Any adventure in the outdoors needs high quality gear whether it be technical clothing, durable and responsive footwear, a practical backpack or equipment so that they perform as needed so you can focus on the journey ahead with little distraction. One garment in particular that needs to excel is the Walking Pant. This trail specific version of the everyday garment has to wear differently to a standard pair by being far more durable, flexible and even protective against certain weather conditions to name just a few factors in order to function well in a number of environments and outdoors lifestyle activities.
As with any of our Top 5 Guides this one for Walking Pants in 2016 showcases our favourites from the past year. At Walking.org we have taken as many of these as we can find and tested them on walks and hikes to see how well they perform in the weather and terrain conditions they have been designed for to determine the best overall. We look at a number of factors such as the fabrics and constructions that have been used as some conditions require higher levels or durability or insulation, while others may need to be more breathable depending on the conditions. Other factors include the fit and flexibility so that on high Alpine trails you have enough step movement without restriction for greater comfort and ease of motion, plus zip types, pocket placement and adjustable elements that can surprisingly make a great deal of difference on the trail.
Montane Terra Walking Pants
Part of our Top 5 Walking Pants guide last year, the Montane Terra Pants are back again and it is easy to see why. Montane has over two decades of experience in making clothing that is light, tough and gives high protection against the elements which is shown with these four-season Terra Pants. A blend of Teflon, Cordura and Tactel enables the overall weight and bulk to be quite low which is crucial on any walk, especially long distance. The Cordura is very hard-wearing and is used in kick-patches where abrasion is more common to protect the pants against scuffs and scrapes while the Tactel while feeling soft is actually a Nylon blend that is tough plus wind and water resistant due to a tight weave. Similarly Teflon is water resistant by causing moisture to bead and roll away. The Montane Terra Walking Pants fabric is breathable but two mesh-lined thigh vents with quarter length zip access can be used to help cool you down on warm days or more active trails, while at the bottom press studs allow the prevention of heat loss, plus these have UV protection up to UPF 40+. The waist is tailored so give a secure yet comfy fit while reducing any excess fabric that may get in the way and these even come with a low profile webbing belt. Both knees are articulated so enable a high step without any constriction and all three pockets, two hand and the pull out security pocket are zipped so you can securely store essentials.
North Face Horizon Convertible Walking Pants
The versatile design and function of these North Face Horizon Convertible Walking Pants make them an obvious choice for our Best 5 this year. Having decades of experience in making some of the toughest outdoor gear in the world it comes as no surprise that these are made from a tough Ripstop fabric that is ultra-lightweight so will endure plenty of wear. The fabric dries fast and has UV protection to UPF 50 so is better suited to warmer seasons, especially with the ability to un-zip the legs so that this TNF Horizon garment can be converted into a pair of shorts for summer climates. Flexibility and movement is abound due to knee articulation and a gusseted crotch so these North Face Horizon Convertible Walking Pants are great for high step movement. A partially elasticised waistband gives control over comfort and fit and in addition to the two side hand pockets there is also a secure side-zip pocket for keeping essentials safe.
Mountain Hardwear Chockstone Mid-Weight Active Walking Pants
These Mountain Hardwear Chockstone Mid-weight Active Pants are a shell garment designed for high movement sports like hiking and climbing so feature everything you need for hardwearing clothing. Chockstone is a doubleweave softshell fabric made primarily from Nylon with a small amount of Elastane so is durable and gives a four-way stretch so there is plenty freedom of movement as it moves with you and as this has a full length inseam gusset plus articulated knees for making high steps easy without constriction. The exterior of these walking pants has been given a Durable Water Repellence treatment to easily shed water and snow away as you move. An integrated webbing belt featuring a buckle closure lets you securely lock any adjustments into place, plus the waist is a micro-Chamois lined conical construction which enables a lot of comfort even when worn under a backpack or harness. Both hand and single thigh pockets on these Mountain Hardwear Chockstone Pants are zipped so you can keep smaller items at hand.
Haglofs Rugged II Mountain Walking Pants
Perfect for difficult terrain and weather conditions, the Haglofs Rugged II Mountain Walking Pants are made with a highly durable Nylon and Polymide blend with reinforced leg insteps to 500 Denier with a Polyurethane coating, reinforced back and knees with four-way stretch and waterproof membrane and Durable Water Repellence treatment throughout the rest, plus triple stitching on the main seams with double used for the rest. All of this gives these Haglofs Rugged II Pants a high level of durability which is ideal for Alpine trails, rocky treks or dense woodland while giving a full range of natural motion without constriction. The waterproofing and water repellence is great at causing droplets from light showers and moisture to bead and roll away while keeping you dry where needed. There are adjustable features which includes elastic webbing on the inside of the waist which can be secured with Velcro straps plus buckled leg hems so you can get a comfortable fit with ease. For more coverage you can attach gaiters which is handy when there is snowfall plus if you need to cool off there is a zipped vent at the thigh. The Haglofs pants also have quite a few pocket options for storing all the smaller gear you need with you.
Berghaus Ortler Walking Pants
The Berghaus Ortler Pants are ideal for when you need a pair that work well throughout the year for ground level hikes and hills. A Polyamide and Elastane blend gives the Berghaus pants a four way stretch and comfortable fit so you can move unhindered and they stay with you so you don’t have to keep adjusting them which is enhanced through a curved back panel and gusset at the crotch. These are also water resistant so if you do encounter rainfall or snow they will keep you dry enough until you find cover. An elastic drawcord at each hem along with a warp knit lined waistband gives easy adjustment over the fit and helps to stop heat loss and alternatively if you work up a sweat there are thigh vents for rapid cooling. Pocket options on the Berghaus Ortler pants include two hand warmer pockets plus a security and back pocket that both feature zips for keeping important essentials out of harms way.
Each of our Top 5 Walking Pants for this year in 2016 will be more than suited to the majority of hikes and walks most outdoors enthusiasts enjoy on a regular basis with some being more appropriate for higher altitude and winter weather treks and a summer specific pair. Hopefully our choices will help you find the best pair of walking or hiking pants for your needs but in case budget and overall looks may swing the decision for you we have awarded prize titles to three of our five.
Best Value: North Face Horizon Convertible Pants
Besides being the lowest price of our Top 5 Walking Pants in 2016 these are highly versatile and a decent quality pair that are ideal for just getting out and hiking a trail. The option to convert them into a pair of shorts at a moment’s notice is also quite handy as you have two items of clothing in one so there is less to carry overall.
Best Performance: Haglofs Rugged II Mountain Pants
The Haglofs Rugged II Mountain pants are by far the best performing of our 2016 best five, though the rest are by no means sub par as all perform very well. These do have the advantage of giving a lot more in terms of adjustability, weather resistance and overall movement so work well on a woodland walk and climbing in the mountains equally.
Best Looks: Montane Terra Pants
While looks and style aren’t by any means essential in outdoor gear as performance and comfort is more crucial there’s nothing wrong with choosing clothing with a little more aesthetics. We thought the Montane Terra pants had the best design overall with contrasting colour panels that give it something different over the others, plus have a cut that gives them a more modern technical style.