There are so many kinds of hiking pants on the market that make choosing is harder than it should be. That’s why it’s important to know what features to look for so you can get the most of what you pay for.
To ease the process for you, we have some tips on how to choose the best hiking pants for men. In addition to that, we also have a list of our top picks.
**Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.
Why Go For Hiking Pants?
Jeans and khakis might be fine for occasional hikers, but if you're planning on backpacking and getting some serious hike, you'll want a good pair of hiking pants. Here are some benefits of hiking pants:
They Are Lightweight
Hiking pants are usually made of some nylon. It weighs much less than cotton or jeans, so having them on you or in your pack is more comfortable. And when you’re comfortable, you’ll have a better time.
They Are Quick-dry
Imagine wearing wet jeans or cotton during your hike? Not a very pretty picture, is it? Jeans are already heavy in itself, so getting them wet will only make things worst. It’ll probably feel gross too!
That’s why hiking pants are ideal. The nylon material dries very quickly, even while you are wearing them.
They are Quiet and Comfortable
Decent hiking pants should feel soft on the skin and allow free movement without becoming uncomfortable. They are usually roomy and prevents any rubbing on the skin like what jeans do on long hikes. The nylon material in hiking pants is soft and quiet, meaning it's not making any nylon rubbing noise.
They Have Great Pockets
Most hiking pants have many and usually large pockets useful for storing items like compasses, maps, cameras, lip balm, etc. Instead of having these things buried or not-as-easily-accessible in your pack, you can get from your pockets.
They Can Be Convertible
Many hiking pants are convertible to shorts, either by a zipper or by rolling and buttoning up. They give you a change of style and offers you versatility for different hiking conditions.
Convertible hiking pants are practical for long hours of hiking or a backpacking trip.It's unnecessary for short hikes when the weather, temperature, and elevation are most likely going to stay the same.
Important Things To Consider When Choosing Hiking Pants
Climate of Destination
The climate of your destination is a vital factor to consider. Is it hot and dry? Is it in a cold or temperate place? Are you hiking up high elevations?
Knowing the conditions of your destination can help you pick the right kind of pants. You wouldn't want to get pants that are for winter when you're going to the desert or vice versa.
You can buy rain pants, but that would just be another thing to carry in your bag. Not mention, when it starts to rain, you'd have to rush take them out so you can put them on.
A decent level of water resistance on your pants is convenient not just for rain, but also for water sports such as fishing, canoeing, and kayaking for days you don't plan on going in the water.
All kinds of clothing offer sun protection to some extent. However, for hiking and other activities that involve more time under the sun, extra sun protection is ideal.
Nowadays, many manufacturers design outdoor clothing such as hiking pants and rash guards ultraviolet protection factor (UPF), which means more protection for harmful radiation.
UPF comes in different ratings or degrees. If the clothing has UPF 40, for instance, it means that out of forty units of UV, only 1 unit will pass through the skin. The higher the UPF, the better the protection.
As with everything, price matters. The better the quality and the more functionality, the more expensive it will be. The brand also significantly affects the costs and for a good reason.
However, the extra dollars you pay for a brand won’t always give you the functionality that you need. Sometimes you can find top notch items in less popular brands.
Final Tips On How To Choose The Best Hiking Gear
Tip #1: Know Where You Are Hiking
Know the climate and other conditions that affect your hike so you can better prepare for it. Will you be crossing rivers or going up in high altitudes? Is it a desert? What’s the temperature?
This can help you determine what to look for in your hiking pants. For instance, if it’s a place where there’s higher chance of rain, then you might want some water resistance.
Tip #2: Try Before You Buy
All hiking pants are more comfortable than regular pants, but it’s useless if you don’t have the right size. Make sure the fit allows you to move freely and with ease, especially around the knees and crotch area. If possible, try them on and have a feel, before you buy.
Tip #3: Stick To The Necessities
We all have our ideas of what’s necessary and what’s not. That said, you should list down what features you need or like. Are all those pockets necessary? Do you need the convertibility? If not, you might be able to save some bucks on getting a simpler one instead.
Best Hiking Pants 2019
Columbia Sportswear Company is one of the leading brands in outdoor apparel. They're a company of people who are passionate about the outdoors and are always looking for solutions for better experiences. One of their many great products is the Men's Silver Ridge Convertible Pant.
These hiking pants feature Columbia's Omni-Wick, which is a high-performance wicking fabric. This technology will keep you dry and comfortable as it pulls sweat and anything wet away from your body and evaporates fast.
Another great feature is the Omni-Shade, which blocks UVA and UVB, preventing sunburn and skin damage. In fact, this feature is recommended by Skin Cancer Foundation.
