When It comes to hunting, outdoor exploration, or traversing any rough outdoor terrains, protecting your entire body should be your main priority at all times.
Your legs are one of the most vulnerable points on your body and you need to make sure that you’re using the best protection in order to avoid any issues in relation to acquiring cuts and bruises on your legs due to coming in contact with abrasive elements like sticks, branches, rocks, and more.
The best way to protect your legs from the external elements that you come across in the wild is by wearing a pair of high-quality protective pants that will allow you to traverse a wide range of different terrains and landscapes without having to worry about your legs, hips, buttocks, or any other part of your lower body being damaged or affected.
If you’re someone who loves to travel in nature and explore all of the various places out there whether it be mountains, lakes, trails, or any other natural landscapes you will want to continue reading in order to find out how you can select the best pants for your desired outdoor exploration needs.
Premium lifestyle clothing from prAna. Sustainable clothes for yoga, travel, & outdoor adventure enthusiasts. Save money and protect the environment - it’s a double win! Explore prAna's collections.
There are a lot of different factors that you have to consider before deciding on which pants will be the right fit for your outdoor exploration needs.
That’s why it’s so important for you to understand all of these various factors before going out on your quest to ensure that you will remain safe no matter what type of terrain you plan to traverse. One of the most important factors to consider when looking for the right pair of pants to use on your next outdoor exploration journey is the type of material that the pants are made from.
There are a lot of different outdoor pants options on the market for you to choose from varying in the level of protection that they provide and overall quality.
Variables in your environment such as weather, temperature, physical threats, and much more will impact the final decision that you make in regards to which outdoor pants option will be right for your specific needs. if you’re someone who has been looking for the perfect pair of outdoor pants to take on your next adventure, you’ll want to make sure that you read this entire guide in full.
Continuing throughout this guide we will be discussing all of the most important factors and variables that you need to consider before making your final purchase decision as far as which exact pair of outdoor pants will be best suited for your intended outdoor travels.
We’re going to go over important elements such as sizing, material construction, protection ratings and much more so that you will be able to confidently make the right decision about which outdoor pants are right for your outdoor travels and explorations.
To begin, let’s take a look at the most important factor that you will have to consider when making your decision which is the sizing and overall fit of your desired outdoor pants.
Our Top Recommended Outdoor Pants
REI Co-op Activator V2 Soft-Shell Pants
The REI Co-op Activator V2 Soft-Shell Pants come with a soft-shell outer layer that is made from very durable nylon material in order to provide you with an advanced level of protection against external elements.
These Pants are also resistant to wind at up to 35mph so you never have to worry about the external weather conditions affecting your ability to traverse your desired terrains with ease. These Pants is made using a combination of DWR coatings and other water-repellant materials which will protect you from taking on excess water weight while on your travels.
The REI Co-op Activator V2 Soft-Shell Pants are also crafted using a very finely refined daisy chain which allows you to easily adjust the size of your waistband with no hassle involved. These Pants come with a zip-fly enclosure that uses drop-in pockets so that you can easily access all of your accessories and tools with ease.
These Pants low-profile belt loops so that all of your external attachments will fit very easily. The REI Co-op Activator V2 Soft-Shell Pants also comes with cargo pockets and a zip-back pocket which expands your overall storage space. REI Co-op Activator V2 Soft-Shell Pants
Choosing the Right Size & Fit for Your Outdoor Pants
When it comes to choosing which pair of outdoor pants are right for you, the most important factor that you will want to take into account is the overall size and fit.
Buying outdoor pants is very similar to buying a regular pair of pants however the main difference is that you’re shopping for the highest level of protection instead of fashion or style. The same way that regular pants come in different material types, sizes, and designs, you’ll find these same variables when you begin looking for a pair of outdoor pants that you can wear on your next adventure or exploration.
One of the most common problems that people run into when wearing and buying outdoor pants is the fact that they often times fit in a very baggy manner and one size that works for a particular brand or maker of outdoor pants can fit your completely different if they are made by a different company.
This is why you should always try on your desired pair of outdoor pants before making a final decision about which ones you want to purchase.
