If you’re still wearing jeans to hike, it’s time to upgrade your hiking attire. They may work for some short day hikes, but if you’re ready to tackle a 14-er or one of the 46 peaks in the Adirondacks, you’re going to need something that can handle the constant motion and rigors of hiking. It’s not that hard to imagine — you wake up at the crack of dawn to brew coffee and heat up a bagel with some butter before filling up all your water bottles and hopping in the car to drive to your point of takeoff. It’s cold enough that you need a little bit of heat to warm up the car, but not so cold where you’re melting the frost off your windshield. The leaves are all vibrant in color — rusty reds, golden yellows and Hi-C-like orange. You park the car, throw a backpack over your shoulders and start walking up. About a mile in, you’re starting to warm up and feeling like your denim bottoms weren’t the smartest choice. While they hide sweat, they’re certainly not breathable. We’ll stop there (we could continue to criticize the use of denim while hiking) and show you four of the best hiking pants out there so you are always prepared. Each is lightweight, extremely durable and packs up small so you can toss them in any overnight bag.
Mission Workshop The Signal Pant
Yes, for $225 you could buy a new pair of nice leather boots, or a gym membership for two months, but hear us out. The Signal pant is one of our editor’s favorite travel pants because of its ability to perform in both frigid and hot temperatures, fit well and look great, which is ideal for hiking. The military-spec nylon is stretchy and durable, so you don’t have to worry about getting caught on rocks or carabiners or sticks. The YKK zippers and water-repellent finish keep your EDC and trail map safe. Did we mention the pants are guaranteed forever? That’s a pretty solid bargain. $225 and you might never have to buy a pair of pants again.
Mountain Hardwear AP Scrambler Pant
At just 7.2 ounces, these pants weigh less than some pairs of stability sneakers, and are likely lighter than your hiking boots. The pants are made from stretch cotton nylon sanded canvas and have a 32-inch inseam. Store keys and valuables in your back pockets with snap closures, or maybe just the chapstick you don’t want to lose. People love the waistband, which doesn’t require a belt, thanks to the elastic band and drawstring front closure. Performance stretch means you can tackle any trail or climb up to 5.15 — if you’re really feeling it. If you shop today, you can save up to $45 off the original $85 price tag.
Prana Stretch Zion Straight
With three inseam options– 30, 32 and 34– the Stretch Zion Straight is one of the most personalized pants on this list. With abrasion-resistance and a DWR finish, you can take these through rainstorms and back. It’s also UPF 50+, so the higher the altitude and the closer you are to the sun, the more the protection comes in handy. The mesh pockets, straight fit and adjustable waistband make these slim-fitting pants rather flattering. Choose from four colors: cargo green, a deep yellow, charcoal and a khaki.
Outdoor Research Ferrosi
Ron Gregg was an intense adventurer who knew he could improve outdoor gear, making it easier for everyone to attempt incredible excursions. As the founder of Outdoor Research, he passed that passion down to his employees who continue his legacy. The Ferrosi pant is one of those simple apparel items that OR tweaked and changed for the better. Water and wind-resistant, quick-drying and breathable, these pants are everything you want in a bottom layer that’s built to tackle your endeavors with you. The low-profile waistline is designed to sit underneath your harness so that it doesn’t get in the way. There are also drawcord ankle adjustments if you want to fit these around your hiking boots, or need to lift them up to keep your legs dry as you wade through puddles and mud.