The best hiking pants you can buy

  • The best hiking pants offer a blend of comfort, durability, and style.
  • Whether it's a short day-hike or a multiday backpacking trip, you want the pants to hold up to whatever the outdoors throws at them.
  • We tested pairs from brands like Mountain Hardwear, Fjällräven, and REI Co-op to find the best currently available.

Comfort can make or break a hiking trip, and being comfortable starts with the type of pants you choose to wear while on the trail. Novices may think it's fine to throw on a pair of jeans or their favorite sweatpants before setting out, though they'll quickly realize the mistake they've made. Instead, a proper pair of hiking pants helps make any hiking trip, however long, a much more enjoyable experience.

But not every hiking pant is good for all conditions or every type of terrain. Where and how you plan to hike determines the style of pant you'll want to buy. Areas with large elevation changes may fluctuate between warm and cool, so a pair of convertible zip-off pants are best for managing your own body temperature. Additionally, hikes in heavily wooded areas create an opportunity for a branch to snag, or tear, your gear. For trips like these, a durable pant is vital.

With so many outdoor brands offering their own take on a hiking pant, the market is flooded with options. And since there isn't a true "one-hiking-pant-fits-all," it's important to find a pair that supports your specific brand of hiking. To help, we tested a wide range of hiking pants from brands like Columbia, Mountain Hardwear, and Fjällräven, to find the industry's best. Here are our favorite hiking pants currently available.Advertisement

Here are the best hiking pants you can buy:

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The best hiking pants overall

The best hiking pants overall
The Mountain Hardwear AP pants are perfect for hikers or cyclists alike, offering one of the most comfortable yet functional fits of any pant on this list. It's less than $100, comes in two stylish colorways, and even has the ability to pass as casual workwear.

Mountain Hardwear's AP pants provide one of the best fits of any pick on this list. Made of a blend of cotton, nylon, and elastane, it stays comfortable no matter the difficulty of the hike and offers wearers a wide range of motion. It comes in either a dark gray or golden brown color which adds to its stylish design.

The pants are durable, too. Whether it was a hike through a heavily wooded forest or even a little rock climbing, our AP pants held up through all of it without tearing or scuffing. Hardcore rock climbers may want to look for a more specific pant, though these did perform well when needed.

There are many pockets (it's one of our favorite cargo pants), but we wish they were more functional. There are two side pockets for your hands, along with two rear zippered pockets and a small stash pocket on the right leg. These don't provide for much more than holding a smartphone, wallet, or a set of keys, so you'll likely want to bring a backpack along for any longer treks.

Priced at $90, the AP pants won't break the bank while offering enough versatility to be used in a variety of ways — from the office to the trail, and back again. It's the first pant we go looking for in our closet before any hike, backpacking trip, or outdoor trek.

Pros: Comfortable yet flexible fit, durable for most terrain, clean style fits in on the trail as well as the office, the legs roll up to accommodate cyclists

Cons: Could use more functional storage pockets

The best hiking pants for durability

The best hiking pants for durability
Hikes aren't always a pleasant walk in the park, and sometimes require gear capable of withstanding the elements. For these, Fjällräven extremely durable Abisko Lite Trekking Trouser is the answer. Built of the brand's patented G-1000 fabric, it's designed to take a beating and keep going.

A proper pair of hiking pants should not only fit well and provide a wide range of motion but should also be durable. Fjällräven's Abisko Lite Trekking Trouser checks the first two boxes but exceeds the third, offering wearers a heavy-duty pant that's comfortable and practical.

The brand constructed the pants out of its ultra-durable G-1000 fabric, a material Fjällräven uses in all its top-of-the-line products like coats, backpacks, and hiking pants. In the Abisko Lite Trekking Trouser, the company used G-1000 reinforcements in the leg openings while also placing a heavier duty G-1000 blend on the lower legs, where abrasions are more common.

Its durable construction doesn't take away from the fit, either. We used these on several short day-hikes, as well as longer multiday backpacking trips, and they never felt too heavy or constricting. Their ventilated design helped keep our legs cool on hotter days, and they also pair well with a base layer when it's colder.

We liked the gear loops located on the waste, as well as the front-facing cargo pockets. Instead of being on the side where heavy items can throw off balance, cargo pockets on the front better distribute any weight that's added. The pants are also water-resistant but require applying Fjällräven's Greeland Wax to do so.

They're spendy at $170, but for anyone who hikes in densely-wooded areas or has trouble with the durability of other hiking pants, the Abisko Lite Trekking Trouser is the answer.

Pros: Constructed using Fjällräven's durable G-1000 fabric, features gear loops along the waist, has boot hooks sewn into the ankle cuffs, and offers ventilation from the hip down to the knee

Cons: Expensive


The best water-resistant hiking pants

The best water-resistant hiking pants
Though you may not choose to hike in the rain, coming across inclement weather is inevitable. With Prana's Stretch Zion Pant, you'll be protected from sudden downpours without having to trudge through the rest of your trek soaking wet. The abrasion-resistant coating also makes them a viable option for bouldering or rock climbing.

