The best hiking pants for men and women to hit the trails season after season – Forbes | Gmx Pharm

Exploring nature and hitting the trails is not only easier with the right gear, it’s also much more comfortable. Not only the right hiking shoes or trail runners are important, but also the type of hiking pants you wear. When it comes to the best hiking pants, there are many options on the market to suit different climates and conditions, as well as different body types, comfort levels, and personal preferences.

All hiking pants have their own strengths and weaknesses, but certain options tend to outperform in key areas that matter to most people. Double-layer softshell fabric offers insulation and protection from the cold, while polyester blends offer excellent breathability. Quick-drying fabrics, on the other hand, are designed to quickly absorb and wick moisture, whether you’re sweating on your way to the summit or repeatedly hand-washing your clothes during an extended backpacking trip.

Built-in stretch provides a snug fit so you can move fluidly, meaning your pants are less likely to snag on bushes or rocks, while convertible hiking pants (pants that convert to shorts) keep your pack lightweight, by allowing you to change your bottoms depending on the weather conditions.

We’ve compiled our Vetted picks for the best hiking pants across a variety of categories, including men’s and women’s options. Use this list as a guide for seasons to come because there’s never been a better time to get out and explore.

Best hiking pants for men

Robust and reliable pants for the trails


The Ferrosi trousers are legendary in the hiking world. The term ferrosi refers specifically to the fabric, a best-selling material that is breathable, stretchy and weatherproof. The fabric is also tear-resistant, which can come in handy when trekking between thick bushes and craggy rocks where hiking pants might get caught. The Crux Pant is the latest version of this fan-favorite pant, featuring reinforced knee panels that increase durability and a 46 percent recycled content construction that improves stretch and recovery. You can wear this pair year-round on snow, rocks, trails, and wet adventures (simply pair with a warm base layer in cold weather), eliminating the need to invest in a million different pants for every season or scenario.

Best hiking pants for women

Classic, comfortable pants for different conditions

We’ve found the Kühl Freeflex hiking pants to be extremely versatile for both serious and casual hikers alike. They have just the right amount of stretch and rebound to conform to a woman’s body without restricting movement or becoming bulky over time. The fabric is lightweight, moisture-wicking and quick-drying, and also has built-in sun protection with UPF 50+. The pant legs can be rolled up and secured with a snap to regulate the temperature, making it suitable for both hot and cold seasons, or even a single all-day hike when the temperature changes dramatically throughout the day.

Best winter hiking pants

Lined pants that provide extra comfort in cold conditions

The difficult thing about hiking in cold weather is you want to stay warm, but not too warm. Not only is overheating uncomfortable, but when you’re sweating a storm on the trail, the moisture on your skin can actually draw heat away from your body and lead to hypothermia. That’s why the Eddie Bauer Guide Pro hiking pants are lined with stretch fleece to withstand biting winds without locking in moisture or sweat. The exterior has a DWR coating to deal with moisture from snow, sleet and freezing rain, allowing condensation to drain off the fabric instead of seeping into it. To sweeten the pot even more, the pants are made from less impact-resistant materials, making these bottoms better suited to the environment you’ll be exploring them in. The women’s version is similarly well received and given the very inclusive sizing (regular, petite, tall and plus sizes up to 24W), many different body sizes will find a comfortable fit.

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Best hiking pants for hot weather

Convertible, comfortable and designed to keep you cool

While you can certainly wear hiking shorts in hot weather, there are times when you’d rather not expose your calves and ankles to the scorching sun, biting insects, or abrasive rocks and branches you’re likely to encounter along the way. But if you don’t want to give up shorts entirely, consider a convertible pair of pants that will protect your knees and legs during the hike, but also rip open at the knee, converting them into comfy cargo shorts when it’s okay with get less protection. The lab-tested Cresta Pants by LL Bean are made from a lightweight yet durable nylon fabric and feature UPF 50+ protection that blocks at least 97 percent of the sun’s UV rays. Start the day in pants mode when the temperatures are still low and transform them into shorts when you reach the sunny peak.

