Best Men’s Hiking Pants for 2021

A reliable, comfortable, and durable pair of hiking pants is an essential piece of any outdoor adventurer’s gear list. But, it can be tricky to know which pair of pants are best suited for the trips you have planned. All-purpose pants like the Prana Stretch Zions or the Eddie Bauer Guide Pro are designed to do it all, and transition seamlessly from everyday activities to the trail. On the other hand, bomber pants like the Kuhl Renegade Cargo convertible pants or RailRiders Bushwacker Weatherpants are meant to last through extreme alpine adventures, canyoneering, & bushwhacking…. There’s even a pair of 1.5 ounce pants in here that can fit in the palm of your hand!

Includes Some Great Trail Pants You May Not Have Heard Of

This guide is broken up into a few different categories. We cover the best all-purpose pants (with some great pants you may not have heard of), best bug protection pants, best convertible pants, best bomber pants, and even throw in some ultralight options. We will cover each of these sections and their respective pros and cons in greater detail later.

Real Sizing Information!

In this guide, we not only find the best pants but we also give you real information about how to choose your size. Online sizing charts can be murky, and even inaccurate. Based on our own experiences in these pants, and scouring user reviews, we’ve also included sizing notes for each pair of pants to ensure you order the right fit on the first try.

7 Quick Picks

For those short on time, here’s our take on the best of the best.

Best Value | All-around-performance Pants: Eddie Bauer Guide Pro Pants | light, breathable & versatile guide quality pants — great for everything from technical climbing to around town. And low cost!

Best Cargo Convertible Pants: Kuhl Renegade Cargo convertible pants | Superb performance. Durable, great fit, and with every desirable feature including great pockets. A clear winner! Runner up: Columbia Silver Ridge Convertible Pants lower cost but lack a few features and refinements.

Best Bomber Pants: RailRiders Bushwacker Weatherpants Maybe the best pants you never heard of and our go-to for the toughest conditions. Legendary toughness with reinforced knees & butt. Superb pockets. Still surprisingly light and comfortable & can be worn around town. Use Code RRAAB21 to get 10% off your first order.

Best Softshell Pants: REI Co-op Activator 3.0 Softshell Pants | For cooler, damper conditions these pants are among the best but are about 1/2 the price of bigger name band pants.

Best Bug-Repellent Pants: RailRiders Eco-Mesh Pant with Insect Shield | Protection from Lyme, Zizka, ticks & mosquitoes. This pair of pants repels bugs and insects while providing incredible ventilation and comfort for warm & humid conditions. Use Code RRAAB21 to get 10% off your first order.

Best Ultralight Hiking Pants: Enlightened Equipment Men’s Copperfield Wind Pants | Just 1.5 to 2 ounces! You can hold these pants in the palm of your hand, yet they provide wind and sun protection and combined with leggings are astonishingly warm.

Best Budget Hiking Pants: Toomett Convertible Cargo Hiking Pants | great, fully featured cargo pants with zip-off legs. But at around $30 they 1/2 the cost or of pants of similar design and quality!

Full Video | Men’s Hiking Pants Guide

If a picture is worth 1,000 words what is a comprehensive video on our men’s hiking pants picks worth? There’s stuff in here that we can’t begin to cover in words.

We Give You Essential Information to understanding Hiking Pants you won’t get elsewhere

Best All-Purpose Hiking Pants

What better way to save money than investing in a pair of pants you can wear every day — whether it’s a trail hike for the day, an extended backpacking trip, or just around your neighborhood? These pants are all designed to be extremely versatile; they’re stretchy and breathable enough to take you to the top of a mountain, yet relaxed and comfortable enough for playing in the neighborhood or out for a casual meal after a hike. Furthermore, most of thest pants, like our he Eddie Bauer and Prana picks have full UPF protection.