The fit of your selected outdoor pants will not merely have an impact on how you look while out on in nature, it will also impact your overall ability to move and traverse the terrain which is why it’s really important for you to choose the right fit before finalizing the purchase of your desired outdoor pants.
You don’t want our outdoor pants to fit too tight however you don’t want them to be loose either so finding the right balance is very important. Outdoor pants come in several different cuts and sizing options so to make sure you’re choosing the right fit you should always consider getting measured before making any purchase.
Now that we’ve gone over the most important factor in determining which outdoor pants are right for you, it’s time to look at all of the various outdoor pants configurations that you’ll encounter while out shopping for the right outdoor pants which will fit your needs.
Types of Outdoor Pants Options
There are several different types of outdoor pants options available on the market which is something that you’ll want to keep in mind before going out to look for the right type of outdoor pants for your intended outdoor exploration needs.
In the following section, we’re going to go over all of the various types of outdoor pants options that you can choose from in order to ensure that you’re choosing the right pair of outdoor pants for your specific needs.
Convertible Outdoor Pants
Convertible outdoor pants are great for those who want versatility and adaptability while out on their outdoor exploration journey.
That’s because convertible pants come with zippers sewn into each leg of the pants which gives you the ability to remove the lower section of the pants legs on either side of your legs. This will essentially turn your outdoor pants into shorts which is great if you happen to begin traversing a rather cool area and the temperature rises.
Convertible outdoor pants are also great because you can easily remove the bottom part of your pants in order to wash and clean your legs or the pants themselves if you happen to step into something that is harmful or toxic.
Convertible outdoor pants also allow you to open the leg portion halfway in order to provide better ventilation for your pants. If you carry a lot of different types of lower body protective clothing on your outdoor travel regularly, convertible outdoor pants can be a great way to reduce the overall weight you have to carry in your backpack.
Recommended Convertible Pants: Columbia Silver Ridge Review
Standard Outdoor Pants
Standard outdoor pants are the most common type of outdoor pants that you’ll encounter when out choosing which pair of outdoor pants is right for you.
Standard outdoor pants are great because they provide the highest level of protection for your lower body against external elements such as abrasions, rain, thorns, bugs, and all of the other variables that you’ll encounter when traversing the wilderness.
Standard outdoor pants are great for a wide range of different climates and terrains because they provide the most comprehensive protection against a wide range of different factors.
Roll-Up Outdoor Pants
Roll-up outdoor pants are oftentimes designed with elastic material near the ankle part of your legs allowing you to easily roll the pants up into a configuration that stops right below your knee of even further all depending on your specific needs and terrain that you’re traversing.
Some outdoor pants also come with buttons on the bottom portion of the pants which will allow you to easily adjust the length and coverage of your pants.
Roll-up outdoor pants are great because they provide you with relief against hot temperatures instead of having to completely unzip your pants in order to remove the lower leg portion. Roll-up outdoor pants are designed to stay in the rolled-up position once you adjust them.
Now that we’ve gone over all of the different types of designs and configurations that you’ll have access to when out shopping for the right pair of outdoor pants, it’s time to look at the level of protection that you need to look for before making your final decision about which pair of outdoor pants are right for your needs.
Outdoor Pants Protection Levels & Weather Proof Capabilities
The level of protection that your selected outdoor pants offer is another very important feature that you’ll want to keep in mind before making your final decision. Most outdoor pants come with some level of weatherproofing and weather-resistant coatings however they can all differ in terms of how well they protect you from external elements.
To ensure that you’re getting the highest level of protection against the natural elements possible, you need to make sure that your choice of outdoor pants comes with a DWR coating layer. DWR stands for durable weather repellant which is a chemical solution that is commonly bonded to the pants on the exterior which will repel water absorption from soaking into the fabric of the pants.
DWR coatings are known to wash away over time and the process can be accelerated if you regularly encounter environments abrasive or wet terrains. If you wash your pants on a regular basis, the DWR coating will also be washed off a lot quicker than if you simply just wear them.
