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Best Hiking Pants Reviewed

last updated Dec 02, 2018

Every hiker will have his or her preference when they invest in a good pair of pants specifically for hiking or traveling. For example, some hikers are not interested in extra or spacious pockets, rather, they may be day hikers who are looking for something lightweight and minimalist. However, many of us like the idea of lots of various sized pockets, so we can carry more and, perhaps, we may not even bother with a pack, especially if hiking for just a day.

One point all hikers have in common is that they want a pair of pants that are comfortable and durable. And we have put together the following list to give you some great pants to choose from.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 13 hrs of research

icon
Columbia Silver Ridge Convertible Pants
93.5/100 our score
Breathability
93
Brand
96
Adjustability
95
Comfort
90
Columbia Silver Ridge Convertible Pants
Why is it better?

Light-weight

Good for warm weather hiking

Fair breath-ability

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Columbia Silver Ridge Convertible Pants
Test Winner: Columbia Silver Ridge Convertible Pants
Researched Sources
15
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
13k
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
13
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
17
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
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By Jordan Coleiro:

This list of hiking pants has been put together to show you the best researched and reviewed pants to keep you protected and comfortable during your next hiking adventure. A pair of hiking pants to keep your eye on is the Columbia Silver Ridge. We love this addition because it is highly rated, lightweight, breathable, and stylish.

Sorting Options
Breathability Brand Adjustability Comfort By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.5
Breathability
93%
Brand
96%
Adjustability
95%
Comfort
90%
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.01.19)
$47.38
2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.8
Breathability
89%
Brand
96%
Adjustability
91%
Comfort
95%
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.01.19)
$36.00
3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.3
Breathability
90%
Brand
93%
Adjustability
87%
Comfort
95%
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.01.19)
$100.00
4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.3
Breathability
91%
Brand
95%
Adjustability
86%
Comfort
89%
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.01.19)
$55.22
See Deal
$63.58
5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.5
Breathability
95%
Brand
82%
Adjustability
90%
Comfort
91%
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.01.19)
$169.95
$179.96
See Deal
6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.8
Breathability
88%
Brand
95%
Adjustability
85%
Comfort
87%
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.01.19)
$55.20
7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88
Breathability
85%
Brand
90%
Adjustability
88%
Comfort
89%
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.01.19)
$79.00
8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.8
Breathability
89%
Brand
92%
Adjustability
85%
Comfort
85%
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.01.19)
$99.00
9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.8
Breathability
82%
Brand
94%
Adjustability
85%
Comfort
90%
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.01.19)
$95.20
10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87
Breathability
89%
Brand
85%
Adjustability
85%
Comfort
89%
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.01.19)
$77.40
In Depth Review Top 10
  • Columbia Silver Ridge Convertible Pants
  • Columbia Women's Saturday Trail
  • Marmot Precip
  • PrAna Stretch Zion
  • Fjällräven Keb
  • Prana Women's Halle
  • Outdoor Research Ferrosi
  • Outdoor Research Voodoo
  • Arc'teryx Men's Perimeter
  • Helikon-Tex Outdoor Tactical Pants
Table of contents
  • Criteria Used for Evaluation
  • Other Factors to Consider
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Sources

Top Ten Hiking Pants

1. Columbia Silver Ridge Convertible Pants

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.5
Columbia Silver Ridge Convertible Pants
Breathability
93
Brand
96
Adjustability
95
Comfort
90
best offer for today
$47.38
Pros:

Light-weight

Good for warm weather hiking

Fair breath-ability

Cons:

Not for cold weather hiking

They are not designed with very wet conditions in mind and so, no need for DWR weather proofing.

Breath-ability is very good, the very light material helps you stay cool, the waist system is interesting and comes as integrated and works in conjunction with a web belt/the buckle is plastic and features as a standard sized belt.

In terms of functionality, these are designed specifically for hiking in certain conditions, for example in warm, mild moderate weather the pants perform well but in seriously cold weather or heavy wet conditions they will not perform so well because they were not made for such purposes.

Read more

Functionality

They are not designed with very wet conditions in mind and so, no need for DWR weather proofing.

Breath-ability is very good, the very light material helps you stay cool, the waist system is interesting and comes as integrated and works in conjunction with a web belt/the buckle is plastic and features as a standard sized belt.

In terms of functionality, these are designed specifically for hiking in certain conditions, for example in warm, mild moderate weather the pants perform well but in seriously cold weather or heavy wet conditions they will not perform so well because they were not made for such purposes.

