In this article we lay out the best hiking pants for men of 2018. Broadly speaking, hiking pants are of course very versatile by design, so they can easily be utilized for other uses and activities, not just for days out on the trail.
However, we are of course aiming, first and foremost, to list pants that are the best options for hiking. We have listed these in our order of preference, however, keep in mind that one further down may be a better option for you, depending on your needs.
For example, if convertible pants for use on sunny days is a big requirement of yours, a pair of hiking pants further down the list, may be better suited to your needs.
#1 prAna Stretch Zion Pants For Men
The prAna Stretch Zion pants are our number one recommendation. Good for trail hiking all year round, they offer a lot of comfort without sacrificing functional capability.
The Stretch Zion pants are constructed using a 97% Nylon / 3% Spandex make-up which offers a lot of flexibility in movement. This is a really good combination of material which we really like, functional and flexible is the order of the day.
So whether you’re walking on nice even trails, or doing some light scrambling over a tricky section on the hills, they will enable you to negotiate terrain and move freely while remaining comfortable.
The fabric also features a DWR (durable water repellent) finish which will offer some protection from the elements as well, although for heavier showers, we always recommend the utilization of rain pants over your hiking pants.
The fabric construction of the Stretch Zion pants also enables quick drying, so should you get caught in a bit of a summer downpour, in the right conditions, the pants will dry out quickly.
The pants utilize a ventilated inseam gusset to enable air to circulate and prevent heat build up internally. The pants can also be rolled up and secured using the leg snaps to further increase ventilation options for a hot day.
The Stretch Zion pants utilize a streamlined adjustable waistband to enable a comfortable and secure fit at the waist.
In terms of storage, pants feature two hand pockets and two back pockets, as well as a larger cargo pocket on the leg, so you have plenty of options for easy storage of small bits and pieces for the trail.
The pants also feature UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) to a level of 50+, so you can also enjoy protection from a beating sun as well.
The pants are available in several color options, e.g. charcoal, coffee bean, dark ginger, etc., all of which are dark / autumnal in a traditional hiking pant style. I counted eight different color options so there should be something in there to satisfy everyone!
The Stretch Zion pants retail anywhere from $60 to $100, depending on size options. That’s good value for a very durable and comfortable pair of hiking pants, which you will get plenty of enjoyment and use from.
It’s worth noting as well that there is a convertible version of the prAna Stretch Zion hiking pants which can be easily converted into shorts, without having to take your hiking boots off. Definitely a nice to have for hiking in hotter temperatures!
Overall, they are a very smart and stylish pair of hiking pants which are ideal for hiking all across the year. Aside from that, they are a great casual set of pants as well, so you won’t look out of place in them walking about town on a lazy day.
prAna Stretch Zion Hiking Pants for Men Features Summary:
Best Uses: Hiking, backpacking, light biking, camping, general outdoor use, general day-to-day use
Starting the Process of Choosing Hiking Pants
There’s no doubt about it, hiking pants are a key component of your hiking gear for when you head out on the trail. Your pants are, unless you’re wearing leggings, the first layer of clothing between your skin and the outside world, so it’s paramount that you have something that works well for your needs.
You want something that provides good mobility and is constructed sensibly using the right kind of materials to fulfil other requirements e.g. an element of protection from the rain, protection from the sun, etc.
The golden rule for choosing any piece of hiking gear is basic enough but often overlooked. You first need to establish what you need your hiking pants for. For hiking of course, but I mean to really take a look at some of the fundamental elements involved when you will typically use your hiking pants.
You get the idea, when you know what you need your hiking pants for, it’s much easier to single out a preference that will best meet your needs.
If you’re a year round hiker who likes to hike in the cold and chill of winter, as well as in the warmer temperatures in summer, we recommend that investing in a couple of pairs of hiking pants is the way to go. One lighter pair, oriented towards hiking in hotter weather, and one sturdier pair that will keep you a bit warmer when the seasons are cooler.
OK, that’s the reader’s digest version of buying guidance done. If buying hiking pants is totally new to you, we strongly recommend that you read the hiking pants buying guide first, before buying a pair. It goes into much more detail with regards to helping you identify your needs, and what some of the many features and construction options available to you are.
So, without further ado, let’s crack on with the best hiking pants for men of 2018.
#2 CQR Tactical Pants For Men
As you can probably guess from the name, the CQR tactical pants for men are constructed with a nod towards military and law enforcement performance and design principles. So right off the bat, you can expect practicality and functionality.
