Best Walking Trousers 2020
(The Ultimate Buyer's Guide)
Imagine you are planning a hiking trip. What do you bring? A waterproof jacket, functional underwear, sunglasses, beanie, backpack…
But what kind of pants are the right ones to bring when going hiking? It is not an easy choice, especially if you want to find a functional pair of trousers that still looks stylish at the same time.
We took the matter into our own hands and put together an ultimate buyer’s guide for waking trousers. In our guide, we’ll explain to you the different types of outdoor trousers and what you should look out for when buying a pair. We also chose the top 6 trousers for men and the top 4 trousers for women to help make your decision a little easier.
Now let’s dive right in and discover the world of outdoor trousers together!
How We Rate The Best Walking Trousers
Mud, rain, thunder, bright sunshine, or freezing cold. Outdoor trousers have to withstand a lot of different conditions, especially when going on a hiking trip to the mountains, where the weather can change in seconds.
This is why there are a lot of factors to consider when buying a pair of outdoor trousers. Our trousers ranking has been based on the performance in the following categories that we felt most relevant to us:
The conditions in which the trousers will be mainly used in, the comfort and fit of the pants, waterproofing and breathability, and additional features like pockets or zip-off legs.
Let’s start off with the conditions as our first and most important ranking factor. Not every pair of trousers will be suited for certain kinds of weather conditions.
In our ranking, we focused on finding the best pair of trousers for different conditions. For example cold weather, summer hiking, multi-day hiking tours, or climbing.
For cold and dry weather, we generally recommend to go for softshell pants. Softshell pants are windproof and keep heat locked in. Some of them are even made with a fleece lining to keep you extra warm and cosy. They do not, however, protect you from heavy rain as they are only water-repellent.
For rainy conditions or a hiking tour with unpredictable weather, we recommend to go for a pair with a blend of different materials. When you are at risk of getting caught in a rain shower, you want to be on the safe side and make sure that your pants protect you.
For summer hikes with hot weather and sunshine, we recommend hiking pants that can be changed to hiking shorts by zipping off the legs. A great option for women is to go for a technical pair of leggings.
Comfort And Fit
A second important ranking factor for us was the comfort and fit in a pair of trousers. When hiking, you need a pair of pants that support movement and feel comfy on your skin at the same time. The comfier, the better – you will spend a lot of time hiking in them.
Softshell pants or hiking trousers made from blended fabrics are usually the most comfortable pants. See that as a reason for why we didn’t include hardshell pants in our ranking – even though they are extremely weatherproof. Being comfortable while exploring was more important to us than full waterproofness!
Another positive of comfy trousers is that they generally also look better than hardshell pants. Comfort, functionality, and style was the winning combination for our best walking trousers ranking!
Waterproofing & Breathability
Next up is the technical part of our ranking factors. The functionality of our outdoor trousers was as important as the comfort and style when putting together the ranking for the best walking trousers.
A good pair of trousers should protect you from wind and weather if you find yourself being surprised by a storm.
Especially when going on multi-day-hikes, it is super important that you are wearing windproof and fast-drying clothing. The weather is unpredictable and it can change quickly!
Most outdoor trousers are windproof and fast-drying instead of being completely waterproof. A waterproof shell usually is quite heavy and therefore a poor choice for non-professional hiking tours.
Breathability, on the other hand, is the single most important factor when buying trousers for hot or fast-changing weather conditions. Breathable materials will help to avoid sweating and make your pants dry faster.
As our fourth and last ranking factor, we decided to include additional features. The additional features of outdoor trousers are not necessary, yet they can make the difference between liking and loving a pair of hiking pants.
With every pair of pants that made it into our ranking, we included which feature we liked the most. To name some examples of additional features on outdoor trousers… a built-in belt, cargo pockets for extra storage, fleece lining, removable legs…
But more about the additional features later in this article. Let’s look at the winners of our men’s and women’s ranking!
Top 6 Walking Trousers For Men 2020
Top 4 Walking Trousers For Women 2020
Walking Trousers Men
#1 - Dope Rover TECH
The Dope Rover TECH is our well-deserved overall winner of the best walking trousers ranking. They are a great pair of trousers with a lot of technical features and unique street styling.
Let’s start with the material used for this amazing pair of pants. 95% Nylon and 5% Spandex is the perfect mix to make a durable yet super elastic pair of pants. The eco-friendly DWR-coating lets water to pearl off so you stay dry and warm during your next mountain adventure.
We absolutely love the chino style of the Dope Rover TECH and its handy features. Next to the to big hip pockets and two button-up back pockets, the Rover comes with a built-in belt and an elastic waistband.
#2 - The North Face Exploration Convertible
The second place in our men’s ranking goes to the The North Face Exploration Convertible trousers. These 3-in-1 pants are our favourite when it comes to finding a pair of trousers that you can wear all-year-round.
You can either wear them as long pants, shorts or at three-quarter-length by buttoning up the calves or by zipping off the legs above the knees. The mixture of 95% Nylon and 5% Elastane is lightweight, moisture-wicking, quick-drying, and super stretchy.