Eddie Bauer Men’s Guide Pro Pants

Top Pick | Best All-Purpose Pants

MSRP: $75.00
Weight: 11.2 oz M’s 30W x 30L (our measurement)
Fabric/durability/UPF: 100% nylon / extremely durable / 50+ UPF
Pockets: six; two zippered (non-bellows) cargo; two hand pockets; two back pockets (velcro but no flap)
SIZING: These pants run true to size in the inseam and the waist. The stretchy fabric also aids in a comfortable fit, so order your normal size or size down.
BEST USE: hiking, travel, climbing

Eddie Bauer’s breathable and versatile guide pro pants are meant for everything from technical climbing to running errands. The material is durable and won’t tear easily, and the two-way stretch construction moves and breathes through high-output activities such as climbing or even mountaineering. The pants are incredibly light and comfortable, with plenty of room for mobility without too loose of a fit. They’re also made with a StormRepel DWR treatment that repels water. The men’s version has six pockets instead of the women’s four, with two deep zippered cargo pockets. We wish there was a small zippered security pocket as well. Also, calf zippers to get pants over shoes are one feature we would like to see as well. Eddie Bauer works with Bluesign to ensure their products are made with sustainability in mind. True to their name, these pants are used and loved by guides.

“These pants can do everything from hiking to rock climbing to topping out on a 14er. I wore them for 5 days straight on Rainier, including summiting in them. I’ve never had a more comfortable, versatile pair of pants.” – Seth Waterfall, Eddie Bauer Alpine Climbing Guide.”

 

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AVAILABLE SIZES: 30 – 36 inseam; 30 – 40 waist

Shop | Eddie Bauer Guide Pro Pants

RailRiders Bushwacker Weatherpants

Top Pick | Best Bomber Pants — Runner Up | Best All-Purpose Pants

MSRP: $110.00
Weight: 15 oz w self-belt M’s Small x 30L (our measurement)
Fabric/Durability/UPF: 2ply 3oz duralite nylon / extremely durable / none
Pockets: seven; two zippered cargo; two hand pockets; one zippered security; two zippered back
SIZING: These pants run large. Size down for a slimmer fit, or order your true size for a large fit.
BEST USE: anything from hiking, backpacking, brutal and abusive conditions to casual

We’ve worn these pants everywhere from Patagonia to Alaska, to technical canyoneering in Utah. These are true durable bomber trail pants, yet they’re also suitable for everyday wear. RailRiders pants are some of the most durable we’ve tested over the years, so these will last forever no matter what adventures you take them on. The fabric is reinforced at the seat, knees, and ankles to make high wear areas stronger. We love how many zippered pockets are featured, which is great both on the trail and around town. These truly are a “do it all” pant, perfect for traveling or long backpacking trips where you will head into towns and may want to blend in. These pants also come in an InsectShield version, for backpacking or traveling in bug territory. In summary they excel in almost every feature and performance category with little downside except for a few oz more in weight..

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AVAILABLE SIZES: S – XXL waist, 30 – 35 inseam

Shop | RailRiders Bushwacker Weatherpants

Use Code RRAAB21 to get 10% off your first RailRiders order.

Prana Stretch Zion Pants | Men’s & Women’s

MSRP: $89.00
Weight: 12.8 oz Ms 30W x 30L (our measurement)
Fabric/durability/UPF: 97% polyester; 3% spandex / extremely durable / 50+ UPF
Pockets: five; one zipper cargo pocket; one buttoned back pocket; one open back pocket; two deem mesh hand pockets
SIZING: Sizing notes: These pants run true to size, and the stretchy material aids the relaxed fit.
BEST USE: hiking, travel, climbing, everyday

True equality in pants! The men’s version of Prana’s most versatile pants are every bit as quality as the women’s. The legs roll up to provide extra breathability, and the inseam gusset gives the wearer plenty of room to move while climbing or hiking. Also, the waist has a cinching belt to easily adjust for casual wear or extra movement. The DWR treatment repels light rain or snow, and the material is stretchy and durable; designed for consistent use in a variety of conditions. The legs have a roll-up snap closure which makes them semi-convertible, and the ankles are reinforced as well. These pants are available in a fully convertible option as well.