The great things about DWR coatings are that you can buy a replenishment for the coating it if it happens to wear off over time and when exposed to constant use. DWR coatings for outdoor pants are quite common so practically any pair that you choose will come with it as a standard option only a few do not have DWR protection integrated.
Extreme and intense sunlight can really impact sensitive induvial abilities to traverse and trek through harsh climates.
If you know that you have very sensitive skin and get sunburn easily, you will want to make sure that your chosen pair of outdoor pants come with some sort of UPF protection or sealant in order to ensure that you’re safe from the threat of harsh sunlight or very hot temperatures.
UPF coatings are designed to resist ultraviolet rays and it will reduce the amount of ultraviolet radiation that seeks through the material of your pants at any given time.
UPF protection comes in different levels and ratings ranging from UPF 25 to UPF 50 and higher so it’s important for you to understand the different levels of protection that come with each UPF rating before making your final purchase decision.
Now that we’ve covered the important material elements, weather protection levels, and sizing standards that you need to consider before making a final decision about which pair of outdoor pants are right for you, it’s time to look at all of the different features you need to consider to ensure that you get the most comfort and functionality out of your selected pair of outdoor pants.
Important Features to Consider: Choosing the Right Pair of Outdoor Pants for You
When it comes to choosing the right pair of outdoor pants for your nature exploration and adventuring needs, there are several different factors and elements that you need to consider before making your final purchase decision.
Every pair of outdoor pants are made different and the same applies to the various conditions and terrains that you’ll be encountering while out exploring and adventuring which is why you’ll want to keep these various factors in mind while out shopping.
To better help you understand all of the different variables and elements that you need to consider when choosing which outdoor pants are right for you, we’re going to list them all below to make it easier for you to identify which pair of outdoor pants will suit your needs best.
Make sure that you read this entire section to ensure that you know everything you need to know about what to look for when selecting the right pair of outdoor pants for your intended uses and outdoor exploration needs.
Weight of The Pants
While most outdoor explorers don’t consider the overall weight of their selected pair of outdoor pants as a huge factor, the weight of your outdoor pants plays a huge role in impacting your ability to move and traverse any terrain that you might be in.
The weight of your outdoor plants is even more important of a factor if you plan on carrying multiple pairs of your backpack.
Outdoor pants fluctuate in weight largely due to the wide variety of materials and build types that they come in which is why it’s so important for you to take this into consideration before making your final purchase decision.
Things like weatherproofing add weight to your pants so it’s always best to consider the specific type of environment that you plan on exploring before buying a pair of outdoor pants to ensure that the overall weight of the pants is exactly suited to the type of conditions that you will be exposed to while out on your trip.
Materials the Pants Are Made From
Probably the most important factor to consider when buying a pair of outdoor pants is the material in which they are made from. Most outdoor pants put an emphasis on making sure that you know what materials your specific pair of pants are made from by providing you with a detailed breakdown of the entire material composition somewhere on the label.
Oftentimes, you’ll find that outdoor pants are made from a mixture of nylon and other materials providing a reliable barrier against abrasions and cuts while reducing the overall weight of the pants to allow for smooth mobility and adaptability in virtually all types of climates and conditions.
If you need freedom of movement as one of your main priorities, you might want to try and look for a pair of outdoor pants that are made using some combination of elastic so that you will be able to move freely regardless of the type of terrain or environment that you’re encountering.
You always want to consider the type of material that your outdoor pants are made from before deciding on which pair of pants is right for your outdoor exploration needs.
Pockets on The Pants
Depending on your preferred style of outdoor exploring, you may find that pockets are an essential part of allowing you to carry all of the tools and equipment that you need.
If this is a really important factor for you, you need to make sure that your selected pair of outdoor pants comes with a lot of storage space inside of the integrated pockets. The type of pockets on your outdoor pants will also expand your overall storage capacity while on the go which is why it’s such an important factor.
Pockets on outdoor pants can come in a variety of different sizes and configurations giving you the ability to store varying amounts of items and other equipment that will be essential to your outdoor exploration trip overall.
