See all prices 2 found. They don't convert to shorts or roll up well to a cropped length and are better for cold and damp weather than blazing summer temps. Using a misting spray nozzle to spritz the outside of the pants lightly helped us understand exactly how much airborne water a pant could effectively repel before getting soaked.
As for construction, there are small details in the way a pant is made that can improve mobility, such as a gusseted crotch or articulated knees, like on the Prana Halle.
This pair is made for rock climbing and all of the weird ways you might move your legs, such as high-stepping or drop-knee techniques. We wore the Halles on a variety of boulders and climbing routes, and never felt restricted in them. We also liked the movement we achieved on the Columbia Saturday Trail Stretch pant.
While the legs on this one have a tapered fit, the seaming at the knees gives them a slightly pre-bent shape, allowing for full range of motion when hiking. The material on this pair is also soft and stretchy. Another detail that aided in comfort was the waistband. The Marmot Lobo's have a fleece-lined waist, which was comfortable against our skin and reduced chaffing.
An internal drawstring is always nice too, like on Royal Robbins Jammer II , as it lets you tighten the pants and not have to worry about wearing a belt, which is usually not that comfortable under a backpack. Versatility is an important factor to consider when purchasing a pair of hiking pants, particularly when heading on out on multi-day backcountry trips.
If you only have one pair of pants with you, they'll need to be able to handle a variety of weather conditions, from hot to cold, and sun to rain. Even on a day hike, conditions can quickly change, from cool at the trailhead to hot on the hike, and cold again up at the summit. The versatility of a pant is determined in large part by its features. By nature, a zip-off pair is more versatile than a roll-up model, and a roll-up will offer you more wear options than a standard pant.
The materials used also determined versatility, as a pair of hiking pants with a DWR treatment that is highly water resistant can also be used for water sports, whereas a cotton-blend pair cannot. The most versatile model in this review was our Editors' Choice winner, the Marmot Lobo's Convertible.
These pants can convert into a crop and a Bermuda-length short, and the material offers excellent water resistance. We wore them out on a lake for a day in an inflatable canoe, and the constant back and forth of the paddle across our lap and the ensuing drips should have left us soaked, but the droplets just rolled right off our lap and refused to soak in.
If you like convertible pants some people just don't , then nothing beats the option to convert to shorts when the weather heats up. The Kuhls are sturdy cargo pants that are made with a cotton-blend fabric, and they absorb any and all water that falls on them.
One splash in a creek or a river crossing gone awry could make for a very unpleasant rest of your day. They are also heavy and not very breathable, so with no option to remove the legs, you'll end up pretty uncomfortable on a warm day. The Screeline is also on the heavy side, so you have to hit the perfect less than degree weather window with them; any warmer than that and you'll be sweating a lot. Breathability is a key feature of any piece of outdoor gear. As we move through the mountains, our bodies generate heat, which in turn leads us to sweat to cool back down.
When this sweat accumulates in our clothing, it's at the very least annoying, and also potentially dangerous. Temperatures can change quickly in the mountains, and cold and wet clothing can, in turn, lead to hypothermia. While we don't tend to sweat as much from the lower half of our body as the upper, good ventilation is still key to preventing discomfort and also "crotch rot," something thru-hikers are all too familiar with, both male and female.
Hiking pants achieve breathability both through the types of materials used and the secondary features that can improve airflow. We spent a lot of time hiking in these pants in hot desert conditions, and the models that kept us cooler from a pure material perspective were, unfortunately, some of the ones that offered the least weather resistance. There seems to be a trade-off between the tighter weave fabrics that repel water, and the more open, cooler weaves that let air, and water, right through.
For example, the Mountain Hardwear Dynama was one of the "coolest" pants that we tested, but they did not repel water in the least. The exception was the Outdoor Research Ferrosi , which was highly breathable and still had excellent water resistance. Beyond the materials used, the other features that can help keep you cooler are both the roll-up and zip-off options.
Merely exposing the bottom of our calves seemed to do wonders for improving airflow, both to our legs and our feet, and besides just taking off the legs, you can also unzip the legs part way to provide additional airflow.