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AVAILABLE SIZES: 30 – 40 waist; 28 – 36 inseam + straight cut available

Shop | Prana Stretch Zion Pants

KUHL Silencr Pants

MSRP: $85.00
Weight: 12 oz Ms 30W x 30L (our measurement)
Fabric/Durability/UPF: polyester ripstop softshell fabric / durable / 50+ UPF
Pockets: seven; two hand pockets; one coin pocket; two cargo pockets; two back pockets
SIZING: Pants run true to size.
BEST USE: hiking, travel, climbing

The Kuhl Silencr pants are a quick drying, well fitted pant that work well both casually and on the trail. Kuhl uses a reflex fabric to achieve its stretch properties (that is mechanical vs. lycra for stretch). Without lycra or elastane, this material absorbs less moisture which aids in the pant’s quick drying abilities. The gridded softshell fabric is also extremely durable, so these pants will last. The gusseted crotch allows for extra movement as well, while the waistband has a soft liner for comfort. All in all, we think these are a great runner-up to the Eddie Bauer Guide Pro pants as an around-town pant that also performs on the trail. We wish some of these pockets were zippered, and the Guide Pro pants are also a tad lighter and cheaper. You can’t go wrong here.

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AVAILABLE SIZES: 30 – 40 waist; 30-34 inseam

Shop | KUHL Silencr Pants

Best Convertible Cargo Pants

Pants with lots of pockets are a game-changer. Have you ever wasted time on a hiking or backpacking trip because you had to stop and take off your pack to access your phone, snacks, or map? Zippered pockets make it easy to carry your essentials with you, and fewer stops mean more miles (or more time at camp). Also, the convertible design of these pants saves weight by using just one garment for your pants and shorts.

Kuhl Renegade Cargo convertible pants

Top Pick | Best Convertible Cargo Pants

MSRP: $99.00  *TOP PICK*
Weight: 15.2 oz Ms 30W x 30L (our measurement)
Fabric/Durability/UPF: 95% nylon; 5% spandex / extremely durable / 50+ UPF
Pockets: six; two cargo pockets (snap); two mesh hand pockets; two back pockets (velcro)
SIZING: These pants are true to size, and have a full fit so will not be slim in the leg.
BEST USE: hiking, backpacking, travel, climbing

KUHL designs durable and functional clothing for all outdoor activities. The Renegade convertible pants are made with a breathable yet strong softshell fabric. The pants zip into 10” shorts, and the mesh cargo pockets and peached waistband both make the pants more breathable and moisture wicking. These pants have plenty of room and mobility without having too loose of a fit, which can make pants feel sloppy. We love that they have calf zippers to get them over shoes, and wish more pants included in this list had that featured as well. In summary, it’s hard to find any faults with these pants — as such they are clear winners and make our top pick by a large margin.

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AVAILABLE SIZES: 30 – 34 inseam; 30 – 38 waist

Shop | Kuhl Renegade Cargo convertible pants

Columbia Silver Ridge Convertible Pants

Runner Up | Best Convertible Cargo Pants

MSRP: $60.00
Weight: 10.8 oz
Fabric/Durability/UPF: ripstop nylon / durable / 50+ UPF
Pockets: six; two hand; two back; two cargo (one zippered)
SIZING: The waist on these runs true to size to a bit small, inseam is true to size, but you may need to size up if you have muscular legs and want full freedom of movement.
BEST USE: hiking, traveling, backpacking

The Columbia Silver Ridge Convertible pants are another classic and a good value. We like the pockets and general design and they get rave reviews on Amazon. These pants have a gusseted crotch and knee design for more mobility, but a timmer fit and lack of stretch fabric make them seem trimmer and snugger than we would like for full freedom of movement — at least if you have muscular thighs. Compared to the Kuhl Renegades they lack ankle/calf zips so you’ll need to take your shoes off to remove the lower leg and convert the pants to shorts. Columbia uses OmniShade technology to protect against UPF rays, and uses OmniWick technology to help move moisture away from your body as you hike in the heat. Again, this is a fairly good price for a pair of durable convertible pants that are readily available in a large number of sizes.

