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The 6 Best Hiking Pants of 2024

We put men's hiking pants to the test from Arc'teryx, REI, Patagonia, Prana, Columbia, and more to find the best options for your outdoor excursions
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Best Hiking Pants Review
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch
By Ben Applebaum-Bauch and Andy Wellman  ⋅  Apr 26, 2024

The Best Hiking Pants for 2024


We have bought the best hiking pants for a decade and counting, with almost 50 pairs tested. For this update, we put the best 13 pairs side by side for comparative analysis. Our experts took to the trails to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each model. We know that there are a lot of options out there, so we do the leg work for you to figure out which ones are the most comfortable, which ones breathe effectively while keeping you dry, and which have the most useful features to keep you enjoying nature trails all year round.

Getting out on the trails can be a lot easier with the right hiking gear. See our favorite men's hiking boots and which daypacks we rated best. Add in one of the best trekking poles, top lightweight water bottles, a pair of the best sunglasses and best sun shirt to offer some UV protection, and you'll be set to reach some amazing places!

Related: Best Hiking Pants for Women

Editor's Note: Our hiking pants review was updated on April 26, 2024, to include a section detailing how we tested these products.

Top 13 Hiking Pants - Test Results

Displaying 6 - 10 of 13
 
Awards Top Pick Award Top Pick Award    
Price $80 List
$55.93 at REI
$47.48 at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
$42.24 at Backcountry$83.30 at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
$109 List
$53.83 at REI
Overall Score Sort Icon
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66
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63
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Pros Good ventilation options, versatile, can take off legs over footwearDurable, integrated belt, leg roll-up snapsLightweight, variety of sizes and colors, inexpensiveSuper lightweight, all pockets zippered, strong sun protectionConvertible option looks nice, easy to convert, durable stretchy nylon, tons of pockets
Cons Hard to get things out of pockets, not stylishNot much ventilation, few pocket zippersThin material not suitable for rugged terrain, no water resistance, static material limits mobilityNo elastic to roll up legs, fly is a little shortConvertible zipper rests across lower thigh, front button sometimes comes undone
Bottom Line This comfortable, well-ventilated pair of pants comes with a full complement of featuresA hardy model that easily crosses over into multiple outdoor recreational activities like climbing due to their relaxed fit and stretchy materialThis thin and lightweight model has removable legs that turn them into shortsThese slim fit, lightweight pants are an excellent choice for warm breezy summer hikingA solid option with numerous, spacious pockets and the ability to switch quickly into shorts
Rating Categories REI Co-op Sahara Co... Prana Stretch Zion... Columbia Silver Rid... Mammut Runbold Kuhl Renegade Cargo...
Comfort and Mobility (35%)
7.0
7.5
6.0
6.0
6.0
Venting and Breathability (20%)
8.0
6.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
Weather Resistance (15%)
5.0
7.0
6.5
6.0
6.0
Features (15%)
7.5
7.0
7.0
6.0
8.0
Versatility (15%)
5.0
4.5
5.0
7.5
6.0
Specs REI Co-op Sahara Co... Prana Stretch Zion... Columbia Silver Rid... Mammut Runbold Kuhl Renegade Cargo...
Weight 11.9 oz 13.3 oz 10.4 oz 8.5 oz 17.0 oz
Material 96% recycled nylon, 4% spandex 95% recycled nylon, 5% spandex 100% nylon Silver Ridge ripstop 85% polyamide,15% spandex Duralux 95% nylon, 5% spandex
Water Resistance DWR finish DWR finish No additional treatment miDori DWR finish
Sizing (Waist, Length Options) W: 28"- 50"
L: 28" - 34"
W: 28" - 42"
L: 28" - 36"
W: 28"- 44"
L: 28" - 36"
W: 28" - 40"
L: Short, Reg, Long
W: 28" - 42",
L: 28" - 36"
Shorts: 10"
Sun Protection UPF 50 UPF 50 UPF 50 UPF 50+ UPF 50+
Pants/Shorts Convertibility Yes No (but snap to mid-calf) Yes No Yes
Pockets 2 hand, 2 back velcro, 2 thigh (1 zip, 1 flap) 2 hand, 2 back, 1 left thigh, 1 coin 2 hand, 2 back velcro, 2 thigh (1 zip, 1 velcro) 2 hand zip, 1 back zip, 1 thigh zip 2 hand, 2 back, 2 thigh
Waist Strap and Fastener Button and zip fly, elastic across back Button and zip fly, waist cinch Button and zip fly, full belt, elastic on hips Button and zip fly, elastic velcro tabs on hips Snap and zip fly
Other Features Removable legs with color-coded zippers and vertical zippers, elastic in waist Ventilated inseam gusset, roll up leg snaps, adjustable waist tightening strap Gusseted crotch, full belt, elastic waist All pockets zippered, stretch fabric Articulated knees, gusseted crotch, mesh pockets for ventilation, compartment sections inside cargo pockets for organization, ankle zips and snaps for easy removal with boots