Pockets can come in the form of zipper storage, entire compartments, and a wide array of other designs which is why you always want to check your preferred pair of pants before making your final purchase decision.
The overall thickness of the materials that compose the construction of your outdoor pants will play a very important role in determining how effective they will be at helping you cut down on the number of abrasions and cuts that you experience while out in the environment that you choose to traverse.
However, the thickness of your selected pair of outdoor pants will have a giant impact on their overall ability to retain heat so if you know that you’re going to be experiencing very hot climates, you might want to select outdoor pants that have a thinner layer of material from which they are made of.
Some pants are even made with certain climates and weather conditions in mind, this will allow you to wear the pants in a variety of different environments and climates without the need to change them so that you can accommodate your current surroundings.
Built-In Belts on The Pants
Due to the varying fit and sizing nature that many people experience when wearing outdoor pants, most pants are built with integrated belts which will allow you to adjust the current fit of your pants without the need to but an exact size or particular fit.
The only negative aspect of wearing a pair of outdoor pants that have an integrated belt is the fact that they can oftentimes add more width and overall bulk to the pants which can impact your mobility and agility in different environments.
If you know that you’re going to be traversing through very moist and wet climates, you want to make sure that your selected pair of hiking boots come with an adequate level of waterproof capabilities.
Most if not all outdoor pants will come with some sort of water-resistant barrier or protection which will allow you to avoid water being soaked into your clothing or from making you wet which can add weight to your overall structure and impair mobility.
However, the key point to keep in mind is that most waterproof outdoor pants are not fully waterproof yet they come with a water-resistant layer that repels water from attracting and seeping into the fabric of your clothing.
The reason that you won’t find many fully waterproof outdoor pants on the market is that waterproofing them will also reduce their overall breathability which can make your adventures that much more difficult.
Knee Pad Types
Mobility and agility are very important factors when it comes to choosing the right pair of outdoor pants. Most outdoor pants come with some sort of built-in knee articulation pads and design which will allow you to move freely and unrestricted no matter what environment you may be encountering.
The knee articulation will allow you to bend and move your legs more freely than other designs adding to your overall efficiency and accuracy while out traversing any type of terrain or environment you may be in. The improved range of motion that you get from these integrated knee pads will be a very useful feature to have while out in nature.
What Pants Are Best for Hiking?
By now, you know all of the most important factors that you need to consider before making your final purchase decision about which pair of outdoor pants is right for you.
When it comes to choosing which pair of pants is right for your outdoor needs, the answer will vary from person to person so there is no concrete answer in terms of which pair of outdoor pants is right for you.
You always need to consider your specific needs on an individual basis before going out to choose which pair of outdoor pants are right for your because the terrain and environment that you travel to will impact your overall decision.
Our Top Recommended Outdoor Pants
Now that you know all of the most important elements and factors to consider when choosing the right pair of outdoor pants for your next adventure, it’s time to look at our top recommended outdoor pants that you can choose from right now.
All of the pants that we recommend below will vary in terms of their design, protection level, adaptability, and more so always keep your specific needs in mind before making your final decision about which pair of outdoor pants are right for you.
#1 Outdoor Research Ferrosi Pant
The Outdoor Research Ferrosi Pant comes with adjustable drawstrings that allow you to keep water, dust, and other contaminants from your inner cuffs.
The Outdoor Research Ferrosi Pant also has integrated zipper pockets which are compatible with harnesses so you will be able to attach climbing assists to your pants with ease.
These pants are also water-resistant and wind-resistant so they are perfect for anyone looking to traverse very harsh and unpredictable climates and environments.
They have a very durable and damage resistant softshell that covers the outside of the pants in order to add more mobility and agility to your adventures with ease. They are made using a movement mirroring stretch material and they come with advanced knee support so that you aren’t restricted while out adventuring.
The Outdoor Research Ferrosi Pant also come with ripstop fabric which adds a layer of abrasion resistance to the overall design of the pants.
Further Read: Full Outdoor Research Ferrosi Review.