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AVAILABLE SIZES: 30 – 42 waist; 28 – 36 inseam

Shop | Columbia Silver Ridge Convertible Pants

Toomett Hiking Fishing Pants

Top Pick | Budget Hiking Pants

MSRP: $33.00
Weight: 11 oz w/o belt, 12.6 with (our measurements size 30)
Fabric/Durability/UPF: 100% polyester / semi-durable / 50+ UPF
Pockets: seven; two snap-close cargo; one zippered cargo; two deep hand pockets; two snap-close back pockets
SIZING: The sizing is confusing! The numbered size is the inseam length — so a size “30” seems to be a 32W x 30L. The waist runs true to size / maybe slightly large. Throughout the rest of the pants, the fit is large with plenty of room in the legs, even for well muscled legs.
BEST USE: hiking, backpacking, traveling

The Toomett Cargo Convertible Pants are our top budget pick. We like them because they have plenty of pockets for storage, and the fit allows for plenty of movement. Even though they are not made with stretch fabric, the wide fit throughout the thighs still gives plenty of room. Also, there is an extra zippered cargo security pocket for valuable items, while the two other cargo pockets snap closed. We prefer the snaps as they snag less than velcro. The waist has elastic in it, with a button closure. The quick dry material makes these pants suitable for water adventures as well. Finally, the pants zip into shorts to add versatility.

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AVAILABLE SIZES: 29-42

Shop | Toomett Hiking Fishing Pants

Outdoor Research Ferrosi Convertible Pants

MSRP: $90.00
Weight: 11.0 oz Ms 31W x 30L tested (our measurements)
Fabric/Durability/UPF: 86% nylon; 14% spandex, 90D ripstop / semi-durable / UPF 50+
Pockets: five; one zippered cargo; two hand pockets; two back
SIZING: Pants are true to size with a comfortable fit.
BEST USE: hiking, backpacking, casual, travel

The Outdoor Research Ferrosi Convertible Pants are yet another great “do it all” pick. The material is extremely stretchy, breathable, and ready for movement. With 14% spandex, these pants will work will for any off-trail scrambling or adventures that include climbing. However, they fit well enough to be worn around town without a second glance. The fabric is very lightweight, which may hinder the overall durability of the pants over time. The gusseted crotch allows for more big movements as well. We do wish there were more zippered pockets, as these only include one zippered cargo pocket.

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AVAILABLE SIZES: 30-38 waist, 30-32 inseam

Shop | Outdoor Research Ferrosi Convertible Pants

REI Sahara Convertible Pants

MSRP: $70.00
Weight: 11.4 oz
Fabric/Durability/UPF: 100% nylon / durable / 50+ UPF
Pockets: seven; two cargo; two zippered back; two hand pockets; one zippered security
SIZING: The waist on these runs true to size to a bit small, inseam is true to size, but you may need to size up if you have muscular legs and want full mobility.
BEST USE: hiking, backpacking, traveling

The REI Sahara Convertible pants are a trail zip-off classic and have been one of our favorite trail pants for over a decade. However, we are not as impressed with the current version pants as we have been with previous models. Compared to some of the competition, 100% nylon fabric does not offer much stretch, and they’re trimmer in cut this year — particularly in the mid-thigh and butt they seem a bit snug which could impede mobility if you have muscular legs — we had to size up to get full movement. Compared to the Kuhl Renegades they lack ankle/calf zips so you’ll need to take your shoes off to remove the lower leg and convert the pants to shorts. The pants are reinforced on the back of the cuffs to protect against abrasion from hiking boots, and there are also plenty of pockets. Still, these pants are a good choice if you want a brand name with a one-year warranty.

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AVAILABLE SIZES: 30 – 42 waist; 28 – 36 inseam

Shop | REI Sahara Convertible Pants

Best Budget Pants

We acknowledge that many of these pants are quite expensive and may not be within your budget. To include everyone, we’ve dug around and found the best budget pants for hiking as well. We actually like the Toomett convertible hiking pants more than the more expensive REI or Columbia brand pants, and they’re just $33 on Amazon.

