Best Trekking Pants
Criteria Used for Evaluation
When you’re deciding what the best pair of trekking pants are for you, one of the most important things to look at is how comfortable the pants feel when you wear them. If you have to focus on what you’re wearing while out on the trail due to discomfort, it’s likely to take your attention off of whatever you are doing, which could create risks for you, and most of all, no one wants to feel uncomfortable when they head on a fun trek into the great outdoors.
Comfort, therefore, becomes very important because you won’t feel distracted or restricted by your pants when you are performing your activities outside. Moreover, you want pants that feel flexible and move as you move. You want to feel free of any obstruction, rubbing, or anything else that might annoy you as you play outside. Make sure they work well and move with you, and won’t distract you when you are outside. In essence, you want to feel as though the pants aren’t even there. Freedom of movement is essential.
As far as most of these trekking pants on our list are concerned, comfort usually aligns with the mobility of the pants you wear. When you are moving a lot outside, you want to make sure the pants move with you so you don’t wind up focusing on them, getting distracted and possibly injured.
A lot of trekking pants nowadays are made out of nylon, but some also add some kind of stretchy material into that fabric, like spandex or elastane, which can help the material move with you. How well the pants fit when they are on you is also important, because you don’t want pants that fit too baggy or they can interfere with the way you move.
For somehikers and outdoor enthusiasts, versatility is going to be an important factor when deciding what trekking pants are the best to wear. For those outdoor enthusiasts who need to travel light and know they’ll have to carry a lot, versatility in their pants can provide many benefits, like not weighing you down.
If you know you’ll be hiking on longer trips, you won’t want to have to carry additional items, so having pants that can adjust with the climate and activity will certainly be a plus. Being able to bring along just one pair of pants that can adapt to a lot of conditions and temperatures will certainly benefit outdoor adventurers who don’t want to pack a lot, and want to be able to rely on one pair of pants for a bevy of things.
The best versatile pants will provide plenty of leg protection from all-weather and activity conditions you encounter during the same journey. Since weather conditions can change frequently in one outing, having pants that can handle sun, wind, rain, and just about anything else will be helpful when wanting to pack light.
For more versatility, some outdoor enthusiasts like purchasing pants with convertible options. That way, if the weather warms up and you need more ventilation, all you need to do is unzip the bottoms of your pants so that they then become shorts. Convertible pants do offer a lot of versatility options, but most outdoor enthusiasts still want pants that can handle a lot of different activities. Some adventurers know they will hike, climb, and perhaps even swim all during the same outing, and want a pair of pants that can help them do it all.
One of the best convertible and versatile pants on our list is the Prana Stretch Zion Convertible since these pants are made to be stretchy, zip into shorts, but still provide ample weather protection from the wind and rain, along with enough durability to handle any activity.
How versatile you need your trekking pants to be while you outside depends a lot on the types of adventures you plan to take. If you know you’ll be out in a wide variety of climates for extended periods of time, then versatility will become an important factor.
However, if you are a more casual hiker that prefers shorter outings during warmer weather, you would be able to get away with a more affordable pair of trekking pants with less versatility. Again, how much versatility you need is a matter of personal opinion, and if you don’t need pants that are extremely versatile, you may be able to save some money.
How breathable you’ll need your trekking pants to be, again, will depend on exactly what you plan on doing when you are wearing them. Some of the pants on our list offer easy convertible or roll-up designs, providing a lot of breathability and ventilation in an instant if the weather warms up, but not all the pants we’ve listed here do that.
Depending on the design of the pants, some trekking pants do better at diffusing heat and getting rid of moisture build-up from sweat or hotter temperatures than others do. Basically, trekking pants vary widely as far as breathability is concerned.
Depending on how often you are outside in the warmer weather, breathability might be a factor you need to consider. If you are a more casual, warm weather hiker, then you’ll certainly want this—and if you are the kind of person that will play outside no matter what the weather, breathability features will be important if you want pants that can help you out all year round.
Some pants on our list are a bit thicker and made for colder weather, and thicker pants sometimes, although not always, don’t wind up performing well on the breathability scale. So, some individuals that want year-round trekking pants will either have to invest in one, more expensive pants design or purchase two pants, one for warm weather and one for cold weather.
