A good pair of hiking pants is a key element of your hiking gear, and it’s noticeable how the materials and design are improving in quality year after year. The purpose of hiking pants is to keep your legs protected from the elements and vegetation along the trail. They should be lightweight, quick-drying, comfortable to wear, and suitable for the environment you are choosing to hike in.
There are many different designs and types of hiking pants available, offering at first a somewhat overwhelming choice. The one thing all good pairs have in common though, is that they are NOT made of cotton. This is a truly terrible choice of material for hiking, and should be avoided whenever possible in both pants and T-Shirts.
Hiking pants can be divided into two common types. The first type is simply a regularly designed pant, with the second type being a pant that could convert into shorts either by zipping off the lower leg, or by rolling up Capri style.
The most important aspects of hiking pants to look for, are that they are not so tight at the bottom they don’t fit over your boots, that they have good pockets, they are lightweight, comfortable, and perhaps have an element of ventilation. Hikers spending a great deal of time in wet conditions might consider a waterproof or Goretex pair of hiking pants, but it’s worth keeping in mind these are not practical for day-to-day hiking in regular conditions.
Hiking pants are ideal for: Protecting the legs from the elements, reducing pack weight for multi-day hikes.