This feature made a slightly heavier pair, like TNF Paramount 2. The mesh-lined pockets on the Columbia Saturday Trail Stretch also helped with breathability. Hiking in the mountains can be notoriously hard on your gear, from your footwear to your backpack, and everything in between.
Here's how we scored the ten pairs for their durability. When purchasing a pair of hiking pants with durability as your main criteria, look for models that are made with "ripstop" or "abrasion resistant" materials. Ripstop fabric is made with a reinforcing pattern that stops holes from running through the length of the material should a tear occur commonly used in tents. Abrasion-resistant fabrics resist wear from rubbing and other surface wear.
This keeps the fabric from pilling and wearing away in areas like the knees, inner thigh, and seat. To evaluate the durability of each pair, we wore them for several months in harsh desert terrain both while hiking, scrambling, and rock climbing. We snapped and unsnapped buttons repeatedly, and carefully examined all the components of the different models.
We also pulled out hiking pants from our closets to see how they were faring after several years of use. The model that impressed us the most from a durability standpoint was the Kuhl Splash Roll Up.
These cargo-style cotton-blend pants have the thickest material of all the models that we tested, and we can attest to their ability to withstand lots of use. The main durability issue we experienced with the other models was some pilling on the inner legs and knees, specifically in the Prana Halle , Mountain Hardwear Dynama and Columbia Saturday Trail Stretch.
Weather resistance is an important point to think about when buying a pair of hiking pants, as you will most likely be using them out in the elements. Our legs tend to be an afterthought when it comes to protecting our body from the wind and rain, but we can personally attest to the fact that you will be very miserable if your legs are cold and soaking wet even if your rain jacket is keeping your core and head dry. The three elements to consider for weather resistance are rain, wind and sun exposure.
The most immediate element we think of when it comes to weather is the rain. It can turn a lovely hike into a nightmare and leave you a decidedly unhappy camper. And while it's easy to whip a rain jacket out of the lid of your pack and put it on, finagling a pair of rain pants on in a hurry is no easy feat. That's why we prefer heading out in a pair of hiking pants that provide a good amount of water resistance, as you can continue hiking in them in a light to medium drizzle.
Water resistance is provided both by the materials used and an additional durable water repellent DWR coating on the fabric. By nature, nylon and polyester fabrics are hydrophobic repel water , whereas cotton is hydrophilic attracts water. That's why manufacturers typically do not use any cotton in their hiking pants, and while we liked the durability and comfort of the cotton-blend Kuhl Splash Roll Up , they are not at all water resistant. Another consideration when it comes to water is the drying time.
When you get wet on the first day of a week-long backpacking trip and only have one pair of pants, you'll be happy if yours are quick-drying. The Lobo's and Paramount 2. While those pairs resist water well, once wet the soft material takes a little while longer to dry.
When it comes to the wind, protecting our legs on a blustery day did not feel as crucial as our core, but is still nice nonetheless. Finally, what's often overlooked when it comes to pants is sun exposure. We worry about our shoulders and noses but easily skip over our legs when applying sunscreen. However, it is just as essential to protect them from harmful radiation, and wearing clothing that blocks those rays means we can limit the amount of sunscreen we need to use, which is nice when backpacking for days on end without a shower to get all the cream off.
You'll see clothing these days with an ultraviolet protection factor UPF rating, which is similar to the SPF rating used in sunscreens. While all clothing will block some rays, typical summer fabrics have a UPF of only 6, so picking a designated UPF 50 pair of pants or t-shirt will provide much more protection.
This is particularly important when spending time on the water, or on snowfields at elevation. With a lot of hiking pants sharing similar styling, materials, or water resistance, sometimes it's the little features that can make or break the overall functionality and help you decide whether or not you want to purchase a certain pair.
Some features, like zip-off legs, are convenient, and yet there are many hikers out there who would never touch a pair with a ten-foot tent pole!
Then there are other features that most people can agree upon, like useful pockets and ways of tightening the waistband. Here are some of the standout features we discovered over the course of this review. When it came to the zip-off models, we were able to get all of the legs off over hiking shoes, but they too narrow to fit over hiking boots.
Part of why convertible options are useful is the ability to change into shorts quickly, but if you have to take your boots off it'll slow the whole process down, and at that point, you may as well whip on a separate pair of shorts or a skort.
