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10 Best Men’s Hiking Pants of 2024

10 Best Men’s Hiking Pants

Hiking pants are an important piece of hiking gear but one that men often take for granted. Hiking pants have to be highly breathable, durable, quick-drying, and easy to vent when you get too hot, but warm when the temperature drops. Fit, freedom of movement, and pockets are also key factors.  What about hiking pants that are insect resistant or provide a high degree of sun protection? All of these are important variables when choosing the best hiking pants.

Make / ModelLeg Style
Patagonia Quandary PantsFull-length
Outdoor Research Ferrosi PantsFull-length
Eddie Bauer Guide ProConvertible
Columbia Silver Ridge Hiking PantsConvertible
REI Sahara Convertible Hiking PantsConvertible
KUHL Renegade Convertible PantsConvertible
Arc'teryx Gamma PantsFull-length
Marmot Mountain ActiveFull length
RailRiders Eco-Mesh PantsFull Length
Duluth Dry On the Fly Cargo PantsFull Length

However, no one pant will suit everyone’s body type. Some hikers prefer a slimmer fit that reduces extra fabric while others feel more comfortable and airy with a looser fit. Particular features to look for include articulated knees and a gusseted crotch, lots of pockets, and venting options such as roll-up legs or convertible pants. With these variables in mind, here are the top 10 men’s hiking pants we recommend.

1. Patagonia Quandary Pants

Patagonia Quandary Pants
Patagonia’s Quandary Pants are versatile hiking pants made a built stretch (94% nylon / 6% spandex) with 50+ UPF sun protection. They have handwarmer pockets, two back pockets, one right coin pocket, and one right-thigh zippered pocket. They sit on the waist with a regular rise; not too loose and not too tight in the seat and thighs with a straight cut from knee to ankle. The gusseted crotch allows for a full range of motion and they have metal button closure with zip fly. A convertible version is also available. 

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2. Outdoor Research Ferrossi Pants

OR Ferrosi Pants
Outdoor Research’s Ferrosi Hiking Pants are very lightweight and durable nylon pants with an exaggerated degree of stretch (14%) that makes them comfortable to use for strenuous hikes, rock climbing, and travel. An internal drawstring and flat stretch waistband make them easy to use with a hip belt or climbing harness, although external belt loops are provided if you prefer them. The pants have 3 deep drop pockets and 2 secure zippered pockets to keep essentials close at hand, while the ankles have adjustable elastic cuffs to keep out trail debris. The fit is true to size.

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3. Eddie Bauer Guide Pro Convertible Hiking Pants

Eddie Bauer Guide Pro Convertible
Eddie Bauer’s Guide Pro Convertible Pants ultralight guide pants are ideal for hiking, climbing, and travel. Pretreated for odor resistance (good for 20 washings), they have a UPF rating of 50+ for sun protection in the hottest climates. These pants are made with a mix of nylon and spandex that makes them ideal for rock climbing and scrambling, with two zippered security pockets on the legs to hold your essentials close at hand. The fit is “athletic” and runs slightly long, with 10″ long shorts, when the legs are unzipped.

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4. Columbia Silver Ridge Cargo Hiking Pants

Columbia’s Silver Ridge Cargo Convertible Hiking Pants are versatile summer hiking pants designed with hot days in mind. Their wicking, quick-drying fabric offers UPF 50 sun protection, and the legs zip off to convert into shorts with a 10-inch inseam. Their fit features a partial elastic waist, an adjustable outer waistband, and a gusseted crotch that makes it easier to clamber up and over the trail’s obstacles. Pockets include a zippered security pocket on the left leg. A good value, they boast the most affordable price on this list before any sales or discounts.

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5. REI Sahara Convertible Hiking Pants

REI Sahara Convertible Hiking Pants
REI’s Sahara Convertible Hiking Pants are made of a lightweight, quick-drying stretch nylon fabric with a water-repellent (DWR) finish and UPF 50+ rating. A full elastic back waistband allows you to move freely and comfortably while the front has a zipper fly and button closure. Color-coded thigh zippers help you determine the right leg from the left leg when converting the shorts back to pants. Vertical zippers from the bottom hem to mid-thigh allow for more ventilation and also let you remove pant legs without removing your shoes or boots – a hiking must-have! Plus they’re loaded with pockets for essentials, including front-hand pockets, back pockets, and a zippered cargo pocket making them perfect for hikes or travel.

