As the name suggests, hiking trousers are ideal for long hikes, but are just as useful for fishing or leisure activities, as they're versatile and comfortable. Hiking trousers - made of artificial fibres - are robust and hard-wearing, and when mixed with polyester and wool are light, breathable and moisture-wicking. A good pair of hiking trousers move with your legs and resistant to wind, rain and dirt. They should also have enough pockets to stuff, making a backpack unnecessary for shorter hikes: two front and back pockets and often two relatively large pockets on the thighs.
Hiking pants need to be the Swiss Army knife of your outdoor outfit. While you may bring multiple shirts for a trip, chances are you’re only bringing one pair of trousers along. That means that when choosing a pair of hiking pants, versatility, durability, and comfort are key. Thankfully, outdoor clothing manufacturers have recognised the importance of making hiking pants that can adapt to changing conditions and go anywhere without a hitch. There is now a huge variety of hiking trousers for men, women, and children that can suit any adventure.
Types of Hiking Pants
Different hiking pants take different approaches to the problem of versatility. Some focus on breathability, while others allow you to actually modify your pants mid-hike to make them warmer or cooler.
Standard hiking pants focus on breathability as the key to keeping your legs protected, yet cool on long hikes. The disadvantage to these trousers is that for many warm weather trips, you’ll want to bring an extra pair of hiking shorts along with you.
Convertible hiking pants by Craghoppers allow you to turn your pants into shorts on the trail, often without even having to take off your boots. A zipper around the knee holds the lower half of the pant leg in place. However, keep in mind that zippers can negatively impact the durability of a pair of hiking trousers.
Roll-up hiking pants adopt a similar mindset to convertible hiking pants, but instead of zipping off the lower part of the pant leg you simply roll it up your calf. A button snap allows you to hold the rolled pant leg in place so it doesn’t slip back down.
Rain pants are a specialised type of hiking pants that you’ll typically carry in addition to your everyday hiking outfit. Rain pants are fully waterproof, whereas most hiking pants are only water resistant. The downside to hiking in rain pants – and the reason that most trekkers don’t use them all the time – is that they don’t breathe well when you are sweating. Most rain pants are stretchy and loose-fitting so that you can simply pull them on over the hiking pants you’re already wearing.
How to Choose Hiking Pants
Beyond choosing between different types of hiking pants, there are a number of important features you’ll need to consider when picking the right pair of trousers for your upcoming adventures:
Waterproofing - Hiking pants differ widely in how they perform in wet weather. While most hiking pants have a DWR coating that allows them to repel a light rain, some DWR coatings resist water better than others. Keep in mind that you’ll want to re-coat your hiking trousers at the end of every hiking season.
Insulation - Hiking pants are often designed with a specific climate in mind. Some are thin and highly breathable, offering protection for your legs while keeping you as cool as possible in summer conditions. Three- and four-season hiking pants will typically feature a thicker construction, and some insulated hiking pants will even have a fleece or similar lining on the inside.
Fit - Hiking pants may be tight or loose fitting, depending on what feels comfortable and how you need to move. Pants that are too loose can catch on branches and thorns, while pants that are too tight can cause chafing and inhibit movement. In general, tight hiking pants are designed with stretchy fabrics so that you retain freedom of movement when scrambling.
Hiking Pants at Addnature
The easiest way to find hiking pants of every type and style is to shop our wide selection at addnature.co.uk. We offer hiking pants from a variety of major outdoor clothing companies and make it simple to find the perfect pair of trousers for your next adventure.