Field Mag may receive a minor commission from purchases made via affiliate links.
Sure you could take to the trails in shorts, but when it comes to serious outings, a pair of hiking pants will always be your best bet. Full coverage is more protective against bugs, branches, abrasions, and whatever weather happens to come your way. Hiking pants are typically made from a durable and breathable stretch fabric to allow for freedom of movement. Other functional touches to look out for include a variety of pockets for snacks, maps, binoculars, multi-tools, and your favorite lucky bandana; a durable, water-repellent coating; and integrated belts, cinch cords, and drawstrings to help dial in the fit. Homer Simpson famously had issues with pants, but he probably never tried any of the pairs on our list of the best hiking pants for men.
Just like you’d invest in solid hiking boots, good quality hiking pants can really up one’s afternoon adventure or multi-day backcountry experience. We’ve put together our top picks for the best hiking pants, from classic joggers to full-on adventure-ready hikers.
Here's our guide to the best hiking pants for women.
Field Mag’s Top Picks
- Best for Multi-Day Hikes: Patagonia Point Peak Trail Pant
- Best Softshell Hiking Pants: Arc'teryx Gamma Pants
- Best Ultralight Hiking Pants: Houdini Pace Light Pants
- Most Durable Hiking Pants: Fjallraven Vidda Pro
- Best Waterproof Hiking Pant: Mountain Hardwear Stretch Ozonic
- Most Technical: On Running Trek Pant
- Best for Everyday Wear: Cotopaxi Subo Pant
- Best Cotton Hiking Pants: Topo Designs Dirt Pants
- Best City-to-Mountain Hiking Pants: Kuhl Deceptor
- Best Classic Zip-Off: REI Co-op Sahara Convertible Pants
- Best Hiking Jogger: Stio Pinedale Jogger
- Best Hiking/Travel Pants: DUER Live Free Adventure Pant
The Best Hiking Pants for Men in 2023
Best for Multi-Day Hikes: Patagonia Point Peak Trail Pant
Patagonia packed the Point Peak hiking pants with everything you need on a multi-day hike and nothing you don’t. The generous amount of Spandex means the Point Peak won’t fight you on your backpacking ascent, and details like boot hooks and an adjustable waist and cuffs will keep it secure for the long haul. The Point Peak has a slim fit compared to most classic hiking pants, so this might not be your best bet if you prefer a relaxed fit hiking pant experience.
Fabric: 90% recycled nylon, 10% spandex
Features: Pockets galore, DWR coating, adjustable waist and cuffs, boot hooks, gusseted crotch
Size Range: 28-40"
Best Ultralight Hiking Pants: Houdini Pace Light Pants
Houdini knows sustainability, and the circular design of the Pace Light hiking pants means it can be recycled at the end of its life cycle. But only after you put it through the paces, trail running or backcountry adventuring. Breathable, water repellant material with excellent air permeability, necessary zippered pockets, and a subtle drawstring waist and drawcord ankles make for a sleek yet smart design. At just 4.4 oz, this is a streamlined, dynamic option for days when less is more.
Fabric: 50% recycled polyester, 50% polyester
Features: Quick-drying, lightweight, sustainable, ankle cinch cords
Size Range: XS-XXL
Most Durable Hiking Pants: Fjällräven Vidda Pro
There is a reason the Vidda Pro has “pro” in the name. These pants aren't the lightest of the lot, and maybe they are overbuilt, but we've tested these on hundreds of miles of trail in the Northwest and Northeast, while backpacking and day hiking—and while doing countless hours of around-camp chores—and we cannot recommend them enough. Made from Fjällräven’s super strong G-1000 fabric—a blend of cotton and polyester—they feature double-layered knee protection, boot hooks, ventilation zippers, and pockets galore. But once and wear them for a lifetime of adventure.
Fabric: 65% recycled polyester, 35% organic cotton
Features: Gear loops, boot hooks, double-layered knees, knee pad openings, ventilation openings, gusseted knees and crotch
Size Range: 42-58 (EU sizing)
Best Softshell Hiking Pants: Arc’teryx Gamma Pant
These softshell pants are designed to provide water-resistant protection for all sorts of outdoor users (hikers, climbers, backpackers) while also providing a comfortable range of motion. Compared to a stiff pair of rain pants, the air permeable nature of this softshell fabric even provides superior breathability during warm weather backpacking trips.
Fabric: 88% nylon, 12% elastane
Features: articulated patterning, zippered hand pockets and side pockets, adjustable waistband
Size Range: 28-36”
Best Waterproof Hiking Pant: Mountain Hardwear Stretch Ozonic Pant
Packing an extra pair of rain pants is a good call on any moderate-length hike. However, typical rain pants tend to be water repellant but swampy and swishy otherwise. If rain is in the forecast, you’re much better off wearing Mountain Hardwear’s Stretch Ozonic hikers. They’re soft, stretchy, waterproof, and eliminate the swish. Plus, they’re breathable and easy to take off or roll-up, with a side zip option to above the knee. These pants will make it very hard to use dark clouds as an excuse for staying home.