Rounded off by its zip pockets and its water-repellent DWR finish, the lightweight The North Face Exploration Convertible makes the perfect pair of action trousers for advanced hikers or multi-day hiking tours.
#3 - Dope Rambler
Our all-time favourite for hiking in cold, dry weather: The Dope Rambler Pants. The Dope Rambler is the comfiest pair of softshell hiking pants that you will find, and we can say that from experience.
It is made from 70% Cotton, 25% Polyester and 5% Spandex and is therefore super durable yet comfortable to wear. Its fleece lining gives extra warmth on cold days and makes you want to wear this piece of heaven everywhere you go.
The Dope Rambler is also equipped with a handful of smart features: A built-in-belt, an elastic waistband, and two spacious leg pockets with mesh harnesses for your smartphone. 5 stars for comfiness and functionality.
#4 - The North Face Lightning
Our choice for everyone who is more serious about mountaineering or climbing, The North Face Lightning Pants. A technical and lightweight pair of trousers that don’t hold back when it comes to style.
The functional fabric mix of 95% Nylon and 5% Elastane also came into play when designing this pair of technical pants. They are durable and stretchy at the same time and offer the perfect mix for long hikes or advanced climbs.
The material is also moisture-wicking and quick-drying which is great for unpredictable weather conditions or warmer temperatures. The preshaped knees offer extra space for movement, too. And to top it off, the pants come with a built-in-belt and zip pockets.
#5 - Dope Drizzard
Our favourite pair of pants for rainy days or rough conditions. The Dope Drizzard is an extremely lightweight pair of pants with impressive waterproofing and breathability stats.
The Dope Drizzard is made from 85% Nylon and 15% Spandex and comes with a waterproof and breathable TPU lamination. This fabric combination offers a solid waterproofing of 5K and even more incredible breathability of 30K.
This pair of pants can be compressed into a tiny parcel and is the perfect companion to keep in your backpack while going for a hike. In case of a surprising rain shower, simply pull out the Dope Drizzard and your day is saved!
But that’s not all. The Dope Drizzard also comes with zippered openings at the hips. With these, you can easily access the pockets of the pair of jeans you are wearing underneath!
#6 - Peak Performance Iconiq Cargo
Our premium price choice is the Peak Performance Iconiq Cargo. This pair of pants is not only super technical, but it also has a lot of pockets and can definitely be counted as one of the more stylish pairs of trousers in our ranking.
Its material is a mixture made from 37% Polyamide, 57% Recycled Polyester, and 6% Elastane, and is super stretchy and robust. The high percentage of recycled polyester also makes it a very environmentally friendly pair of trousers.
The Peak Performance Iconiq Cargo are water, and wind-resistant and have quick-drying and moisture-wicking characteristics. Topped off with an elastic waistband and tons of pockets, this is our premium choice for all environmentally-conscious hiking lovers.
Walking Trousers Women
#1 - Dope Lofty Tech
The Dope Lofty Tech Leggings might not look like a technical pair of trousers at first glance. But for us, they are still the perfect choice for summer hikes. You will be surprised what this pair of leggings is capable of!
The Dope Lofty Tech Leggings are made from 85% Polyester and 15% Spandex which makes for super stretchiness. This material is also highly breathable which means the leggings keep heat in while letting sweat out. A great combination for hot summer hikes!
What really convinced us to reward this pair of leggings the first place in our ranking for women are its stylish and form-fitting looks in combination with their smart technical features, like the wide elastic waistband with drawstring adjustment, and the three big pockets for your smartphone and other valuables.
And the best part: you get all of this at an unbeatable price of only 50 Euros!
#2- The North Face Speedlight
The second place in our best walking trousers for women ranking goes to the The North Face Speedlight Pants. A classic pair of lightweight softshell pants with a straight cut in the medium price range.
Manufactured from 85% Nylon and 15% Elastane, with 4-way-stretch, this pair of trousers is extremely flexible. And thanks to the WindWall construction and its DWR-finish, these pants are windproof and water repellent to keep you warm in the toughest weather. The North Face’s FlashDry technology helps the fabric to dry within minutes after getting wet, too.
The incredible technical fabric of this pair of trousers gets topped off by zipped pockets, a built-in belt and a stylish The North Face logo patch on the left side.
#3- Dope Rambler W
The Dope Rambler W couldn’t be missing left out of our women’s ranking. Women get cold easily and this pair of warm and comfy pants is the right choice for winter walks with the dog or advanced hikes in mild climate areas.
This pair of softshell pants is made from 70% Cotton, 25% Polyester, and 5% Spandex and are therefore super durable yet comfortable to wear. Their fleece lining gives extra warmth on cold days and makes you want to wear this piece of heaven everywhere you go.
The Dope Rambler is also equipped with a hand full of smart features: a built-in-belt, an elastic waistband, and two spacious leg pockets with mesh harnesses for your smartphone. 5 stars for comfiness and functionality.