The fabric used in the construction is 65% polyester 35% cotton rip-stop. Rip-stop fabrics are fabrics that are woven using a reinforcing technique which makes them resistant to tearing. Typically, thick reinforcement threads are interwoven which give the material its very tough and durable performance capability.
The material also incorporates Duratex which helps to repel liquids, dirt, and other contaminants. If you think of how Teflon works, that will give you an idea, as Duratex works it a very similar fashion to it. With that in mind, the pants will easily hold up to a light rain shower and / or a dusty trail without too much trouble.
As well as the element of water repellency, the pants also perform well in the breathability department, and user reports are that if they get wet, they dry on the move quite quickly too.
The pants have an elastic action waist band and are secured around the waist via a high-strength, and high-density metal alloy snap button and zipper, along with a durable mounted stopper. A belt does not come with the pants, but you can buy a specific one for these pants separately.
The pants feature 8 multi-purpose pockets, 2 slash hand pockets which can take clip on accessories, 2 non flap pockets (probably designed for ammo magazines / pocket knife), 2 Velcro flap pockets on the front on the thighs and finally 2 further Velcro flap back pockets.
Now, I am normally a big fan of plenty of pockets, but even I find that a lot! It’s not a problem though. If you enjoy backpacking and camping, all those different pocket features could prove really useful.
I think this is where the military element really starts to come in i.e. loads of pocket space for various tools and equipment that you may be required to carry. Certainly not a bad thing.
The CQR pants feature two D rings on the waist which can also be used to hang implements off. These pants also have an air of work utility about them, again in line with the military design principles incorporated.
So they could work well if you are doing a few jobs in and around the house and need to carry a few tools with you. Of course, hiking is our main focus here but no harm to allude to that fact.
The knees of the pants can also have knee pads inserted, so again, if you’re doing some odd jobs around the house where you have to kneel on the ground, this could be handy to have. These can easily be removed if required.
The pants are fade resistant, so they will hold their style and look or a long time, without getting old and tired looking. There are multiple color options for these pants to choose from too.
The material construction is also shrink and wrinkle resistant so the pants won’t need a lot of TLC, and they should be good to go after numerous washes and spins in the dryer.
In terms of price, these pants come in and around the $30.00 mark, so definitely at the lower end of the scale on our best hiking pants for men list. However, although cheaper than some others listed, they still offer excellent value for money.
Overall, these pants are true to their design concept and have a functional militaristic look and feel to them. I was a little unsure as to whether to include them in this best of list or not, as their function definitely goes way outside the general remit of hiking pants.
However, in terms of hiking, these pants will perform well and I have no issue with having extra functionality in the design. For example, as referenced above, all that extra pocket storage could come in handy on the trail for sure!
CQR Tactical Pants for Men Features Summary:
Best Uses: Hiking, camping, general outdoor use, work pants, general day-to-day use
#3 Columbia Silver Ridge Convertible Pants For Men
Columbia are a clothing brand name synonymous with the outdoors and they make some excellent quality gear. The Columbia Silver Ridge convertible hiking pants for men are no exception to that, and are a great pair of pants with a lot to offer.
The main parts of the silver ridge pants are constructed using 100% nylon ripstop material, which provides a durable and tough pair of pants for all your adventures on the trail. The mesh panels featured within the construction are made using a mix of 57% recycled polyester and 43% polyester mesh.
These pants feature Columbia’s OMNI-WICK® and OMNI-SHADE® technologies. As you can probably guess, the OMNI-WICK® element means these pants offer high-performance wicking capability which helps let perspiration, that forms in and around your legs as you hike, get wicked away and released into the air, to keep you dry on the inside.
The main body of the pants also feature, as referenced above, OMNI-SHADE® which offers sun protection at a rating of UPF 50. That's a high level of sun protection that will meet most hikers requirements.
However, if you are getting a bit stuffy inside and would prefer to soak up some rays into your skin to top up on vitamin D, the Columbia Silver Ridge hiking pants for men are easily converted into shorts. The shorts reach to just above the knee, when you zip off the detachable legs.
The waist of the pants are partially elastic and can be closed securely using the snap closure belt which comes with the pants.
The pants feature plenty of functional pocket options with two slash hand pockets, two back pockets, one zip closure security thigh pocket on the left leg and one snap closure pocket on the right leg.
In terms of price, they retail in and around $60.00 depending on size etc. so while there are cheaper options, they're still an affordable pair of hiking pants, that again offer good value for money.