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6. KUHL Renegade Convertible Pants

KUHL Renegade Convertible Pants have a soft, cotton-like feel, but are made with a nylon/spandex fabric blend that’s abrasion-resistant, water-repellent (DWR-coated), and fast-drying. The convertible pants’ zippers don’t have a flap over them, for a less bulky, more streamlined design, while ankle zips make it easier to get the lower pant legs on and off without messing with your footwear. Additional features: UPF 50 sun protection, dual cargo pockets, mesh pocket bags, and a gusseted crotch.

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7. Arc’teryx Gamma Pants

Arcteryx Gamma Pants
Arc’teryx’s Gamma Pants are great for hikers and backpackers thanks to their durability, protection from the elements, and movement-supporting stretch. They’re made with a soft-shell fabric that resists wind and water and is stretchy for freedom of movement, but are best used during cooler shoulder season weather and may be too warm for use in the height of summer. These pants include an adjustable low-profile webbing waistbelt that fits comfortably under a harness or pack and a front fly with a snap closure. They also include 2 secure-zip hand pockets; 1 easy-access secure-zip thigh pocket that sits below a climbing harness. These Gamma Pants were formerly called “Gamma LT” and have been updated with a revised regular fit and straight legs.

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8. Marmot Mountain Active Pants

Marmot Mounmtain Active Pants
Marmot Mountain Active Pants are made with a stretch performance fabric that is lightweight, breathable and quick-drying for maximum comfort. They have zippered hand pockets to keep things secure, an adjustable built-in belt, a gusseted crotch and anke cinches so you can adjust their length. The exterior is coated with a environmentally conscious PFC-free durable water repellent (DWR) finish that repels water from the surface fabric. These pants are made with 91% recycled nylon and 9% elastane double weave and are suitable for hiking, climbing, and everyday wear. The fit runs slightly small, so consider sizing up in the waist.

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9. RailRiders Eco-Mesh Pants

Railriders eco Mesh pants

RailRiders Eco-Mesh Pants are lightweight nylon pants with zippered mesh side vents for ventilation instead of zip-off convertible legs. They’re designed for use in very hot desert conditions and are pretreated with Insect Shield to prevent mosquito and tick bites. Constructed out of two-ply, 3-oz Duralite nylon fabric, they are fast drying with a UPF rating of 30. The fit is enhanced by elastic side panels at the waist, and sports two on-seam front pockets, and 2 zippered back pockets. A lightweight webbing belt is included. Read our review.

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10. Duluth Trading Company Dry on the Fly Pants

Duluth Trading Company Dry on the Fly Cargo Pants
Duluth Trading Company’s Dry on the Fly Cargo Pants are lightweight and quick-drying 100% nylon pants with a rugged canvas weave that’s brushed for cottony comfort with a surprisingly soft, non-crinkly feel. With UPF 40 sun protection and double knees for extra durability, they have 11 pockets, including deep side pockets, one with a zippered security pocket, and large rear pockets with flap hook-and-loop closures perfect for keeping track of all your gadgets and snacks in camp and on the trail. The soft tricot-lined elastic waist comes with a removable web belt while a relaxed crotch gusset gives you greater mobility for scrambling.

Shop at Duluth Trading

Hiking Pants Selection Criteria

Consider these variables when buying hiking pants.

Weight & breathability

For summer hiking, you want a breathable, lightweight fabric that will help you stay cool. You may want three-season pants, or ones you can layer for winter, but if you plan on hiking at the height of summer, buy for that.  Overheating will make you miserable, or worse.  Most hiking pants are fully synthetic, which helps them dry out quickly when you sweat. Some also incorporate mesh panels and/or pockets to help airflow.

