Which men’s hiking pants are best?
There’s only so much that joggers or jeans can do for you when you’re hiking. They may even end up hindering or ruining your trip.
Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a beginner, a pair of the best hiking pants like the Fjallraven Vidda Pro Long Pants is a must to stay cool and dry, help reduce fatigue and provide protection from harsh environments.
What to know before you buy men’s hiking pants
Like the best hiking backpacks, a pair of high-quality hiking pants should be versatile and comfortable enough to use in varying situations. Versatility for hiking pants means that they can be worn for any outdoor activity and for city life.
For example, you may come across hiking pants with minimal pockets and a sleek look, perfect to wear at your day job. Versatility would mean these same hiking pants are durable enough to handle extreme hikes and other outdoor activities like climbing or paddling on a lake.
As with most clothing, style doesn’t equate to performance. Stylish pieces of clothing are often uncomfortable to wear. However, if you plan on wearing your hiking pants for daily activities like walking your dog or yoga in the park, having stylish pants may be beneficial.
Consider the weight of your hiking pants. While a little extra weight on casual day treks is not a pressing issue, it makes a considerable difference if you take longer hikes at higher elevations.
Generally speaking, summer hiking pants are the lightest pairs available because they’re designed to keep you cool. That said, these types of hiking pants are generally great for day treks only.
If you’re a backpacker, consider the weather of your hiking destination to determine if it’s better to have a little more weight to keep you warm at night. Day hikers should determine their local weather conditions and choose a pair of hiking pants based on comfort.
While joggers and jeans can work for a day trip on a clear sunny day, they’re not ideal if they get wet suddenly. The best hiking pants are made with synthetic fibers that increase durability and limit moisture absorption.
Most hiking pants use a combination of synthetic fibers. Nylon provides the most durability among synthetic fibers and dries quickly, while polyester is included for its ability to wick away moisture and absorb limited amounts of water. Spandex provides increased mobility and stretch to help with comfort for difficult scrambles.
What to look for in quality men’s hiking pants
The best hiking pants support a large range of motion without riding up. Fabric is key here. Most comfortable pants include some form of spandex or elastane to achieve maximum comfort and mobility.
In addition to being lightweight, hiking pants are best if they have some form of venting or breathability. This is especially true if you plan on hiking on sunny days or throughout the summer.
Ventilation can include flap-covered mesh vents, mesh pockets and cuffs you can roll up or zip. Spandex plays a vital role here as well. While mesh vents help prevent sweat from accumulating, spandex helps carry that ventilation throughout the upper legs and groin area.
Fully waterproof pants aren’t ideal because they limit overall breathability. However, water resistance is something to look for when purchasing hiking pants.
Keep in mind that the pants’ water-resistant coating can wear off after several washes. However, that’s not entirely a concern, as you can simply apply a new layer of coating before your next trip.
How much you can expect to spend on men’s hiking pants
Depending on the brand and any additional features, you can expect to spend $28-$300 on a pair of quality men’s hiking pants.
Best men’s hiking pants FAQ
Can you hike in jeans?
A. You can certainly get away with wearing a pair of denim jeans on a short, dry trip. However, if you happen to get wet from sudden rain or fall into a creek, you’re bound to be miserable. The cotton in the jeans absorbs much more water than hiking-pants materials, meaning your jeans won’t dry until you get back to your car.
Denim also is much stiffer and thicker than nylon, polyester, or spandex. That means if you go hiking in jeans in the summer, you’ll face increased amounts of sweat. And wet jeans from sweat, rain, or a fall in the creek can lead to chafing and blistering.
How short or long should hiking pants be?
A. There are numerous types of hiking pants, and it’s ultimately a matter of personal preference. However, for standard hiking pants, you’ll want one that snugs your thighs and calves without crushing them to help prevent chafing. Additionally, you’ll want to have the cuff be slightly larger so it can easily go over your boots or shoes.
What are the best men’s hiking pants to buy?
Top men’s hiking pants
What you need to know: These hiking pants are made with G1000 fabric and integrate the fibers with wax to ensure ultimate waterproofing.
What you’ll love: Unlike other hiking pants that feel like they’ll rip if caught on a branch, these pants are manufactured with high-quality material that also makes them extremely durable. If you take care of them, these pants will last for many hiking expeditions. And you’ll find an abundance of pockets to store all your hiking essentials.
What you should consider: These pants are extremely warm, so they may be uncomfortable for summer hikes.
Where to buy: Sold by Backcountry
Top men’s hiking pants for the money
What you need to know: These hiking pants are budget-friendly, not only because of their cost but because they’re also elegant enough to double as work pants.
What you’ll love: Once you’ve fallen in love with these pants, you can find a pair for each day of the week and then some, as they’re available in 24 colors. CQR designed this product to withstand most outdoor activities and sports. The material features two-way air circulation and a ventilated mesh flap behind the knees that ensures you stay cool. Additionally, you have enough cargo pockets to hold all your tools, whether it’s pens or your favorite energy bar.
What you should consider: While these pants may repel splashes of water, you will get wet in heavy rainfall or if you sit in water for prolonged periods of time.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: These men’s lightweight hiking pants will protect your legs from most weather conditions.
What you’ll love: These are one of the most durable pairs of lightweight pants you can find. Their design is minimal in every way. They don’t have all the features like belt loops or additional zippers to allow for venting, but they offer extreme protection if you get stuck out in a storm.
What you should consider: The minimal design means they don’t feature any tightening options for the waist.
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Christopher Lee writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.