Most of the trekking pants we’ve listed here are made with nylon plus some other materials, but it’s important to remember that how good the quality of that nylon is can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Most outdoor enthusiasts want durability that allows plenty of leg protection from things like abrasions as well as solid pockets and seams.
Trekking pants designed with more lightweight material tend to be less durable although more breathable. The more lightweight the design of the pants, the easier it is to wear the pants out, create holes, or pop the seams. So, if you do wind up selecting a pair of more lightweight trekking pants, take a look at the manufacturer’s warranty to make sure you’re getting something that will last for a while and protect you while you are outside.
Some of the most durable products on our list are the Arc’teryx Gamma LT pants and the North Face Paramount Trail Convertible Pants. The Paramount trekking pants are made of a very heavy, sturdy denier nylon, making them capable of handling a lot of abuse. Although the Gamma LT is a thinner type of pant design, they still hold up very well to tougher activities and weather conditions.
If you need more durable pants, you will probably sacrifice some breathability and movement in the trekking pants you select. So again, consider exactly what you plan to do while out on the trails, and decide what you need from there.
Top 10 Picks
1. The North Face Paramount Peak II
If you’re looking for something that can help protect you while you experience a wide variety of outdoor activity and a bevy of different climates, then the North Face Paramount Peak II Convertible trekking pants could meet your needs. The updated North Face Paramount comes with larger pockets and improved durability to increase their wear time. The predecessor was great, but these pants will rock the hike trails with a longer life and more storage.Read more
The pants tend to be more of a relaxed fit, so if you prefer to be clothed in something more fitted on the trails, give that a consideration. The sides have long cargo pockets that can be shut with their Velcro enclosures to protect your belongings. There is also a cell-phone specific pocket.
Unzipping the legs, conveniently, makes a pair of shorts with a 10-inch inseam. Both men's and women's are available.
These pants have a heavy feel that surprisingly doesn’t affect the breathability. The materials help the pants to quickly wick away moisture and keep you comfortable.
These pants have a fantastic DWR (durable water repellent) outer finish to keep a hiker dry on the trails. This finish is lightweight and it protects the nylon fabric of the pants from light rainfall.
2. Outdoor Research Ferrosi
For those outdoor enthusiasts that prefer a more lightweight design with their trekking pants, the Outdoor Research Ferrosi Trekking Pants offer plenty of opportunities with that feature. Not only are these trekking pants very light, but they also stretch well and offer you plenty of movement versatility.Read more
Made with a minimalist design, these trekking pants have just a few small pockets, and not a bevy of additional features and functions, but the simple design means the pants are light and easy to pack. Plus, they fit snugly and stretch out well, adjusting to fit your form as needed.
The Outdoor Research Ferrosi Trekking Pants are made to move with you, keeping you free from restriction, so that you can easily complete just about any outdoor activity you want to partake in.
These pants, unlike some of the other trekking pants on our list, don’t come as a convertible option but do feature a roll-up drawcord so that you can still get extra ventilation when needed.
It is quite impressive that one pant can be both wind and water-resistant, yet breathable. These pants will keep you comfortable and breezy in warm situations.
With a DWR coating feature, these trekking pants are quick-drying and work well even in wet climates. Their durability, versatility, and stretchy fabric make them a helpful option in trekking pants.
3. Prana Stretch Zion Convertible
Prana’s Stretch Zion Convertible Trekking Pants bring you a lot of versatility and can handle just about any outdoor activity you could imagine. They work well for just about any sport and provide a lot of options for outdoor enthusiasts that like to perform a bevy of activities.Read more
Prana’s Stretch Zion Convertible Trekking Pants are very comfortable, comprised out of a stretchy nylon and spandex combination. These two materials make the pants very flexible, ensuring they’ll never restrict your movement no matter what you plan to do outside.
These pants are also versatile because you can adapt them to the weather easily. While they’ll keep you warm easily, you can turn them into shorts when the weather gets hotter, adding breathability and ventilation as you need it.
Despite the material having a durable feel, these pants are still breathable. Thanks to the materials and shockingly quick drying time, these pants are very breathable and will keep you from overheating in many situations.