Comfort/Weight

Due to the thin light weight material used in the making of the pants, it is not recommended to use them for any outdoor activities where the pants are subjected to high abrasion from activities such as rock climbing.

These are very light to wear, breath-ability is nice and the factor for performance is good while hiking in mild,  warm or reasonably hot environments.

If you stay true to the purpose in the design you will get good performance, comfort, and a level of protection 

Cost

The cost is easily within the budget for hikers.

2. Columbia Women's Saturday Trail

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.8
Columbia Women's Saturday Trail
Breathability
89
Brand
96
Adjustability
91
Comfort
95
best offer for today
$36.00
Pros:

SPF 50 fabric

Water and stain resistant

Mesh-lined pockets for airflow

Cons:

No internal drawstring

While they initially come off as a no-frills sort of pants, the Columbia Women's Saturday Trail Pants have a surprising amount of features, such as SPF 50 fabric, mesh-lined pockets, and articulated knees for additional mobility.

Read more

Functionality:

SPF 50 fabric will keep your legs well protected in the sun, and Omni-Sheild technology repels water and stains so you can play hard without worry. The mesh-lined pockets and light material will vent well and keep you cool in warmer weather, and while they don't convert to shorts, the legs can be rolled up to a crop. A side-zip pocket is ideal for storing smaller items, such as keys or an ID. The fabric is thin and as such isn't ideal for cooler weather, though if you order a size up you can easily fit a baselayer underneath.

Comfort and Weight:

Made from nylon and elastane, it doesn't get more comfortable than this. The gusset detail and articulated knees provide superior mobility, so your movements won't feel limited by the material. The inner waist is made of the same material as the rest of the pant, which feels nice all day long, even under a harness or hip belt. The fabric does tend to pill near high friction areas such as the rear and between the thighs, so be mindful of this when making your decision.

3. Marmot Precip

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.3
Marmot Precip
Breathability
90
Brand
93
Adjustability
87
Comfort
95
best offer for today
$100.00
Pros:

Waterproof

Loose fit for mobility

Mesh-lined pockets

Cons:

Run a tad long

The Marmot Precip Pants are one of the best choices for rain pants in their price range. The ripstop nylon resists abrasions and tearing, while the articulation and slightly loose fit allow for full mobility.

Read more

Functionality:

As their name implies, the Marmot Precip pants are water resistant and dry quickly, keeping them from feeling damp or clammy once the weather improves. The articulation and slightly loose fit increase mobility and provide superior range of motion, for things like jumping over creeks or stepping over high rocks and logs. Mesh-lined pockets allow for some extra breathability. 100% nylon material is durable and resistant to tears.

Comfort and Weight:

Weighing just under 14 ounces, the Marmot Precip are lighter than many rain pants on the market. They're designed to fit somewhat loosely, which allows for comfort and increased mobility. If you're looking for light and comfortable pants that aren't tight-fitted , look no further.

4. PrAna Stretch Zion

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.3
PrAna Stretch Zion
Breathability
91
Brand
95
Adjustability
86
Comfort
89
best offer for today
more shops
$63.58
$55.22
See Deal
Pros:

Zippered dual cargo pocket

Front pockets and zippered back pockets

Designed to hold their line well and resistant to wrinkles

Cons:

Sizes have changed recently – loyal returning customers should double check the suggested measurements before they order

These stretchy hiking pants are slim but flexible, with a streamlined belt built into the waist that lets you micro-adjust your size, ensuring the perfect fit every time you wear them. They are stylish enough to wear into town, and comfortable enough to wear on the airplane, but neither of these factors alone is enough to make them one of our top picks. Luckily, their nylon-spandex blend offered a great compromise of water-resistance and breathability and resisted abrasions and mud-stains too.

Read more

Functionality

The built-in cinch belt is flat and slim-line enough that you can wear your own belt as well- perfect if you want to carry extra gear on your belt. The bottoms can roll up quite neatly and stay there, thanks to a snap on the side. The front and back pockets are placed nicely and big enough to use comfortably, unlike many pockets you see on men’s hiking pants (as well as women’s, which have notoriously useless pockets).

The prAna Stretch Zion pants breathe pretty well. While they resist water, they’re definitely not waterproof.

