best hiking pants for men

Good hiking pants can make a hiking trip great; bad ones can ruin it. Whether it’s a quick loop or a multi-day backpacking expedition, you want the best hiking pants for men that will make you feel prepared for the adventure ahead. Let us help style your hiking outfits for your next outdoor journey.

How to Wear Men’s Hiking Pants

When it comes to hiking pants, men have a selection of neutral colors to choose from. Neutral colors, like khaki and black, pair well with any colored shirt. If you’re backpacking for several days and need to pack multiple outfits, sticking to a neutral color palette is helpful. It allows for easy mixing and matching, even when the choices are limited by what can fit in your pack. 

Try on your chosen hiking pants before taking them out on the trail. Decide if you need a belt. Sit down in them and walk around to ensure they don’t chafe, rub, or cause discomfort. This is even more important for shoes. Quality outdoor pants call for quality hiking shoes. For steep inclines, wear boots that support the ankle. A hiking sandal is an alternate option if the trail is forgiving, the weather is warm, and you don’t want to be weighed down by a boot. 

Research the weather before taking off. Bring outerwear on the trail, like a raincoat or a windbreaker. It’s a delicate balance between being prepared and over packing, as you want to stay light on your feet. Start with shorter hikes in different weather conditions to see how to dress for longer hikes in all climates.

5 Great Hiking Outfit Ideas for Any Outdoorsman

The best hiking pants outfits are flexible and durable to keep you protected from the elements without restricting your stride. Here are four hiking outfit ideas to get you ready to hit the trail. 

1. For Hot and Humid Days

Cargo pants for men are breathable, making them one of the best hot weather hiking pants. Long pants are worth it in high heat and humidity because they shield your skin from brambles, ticks, mosquitoes, poison ivy, and other natural hazards. Plus, the best outdoor pants have plenty of pockets. You have ample storage options with cargo pants, so you won’t have to rummage through your pack for your phone, Swiss Army knife, or trail mix.

With your cargo pants, wear shirts and socks made from synthetic materials, like polyester, that wick the sweat away. Add a baseball cap or bucket hat to your outfit to protect your face from the sun. Finally, some outfit essentials are unseen but no less important: underwear that absorbs sweat makes the journey comfortable on those days that are extra hot and humid. And don’t forget sunscreen! 

If you’re planning to take a dip in a mountain stream halfway through your hike, you could wear swim trunks on the way up and change into dry cargo pants for the descent.

2. For All Body Types

Our men's pants and big and tall collection offers the best backpacking pants selection for all body types. No matter which pants you choose, a long-sleeved button-up shirt can be rolled up, unbuttoned, or tied around the waist. It’s helpful to adjust or shed that layer because it’ll likely be cool in the morning and evening and warmer in the middle of the day. Pair with a base layer, like a T-shirt or tank.

3. For a Trail Run

Not all hiking adventures have to be long, multi-day expeditions. When you just want to go for a run on a nature trail and complete a short loop, a bunch of pockets isn’t necessary. (They might just weigh you down, anyway.) In such situations, jogger-style men’s slim fit hiking pants are best. Drawstrings create an adjustable waistband, so no belt is needed. 


Pair jogger hiking pants with a wicking shirt or tank. Wear either hiking boots or running shoes with athletic socks. Bring a small, lightweight backpack to carry your water bottle, phone, and snacks. 

4. For Indoor/Outdoor Wear

With the right men's travel pants, you’re ready to go right from the airport to the hiking trail. Or walk straight off the trail into a local bar for a refreshing drink! A simple pant design makes you look right at home on the trail but won’t make you stand out off-trail. The best outdoor pants men’s options offer both indoor and outdoor flexibility. Wear them with a sweat-absorbing polo shirt, a belt, and your favorite hiking shoes

5. For Cold Weather

In cold weather, wear hiking pants made of sturdy material. One thin cotton layer won’t cut it in the winter. Consider a nylon base layer underneath wind and snow-resistant outerwear. Don’t forget a beanie, gloves, and waterproof boots to protect your feet from the snow.   

Anyone who spends their time in the great outdoors knows the importance of good hiking pants. For one, hiking pants provide comfort and freedom of movement, allowing you to enjoy a hiking expedition. Secondly, you need to protect yourself from the elements and any rugged terrain you may encounter during your hike. Hiking pants do just that. 

