Like how a bad pair of boots can ruin your adventure with a painful blister, a lousy, substandard pair of hiking pants can do more than that.
It cannot protect you from chafing your knee, leg, groin and ripping your pants. Because hiking requires you to move every part of your body, gearing up for protection and comfort is essential to avoid scrapes, rashes, abrasions and possible falls that may cause you pain all along the trail.
Choosing a good pair of hiking pants is crucial for every hiker, that’s why we compiled the Top 5 Best Hiking Pants to help you decide. Buying Guide In looking for a pair of hiking pants that suit your needs, the most important thing to consider is a comfort.
Flexibility is one of the keys to comfort. It should also enable your torso and legs to breathe because sweat can actually make you uncomfortable during hikes. It should be water, sun, and wind-proof, and of course, durable. In addition to these given characteristics, you also need to think through the following concerns in selecting the right pants.
Hiking Place. Where will you use the hiking pants? If you’re just going on a day hike in a place with a temperate climate, you can go for any regular hiking or rain pants. But if you’re going to hike in hot places or deserts, you may want to bring a light and convertible pair of hiking pants. If you’re walking in a jungle, consider hiking pants that can protect you from bugs and insects.
Different Kinds of Hiking Pants. In reality, you can use any pair of pants in hiking, but manufacturers have designed hiking pants to cater to the specific needs of hikers. The most common of which is the Convertible Hiking Pants, which can turn into shorts when the zippered bottom part is removed, and the Roll-up Hiking Pants, which can become shorts or Capri pants once you roll it up.
Materials. The most common material used in making hiking pants is polyester and nylon. However, this was topped by modern innovations in the industry with the introduction of new materials such as stretchable fabric made by combining elastane or spandex with nylon. This new hiking pants material doesn’t just provide breathability, but also water and wind resistance.
You can also check for weight and the thickness of the material used. The heavier the fabric, the more resistant it is to the elements but less breathable. While lighter fabrics are more breathable, they remain less element resistant.
Columbia Men’s Silver Ridge Hiking Pants
The Columbia brand has consistently provided high-quality hiking pants made of first-class materials. The Columbia Men’s Silver Ridge Hiking Pants is a straight-leg convertible pant made of 100 percent Nylon. Once you zip off the bottom leg part, it converts into a short with a 10-inch inseam. It has side cargo and rear flap pockets and a belted waist.
- ANTI-MOISTURE AND SWEAT BUILD-UP. Columbia’s Silver Ridge is designed with the innovative Omni-Wick Evaporation Technology that can remove moisture from your body, enabling sweat to quickly evaporate. It keeps you wickedly dry and comfortable to move any way you want to.
- ULTRA-VIOLET RAY PROTECTION. Made with Omni-Shade Anti-UV Ray Technology, Silver Ridge Hiking Pants provide you with UPF 50 protection from the sun, blocking harmful UV rays through its tightly woven fabric construction. It not only blocks UV Rays but also absorbs and reflects them from reaching your skin.
The best part is, it has a seal of recommendation from the Skin Cancer Foundation Seal for protecting users from sunburn and skin damage.
Aside from the features, most users love the fact that the Columbia Men’s Silver Ridge Hiking Pants fabric is very light, comparable to a light wind jacket; is stretchable, letting you put extra gear in the side pockets during a hike.
Most users did not like that it cannot repel water and they have to use a water repellent spray in case of sudden rainfall. They also do not recommend using them in cold weather. Some also find the zippers to be uncomfortable and stiff, compared to the soft fabric of the pants. And lastly, the included belt is low-quality.
The high-quality fabric is what’s best about Columbia Men’s Silver Ridge Hiking Pants. The Omni-Shade and Omni Wick technology are also innovations that make these hiking pants ideal for traveling, average hikes, and hikes in places with a warm climate. It’s not recommended for rainy jungles or snowy treks.
FunnySun Men’s Light Quick Dry Hiking Cargo Pants
The FunnySun Men’s Light Quick Dry Hiking Cargo Pants may not be a brand you’re most familiar with, but it’s a decent hiking pants. These cargo pants are made mostly from polyamide fabric and spandex, making it breathable, light and stretchy. It also comes with a straight fit belt and two knee pockets with zippers where you can put your outdoor essentials
- UNIQUE POCKETS. The pockets are designed with concealed zippers where you can comfortably insert your hand.