Comfort and weight

The prAna Stretch Zion are as comfortable as they look. Their fit is roomy enough that they’ll accommodate a set of long underwear/thermals underneath, but slim enough that a waterproof shell (like the Marmot PreCip below) will fit over the top without any issues. These are not the lightest pants reviewed here, but at 13 ounces they’re still easily less than a pound making them a great choice if weight is important to you.

5. Fjällräven Keb

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.5
Fjällräven Keb
Breathability
95
Brand
82
Adjustability
90
Comfort
91
best offer for today
more shops
$169.95
$179.96
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Pros:

Traditional pattern of stretch panels is stylish and adventurous-looking

Four different ways to fasten the ankles cuffs (In boot or above or as gaiters or open)

G-1000 reinforcement covers more of the leg than it did in Fjällräven’s Vidda Pro

Cons:

At this price, these are an equipment investment

Fjällräven is Swedish for ‘arctic fox, and these hiking pants are designed to be just as good at adventuring through the forests and mountainsides of the northern USA, Europe or any other rugged, demanding climate.

The Keb pants, like the Vidda Pro before them, feature reinforced panels that contain 35% cotton- something you almost never see in hiking pants anymore. This G-1000 technical fabric does a terrific job of deflecting scree, mud, snow, fierce thorns and all manner of hazards.

The Fjällräven Keb hiking pants are amongst the most rain-resistant of the bunch, and you can even add your own wax coating to the G-1000 panels to amp up the water-resistance. These pants are an outstanding option for hikers looking for the highest level of protection and durability.

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Functionality

Often, hiking pants fall into one of two categories: waterproof, terrain resistant, insulated and breathable, covered in technical zips (and alarmingly expensive); or basically a pair of everyday slacks that dry a little faster and weigh slightly less.

In the Fjällräven Keb, we think we’ve found the perfect balance. The upper, front of the pants and the panels behind each knee are made from a polyester/elastin blend. These sections are stretchy and durable, but soft and breathable too. The rest of the Keb: the front of your thighs and knees; the whole backside; and the bases of the trousers (where you get the most abrasion and tangling and hill-sliding); are all made of a 65% polyester/35% cotton blend Fjällräven call G-1000.

If you want your Kebs to be waterproof, you just rub some of Fjällräven’s own Greenland Wax beeswax compound into the G-1000 panels. This is the same product that Fjällräven recommend to waterproof a bunch of their stuff, so if you already have some lying around you don’t need anything new.

You can get a demo on the right way to apply the wax in some specialty hiking stores, or watch videos online. It’s easy to get the hang of and effective at keeping out the rain. We opted not to put on the wax at first, just to see how the Kebs hold up without that added weight. The non-treated pants held their own against a one-hour rain shower no problem.


Comfort and weight

If you’re worried that these panels sound heavy and impermeable, fear not: we were quite impressed by the ventilation zips that run down the side of each. This makes pants that are the best choice for hiking pants for cold, wet weather and rough terrain perfectly good choices for hot, muggy days as well.

The ankle cuffs of the pants are designed to be worn in about four different ways and sit really well in each position thanks to the snap fasteners. This means that no matter what your body shape (height/waistline), what shoes you’re wearing, or whether it’s hot and sunny or blowing freezing rain on you, you can close the ends of the pants up in a way that’s satisfactory.

The Fjällräven Keb Women’s version is definitely re-tailored to suit slightly different proportions, meaning that women can look forward to something that fits really well, not just the men’s pants in smaller sizes. We liked this! We also reckon that the Kebs are flattering and stylish without trying to look like they’re not hiking pants.

Despite being the burliest hiking pants we tried on, the Kebs are fairly light in your pack and on the trail, at about 1.5 pounds, not quite twice the weight of the lightest hiking pants we could find, and still less than the average pair of blue jeans. We think they look pretty good on, too: a really nice balance of modern fit and classic mountaineering-style design.

6. Prana Women's Halle

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.8
Prana Women's Halle
Breathability
88
Brand
95
Adjustability
85
Comfort
87
best offer for today
$55.20
Pros:

Comfortable

Mobile

Zippered thigh pocket

Internal drawstring

Cons:

Some fabric pilling

Sometimes you want something that's both functional and stylish that easily transition from a day out hiking, to a night on the town. Enter the Prana Women's Halle pants. The nylon fabric is durable and agile enough for even the roughest of trails while sporting a feminine fit.