#2 Gash Hao Outdoor Hiking Convertible Pants
The Gash Hao Outdoor Hiking Convertible Pants is made out of 90% polyester and 10% nylon which provides you with maximum protection against the external elements.
They come with multiple pockets which provide more than enough space for you to store all of the items you need most such as knives and more.
They are staining resistant and water repellant so that you never have to worry about external weather conditions affecting your ability to move and traverse the climates in which you have in mind. They are lightweight and easy to carry in addition to having built-in knew sections that are formulated to give you an extra range of motion while out in nature.
The Gash Hao Outdoor Hiking Convertible Pants are also convertible which allows you to quickly and easily change the pants to shorts in the event that you encounter a new type of terrain.
#3 prAna Stretch Zion Pants
The prAna Stretch Zion Pants feature UPF 50 protection which will give you ultimate resistance to excessive sunlight exposure while out in nature. The prAna Stretch Zion Pants come with mesh pockets in addition to angled dual-entry cargo pockets come with an integrated adjustable waistband so that you can easily adjust the fit of your pants without too much hassle involved.
They also have roll-up legs and a cinch belt system which makes it easy for you to carry external attachments without worrying about packing them into a small tight space. The prAna Stretch Zion Pants comes with a ventilated inseam that gives you the ability to reduce the amount of heat retention that comes when exploring hot climates.
They also come with a DWR coating that reduced the amount of water retained in your pants allowing for a dryer and more comfortable fit over time.
Other Prana pants that we recommend:
#4 KUHL Renegade Convertible Pants
The KUHL Renegade Convertible Pants come with a patented zip-off design that reduces the overall looseness of fabric that you might experience when using wearing other more traditional pants designs.
There is an integrated UPF 50 protection which shields your skin from being damaged by extreme heat or direct sunlight over extended periods of time. They also include an abrasion-resistant coating which protects you from the potential of your skin being damaged or cut when coming in contact with elements such as thorns, vines, and much more.
The KUHL Renegade Convertible Pants has a built-in gusseted crotch area that improves overall mobility and agility in a wide range of different circumstances and environments.
They are made using duralux fabric which is very breathable and lightweight so you can comfortably explore nature without being weighed down or restricted. They have compartment pockets on them which give you enough space to store large amounts of items and accessories without being strapped for storage space or capacity.
#5 Arc’teryx Gamma LT Pants
The Arc’teryx Gamma LT Pants are made using a laminated hem that has built-in cord adjusters so that you can easily configure the fit of your pants to meet your exact body dimensions.
These pants also come with zippered hand pockets which allow you to easily store small items and accessories with ease. They also have a gusseted crotch area and advanced patterning which makes it easy for you to move freely and without restrictions.
They are made using a brushed polyester waistband which adds an extra layer of durability and protection against abrasions and cuts. The Arc’teryx Gamma LT Pants comes with an adjustable webbing belt in addition to a metal buckle in addition to coming with a zipper fly enclosure that you can use to easily seal off your pants.
They are coated with Fortius DW 2.0 material that is very damage resistant yet lightweight and comfortable to wear. Arc’teryx Gamma LT Pants
Other options to Consider:
- Fjallraven Vidda Pro Pants Review
- Patagonia Quandary Pants Review
- Kuhl Revolvr Review
- Best Backpacking Pants for Women
- Best Cargo Pants for Hiking, Camping and Outdoor Activities
- The Best Pants for Climbing
Before going to choose which pair of outdoor pants are right for your specific needs, use this guide to determine which elements are most important to you in terms of durability, protection, and weather resistance so that you will be able to make the right decision.
All of the outdoor pants that we’ve recommended above come in various designs, forms, and shapes so it’s important to consider your specific needs on an individual basis before finalizing any purchase of outdoor pants that you’re interested in.
By taking your time to sit down and really come up with all of the most important features that you need most in a pair of outdoor pants, you will be able to begin shopping for your next pair with confidence.
Premium lifestyle clothing from prAna. Sustainable clothes for yoga, travel, & outdoor adventure enthusiasts. Save money and protect the environment - it’s a double win! Explore prAna's collections.