Best Overall Hiking Pants for Men


Outdoor Research Ferrosi Pants


77
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort and Mobility 9.0
  • Venting and Breathability 8.5
  • Weather Resistance 6.5
  • Features 5.0
  • Versatility 7.5
Material: 86% nylon, 14% spandex | Weight: 9.4 oz
REASONS TO BUY
Highly breathable, lightweight fabric
Stretch fabric offers superior mobility
Suitable for everyday wear
REASONS TO AVOID
Too light for cold, windy days
Waist stretches with repeated wear

The Outdoor Research Ferrosi Pants are incredibly comfortable, offer a high degree of mobility, and keep you cool even as the mercury rises. They are made of durable ripstop fabric and incorporate a higher-than-average 14% spandex, making them stretchy and unrestrictive. They provide high mobility for hiking, running, yoga, and rock scrambles. They are also very light, thin, highly breathable, and have drawcord cuffs so you can cinch them up higher on your calves if needed -— all great qualities in hot weather.

Though these pants perform super well in dry heat, they're not as ideal for cold days, as their thin material doesn't provide much insulation. We also found that if you go a few wears between washings (who doesn't?), the waist tends to stretch out. There is an internal drawstring, but if you're hiking for more than a day at a time in these, you might want to wear a belt. Even so, the Outdoor Research Ferrosi is our favorite overall pair of hiking pants and a super comfortable all-purpose option that especially shines in hot weather. If you want other lightweight options to consider, you can't go wrong with the Patagonia Quandary or the much slimmer but stretchier Mammut Runbold.

Read more: Outdoor Research Ferrosi review

The Outdoor Research Ferrosi is our favorite overall pair of hiking pants. They look good and feel good with a simple, functional set of features.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Best Bang for the Buck


Prana Brion II Pants


68
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort and Mobility 7.5
  • Venting and Breathability 7.0
  • Weather Resistance 5.5
  • Features 5.0
  • Versatility 8.0
Material: 95% nylon, 5% spandex | Weight: 12.0 oz
REASONS TO BUY
Stylish
Inexpensive
Stretchy
REASONS TO AVOID
Limited features
Thicker

The Prana Brion II is a simple and practical pair of hiking pants that also look really good. The gusseted crotch gives this slim-fit model enough space to move quickly down the trail without inhibiting motion. They are also one of the few models that look equally at home in the wilderness and in the office —- no easy feat. If you are doing long-haul air travel and need to pack light, the versatility that these pants provide is at the top of our list.

There are a couple of things to keep in mind when considering your purchase. These pants are designed to fit more snuggly in the seat and through the legs, so for hikers with a bulkier lower half, they won't wear as comfortably. In addition, the feature set is very limited. There are no zippered pockets and no roll-up or vent features. Caveats aside, for folks seeking a great-looking pair of hiking pants at a reasonable price, the Prana Brion II is a phenomenal option. If stylish versatility is important to you, you should also consider the Royal Robbins Alpine Road, which looks just as good and has a little more hiker-friendly functionality.

