Last Updated – Jan 28th, 2020
Best Hiking Pants 2020: Hiking is an expensive and specialized hobby that requires a certain type of equipment that must be chosen with great care. On a decent hiking trail, there is a big difference between an Abercrombie and Fitch blue jeans pair and a pair of specialized hiking pants.
If you are looking for the best hiking pants, you have come to the right place. Here, we have provided the complete list of all the best trekking pants, plus tips and tricks for choosing the right pair.
While some of the basic differences are easily appreciated, there are certain specialized aspects that need to be considered when buying the perfect pair of a hiking pant. Besides, most of the manufacturers of such equipment often make tall claims and inflated prices.
We have identified the best hiking pants for men and the best hiking pants for women as well and put them under separate categories.
Our Top Picked Hiking Pants for Men
Our Top Picked Hiking Pants for Women
5 Best Hiking Pants 2020 for Men
When it comes to the list of the best hiking pants for men, these are the first ones that you should keep in mind. Do remember that some of the best brands manufacture these pants and there is very little to separate them. We have dug deep and found out the pros and cons of each model.
#1. Outdoor Research Men’s Cirque Pant
Outdoor Research is one of the world’s best-known manufacturers of outdoor equipment. This is our choice when it comes to trekking on rough and uneven terrain where even the slightest change in a crease would result in a tear in the pants. This pair of Cirque Pants is also something that is essential for either a weekend trek or even a month-long trek. These pants are also spectacularly stylish and are available for both men and women.
It seems that Outdoor Research has put in a lot of effort and focus in manufacturing this pair of pants. It comes with a gusseted crotch, which provides both excellent ventilation and greater support. This pair also has thick nylon-reinforced abrasion patches which serve as reinforcements against any external injuries should you lose your footing. The articulated knees are also something that we greatly admire.
This pair of Cirque Pants has boot lace hooks as well, which make it ideal for trekking. When carrying a great amount of weight in the backpack, the flat waistband proved to be extremely helpful. What we also liked was that the pants had adjustable Velcro belts on both sides which helped us in ensuring that a wide range of sizes was easily fitted.
Besides, the material used for the construction of the pants is also excellent in quality. Manufactured of nylon, polyester, and spandex, these individual elements provide tough construction, stretchable character, and a waterproof design, respectively. Overall, since this pant can also serve as a fashion statement, it is easily the best hiking pant of 2020 and something that you should definitely try at least once.
- Fabric Performance: Water-Resistant, Wind-Resistant, Abrasion-Resistant, Breathable, Movement- Mirroring Stretch
#2. Mountain Hardwear Men’s Mesa V2 Convertible Pant
Another enormously popular name for the best men’s hiking pants is Mountain Hardwear. They make extremely good products and at very reasonable prices too. The last time I used it was on the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina and it was an excellent companion that is still with me, albeit in a slightly worse-for-the-wear condition now.
The men’s Vesa V2 convertible is a decent pair with some great features. It is coated with its very own layer of DWR coating. DWR is an acronym for Durable Water Repellent coating and is commonly known by its trade name Gore-Tex. The name incorporates the word convertible because it can be converted into a pair of shorts too; the shorts are made of very tough nylon and is durable and comfortable for continued wearing as it is well ventilated and airy.
We especially admired the flat waistband and the microfleece inner which keeps our innards warm in colder climates without adding to the extra weight of the pants as a whole. Recently, Mountain Hardwear changed the construction of the pants and they now come with belt loops rather than the previous built-in nylon belt feature; it now offers better fits for varied sizes. The wearer also has more options of choosing a belt among other similar additions.
Lastly, we must mention that the pants also have a fashionable angle to them and can be passed off as quasi-dress pants. This is easily one of the best hiking pants for men of 2020.
- Legs zip together for easy storage
- UPF 50, Quick Dry
- Zip security pocket
- Kniferidge pocket
- Unique Mountain Hardwear compression pocket
#3. Columbia Sportswear Men’s Royce Peak Pant
Third on our list is this spectacular pair of hiking pants by Columbia Sportswear. This is the best budget hiking pants of 2020 and, as usual, Columbia has managed to reconcile great value for very nominal prices. There is no compromise whatsoever and this is the best part of the Men’s Royce Peak Pant. This is one of the best pants to guard the user against harmful UV rays and rain.
The pant is manufactured out of a two-way stretch material which adds both durability and ventilation. Columbia Sportswear has successfully managed to weave in elastane with the nylon base to add a certain degree of elasticity to the mix. Nylon ensures that the pants stay rugged and durable while the elastane ensures that the material is elastic. When both the factors are taken into account, the pants are great for longer treks and trips on an uneven and uncomfortable terrain.
