The Best Hiking Pants for Men of 2021
With a focus on comfort, durability and performance, these pants are ready to hit the trail
Hiking pants have been unfairly maligned for far too long.
Sure, if you’re waiting in line at a Supreme drop or getting dressed for a first date, they’re probably not the ideal fit. But they never claimed to be. Hiking pants are purpose-built for a specific pursuit — they’re telling you so right there in the name. Once you come to terms with that and embrace the hiking pant, you will probably be delightfully surprised with how utilitarian they really are.
I’ve been testing hiking pants for years and found that the best iterations offer comfort, freedom of movement and versatility for years of wear. My favorite hiking pants are made from lightweight but durable nylon, have a small amount of spandex or elastane for stretch, minimalist design with few pockets, and ideally an integrated belt. I like pants that don’t look too technical, and that are adaptive enough to be worn in different climates and seasons. I generally don’t like pants that are too baggy or ones that zip off into pants. But since I know that many people like those features, I’ve included a few on this list that I think are the best.
Below, my favorite men’s hiking pants of 2020.
Outdoor Research Ferrosi Pants
The Outdoor Research Ferrosi pants are super stretchy so you can move easily through any type of terrain. They’re very lightweight, with a simple five-pocket setup that includes a zippered thigh pocket. The cinch cords at the ankles of the Ferrosis allow you to change the height of the pants to your style, the weather and varying trail conditions.
Arc’teryx Lefroy Pants
The Arc’teryx Lefroy pants are some of the lightest and most minimal pants I tested. I love that the Lefroy Pants have a built-in belt and a simplistic pocket design. The fit is relaxed without being baggy, so they are comfy and easy to move in without feeling like you’re wearing a parachute. The biggest drawback to these pants is the high price, which may put them out of reach for some backpackers on a budget. But if you’re looking for a lightweight, comfortable and high-quality pair of hiking pants, these might just be the ones.
REI Co-op Sahara Roll-up Pants
The REI Co-op Sahara Roll-up pants feel light and breathable. Two snaps make it easy to adapt the length to your activity level and the weather. The fit in the leg is a little loose for my taste, but it does allow for easy movement and good ventilation. There’s a built-in belt included to help dial in the fit. They also come in a popular convertible style if prefer to have a short/pant combo.
lululemon ABC Jogger
The ABC Joggers are the only joggers on this list, but they work great as an active hiking pant, especially if you want to wear them for the rest of the day. The cinched cuff means they wont get caught under the bottom of your shoe, and although they have a slimmer fit compared to others on this list, the 12% Lycra blend makes them extra stretchy so they don’t inhibit movement at all.
Prana Stretch Zion Pants
The Prana Stretch Zion pants have been a favorite among hikers and backpackers for years due to their stretchy comfort and durability. They are one of the heaviest pants on this list, which on hot days can be annoying, but they have an integrated belt and a simple, four-pocket design. They also come in a straight leg version, which I prefer.
Prana Brion Pants
Another hiking pant that looks like a normal pant, the Prana Brion pants are quickly becoming a favorite of mine. They’re made of the same stretchy, water-repellent fabric as the Zions, but look and feel much more like a normal pant. As such, they don’t come with many features I look for in a hiking pant, like a built-in belt and roll-up cuffs, but they’re still comfortable on the trail or a more technical everyday pant.
Columbia Silver Ridge Convertible Pants
The Columbia Ridge Silver Ridge Convertible pants are exceptionally lightweight and breathable. I like the integrated belt, and while zip-off pants are not my preference, these function well without looking too dorky. They’re significantly less baggy than other convertible pants I’ve tested. That said, the slimmer fit without any stretch can make them feel a bit restrictive when taking large steps or scrambling over rocks.
Patagonia Quandary Pants
The Patagonia Quandary pants have a stylish look that transitions well from town to trail. I like the simple pocket design and the material has a decent amount of stretch to it. These pants breathe well and are lightweight, so they are a good choice for a variety of weather conditions. There’s a cinched waist that works well for dialing in the fit, as well as a few non-zippered pockets.
Mountain Hardwear AP Pants
The Mountain Hardwear AP pants have taken a higher place in my wardrobe in recent years because they’re so similar to normal pants. For hiking, they’re heavier than many other pants on this list, but very durable (they feel sort of like a lightweight pair of Carhartts). I frequently wear them rock climbing, too. Although they’re not insulated, I find them my go-to choice for hiking in colder weather, especially when worn over a base layer.
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