Read more

Functionality:

Made of nylon and spandex and featuring articulated knees, these pants are mobile and allow for full freedom of movement. The fabric itself is quite tear-resistant, so they're definitely built to last. They aren't terribly water resistant despite having a DWR coating, so these may not be ideal for anything more than light rains. A zippered pocket on the thigh is made to easily fit a phone or wallet. The legs aren't convertible into shorts, but they can be rolled up to a more capri-style length.

Comfort and Weight:

At twelve ounces, these aren't the lightest of pants, but that makes them work well in colder conditions as well. The fabric is soft and flexible, allowing for full range of motion no matter what you're doing. Internal drawstring lets you adjust the waistband without the need for a belt. The fit is stylish and feminine with a mid-rise waist and runs true to size.

7. Outdoor Research Ferrosi

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88
Outdoor Research Ferrosi
Breathability
85
Brand
90
Adjustability
88
Comfort
89
best offer for today
$79.00
Pros:

Comfortable

Durable for hiking

DWR water proofed

Cons:

Not for very cold environments

A really lightweight pair of hiking pants, whatever your out door hiking environment, these will work, they feel comfortable, do not restrict mobility and offer a degree of stretch factor for flexibility during mobility.

These hiking pants appear as minimalist which means they are easy to stow away yet they offer great form FIT, these feel snug and functional with fast drying out capability, you do get a set of pockets which are standard to small.
 
Water proofing is backed up through the inclusion of a DWR coating, a durable light fabric construction, so no bulk issues, though the material is thin and thus light you do get a fair level of durability relative to the conditions in which the pants are worn.

For hiking they are fine but if your scaling rock faces  ( some people do) you will find that the pants do not have qualities which protect from excessive abrasion, given that these are offered for hiking, they serve purpose very well.

Read more

Functionality

Way up in the top league for stretch capability, you get great mobility without restriction, these pants stretch when needed so they comfortably with with your body motions.

The pants are sold without a belt so you will need to pick out a nice belt to use. on cool days you feel comfortable and on hot warm days the comfort level is consistent, due to the thin material you would be wise not to use these pants in extreme cold conditions, they were not designed for extreme weather.
In terms of FIT these might at first feel a little close to form but keep in mind the stretch factor which works well and allows you flexibility.

Breath-ability is impressive, heat transfer away from the body in hot conditions is good and the pants allow a good flow of air for ventilation,  these are not convertible so if you prefer a combination of long legs convertible to shorts, these do not go that direction.

The cuff of the pants have a draw cord feature for each leg, you can pull them up to just below the knee and pull the cord to hold in place, cinching the pants is quick and easy and you will find the buckle for cinching built under a convenient flap built into the leg of the pants.

Five pockets in total, two front pockets, a side pocket with zip system and two rear pockets also with zip security. Like the pants design, the pockets are minimalist but functional for purpose.

If your caught out in the wet weather the DWR coating gives a good level of protection but if the rain is heavy or prolonged the water will get through eventually.

Used for hiking these pants are impressive and fine for the right conditions of weather, if you are going to use them as hiking and other activities where leg material will be subjected to high abrasions such as climbing, you have to accept some scuff marks and pilling.

Comfort/Weight

Built from light material and DWR coated for weather protection, the pants are comfortably for hiking and you wont feel a sensation of heavy material weight.

For durability, the pants are well constructed and you wont experience seam failure, if you use these pants true to purpose which is hiking, your going to get longevity, good performance and sound durability but if you take these pants into activities such as climbing rock faces then you need to accept that durability will be challenged.

For comfort the FIT is close but with fair stretch designed in, though using other layers of clothing under the pants might prove challenging.

These are a great pair of pants an ideal for cool, warm and reasonably hot hiking conditions,

Cost

Affordable pants, the price tag is friendly.

8. Outdoor Research Voodoo

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.8
Outdoor Research Voodoo
Breathability
89
Brand
92
Adjustability
85
Comfort
85
best offer for today
$99.00
Pros:

Lightweight

Stylish

Wind-resistant

Cons:

Front pockets are shallow

Being a perfect balance between comfort, durability, and function, the Outdoor Research Voodoo pants are nothing short of pure magic.

Read more

Functionality:

These pants feature five pockets, two of which are zippered. An elasticized waist ensures a solid fit, and tapered legs make them less baggy than most softshell pants. Nylon resists tearing, even against thorny obstacles. Articulated design and elastane blend support your movements, rather than holding you back.