Fabric: Dry.Q Stretch Ripstop 2.5L
Features: Elastic cuffs and waistband, ¾ side zips for easy on/off, waterproof
Size Range: S-XXL
Most Technical Hiking Pants: On Trek Pant
On's Trek pant is an elevated take on the classic hiking pant. It has a roomier fit than some of the more new age hiking pants, and is made from a four-way stretch fabric, so you’ll have space to move and breathe. An integrated belt and zippered thigh pocket are small yet crucial features for these stylish yet functional hiking pants. Breathable mesh webbing along the calves and under the belt at the back is designed to keep you cool on big days.
Fabric: 89% recycled polyamide, 11% elastane
Features: Integrated slide belt, thigh pocket, mesh panels
Size Range: S-XXL
Best for Everyday Wear: Cotopaxi Subo Pant
As one of only two hiking pants on this list in the sub-$100 category, the Subo pant from Cotopaxi won’t break the bank. Its simple build and considerable stretch allow it to function just as well in a yoga class or bike ride as it would on a day hike. The Subo is an all-purpose adventure machine with critical features like elastic drawstrings that let you adjust the fit around the ankle, a drawcord waist, and a zippered pocket.
Fabric: 90% recycled nylon, 10% spandex
Features: UPF 50+ rating, DWR coating, adjustable waistband, and cuff bungees
Size Rage: S-XXL
Best Cotton Hiking Pants: Topo Designs Dirt Pants
Within the sea of ripstop nylon joggers and baggy cargo pants emerges a simple cotton pant more than capable for your casual-approach hiking, bouldering, or just day to day wear. The regular fit pants feature belt loop saving drawstrings and a secure zip pocket for small valuables hidden in a back pocket.
Fabric: 98% organic cotton, 2% spandex
Features: Drawcord waist, articulated knees, gusseted crotch, and adjustable hem
Size Range: S-XXL
Best City to Mountain Option: Kuhl Deceptr
These lightweight trousers truly look right at home in either the office or on the trail, thanks to its slim fit and lightweight technical fabric. In hot weather or sunny climates, you’ll be thanking the UPF 50+ rated fabric, but a pair of base layer leggings might be a good choice on winter hikes.
Fabric: nylon, polyester, and spandex
Features: Hidden zippered security pocket, articulated knees, gusseted crotch, elastic waistband
Size Range: 28-48”
Best Classic Zip-Offs: REI Co-op Sahara Convertible Pants
What if there were a magical pant that could convert to a short at the pull of a zipper? Convertible pants are not for everyone, but for some there is nothing more pleasing than the versatility afforded by these classic hiking pants. The Saharas are not going to win any fashion awards, but they are light, stretchy, pocket-rich, and DWR coated. Keep them as pants for their abrasion-resistant, sun protection capabilities, or unzip and they transform into shorts—ideal for whatever the trails throw at them. They are also the most affordable pants on this list.
Fabric: 96% recycled nylon, 4% spandex
Features: Convertible, cargo pockets, DWR coating, elastic waistband
Size Range: 28-50"
Best Hiking/Travel Pants: DUER Live Free Adventure Pant
DUER was one of the first performance denim brands on the market, adding stretch to jeans at a time when stretchy jeans seemed semi-radical, and they continue to crush it in the pants department. The Live Free Adventure pant is a great example of the brand’s versatility. It’s made primarily of cotton, so it’s extra soft, yet Tencel and Lycra add ten times the typical amount of stretch in a woven fabric. Combined with low-key zippered cargo pockets, an adjustable cuff that transforms them from pants to joggers, and a DWR finish, these certainly live up to their name.
Fabric: 62% cotton, 30% TENCEL lyocell, 6% LYCRA T400 Polyester, 2% LYCRA Spandex
Features: Cargo pockets, adjustable jogger cuff, DWR coating
Size Range: 28-40”
Best Hiking Jogger: Stio Pinedale Jogger
The pant legs of typical joggers taper at the ankle, so they're not always on people’s radar as hiking pants since there’s the risk of letting in excess debris. Yet the taper can also allow for unrestricted movement and fewer snags. The Pinedale Jogger from Stio is all about relaxed movement, with its wildly breathable and stretchy Everlight softshell fabric. A DWR finish and integrated belt make this an ideal jogger for mountain adventures where you don't mind exposing a little ankle.
Fabric: 63% nylon, 26% polyester, 11% spandex
Features: DWR coating, integrated belt, loads of stretch
Size Range: S-XXL
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of pants are best for hiking?
Even within the category of hiking pants, there's a lot of variability. Choosing from all of the available options comes down to the same factors as choosing many other types of outdoor gear: where you're going, for how long, what time of year, and the weather forecast. Lighter hiking pants that aren't waterproof but do offer sun protection might be perfect for the desert, but you might want something warmer and more rugged if you're bushwhacking in Alaska. One of the options above should work for most scenarios.
How are hiking pants different from regular pants?
Hiking pants are made of performance-focused fabrics that are more durable, waterproof, and often stretchier than your standard pair of blue jeans. Depending on the pair of pants, hiking bottoms might feature DWR finishes, sweat wicking properties, UPF sun protection, added Spandex, and other fabric features. Hiking pants also often come with more tangible features like an integrated belt, zippered pockets, roll-up or zip-off legs, articulated knees, and gusseted crotches.
Should you always hike in long pants?
Nope! Hiking shorts are also a great option for taking to the trails. That said, you might consider wearing hiking pants for more than just warmth—hiking pants can provide protection from the sun, from ticks, mosquitoes, and other insects, and from light scrapes and scratches.