Columbia has also incorporated certain proprietary features in the pants. Onboard is the Omni-Shield system which helps in providing UPF 50 sun protection. This is ideal for high-altitude treks when the sun beats down upon you. It also makes the pants washable and stain-resistant. The security pocket is zip-closed and the attention to the little details is where this pant is rendered special.
- STRETCH FABRIC: Columbia's Ultimate Roc Flex Pant features 98% cotton fabric with a utility stretch for comfort and everyday use.
- HANDY FEATURES: This men's durable stretch pant features several handy pockets, including a knife pocket and one zip pocket, for ultimate convenience and efficiency.
- ADJUSTABLE FEATURES: This men's stretch pant features belt loops and a front button closure.
- CASUAL FIT: This pant is crafted of a casual fit with comfort stretch fabric for ultimate comfortability while traveling.
- Columbia's Men's Ultimate Roc Flex Pant is your new go-to pant for active days traveling or casual days out in the sun.
#4. Outdoor Research Men’s Voodoo Pant
Another quality product from Outdoor Research, the Voodoo pants have taken the camping community by storm in the last few years. It seems that the company has managed to balance great design quality with style; this hiking pant is something that has had a seminal effect on many new trekking and camping enthusiasts.
This is the most stretchable hiking pants on this list as they contain a phenomenal 12 percent of elastane content complementing the 88 percent of nylon. While the nylon content provides great durability and adds to the rugged nature of the pants, the elastane comes in handy when on difficult terrain.
There is an added element of comfort when using these pants; having a lot of nylon makes them waterproof and windproof. When compared to the Cirque pants we described earlier, they add a lot of comforts which add up to an honestly great pair of pants. When we were in Sri Lanka last year, this pair of camping pants came in handy and we were absolutely smitten by them. Overall, they managed to survive the rainy weather. We did not manage to test it in colder conditions, however.
Three features of the pant that stand out even under the most cursory observation are the articulated knees, the best-gusseted crotch on the list, and the harness compatible waist, all three of which are useful when one is trying to get the maximum kick out of their trip.
Overall, this is easily one of the top hiking pants. They are also pretty lightweight and can be carried with ease inside your favorite hiking backpack without adding too much weight.
- Fabric Performance: Water-Resistant, Wind-Resistant, Lightweight, Breathable, Quick-Drying, Abrasion-Resistant, Movement-Mirroring Stretch
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#5. Mountain Hardwear Men’s Piero 5 Pocket Pants
This is the second entry from the Mountain Hardwear brand, one which seldom disappoints. As the name indicates, this model boasts 5 pockets. This model is the epitome of the seriously stylish and yet no-nonsense trekking and hiking pants. These are the best premium hiking pants and are something that you should try at least once.
Two words come to mind when reviewing this model: comfort and stretchability. These features, while also present on many other comparable items, are reflected the best in this model. Note that this pant is manufactured of 100 percent nylon, which makes it airy and breathable. Nylon is one of the most durable and comfortable materials around and this combination is effectively used in this model.
The pants have a flat waistband which is lined with microfleece. This provides superior grip and a much better and comfortable wear in colder climes. The Piero offers UPF 50 sun protection which is excellent in case you wish to go on a high-altitude trek. The DWR finish aids in providing better waterproofing and is something that adds to the appeal of the men’s pants.
You know that you are buying a decent pair of pants when the same pair can be easily worn to any party without feeling out of place. This Moutain Hardwear model is definitely one of the best hiking pants for men as it is universally acknowledged as being one of the best-constructed ones.
- DURABLE MATERIAL: A go-to pant made with stretchy and durable blended canvas fabric to match your active lifestyle. Made with a mix of cotton, nylon, and elastane, the AP Pant maximizes comfort without sacrificing functionality.
- FLEXIBLE DESIGN: Roll-up waistband and cuffs with snap closures so you can move more freely when necessary. Excellent stretch from elastane for added range of motion.
- REFLECTIVE VISIBILITY: Unique reflective details along the hem to make you visible in dim light. Stay safe during your late night bike rides or evening strolls.
- SAFE STORAGE: A front phone pocket and two zippered security pockets to carry the essentials on you wherever you go. Stash your items without stress.
- CASUAL FIT: Simple, classic design lets you wear it wherever you go. Wear it normally or rolled up for a more relaxed look.