Toomett Hiking Fishing Pants

Top Pick | Best Budget Pants

MSRP: $33.00
Weight: 11 oz w/o belt, 12.6 with (our measurements size 30)
Fabric/Durability/UPF: 100% polyester / semi-durable / 50+ UPF
Pockets: seven; two snap-close cargo; one zippered cargo; two deep hand pockets; two snap-close back pockets
SIZING: The sizing is confusing! The numbered size is the inseam length — so a size “30” seems to be a 32W x 30L. The waist runs true to size / maybe slightly large. Throughout the rest of the pants, the fit is large with plenty of room in the legs, even for well muscled legs.
BEST USE: hiking, backpacking, traveling

The Toomett Cargo Convertible Pants are our top budget pick. We like them because they have plenty of pockets for storage, and the fit allows for plenty of movement. Even though they are not made with stretch fabric, the wide fit throughout the thighs still gives plenty of room. Also, there is an extra zippered cargo security pocket for valuable items, while the two other cargo pockets snap closed. We prefer the snaps as they snag less than velcro. The waist has elastic in it, with a button closure. The quick dry material makes these pants suitable for water adventures as well. Finally, the pants zip into shorts to add versatility.

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AVAILABLE SIZES: 29-42

Shop | Toomett Hiking Fishing Pants

Jessie Kidden Convertible Hiking Pants

MSRP: $18.00 – $34.00
Weight: 10 oz (our measurements size 30)
Fabric/Durability/UPF: 100% nylon / semi-durable / 50+ UPF
Pockets: six pockets; two cargo pockets (one zippered); two back pockets; two hand pockets (one zippered)
SIZING: The sizing is confusing on these pants as well. A size 30 actually has a 32 waist, with a 30L inseam. The fit is true to size in the waist, and the inseam runs long. For people with well muscled legs the fit is a bit snug throughout the thighs.
BEST USE: hiking, backpacking, traveling

These pants are budget-friendly, lightweight, and versatile. They have a classic fit, which fits fairly snug throughout the thighs — trimmer than the Toomett Pants. This is great for a more fitted and casual look, but may not be the best for big movements or versatile activities if you have well muscled legs. The fabric used is 100% nylon, so they do not stretch. The pants also use Omni-Shade technology for sun protection and a quick drying finish, in the case of river crossings or inclement weather. The partially elastic waist is also cut for movement, and the zip-off design is a classic weight-saving technique.

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AVAILABLE SIZES: 29-42

Shop | Jessie Kidden Convertible Hiking Pants

BC Clothing Convertible Pants with Stretch

MSRP: $30.00
Weight: 18.5 oz (our measurements)
Fabric/Durability/UPF: 74% cotton; 22% nylon; 4% spandex / durable / none
Pockets: eight; two hand pockets; two side cargo with velcro flaps; back pockets with velcro flaps; two security zip pockets (one at hip one at cargo)
SIZING: Pants run true to size
BEST USE: hiking, travel, climbing

These are an excellent pair of heavy duty pants for a great price. They’re somewhere between a durable work pant and trail pant, which makes them versatile and well suited for a variety of activities. The fabric is a stretch fabric, which makes these pants move and breathe really easily. The waistband is elastic with button closure and a self belt, and feels very comfortable on the skin. Furthermore, they convert into shorts. The hand pockets are very deep, and we like the two zippered security pockets to comfortably hold valuables. Obviously, since these pants are 74% cotton they should not be used in environments where you’ll get wet and cold without a way to dry them out. That being said, the caution against cotton is likely overstated and we really like these pants and could see them as a good choice for canyoneering and bushwacking. These are also available at Costco for $22 if you are a member.

