April 23, 2019 | By Steve Graepel
With a focus on comfort, durability, and performance, we’ve found the best men’s pants for hiking and trekking. Get ready to hit the trail.
The legs are the body’s primary mobilization team, and pants are their first line of defense. With innovative fabrics, today’s pants can shed water, block the sun, deflect sharps, and still walk away looking good while you’re reliving the experience over burgers and brew.
For some real-world feedback, we brought a crop of the latest pants with us to the Andean cloud-forests, deep desert canyons, high mountain peaks, as well as more everyday scenarios (read: punching the keyboard at work).
Summertime in the woods translates to long miles on the legs. And because these miles are often logged tromping through hot, dusty days and buggy nights, we look for pants that offer superior breathability, a durable water-repellant (DWR) coating to deflect dewy brush, good SPF, and pockets to keep our backcountry everyday carries close at hand.
A good pair of hikers should be lightweight and (in our preference) lighter in color to remain a little more inconspicuous. Lighter khakis and grays also reflect the intense summer rays better than darker colors, helping you keep cooler in the heat of the day.
We also appreciate a pant that has a belt (or belt loops) to keep the pants from falling below the fold while carrying a pack.
While there isn’t a single pair of pants that work for everyone, we’ve tested a variety of pants and broken them down into relevant categories. And if you need help choosing the right hiking pants, jump to our buyer’s guide.
Best Pants for Bushwhacking
1620 Workwear Shop Pant ($198)
If your hike takes you off trail and through brush and brambles, a tough pant is a must. But you also don’t want a pant that limits mobility. That’s where the 1620 Shop Pant shines.
1620 makes the Shop Pant in the USA with 91 percent nylon and 9 percent spandex twill. That makes for a very tough, but still stretchy, pant. The gusseted crotch adds to the great mobility of these burly pants.
Treated with a DWR coating, the Shop Pants shed water, stains, and mud well. But these pants are fairly warm, so look elsewhere for hiking in very hot weather.
They’re tough as nails, which is nice when hiking through skin-clawing thorns and branches. For a versatile work pant that does great on the trail, these are a solid choice.
We’ve been testing these pants for nearly 3 years now, and they’re incredibly tough. And yes, they’re expensive. But given the abuse they’ve taken — from thrashing through brambles while pheasant hunting to grating against rocks while scrambling — we’d say they’re worth the price.
Fabric: 91 percent nylon, 9 percent spandex Fit: True to size DWR: Yes Unique elements:Military-spec button, YKK zippers Bottom line: For a burly, protective pant, the 1620 Shop Pant also allows excellent mobility. It excels when hikers need a protective, work-style pant to push through thick cover.
Check out the full review here.