These durable, quick-wicking pants with built-in sun protection and plentiful storage, make them the perfect choice for active days on the trail in warm weather.
The Silver Ridge convertible hiking pants for men, are a really excellent pair of hiking pants for the trail. They’re comfortable, very functional and they come in up to 9 different color options, so again, you’ve got plenty of options to choose from!
Columbia Silver Ridge Hiking Pants for Men Features Summary:
Best Uses: Hiking, backpacking, camping, general outdoor activity use, general day-to-day use
#4 White Sierra Trail Convertible Hiking Pants For Men
The White Sierra Trail Convertible pants offer a lot of versatility. Whether you’re hiking in mountain forest trails, or on sunny sandy tracks, these pants will fit the job well.
These pants are of course convertible, so they are easily converted into shorts via the zip-off legs. As the pants have side zippers on the ankle cuffs, you can get these off over trail shoes and mid style hiking boots, without having to take your boots off, which is a winner!
Always nice to have the conversion into shorts option for those hotter hikes on the trail, and great that you don’t have to start fiddling with your footwear to do so.
The pants are constructed with 100% nylon which incorporates a UPF 30 sun protection level in the woven nylon. This material enables wicking from the inside to keep you dry, and also lends itself to quick drying should you get caught in a shower while out on the trail.
The pants also feature a Teflon fabric protector which offers water resistance and helps repel dirt, debris, etc.
These trail pants have a zip fly front with a button opening, with an elasticated waist band with a removable web belt that uses a snap closure for securing a comfortable fit.
The pants feature 2 front slash pockets, 2 front cargo pockets and 2 back pockets with rip and stick closures. The ankles also feature rip and stick closures to help keep pant legs up from muddy ground and debris.
In terms of price, you're looking in and around the $50.00 mark for the retail price, but as always, you can always find a bargain if you look around.
The White Sierra Trail convertible pants are another great option that will meet most hikers needs, most of the year round, although definitely more suitable for hiking at hotter times of year.
White Sierra Trail Convertible Hiking Pants for Men Features Summary:
Best Uses: Hiking, backpacking, camping, general outdoor activity use, general day-to-day use
#5 The North Face Paramount 3.0 Convertible Pants For Men
In the North Face Paramount 3.0 Convertible Pants for men we have another pair of hiking pants that are easily converted into shorts. Again, the legs zip off at the knees and slide off over your feet to convert.
Depending on how big your hiking boots are, you may need to take your boots off to do this. Not the end of the world but there is no immediate way to widen the ankle cuffs when taking them off.
The material used in these pants is 96% nylon and 4% elastane with a DWR finish. Nylon is an excellent material providing durability and resistance to abrasion, while also enabling quick drying, as the fabric breathes well, should they get wet. However, the DWR finish should go some way to helping water bead off the pants altogether.
The pants also feature UPF 50 sun protection, which will help keep your skin protected from the sun’s rays, on a hot day should you need it. Again, the breathability of the fabric means you can comfortably wear them on warmer days if you would prefer, to avoid sun exposure, rather than converting to shorts.
The pants feature 5 pockets, 2 front pockets, 2 back pockets and a zippered utility pocket at the front right side seam, so there are plenty of storage options. In a former iteration of these pants, we thought the front pockets were not deep enough in terms of space. However, in this iteration, it seems this was noted and the pockets have been made deeper which is great.
We also felt the front pockets were a bit too much like jeans pockets i.e. they could only be easily accessed when standing. Now, the upside of that is that the pockets are secure, but we generally prefer a more slash type entry to a front pocket. That’s just a preference though and others may prefer the opposite.
The pants utilize an adjustable belt waistband which is closed securely using a front belt closure which comes with the pants. Overall the pants work well providing good mobility and range of movement.
The North Face Paramount 3.0 Convertible Hiking Pants for Men Features Summary:
Best Uses: Hiking, backpacking, camping, general outdoor activity use, general day-to-day use, possibly as work pants … depending on the nature of the work of course
We hope you enjoyed this review of the best hiking pants for men of 2018. As you can see, there is no shortage of great options to choose from, to suit all price points too. If you're planning to buy a new pair of hiking pants, definitely check some of these options out, to see if they fit the bill for your needs.
As mentioned at the start, always be sure to know your requirements clearly before buy a new pair of pants for the trail. There are a lot of options out there, so it is good to get as specific as you can to enable you to match your needs as best as possible.
Finally, and most importantly, we hope you found this information helpful and useful, please share it around your networks if you did.