5 Best Hiking Pants for Women 2020
#6. prAna Women’s Regular Inseam Halle Pant
prAna is one of those brands which cater to a certain group of consumers. They also manufacture great women’s hiking pants. So, ladies, before you venture out into the vast wilderness, take careful note of this pair. prAna is a brand that focuses on making pants for both hikers and climbers, which essentially means that their products are both stretchable and durable. Halle pants can also serve as cross-functional pants serving as both stylish and functional especially on a long-distance trip.
One particular aspect that we liked about this pair is the fact that they have roll-up legs with articulated knees; the knee joint is thus well supported. Made of nylon and spandex, these pants will also help you in keeping yourself dry even in the wettest of climates. Nylon construction aids in making the pants durable. An articulated knee also has extra fabric which allows unhindered motion while not restricting blood flow.
When climbing tough and edgy boulder fields, this is the first pair of pants that come to mind. They can also be used or navigate a rather rough trail, giving it that extra durability. Its relatively form-fitted shape has a single pocket on the side, so do not expect to store too much in that. Overall, it adds a lot of great value-for-money without compromising on the quality of the fabric. It is not meant for demanding technical hikes, however; the simplest hikes can be completed excellently using these hikes, however.
Tha last time we took it to Ireland (and we did not want too loud a color so we did not stand out as being tourists), we were also impressed by the drawstring inside of the waist which was absolutely great.
- Stretch 'Zion' performance woven with durable water repellent (DWR) finish
- Cross-functional pant
- Trouser styling with button front
- Articulated knees
- Roll-up leg feature
#7. Columbia Sportswear Women’s Saturday Trail Pant
Columbia Sportswear is back with yet another great women’s hiking pants. However, this time, it has made some minute changes in its outlook and has manufactured the pants keeping in mind the three main objectives: comfort, durability, and stretchability. These are reflected in the nylon and elastane construction. So much so that even the most demanding camping enthusiast will be satisfied using this pair.
Onboard these pants are the Omni-Shade UPF 50 sun protection factor which helps in high-altitude mountaineering and advanced repellency of bugs. The pants also have excellent pockets built in at strategic points. With the articulated knees, even when the pants are rolled up to form Capri-length shorts, the movement is seldom restricted and the pants are overall actually better than most comparable units.
Aso, unlike many comparable pants, the shorts are not zip-off units; they are basically roll-up pants which provide a better degree of safety and security. Even if you run into bushes and thorns, these pants will be comfortable enough. The pockets have a mesh lining and are greatly useful even in the warmest of climates. Together with the quick dry feature, there is no issue even when the rains do start.
Overall, these pants combine the best of both worlds: that of style and comfort, not to mention durability. You can also easily carry these pants in your backpack without having to worry about lugging around with too much weight.
- ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY: Columbia's Saturday Trail Pant features Omni-Shade UPF 50 fabric for maxium protection against the sun and Omni-Shield technology for advanced water and stain repellency to keep you cool and dry.
- HANDY FEATURES: This women's cargo pant features two side-zip security pockets with mesh pocket bags.
- ADJUSTABLE COMFORT: Columbia Women's Saturday Trail Pant features gusset detail, articulated knees, and leg hem cinches for the ultimate adjustable comfort.
- ACTIVE FIT: This women's cargo pant is crafted of 96% nylon and 4% elastane Summiteer Lite 2-way comfort stretch fabric with an active fit for comfortable movement. It also features a straight leg and mid rise.
- Columbia's Saturday Trail Pant is the perfect cargo pant for comfortable and stylish hiking.
#8. Outdoor Research Women’s Cirque Pants
Outdoor Research is renowned not only for its men’s pants but also for the best women’s hiking pants. The women’s Cirque pants are also as good as the men’s Cirque pants that we spoke about earlier. Manufactured of nylon, polyester, and spandex, these pants are equally adept at mountaineering, trekking, and camping. All of these are possible because they are extremely durable and are composed of waterproof and stretchable fabrics in the form of nylon and polyester.
Besides these three fabrics, this pair of pants also has a stretch-woven fabric which allows it to have an ample breathability factor besides comfortable and moisture-soaking. Boasting a gusseted crotch, this pair of pants also has an enormous advantage over the other comparable entrants in this niche. These Cirque technical soft shell alpine covering also has a great technical advantage over the other pants.
Outdoor Research has ensured that these pants have the best fit in the form of the Tricot-Lined Waistband which is very adjustable. While we personally prefer the comfort of the polyester, we also like the fact that it has nylon, which means that we have the best of both worlds.
The Velcro integrated belt is a Godsend; it is adjustable and solid. Incidentally, the belt loops are flat sewn and they hold up well against the hip pads of any backpack that you might have. Being a high-quality pant, this model also has boot zippers which aid in hiking uphill. Lastly, we must talk about the reinforced nylon scuff pads which are present so as to protect the pants from crampons, snowshoes, as well as skis.
