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The Best Hiking Pants

Last updated on November 20, 2023
hiking pants

Our Review Process

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Our Picks For The Top Hiking Pants

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Product Overview
Key Takeaway
 Top Pick

CQR Military & Cargo Style Multiple Pocket Hiking Pants

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CQR

Military & Cargo Style Multiple Pocket Hiking Pants

Featuring a tactical style that comes in 30 colors, these men's hiking pants offer durability thanks to the ripstop material used. You also get comfort with the waistband that stretches and the convenience of pockets with Velcro flaps.

Overall Take

Made to LastThese men's pants are made of a material that holds up during strenuous hiking journeys and resists stains and water.

 Runner Up

TBMPOY Slim-Fit Belted Nylon Stretch Hiking Pants

TBMPOY

Slim-Fit Belted Nylon Stretch Hiking Pants

Available in 10 colors, these men's pants offer a slim fit and come in small to XXL sizes. They're made to keep you cool and dry even in windy and wet weather. The belt and knees offer flexibility for comfort.

Overall Take

Versatile for ActivitiesSuitable even in wet and windy weather, these men's hiking pants offer versatility for all your outdoor activities.

 We Also Like

FREE SOLDIER Fast Drying Stretchy Belted Ripstop Hiking Pants

FREE SOLDIER

Fast Drying Stretchy Belted Ripstop Hiking Pants

These men's pants use a combination of spandex and nylon to offer flexibility and stretch. They're also resistant to water and scratches and offer some sun protection. You can pick from nine colors.

Overall Take

Good for FlexibilityIf you prefer stretchy pants with a looser fit, this option for men is a good choice.

 Strong Contender

Libin Fast Drying Elastic Waist Poly-Spandex Jogger Hiking Pants

Libin

Fast Drying Elastic Waist Poly-Spandex Jogger Hiking Pants

Featuring an elastic waistband and stretchy fabric, these women's pants work well for both sports and everyday wear. You get several pockets plus some water and sun protection. You can choose from 12 colors.

Overall Take

Roomy and ComfortableEspecially useful for activities requiring flexible movement, these women's pants offer freedom and comfort.

Buying Guide

Whether you like casually hiking with your family at a local park or you prefer to go on adventurous excursions, wearing the right hiking clothes is essential for both your comfort and protection. As an alternative to shorts, hiking pants offer the best coverage to keep your legs safer from bugs, creatures and plants such as poison ivy. While they won’t keep you as cool as shorts, these pants are usually designed to be breathable and wick away moisture as you sweat.

You’ll find hiking pants in various styles and materials. The differences often lie in how flexible the pants are for outdoor activities as well as how much comfort they’ll offer.

Many versions of hiking pants can look similar to work pants or chinos. However, you’ll notice they come in a cargo style with many pockets. In addition, you’ll find notable features such as a waistband that may be partly or fully elastic and more flexibility in the fabric in the knee area. Also, some pants might roll up such as for times when you might through a creek.

Hiking pants can be made of a stiffer material such as a cotton and polyester blend. While such pants are still lightweight and comfortable, they might not be the best option if you need flexibility for climbing. On the other hand, hiking pants that have some stretch from spandex or nylon offer more versatility for movement. Some stretchy hiking pants look more like joggers or wind pants, while others have a more formal look.

The fabric used for hiking pants stands out for having features that make the pants more durable and suitable for rugged outdoor activities. You’ll want to think about the weather and environments you usually hike in to make sure the pants have what you need.

For example, it’s common for the pants to be resistant to snags and scratches that can occur if you brush up against something sharp in the woods. Hiking pants are usually also at least water-resistant and may use a quick-dry technology to get moisture away from your skin. You can also find windproof options as well as pants that offer some degree of sun protection.

Lastly, don’t forget to consider the number and types of pockets you prefer. Most hiking pants have several pockets in the usual locations as well as on the legs, so you should have enough room for the essentials. However, the pockets can close in different ways, so consider what’s convenient for you. For example, you might find undoing buttons a hassle versus Velcro pockets you can quickly open. You might also prefer the security that comes with zippered pockets.

What to Look For

  • The typical characteristics you find with these pants make them a good choice for more than just your hiking journeys. Depending on your occupation, tactical-style hiking pants could double as work clothes. Stretchy hiking pants are a good choice for general walks and even activities like yoga. In addition, any hiking pants with many pockets come in handy for vacations and trips to theme parks when you might not want to bring a bag to hold your important items.
  • If you’d like the option to choose between shorts and pants but only want to buy one piece of clothing, look for convertible hiking pants. These allow you to zip off the pants near the knees so you can have shorts whenever you want.
  • Pay close attention to hiking pants sizing for both comfort and safety. Avoid getting pants that are too long and could cause you to trip, but also don’t go too short if you want the most protection. The manufacturer might offer numerical sizes or standardized ones like small or large. In any case, you’ll want to take your measurements and follow the manufacturer’s size chart.
  • If you’re concerned about your hiking pants not having a snug enough waist, you can either buy a pair that comes with a hiking belt or buy your own. These belts are usually durable and come in various materials and looks.
  • Typically, stretchy hiking pants come in a slimmer fit that can decrease the chances of snagging on something while you’re walking in the woods. On the other hand, non-stretchy hiking pants offer more room to allow you to still have some movement, and this can lead to more snags.

More to Explore

Long before we had modern hiking clothing with its special fabrics and features, people would hike in everyday clothing you might not think of wearing for the activity now. For example, during the early 1900s, you could find women hiking in blouses and skirts, and even heeled shoes weren’t uncommon.

The hiking pants that men and women wore through the 1920s were loose fitting and often paired with tall boots and button-up shirts. From the 1930s, you’d start to see golf pants and riding pants as common options for hiking pants, and hiking shorts would also make their appearance.

It wasn’t until the 1970s that special lightweight fabrics would start being used to keep you dry and comfortable. Popular today for hiking, convertible pants wouldn’t be patented until the late 1980s.

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