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If you’re an avid hiker, then you know just how important it is to find the right gear. Just like good shoes protect your feet from the elements and a hat keeps the sun’s glare at bay, hiking pants keep your legs comfortable during those long rucks through the wildness. After all, when you’re climbing hills and avoiding roots, you’re bound to perspire. Hiking pants are designed to offer adequate ventilation while remaining strong enough to stop twigs and thorns from pricking your skin. From storage opportunities in the pockets to durable fabric that’s built to weather the elements, hiking pants have a lot to offer. In order to reap all these benefits, it helps to find the right set of pants for your particular hiking style. The good news is that there are a ton of options out there. We’ve tracked down the best hiking pants to help you thrive on even the toughest trail.
Chances are that you know this brand — and for good reason. It is a major name in outdoor wear, particularly due to the high quality. This applies to everything from the designs to the materials. So, if you’re looking for something that can keep you comfortable without foregoing functionality, Wrangler Relaxed Fit Hiking Pants have a lot to offer. The pants are made entirely out of high-grade cotton. Because of the weave of the textile, the pants are thick enough to stop you from getting poked by branches and twigs. Thanks to the natural properties of cotton, the pants breathe well and keep your legs cool. Featuring six pockets and the iconic cargo look that includes button closure and prominent belt loops, these hiking pants are a great go-to option.
If you like to take longer treks and want something that won’t bother your skin when worn for extended periods, Baleaf Evo Hiking Pants are worth looking into. The pants are made out of a blend of nylon and spandex material. Ideally-suited for more cardiovascularly engaging hikes, the pants offer a comfortable elastic closure that works with a drawstring. Given the muted green tone of the fabric, the pants fit well in natural settings like the trails. With pockets that close with a zipper, storage is easy with the pants. By using a well-crafted mesh, the pants encourage good ventilation. Easy to clean and maintain, these pants are both comfortable and durable.
Do you prefer for your gear to be versatile as opposed to designed for one specific purpose? If that’s the case, then the BenBoy Waterproof Cargo Hiking Pants are worth considering. The pants are made primarily out of polyester, though include spandex for elasticity. Quality stitching connects the panels of these water and windproof pants. Their ability to withstand the abrasion, paired with the insulative features, makes them ideal for mountain hiking. Since the material can keep you warm without causing overheating, the pants are great for hikes that start early in the morning and last through the day. With a zipper closure and strong belt loops, these hiking pants are definitely a worthy selection.
Particularly for hikes that are in open areas with lots of sun exposure, Mocoly Cargo Hiking Pants are really useful. Touting a sleek and comfortable design, these pants offer good ventilation and a high level of UPF. This prevents both sunburn and overheating. While the pants are made mostly out of polyester, a synthetic fabric that is really durable, 10% of the material is elastane. This offers water resistance and also ensures that the waistband keeps a tight fit when you’re moving around actively. Fortified with a drawstring that locks, the pants won’t slip even during intense motion. Lightweight and easy to wear over long periods, these pants are great for those hiking in warm conditions.
Want a pair of pants that focuses on storage and accessibility? Unionbay Cargo Hiking Pants live up to these standards well. Available in a lot of sizes, these pants are manufactured with taller wearers in mind. They are made entirely out of cotton. All of the seams are durably stitched to prevent frays. Since the cotton fabric is thick enough to prevent damage from abrasion, these pants are good at weathering outdoor conditions. The pair closes with a zipper and button, with the top hem surrounded by sturdy belt loops. What really sets these pants apart, though, are the pockets. Their side position and the easy-open design help you to quickly get to your things while on the move.
For those who like to fish while hiking, the rapid-drying abilities of TBMPOY Lightweight Hiking Pants is a really desirable feature. While the pants are made to resist moisture, it’s only natural that the fabric takes on water if submerged (any hiking pants would). However, where the pants stand out is the ability to dry out quickly. This way, when you’re done near the water, you don’t have to deal with wet cloth on your skin. It also speaks to how quickly the material wicks away perspiration. The fabric is durable and stretchy, making the pants good for moving around. In terms of both function and extra benefits (like UPF protection from the sun), these pants really stand out.