- Fabric Performance: Water-Resistant, Wind-Resistant, Abrasion-Resistant, Breathable, Movement- Mirroring Stretch
- Design Features: Zipper Fly with Button, Zip Hand Pockets, Zip Back Pocket, Zip Thigh Pocket, YKK DWR-Treated Zippers, Grommets for Instep Lace, Boot Lace Hook, Drawcord Cuff Adjustments, Reinforced Scuff Guards, Brushed Tricot-Lined Waistband
- Functional Details: Articulated Knees, Gusseted Ankle Zippers, Gusseted Crotch, Harness-Compatible Waist, Adjustable Tabs at Waist, Belt Loops
- 50% NYLON 43% POLYESTER 7% SPANDEX WOVEN
- Durable, highly-breathable, and wind-resistant double-weave, stretch woven fabric; brushed nylon face/polyester backing
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#9. Outdoor Research Women’s Ferrosi Convertible Pants
Another quality product from Outdoor Research, this pair of pants are designed to be convertible, meaning that they can also be used as shorts. With this pair, the company has decided to take a slightly more relaxed approach; while these pants are more comfortable than many of their counterparts, they are also meant for smaller and more pleasurable trips and treks. Do not expect to go mountaineering with these in tow.
Whenever we talk about these pair of pants, two points come to mind: stretchability and comfort. These two are the hallmarks of any good pant and these are present in abundance here. The 14% spandex content that the Ferrosi Convertible has is impressive enough to be yoga pants; they are that comfortable. The zip-off legs boast differently colored zippers on both legs, which is somewhat aesthetically pleasing than most other pants.
Besides the aesthetic aspects, the differently colored zippers also help in ensuring that you can easily decide which side to put on which leg. This will prevent mistakes and save time too. Water and wind resistance factors are also pretty good and help in ensuring that the trekking campaign is good enough without the need to carry around an extra set of waterproofing material.
The Ferrosi Convertible has three pockets; while there are two front pockets, there is one rear pocket. A single rear pocket does not allow too many goodies to be stowed away given that, like most of the best hiking pants for women, this too has a fitted shape and is a bit short on space.
Overall, these pants are ideal for a casual hike and a camping sojourn; however, do not expect to go on technically demanding treks as the material may not be sturdy enough for more demanding trips. Also, these slim-fit pants make excellent style statements and are also ideal for use at parties and social gatherings.
- Fabric Performance: Water-Resistant, Wind-Resistant, Breathable, Quick-Drying, Lightweight, Movement-Mirroring Stretch, UPF 50+
#10. Exofficio Women’s Bugs Away Ziwa Regul
Exofficio is one of the most prolific manufacturers of outdoor gear and with the Ziwa Regular, it is possible that they may finally have reached the pinnacle of their technological prowess. For, these pants are ideal women’s hiking pants and are possibly the most lightweight.
Two quick points which work in the favor of these pants are the insect repellent technology and the UPF 30+ protection, the latter of which is important when trekking and hiking at high altitudes. These pants have something called the Insect Shield Technology, which is basically a layer of Permethrin that is colorless and odorless and serve to keep away all manners of insects and bugs. This insect repellent layer works even after 70 washes.
When converted to shorts, this pair too has color-coded zippers which help the user understand which part goes on which leg. This will be ideal in case the user is in a hurry or it suddenly starts to rain or snow. The UPF 30 Sun Guard protection helps the user resist the sun in a way so as to resist any sunburn, something that can be a real possibility when one is hiking at higher altitudes.
These pants have the moisture-wicking technology and side cargo pockets, both of which we found to be immensely useful. Besides, it is also free of any rear pockets which many ladies will like, although it does limit the number of items that can be carried.
Overall, these pants have been constructed very scientifically and are also stylish. Unlike many women’s hiking pants, these pants have boot zippers, making getting into and out of the shorts a lot easier with boots on.
- These lightweight insect-repelling drawstring hiking pants are great for transitioning from a casual lunch in town to hikes in the forest and anywhere protection from tick, mosquitoes and other bugs is your top concern
- Insect-repelling BugsAway apparel using Permethrin-based technology provides protection from mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, and other bugs; odorless/invisible built-in treatment lasts up to 70 washes
- UPF 30 rated fabric provides protection from the sun while you're exploring
- Drawstring waist with zip fly closure lets you personalize your style for different excursions; relaxed fit and ultra-light fabric ensure you'll be comfortable
- Roll-up leg snap tabs convert pants to capri length for comfort and breathability in warmer weather
Best Hiking Pants 2020 Buying Guides
There are certain criteria for choosing the best hiking pants for men and women. Besides the fact that these pants vary slightly when it comes to the two genders, there are many common points. To minimize any potential for confusion, we have developed these certain features which must be kept in mind before arriving at a purchase decision. Follow these steps so that your trip is more successful than your last one.
