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Gearing up for your next hiking trip? Learn about some of the best hiking pants you might want to buy before your trek into the outdoors.
Hitting the trail is a great way to get in shape, enjoy nature, and get some peace of mind away from the stresses of modern life. However, you can’t just throw on whatever clothes you have in your closet and start hiking. You need some good hiking pants that will keep you sheltered and remain durable in outdoor conditions. We’re here to help you choose a pair that’s right for you.
When choosing hiking pants, you’ll need to know a few things about them to make an informed decision. The following questions are a few of the things you should learn about before purchasing the pants.
1. What Makes Good Hiking Pants?
The best hiking pants consist of lightweight fabric that’s quick to dry. This is one reason you don’t want to wear jeans on the trail: if they get wet, you can’t safely wear them because of the risks of hypothermia. A good pair of hiking pants should also have more than two pockets for secure storage of items. Cargo pants, which convert from pants to shorts, are good as well.
2. Where Should I Go to Buy Good Hiking Pants?
You can buy hiking pants at virtually any sports apparel store. Notable outlets are Cabela’s, Patagonia, and Columbia. Even if you don’t have any physical outlets nearby, you can order clothes online if you know your sizes. Just be aware of return policies in case it doesn’t fit.
3. What Should Hiking Pants Do that Normal Pants Don’t?
Hiking pants need to protect your legs from sharp thorns and branches, keep moisture and excess heat away, and still be able to breathe so your legs don’t get too hot. They also need to be comfortable to wear for long periods without chafing.
4. How Much Do They Cost?
If you’re looking for a good pair, they aren’t going to be cheap if you get them directly from the retailer. Many of the pants we looked at directly on their home sites carried price tags of at least $50. You might get lucky and snag a deal for $40, so it could be in your best interest to monitor third-party sites.
After all, you’re investing in high-quality gear. These pants are supposed to stand up to stress and last a long time.
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How We Reviewed
We looked online for the best hiking pants for both summer and winter and both men and women. By looking at product information, reading customer reviews, and comparing prices, we’ve come up with a list of eight of the best pairs of hiking pants for your needs. We’ve tried to include a variety of brands as well so you can get something that might fit your budget.
Overall Price Range of Hiking Pants
A large factor in determining the price of pants is the brand name. You should expect to pay at least $30 for a pair of high-quality hiking pants. At higher prices, you can expect to get longer-lasting and stronger fabrics.
With that said, here’s our list of the eight best pairs of hiking pants.
We’ve included as even a distribution as possible between men’s and women’s pants. We also sought to list hiking pants suitable for summer and winter.
Marmot Arch Rock
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The Marmot Arch Rock pants have strong, stretchable fabric that makes them perfect for rock climbing. The material also is lightweight and dries quickly. These are useful as men’s summer hiking pants.
These pants are versatile with multipurpose fabric, and they have a strong gusseted crotch.
These pants are versatile with multipurpose fabric, and they have a strong gusseted crotch.
The Marmot Arch is a reliable pair of budget pants. You can expect to pay around $50 for them.
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Columbia Men’s Royce Peak Pants
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The most prominent feature of the Columbia Men’s Royce Peak Pants are the articulated knees and gusseted crotch, making them resilient to use for rock climbing and dense forest walking. We also like the water-resistant fabric.
The pants contain one-zip closure security pockets so items can stay in place without falling out. The lightweight fabric makes them an excellent choice for summer wear.
They can be a little hot. Because the fabric is water-resistant on both sides, sweating can be a problem at higher temperatures. They’re also warmer than the Marmot Arch Rock.
We were able to find these pants listed for about $44.
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Inbike Mens’ Winter Fleece
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Now that we’ve listed the best summer men’s hiking pants let’s move on to the winter ones. These pants have a thermal lining that traps heat. Combined with the outer layer of fleece, this makes them ideal for spending time outdoors in colder weather, no matter what you’re doing.
This pair of pants has an elastic waistband that makes it fit snugly to your body, rather than the standard button and zipper combination. We think that these pants are more used for biking and designed with that in mind, but you can use them for hiking as well.
From what we can see, these pants don’t appear to have pockets. The work best for short-distance travel only, which makes sense because you should avoid hiking too much in cold weather.
These [pants have a price of around $30. The pants work great for someone who’s looking for warmth without a lot of extra accessories.
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Nonwe Men’s Windproof Winter Hiking Pants
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The Nonwe pants are made of fleece and polyester, allowing them to retain more of your body heat and protect you against biting winter winds. If you go hiking in cold weather, you’ll appreciate the dual fabric and the elasticated band.
These pants work well to keep out wind, and they have multiple pockets for storing your belongings on the trail. Some customers reported them as standing up to -20-degree temperatures. We wouldn’t advise this without some layering of clothing, such as thermal underwear.
The pockets could be more profound, and some customers reported that the sizing was confusing. It might be a good idea to go up a size from what you wear typically.
Depending on the size, these pants can cost anywhere from $34 to $43.
