Best Trekking Pants
Along with a good pair of trekking boots and a sturdy backpack, wearing great trekking pants can help make your outdoor adventures significantly more enjoyable. Campers and hikers alike will tell you that a great pair of trekking pants can make all the difference, as they not only provide a comfortable fit but also are breathable and help battle against the outdoor elements. However, there are endless options out there when it comes to choosing your trekking pants. It’s important to remember that every pair is made for unique situations and climates, so selecting the best trekking pants for your needs may require a bit of research. To help save you some time, we’ve done the research and compiled a list of the top ten trekking pants on the market, and explained why they are the best of the best.
- The North Face Paramount Peak II
- Outdoor Research Ferrosi
- Prana Stretch Zion Convertible
- Prana Stretch Zion Inseam
- Arc'teryx Gamma LT
- Columbia Silver Ridge Convertible
- Outdoor Research Cirque
- Montane Terra Pack
- Ex Officio Damselfly Pants with Insect Shield
- Craghoppers’ Classic Kiwi
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Expert Interviews & Opinions
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top 10 Picks
1. The North Face Paramount Peak II
Good weather protection
Can fit baggy
If you’re looking for something that can help protect you while you experience a wide variety of outdoor activity and a bevy of different climates, then the North Face Paramount Peak II Convertible trekking pants could meet your needs. The updated North Face Paramount comes with larger pockets and an improved durability to increase their wear time. The predecessor was great, but these pants will rock the hike trails with a longer life and more storage.Read more
These pants have a fantastic DWR (durable water repellent) outer finish to keep a hiker dry on the trails. This finish is lightweight and it protects the nylon fabric of the pants from light rainfall.
The pants tend to be more of a relaxed fit, so if you prefer to be clothed in something more fitted on the trails, give that a consideration. The sides have long cargo pockets that can be shut with their Velcro enclosures to protect your belongings. There is also a cell-phone specific pocket.
Unzipping the legs, conveniently, makes a pair of shorts with a 10 inch inseam. Both men's and women's are available.
2. Outdoor Research Ferrosi
Good weather resistance
Easy to pack
Could be more durable
Fits big in the hips
For those outdoor enthusiasts that prefer a more lightweight design with their trekking pants, the Outdoor Research Ferrosi Trekking Pants offer plenty of opportunities with that feature. Not only are these trekking pants very light, but they also stretch well and offer you plenty of movement versatility.Read more
The Outdoor Research Ferrosi Trekking Pants are made to move with you, keeping you free from restriction, so that you can easily complete just about any outdoor activity you want to partake in.
These pants, unlike some of the other trekking pants on our list, don’t come as a convertible option, but do feature a roll-up draw cord so that you can still get extra ventilation when needed.
Made with a minimalist design, these trekking pants have just a few small pockets, and not a bevy of additional features and functions, but the simple design means the pants are light and easy to pack. Plus, they fit snugly and stretch out well, adjusting to fit your form as needed.
With a DWR coating feature, these trekking pants are quick-drying and work well even in wet climates. Their durability, versatility, and stretchy fabric make them a helpful option in trekking pants.
3. Prana Stretch Zion Convertible
Lots of versatility
Lots of pockets
Crotch zipper seems short
Stitching comes undone after some use
Prana’s Stretch Zion Convertible Trekking Pants bring you a lot of versatility and can handle just about any outdoor activity you could imagine. They work well for just about any sport, and provide a lot of options for outdoor enthusiasts that like to perform a bevy of activities.Read more
Prana’s Stretch Zion Convertible Trekking Pants are very comfortable, comprised out of a stretchy nylon and spandex combination. These two materials make the pants very flexible, ensuring they’ll never restrict your movement no matter what you plan to do outside.
These pants are also versatile because you can adapt them to the weather easily. While they’ll keep you warm easily, you can turn them into shorts when the weather gets hotter, adding breathability and ventilation as you need it.
Prana’s trekking pants are very durable, and can withstand a lot of wear and tear. They also have plenty of pockets and cinching features to help you easily adjust them so they always fit you correctly and comfortably.
4. Prana Stretch Zion Inseam
Legs run short
Short crotch zipper
If you’re not as worried about getting a pair of convertible trekking pants, but still enjoy having useful features and benefits for your outdoor activities, then the Prana Stretch Zion Trekking Pants offer you another option. These pants are very versatile and are made to perform well for a wide variety of outdoor activities, and also come with a stylish look and feel.Read more
Prana’s Stretch Zion Trekking Pants aren’t quite as versatile as the Prana Stretch Convertible, but they are a bit more affordable and still offer much of what you’ll need outside, as long as you aren’t worried about having convertible pants. These trekking pants are made to be flexible and stretch well, moving with you as you move, so you’ll never feel restricted or confined.
