Best Waterproof Hiking Pants
Now, we may have our gear ready but do we have our clothing ready for our next hike, as our normal day to day clothing just will not cut it. One of the most important pieces of hiking clothing that you want to make sure you have as part of your gear is a durable pair ofwaterproof hiking pants. Now, you do not simply want a pair of hiking pants, but a waterproof pair of hiking rain pants as they will offer the most protection.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Different types of waterproof hiking pants come made with a wide variety of materials, but most manufacturers design their hiking pants with some type of nylon blend. Since a nylon blend is pretty standard, you’ll have to look at some other benefits of the other materials that are designed into the pants.
One thing you might want to consider is making sure the pants have some kind of elastane or spandex material in them, which ensures you get a good, flexible range of motion with the pants. Pants that are made with spandex features usually stretch better and don’t hinder your movement as you hike or conduct your other outdoor activities.
If you’re planning on doing a lot of hiking, climbing, or a lot of outdoor activities in these pants, then you’ll be grateful to have a more flexible pants design since you don’t want something that might through you off balance and cause you to fall.
Some hiking pants are made with lightweight nylon softshell materials, which is a nice combination to provide good protection from the wind and wet weather elements you might encounter while outside. Plus, nylon softshell materials usually give enough durability and breathability to keep you comfortable as you move.
Nylon softshell materials also move well as you move, and are typically more lightweight. One thing to look for with nylon materials is the fact that many 100% nylon pants, made to be lightweight, don’t stretch or flex as easily while you are on the
trail. Those types of pants are better for the more casual outdoor enthusiast.
Since many hikers aren’t concerned with packing up their best rain pants for hiking into their packs, since they are usually wearing and not carrying their pants, not all of them consider weight as something to look at when buying this piece of clothes. However, the heavier the pants you buy while you’re on the trail, the heavier they will feel, and for some, that can be restrictive when trying to move, uncomfortable, and simply annoying.
A lot of hikers also like to have a pair of pants you can bring along with them, and that, along with feeling annoyed or restricted by heavier pants as you wear them, are reasons why you might want to consider lightweight, compressible pants. If you’re going to go out for multi-day hikes, then carrying lighter, easy-to-pack pants also makes sense.
There are many options on the market for waterproof hiking pants that are lightweight and easy to pack. However, when you do get a pair of pants that are lighter in weight, you might be sacrificing some durability and protection while out on the trail.
If you plan on being out in the rain, snow, wind, or other foul weather conditions and harsh climates, then lightweight pants might not be the best answer for you. While lightweight pants are easy to carry, they aren’t as durable, nor do they offer as much protection, as some of the heavier pants made for extreme weather conditions.
So, when considering whether you need lightweight pants or not, review where you plan to do your hiking when you wear your pants. If you know you’ll be outside in a harsh climate, you will probably need to consider a more durable pair of pants.
However, if you prefer sunny days and know you need something light to carry, then lightweight pants will probably serve your needs. Really, depending on the trips you plan to embark on, weight and packability are options you may need to consider.
Some hikers prefer waterproof options that come with articulated knees and gussets, which are built into the pants’ crotch areas. Whether or not you feel you need these features is a matter of personal opinion, but they do offer some benefits you might want to consider.
First, articulated knees help to match up to your walking motion, meaning there is a natural bend in the knee area of the pants’ design. Unlike regular pants that come with a straight leg, you get far more range of motion around the knee area with articulated knees, creating a lot more versatility and freedom in movement. For those hikers that don’t like being restricted when moving, articulated knees are a must-have feature.
Second, a gusset on a pair of pants is a diamond-shaped patch of fabric that can be found along the inner thigh area of the pants and is used to replace the seam of your usual pant. The extra fabric woven into the pants with a gusset means you’ll get more flexibility and comfort, and better versatility of movement overall.
Both articulated knees and gussets started gaining popularity with climbers that needed both comfort, fit, and movement capabilities in their pants to boost their performances. A lot of these features were then passed onto the world of hiking, and many hikers love the extra comfort and movement they get with these features.