The material which is used to construct a pant is a very important consideration. As you have seen, most of these pants are made of nylon with some of them having a bit of elastane thrown in for good measure. Such dual-material has two very specific advantages:
it helps in the durability of the pants while, at the same time, also ensures that they are stretchable. Elastane, also known as Spandex, also helps the users have better mobility when they are trekking on uneven terrain, which makes them highly recommended. The prAna Women’s Regular Inseam Halle Pant,
for example, is the most elastic when it comes to the women’s hiking pants and is an ideal fit. It is advisable that you do some research on the terrain before you embark upon a hike; in that way, you will know exactly what to expect.
On the other hand, there are some pants designed for traveling and light trekking which have lightweight nylon softshell. Such construction is not recommended when being used on high-altitude treks.
In essence, there are three main types of a hiking pole: collapsible, foldable and foldable-cum-collapsible. The collapsible pole has an adjustable length which ensures that it gets shorter as you go uphill and longer as you go down. They are also slightly heavier than most comparable poles.
When compared with most camping and outdoor gear, weight is not the first consideration here. That is unless you are carrying them in your backpack, where it is a real consideration. On our trips, we have worn pants that weigh anything between 8 to 17 ounces and found that on both ends of the weight spectrum, there are distinct advantages and disadvantages.
On this list, for example, the Outdoor Research Ferrosi is pretty heavy at 11 pounds. So, try and choose any one of the items on this list which have their weight between 8 and 17 ounces. Remember that at higher and colder altitudes, the weight factor may vary considerably, with the 20.5-ounce Outdoor Research Cirque being the weapon of choice. In this manner, you will have the best option.
Number & Type of Pockets
Pockets are a must-have for any hiking pant; however, not everybody wants to have pockets. This is because these pockets are often overburdened and they tend to bog down the user. Ideally, the pants should have a large zippered thigh pocket as well as several compartment-style pockets.
These pockets will help in carrying the smaller things that are often overlooked and/or misplaced in a backpack. Women often prefer the ones with a single pocket like the prAna Stretch Zion or the Halle models, something which is both comfortable and reliable.
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Articulated Knees and Gussetsba
Articulated knees and gusseted crotches are ideal for use on camping and hiking pants. The articulated knees will also help you retain the same natural walking style by creating the knee bend. The diamond-shaped fabric that helps replace the seams along the length is the gusset. A Gusseted crotch and articulated knees are essential for uphill climbing, mountaineering, and helping the user obtain greater mobility.
While some of the best hiking pants do have additional belt loops, it is also true that you will need to carry an external belt to use them. This increases the load. This is where the integrated belt comes in. Such a belt is built-in and it thus provides a greater degree of mobility to the users.
Note that although very useful, this type of belt has its own downsides; it can be bulky and it might also interfere with your backpack’s hip belt. Think before you buy, therefore.
Unless you plan to go camping wearing a full-sized waterproof jacket, you might want a water-resistant camping pant. This will help you stay dry in even the wettest of conditions.
Depending on the model being used, camping pants may offer decent to great waterproofing abilities. Choose one depending on where you intend to go camping to; we advise you to do some research.
Most hiking pants have a DWR or Durable Water Repellent coating on them, which helps them maintain their dry nature even under the toughest of circumstances. Therefore, look out for the DWR layer. Lastly, how much time a wet pant takes to be dry yet again is something that also must be taken into account. These points are inter-related and very important.
As you have already read above, the best hiking pants are usually also convertible, some to shorts while some others are rolled up to form shorts. In this sense, these are the variations that are essential for usage on a long trip where the weather is not always that cold to don full-length pants.
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How snugly a hiking pant fits the user is something that needs to be considered too. It is thus extremely important to remember that a snug fit is ideal on what might possibly be uneven or even treacherous terrain. Note that too tight a fit is also not desirable. All in all, it is important to keep all these points in mind before you embark on your trip. Be sure to test the newly-arrived pants before you take them outside.
In the end, we must remember that the best hiking pants 2020 are often not defined by the price tag. While some very expensive pants may not offer the same benefits as some comparatively cheaper models, it is also worth remembering that there is no substitute for quality. Choose the one which you feel s the best for you, not what the others say.