Prana’s Stretch Zion Trekking Pants also fit with a lot of comfort, and are made to keep you warm while it’s cold outside. You can roll these pants up with a snap to shorten the length of the legs if you need a bit more ventilation when the weather gets warmer.
With these trekking pants, you get several zipper and security pockets for easy access to items and organization. These pants also adjust well at the waist, and resist water well, helping to protect you during any of your outdoor activities.
5. Arc'teryx Gamma LT
Good weather protection
Not as affordable as some other options
Can feel strange to wear
For those outdoor enthusiasts most concerned about a good pair of wet weather trekking pants, the Arc’teryx Gamma LT offers great features for those concerns. Arc’teryx Gamma LT trekking pants are great for protecting you during rainy and snowy days, keeping you warm and dry.Read more
Arc’teryx’s Gamma LT Trekking pants are designed like a soft-shell hiking pants, but work well as a piece of hardcore protective clothing. The material on these trekking pants is thin and made out of a slick nylon fabric, so they look and feel like rain pants, and are more water resistant than many other competitors’ options.
While these pants are durable, stretchy, and versatile, they aren’t as affordable as some of the other options on the list here. They do offer plenty of excellent performance features and materials for the price, but if you’re on a budget, these pants can be difficult to afford.
However, these are some of the best trekking pants on the market, and they do bring you the type of protection from the weather, versatility, comfort, and freedom of movement most outdoor enthusiasts really desire. With a good selection of pockets and an adjustable fit, these pants can help you out no matter what the weather is like outside.
6. Columbia Silver Ridge Convertible
- Sun protection
- Water resistant
- Could be more versatile
- Could stretch better
If you’re leaning toward getting a good pair of thin, lightweight trekking pants, then the Columbia Silver Ridge Convertible Trekking Pants just might be up your ally. These pants are one of the lightest options on the market, but with their lightweight features, they do sacrifice some versatility.Read more
Columbia’s Silver Ridge Convertible Trekking Pants work very well for warm weather climates, as they are breathable and provide good ventilation. They do still protect your legs well from the weather and water and do work well for those that want something that is light and easy to pack.
These trekking pants are also affordable, and do offer some levels of comfort and adjustability that do help them to fit well. You can also zip them off at the legs if you opt to wear them as shorts, giving them some weather adaptability.
With UPF 50+ sun protection and water-resistant fabric, these pants do offer the benefits you need to protect your legs on warm weather outings. They are 100% nylon, and for the more casual warm-weather outdoor enthusiast, provide the benefits you’ll need.
7. Outdoor Research Cirque
- Can add suspenders easily
- Weather protection
- Waistband could be more comfortable
- Tend to run small
Outdoor Research’s Cirque Trekking Pants are a versatile, soft-shell pants option designed to perform well no matter what you do, or where you are, when you plan your outdoor adventures. Made for a variety of high-energy activities, you can ski, climb, hike, or do just about anything in these pants.Read more
Outdoor Research’s Cirque Trekking plants are made out of a highly breathable fabric that is also weather-resistant and water-resistant. Plus, the fabric on these pants is made to stretch well, and won’t restrict your movement no matter what you decide to do.
These pants are durable enough to perform well in harsh climates and high-mountain conditions, providing the strength and protection you need no matter where you’ll find yourself. They also come with a zippered thigh pocket for anything you might need to hold.
With the breathability, durability, versatility, and flexibility these pants provide, you’ll be well-protected using them no matter where you go. You won’t find yourself snagging on things, or having any problems moving when you use these pants.
8. Montane Terra Pack
Might be too warm for hotter weather conditions
Montane’s Terra Pack Trekking Pants are made to be a bit thicker and typically work well for a wide variety of activities and weather conditions. However, even with their thicker material, these trekking pants are still made to be lightweight, giving them a nice easy-packing capability.Read more
Weighing in at only 280 grams, the Montane Terra Pack Trekking Pants are some of the lightest, thickest, and most durable trekking pants available on the market today. Their material includes Invista’s Tactel fabric, which is a very breathable material that is also made to be strong and light.