We did appreciate the color-coded zippers on The North Face Paramount 2. It can be a bit of a hassle to get the legs back on, particularly if you can't tell which pant leg goes on which side. By making the right side red and the left side blue, you'll never make that mistake again. Another feature that's important is usable pockets. Some models, like the Outdoor Research Ferrosi below, left , Prana Halle , and Patagonia Quandary , have shallow hand pockets that don't hold much and gape open when squatting down.
Sometimes it's nice to walk with your hands in your front pockets, and not have to worry about losing whatever you put in them. In addition to front pockets, having another place to secure items that you want to have readily accessible is a great feature.
Most of the models in this review had a side pocket, but some, like on TNF Paramount 2. A final welcomed feature was an internal drawstring. Belts can feel bulky and uncomfortable while hiking, particularly under a backpack's hip belt.
Being able to tighten the waist without one was a great option, and many of the models in this review had one. We put a lot of miles, energy, and wear and tear on our joints to bring you the best women's hiking pant review. We hope our side-by-side tests and thorough analysis help you in your decision-making process and that you've found a good option for you whatever your hiking objectives may be.
The Best Hiking Pants for Women. Displaying 1 - 5 of Updated May Spring is here, and we've been hitting the trails to get our women's hiking pant review up to speed. Keep reading below to see if any of these new options were able to unseat our multi-year Editors' Choice winner, the Marmot Lobo's. See all prices 3 found. See all prices 4 found. Best in review weather resistance! Abrasion patches on front and rear don't stretch as well. Our Editors' Choice winner, the Marmot Lobo's, could stand to be a hair wider in the legs for a more comfortable fit.
We tried on and wore a lot of convertible pants for this review, including some models that didn't make the cut. With the trend in fashion leading to more tapered pants even in the hiking department, beware of the tightly cut convertible models. The zipper area will not have the same stretch as the rest of the fabric, and if it is cut tightly or your legs run "large," it will decrease your range of motion and comfort.
This is one kind of pant that you'll want to try on first even if you're pretty sure on what size to order. See the photo below for a general idea of the cut of each convertible option. The convertible models in this review include left to right: Not into convertible pants?
Many of the above are available as non-convertible options, and we also tested many "regular" pairs. The "pants only" models that we tested left to right: More pants only models include left to right: Other test models include left to right: A high-waist pant like the Arc'teryx Gamma LT might not feel too comfortable under a hip belt or rock climbing harness, even though it does have a low-profile design.
Scrambling in the Mountain Hardwear Dynama. These super stretchy pants felt great on and gave us excellent range of motion. Articulated knees, like on our Top Pick for Mobility, the Prana Halle pant, helped us move well on the trail and on the rocks. The Columbia Saturday Trail Stretch are a slim fitting pant, but the stretchy material and articulated knees gave us great range of motion anyways. The Marmot Lobo's convert to a crop or short depending on the weather or your preference.
The Marmot Lobo's are a highly versatile pair. The roll-up leg and water resistant material make them a perfect choice for days out on the trail or water.
Hiking in hot weather in the Outdoor Research Ferrosi, one of the most breathable pairs that we tested. There's nothing like turning your pants into shorts to help increase breathability.
Ripstop Nylon resists snags, and while it won't necessarily stop holes from happening if you poke this material with a sharp knife it'll still make a hole , it will help prevent them from spreading. The Kuhl Splash Roll Up is a very durable pant. While traveling, camping, climbing, or working in the yard, we always loved how these pants fit and performed, which is why we chose to recommend them as our Top Pick for Versatility.
Some landscapes on earth are virtually synonymous with heavy rainfall: Hiking in these areas almost guarantees that you will end up getting wet, so a water resistant hiking pant should be a top priority if you have a trip to these or other wet climates in mind. Most of the pants that we tested for this review claim to have some durable water resistant DWR coating applied to help them shed water before it absorbs into the fabric, but only the Arc'teryx Perimeter Pant accomplished this task efficiently, making it our Top Pick for Wet Weather.