Read more: Prana Brion II review

The Prana Brion II is an affordable pair of pants that performed well in our warm-up/cool-down testing.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Best Weather Resistance


Arc'teryx Gamma Pant


71
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort and Mobility 7.5
  • Venting and Breathability 5.0
  • Weather Resistance 8.0
  • Features 6.5
  • Versatility 8.5
Material: 84% nylon, 16% elastane | Weight: 11.6 oz
REASONS TO BUY
Comfort
Strong weather resistance
Look great
REASONS TO AVOID
Lacks rear pockets
Costly

The Arc'teryx Gamma Pants are comfortable, lightweight, and great for a variety of activities. Their water and wind resistance make them an excellent choice for cool, wet-weather hikes. They also come equipped with a drawstring at the cuff, so if the sun comes out and the temperature rises, you can pull them up and secure them in place to keep your legs cool. We're also fans of the integrated belt on the Gamma. They include thoughtfully designed features, and the fabric offers enough stretch not to be a distraction while scrambling.

The primary drawback is that these pants are expensive. You could certainly spend less on a different model and not tell too much of a difference. We also think it is an unusual choice not to include any rear pockets. Even with these things in mind, our testers love this model and will be pulling on a pair during future adventures, especially when inclement weather is in the forecast. There aren't a ton of other options in the category that match these pants for their combination of weight and weather resistance. However, if inclement weather is in your future, the Fjallraven Vidda Pro is a sturdy pant that allows you to beef up its waterproofing with extra applications of Greenland wax (sold separately).

Read more: Arc'teryx Gamma review
The Arc'teryx Gamma Pant is one of our favorites for cooler temperatures and has a good balance of weather protection and comfort.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Best for Trail to Town


Royal Robbins Alpine Road


69
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort and Mobility 7.0
  • Venting and Breathability 5.5
  • Weather Resistance 7.5
  • Features 6.5
  • Versatility 8.0
Material: 66% nylon, 31% polyester, 3% elastane | Weight: 13.8 oz
REASONS TO BUY
Front and backcountry functionality
French fly is extra secure
REASONS TO AVOID
On the heavier side
Stiffer fabric

The Royal Robbins Alpine Road is for the casual business professional who goes straight from the office to the trail. This pair combines a more formal “office style” with the functionality of backcountry hiking pants. They come with elastic cinch cords in the ankles, and the thigh pocket is relatively discreet, meaning that it won't look too outdoorsy. The felt interior waist liner also adds to their comfort.

There are a few tradeoffs with these pants. They have a higher-than-average proportion of polyester and less elastane than the typical pair, which means that there also isn't quite as much stretch in the fabric. Because of their design aesthetic, only one of the pockets has a zipper, which left us wanting a little more security for our house keys when we went out for a quick hike. Even so, their seamless adaptability between the front and backcountry makes them an excellent choice. With that in mind, for frontcountry first pants with a little stretch at an affordable price, the Prana Brion II are our favorites.

Read more: Royal Robbins Alpine Road review

The Royal Robbins Alpine Road is a super practical pair with good weather resistance and an office-ready style.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Best Convertible Option


REI Co-op Sahara Convertible


67
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort and Mobility 7.0
  • Venting and Breathability 8.0
  • Weather Resistance 5.0
  • Features 7.5
  • Versatility 5.0
Material: 96% nylon, 4% spandex | Weight: 11.9 oz
REASONS TO BUY
Lots of pockets
Lightweight
Removable legs come off easily over shoes
REASONS TO AVOID
Hard to get things out of pockets
Not stylish

The REI Sahara Convertible is a highly functional pair of hiking pants that are great for shoulder seasons. This model has a wide array of pockets — front, back, and sides — to keep many of your essentials close. They provide solid water and wind resistance in cooler, wetter weather but are also light enough for when the sun comes out. Plus, the lower legs have two sets of zippers that make it incredibly easy to pull them off over footwear of any type if it gets truly hot.