Long pants, convertible pants, or roll-ups

Your choice will depend on both your comfort preferences and the type of hiking you’ll be doing. If it’s going to be hot, and you are backpacking with just one pair of pants, convertible pants will give you the most options for day and night. But if you know you will not want shorts, because of sun exposure, bugs, or terrain that will beat up your legs, convertible pants are unnecessary and will add bulk. In other words, consider your terrain and habits when you choose. If you do choose convertible pants, test the zippers and look for ankle zips, too, which let you take the lower legs on and off without removing your shoes. An alternative to fully convertible pants, roll-up legs–typically held up with a snap or button–can provide extra ventilation on a hot day.

Pockets and Extra Features

Extra features can make a good pair of pants into a great pair of pants. Secure, well-designed pockets give you easy access to essentials like your phone or map without rummaging through your pack. Well-placed waistbands won’t chafe under your pack’s hip belt. Reinforced pant cuffs can help prevent fraying.

Stretch

You’ll also want to look for stretch, especially if you’ll be hiking in scrambly terrain. If you have to get your legs up and over obstacles, you’re going to want to give in the fabric. Most of the pants listed here blend nylon with spandex or elastane to provide that stretch, but the ratios differ. Typically, the higher the spandex or elastane content, the more flexible the fabric. A cotton blend can also offer good mobility, but we shy away from cotton pants because they take to long to dry unless you’re hiking in very dry and hot conditions.

Durability

Aside from the durability of the fabric itself–which you learn through gear reviews along with trial and error–features that increase durability include reinforced seams as well as reinforced knee and rear panels. Heavier fabrics, or those with a tighter weave, may be more durable, but that also needs to be balanced against breathability in the summer months.

Sun protection

All clothing will provide some protection from direct sun, but some fabrics provide more than others. Many manufacturers have started listing UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) ratings on their clothes. This tells you how much of the sun’s ultraviolet rays penetrate the material. For example, if a garment’s UPF rating is 50, that means 1/50, or 2 percent, of the sun’s UV rays, reach your skin through the cloth. UPF 20 means that 1/20, or 4 percent, of the sun’s rays, get through. The higher the rating, the better the protection. Fabric type, weave, dyes and added chemical treatments can all affect UPF.

Insect protection

Fabric treated with insect repellents such as Permethrin can help keep the biting critters away. This can be especially helpful in high tick season. Few of the pants on our list this year are treated with repellent, but it is not a hard process to do on your own. (Permethrin is known to be dangerous to cats, so if you treat clothing at home, be careful with the chemical. Once you have finished treatment, however, the clothes are safe.) See here and here for info on treating clothes yourself.

Water protection

Durable water repellent (DWR) coating is common in hiking pants, as you’ll notice in our top ten list. It won’t make the pants waterproof, but it will help them shed water, and delay, if not prevent a soaking. That said, the coating wears off with wear, tear, and washing, so you’ll eventually need to refresh or re-apply it, which you can do safely at home with the right products.

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8 comments

  1. I’m sure you hate these kinds of posts, but I was surprised not to see a pair of pants from Prana with their stretch zion fabric. When I found those pants almost 10 years ago they were revelatory. I tried on probably a dozen alternatives before discovering the Pranas. Were you previously a fan of the Prana fabric and other brands have simply improved beyond where prana was? Or have they never floated your boat?

    • Prana killed off the model you liked and replaced it with the Stretch Zion II which is a dud.Lots of pants now include stretch and much better ones too. I like the Ferrosi’s myself. Cool and 14% elastane. Nothing like them.

      • They’ve brought back the original Zion fabric now.

      • I went through many, many hiking pants before finding the Prana Stretch Zion Convertible. They possess one of the most desirable features of a backpacking pant – no need for an external belt. One less piece of gear, less weight, and less stress on the lower back. I have about 1500 miles on the same pair and they keep on going.

  2. Have you tried Kuiu’s Kutana pants? Any view on those for hiking? Thanks.

  3. My favorite by far is the Born Primitive Frontier pants. I’ve only used the light ones for warmer weather hiking and hunting and the pocket arrangement as well as fit and stretch is the best I’ve had. I realize there’s a lot of manufacturers so you can’t review all but next time check them out. Certainly a higher priced pant but you can often get discounts which helps.

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