9 Best Hiking Pants

We tested the best hiking pants for 2022 and this is how they performed.

Updated on November 27th, 2022
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A dependable pair of hiking pants is one of the pieces of clothing that can make or break a hike. Keeping your legs protected while bushwhacking, forging through colder climates, or wading through streams—since your legs are the very things that are carrying you forward—is extremely important to ensure you’re prepared to go the distance.

We tested the best hiking pants for 2022. Read on to see what we found and which are best for you along with some buying advice.

Best Hiking Pants

The best hiking pants are:

MODEL PRICE Material Weight Type Score
1. Outdoor Research Men's Ferrosi $89 86% Nylon, 14% Spandex 10.7 oz Standard 9/10
2. REI Co-Op Sahara $79.95 96% Recycled Nylon, 4% Spandex 9.5 oz Convertible 9/10
3. KÜHL Renegade $99 95% Nylon, 5% Spandex 17 oz Standard 8/10
4. Patagonia Quandary $89 95% Nylon, 5% Spandex 10 oz Standard 8/10
5. KÜHL Silencr $95 100% Mechanical Stretch Polyester 12 oz Standard 8/10
6. Marmot Men's Arch Rock $75 94% Nylon 6% Elastane 11.6 oz Standard 8/10
7. prAna Stretch Zion II $95 95% Recycled Nylon, 5% Elastane 13.3 oz Roll-Up 8/10
8. Columbia Silver Ridge Convertible Pants $65 57% Recycled Polyester, 43% Polyester Mesh 10.8 oz Convertible 8/10
9. Mountain Hardwear AP Pants $90 75% Cotton, 23% Nylon, 2% Elastane 13.2 oz Roll-Up 7/10

Best Overall Hiking Pants:

OUTDOOR RESEARCH MEN'S FERROSI

Price: $89

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Outdoor Research Ferrosi best hiking pants

PROS:

✅ Comfortable

✅ Breathable

✅ Durable

CONS:

❌ Fewer features

KEY SPECS

  • Material: 86% Nylon, 14% Spandex
  • Weight: 10.7 oz
  • Type: Standard

We love the Outdoor Research Ferrosi Pants for their elasticity and durability, a favorite for thru-hikers facing rugged conditions where ease of movement is essential. The stretchy fabric makes these the most comfortable pants we tested. We found the breathability to be excellent as well.

The ankle adjustments allow for securely sealing the bottoms of the pants if tucking them into boots or underneath gaiters or can let in more airflow if rolled up. We have very few gripes about these pants, but if we had to pick one it’d be the minimal feature set. And that the price is slightly higher than average. Outdoor Research Men's Ferrosi is our pick for the best overall hiking pants.


Best Budget Hiking Pants:

REI CO-OP SAHARA

Price: $79.95

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REI Sahara best hiking pants

PROS:

✅ Lightweight

✅ Inexpensive

✅ Great budget buy

CONS:

❌ Average comfort

❌ Breathability

❌ Durability

KEY SPECS

  • Material: 96% Recycled Nylon, 4% Spandex
  • Weight: 9.5 oz
  • Type: Convertible

Made for hiking in hot climates, the REI Co-Op Sahara convertible pants are lightweight and designed with flat seams that prevent rubbing and chafing. We like that these pants pack down to a tiny size, and the color-coded zippers on the thighs can help distinguish the right leg from the left leg when reattaching the zippered bottoms.

And not only are these one of the least expensive pants on our list, but they are also the lightest. For breathability, comfort and durability these run in the middle of the pack for the models we tested. The REI Sahara pants are the best convertible hiking pants on our list and also our top budget buy.