Comfort and Weight:

Made of a nylon and elastane blend, these pants are made to move with you rather than against you. The fabric is lightweight and water-resistant while being durable, and wind resistant while being breathable. Their casual styling easily transitions from hiking during the day, to a pub crawl with friends at night.

9. Arc'teryx Men's Perimeter

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.8
Arc'teryx Men's Perimeter
Breathability
82
Brand
94
Adjustability
85
Comfort
90
best offer for today
$95.20
Pros:

Agile and mobile

Articulated design

High-quality water resistance

Cons:

Expensive

Arc'teryx is on the more expensive end, but with this cost comes great quality. These pants have some of the best water resistance in their price range, with a simple and stylish design.

Read more

Functionality:

The pants themselves are rather simple, not having too many features. However, the DWR coating provides some of the best water resistance in its price range. Water simply beads on the surface of these pants, which also makes them quick to dry once the weather improves. The pockets are somewhat small, and best for lighter hikes when you don't need to take much with you, or plan on bringing a backpack. The articulated fabric and gusseted crotch provide good mobility.

Comfort and Weight:

The nylon/elastane blend fabric is light and quiet, though can feel a bit rough against the skin. The fabric may feel tight around the seat and upper thighs, so if this is an issue for you it's suggested to get a size up. The mesh-lined pockets provide some airflow, but overall synthetic materials don't ventilate well, and as such these pants are best suited for colder or more wet conditions.

10. Helikon-Tex Outdoor Tactical Pants

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87
Helikon-Tex Outdoor Tactical Pants
Breathability
89
Brand
85
Adjustability
85
Comfort
89
best offer for today
$77.40
Pros:

Water resistant

Agile and mobile

Ten pockets

Cons:

Can feel plasticy

Originally dealing in military surplus equipment, Helikon-Tex knows a thing or two about making great outdoor gear, and their Outdoor Tactical Pants are no exception. Sporting a great deal of features and durability, these pants are sure to last you a very long time.

Read more

Functionality:

Made of nylon and spandex, these pants hvae a DuPont Teflon coating to keep the moisture out and the warmth in. Ten (that's right, ten) pockets ensure you'll have enough room for whatever you bring with you.

Comfort and Weight:

The fly is secured at the waist with a velcro closure, allowing for the same comfort and security as a button closure, without the chance of it digging into you when bending over. These pants have fully articulated knees, and internal compartments for knee pads in the event you need them. They are on the heavier side, and thus may not be well suited for warmer weather. A gusseted crotch alows for better freedom of movement, while making them more durable by reducing the amount of stress put on the seams.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Breathability

All those mesh sections and fully open panels that you can unzip to expose your skin may seem silly on the rack, but they are precious when you’re sweating through a forest trail.

Full-length breathable rip-stop fabric can protect you from twigs and thorns whilst keeping you breezy cool; mesh is less protective, but it is still better protection against flies, ticks, mosquitos and sun.

Brand

Making choices based on brands, especially when the brand option is more expensive without clear advantages, can be silly. Don’t assume that just because you’ve heard a brand name before, it must a good one. Well-known does not mean well-respected.

Any new manufacturer can come out of nowhere with zero marketing experience but decades of hiking experience and suddenly be making the best product on the market. Well-established brands can get complacent or greedy and start churning out annual updates that are as pointless and ‘buggy’ as smartphone upgrades.

That said, there are a few reasons why you might let the brand weigh into your choice. The first reason, which is especially important if you want to buy hiking pants online, is that different brands tend to have slightly different sizings. If you know that brand x has fit you really comfortably before, chances are they will again. The second reason is that certain brands have a reputation for excellent customer service, advice, return policies and so forth.

Adjustability

Pants that can zip-off completely are attractive to ultra-lightweight travelers who want a pair of pants and shorts without needing to carry one or both. These are a better choice for people who usually prefer shorts and occasionally want to wear pants than the other way around, since the zippers however well-made can be an unnecessary discomfort and weight in themselves. If you usually prefer full-length pants and only occasionally want to wear shorts, just pack a pair of shorts as well. They’re not that heavy.

Comfort

Many hiking pants are marketed for travelers who will be mostly sticking to city footpaths and the occasional overlooking trail. This means that they can get great reviews as hiking pants even though they actually have fairly limited flexibility. If you plan to climb steep trails and do the odd bit of bouldering on your way, let alone climb trees or anything more adventures, it’s crucial to find flexible, stretchy hiking pants that won’t cut into your thighs or limit your range of motion. Look for pants with a gusseted crotch, slightly baggy or boxy-looking knees, and don’t be afraid to do a bit of tai chi in the change room.