Our primary issue with these pants is that the zipper around the leg rubs throughout the day, making them slightly less comfortable than their non-convertible counterparts. The side cargo pockets also have smaller openings, so it's difficult to reach the bottom to remove items. They also look like cargo pants and don't have the trail-to-town or office-ready aesthetic of so many other models. However, if you love the versatility of removable legs, this pair is our top pick. If you want a little better weather protection from your convertible pants, the Columbia Silver Ridge Convertible are a good choice. If you want convertibility without sacrificing the pockets, the Kuhl Renegade Cargo Convertible are another pair we appreciate for carrying our belongings.

Read more: REI Co-Op Sahara Convertible review

The REI Sahara Convertible is a reliable, affordable pair of pants that does well in both warm and cool weather.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Best for Climbing


Prana Stretch Zion II Pants


66
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort and Mobility 7.5
  • Venting and Breathability 6.0
  • Weather Resistance 7.0
  • Features 7.0
  • Versatility 4.5
Material: 97% nylon, 3% spandex | Weight: 13.3 oz
REASONS TO BUY
Comfortable fabric and fit
Durable
Solid set of features
Mobility
REASONS TO AVOID
Heavy when wet
Warm in hot climates

The Prana Stretch Zion II Pants are durable and versatile. We enjoy the small but practical integrated waist tightener, which means these pants can stay up without a belt. We also appreciate the cargo pocket with zippers on both sides, which means that we can quickly reach a phone or topo map while sitting at a belay. Combined with some of the softest and most comfortable fabrics of any of the models in this review, it is no wonder that these pants are one of our favorites.

Though they shine for climbing, they are not without their flaws. The fabric is a bit heavy and densely woven for hiking in hot weather. They are much more effective when the temperature is on the cooler side. They also aren't as water-resistant as most, so if wet weather is in your future, look elsewhere. However, if comfort and flexibility are your top priority, then we would strongly recommend trying on this pair of pants. For others with top comfort features, we strongly recommend the Outdoor Research Ferrosi and Patagonia Quandary, both of which have stretchy fabric and a built-in cord in the waist.

Read more: Prana Stretch Zion II review

The Prana Stretch Zion II is a versatile, comfortable pair of hiking pants with snaps that hold up the legs.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Compare Products

select up to 5 products to compare
Score Product Price
77
Outdoor Research Ferrosi Pants
Best Overall Hiking Pants for Men
$99
Editors' Choice Award
73
Patagonia Quandary Pants
$99
71
Arc'teryx Gamma Pant
Best Weather Resistance
$200
Top Pick Award
69
Royal Robbins Alpine Road
Best for Trail to Town
$90
Top Pick Award
68
Prana Brion II Pants
Best Bang for the Buck
$85
Best Buy Award
67
REI Co-op Sahara Convertible
Best Convertible Option
$80
Top Pick Award
66
Prana Stretch Zion II Pants
Best for Climbing
$95
Top Pick Award
65
Columbia Silver Ridge Convertible
$65
64
Mammut Runbold
$129
63
Kuhl Renegade Cargo Convertible
$109
60
Kuhl Radikl
$109
59
Fjallraven Vidda Pro
$170
56
CQR Tactical Raider
$49

hiking pants - a good pair of hiking pants is essential for cooler fall days.
A good pair of hiking pants is essential for cooler fall days.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

How We Test Hiking Pants


Our review process begins by researching the market for the best products available. We purchase the top contenders at full retail cost and get down to hands-on testing on hikes and camping adventures in the rain, sun, and wind, as well as in controlled environments. Our testing grounds span a variety of locations, including the Oregon Cascades, the southern Utah desert, Colorado's Front Range and San Juan Mountains, and New Hampshire's White Mountains. We analyze each pair's comfort and mobility, how well they protect us from the elements, and whether they keep us dry (enough) in the rain or allow us to stay cool in the damp heat of summer. We also purposely soak them and measure their drying time. In addition to a variety of outdoor activities, we wear them out and about for everyday use. For more info on our testing, see our full How We Test article.