These features will both make the pants you purchase cost more. So, if you are simply a casual, day hiker that doesn’t venture out into a wide range of climates or areas and you need to buy something on a budget, you can probably go without these features. For more avid hikers who don’t mind harsh climates or tough weather conditions, paying for these extra features will certainly help them better their performance. Whether you decide you need these features is entirely up to you, and you want to consider where, when, and in what weather you plan to perform your hiking.
Another feature we looked into was the pockets. Pockets are one of those features on pants hikers either love or hate. Some hikers feel they don’t need pockets at all since they don’t want to add items to their pants, creating bulk and weighing down their movement on the trail. However, for other hikers, pockets and organization are great features to have, since they want to carry small items with them on the trail for easy access. While pockets are really a matter of personal preference, there are several options out there for hikers that like having decent storage and organization options along with their pants. Some pants include zippered pockets that work like compartments, and some have mesh-overlay pockets. Most pants offer at least one or two simple pockets for hikers to use as they see fit.
If you don’t feel you really need pockets for organization, there are minimalist pants on the market without them that are often cheaper than pants that offer a lot of pocket organization. So, if not having pockets is your preference, you can save a bit of money by buying a pair of hiking pants without pockets.
Top Ten Pairs of Waterproof Hiking Pants
1. North Face Venture Half Zip
For those outdoor enthusiasts that really want versatility when selecting a pair of waterproof hiking pants, they’ll love the variety of features brought by the North Face Venture Half Zip Pants. These pants are lightweight, durable, and meant to handle all types of outdoor activities, including hiking, backpacking, skiing, and snowboarding.Read more
These pants are made out of materials that will help you get the protection you need no matter what type of weather you encounter while outside. This durable pair of pants is made from 40D Nylon Ripstop and Polyester.
The North Face Venture Half Zip Pants are made to be very light, and they compress well to fit compactly into your backpack. They weigh only 8.1-ounces.
Even with their lightweight, these hiking rain pants are still durable enough to withstand just about any activity while still offering water-resistant protection. The North Face Venture Half Zip Pants feature half-length zippers that are wider than average, making them easy to put on over any shoes or boots, and also making them easy to remove.
With so much durability and weather protection, you’ll get what you need from these pants if you plan on engaging in a variety of outdoor activities. You’ll also love how easy they are to get on and off, making them an all-around efficient pair of pants.
2. Arc’teryx Beta AR
Arc’teryx’s Beta AR Pants are costlier than some of the other options we’ve provided on our list, but they do bring you a lot of versatility and great features for their price. If you want something that’s simply an all-around great pair of waterproof hiking pants, then these pants offer just about everything you could dream of.Read more
Arc’teryx’s Beta AR Pants are made to be lightweight, durable, and totally waterproof because of the Gore-Tex 3-layer fabric design encompassing the surface of the pants. These pants also have Gore-Seam tape and a DWR finish, which means the pants are made to fully repel water.
Heavier than most on our list, these pants weigh 18.9-ounces.
Arc’teryx’s Beta AR Pants are also made with both comfort and flexibility in mind and are designed to move as you move. The fabric on the pants is very stretchy and versatile, ensuring that the pants will protect you while never restricting your movement.
This hiking rain pants are also made to withstand a lot of heavy, hardcore weather, and stand up well even in the craziest climates. These pants were designed to protect you from the weather like armor, while still allowing you to move the way you need to for your performance.
3. Arc’teryx Beta SL
Similar to Arc'teryx's AR pants, but with a lower price tag, we have Arc’teryx’s Beta SL Pants. These pants are still not as budget-friendly as some of the other options on our list here, but they cost less than the AR pants and still offer a lot of benefits and features at a lower price.Read more
Arc’teryx’s Beta SL Pants are made to be very lightweight and are made of a 100% cotton waterproof material, making them one of the best rain pants for hiking and other outdoor activities. Plus, they come designed with Gore-Tex fabric, helping add weather protection features and durability. Arc’teryx’s Beta SL Pants comes with a reinforced lower leg and tricot technology, or a lightweight liner added to the inside of the pants to boost the comfortable feel of the material against your skin.
The weight of these pants is about average for a lightweight pant, at 9.2-ounces.