Most Durable Hiking Pants:

KÜHL RENEGADE

Price: $99

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KUHL renegade best hiking pants

PROS:

✅ Loads of features

✅ Super durable

CONS:

❌ Expensive

❌ Heavy

❌ Less breathable

KEY SPECS

  • Material: 95% Nylon, 5% Spandex
  • Weight: 17 oz
  • Type: Standard

With all the useful features of cargo pants without actually being cargo pants, the KUHL Renegades are practical and storage-friendly. We loved their durable build, these hiking pants are ideal for climbing or forging through rough terrain in the backcountry. They are the most durable hiking pants on our list. They even have DWR protection to protect them from rain.

We found the comfort to be average, and the breathability to be less than other models we tested. We recommend these for cooler climates. We don’t like that these are the most expensive and heaviest hiking pants on our list. But if durability is your main concern the KUHL Renegade is our pick for the most durable hiking pants.


Best Ultralight Hiking Pants:

PATAGONIA QUANDARY

Price: $89

See on REI
Patagonia quandary best hiking pants

PROS:

✅ Lightweight

✅ Comfy

CONS:

❌ Durability

KEY SPECS

  • Material: 95% Nylon, 5% Spandex
  • Weight: 10 oz
  • Type: Standard

We like the Patagonia Quandary as a great option for lean and medium builds, and this environmentally-conscious hiking pant prides itself on being a Bluesign fabric-approved product. We love the weight of these pants, just 10 ounces a pair. And the stretch fabric is one of the most comfortable on our list. We found the wrinkle-resistant fabric makes these a stylish enough option to wear in town too.

The cinch cord is nice in a pinch, we’d recommend a belt if you need to keep these pants held up over an entire day. The comfy fabric is less durable than the other options we tested. Overall, we highly rate the Patagonia Quandary making them our best ultralight hiking pants.


Most Comfortable and Breathable Hiking Pants:

KÜHL SILENCR

Price: $95

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KUHL silencr best hiking pants

PROS:

✅ Comfortable

✅ Breathable

✅ Durable

CONS:

❌ Expensive

KEY SPECS

  • Material: 100% Mechanical Stretch Polyester
  • Weight: 12 oz
  • Type: Standard

We like KÜHL for its focus on high-quality gear, and the Silencr hiking pants are no different. We found them to be a super comfy athletic fit with a range of flexibility thanks to the four-way stretch build, articulated knees, and gusseted crotch. We like their durability too, thanks to REFLEX rip-stop fabric.

If you need a pant with breathability, the Silencr’s lightweight fabric makes these some of our best performers. Our biggest complaint is the price, they are the second highest on our list. The Silencr is our pick for the most comfortable and breathable hiking pants.


Marmot Men's Arch Rock

Price: $75

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Marmot Arch Rock best hiking pants

PROS:

✅ Price

✅ Breathability

CONS:

❌ Less comfortable

KEY SPECS

  • Material: 94% Nylon, 6% Elastane
  • Weight: 11.6 oz
  • Type: Standard

The Marmot Men’s Arch Rock are good lightweight hiking pants for warmer weather due to the thin fabric they are made from. This also makes them some of the most breathable hiking pants on our list. In a cooler climate, we found that adding a base layer underneath helps ensure you stay warm.

The stretchy fabric gave us a nice range of motion, great for scrambling around on rocks. These pants score in the middle of most categories on our list, making them a solid all-around choice.


prAna Stretch Zion II

Price: $89

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prAna best hiking pants

PROS:

✅ Durable

✅ Feature-packed

✅ Comfy

CONS:

❌ Heavy

❌ Expensive

KEY SPECS

  • Material: 86% Nylon, 14% Spandex
  • Weight: 10.7 oz
  • Type: Standard

The prAna Stretch Zion scores highly for us in terms of comfort, durability, and features. We love all the little extras like the ventilated inseam gusset, mesh pockets, and a roll-up snap-in-place convertible option. We found the adjustable waistband quick-drying fabric makes these extra comfortable too. And there are lots of pockets.

For warm-weather pants, we find these have excellent durability. What we don’t like are the price and the weight. These are the second most expensive and second heaviest on our list. We’d recommend these pants for warm-weather users who prefer feature-packed pants.