Tend to prepare for all situations and want a pair of pants that hold up to those standards? Check out the Singbring Hiking Pants for the comprehensive features in terms of durability, quality material, and storage. The pants feature a button and zipper closure and tough belt loops. Made mainly out of polyester, the pants are resistant to abrasion and thick enough to stop you from getting poked by twigs in the woods. The spandex part of the textile gives the pants waterproof and windproof abilities, keeping you warm and dry when outdoors. Though the pants are resistant to moisture, they still breathe properly, letting you stay comfortable by managing perspiration. Suitable for hiking in any season, these pants are a good choice for all environments.
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Types of hiking pants
While all hiking pants have a few things in common, there are different types, each suited to a different environment. Waterproof pants are better for hikes on trails that go near water and for those who prefer to hike to their fishing hole. These pants are also usually better insulated, making them better for cold-season hikes. On the other hand, lighter options like cargo pants focus more on breathability and providing a high level of UPF protection. All types of hiking pants need to provide abrasion resistance and a reasonable level of protection from the wind.
Key features of hiking pants
- Protection: The basic purpose of hiking pants is to keep you safe from your environment. This means that the pants need to be thick enough to stop your skin from getting scratched. Windproof material stops your skin from getting irritated. Waterproof pants keep you warm, protecting you from health concerns. A good set of hiking pants should have all of these protective features.
- Storage: When you’re hiking, you are away from standard amenities; and, as such, need to bring the essentials with you. As a result, your hiking pants need to be able to accommodate storage. Cargo pants focus on storage in pockets, located on the front, sides, and often the back. Without these pockets, be sure that the belt loops are strong enough to support supplies on a carabiner.
- Breathability: Hiking is physically engaging; and, as such, results in perspiration. While your body may get warm, it doesn’t mean that the surroundings aren’t cold. The pants’ fabric needs to be able to wick away moisture. This prevents it from drying on your skin which can both cause discomfort and risk your body temperature dropping.
- Closure: Since you will be moving around a lot in the pants, they need to provide a tight hold around your waist. This is especially important if you are using the belt loops to support storage. Some pants have an elastic waist. If the pants do, be sure that it is reinforced with a cord. For pants with a zipper and button closure, reinforcing the pants with a belt assists with securing them.
Benefits of hiking pants
Whether you’re hiking for exercise, recreation, or simply to get from place to place, a good set of pants is really helpful. For starters, the pants keep you warm by acting as a barrier against the wind and insulating against cold temperatures. Hiking pants are too thick for bugs to sting or bite your skin. They come with pockets that let you keep important supplies close. Perhaps most importantly, hiking pants are durable. They are made to resist abrasion and have reinforced seams to let you move comfortably without the fabric wearing down.
Hiking pants pricing
You can find a good pair of hiking pants for approximately $50, depending on the style and the size of the pants. Naturally, the more features the pants have, the higher the price tag will be. Options on the lower end of the price spectrum tend to be basic — while they are sturdy and breathe well, they may not be waterproof. Pricier options tend to be thicker, have more storage, and be more resistant to wind and moisture. The good news is that there is an option for every style and budget, so take a look at the list above and get ready to take your next hike to the next level.
Hiking Pants Pricing
With any type of pants, the price tag will fluctuate depending on the size. That said when getting pants, you can pay anywhere from $25 to $100. Depending on your budget, you can expect certain standard features.
- Under $50: You can get a solid pair of hiking pants in this range, depending on the style and size. Most in this category are sturdy, though may not be waterproof or have a lot of pockets.
- Between $50 and $100: Hiking pants in this range are durable, and you can expect quality material, multiple pockets, and reinforced seams.
How we chose our top picks
Hiking pants have a lot of responsibility. They must breathe well, move comfortably, and keep the thorns, branches, and bugs away from you. By considering what hikers need from their pants, we whittled down the options to find those with the best features. We looked at the different textiles used to make pants, using them to determine ventilation, comfort, and durability. Shortlisting the top selections, we compiled a list to represent hiking pants for all environments. The result is a series of budget-friendly hiking pants, with a suitable option whether you’re hiking mountain trails or going for a desert stroll.