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Gear Guy

What Are the Best Spring Hiking Pants?

I’m looking for a pair of quick-drying pants for hiking in the slush and rain over the next few weeks. I need to look presentable if we stop at a brewpub on the way back. What have you got for me?

pants hiking gear gear guy arc'teryx patagonia mountain hardwear
Bob Parks

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It’s a great time to splash around in the spring thaw. But if your pants aren’t designed to repel water or dry quickly, you’ll be miserable by the end of the day. Luckily for you, several makers of technical apparel have launched hiking pants this season with features to combat messy conditions.

Look for durable water-repellant treatments to shed rain, reinforced patches on the knees and backside for high durability, and good ultraviolet protection ratings to shield you from the sun (an essential feature around reflective surfaces such as melting snow).

Patagonia Men’s Harding
Marmot Highland
Mountain Hardwear Men’s Portino Convertible
Arc’teryx Men’s Rampart

The Best Spring Hiking Pants: Patagonia Men’s Harding

Patagonia Men's Harding pants mountain hiking gear camping
(Courtesy of Patagonia)

Patagonia’s Harding pants are lightweight but sturdy, with panels on the legs and two-ply reinforcement on the knees and butt. Made primarily from organic cotton treated with a durable water-repellant finish, they should keep you dry after years of washings.

Fabric: 74 percent cotton, 26 percent nylon blend
Colors: bronze, grey
Weight: 13.8 ounces

The Best Spring Hiking Pants: Marmot Highland

Marmot Highland hiking camping pants gear
(Courtest of Marmot)

All clothing provides some protection from the sun, but Marmot’s Highland pants have a UPF rating of 50, so you’re covered in equatorial regions, high elevations, and areas where water or snow reflect a lot of light. Made from durable and fast-drying nylon with rugged twill patches over the knees, the Highland pant features a closure at the hem to keep mud and slush locked out over the course of a trek. Available in both men’s and women’s styles.

Material: Nylon and elastic
Colors: Slate gray, dark olive
Weight: 17.6 ounces
Price: $110

The Best Spring Hiking Pants: Mountain Hardwear Men’s Portino Convertible

Mountain Hardwear Men's Portino camping hiking pants gear
(Courtesy of Mountain Hardwear)

Mountain Hardwear knows the pains of wardrobe malfunctions over a multi-day hike. Its Portino pants have three independent closures on the waist, in case one breaks on the trail. Other backwoods-friendly details include a durable waterproof finish, an ultraviolet protection factor of 50, and a deep zipper on the hem to slide them on over boots. If it gets too hot, you can unzip the pants to make shorts with an 11-inch inseam.

Material: Cotton canvas
Colors: Green, khaki, cordovan, shark
Weight: 17.7 ounces
Price: $100

The Best Spring Hiking Pants: Arc’teryx Men’s Rampart

Arc'teryx Men's Rampart pants hiking camping gear
(Courtesy of Arc'teryx)

Arc’teryx makes some of the lightest trail pants around. Able to handle wet conditions or fast sweat-inducing hikes, its Rampart models weigh under 10 ounces and use a quick-drying, stretchy nylon-blend fabric. There are seven pockets in all, including two hand pockets with highly breathable mesh linings and two cargo pockets with drain holes for when the weather really turns ugly.

Material: 94 percent nylon, six percent spandex
Colors: Stone, graphite, dark blue, brown, grey
Weight: 9.9 ounces
Price: $109

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