Columbia Silver Ridge Convertible Pants

Price: $65

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Silver Ridge best hiking pants

PROS:

✅ Inexpensive

✅ Lightweight

✅ Breathable

CONS:

❌ Comfort

❌ Durability

KEY SPECS

  • Material: 57% Recycled Polyester, 43% Polyester Mesh
  • Weight: 10.8
  • Type: Convertible

The convertible Silver Ridge are lightweight hiking pants best suited for warm weather conditions. They are exceptionally breathable and we like their weight, they are one of the lightest on our list.

Feature-wise these are average compared to the other models we tested. The most notable feature is the convertible option, allowing us to convert them to shorts in a matter of seconds. We like the inexpensive price tag too, these are the cheapest hiking pants on our list.

We wish the fit of these pants was better. We found them to fit snugly around our legs, especially around the quads. We also found the fabric to be less flexible, and not great for scrambling around. The thin fabric is also much less durable than other lightweight hiking pants we tested. If you’re looking for the best convertible hiking pants we recommend the REI Co-Op Sahara.


Mountain Hardwear AP Pants

Price: $90

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Mountain Hardwear best hiking pants

PROS:

✅ Durability

CONS:

❌ Breathability

❌ Heavy

KEY SPECS

  • Material: 75% Cotton, 23% Nylon, 2% Elastane
  • Weight: 13.2 oz
  • Type: Roll-up

We like that the Mountain Hardware AP Pants are made of a very durable blended canvas. However, this fabric is 75% cotton, which we don’t like for backcountry pursuits. Cotton absorbs moisture and doesn't dry as quickly when wet.

We found the fit to be stretchy and slimmer. While we think the slim fit makes them stylish, the slimmer cut can be too tight for hiking in. On warmer days they can run a little warm. We wish these were more breathable, a culprit of the slim fit. The feature set is minimal. The weight is our biggest con, they are one of the heavier hiking pants on our list.


Key Factors To Consider When Choosing

Weight

We think less weight is always a plus when backpacking. The lightest hiking pants on our list are more tailored to summer or 3-season use. Heavier pants are a great option in cold weather and on trips with more chance of abrasion or cuts from the brush.

The lightest hiking pants:

Price

The hiking pants we tested have a surprisingly narrow range of prices from about $65 to $100. More expensive hiking pants tend to be better designed and more comfortable. Less expensive options lack durability.

Hiking pants that provide the greatest value:

Affordable hiking pants:

Premium hiking pants (most expensive):

Comfort & Breathability

Hiking pants tend to fall in two camps, form-fitted or relaxed styles. Choosing the most comfortable style depends on the construction of the pants. Fitted pants will conform to your body and move with you, eliminating the chance of catching on objects and tearing. Relaxed-fit pants will give your legs more room and will be more breathable. This reduces rubbing and chafing.

Most comfortable hiking pants:

Most breathable hiking pants:

Durability

Durability is dependent on the thickness of a material and also how resistant it is to ripping and tearing. Thicker pants tend to be more durable. Material that stretches will resist tearing better when caught or stuck on a sharp object.

Most durable hiking pants:


Other Things to Consider

Type of Pant

STANDARD, CONVERTIBLE, OR ROLL-UP

There are three main styles of hiking pants. Each style has its own characteristics that can be beneficial for your hike.

  1. Standard: Sleek and comfortable, they can be worn on the trail, around town, and even in casual work environments. Since there are no zippered attachments, this style would be a great option for those that experience chafing or discomfort from convertible pants.

  2. Convertible: These “convert” to shorts by zipping off and detaching at the knee. This is a great feature for when you need to cool down or if you want to wear shorts only during the hottest part of the day. Most convertible pants can be zipped on and off without having to remove your shoes.