- Extra skin protection with Omni-Shade.
- It feels very comfortable even after a whole day of hiking. They’re also lightweight so having them as an additional pair in your backpack isn’t bad as well.
- Very easy to convert to shorts.
- They’re not water resistant, but they dry very quickly because of the Omni-wick material.
- The waist is semi-elastic, giving a comfortable and secure feel.
- Pockets are great and just enough.
- For the price, it’s a very tough and more than decent.
- The material is thin and not ideal for high elevation or cold temperatures.
- You will get wet in the rain with these pants. They are not water resistant.
- Zippers in the pocket aren’t always smooth.
Another outdoor apparel company who’s earned the trust of many adventure seekers is Outdoor Research. Their core mission is "to provide innovation and inspiration for the Relentless Adventurer."
The Outdoor Research Ferrosi Pants for men is are a classic pair of hiking pants. The fabric is water-resistant, quick-dry, and wind-resistant. It's also very breathable and lightweight. It has draw cords on the cuffs which you can hide when not in use.
- Ideal for wet and windy destinations because they offer great weatherproof features.
- They're also perfect for climbs a few hundred feet elevation.
- The pants are form-fitting but partly stretchy so you can move more freely and comfortably.
- They’re simple yet very functional. They also look quite stylish.
- The pockets are quite small and tight, especially the front pockets.
- It’s not as abrasion resistant as they say. They’re perfect for regular hikes and climbs, but no so much for high-abrasion activities like scrambling.
This next pick is another Outdoor Research baby, Cirque Pant. They’re more expensive but also more durable and has more features than the Ferrosi. They're softshell pants ideal for high-energy climbs, mountaineering, and even ice climbing.
Like the Ferrosi, these pants have great, or even more weather resistance. They are water, wind, and abrasion resistant, yet very flexible and allows free movement. The fabric is 50% nylon, 43% polyester, and 7% spandex.
- The pants look and feel great. They are stylish and functional too.
- Pockets are suitable for a climbing harness.
- It has gusseted ankle zippers for flexibility with the footwear. It also has boot lace hooks, Grommets for instep lace, and drawcord cuffs for security and flexibility.
- You can also use suspenders on them.
- It may have more features, but it’s still quite expensive.
- Front and side pockets might be small and shallow for some activities.
Unlike the other brands on this list, prAna is not solely focused on outdoor clothing. However, that doesn't mean that their products are less than others.
After all, they are still a company that promotes healthy and active living. Their clothes are versatile, stylish, and functional and are commonly used by yogis, travelers, and climbers too.
Prana’s convertible Stretch Zion Pant are a great go-to pair of pants. The fabric is 97% nylon and 3% spandex, offering great water resistance and flexibility at the same time. They are also quick-dry and have some abrasion resistance - ideal for bouldering, scrambling, and high-energy hikes/climbs.
- Zipping off the legs is easy.
- They’re very versatile and stylish. You can use them for high-energy activities or everyday casual wear. I also love them for traveling.
- The fit is great and allows you to move freely and comfortably.
- You can feel the roughness of the zipper when the legs are on. It can be uncomfortable on the knees during ascends.
If you like the features of the Stretch Zion but without the convertibility, then this is your bet. The Stretch Zion is 97% nylon and 3% spandex, offering water resistance and flexibility at the same time.
It's also abrasion resistant so that you can use the for high-abrasion activities. The inseam gusset allows full range of motion, and there are roll-up leg snaps for more versatility.
- These pants are comfortable and stretchy, allowing flexibility and freedom of movements. They are excellent for hiking and climbing, but also look perfect for everyday wear.
- I love it for traveling because it’s how lightweight, comfortable, and it looks good.
- It offers extra sun protection with UPF 50.
- Great selection of colors.
- The pockets are just right.
- It seems noisy when the fabric brushes against each other. So, they might not be ideal for wildlife viewing.
When it comes to hiking pants, comfort and functionality are critical. These things are determined by some factors, such as your destination and the material or fabric of the pants. For hiking, you will want something that allows you a full range of motion while keeping you well ventilated, dry and protected.
All the pants on this list are great, but the best one depends on some factors like how rugged the hike will be and such. For me, Columbia Men's Silver Ridge Convertible Pant wins regarding versatility, functionality, and style.
The fabric is ideal for wet and dry weather conditions. They also offer a lot of flexibility, nice pockets, and style.
There’s no better way to find the best hiking pants than trying them on before you buy and looking into the features yourself.
If you can, try to visit the store to see them and fit them for yourself. If you have questions, concerns or personal experiences about the article, feel free to use the comment section.