Our lineup of hiking pants is scored across five performance metrics:
  • Comfort and Mobility (35% of overall score weighting)
  • Venting and Breathability (20% weighting)
  • Weather Resistance (15% weighting)
  • Features (15% weighting)
  • Versatility (15% weighting)

Why Trust GearLab


Lead testers Ben Applebaum-Bauch and Andy Wellman both love a good backcountry adventure. Andy is an avid climber, hiker, and alpine skier. He has published multiple bouldering and climbing guides of the American Southwest and knows the value that a comfortable, protective pair of hiking pants can provide. Ben got his start in the outdoor industry as a trip guide and has led multi-week backpacking, cycling, and canoeing trips throughout northern New England and maritime Canada. He is also an avid thru-hiker, passing under the baking sun and over snowfields of the Continental Divide Trail and Pacific Crest Trail, as well as through the whipping winds and summer hail storms of the Colorado, Long, Oregon Coast, and Appalachian trails.

The CQR Tactical Raider has a loose fit that enables crouching...
The CQR Tactical Raider has a loose fit that enables crouching, climbing, and scrambling.
The Stretch Zion II has great water resistance, shedding beads and...
The Stretch Zion II has great water resistance, shedding beads and resisting absorption.
The Patagonia Quandary has reliable water resistance and dries...
The Patagonia Quandary has reliable water resistance and dries relatively quickly.
We test our hiking pants in both real-world and controlled environments.

Analysis and Test Results


We assess each model across five different scoring metrics that are the most significant contributors to the performance and quality of any pair of hiking pants: comfort and mobility, venting and breathability, weather resistance, additional features, and versatility. Each metric is weighted based on its relative importance to the overall function of the pants. If a particular metric is much more important to you than the rest, be sure to check out the specifics of how different models perform in that category (as opposed to just looking at their overall score). And also, check our hand-curated list of the best products across all of our hiking gear reviews.


Value


We don't consider a product's value in its overall numerical score, but we recognize that it is an important consideration in any purchase. Though the adage “you get what you pay for” often rings true, our years of testing experience have taught us that the highest-priced products are not always the highest performing. To assess value, we compare the price of each product against its overall score. The Outdoor Research Ferrosi and Patagonia Quandary are two examples of models that provide great value, costing far below the highest-priced options, yet step up to nearly any hiking challenge. The Prana Brion II also has great style at a reasonable price. Clothing can be expensive, but there are still plenty of diamonds in the rough.

hiking pants - comfort can be achieved through a combination of stretchy fabric...
Comfort can be achieved through a combination of stretchy fabric, adjustability, and quality fit.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Comfort and Mobility


One of the most critical considerations for any piece of outdoor clothing is its comfort. In the context of hiking pants, comfort means that they feel good; no chafing or riding up that would distract from the activity. The product should enhance your outdoor experience, not take away from it. If it isn't comfortable, the rest of the metrics probably don't matter nearly as much.


Comfort goes hand-in-hand with mobility. The more a model facilitates free movement, the better. The majority of pants in this review achieve their comfort by incorporating some stretchy material, such as spandex or elastane, in order to increase user mobility.

hiking pants - some models have a gusset (strip of fabric across the crotch of the...
Some models have a gusset (strip of fabric across the crotch of the top pair), while others do not. Gussets tend to extend mobility.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

