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The Best Hiking Pants for Men of 2024

CEO Tinh Phung
The legs are the body’s primary mode of transportation, and pants are their first line of defense. Finding the best hiking pants for your objective can keep your legs comfortable, warm (or cool), and abrasion-free,...

The legs are the body’s primary mode of transportation, and pants are their first line of defense. Finding the best hiking pants for your objective can keep your legs comfortable, warm (or cool), and abrasion-free, keeping your mind on the trail ahead.

We focused on comfort, durability, construction, performance, and price, relying on the experience of our field testers. These folks tested pants across the Andean cloud forests, deep desert canyons, high mountain peaks, on long-distance trails, and even in everyday use. These pants feature innovative materials, with fabrics that can shed water, block the sun, deflect sharp sticks and rocks, and still perform after years of wear and tear.

Our team collectively tested a plethora of these durable, lightweight pants for the creation of this guide, with current author and Senior Editor, Chris Carter, having put over 10 different models through demanding tests in the past year alone. Chris has potholed through waist-deep snow on high-altitude thru-hikes, plodded in blistering heat across the African savannah, and slogged along muddy Appalachian singletrack in a legion of different hiking pants. He’s intimately familiar with what makes a worthy pair of trousers for any backcountry scenario and allows only the very best into this roundup.

While there isn’t a single pair of pants that works for everyone, we’ve tested a variety of models and broken them down into relevant categories. If you want help determining what you need in your hiking pants, jump to our buyer’s guide at the end of this article, or check out our comparison chart and FAQ.

Editor’s Note: We refreshed this article on November 30, 2023, adding additional details about our testing practices, and more information in the buyer’s guide. We also made sure our product list is up-to-date with current models, colorways, and designs.

The Best Hiking Pants of 2024

  • Best Overall Hiking Pants: Outdoor Research Men’s Ferrosi Pants
  • Best Budget Hiking Pants: Columbia Silver Ridge Cargo Pant
  • Runner Up Best Hiking Pants: Fjallraven Abisko Midsummer Zip-Off Trousers
  • Best Hiking Pants for Scrambling: Black Diamond Alpine Light
  • Best Stylish Hiking Pants: KÜHL Radikl Pants
  • Best Lightweight Hiking Pants: Rab Incline Light Pants

Hiking Pants Comparison Chart

Best Hiking Pants Finding a pair of hiking pants that work for your specific adventure is an important part of the planning process for any backcountry excursion; (photo/Honey McNaughton)

How We Tested Hiking Pants

It’s no exaggeration to say the GearJunkie squad has collectively clocked tens of thousands of miles on trails all over the world with these lightweight trousers. Not all hiking pants are created equal, and we know what makes a pair worthy of any real estate in our hiking loadout.

Authors and lifelong gear testers Justin La Vigne and Steve Graepel led the charge with this guide back in July 2020, settling on our initial roundup of nine pants. Both are seasoned backpackers, hikers, and all-around outdoorsmen. They know the importance of a solid pair of pants for all-day comfort on trail. Justin has backpacked over 7,000 miles, including thru-hikes of the Appalachian Trail and Te Araroa in New Zealand. He also has a passion for mountaineering, having spent time in the North Cascades on Mt. Hood and Mt. Rainier, as well as Denali in Alaska.

He has a different pair of pants for all of his outdoor endeavors and for each season’s challenges. He’s pushed pants to their limits to hone in on their best utility.

Senior Editor Chris Carter took over this guide in August of 2022 and has been rifling through his closet, scouring the interwebs, and incessantly bugging the pros to narrow in on the streamlined selection of 12 pants you see today. Chris has thru-hiked the Triple Crown of long trails in the United States and continues to explore and backpack all over the world. He has put thousands of miles on a variety of different hiking pants, through different climates and terrain, and knows what to look for in trekking clothes that need to last for months of torture.

We put each of the pants on this guide to the test on real-world adventures and feel confident recommending any of them for long hikes or demanding backpacking trips.

Each of the pants on this guide were put through real-world tests on hiking and backpacking trips around the country; (photo/Honey McNaughton)

Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Hiking Pants

Hiking pants are important investments for all-day comfort on trail, and need to be chosen wisely before setting off on your adventure. The type of terrain you plan to encounter on your trip, the temperatures you will be hiking in, and the level of exposure to the sun all factor into which model would be the best for your needs. Read on below for help in narrowing down the selection to find the perfect pair.

Pant Length & Versatility

Hiking pants come in three main options: full-length, convertible, and roll-up. Full-length pants are a great option for complete leg protection, even in the summer. To combat overheating, most pants have mesh pockets or vents that provide ventilation.