The material these trekking pants are designed with makes them feel great on the skin, and they also incorporate water-resistant technology that helps them dry out quickly. These trekking pants are made to be versatile, and can handle long, harsh trips and just about any activity.
Montane’s Terra Pack Trekking Pants also include articulated knees, snap fasteners, and pockets you can easily get into to organize and grab your things. They fit easily around your footwear, and also come in three different color choices for those concerned about style.
9. Ex Officio Damselfly Pants with Insect Shield
>Expensive to some
Ex Officio Damselfly Pants are made for comfort with super wicking and fast-dry fabric. These pants are great if you are going to be hiking through tick laden areas, like the jungle or dense forests, because they have an insect shield treatment that will keep ticks from getting in.Read more
These pants feature a permethrin Insect Shield treatment that will repel ticks for about 70 washes or so. And as far as fit goes, they tend to be like a pair of jeans; they're a casual fit. Like the North Face pants, if you want a pair of hiking pants to be a more secure fitted feel, than another option will be best suited for you.
The waist in these pants have a draw-string closure with side pockets, and they feature an extra pocket for securing goods you want to be hidden, like money or a passport.
The legs easily roll up to add freedom of movement and breath-ability and they have a 22 inch inseam.
10. Craghoppers’ Classic Kiwi
Could offer more styles
Slower drying time
If you’re looking to purchase a good pair of trekking pants on a budget, then Craghoppers’ Classic Kiwi trekking pants offer a lot of great functionality and comfort. Made from a combination of polyester and cotton, you get breathability, durability, and the kind of fabric that can repel water easily.Read more
Craghoppers’ Classic Kiwi Trekking Pants are made from about 35% cotton, which is a bit higher than some other pants on the market, and means they dry a little slower than some of the other options we listed here. However, the cotton does mean that they breathe better, and offer plenty of ventilation.
These trekking pants are made more for warm weather conditions and are great for hiking, but they do offer optimal coverage for the fall weather as well. Plus, the materials in these trekking pants makes them flexible and versatile enough to move as you move, so you never have to worry about movement restriction when you are outside.
Craghoppers’ Classic Kiwi Trekking Pants also come with a total of nine pockets, which is great for the outdoor enthusiast who wants a lot of organization. These pants also come with a removable, lightweight belt for those of you who want the extra adjustment to make sure the pants fit well.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
When you’re deciding what the best pair of trekking pants are for you, one of the most important thing to look at is how comfortable the pants feel when you wear them. If you have to focus on what you’re wearing while out on the trail due to discomfort, it’s likely to take your attention off of whatever you are doing, which could create risks for you, and most of all, no one wants to feel uncomfortable when they head on a fun trek into the great outdoors.
Comfort, therefore, becomes very important because you won’t feel distracted or restricted by your pants when you are performing your activities outside. Moreover, you want pants that feel flexible and move as you move. You want to feel free of any obstruction, rubbing, or anything else that might annoy you as you play outside.
It’s key to make sure you feel the pants you settle on. Make sure they work well and move with you, and won’t distract you when you are outside. In essence, you want to feel as though the pants aren’t even there. Freedom of movement is essential.
As far as most of these trekking pants on our list are concerned, comfort usually aligns with the mobility of the pants you wear. When you are moving a lot outside, you want to make sure the pants move with you so you don’t wind up focusing on them, getting distracted and possibly injured.
A lot of trekking pants nowadays are made out of nylon, but some also add some kind of stretchy material into that fabric, like spandex or elastane, which can help the material move with you. How well the pants fit when they are on you is also important, because you don’t want pants that fit too baggy or they can interfere with the way you move.
For some hikers and outdoor enthusiasts, versatility is going to be an important factor when deciding what trekking pants are the best to wear. For those outdoor enthusiasts who need to travel light and know they’ll have to carry a lot, versatility in their pants can provide many benefits, like not weighing you down.
If you know you’ll be hiking on longer trips, you won’t want to have to carry additional items, so having pants that can adjust with the climate and activity will certainly be a plus. Being able to bring along just one pair of pants that can adapt to a lot of conditions and temperatures will certainly benefit outdoor adventurers who don’t want to pack a lot, and want to be able to rely on one pair of pants for a bevy of things.
The best versatile pants will provide plenty of leg protections from all weather and activity conditions you encounter during the same journey. Since weather conditions can change frequently in one outing, having pants that can handle sun, wind, rain, and just about anything else will be helpful when wanting to pack light.