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AVAILABLE SIZES: S-XXL waist, 30-34 inseam

Shop | BC Clothing Convertible Pants with Stretch

Best Bomber Pants

These pants are workhorses and will take you through any adventure imaginable. Multi-layer, reinforced nylon fabrication and/or softshell fabric are made of quality synthetic blends, and are designed for mountain abuse, technical, canyoneering and bushwhacking. This means scraping up against rough limestone, traversing through snow, or bushwhacking through brambly territory. Furthermore, an active fit and/or stretchy construction makes them breathable and easy to move, so they can be used in the summertime to protect from the sun or in the winter with an extra base layer. These pants are both great options if you want a quality piece of clothing that will last for years, no matter where you take it.

RailRiders X-Treme Adventure Pants

Top Pick | Bomber Trail Pants

MSRP: $110.00
*Best Bomber Trail Pants*
Weight: 15.5 oz w self-belt M’s Small x 30L (our measurement)
Fabric/Durability/UPF: 2 ply, 3 oz nylon / extremely durable / none
Pockets: seven; two zippered cargo pockets; two zippered back pockets; two hand pockets; one zippered security pocket
SIZING: These pants run fairly large, so either size down or plan to wear a belt and have a bit of extra room with your true size.
BEST USE: hiking, backpacking, winter travel, bushwacking

We’ve used these pants all over the world. They are very similar to the Bushwacker Weather Pants but have an adjustable ankle with elastic and velcro for even more technical adaptability. RailRiders pants are durable work horses that will last forever. Their 2 ply 3 oz nylon shell is strong enough to stand up to bushwacking with risk of snags or tears. The material is reinforced at the knees, backside, and inside the ankle area. These are common wear and tear spots, so the extra strength in these areas is crucial. Also, you won’t find many pants with five zippered pockets. This is enough to securely store a phone, wallet, keys, and some snacks.

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AVAILABLE SIZES: S – XXL waist; 30-35” inseam

Shop | RailRiders X-Treme Adventure Pants

Use Code RRAAB21 to get 10% off your first RailRiders order.

REI Co-op Activator 3.0 Softshell Pants

Top Pick | Best Softshell Pants

MSRP: $99.00
Weight: 14.5 oz
Fabric/durability/UPF: 63% nylon; 26% polyester; 11% spandex / extremely durable / none
Pockets: five; two zippered hand pockets; one zippered cargo pocket; two buttoned back pockets
SIZING: These pants fit true to size, and the elastic waistband with belt loops allow for either a slightly smaller or larger fit.
BEST USE: high alpine backpacking, hiking, and climbing; travel and everyday

REI’s activator 3.0 softshell pants are designed to do it all. With 11% spandex, the fabric is extremely stretchy and durable, so they’re great for adventures in mixed terrain where freedom of movement is essential. The waistband contains elastic and belt loops for an adjustable and comfortable fit, and a drawcord at the bottom gives you the option to completely seal in the pants. Articulated knees and a gusseted crotch also both give you extra freedom of movement. The DWR finish on the fabric repels light moisture and is windproof up to 35 mph. Softshell pants like this are heavier duty and best suited for adventures off trail and in alpine environments when you need something that will last.

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AVAILABLE SIZES: 30 – 44 waist; 30-34 inseam

Shop | REI Co-op Activator 3.0 Softshell Pants

Best Bug-Repellent Pants

Bugs aren’t only annoying, they’re also dangerous. The CDC notes that about 35,000 cases of Lyme Disease are reported in the US each year, much of which occurs in the Eastern Appalachian Mountains. There are many steps you can take to protect yourself from bugs (read our full article here), but one of the first steps is purchasing bug-repellent clothing. These pants tightly bind Permethrin, a bug repellent, to its clothing fibers. This effectively repels mosquitoes, ticks, ants, no-see-ums, and flies. Plus, you can wash these as you would in any normal clothes! The treatment is effective for roughly 70 washes, which comes out to well over a couple of years of use. For backcountry adventures in bug season (summer) or any travels to tropical locations, bug repellent pants should be the first item in your kit.