Prana’s trekking pants are very durable and can withstand a lot of wear and tear. They also have plenty of pockets and cinching features to help you easily adjust them so they always fit you correctly and comfortably.
4. Prana Stretch Zion Inseam
If you’re not as worried about getting a pair of convertible trekking pants, but still enjoy having useful features and benefits for your outdoor activities, then the Prana Stretch Zion Trekking Pants offer you another option. These pants are very versatile and are made to perform well for a wide variety of outdoor activities, and also come with a stylish look and feel.Read more
Prana’s Stretch Zion Trekking Pants also fit with a lot of comforts and are made to keep you warm while it’s cold outside. You can roll these pants up with a snap to shorten the length of the legs if you need a bit more ventilation when the weather gets warmer.
With these trekking pants, you get several zipper and security pockets for easy access to items and organization. These pants also adjust well at the waist, and resist water well, helping to protect you during any of your outdoor activities.
Prana’s Stretch Zion Trekking Pants aren’t quite as versatile as the Prana Stretch Convertible, but they are a bit more affordable and still offer much of what you’ll need outside, as long as you aren’t worried about having convertible pants. These trekking pants are made to be flexible and stretch well, moving with you as you move, so you’ll never feel restricted or confined.
Like many other prAna pants, these pants are quick-drying and breathable. There are three small holes in the seat gusset that provide great ventilation. These are a great option for hot and humid environments.
This synthetic, lightweight blend is very durable. The pants are finished with a DWR treatment and can easily be thrown in the washing machine. Stretch Zion is a prAna specific material and has gained a lot of popularity for its many positive features.
5. Arc'teryx Gamma LT
For those outdoor enthusiasts most concerned about a good pair of wet weather trekking pants, the Arc’teryx Gamma LT offers great features for those concerns. Arc’teryx Gamma LT trekking pants are great for protecting you during rainy and snowy days, keeping you warm and dry.Read more
These lightweight pants offer four-way stretch and great mobility. The gusseted crotch makes them a great option for hiking, climbing, or backpacking. The materials used are comfortable on the skin and won’t overheat you.
These are some of the best trekking pants on the market, and they do bring you the type of protection from the weather, versatility, comfort, and freedom of movement most outdoor enthusiasts really desire. With a good selection of pockets and an adjustable fit, these pants can help you out no matter what the weather is like outside.
These pants have been described by Arc’teryx as “air-permeable.” They are lightly weather resistant and will keep you cool in warm weather. They are highly breathable and lightweight.
Arc’teryx’s Gamma LT Trekking pants are designed like soft-shell hiking pants but work well as a piece of hardcore protective clothing. The material on these trekking pants is thin and made out of slick nylon fabric, so they look and feel like rain pants, and are more water-resistant than many other competitors’ options.
While these pants are durable, stretchy, and versatile, they aren’t as affordable as some of the other options on the list here. They do offer plenty of excellent performance features and materials for the price, but if you’re on a budget, these pants can be difficult to afford.
6. Columbia Silver Ridge Convertible
If you’re leaning toward getting a good pair of thin, lightweight trekking pants, then the Columbia Silver Ridge Convertible Trekking Pants just might be up your ally. These pants are one of the lightest options on the market, but with their lightweight features, they do sacrifice some versatility.Read more
All of the adjustable features integrated into these pants make them very comfortable. There are ample pockets, an elastic waistband, and high versatility. The fabric is light and comfortable and you can even remove and replace the belt if desired.
These trekking pants are also affordable and do offer some levels of comfort and adjustability that do help them to fit well. You can also zip them off at the legs if you opt to wear them as shorts, giving them some weather adaptability.
Columbia’s Silver Ridge Convertible Trekking Pants work very well for warm weather climates, as they are breathable and provide good ventilation. They do still protect your legs well from the weather and water and do work well for those that want something that is light and easy to pack.
With UPF 50+ sun protection and water-resistant fabric, these pants do offer the benefits you need to protect your legs on warm-weather outings. They are 100% nylon, and for the more casual warm-weather outdoor enthusiast, provide the benefits you’ll need.
