10 Best Men’s Hiking Pants of 2022

10 Best Men’s Hiking Pants

Hiking pants are an important piece of hiking gear but one that men often take for granted. They have to be highly breathable, durable, quick-drying, 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
prAna Stretch Zion II PantsRoll-up
Columbia Silver Ridge Convertible Hiking PantsConvertible
KUHL Renegade Convertible PantsConvertible
REI Sahara Guide Hiking PantsConvertible
Patagonia Quandary PantsFull-length
Outdoor Research Ferrosi Convertible PantsConvertible
Arc'teryx Gamma Quick Dry PantsFull-length
KUHL Konfidant Air PantsFull-length
RailRiders Eco-Mesh PantsFull Length
Fjallraven Vidda Pro 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. prAna Stretch Zion II Pants

prAna Stretch Zion II Hiking Pants get rave reviews for comfort, fit, and durability, with an abrasion-resistant nylon/spandex blend designed to stretch when you scramble and climb. The quick-drying fabric also features a water-repellent (DWR) finish and UPF 50+ sun protection. For heat relief, the pants have a ventilated inseam gusset and roll-up cuffs held with snaps. Other handy features include an adjustable waistband and a dual-entry cargo pocket. Newly updated for 2022, the Stretch Zion Pants are made with recycled fabric with slightly more stretch.

Available from:
REI | prAna | Amazon

2. Columbia Silver Ridge Convertible Hiking Pants

Columbia’s Silver Ridge 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.

Available from:
REI | Columbia | Backcountry

3. KUHL Renegade Cargo 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.

Available from:
REI

4. REI Sahara Guide Convertible Hiking Pants

REI Sahara Guide Convertible Pants
REI’s Sahara Guide Convertible Hiking Pants are made of a lightweight, quick-drying stretch nylon fabric with a water repellent (DWR) finish and UPF 50+ rating. Hand pockets give an edge to clip a knife or other tool to; zippered back pocket and zippered right-side thigh pocket give secure storage without that cargo bulk. An internal drawcord at the waistband customizes the fit while a soft elastic back provides comfort under a pack. There’s even a carabiner loop at the waistband for keys and other essentials.

Available from:
REI

5. 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.

Available from:
REI | Patagonia

6. Outdoor Research Ferrosi Convertible Pants

Outdoor research ferrosi Convertible Pants
Outdoor Research’s Ferrosi Convertible Pants, made from nylon/spandex (86%/14%) woven ripstop fabric, are abrasion resistant but also lightweight, uncannily breathable, and quick-drying. Like other pants on this list, they are DWR treated, with a UPF 50+ rating. These pants also convert to 10-inch inseam shorts, making them more versatile on hot days. Other features include a gusseted crotch and a zippered thigh pocket.

Available from:
Outdoor Research

7. Kuhl Konfidant Air Pants

Kuhl Konfidant Air Pants
KUHL’s Konfidant Air Pants are designed for warm weather hiking with eleven air vents, including vents behind the knees and in the crotch, to keep you cool during high output activities. They have nine zippered and mesh-backed pockets for superior storage and are made with a tough but lightweight fabric that combines cotton, nylon, and spandex that is UPF 50 to shield against harmful UV rays. The fit is pretty standard: not too tight and not too loose.

Available from:
REI

8. Arc’teryx Gamma Quick-Dry Pants

Arcteryx Gamma Quick Dry pants
Arc’teryx Gamma Quick Dry Pants are very thin, lightweight stretch-woven hiking pants that are tough enough for off-trail travel and canyoneering but dry really fast after stream crossings and popup rain showers. They have a buried belt that works well under a backpack hip belt and five zippered pockets including two hand pockets, two thigh pockets, and one rear pocket to keep items safe and secure. They run slightly small and are noticeably tapered below the knee so consider sizing up if you’re between sizes.

Available from:
REI | Arc’teryx

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.