RailRiders Eco-Mesh Pant with Insect Shield

Top Pick | Best Bug-Repellent Pants

MSRP: $89.00
Weight: 11.2 oz M’s 30W x 30L (our measurement)
Fabric/durability/UPF: 100% nylon / extremely durable / 50+ UPF
Pockets: six; two zippered (non-bellows) cargo; two hand pockets; two back pockets (velcro but no flap)
SIZING: RailRiders pants run large. Size down for a true to size fit.
BEST USE: backpacking, hiking, traveling in buggy climates

These are extremely breathable and lightweight pants that are ideal for hot, buggy climates. The sides of the pants are fully zippered with a mesh panel underneath which provides great venting, while still offering protection from bugs. Furthermore, even with these panels the pocket situation is still great. The two hand pockets are deep, and there are still three zippered pockets to secure valuables. There is a removable belt included to get a perfect fit. The fit throughout the legs is large, so there is more than enough room for movement. Finally, the pants dry extremely well.

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AVAILABLE SIZES: S – XXL waist, 30 – 35 inseam

Shop | RailRiders Eco-Mesh Pant with Insect Shield

Use Code RRAAB21 to get 10% off your first RailRiders order.

ExOfficio BugsAway Mojave Convertible Pants

MSRP: $122.00
Weight: 7.4 oz
Fabric/Durability/UPF: 100% ultralight nylon / semi-durable / 50+ UPF
Pockets: five; two zippered back, two front pockets, one zippered thigh pocket
SIZING: These pants are true to size / run a tad large. If you want a relaxed and comfortable fit, order your true size. If you’re looking for something more tight and fitted, size down.
BEST USE: backpacking, hiking, traveling in buggy climates

ExOfficio’s BugsAway Mojave pants are a lightweight layer that gives you full protection from bugs. They’re very well suited for hot and muggy climates, because the material is lightweight and the fit leaves plenty of room in the legs for breathability. They feature ankle zippers for easy on and off shoes, and convert into 10” shorts when you’re out of bug territory. The 100% nylon is not a stretch fabric, but the relaxed fit still allows for plenty of room to move and breathe.

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AVAILABLE SIZES: 28 – 44

Shop | ExOfficio BugsAway Mojave Convertible Pants

RailRiders Bushwacker Weatherpants with Insect Shield

MSRP: $120.00
Weight: 15 oz w self-belt M’s Small x 30L (our measurement)
Fabric/Durability/UPF: 2ply 3oz duralite nylon / extremely durable / none
Pockets: seven; two zippered cargo; two hand pockets; one zippered security; two zippered back
SIZING: These pants run large. Size down for a slimmer fit, or order your true size for a large fit.
BEST USE: hiking, backpacking, casual

[Same as the regular Bushwacker Weatherpants pants but with Insect Shield insect protection (permethrin).] These are true durable bomber trail pants, yet they’re also suitable for everyday wear but RailRiders pants are some of the most durable we’ve tested over the years, so these will last forever no matter what adventures you take them on. The fabric is reinforced at the seat, knees, and ankles to make high wear areas stronger. We love how many zippered pockets are featured, which is great both on the trail and around town. These truly are a “do it all” pant, perfect for traveling or long backpacking trips where you will head into towns and may want to blend in. These pants also come in an InsectShield version, for backpacking or traveling in bug territory. In summary they excel in almost every feature and performance category with little downside except for a few oz more in weight.

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AVAILABLE SIZES: S – XXL waist, 30 – 35 inseam

Shop | RailRiders Bushwacker Weatherpants with Insect Shield

Use Code RRAAB21 to get 10% off your first RailRiders order.

Coghlan’s Bug-Repellent Ultralight Pants

MSRP: $13.00
Weight: 3 oz
Fabric/Durability/UPF: nylon / wear with care / none
Pockets: none
SIZING: With elastic drawstrings at the waist and ankles, we recommend sizing up if you are unsure. However, because this is a unisex be mindful that women may want to stay true to size/size down, and the opposite is true for men.
BEST USE: backpacking, hiking

These pants are a great addition to a backpacking trip, where bugs will fly at the campsite. They weigh only 3 oz, and can easily be stuffed into any compartment of your pack. However, they’re not necessarily durable, so we recommend only using them at camp or when you’re on well-blazed trails. The mesh construction is tight and fine enough to protect from mosquitoes, no-see-ums, and whatever else you may be sharing a campsite with.