The Outdoor Research Ferrosi, Patagonia Quandary, and Arc'teryx Gamma achieve a comfortable fit with a balance of a higher-than-average proportion of elastane and a slim but loose enough cut to maximize wearer mobility. The Ferrosi is stretchier than either of the other two, but all three are flexible. The Prana Brion II (with a very slim fit), Royal Robbins Alpine Road, and the Prana Stretch Zion II all have lower stretchy material ratios. Still, they somehow perform well above what one might expect based on the numbers alone, due in part to the multi-directional elasticity of their fabrics. The Kuhl Radikl pants also have a more standard fit but include strategically placed panels of super stretchy fabric at the knees, crotch, and lower back to facilitate mobility.

hiking pants - the felt liner inside the ferrosi waist is a nice touch that...
The felt liner inside the Ferrosi waist is a nice touch that minimizes abrasion and increases comfort.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

The Mammut Runbold pants are somewhat of an extreme. They are quite slim, even tight feeling, but compensate with a high proportion of spandex, which facilitates wearer mobility. Other models, such as the REI Sahara Convertible and Fjallraven Vidda Pro, offer minimal stretch in the fabric and promote mobility with a looser, more relaxed cut. All of the top scorers in this metric have a gusseted crotch (an additional diamond or strip of fabric) that increases the roominess of the area to avoid bunching.

hiking pants - some models like the patagonia quandary have elastic ties built into...
Some models like the Patagonia Quandary have elastic ties built into the waist for tightening on the go, even without a belt.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Venting and Breathability


Venting and breathability are crucial for staying cooler in the sunshine and summer heat. Venting refers to specific features included in a pair of pants that facilitate the release of heat and moisture away from your body. Things like zippered vents, mesh-lined pockets, and rollable cuffs are types of vents. Breathability is similar but refers to the quality of the fabric itself (as opposed to features built into it), including the thickness and density of the weave.


Not surprisingly, the pants made of the lightest and thinnest fabric tend to be the most breathable, while the pants with the most mesh and zippered vents prevented us from getting too sweaty in the first place. The OR Ferrosi is lightweight and breathable, making it a solid choice for hot climates. The fabric is thin, and air passes through with relative ease. The REI Sahara Convertible is also made from thin and lightweight nylon. Most notably, it has the advantage of completely removable legs to facilitate a quick cooldown. The Columbia Silver Ridge Convertible is very similar to the Sahara but with slightly thinner fabric.

The REI Sahara Convertible has verticle zippers that make it extremely easy to remove the lower legs over shoes.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Though the Mammut Runbold has no specific ventilation features, its thin, stretchy fabric breathes well. The Prana Brion II is another similar pair with stretch but thicker fabric, so they don't breathe quite as easily, and the Kuhl Radikl is a surprise above-average scorer in the metric. Despite its heavier material, strategically placed highly elastic material along the sides and in the crotch keeps these pants cooler than we expected.

There are some in-between options like the Patagonia Quandary, which are fairly lightweight and breathable but don't have any dedicated ventilation points or way to keep the legs rolled up. The Royal Robbins Alpine Road is thicker and heavier but offers ventilation primarily by rolling up the legs and securing the elastic cinch cord in the ankles. The Arc'teryx Gamma don't have the most breathable fabric, but they do have a drawstring cord that allows you to cinch them tight over your knees. The pants that are the least breathable are also the thickest and heaviest and have the fewest vents. With its extraordinarily dense and heavy G-1000 fabric and no vents, the Fjallraven Vidda Pro is a pant designed exclusively for colder weather.

hiking pants - most hiking pants, like the prana stretch zion, have mesh-lined...
Most hiking pants, like the Prana Stretch Zion, have mesh-lined pockets that can help make things a little less sweaty.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Weather Resistance


If rain is in the forecast, you'll want to be protected. Though none of the models in this review claim to be fully waterproof, quality water resistance is a bonus for a pair of hiking pants. We also consider wind resistance when assessing performance, as well as dry time. Taken as a whole, these characteristics can be tricky to balance with venting and breathability, but some models in this review have decent success.


