Best Hiking Pants Tips to Gain on Money and Quality

Following our expert articles on hiking advisory (here and here), we thought to provide you with a more specialized one, exclusively related to… hiking pants.

Since pants cover around 50% of your body, you understand that it is very important to know which hiking pants to choose. To gain that knowledge we need to get deeper into the technical details that will help you with such a choice.

Here we go then.

Materials of hiking pants

In case you don’t know, by checking the label on pants you will find out that are made mostly from nylon (around 97%). So, regarding the materials part there are few things to tell. To be more comfortable when walking better to choose pants that are of the elastic type. They fit well on your body and allow better range of motion. If your trip engages climbing or striding, you will be far more comfortable.

Prefer hiking pants that are lightweight but also offer protection from the wind and rain, while they “breath”, so you sweat less.

As you look around in outdoors stores you will also see hiking pants that have less nylon but more cotton (which is rare). These pants are often advised to be treated with bees wax. Yet, why to get into so much trouble?

Better avoid the rain hiking pants, that are labeled as absolutely waterproof. They are indeed, but you will find yourself sweating a lot when you walk.

Number, style and variety of pockets

Most people avoid filling their pockets with many things, as this adds extra weight to your feet and makes walking less comfortable.

Most hiking pants usually have the cargo type of pockets. Some pockets even have smaller compartments so to fit in specific things per pocket.

Keep in mind that whatever protrudes, easily gets entangled at branches and low planation.

Shaped knees & crotch

Have you seen these pants where when you hold them up straight they make a curve at knee area? This is what we are talking about. These pants try to imitate how a person naturally stands and walks.

That is why the knee area is not straight but curved on purpose.

Others even have an extra cloth (some times elastic) in the crotch area at the inner thighs. This gives a wider range of motion but -yet- not so wide as the elastic pants give.

Many people who wear such pants say that they provide extra comfort. In fact such hiking pants were popular among climbers (who needed that extra range of motion).

Water Resistance efficiency

If you hike in summer time, there is actually no hiking pant that will be really waterproof, unless you want to sweat heavily. Most hiking pants react pretty well to light rain. To make sure that they do, check for an indication labeled as DWR (Durable Water Repellent) prior buying them. On such pants water usually make small beads and rolls down.

The more nylon in the fabric, the better the water resistance is. So if your pants are largely made of cotton, it won’t help.

However, the good news are that even when such pants soak, they dry relatively fast, mostly due to how they are weaved.


Depending on the materials, quality of fabric and usage this varies. If your hiking trips happen mostly on rocky terrains or in places where you need to knee down or crawl or go through branches, then you need good fabric.

Usually summer hiking pants are more prone to tearing and ripping, while winter ones are more durable.

Convertible pants

It is a pant, it is shorts, it is all together! Suitable to avoid packing lots of clothing, especially in summer time. Usually a zipper is located around the knee area and you can take them on and off.

Aesthetically speaking, sometimes it looks a bit baggy.

A rising trend is the roll-up pants. You don’t have to zip-unzip something. You just roll up and use the attached buttons and tabs to keep them in place. Yet, they usually roll up to below the knee area and the extra rolled cloth there may get you a bit warmer.

The overall thing is that pants need to feel good on you. You need to feel comfortable and walk around easily.

Many usually end up having a pair of regular pants (without shaped knees) and/or a pair of elastic ones.

Personally we like the elastic ones since they are suitable for all kinds of terrains

We hope you enjoyed these hiking pants tips and enjoy your hiking more.

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