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MIER Women’s Convertible Cargo Pants
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Unlike many of the pants we saw, this pair of pants can convert into shorts. If you’re hiking on a hot day and it’s too hot for pants, zip off the lower legs and make them into shorts. The nylon and spandex fabric blend also works well as water resistance for those inevitable splashes through a stream or puddle. The fabric also stretches four ways.
The fabric is water-resistant, at least to light rain or brief immersion, and the pants come with a removable belt. You also get five pockets two front, two back, and one on the thigh.
Even though the MIER pants are for summer, the fabric can still run a little hot. It also tends to run short in the inseam.
The pricing on these pants runs around $38 from our listing, but you may be able to get a cheaper deal.
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Columbia Women’s Saturday Trail II
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The most prominent feature of this pair of women’s summer hiking pants is the elastane/nylon construction, making it difficult to get the fabric wet or dirty. However, we also like the unique design of the pockets. While many pants pockets lack any way of securing that isn’t a zipper, these have a hook-and-loop enclosure to keep your items secure.
The pants are cut with an articulated knee, making it feel more natural against your leg than a straight-cut pair would. We also like the Omni-Shield fabric treatment. Even in dirty environments, these pants are easy to keep clean because stains don’t set in.
Some customers reported that the pants felt too tight, even though it later adjusted. Bear this in mind whenever you hike; you want your clothing to feel comfortable. We can’t attest to the strength of the fabric, so it might be better to use this for light hikes. Avoid climbing over rocky terrain.
These are some of the priciest pants on our list. Depending on size, they can average out at $70. The quality of the pant is high, but if you’re on a budget, you might want to look at other options.
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Camii Mia Outdoor Fleece Pants
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These women’s winter hiking pants are lined with fleece, making them extremely good at retaining heat. The outer layer is nylon, which, while strong, is also water- and wind-resistant.
Customers reported that the fabric is of exceptionally high quality, not to mention comfortable to wear. The nylon-fleece hybrid was said to feel incredibly soft. The ability of the pants to prevent excess wind and moisture helps it to keep you warm on long winter hikes. Wind chill can make the temperature seem to drop drastically.
The sizing chart can be inconsistent, so you may want to take advantage of the free return policy if the pants do not fit you. Also, some customers reported that the pants rode too high on the waist. If you have long legs, this may lead to incomplete coverage./
These are reasonably-priced hiking pants. At around $37, you can’t easily find a better deal at the price we found.
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Tornett Outdoor Fleece Ski and Hiking Pants
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The most striking feature of these winter hiking pants is the abundance of pockets. Not only do you get the standard assortment of front pockets and rear pocket,s but you also get a zippered enclosure on the thigh.
The pants are made of multi-layered fabric with a soft shell to aid in keeping you warm in winter weather, but they can be used for mild spring or fall temperatures as well. As mentioned, the multiple pockets make it easy to store your essential belongings. We believe the Tornett pants are a sturdier construction than the Camii model.
Some customers said there was a problem getting the pants sized correctly. Although there is a size chart, it only lists US-based sizes. Pants that are made elsewhere may not correlate, so you have to be careful when picking these out.
For the quality, these are the most budget-friendly hiking pants we could want. They cost approximately $33.
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For men’s summer hiking gear, we think the Columbia Men’s Royce Peak is a good option. Although these pants are slightly warmer than the Marmot Arch Rock, the price is somewhat lower, and the products are of similar quality based on our research. For men’s winter gear, try out the Nonwe Men’s Winterproof pants we listed. They are of higher quality and more durable than the Inbike ones.
As for women’s summer hiking pants, our pick is the Mier Convertible Cargo Pants. We’re all about quality and versatility, and these pants offer both. Getting pants and shorts for the price of one is a great deal. Finally, for women’s winter pants, our choice is the Tornett Outdoor Fleece. These pants are warmer, sturdier, and have extra space for keeping your belongings.
Getting the Most Out of Hiking Pants
The most efficient way to wear hiking pants is to treat them as only a single layer of clothing. If you’re going to be out in the wild for a while day and you don’t know how the temperature will change, you need to dress in layers.
Wearing layers of clothing provide the following benefits:
- Extra warmth from trapped air
- Easier to remove one layer of wet clothing
- Can have a thinner layer if the temperature gets too warm
Care for your hiking pants the same way you would others. Make sure to follow the cleaning instructions to prolong the life of the fabric; otherwise, your pants will not last very long. Most pants made of nylon, polyester, or similar materials can be machine-washed under warm water. Double-check the tag to make sure.
When picking out the best hiking pants, the most significant factors you should consider are the environment in which you plan to hike, the material, and the durability of the pants. If you live in a cold climate, it may be best to pick a winter-specialized pair. For temperate or warmer climates, look for some cargo pants that can turn into shorts
Also, you should consider the color. If you regularly hike in hot weather, pick out pants that are lighter in color; if you do winter hiking, pick darker colors. Darker colors are better at absorbing heat.
If you’re looking to hit the trails and spend time outdoors, having the right pair of hiking pants can help. We feel that the list of the eight best hiking pants to keep your legs covered is an excellent place for you to get started on your journey.