To that end, most of these pants are designed to keep you as dry as possible while remaining lightweight and comfortable. To achieve this, many come with a durable water-repellent (DWR) coating applied to the outside of the fabric. This chemical coating helps the pant shed precipitation. DWR treatments do wear off over time, especially if you wash your pants frequently. If you are planning a long trip with a much-beloved pair, you should apply a new DWR finish before you head out — something like Nikwax Tech Wash is an excellent and simple way to reapply DWR coating in your home washing machine. To test water resistance, we wore these pants outside as often as we could in wet weather. For a more controlled environment, we also conducted spray and shower tests, giving each pair an even spritz to understand the process of absorption versus water beading as well as dry time after saturation.

We spray each pair of pants with water and measure the relative dry time of each one.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

For cooler weather, we like the Arc'teryx Gamma, which holds its own in wet weather and is relatively warm. The DWR coating does a great job of shedding water even after a lot of wear, and they dry out quickly since water stays on the surface. The Gamma stands out as a step above, balancing water resistanceand comfort and mobility the best. A handful of pants in this review fall into the solid second tier, including the Patagonia Quandary, Royal Robbins Alpine Road, and Prana Stretch Zion II.

hiking pants - the dwr coating on the arc'teryx gamma facilitates excellent beading.
The DWR coating on the Arc'teryx Gamma facilitates excellent beading.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

The CQR Tactical Raider and Fjallraven Vidda Pro are both much thicker than the rest and are meant for cooler weather. Interestingly, the Fjallraven Vidda eschews modern DWR coating in favor of a more natural and customizable treatment — manually applying Greenland wax. So long as you are willing to take the time for the initial treatment, they can withstand moisture about as well as (or better than) any other pair in this review. But, with the other models, you don't have to work so hard for it. Though the CQR Tactical Raider and Fjallraven Vida Pro bead water well, they also take much longer to dry when they do get wet.

hiking pants - testing the  fjallraven vidda pro's water resistance. these pants...
Testing the Fjallraven Vidda Pro's water resistance. These pants come treated with Greenland wax, which you can you can purchase for reapplication as needed. We found that we needed to reapply the wax, especially if you wash them in warm water.

On the other hand, it is no surprise that pairs with the thinnest fabric like the Outdoor Research Ferrosi, Columbia Silver Ridge Convertible, and Mammut Runbold are also the fastest to dry. Though these last two absorb water almost immediately, the fact that they dry so fast is a big plus for avoiding hypothermia and staying comfortable.

hiking pants - though the mammut runbold don't repel water, they dry very quickly.
Though the Mammut Runbold don't repel water, they dry very quickly.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Features


Features are all of the “extras” on a pair of pants. These are the thoughtful design elements that enhance a wearer's experience. Each pair has its own set of unique features, including the type and number of pockets as well as their locations, waist tightening systems, belts, and button and fly styles. Some of these features are functional additions that inspire our adoration, while others are excessive or not as useful as they sound. We weren't looking for the most features, but the most features that also enhanced the user experience. Products that receive a lower rating either include fewer valuable features or the features that they do have don't reach their potential. Favorite features among our testers include pockets that are large enough and deep enough to protect items from inadvertently popping out, as well as integrated belts.


The Kuhl Renegade Cargo pants boast one of the most robust feature sets. It has many pocket options for those who like to have all their trail trinkets handy and organized. The CQR Tactical Raider comes with no fewer than eight pockets — two front, two rear, two cargo, and a smaller one above each quad for a knife or compass. It also has D-rings for carabiners and keys, elastic in the waist to accommodate a range of sizes, and a French fly for added durability.

