How to Choose Men’s Hiking Pants for Backpacking & Trekking

The Many Benefits of Hiking Pants

The Many Benefits of Hiking Pants

Hiking pants are lightweight, quick-drying pants (made from various types of nylon) that are ideal for hiking and other outdoor pursuits. Hiking pants are lightweight, come with plenty of pockets, have no bulk and dry fast. Even better, many hiking pants are “convertible hiking pants,” which means the legs can zip off—turning the pants into comfortable hiking shorts.


Made from strong nylon, hiking pants are lightweight—weighing less than even a cotton pair of shorts. On longer hikes the large weight savings allows for more comfort—and thus enjoyable—hiking.

Quick Drying

Due to their nylon construction, hiking pants dry very fast. If the pants get wet, they will dry out often times within minutes –even while wearing them. Unlike blue jeans or other cotton fabrics, nylon hiking pants do not hold or absorb water. For this reason, hiking pants are the pants are ideal for hiking trips where stream crossings need to be made or where there’s the potential of stormy, wet weather. The ability to keep the “pants dry” is especially important in mountain areas, where cold temperatures often accompany rainy weather. A hiker wearing wet blue jeans in cold temperatures will, let’s just say, not have an enjoyable hiking trip.


Quality hiking pants are made from specialized nylon that is both “soft” and “quiet”. Quality hiking pants, when worn, do not make that “nylon rubbing” sound like lower quality nylon pants and other poor quality nylon clothing make. This “quiet” not only gets rid of an annoying trail side irritation to the ears, it also allows for better wildlife viewing.


Hiking pants usually have many, and often large, pockets. These pockets always come in handy, allowing for easy storage of maps, small digital cameras, lip balm and other items best stored “on person” instead of in a waist pack of daypack. The many pockets on hiking pants also make it easier to go “ultralight.” The pockets are perfect to store maps, sunscreen, lip balm, munchies, phones and other small items “on person” instead of buried in a pack.


Hiking pants are one of the most comfortable pants a person can wear. Hiking pants are light—so light they are easy to forget that they are even there. Moreover, hiking pants—properly sized—are also roomy. With a hiking pant, you’ll never have to worry about the pant “crimping up” or rubbing against the skin (which often happens with blue jeans on longer hikes). A hiking pant essentially allows for unlimited flexibility. Hikers who journey off-trail or scramble along the rocks will come to enjoy this benefit greatly. Also, hiking pants often have elastic waistbands. While not exactly stylish, elastic waist bands are comfortable since it allows the pant to move with the motions of the hiker’s body.

Convertible Shorts

Many hiking pants convert easily to shorts. These types of hiking pants are called “Convertible Hiking Pants.” Convertible hiking pants have zippers about 1/3 the way down the pant. Just unzip the lower part of the pant on each leg and the pants convert to excellent hiking shorts.

Leg Protection That is “Cool”

Because hiking pants breathe (sweat isn’t trapped inside the pant), hiking pants keep the legs cool while still protecting the legs from twigs, thorns and other hazards found when hiking—especially off-trail. Off-trail hikers will quickly come to appreciate how the pants protect the skin while still allowing the legs to remain cool.

Hiking Elite Hiking Pants

Hiking Elite Men’s Hiking Pants are incredibly comfortable, offer a high degree of wearer mobility, and keep you cool as you work up a sweat. They are made of durable ripstop fabric and incorporate a higher-than-average 14% spandex. We found that they provide high mobility for hiking, running, yoga, or scrambling across rocks. They are also very light, thin, and highly breathable, making them an ideal choice for hot weather. For more hiking ideas, visit Hiking Elite blog.

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