How many categories of hiking pants are there?

In general, there are three categories of hiking pants, no matter if they are for men or women. They are full-length, convertible, and roll-up. You can opt for whichever depending on your preferred style and demand. Many best hiking pants for women and men available on the market fall into all three categories of products.

If you are looking for pants for complete leg protection in all seasons, full-length or standard pants are the right choice. The innovative fabric and leading market technologies make these full-length pants attractive with features such as sun-protection and water-resistance, as well as breathable, comfortable, and durable. Most of the best standard pants also come with mesh pockets and ventilated holes to improve airflow.


Convertible pants are well-known for their versatility with the 2-in-1 application. You can quickly transform them into shorts with leg zip. They work well under unexpected weather changes and long trips where you prefer multi-purpose pants and less load for packing. The best men’s convertible pants I have ever found are KUHL Renegade Cargo Convertible thanks to their fantastic versatility, comfort, and high breathability.

Roll-up pants give you an option in between, giving you more mobility. Just roll up the pant legs and go! They are a bit more cooling and a popular choice for climbing. Typically, there is a tab or button to hold the cuff when rolled up.

What is the DWR finish?

DWR stands for Durable Water Repellent, which is a coating added to fabrics to make them water-resistant. Using DWR coating is quite popular in manufacturing hiking pants. It does not make pants completely waterproof under a downpour but provides efficient protection against light showers.

The DWR coating wears out over time when exposed to water, sunlight, and chemicals. DWR loss is also accelerated by washing your pants with strong detergents. If you do not want to re-treat your pants to maintain water repellency, it’s better for you to go for heavily used hiking pants.

What is the alternative for DWR coating?

The better alternative for DWR coating in the current market would be Gore-Tex fabrics. Gore-Tex fabric is proven to be so durably waterproof, windproof, and breathable that it can keep you dry, warm, and comfortable in a wide range of climates. Typical applications of Gore-Tex fabrics are for military purposes. However, you can also find many outperforming hiking pants. The only drawback of the Gore-Tex fabric pants is that they are more expensive than average hiking pants. The best waterproof hiking pants for men I am going to recommend to you is Arc’teryx Beta SL pants. These pants, which are made of N150p-X Gore-Tex fabric, offer the highest level of water resistance. No weather can stop your hiking anymore.


Some manufacturers, such as Fjallraven, have developed their wax coatings to be water resistant rather than using DWR. The price could fall in the middle range between DWR coated pants and Gore-Tex fabric pants.

Do you need to protect your leg skin from sunlight?

Protecting your skin from sunlight is essential for men as much as for women. Therefore, it is not surprising when many good pants offer sun protection. Many kinds of garments naturally provide a certain level of defense against ultraviolet rays. Nevertheless, it is not enough for hiking, in which you expose your skin to the sun for many hours every day. Therefore, most of the high-rated pants usually offer UPF 50+ sun protection.

Is it UPF? Not SPF? It’s not a mistake. It’s UPF. SPF - Sun Protection Factor, which is commonly found in sunscreen, calculates how much time it takes to burn the skin. UPF, or Ultraviolet Protection Factor, determine how much UV radiation approaches your skin through the fabric.

As well as the SPF rating, it is better to choose clothing with a higher UPF number. For instance, a rating of UPF 50 means that those pants allow 1/50 or 2% of UV rays to go through your pants and reach your skin. Therefore, the higher the UPF rating, the better the sun protection it offers. The best summer hiking pants usually come with at least UPF 50.

Which criteria should you be concerned about before purchasing hiking/ trekking pants for men?

Form-fitting and mobility

A balance between fit and mobility while hiking plays a vital role in giving you the best experiences.

People typically feel better with a looser fit. However, according to my experiences, it is not the right choice. Why? Baggy pants give you more comfort but create certain other troubles while moving. First, they are heavier. It seems that you carry more weight while hiking and trekking, which could make you quickly exhausted. Moreover, you can easily get the pants caught on trailside brush. Also, they would trap more cold air in the blowing wind.


On the other hand, some people feel fashionable when wearing tight pants. Looking good, but those tight pants can reduce mobility and will probably wear out faster around the crotch and glutes.

The above reasons give us strong support to choose form-fitting hiking pants with the right size. Articulated knees and gusseted crotches do frequently offer the most mobility. Besides, you can get a more comfortable fit if there is a high percentage of spandex/ elastane blended in the materials of your pants.

While hiking, the legs are the most active parts of your body. Therefore, it’s normal for hiking pants to stretch and loosen over time. Moreover, you tend to lose sizes on your waist during long-distance adventures. Then, it is recommended to search for a model with belt loops, drawstring, or integrated belt, which helps to adjust the fit if you are going for multiday hikes.

Climate and hiking terrain

Although many hiking pants are designed for multi-purpose and all-season uses, some features are built to work under an average temperature degree. The standard element is waterproof. While most of the hiking pants are made of DWR coating, this DWR finish offers a certain level of water repellency in light rains. It’s impossible to keep you dry while hiking in a tropical rainforest or under a downpour. Then, it is vital to identify and know well about your destinations, especially the climate, weather forecast, and hiking terrain.

If it is going to be hot and dry on your next trip, the requirement to release heat while moving and protect your skin from sun rays and winds is a priority. Then, convertible pants are the right pick with great versatility. The materials are remarkable and should be considered. Lighter fabrics usually give excellent protection, better breathability and venting, as well as lightweight feature, which are essential for long-distance hikes.

For hiking in wet winter and autumn, wearing hiking pants is a must thanks to the high resistance they give against cold, wind, and water. It is essential for a high level of water resistance, which could be found in Gore-Tex fabric pants. Usually, the best option is to add an extra thermal base layer under your favorite pants, which can keep you warm on all trips. In the cold but not-really wet conditions, we recommend reliable DWR pants, which can effectively keep you warm and dry.

A final thought

A good pair of pants (and shoes) is a must-have when starting to hike. You cannot imagine how it could save your life with the best fit. We hope that these tips can help you find the perfect pants for your next adventures.
2019/11/07(木) 01:44 UNARRANGEMENT PERMALINK COM(0)