It's made of a stretchy blend of nylon and elastane that reminds one of a more technical mountain pant but in very lightweight form. Of course, worth pointing out is that despite being the most water resistant in this review, these pants were nowhere near waterproof, and cannot be substituted for actual rain pants in a downpour.
We also found the nylon fabric to be a bit more abrasive against the skin compared to its smoother and softer counterparts — a trait we often noticed when putting them on, but then immediately forgot as we got on with our day. The Perimeter Pant balances supple mobility and breathability with more than adequate water resistance for most hiking adventures, and although it wasn't one of the highest overall scorers, it's our first choice if we know that rain is on its way.
For some people, hiking is not so much about strolling along a perfectly manicured trail as it is about bushwacking, scrambling through difficult terrain, and getting very dirty. For these types, we recommend checking out the unique Fjallraven Vidda Pro , a tried and true design that comes to us from the backwoods of Sweden.
The most interesting feature of these pants is that they are designed to be "impregnated" with Fjallraven's Greenland wax, in much the same way that one might wax their skis, to add durability and water resistance in the same way that our ancestors did in the days before Gore-Tex and high-tech synthetic fabrics. With this unique design comes a few significant downsides, such as heavy materials that trap heat far more than their competition.
They are also quite expensive and look more a bit more technical Euro than metro-sexual. It is not an exaggeration to think of these pants as high-quality, reinforced, and ethically sourced army surplus pants, and they will thrive as a do-it-all option for the rough wearer: While they weren't the highest scorers in our stretchy nylon-heavy review, they set themselves apart for their durability and toughness, notable and admirable qualities for any pair of pants.
We tested most of these pants over a three-month period in a variety of locations, including the Cascades of Oregon, the desert of Southern Utah, and the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. A few other pairs were added in as we had the chance to test them. The majority of our testing took place on hikes and camping adventures, where we used these pants as they were intended to be used. To accurately rate each product, we assessed them based upon five separate metrics that play a critical role in the optimal performance and quality of a hiking pant: For certain products or metrics where we were not able to reach solid conclusions in the field, we devised more controlled comparative tests described below.
For each metric that we assessed for, we assigned each pant a score of We then weighted each parameter based upon its relative importance to the function and combined all the scores to come up with an overall score between In all cases, we rated pants based on their performance compared to the competition.
Since we selected the twelve best pairs of hiking pants from an exhaustive list of over 70 options, a poor score means that it wasn't as good as the other 11 excellent pairs of pants in our review, and doesn't imply that it is an awful product.
It's possible that a particular metric may be far more important to you than it was in our scoring system. If so, we encourage you to pay very close attention to that metric and dive deeper into the individual reviews to find out exactly how a given pant performed.
Below we will describe each review metric in detail, including how we assessed for it, how much that metric contributed to the overall score, and let you know which were the best scoring products for each metric. An important consideration that almost anyone can appreciate while shopping for new clothing or equipment is value.
While the adage, "You get what you pay for" often rings true, our years of testing experience has taught us that one can usually find great products for far less than top of the line pricing. This fact becomes increasingly important for those who are working hard to outfit themselves with an entire backpacking or trekking kit. Choosing the best value for all of the necessary purchases could end up saving you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in the end.
Check out the chart below, which plots price versus performance, a good indicator of value. Pants found on the right side of the chart had the highest performance grades from our testing, while pants near the bottom of the chart are available for the lowest price.
If you are searching for the best value, then, look to the products in the lower right. As the chart shows, most of the pants in this review fall relatively close to each other in performance as well as price, and so there are many choices if you are searching for the best value. It stands to reason that the most critical consideration for any piece of clothing is how comfortable it is.
If you are distracted by something that you are wearing, then your attention is being taken away from what you are doing. Comfort, then, could be defined as a lack of distraction, where the pant moves and flows with you as you move; never obstructing, never pinching, never rubbing, never annoying, never distracting.
If a pant isn't comfortable to wear, you won't care about the rest of the metrics we measured for you here, because you won't consider wearing the pants long enough to care whether the pockets are in convenient places or the stitching is durable. Comfort goes hand-in-hand with mobility. Hiking pants need to be able to move and bend like you, and this is a crucial component to keeping your pants off your mind. While all of the pants reviewed are constructed primarily of nylon, some incorporate small percentages of stretchy material, such as spandex or elastane to help them stretch and move without hindering, and others use blends of cotton to improve the feel against the skin.