It doesn't have to be completely pouring rain to encounter moisture on a hike, especially if you're setting out for a multi-day backpacking trip. This is where a pant like Prana's Stretch Zion helps you stay prepared whether you come across some morning dew or get caught in a full-on downpour.

These pants use Prana's Zion performance fabric which feature a DWR (durable water repellent) finish and UPF 50+ sun protection. The material is also quick-drying and stretches to allow a variety of movement. That stretch also makes these pants extremely comfortable to wear, especially on longer trips.

Prana designed the Stretch Zion pant to be versatile, too. They feature two mesh side pockets and a dual-entry cargo pocket for stashing items like smartphones, wallets, or keys, and also have leg snaps which let you roll each pant leg up. These worked great to cool down at the end of a long hike if the weather was warm, or even when we needed to cross short streams.

For anyone who lives in an area that experiences a lot of precipitation, these $85 hiking pants from Prana are a must-own. We tested these in the Pacific Northwest and the moisture-wicking and quick dry features came in handy more often than we expected.

Pros: Treated with a durable water-repellent finish, constructed using Prana's quick-drying Zion stretch fabric, features UPF 50+ sun protection, and has roll-up leg snaps for cycling or cooling off

Cons: Features just one cargo pocket and its relaxed fit may be boxy on some people

The best hiking pants for hot weather

The best hiking pants for hot weather
Hiking is often done during the warmer months of summer, but it's not always smart to outfit yourself in a pair of shorts. REI Co-op designed the Sahara Roll-Up Pant to keep wearers cool in hot weather by using a light fabric along with a dual-length roll-up design. Its stretch nylon allows full range of motion even with the pant legs rolled up, too.

REI Co-op's Sahara Roll-Up Pant keeps you cool when temperatures rise by offering snaps to roll up the legs, as well as a ventilated design. Though it's enticing to put on a pair of shorts before a trek, wearing pants helps protect your legs in areas that are heavily wooded, or where you might encounter plants like poison ivy.

What made these pants stand out is how easy it was for us to quickly roll up, or roll down, each pant leg. Both legs feature quick snap buttons located in two areas which allow them to be rolled to the bottom of your shins or to just under your knee. These helped for cooling off while taking a rest, wading through a shallow river, or just letting our ankles breath.

The material REI Co-op used is fairly durable, as well. Whether it was scrapes from branches or contact with a bouldering wall, at no time did it seem like the pants would tear or scuff. It also features an adjustable waistband which came in use since the size we tested ran smaller than normal.

The pants feature a cargo pocket on either leg, as well as a hidden stash pocket sized to fit a passport. At just $60, the REI Co-op Sahara Roll-Up Pant is one of the least expensive options on this list and is perfect for anyone looking to do some hot weather hiking.

Pros: Offers two different snap points for rolling up each pant leg, its stretch nylon fabric dries quickly, treated with a durable water-repellent finish, features several pockets for stashing small items, and articulated knees allow for flexible movement

Cons: Waste sizing runs smaller than normal


The best zip-off hiking pants

The best zip-off hiking pants
These aren't just for dads on vacation. Columbia's Silver Ridge Convertible Pants serve an actual function as comfortable hiking pants on the trail, but quickly zip off into shorts in hot weather or at the end of your hike. Columbia's patented Omni-Wick moisture wicking fabric and Omni-Shade sun protection are an added plus.

However dorky they may seem, zip-off hiking pants are a great addition to anyone's hiking kit, and Columbia's Silver Ridge Convertible Pants are our favorite. These pants function as a comfortable and breathable hiking pant while also offering an easy way to cool down at the end of your hike by quickly zipping off into shorts.

What makes these convertible pants stand out is Columbia's use of its Omni-Wick treatment and Omni-Shade fabric. With Omni-Shade, the pants feature UPF 50 sun protection while the Omni-Wick treatment pulls moisture off a wearer's skin to keep them cool and comfortable.

You often expect pants to help shield you from the sun, but the Omni-Wick was the most noticeable as it would wick away sweat and dry quickly during our tests. The material is also light enough that it still keeps you cool when zipped into pants on extremely hot days. This also means they pack down small enough to fit into any backpack without taking up much room.

Another high point is how much available storage they offer. Between two rear pockets, two cargo pockets, and to hand pockets, we were able to stash our smartphone, wallet, set of keys, small granola bars, and trail map without feeling hindered by any additional weight. Though we used these during the summer, they would also work well with base layers for shoulder season hikes.

At just $60, these are a great investment for any hiker looking to add a versatile pant to their setup.

Pros: Feature Columbia's patented Omni-Shade fabric for UPF 50 sun protection, as well as the brand's Omni-Wick fabric which draws moisture away from your body, and has zip-off legs which are good for warm weather hiking

Cons: Pocket stitching tends to come undone with frequent use