The Mammut Runbold has somewhat unique velcro tabs that allow for easy waist adjustment on the move.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

The Fjallraven Vidda Pro is similarly loaded with pockets, while the REI Sahara Convertible has six pockets for more-than-ample storage and removable legs that turn them into shorts. Our only knock against the feature set of the Sahara is the button closure, which seems like it could pop off with heavy use. The Columbia Silver Ridge Convertible has a very similar set of features but the front pockets are super deep, which is great for peace of mind, and it also includes a full, removable belt for easy adjustability. The Prana Stretch Zion II has an integrated belt (as does the Arx'teryx Gamma Pant) and comes with unique ventilation holes in the crotch and roll-up snaps in the legs for a capris-length look. The Kuhl Radikl has unique stretch fabric panels that add comfort, mobility, and ventilation to the hiking experience.

The CQR Tactical Raider has deep, pleated cargo pockets great for...
The CQR Tactical Raider has deep, pleated cargo pockets great for holding snacks.
The included full belt in the Columbia Silver Ridge is a nice...
The included full belt in the Columbia Silver Ridge is a nice addition that can be used for any pair.
We compared all the features of every pair of pants. Some of our favorites include large pockets with secure seals and integrated belts.

We are also partial to pairs that streamline their offerings but have high-quality execution. We appreciate the hearty snap and French fly of the Royal Robbins Alpine Road as well as the simple zippered thigh pocket. The zippered front pockets of the Mammut Runbold and Arc'teryx Gamma add extra security and peace of mind (though the Gamma loses points for its lack of back pockets). The former also comes with nifty velcro tabs on the side of the waist for easy adjustability and the latter has a sleek integrated belt. We like the embedded elastic cord in the Patagonia Quandary, in addition to its zippered thigh pocket.

hiking pants - the zippered side pockets of the mammut runbold add peace of mind to...
The zippered side pockets of the Mammut Runbold add peace of mind to any day hike for important items like keys.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Having the option to roll up the legs and cinch them down around your calf or above the knee when the weather gets warmer is useful. The Outdoor Research Ferrosi, Arc'teryx Gamma, and Royal Robbins Alpine Road benefit from this add-on. The Fjallraven Vidda and Prana Stretch Zion II have snaps at their cuffs that help them to function similarly, if less elegantly.

hiking pants - the patagonia quandary's rear pockets include one zippered pocket...
The Patagonia Quandary's rear pockets include one zippered pocket and one non-zip pocket.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Versatility


Versatility is a model's ability to perform and maintain its functionality in a variety of conditions and activities. In the backcountry, the most versatile pants should perform well during a hike up a mountain and for activities like climbing and paddling. In the front country, pants should also be functional enough for in-town use and office wear, long-haul travel, everyday outdoor work, yoga, and workout routines. And while we recognize that style in and of itself isn't essential for measuring performance — and is subjective — a pair that looks good in more situations will have greater versatility than a pair that doesn't (all other things being equal).


Holding down one of the top spots in the metric is the Arc'teryx Gamma, which brings not only a high level of functionality for hiking but an equally strong performance as a comfortable pair of everyday town and work pants. The Royal Robbins Alpine Road similarly combines high performance with superb style and adaptability between trail and town. Also at the top tier is the Prana Brion II, which is a really simple but stylish pant.

hiking pants - the royal robbins alpine road are one of the more stylish pairs of...
The Royal Robbins Alpine Road are one of the more stylish pairs of pants we tested, looking just as good in the office as they do on the trai.
Credit: Sarah Van Cleve

The Mammut Runbold is great for its flexibility in the backcountry and utility for long-distance travel. With their stretchier fabric blends and ever so slightly looser fits, the Outdoor Research Ferrosi and Patagonia Quandary served us well when we needed to scramble and stretch, making them great choices for many different activities, from hikes to yard work.

hiking pants - no matter how you like to get outside, we've found a pair of hiking...
No matter how you like to get outside, we've found a pair of hiking pants that can keep up with you.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Conclusion


The pants you wear can make or break how much you enjoy your adventure. And with so many options on the market, the challenge can be deciding which ones to buy. If you need a pant for wet weather, check out our best rain pants review. We hope our expert reviews help make your next pants purchase easier so you can enjoy whatever the trail throws at you.

Ben Applebaum-Bauch and Andy Wellman