  3. Roll-Up: The bottom of the pants can be rolled up and secured by buttons or elastic. This style is perfect for those that don’t like shorts but still want a cooler option than full-length pants. Rolling and buttoning the hems in place will help prevent them from getting dirty or frayed from dragging on the ground. They also can be terrific to use around camp.

different types of hiking pants

From left to right: standard, convertible and roll-up hiking pants

Warmth

HOW THICK SHOULD HIKING PANTS BE?

Hiking pants come in different ranges of thickness.

  • Thinner pants are best for summer and arid, tropical climates. Most thin designs come with mesh pockets and vents to help keep you breathable and cool.

  • Thicker pants may have added insulation for warmth, and are best worn while hiking in fall, winter, or higher elevations.

Something to keep in mind is the thinner a hiking pant is, the less durable, yet more breathable it will be. Still, most standard 3-season hiking pants can be worn all year round. All you need to do is add a base layer under them to help with insulation in the cold.

convertible hiking pants

Water Resistance

ARE HIKING PANTS WATERPROOF?

Most hiking pants are made from Nylon, Spandex, and Polyester. All three are water-resistant fabrics, but they're not waterproof.

(Note: all three materials also have natural UPF ratings reaching as high as 50+).

To up the water protection of hiking pants, manufacturers normally treat them with an added DWR (Durable Water Repellent) agent. The DWR treatment creates a ‘shield’ on the pants fabric that makes water beads up and roll off, similar to what happens on a rain jacket or an umbrella

Like all water-resistant gear, the DWR treatment of your hiking pants will naturally wear off in time. The butt and thighs of your hiking pants will usually be the first to show signs of this because that’s where water will first seep through.

waterproof hiking pants

Hiking Pants Design and Features

Hiking pants come complete with a wide range of additional features to help with comfort and fit.

  • Belt and Elastic Waistbands: Integrated belts and drawstrings can help fit pants to those that are in between sizes, or provide a range of sizing options in case you change size while out on the trail. Make sure that the integrated belt, drawstrings, or adjustable side straps don’t sit awkwardly against your backpack's hip straps as this will cause some very uncomfortable rubbing/chafing.

  • Pockets: Because many hiking pants are created with lots of pockets of various sizes, they’re great for carrying maps, gadgets, and other little gizmos you want easily accessible instead of tucked away in your pack. Most styles have several zippered pockets on the front, back, and outer thighs (similar to cargo pants).

  • Articulated Knees: An articulated knee in a pant means there is an excess of fabric in the front and back of the knees of the pant. This extra fabric allows for improved stretch and range of motion when hiking uphill or climbing.

  • Gusset Crotch: As for the seams at the crotch, it’s important to look for a gusset which is an extra patch of fabric sewn in where the four seams of the crotch meet. This piece of fabric takes stress off the seams, aiding in durability and overall range of motion.

  • Extra Fabric along the thighs: If rubbing/chafing is a major concern, there are hiking pants with extra fabric throughout the thigh to allow for more room and breathability.

hiking pants with pockets

FAQs

What kind of pants are best for hiking?

The kind of pants that are best for hiking are ones that are lightweight, quick-drying fabrics that are durable enough to hold up on the trail. Our top pick for best overall hiking pants is the Outdoor Research Men's Ferrosi.


What is special about hiking pants?

The traits special about hiking pants are a lightweight, breathable fabric that is comfortable to hike all day in.


Some photos in this post were taken by Jonathan Davis (@meowhikes)

Justin Sprecher photo

About Justin Sprecher

Justin is a thru-hiker and writer with a passion for wild backcountry. He's thru-hiked the Pacific Northwest Trail, LASHed the Great Divide Trail and Arizona Trail, and clocked up 1,000s of miles on long-distance trails around the world.

About Greenbelly

After thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, Chris Cage created Greenbelly to provide fast, filling and balanced meals to backpackers. Chris also wrote How to Hike the Appalachian Trail.

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