- KNEE ARTICULATION. FunnySun has sewn Steric knee darts that enables knees to bend freely while walking, kneeling, or climbing.
- FLEXIBLE FABRIC. The fabric made of polyamide and spandex allows your legs to breathe, wicks away moisture and doesn’t constrict your movement.
- EASY WASH AND QUICK DRY. FunnySun Men’s Cargo Pants doesn’t let dirt cling and easily dries by the sun or the wind.
Many people who have tried using FunnySun Men’s Light Quick Dry Hiking Cargo Pants liked that it is very comfortable and easy to dry, despite its affordable price. Since it’s light and airy, it can protect your legs from tics, bugs, and insects without feeling too hot. Some even said that its features are comparable to expensive popular brands yet you can get it for nearly one-third of their price.
There were just some problems with the sizes. Some ordered their regular size and what arrived is a pair of pants with the same size number but is actually 2-3 sizes smaller. Also some didn’t like that it’s not wind and waterproof.
The FunnySun Men’s Light Quick Dry Cargo Pants is a decent pair of hiking pants you can use for average hiking and camping trips. But you probably wouldn’t want to wear this in jungles or snowy terrains.
Mr. Stream Men’s Quick Dry Breathable Convertible Hiking Outdoor Pants
Mr. Stream Hiking Pants may be made in China but is a tried and tested durable hiking pants comparable to US brands. It is a convertible hiking pant made of 100 percent nylon fabric that’s breathable, quick dry and lightweight. By simply unzipping the zippers below the knee, you instantly have a short you can use to hike in places with warm weather.
- OMNI SUN PROTECTION. It protects your legs from the harsh rays of the sun while keeping your skin away from sweat and moisture.
- ADJUSTABLE EXTERIOR WAISTBAND. The waistband is stretchy, unlike other cargo pants restricting the waist portion. It also comes with a durable belt.
- ZIP-OFF LEGS. Easily convert your hiking pants into shorts by unzipping the lower half of the pants.
- EASY WASH AND QUICK DRY. With Mr. Stream Hiking Pants, dirt and mud are easy to wash off, and it dries quickly in the wind or under the sun.
- 5 ZIPPER POCKETS. The zippered side pockets ensure that your essential hiking tools and gadgets are protected and won’t fall off easily.
According to some users who tried and tested Mr. Stream Men’s Convertible Hiking Pants, it can endure more than a 6-mile strenuous hike. Most users liked the idea that when you convert it into shorts, the pant legs can be stored entirely in the leg pockets. The stitches and the fabric are also comparable to hiking pants from US brands. Perfect for warm weather treks and average hikes.
However, some users do not like that the converted shorts are a bit longer, more like cargo pants. The absence of give in the fabric also makes it constricting. Since it doesn’t stretch, users find it is very tough to maneuver and step on high rocks, restricting their movements. Some also found the angle of the pockets and opening size difficult to use.
For outdoor activities and average hikes, these pants are highly recommended But for rock climbing and hiking strenuous terrains, Mr. Stream Hiking Pants may not meet experienced hikers’ expectations.
White Sierra Trail Convertible Hiking Pants with 32-Inch Inseam
The White Sierra Trail Convertible Pants is a convertible hiking pants with 32-inch inseam made of 100 percent nylon. It protects you from sun, water, and wind while you trek mossy mountain trails, sunny river banks, or scorching deserts. When conditions change, you can just zip off the leg part, and you’ll have a 10-inch inseam shorts ready to use. Its cargo pockets and expandable leg opening are also designed with a saddle gusset, and touch fastener closure zippers.
- SUN PROTECTION. The fabric used in White Sierra Pants has certified UPF sun protection fabric which protects you from the harmful UVA/UVB radiation.
- WATER PROTECTION. The fabric instantly repels water and prevents mud and dust from clinging to it. Due to this feature, it also dries quickly.
- SECURE POCKETS. The five secure pockets in this hiking pants features hook and loop design securing the front and the back pockets.
- CONVERTIBLE. The Zip-off pant legs are very easy to remove while venturing your way to different terrains.
- SLIPS OVER FOOTWEAR. The upright side zipper sewn on the cuffs lets the leg part slip easily over hiking boots or shoes.