Some pants, such as the Patagonia Quandary fit slim, but have incredible stretching properties , keeping them mobile. On the other hand, a couple of options, such as the Fjallraven Vidda Pro pants, have no stretchiness built into the fabric but instead promote mobility by incorporating a looser, baggier cut. The pants that were the most comfortable were constructed using a soft material that felt great against the skin.
They also had the fewest restrictions in the cut where we noticed tightness or rubbing and had the stretchiest and most mobile fabrics. The Prana Stretch Zion did the best job of incorporating all these factors , providing the most comfortable, mobile, and relaxing fit.
The very similar Prana Brion, which uses the same fabric and has the same cut as the Stretch Zion , likewise scored at the top of the pile. Close behind was the stretchy and mobile Patagonia Quandary , as well as the similarly stretchy Outdoor Research Ferrosi, which only missed out on a top score for comfort because the sizing of the waist was entirely off.
Comfort varies based on body size and type, so be sure to read the individual reviews to get an idea of how each pant fits. Those of us who like to hike in pants can appreciate their ability to protect us from wind, sun, cold, and brush. However, spend enough time walking around outside in pants, and you are going to experience some severe heat buildup, not to mention sweating. That's why it's essential to have a pant that can vent and breathe well.
Breathability is the ability of fabric to allow heat and especially moisture to travel from the inside to the outside through the material while venting refers to the ability to open up pockets or zippers to more quickly allow hot, moist air to escape and cool one off.
Through our many months of testing, we found that venting is the most effective and efficient way of cooling off when overheating in a pair of pants, so features like zippered vents, mesh lined pockets, and roll-able cuffs factored heavily into a product's score.
Most of the pants featured a tight, nylon weave that severely limited direct air transfer — good for wind protection, but not as efficient for breathability. To test venting and breathability, we mostly relied on our time field testing. Much of this time was spent wandering around in the sun in the desert, perfect for understanding how well a pant will breathe while exerting oneself in the sun.
Other times we hiked uphill, as one usually does in the mountains, building up the heat and sweat needed for some serious study. Not content with these "uncontrolled" tests, we also decided to test all the pants in a controlled situation. We took them out to a steep hill in the sun, worked up a sweat, and ran up the hill as fast as we could in each different pair of pants, paying close attention to how hot and uncomfortable each pair felt, especially compared to the others.
While we found it impossible to quantify the results of this test numerically, we easily noticed what models felt cooler than others. Perhaps not surprisingly, the pants made of the lightest and thinnest fabric did the best job of breathing, while the pants with the most mesh and zippered vents cooled us off the quickest and prevented us from getting too sweaty in the first place.
The OR Ferrosi were the lightest, thinnest, and by far the most breathable pants in this test, making them a primo choice for wearing in hot climates. On the other hand, the REI Co-op Screeline was the clear winner in the venting department, thanks to its generous mesh vents, especially behind the knees. The KUHL Kontra Air was right behind, using a combination of a ton of venting as well as a thin and light cotton blend fabric. The KUHL Renegade Cargo Convertible also had a ton of vents, not to mention the ability to simply convert them to shorts, should the desire arise.
The pants that we found to be the hottest, interpreted here as the least breathable, were also the thickest and heaviest and had the least vents. With its extraordinarily dense and heavy G fabric and no vents, the Fjallraven Vidda Pro was a pant designed exclusively for cooler weather. On many hiking adventures, you will travel light, sometimes only having the luxury to take what you are wearing when you walk out the door.
Whether you are going for a day hike or planning an extended backpacking trip, you will be happier in a single pair of pants that work across a range of conditions and temperatures. The ideal pants can protect your legs from most conditions all on the same hike.
A pair of super versatile pants should have no problem handling situations ranging from intense sun and heat, wind, rain, cold, or brush along the trail.
The convertible feature helps with a pant's versatility. If it is too hot or you become too sweaty, that problem can be quickly solved by unzipping the bottoms and turning them into shorts. In general, pants that were convertible scored higher for versatility.
