You don’t always want to hike in shorts. When bushwhacking or rock scrambling, pants work best. Ditto if you're in mosquito or tick country. Thankfully, fabrics have gotten lighter and more breathable, which means there’s a pair of pants that will give you the protection you need on the trail without making you feel like you’re wearing a straight-jacket around your legs. Here are five well-reviewed pairs built for hiking.
Fjällräven High Coast Versatile ($120)
If you love the feel of organic cotton but still want the breathability of poly, Fjällräven’s High Coast combines both in lightweight pants with a UPF 40+ rating and weighing just over ten ounces. Articulated knees add mobility, and a zippered rear and thigh pocket can hold your phone or a map. The tapered leg gives the pants skinny-jeans street cred, but they also work to keep debris and poison ivy away from your ankles.
Arc’teryx Lefroy ($110)
Arc’teryx put its technical apparel expertise into these super-lightweight pants built for hiking in the heat. The Lefroy, coming in at a svelte ten ounces, is made from a proprietary fabric that dries fast and stretches in every direction. You also get a gusseted crotch for better mobility and thigh pockets that provide storage without ruining the skinny-leg cut.
Montane Terra Pack ($105)
The lightest pair on this list, at just 8.4 ounces, these Montane Terra Pack pants have a UPF 50+ rating, enough breathability for jungle hikes, and a zippered thigh pocket to keep your phone or map secure. We dig the slightly tapered legs, which you can roll up to the knee on particularly hot days.
Marmot Arch Rock ($70)
Marmot’s summer hiking pants manage to be tough enough to handle rock scrambling without sacrificing weight (just ten ounces) or breathability. The Arch Rock’s abrasion-resistant nylon has plenty of stretch, a UPF 50 rating, and a DWR finish to help shed summer storms. We like the DriClime waistband, which adds extra moisture-wicking capability where you need it most.
Columbia Silver Ridge Convertible ($60)
These pants aren’t as stretchy as some of the others on this list, but they are feather light, and Columbia added mesh panels to its UPF 50 fabric for extra breathability. And if the weather is truly scorching, you can zip off the legs and convert these Silver Ridge pants into shorts. We dig how thin the pants feel and how fast they dry, even after getting soaked in a river crossing.