The LL Bean Vista Camp hiking pants offer flexibility that’s perfect for the trail. The classic design keeps your skin protected and covered, but the ability to lace up the legs and adjust the hem offers a way to cool off when things get hot. They’re also made from an abrasion-resistant ripstop fabric that wicks moisture and dries quickly and offers a dose of stretch so you can bend and move with ease. The integrated UPF protection also offers more than 10 times the protection of conventional cotton. Note that while you can pinch the legs to adjust the hem, the cropped style means your ankles are always free. So be sure to wear long socks and/or use mosquito and tick repellent when hiking in particularly buggy areas.

Best waterproof hiking pants

Pants to keep you dry in a sudden downpour

At high altitude, the weather can change quickly, which is why it’s important to have good waterproof hiking pants in your arsenal. The obvious downside is that some waterproof materials can leave your skin feeling clammy and sticky, but REI Co-op’s Rainier Pant is cut from moisture-wicking, recycled ripstop nylon that can withstand rain and wind up to 60 miles per hour while maintaining solid breathability. Seams are sealed to seal out unwanted moisture, and full-length zips on the outer seams allow you to adjust the ventilation to your liking.

The North Face’s proprietary FlashDry fabric is engineered to repel moisture and reduce drying times, so you can hike through wet conditions without having to turn back early or huff when your skin gets wet and clammy. The four-way stretch of the Aphrodite 2.0 pants makes it easy and comfortable to move, while the drawcords at the leg openings allow for an additional fastening that keeps water and moisture at bay. A zippered pocket also serves to store essentials such as a cell phone and wallet.

Best convertible hiking pants

Pants that convert into shorts with a quick zip

Convertible hiking pants save space in your pack and eliminate the need to change behind a bush on the trail when conditions turn from cold to hot. Mountain Hardwear’s pants are a favorite among outdoor enthusiasts because the design is so incredibly seamless: just rip off the legs to convert them into shorts and stash the extra material in the front snap-button pockets. The material is 100% recycled and contains a DWR finish to repel moisture.

Columbia Women’s Saturday Trail II Stretch Convertible Pant

Columbia’s stretchy, convertible pant strikes the important balance of comfort and good looks as both pant and shorts. The 2-way stretch style means these pants are fairly fitted, but the fabric also flexes a bit, allowing them to remain comfortable and flowy as you move. The pants are water and stain resistant and have a mid-rise fit with a straight leg and reinforced knees that zip into shorts with a 10″ inseam. There’s also UPF 50+ sun protection and leg hem straps so you can customize the fit on the go.

Best hiking pants

Silky smooth bottoms that allow you to keep it moving comfortably

While we tend to associate tights with yoga, rock climbing, and indoor gym workouts, they’re also an excellent option for hiking as they’re lightweight, durable, comfortable, and breathable. The Black Diamond Rise Tights are designed specifically for rock climbing, which can come in handy when you need to scale a rock face, but even on non-technical trails you’ll appreciate the four-way stretch fabric that balances moisture wicking with durability. The high waist and no-slip coverage ensure the top of the pant stays securely around your waist, allowing you to focus on the obstacles ahead instead of having to constantly readjust. Unlike most hiking pants, the added benefit of tights is that they have more uses than just hiking, making them perfect for outings that include morning runs and afternoons at the local brewery. Whether you also want to practice yoga, want a comfy pair of leggings to sleep in, or need simple black pants to pair with a cute top while exploring a dreamy mountain town, these will have your back.

Best plus size hiking pants for women

Functional and fashionable hiking pants for larger sizes

While it’s great that more and more outdoor brands are offering women’s hiking pants up to a size 14 or 16, that just doesn’t sit well with the growing number of plus-size women hitting the trails regularly. Alpine Parrot doesn’t just offer plus size hiking pants, they are specialize in plus size panties for outdoor use. This small, women-owned company understands the unique needs of plus-size hikers and offers two different fits in addition to robust pants up to size 24. The “Mountain” fit is for curvy women with slimmer waists and fuller hips, while the “River” fit is for women with a wider waist and narrower hips. Not only are these easy-care pants packed with hiker-friendly features like zippered thigh pockets, carabiner loops, and cuffs that convert to capri pants, they’re also made from breathable, quick-drying, highly rated “Made in the USA” fabric. up to UPF 40.

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