It’s not hard to love White Sierra Trail Convertible Pants because, for its price, it does a great job while being a decent hiking pant. Most users find it perfect for any kind of adventure, from jungles to snowy mountains; they attest to this hiking pants’ effectiveness in providing protection. It can be used during all weather conditions. It is also perfect for keeping insects and bugs from feeding off your legs. Professionals at fieldwork such as archaeologists, geologists, and others also find this convertible pants not just useful, but also trendy when they use it for work.
Other users don’t like the fact that White Sierra Trail Convertible Pants do not have enough room in the seat area. If you bend over or squat, your bottom can easily be seen, and if you sit, you’ll feel it is rather tight in the crotch section. Some also noticed that the pockets are flat patched without pleats. Because of this, the pockets cannot expand to hold more gear.
White Sierra Trail Convertible Hiking Pants is pretty impressive despite its affordable price. Its features are comparable to high-end hiking pants brands available in the market today. It is tried and tested by users as capable of giving protection to almost all kinds of weather conditions. Getting a pair of White Sierra Convertible hiking pants is highly recommendable.
Men’s Lightweight Waterproof Stretchable Hiking Pants
Whether you’re trekking, fishing or traveling, these reinforced stretchable hiking pants are ideal for every outdoor adventure. This pair of hiking pants is made of 90 percent polyamide and 10% spandex, making it stretchable. So, expect to be more flexible in mountain or rock climbing and other outdoor activities when wearing these pants.
Its water, sun and wind-proof features are incredibly unbelievable for its price. Also, it dries quickly and lets your legs breathe, keeping your thighs dry and free from sweat. Its zip and Velcro pockets keep your outdoor belongings easy to get and, at the same time, secure.
- REINFORCED KNEE FABRIC. Since the knee part is always the most prone to ripping, these hiking pants are designed with a reinforced fabric on the knee part to be tear resistant and for extra durability.
- TRAVEL-FRIENDLY- It is made of water repellent and quick-dry stretchable nylon fabric that gives you maximum comfort and flexibility while doing outdoor activities.
- WATER-PROOF POCKETS. Two of the slanted zippered pockets are sewn with reflective tape that keeps your belongings dry and secured in place.
- ELASTIC WAISTBAND WITH BELT. The elastic waistband allows users to wear and remove the pants quickly. The belt is also stitched inside to ensure that it won’t get lost or easily removed.
Most users love how this pant is very comfortable to use outdoors as it is breathable and provides complete protection from insects and dirt. Its stretchable capabilities and durable fabric make it highly resistant to cuts when trekking thorny areas. Some also loved how it looks modern and not awkward to wear in public places. That’s why travelers and backpackers highly recommend having a pair of these pants during trips.
Some users tested the water-proof capabilities of these pants, and they were disappointed. While drizzles of water easily slide off the fabric, it may not prevent the user from getting soaked during rainy days.
This generic Men’s Lightweight Waterproof Stretchable Hiking Pants provides flexibility during your outdoor adventures. Its water-proof capabilities may be in question, but these pants can actually provide you comfort during your walks and travels. For average hiking, fishing and other outdoor activities, these hiking pants can keep you protected.
In choosing hiking gear, expert hikers always go for items with more uses. For most, convertible pants with multiple uses like Mr. Stream, Columbia, and White Sierra Convertible Hiking Pants are simply the best, but if the zippers malfunction or the separate legs get lost, you will have a problem.
Adjustable waistbands are also a plus, so you won’t have to buy a new pair if you suddenly gain or lose weight. Hiking pants with spandex material have become popular nowadays because of the flexibility it offers the users. From the list provided above, almost all are designed with five or more pockets to keep essentials secure.
Because when it comes to functionality, having more pockets to put your hiking tools, kits and snacks is a plus. When you’re on an adventure, you never know if you’ll be separated from your backpack, and all you have left are what’s in your pockets. So for survival, having more space to put more stuff is important for hikers.
Almost all were proven to provide comfort to their users. However, White Sierra Trail Convertible Pants and Columbia Men’s Silver Ridge Hiking Pants have surpassed the others for having high-quality fabric and being durable in almost all weather conditions and climates.
While the rest have features that are highly recommendable, they are hiking pants that are more suitable for people who do average hiking, traveling and other uncomplicated outdoor activities.
We hope this Best Hiking Pants buying guide helped you choose what hiking pants to buy for your upcoming trek. We would greatly appreciate it if you can share this information with your friends.