For more versatility, some outdoor enthusiasts like purchasing pants with convertible options. That way, if the weather warms up and you need more ventilation, all you need to do is unzip the bottoms of your pants so that they then become shorts.
Convertible pants do offer a lot of versatility options, but most outdoor enthusiasts still want pants that can handle a lot of different activities. Some adventurers know they will hike, climb, and perhaps even swim all during the same outing, and want a pair of pants that can help them do it all.
One of the best convertible and versatile pants on our list is the Prana Stretch Zion Convertible since these pants are made to be stretchy, zip into shorts, but still provide ample weather protection from the wind and rain, along with enough durability to handle any activity.
How versatile you need your trekking pants to be while you outside depends a lot on the types of adventures you plan to take. If you know you’ll be out in a wide variety of climates for extended periods of time, then versatility will become an important factor.
However, if you are a more casual hiker that prefers shorter outings during warmer weather, you would be able to get away with a more affordable pair of trekking pants with less versatility. Again, how much versatility you need is a matter of personal opinion, and if you don’t need pants that are extremely versatile, you may be able to save some money.
How breathable you’ll need your trekking pants to be, again, will depend on exactly what you plan on doing when you are wearing them. Some of the pants on our list offer easy convertible or roll-up designs, providing a lot of breathability and ventilation in an instant if the weather warms up, but not all the pants we’ve listed here do that.
Depending on the design of the pants, some trekking pants do better at diffusing heat and getting rid of moisture build-up from sweat or hotter temperatures than others do. Basically, trekking pants vary widely as far as breathability is concerned.
Depending on how often you are outside in the warmer weather, breathability might be a factor you need to consider. If you are a more casual, warm weather hiker, then you’ll certainly want this—and if you are the kind of person that will play outside no matter what the weather, breathability features will be important if you want pants that can help you out all year round.
Some pants on our list are a bit thicker and made for colder weather, and thicker pants sometimes, although not always, don’t wind up performing well on the breathability scale. So, some individuals that want year-round trekking pants will either have to invest in one, more expensive pants design, or purchase two pants, one for warm weather and one for cold weather.
Most of the trekking pants we’ve listed here are made with nylon plus some other materials, but it’s important to remember that how good the quality of that nylon is can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Most outdoor enthusiasts want durability that allows plenty of leg protection from things like abrasions as well as solid pockets and seams.
Trekking pants designed with more lightweight material tend to be less durable although more breathable. The more lightweight the design of the pants, the easier it is to wear the pants out, create holes, or pop the seams. So, if you do wind up selecting a pair of more lightweight trekking pants, take a look at the manufacturer’s warranty to make sure you’re getting something that will last for awhile and protect you while you are outside.
Some of the most durable products on our list are the Arc’teryx Gamma LT pants and the North Face Paramount Trail Convertible Pants. The Paramount trekking pants are made of a very heavy, sturdy denier nylon, making them capable of handling a lot of abuse. Although the Gamma LT is a thinner type of pant design, they still hold up very well to tougher activities and weather conditions.
If you need more durable pants, you will probably sacrifice some breathability and movement in the trekking pants you select. So again, consider exactly what you plan to do while out on the trails, and decide what you need from there.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Usually, trekking pants that are designed with the lightest and thinnest fabric provide the best breathability. The Outdoor Research Ferrosi is one type of trekking pants that perform well with breathability, as does the Columbia Silver Ridge Convertible. Not surprisingly, both of these pants are made with lighter, thinner fabric.
Thicker, heavier pants made for colder weather tend not to be quite as breathable, like the North Face Paramount Trail Convertible, for example. However, with some of these thicker material options, like the North Face paramount Trail Convertible, you can simply zip the pants off into shorts, which some outdoor enthusiasts are just fine with.
Other Factors to Consider
Some of the most comfortable pants on our list have a softer material designed into them, making them feel great to the touch and smooth on your skin. Trekking pants with softer materials usually don’t fit too tight or restrict your movement when you’re active.
Also, some of the softer-material options include stretchy fabrics that are far more flexible than others. Another thing to pay attention to is that some convertible pants aren’t as stretchy as others.
Comfort and movement are two standard desirable features, but much of that measurement is a matter of personal preference. If you feel the pants move well with you, fit you great, and give you what you need, then you be confident with your choice.
Frequently Asked Questions
As an outdoor aficionado, you will want to consider whether you will be in a hot/dry, wet or cool climate before settling on a pair of hiking pants.
