ensemble. They are available in Black, Gray, and Brown.