Another less critical aspect of versatility is whether the pants excel at other activities besides just hiking. For instance, on a long thru-hike, you may find yourself swimming, stretching out with some yoga, climbing a tree for any number of reasons! How well you can do these things in one pair of pants affects how we scored them for versatility.
While these pants are designed for hiking, pants are pants, and it is nice to be able to wear them around town during our regular lives if need be, and this factor also contributed slightly to a pant's versatility score.
Made with durable nylon and offering many venting options, not to mention the ability to convert into shorts, we found the KUHL Renegade Cargo Convertible to be the most versatile pants that we tested for this review. They kept us cool while hiking uphill in the sun, and were also thick enough to protect us from the cold and wind.
We also liked them for wearing around town or while working outside and found them to be an adequate climbing pant as well. A close second was the Prana Stretch Zion , which we found to be a warmer pant overall, but which also comes with a convertible option.
Lastly, The North Face Paramount 3. Its light and the stretchy fabric was excellent against the wind and also offered superb sun protection, and it also has a convertible option. Let's face it; if you are going out on a multi-day backpacking trip, chances are you are going to get rained on at some point. Becoming soaked to the bone is a backcountry traveler's worst nightmare, but that fear must be weighed against the alternative — carrying a lot of extra clothing and weight. For multi-day trips, water resistance is a huge bonus for a pair of hiking pants, but it also matters if you happen to live or hike in a wet climate regularly.
We used to consider wind resistance as well when assessing for a hiking pant's performance but have found that all the pairs that we tested are functionally wind resistant due to their tightly woven fabrics. Most of these pants are designed to keep you as dry as possible, but are not specialty rain layers, and are not waterproof. This chemical coating helps the fabric shed water upon contact, preventing it from being absorbed into the material.
It is worth noting that these layers break down and wear off over time, especially if you wash your pants frequently in the washing machine, so if you are heading out on a long trip with an older pair of pants, you should apply a new DWR finish before you begin. To test water resistance, we wore these pants outside as often as we could in poor weather.
Admittedly, though, our head tester lives high in the mountains of Colorado and tested these pants primarily in fall, when high pressure and sunshine tend to dominate the forecast. Testing conditions ranged from hiking in the snowy mountains which is not the weather that most people consider hiking in to sunny and dry in the desert again, no rain.
To determine how these pants performed in a rainstorm, we also conducted the shower test, where we put the pants on and jumped into the shower to see what happened. Using a misting spray nozzle to spritz the outside of the pants lightly helped us understand exactly how much airborne water a pant could effectively repel before getting soaked. Things we looked for were how well the DWR coating worked after three months of testing and washing, whether the fabric tended to absorb water, how wet our legs got inside the pants, and how long the pants took to dry out after being hung up post shower.
The DWR coating did a great job of shedding water even after lots of abuse, and the slippery nylon fabric didn't absorb water like many of the others. It was also fast to dry out once removed from the "rain," since it hadn't absorbed much water in the first place.
The Patagonia Quandary performed nearly as well, incorporating an effective DWR coating with non-absorbent and fast drying stretchy nylon weave fabric. We were also very intrigued by the performance of the wax impregnated Fjallraven Vidda Pro pant, which eschews the now-standard chemical DWR coating in favor of a more natural and customizable wax one.
The final category that differentiates the best pairs of hiking pants from the worst is their respective features. These are the little things that you love or drive you nuts.
Every pair has their own set of unique features, including the type of pockets and location, waist tightening systems, and belts, the zipper system to convert into shorts, vertical cuff zippers, cuff roll-up buttons, cuff tighteners, ventilation holes, and crotch zippers. Some of these features were functional additions that inspired our adoration, while others were superfluous or maddening. In all cases, we attempted to rate the product based on whether the features were useful and if they worked well.
In most cases, having the option to convert to shorts was useful, but we also rated this feature on how well the zippers functioned, how easy they were to convert compared to the other pants, and how they looked and felt. We did a similar analysis of pocket layout and location, as well as for waist tightening systems. In short, the more useful and functional features a pant included, the higher the score.
Products that received a lower rating either included few useful features, or the ones that were included didn't function nearly as well as competitors.
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