Arc’teryx’s Beta SL Pants also are made with Paclite technology, meaning their lightweight design is compressible, allowing them to be packed up easily when you are hiking. You won’t have to worry about weight or space when you pack these pants down into your backpack since they compress easily and are made to save space. Plus, you get an elastic waistband with a drawstring so you can tailor your pants to fit you well.
4. Outdoor Research Foray
One of the most popular waterproof hiking pants on the market today is the Outdoor Research Foray pants, which offer an excellent set of features to keep you dry during all of your outdoor adventures. The Outdoor Research Foray Pants provide two great design benefits all hikers will enjoy when they come across extreme weather: breathability and weather resistance.Read more
No matter what the weather is, these pants are designed to protect you from all types of bad weather, no matter what you decide to do while outside. Made with gore-tex material, these pants ventilate well while also repelling water. The Outdoor Research Foray Pants also feature double-separating side zippers for extra ventilation when needed and excellent overall protection.
These pants are lightweight, at only 11-ounces.
When trying to purchase a good pair of waterproof hiking pants, probably two of the most important features you want to consider are the pants’ ability to stand up in incremental weather, and their ventilation capabilities.
The features on the Outdoor Research Foray Pants cover both of these necessities well, while also offering an unrestrictive design in the material that makes it easy to move when you wear these pants. Made with lightweight features and with great breathability features, these best rain pants for hiking can be worn year-round to provide you with protection in case of rain.
5. Marmot Minimalist
For those outdoor enthusiasts who want pants with a simple design but excellent functionality, then they might want to consider Marmot Minimalist Pants. These pants are designed to be simple and functional, bringing you excellent weather protection for all of your adventures outside.Read more
Marmot’s Minimalist hiking rain pants are very durable and much stronger than some other options available on the market today. They are made from Gore-Tex Paclite and recycled polyester.
This product weighs 9.2-ounces. Marmot’s Minimalist Pants are made to be lightweight and compressible, so if you carry them along with you, they don’t take up much space in your backpack.
Its articulation is fantastic, and the pants themselves are very versatile, made to hold up during any outdoor activity. The design of the pants itself is just like what the name implies, meaning it’s minimalist and doesn’t have full-length side zippers, but does bring you a lot of concepts you’ll want to have when playing outside. Instead of the full-length side zippers you find on some other outdoor hiking pants, these have ¼ length boot cuff zips, and two front pockets, giving you some space to carry items and organize.
While you don’t get a lot of bonus features with the design of these pants, but you do get an easy-to-carry, easy-to-use set of water-resistant pants.
6. Outdoor Research Helium
If picking up a pair of lightweight waterproof hiking pants is something that’s at the top of your list of needs, then the Outdoor Research Helium Pants might be the product for you. These pants are some of the lightest and most easy to compress styles on the market today, which has made this a popular product among many outdoor enthusiasts.Read more
These pants are made from a Pertex shield fabric and nylon ripstop. They are flexible, and while they aren’t as durable as some other styles, they are certainly strong enough to protect your legs during long-term outdoor activities.
One of the most-loved benefits provided by the Outdoor Research Helium Pants is their compressibility, which makes them very easy to pack and take along on any adventures. For those that prefer lighter loads and flexible pants, the Outdoor Research Helium Pants are a great option. This pair weighs only 5.6-ounces.
Since these pants are so lightweight and easy-to-pack, they do trade-off some of the extra features some outdoor enthusiasts are used to getting when buying pants. The Outdoor Research Helium Pants also aren’t as durable as some other competitor’s pants, but that’s something they sacrificed to make these pants lighter and easily packable. The Outdoor Research Helium Pants do bring to adventurists a very nice fit that also provides a lot of freedom of movement and mobility.
7. Columbia Rebel Roamer
Another great affordable option for those outdoor enthusiasts wanting good waterproof hiking pants on a budget is the Columbia Rebel Roamer. Columbia’s Rebel Roamer Pants are great for those that want something they can use for hiking, backpacking, and even some skiing and snowboarding fun, bringing some great versatility and excellent features.Read more
Columbia’s Rebel Roamer Pants offer a lot of versatility and comfort for those who like to do a lot of different things outside. Made from 70D nylon, these softshell rainpants feature OmniTech fabric technology and sealed seams.