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AVAILABLE SIZES: S-XL

Shop REI | Coghlan’s Bug-Repellent Ultralight Pants
Shop Amazon | Coghlan’s Bug-Repellent Ultralight Pants

Best Ultralight Hiking Pants

If you’re truly a fan of shorts and want a pair of pants only for certain days or occasions, go with a pair of super ultralight pants. The Arc’teryx Incendo pants are designed for moving quickly on trail, while the Enlightened Equipment Copperfield wind pants are ultralight in every sense of the word, weighing in at just under 2 oz.

Enlightened Equipment Copperfield Wind Pants

Top Pick | Best Super Ultralight Hiking Pants

MSRP: $75.00
Weight: 2 oz 20d fabric (our measurement) 1.35 oz 7d fabric
Fabric/Durability/UPF: 7D – 20D nylon / wear with care / none
Pockets: none
SIZING: The customizable waist and inseam combo ensures you’ll get a perfect fit on these pants. The waist is true to size, with a medium being in the 29-32 range for scale. There is a drawstring on the waist, so it’s better to size up than size down and have them be too tight.
BEST USE: ultralight backpacking and trail running in warm conditions as a “just in case” layer

This is just about as light as a pair of pants can possibly be. Enlightened Equipement’s customizable wind pants are made with 7D, 10D, or 20D nylon and are your “just in case” layer to throw on over shorts, or pair with thermal leggings for cold nights. The waist is adjustable with a drawcord, and the ankle length is adjustable with three snaps. Enlightened Equipment encourages buyers to “be mindful in selecting 10D and 7D colors as some can be very transparent.

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AVAILABLE SIZES: S – 2XL waist & 28 – 36 inseam men

Shop | Enlightened Equipment Copperfield Wind Pants

Arc’teryx Incendo Pants

Top Pick | Best Ultralight Hiking Pants (conventional fabric)

MSRP: $129.00
Weight: 5.9 oz
Fabric/Durability/UPF: 84% nylon; 16% elastane / wear with care / none
Pockets: two back pockets; one zippered back pocket
SIZING: These are slim fit, and we recommend following your true size instead of the sizing chart. The chart notes a 34 waist as a medium, but based on user reviews and our experience with Arc’teryx pants we note that a 32-33 waist is more accurate for a medium.
BEST USE: ultralight backpacking and trail running on trail; no bushwacking

The Arc’teryx Incendo pants are designed for trail running, backpacking, and hiking quickly through a range of weather conditions. There is an elastic waistband with a drawcord to get the perfect fit. Articulated knees with a tapered leg both allow for a wide range of movement and a low-profile, non-restrictive feel. The only thing we’d like to see is more pockets; this only has two pockets with one small zippered pocket big enough for a key, gloves, or a credit card.

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AVAILABLE SIZES: S – XL

Shop | Arc’teryx Incendo Pants

Conclusion

This guide has evolved as we’ve tested these pairs of pants, and we’ve made some surprising decisions. For example, we chose the budget Toomett Convertible Pants instead of the REI Sahara pants or Columbia Convertible pants simply because we liked the features of the Toomett pants better. Also, we haven’t yet seen many reviews of the Eddie Bauer Guide Pro pants, but we expect the buzz and their popularity to increase in the near future as these are a solid pair of true hiking pants for a reasonable price.

Finding the right pair of pants within a particular budget can be challenging, which is why we’ve done all the work here for you. We even found some new favorites for ourselves. As such we’re excited to wear these pants throughout the spring and summer for all our backcountry adventures. And we hope you find a few gems here for yourself and do likewise.

Disclaimer

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on the these links, a portion of the sale helps support this site at no additional cost to you. I do not receive compensation from the companies whose products are listed. For product reviews: unless otherwise noted, products are purchased with my own funds. I am never under an obligation to write a review about any product. Finally, this post expresses my own independent opinion.

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