7. Outdoor Research Cirque
Outdoor Research’s Cirque Trekking Pants are a versatile, soft-shell pants option designed to perform well no matter what you do, or where you are when you plan your outdoor adventures. Made for a variety of high-energy activities, you can ski, climb, hike, or do just about anything in these pants.Read more
With the breathability, durability, versatility, and flexibility these pants provide, you’ll be well-protected using them no matter where you go. You won’t find yourself snagging on things, or having any problems moving when you use these pants. However, it should be mentioned that some reviewers felt the comfort of the waistband could be improved.
The fabric on these pants is made to stretch well, and won’t restrict your movement no matter what you decide to do. If these pants were convertible, they would be higher on the list, but they’re still a great pant overall. These are a great addition to any trekking, backpacking, or exploration trip.
Outdoor Research’s Cirque Trekking plants are made out of a highly breathable fabric that is also weather-resistant and water-resistant.
These pants are durable enough to perform well in harsh climates and high-mountain conditions, providing the strength and protection you need no matter where you’ll find yourself. They also come with a zippered thigh pocket for anything you might need to hold.
8. Montane Terra Pack
Montane’s Terra Pack Trekking Pants are made to be a bit thicker and typically work well for a wide variety of activities and weather conditions. However, even with their thicker material, these trekking pants are still made to be lightweight, giving them a nice easy-packing capability.Read more
These pants offer great flexibility and stretch for an abundance of different activities. Montane’s Terra Pack Trekking Pants also include articulated knees, snap fasteners, and pockets you can easily get into to organize and grab your things. They fit easily around your footwear and also come in three different color choices for those concerned about style.
The material these trekking pants are designed with makes them feel great on the skin, and they also incorporate water-resistant technology that helps them dry out quickly. These trekking pants are made to be versatile, and can handle long, harsh trips and just about any activity.
These pants have a UPF sun protection rating of 50+ and are a great option for warm climates. They are lightweight, quick-drying, breathable, and have a DWR finish. All of the pockets are lined with mesh, adding an extra layer of breathability and comfort.
Weighing in at only 280 grams, the Montane Terra Pack Trekking Pants are some of the lightest, thickest, and most durable trekking pants available on the market today. Their material includes Invista’s Tactel fabric, which is a very breathable material that is also made to be strong and light.
9. Ex Officio Damselfly Pants with Insect Shield
Ex Officio Damselfly Pants are made for comfort with super wicking and fast-dry fabric. These pants are great if you are going to be hiking through tick laden areas, like the jungle or dense forests, because they have an insect shield treatment that will keep ticks from getting in.Read more
As far as fit goes, they tend to be like a pair of jeans; they're a casual fit. Like the North Face pants, if you want a pair of hiking pants to be a more secure fitted feel, than another option will be best suited for you.
The waist in these pants have a draw-string closure with side pockets, and they feature an extra pocket for securing goods you want to be hidden, like money or a passport.
The legs easily roll up to add freedom of movement and breath-ability and they have a 22-inch inseam.
The breathability of the pants is not affected by the Permethrin treatment. The pants still offer decent airflow.
It has been said that the fabric feels thin, but these pants have proven to be durable! Additionally, these pants feature a Permethrin Insect Shield treatment that will repel ticks for about 70 washes or so.
10. Craghoppers Classic Kiwi
If you’re looking to purchase a good pair of trekking pants on a budget, then Craghoppers Classic Kiwi trekking pants offer a lot of great functionality and comfort. Made from a combination of polyester and cotton, you get breathability, durability, and the kind of fabric that can repel water easily.Read more
Craghoppers’ Classic Kiwi Trekking Pants also come with a total of nine pockets, which is great for the outdoor enthusiast who wants a lot of organization. These pants also come with a removable, lightweight belt for those of you who want the extra adjustment to make sure the pants fit well.
These trekking pants are made more for warm weather conditions and are great for hiking, but they do offer optimal coverage for the fall weather as well. Plus, the materials in these trekking pants makes them flexible and versatile enough to move as you move, so you never have to worry about movement restriction when you are outside.
Craghoppers’ Classic Kiwi Trekking Pants are made from about 35% cotton, which is a bit higher than some other pants on the market and means they dry a little slower than some of the other options we listed here. However, the cotton does mean that they breathe better, and offer plenty of ventilation.
You can count on these pants to last. They are made from strong materials are reinforced at the seat and knees to provide extra protection in the areas that usually give out first.
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