While the Columbia Rebel Roamer Pants aren’t as lightweight as some other options on the market, for their price, they are pretty impressive. These pants weigh 15.4-ounces.
Columbia’s Rebel Roamer best rain pants for hiking, especially for their affordable price, offers a lot of weather resistance and protection, putting it in a nice place against its competition. Also, considering how affordable these pants are, they are not too heavy and compress well for those who want to pack them down.
They don’t have an abundance of features on them, nor do they have a pocket for those who want them, but they do bring you everything you really need if you’re on a tight budget. Most importantly, they have nice flexibility and comfort benefits, which makes them a real steal for those buying pants on a budget.
8. Marmot Precip Full Zip
For those outdoor enthusiasts out there looking to get a nice pair of waterproof hiking pants on a budget, the Marmot Precip Full Zip Pants offer a variety of nice benefits and features and an affordable price. For their value and price range, the Marmot Precip Full Zip Pants brings some of the best performance for those trying to save a bit when purchasing their pants.Read more
Marmot’s Precip Full Zip Pants are made with NanoPro fabric, which is a very breathable material for the affordable price on these pants and provides some of the best ventilation on the market.
These pants are constructed to be lightweight and pack down at a decent size, making them easy-to-carry. These pants weigh 12-ounces.
These pants provide a wide range of features that many outdoor enthusiasts want in waterproof pants. They are ideal for a variety of activities like backpacking, mountaineering, hiking, and other activities.
Marmot’s Precip Full Zip Pants include materials that also make the pants comfortable, breathable, and waterproof, so you’ll get the protection you need while adventuring outdoors. These hiking rain pants also come with full-length zippers, making them very easy to take off and put on. The zippers help you to pull the pants easily over your boots so that you can enjoy all the breathable waterproof benefits no matter where you decide to play outdoors.
9. Columbia Storm Surge
This is a great pair of waterproof pants for your next hiking adventure this summer season. They are brought to you by Columbia, who is known for their outdoor clothing and the durability and quality that they put into their clothing.Read more
These pants are not only waterproof, which is exactly what you want in a pair of hiking pants as when you are out in the wilderness, you never know what you will cross paths with. But they are also made from breathable material to allow fresh air to flow in and out of your pants and keep you refreshed. They are made from nylon & polyester.
These pants are lightweight which is exactly what you want in a pair of hiking pants as you will be walking in them for quite some time, so you do not want them to weigh you down half way throughout your hike. These pants weigh two pounds which are a bit heavy but for the waterproofness of these pants, the weight is justified.
The main feature with regards to these pants is the fact that they are fully waterproof and will keep you dry while on your next hike. They are also breathable to allow for you to get fresh air and keep your legs feeling fresh.
10. Mountain Hardwear Stretch Ozonic
If you’re looking for some great outdoor hiking shell pants, then Mountain Hardwear’s Stretch Ozonic Pants provide some excellent options. If you like your outdoor clothes to be stretchy and comfortable, then Mountain Hardwear’s Stretch Ozonic Pants might give you the features you need.Read more
These pants feature a 40D face fabric with a 4-way stretch. Mountain Hardwear’s Stretch Oznoic Pants offer some of the most flexible and stretchy waterproof hiking pants on the market. In turn, they move very well as you move and won’t restrict anything you try to accomplish while outside.
These pants are very lightweight and compressible, doing better in those categories than some of their competitors. This lightweight pair of pants weighs 10-ounces.
As far as weather resistance and durability are concerned, these pants are average with both of those features, and also offer a few bonuses.
Some of the extra features on these pants include Velcro waist flaps, which are meant to more easily adjust the pants at the waist so you can make the waist fit you well.
The best benefit you’ll get if you pick these hiking rain pants is their wide range of motion, which is provided by the four-way stretch fabric on the pants. If you enjoy having lightweight, flexible waterproof hiking pants, then these pants offer some things you’ll enjoy.
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