When searching for hiking pants, men tend to forego style for practicality, but what if we told you that you don’t have to choose form over function when buying your next pair? Here’s our list of the best hiking pants for men — aesthetics and performance considered. Grab your best camping gadgets and let's go hiking!

How We Selected Our List

Identifying the best hiking pants is no small feat. One should expect a lot from their hiking pants, just like they would when choosing the rest of their outdoor gear. We’ve used our experience to select the best outdoor pants based on how comfortable, breathable, and durable they are. We also consider how well the pants will perform in different environments, as well as whether they have additional features that enhance functionality, such as side pockets and articulated knees.

Today’s criteria for choosing the best backpacking pants is radically different from the basic nylon or tough-wear cotton outdoor attire of the past. Hiking pants now come with technology to protect against elements such as sun and water and even insects. All these options can be confusing. However, understanding what each entails can help you choose the best hiking pants for the season or excursion:

●       Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF)

A must for summer hikes, UPF is a rating system used to gauge a fabric’s effectiveness against the sun. Like SPF (Sun Protection Factor) in sunscreen, it protects the hiker from sunburn and other damaging effects of the sun.

●       Water Repellent Coating

Labeled as DWR (Durable Water Repellent), this label on outdoor gear means it has been treated with a water repellent coating to stop water from penetrating your pant’s interior.

●       Insect-Repellent Clothing

Some fabrics come with insect-repellent treatment that can last up to 70 washes or more. If you’ve ever had a nasty bug bite, you know why these come in handy!

Best Outdoor Pants: Men’s Styles

Along with technology, there are different styles to choose from with hiking pants:

●       Slim Fit

Men’s slim fit hiking pants come with a straight leg and slimmer fit. They tend to be more lightweight than other pants and are great for transitioning from town to trail because of their every-day look. They also come with extra stretch for ease of movement.

●       Convertible Hiking Pants

These let you turn your pants into shorts, making them one of the best hiking shorts or pants for the outdoors. They can be attached with zips, velcro, or snap-on buttons.

●       Hiking Leggings

Though favored mostly by women, hiking leggings come in unisex styles and are great for comfort and mobility. They come in a variety of lengths and strike a good balance between durability and breathability. Look for a pair that has a gusset for improved comfort.

Top 5 Best Hiking Pants by UNIONBAY

hiking pants men

Considering all of the above, and taking affordability into account, here are some of the best hiking pants available for your next adventure.

1.      Rainier UB Tech Travel

Utility mens pants with a modern twist, we love these for their versatility—this look can seamlessly go from the outdoors to the streets. The nylon and spandex blend offers a comfy stretch while still protecting you in the harshest environments. It also has a sport band waist for a better fit. As far as technology goes, this material is made with a water-repellent finish and UPF50 protection.

2.      Unionbay Survivor Cargo Pants

Cut in soft cotton twill, Unionbay’s survivor pant features the perfect length, cargo pockets, and a relaxed fit for comfort and movement. They’re great for casual hikes in moderate climates.

3.      Charger Stretch Twill Jogger Pant

The Charger Stretch Twill Jogger Pant is an excellent option if you’re looking for a town to adventure look. Joggers are in-trend and are likely to stay popular for their cool silhouette, not to mention the extra protection a narrow leg opening has in the bush. You can also customize the fit for enhanced comfort by adjusting the drawstring.

4.      Luca Utility Pant

An ideal piece for year-round wear, whether on the trail or as casual wear. We love the slim-fit with streamlined pockets for its functional yet modern look. The rigid twill fabric also offers a stylish construction with guaranteed durability.

5.     Neo Ripstop Jogger Pant

If you’re looking for comfort on your excursion, these are the pants for you. An elastic waist with a drawstring and cinched leg offer extra comfort, while the cotton material is breathable while still being protective. They also come in a slim-fit for that extra-flattering silhouette. 

Explore with UNIONBAY

The best hiking pants are about function over fashion. But luckily, UNIONBAY’s offerings accomplish both. And if you are in the mood for shorts checkout our men's cargo shorts and article about the best hiking shorts for men. Check out our collections and start earning rewards today!