Available from:
RailRiders

10. Fjallraven Vidda Pro Pants

Fjallraven Vidda Pro Pants are designed for rugged hiking, mountaineering, and hunting. They are made from Fjallraven’s G-1000 fabric: a 65% polyester/35% cotton mix that the company recommends treating with Greenland Wax to reach the level of water- and weather-proofing you want. They have extra reinforcement on the rear and knees and an adjustable, elastic pant bottom. There are pockets galore: 2 hand pockets, a map pocket, a multi-tool pocket, and an internal phone pocket. Need durable pants while you perform trail maintenance? Here you go. Read our review.

Available from:
REI | Backcountry | Amazon

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, as with the Mountain Hardwear AP Pants and the Fjallraven Vidda Pros on our list.

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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14 comments

  1. I love DULUTH TRADING CO. “Dry on the Fly” nylon cargo hiking pants in lightweight or medium weight. As GOOD in design, quality of materials and construction as Railriders at 20% less money.

    I ESPECIALLY like my D.T. Co. Dry on the Fly fleece lined nylon cargo pants for winter. With warm poly long johns under them I can easily hike in 5 F. weather with proper boots, parka and hat.

    • Me Too with regard to the Duluth Trading Company Dry on the Fly pants. They are awesome. Although I prefer the model from several years ago with zippered back pockets, the current model with velcro flap closures are fine, plus the cargo pocket keeps getting bigger so it can hold cell phones that also only seem to ever get bigger. I also like the top entry front pockets. Unlike side entry pockets, things don’t fall out when you sit on the ground. Also I hate pants that have only one back pocket. I like good pockets.

  2. I tried the Prana Stretch Zion pants several years ago and now do most of my hiking in them. They are comfortable even in hot weather, the material wears and launders well. Best of all they come in shorter inseams lengths for those of us that are vertically challenged. The only caveat is that if you are looking for the short inseams, they seem to sell pretty fast once they are in stock.

  3. A recent hike with some friends pointed us to an additional important criteria for hiking pants in winter. The coefficient of friction is important to understand to ensure pants can successfully be used for butt sliding. I had quite the unfair advantage over them sliding down Carriage Road in Moosilauke.

  4. I’ve been using the RailRiders Eco-Mesh pants for a number of years now and love them for the temperature regulating ability of the zippered mesh side panels. They are thin and delicate and mine do have some small “experience holes”, which just add some extra venting. The Insect Shield really works. I watched some ravenous ticks crawl up my leg to about knee height, start stumbling in circles and fall off. It was greatly satisfying.

    RailRiders is also quite responsive to customer inquiries and needs. We lost the nylon belt that came with my first pair and they sent a free replacement. Later, in a brain dead moment, I was trying to add an iron-on patch to one of the “experience holes” and gained considerably more experience as I blasted a hole the size and shape of an iron through the front and back of one pair of pants. They sent a couple square feet of material at no charge that a tailor could use to repair my handiwork.

    I’ve been completely satisfied with RailRiders.

  5. Did I miss something or do none of these have cargo pockets?

  6. LL Bean makes a good convertible

  7. Phil – you neglect in the above article to suggest to people to be aware of which way the zipper runs on the convertible pants! One of your articles a ways back I learned that unzipping the backside (only) of them provides for an effective venting system without taking off the whole lower leg. I’ve used that strategy to great effect since then but not all convertible pants have the zipper in the right orientation for this. Columbia’s unzip the front of the leg first which simply doesn’t work. When looking at convertible’s it’s the first criteria I look at since it would be a deal breaker for me at this point.

  8. In my experiance the convertible design makes for bad pants and bad shorts. I take a light weight pair of shorts or swim trunks if I think I will need them. I’d rather carry a useful back up garment than useless leg tubes which are some what annoying to take on and off and can get lost.

    My observation is that stretch pants while they can be more comfortable, are usually heavier, less robust and dry slower than non stretch…so if you don’t need the stretch you are probably better off without it.

  9. Columbia has been fantastic, summer and winter- construction work and hiking. The convertible only adds an annoyance as the regular’s are super cool in the summer as well as sun and tick protection.

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