A wet climate means that you could opt to bring along a pair of hard shells to protect you from the wet. Nothing is worse than cold weather, rain, and a soggy feeling hike.
A drier climate that is hot, you may chance the hike by wearing shorts; however, pants do offer more protection. So if you go the pants route, consider a pair that are made of natural, breathable fabric. Even though your legs are covered, it doesn’t mean that they can’t breathe to release unwanted heat and sweat.
A cool climate might not only mean feeling a bit hilly, but often can also include chances of rain. In this case, a pair of breathable cotton pants will become soggy and cold fast. Consider a pair of hiking pants made of lighter fabrics that are also waterproof. For example, a pair of nylon pants resist water a lot more than cotton ones; Plus, a great DWR coating on the pant will do the trick.
Any outdoor enthusiast planning to take a multi-day outdoor adventure probably needs to plan for some potential rain and adverse weather conditions, no matter what the time of year. Since you don’t want to wind up totally drenched and freezing while camping outside somewhere, considering weather resistance and water resistance features in trekking pants becomes important.
Most hikers and campers don’t want to have to carry too much weight or pack extra layers of clothes and protection with them if they can avoid it. So, getting a pair of pants with enough weather resistance becomes important for that type of outdoor enthusiast. Still, some water resistance is necessary for trekking pants, because you can get caught in the rain or near a body of water anytime you are outside.
Most trekking pants come with some type of water resistant features, although some offer better options and standards than others. Trekking pants are made to keep you dry, and several are made with a Durable Water Resistant (DWR) coating over the outside area of the pants.
Trekking pants with a DWR coating help the pants immediately repel water once the water hits the outside of the pants, meaning the water won’t absorb into the fabric, making you cold and wet. Also, these types of coatings can wear off over time, so before you take your trip, you probably want to check on how well your pants are holding up if you’ve already used them extensively. Older pants can get a new DWR finish over them to keep them going, and to prevent you from having to purchase new pants.
Exactly how much water resistance you need will depend on where and when you plan to partake your outdoor adventures. If you’ll be outside during adverse weather conditions and for longer periods of time, then you want pants that are very water resistant. However, if you’re a casual, warm weather hiker, you can get away with pants that offer average water resistance.
For most outdoor enthusiasts, the features they really need in their trekking pants is a matter of personal opinion. But the features in trekking pants can also make or break the decision about what pants to purchase, so you do need to consider what you need.
What most outdoor enthusiasts discover with their trekking pants is that they’ll either hate some of the features, or discover that they can’t live without some of the features. Each different pair of trekking pants offers different feature options, so you need to decide what you can’t live without in a pair of trekking pants, as well as the features that drive you crazy.
One of the features many trekking pants advertise is the number of pockets, their types, and their locations. You’ll also find features like waist tightening belts and cords, convertible zippers, cuff zippers, cuff roll-up buttons, ventilation areas, and crotch zippers.
What really matters when looking at these features is deciding whether or not they are useful for you, and how well they actually perform when you are out on the trail. Most trekking pants that provide convertible shorts options function well and convert easily into pants, and for hikers that want that feature, they’ll want trekking pants that can do that.
Some outdoor enthusiasts want more pockets than others, and where the pockets are located on the pants can also help determine how useful those pockets are. Pockets and organization features are a matter of personal preference, so you simply need to decide if you need pockets, what kinds, and where.
Some pants also have good waist tightening systems and are easy to adjust, while others feel a bit bulky at the waist because of the way the belts are made. How comfortable you are with waist belts and other size adjustments is another feature to consider when you purchase trekking pants.
Hiking pants that include fewer features are usually more affordable, so if you are shopping on a budget or are more casual about how you’ll use your trekking pants, you can save a bit of money by opting only for the features you need. You really need to factor in exactly what you plan to be doing with the pants, and what you feel will really benefit you overall. Once you know that, you’ll be able to settle on the features you really need.
How durable you really need your pants to be again will depend on where you will be performing your outdoor activities, and when. More casual outdoor enthusiasts that prefer warm weather conditions may really need to opt for more breathable and less durable trekking pants. However, those that will be performing more extreme activities during all types of weather conditions will need pants that are more durable.
How much breathability you need will depend on where you will hike and when. If you know you’ll be out during the warmer weather, then you do need to factor in breathability. Some trekking pants with convertible options might help solve this problem, but you’ll need to decide what you can and cannot live with when the weather gets warm.