Consider the type of versatility you need in your pants before shopping around; (photo/Darwin Rakestraw)

Convertible pants are the ultimate 2-in-1. The legs zip off and can be worn as shorts or pants. They’re a great option for variable weather and multiday hikes where you want more options and less gear to pack, but it’s tough to find a pair that doesn’t look goofy. It’s also nice to be able to pull the legs off without having to remove your hiking boots — a luxury not all convertible pants offer.

Somewhere in between full-length and convertible lie roll-up pants. These have a tab, button, or drawcord that secures the cuff when rolled up.

The alpine-centric Arc’teryx Gamma is a heavier, more durable model that we’d hesitate to wear on the hottest summer days, but they also feature useful drawcords on the cuffs, so it’s easy to pull them up and get some airflow on the calves.

Drawcords around the ankles can keep the cuffs secured up around the legs. Pants without them will need to be rolled up.


Hiking pant mobility is key for comfort and dynamic movement on trail; (photo/Chris Carter)

Being able to move freely in hiking pants is a major concern. Whether running down the trail or scrambling up a rocky patch, you don’t want your pants restricting your movement.

This is where design features like a gusseted crotch, articulated knees, and stretchy materials prove useful. And because everybody is shaped differently, it can be helpful to try on a few pairs before buying to ensure a snug (but comfortable) fit.

Some pants, like the Lightweight Hikers from Mammut, run slim and restrict movement. Conversely, we found that Black Diamond’s Alpine Light strikes a perfect balance of lightweight durability and mobility.

It’s also important to consider how comfortable your pants will be when wearing a fully loaded backpacking backpack. Make sure they fit you well so you don’t have to wear a belt to keep them up, as that could rub uncomfortably against your pack as you hike.

Hiking pants need to be able to move freely with you while you hike, and should not feel restrictive while navigating technical terrain; (photo/Honey McNaughton)

Weather Protection

Just because you’re wearing pants doesn’t mean you’re safe from the sun’s damaging rays. If you are hiking on extremely sunny days, look for pants with rated UPF protection of 40 or 50.

A DWR coating doesn’t make pants completely waterproof, but it adds enough wet-weather protection to keep you dry while hiking through dewy brush or in light showers. DWR keeps water droplets on the exterior, allowing them to simply roll off.

DWRs will eventually wash out over time. For optimal performance, you’ll want to treat heavily used hiking pants on occasion. Nikwax Softshell Proof Wash-In is an easy way to keep your pants repelling water year after year.

Durable hiking pants that offer solid weather resistance are key for reliable protection on trail; (photo/Chris Carter)

And if you don’t want pants with DWR, the Fjallraven Abisko Midsummer is a great option. Fjallraven steers clear of DWR and instead sells an aftermarket wax that you can apply to beef up the water resistance.

These additions start to creep up the cost of pants. Our budget choice, Columbia’s Silver Ridge Cargo Pant, doesn’t have a DWR, but it has UV protection and is an incredible value.

Additionally, weather protection can make pants a bit more heavy and less mobile — factors to consider when thinking about your hiking objectives. We personally don’t place DWR treatment high on our wish list when shopping for hiking pants, as we generally throw on a dedicated pair of rain pants if the heavens truly open up. Some hikers do like them for light rain and mist, however.

Additional Features for Hiking Pants

Senior Editor Chris Carter puts the Helly Hansen Blaze Softshell Pants to the test during a backpacking trip in the North Cascades; (photo/Heather Rochfort)

The little extras can really make or break a good pair of pants. Well-positioned cargo pockets, zippered pockets, belt loops, and built-in belts are some of the features available. Whether you want these or not depends on your personal hiking plans and style.

In general, you want your hiking pants to have a healthy features-to-weight balance. Lightweight breathability is of utmost importance in most hiking scenarios, and many features are just plain gimmicky without adding much utility to your trip. If you enjoy carrying loads of extra trinkets in your pockets while you plod along, extra zippered and cargo pockets may be your cup of tea. If you plan on carrying most things in your backpack or hipbelt pockets, however, save some weight by snagging a slimmed-down pair of pants with only the necessities.

It’s also a good idea to test out your hiking pants with whatever backpack you plan on wearing for your trek, to make sure the waist feels comfortable under load, and won’t cause chafing over the long run. Integrated belt loops can be helpful in some instances, but we’ve found that they rarely feel cozy with a 30-pound pack pressing down on them.

Pockets, belt loops, and other additional features boost hiking pant’s usability while clocking the miles, but can all add some weight — and hold the potential to reduce breathability; (photo/Tory Lynn)