Expert Interviews & Opinions

Most Important Criteria (According to our experts opinion)
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Do Not Hike In Jeans

When going on a hiking adventure, do not think you can put on a pair of jeans and go. Jeans are not a breathable material and will most likely keep moisture and sweat inside your pants which can cause discomfort. When going on a hiking trip, invest in a pair of hiking pants for optimum comfort and breathability - you'll be happy you did.

Other Factors to Consider

Weight

Another huge benefit of hiking pants over denim. This is important both for your body and your backpack. Some people get excited about every ounce they’ve managed to shave off, but it’s kind of like cycling: there’s a huge spectrum and unless you’re really experienced, the differences in weight between different products at the expensive end probably doesn’t matter too much – there’s been enough competition for long enough now that they’re all pretty good. Heavier isn’t always worse, either: the Fjällräven Keb, for example, has sections of reinforced G-1000 fabric covering a lot of the legs, with the option of adding wax to make them even more protective (and even heavier).

A more important consideration when it comes to weight might be how much water the pants soak up. If you get soaked, how much extra weight will you be hauling?

Protection

Most hiking pants offer some amount of protection for your skin and durability for the fabric itself: you might not expect it to shield you from every branch and thorn that you whack into, but you should be able to expect the fabric not to tear too easily. This can be about the weave/construction (‘rip-stop’) or about an extra layer that is designed to reinforce and deflect.

Water Resistance

Is this important for where you’re going? Remember that you can end up much colder if rain gets through your pants than if snow gets on top of them. Many hiking pants claim some level of water resistance – few are completely waterproof. If you think you need this level of protection, don’t expect to find a pair of hiking pants that is ultra-comfortable, quiet, flexible, lightweight, warm enough, breathable and waterproof. Ain’t gonna happen. You’re better off buying a pair of great overall performance hiking pants, plus a thin waterproof shell and some thermals to wear underneath. If it’s wet and warm, you’ll be much more comfortable with a merino-synthetic layer to wick away moisture and cool you down than sweating directly into your waterproof shell.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: What kind of hiking pants are best for short summer hikes?
a:

Yes, you should look for a pair of hiking pants which are lightweight and can be converted into shorts if the day becomes too warm while you hike. If your a day hiker who likes to take along a small backpack, you could look for pants which offer more pockets, this way you won’t need the backpack. Generally, pants designed for short-term hiking should be light, reasonably protective and offer a nice level of breath-ability and quick dry out time just in case you get caught in the summer downpour.

q: I’m interested in hiking trips which last 3-4 days and are in challenging environments, (summer or winter). Any suggestions?
a:

You are talking about choosing a pair of hiking pants with a broad and high choice of performance features. You’re going to need to lock for pants with a good choice of pocket sizes and around 6-7 pockets, you should think about what you will carry, phone, GPS, some rations to eat while on the move, maps perhaps, keys and other generally useful items to have close at hand. Look for pants with DWR waterproofing, UVA protection, convertible too shorts for hot days. Choose pants which offer good breath-ability combined with fast drying out.

q: What are good pants that work for both hiking and travel?
a:

You want style and functionality, lots of pockets which offer zip security and the pockets need to different sizes to cover a wide choice of things such as keys, wallet, passport etc. Check out ideal pants for hiking and travel with the features you want.

q: Can hiking pants be worn with other layers of clothing?
a:

Sure, if you are in a cold climate and your wearing loose fitting pants, it should be ok to slip on a thin pair of pants underneath, you then have two layers for insulation. When layering with hiking pants ensure that the second inner layer of clothing has breath-ability and a degree of wick capability.

q: What is better, cotton or polyester for hiking pants?
a:

If the hiking pants are 100% cotton you will have problems if you get the pants wet, cotton retains water and so dry out time is much longer. you can consider pants which are a blend of nylon and cotton and try to target hiking in a warm or sunny environment.

It is known that synthetic fibers do give good wick factor, the moisture can lift or pass up through synthetic fibers and then it is able to naturally evaporate. The ideal combination generally is a blend of merino wool and polyester, this leads to good wickability.

Sources

  1. REI.com, How to Choose Hiking Clothes, Jan 17, 2019