#4- Peak Performance Iconiq Cargo W
Another pair of pants that made our female selection in our ranking is the Peak Performance Iconiq Cargo W with a specific female fitting. Our premium choice for all environmentally conscious and ambitious lady hikers out there!
With its material mix from 37% Polyamide, 57% Recycled Polyester, and 6% Elastane, these pants are not just super stretchy and robust, the high percentage of recycled polyester also makes them a very environmentally friendly pair of trousers.
The Peak Performance Iconiq Cargo are also water, and wind-resistant and have quick-drying and moisture-wicking characteristics. Topped off with an elastic waist and tons of pockets, this is a high-class pair of trousers that will be loved by all ladies with hiking ambitions!
How To Choose The Best Walking Trouser
Choosing the greatest outdoor trouser isn’t easy. That’s why we put together a short manual for you that will help you to find the perfect pair of trousers for your needs.
The first thing to look for when buying a pair of trousers is the mix of materials used. Depending on the use of fabrics, a pair of outdoor trousers can be either robust or more stretchy.
The most common material blend for outdoor trousers is a mix of synthetics like nylon or polyester and spandex. Spandex gives the pants the flexibility needed for hiking and makes them extra comfy. The more spandex is in the mix, the more flexible the pants are.
Other pants are made partially from cotton. Cotton has the big plus that it is more robust than a polyester-spandex mix. On the downside, cotton is less breathable and takes longer to dry if wet.
Therefore, we recommend you to go for a cotton-spandex mix in dry and cold conditions and for a synthetics-spandex mix in warmer and wetter conditions.
The next thing to look out for is the warmth of outdoor trousers. The weather conditions in which you want to wear your new pair of trousers should determine how warm your new trousers should be.
The warmest type of trousers are softshell trousers with a warm and cosy fleece lining. They keep you toasty but only in dry weather.
Outdoor trousers made from blended materials are usually extremely lightweight and breathable and can be used in various types of conditions. In the summer, 2 in 1 trousers are perfect so you don’t have to decide between wearing shorts or trousers.
Versatility & Style
One of the most important criteria for our ranking was the versatility and style. We love to have only one pair of trousers that you can use for multiple occasions.
When talking about outdoor trousers, our favourites can be worn for a day hike or a trip to the city. Because who said that hiking can’t be stylish?
For more ambitious hikers, we recommend 2-in-1 trousers that can be transformed into shorts when the sun comes out. Due to their low weight and versatility, they are the perfect companion for multi-day hiking trips.
Another important thing to look out for when buying outdoor trousers, is the weather resistance. When hiking in the mountains, the weather is unpredictable and can change within a few minutes.
When that happens, you want to be well prepared and wearing a pair of pants that can withstand the rain in order to keep you dry.
Look out for waterproofing or a water-repellent coating on your future walking trousers to make sure to stay protected from a storm.
Equally important as the waterproofing of a pair of outdoor trousers is the breathability. Breathable pants will dry faster after the rain and allow hot air to evaporate.
While hiking, it is important to have a breathable pair of pants. If you get warm and hot air can’t escape, you will start sweating and can become cold really quickly.
Trousers with high breathability are usually made from synthetic fabrics. Cotton is generally less breathable than synthetics. Therefore, we recommend to go for a pair of pants made from synthetic fabrics when going for long and demanding hikes.
The last thing to look out for when buying a pair of outdoor trousers are the additional features. Like we mentioned earlier, the additional features will make the difference between liking and loving your new outdoor pants.
Zip-off – Trousers with zippable legs are super versatile and can be worn in various conditions. The zipper is usually placed slightly above the knees. And in seconds you can transform your trousers into shorts.
Built-in belt – A lot of trousers have a built-in belt that is perfect for hiking. It is easy to adjust and you don’t have to buy an additional belt.
Pockets – Big pockets are a great feature for everyone who loves to go hiking without a backpack. For day-hikes or long walks, it is often enough to only bring the necessities: wallet, phone, and a little snack like a chocolate bar.
Types Of Trousers
Now it’s time to look a little bit closer into the different types of walking trousers. The different types of outdoor trousers are suitable for different types of weather conditions. We listed the three most common types of trousers for you and explained which type of trousers is best suited for which type of weather condition.
Softshell Walking Trousers
Softshell walking trousers are usually made from two layers: a wind and weather-proof outer layer and an insulating inner layer.
The smooth material of a softshell trouser is known for its high comfort and nice looks. The lining is usually made from fleece or mesh which makes softshell pants extra comfy.
Because of their warmth, softshell trousers are a great choice for winter walks or hiking in colder climates like the UK or Scotland.
The downside of softshell trousers is that they are usually only water repellent and won’t keep you dry in the rain.
Hardshell Walking Trousers
Hardshell walking trousers are made from highly waterproof and breathable materials, which can provide you with protection from the roughest conditions.
Hardshell hiking trousers are designed for advanced hikers who need a highly robust pair of pants when going on mountaineering trips or ski tours during the winter.
Compared to other outdoor trousers, they lack comfortability and insulation. Therefore, we decided to not include hardshell trousers in our ranking.
Walking Trousers From Blended Fabrics
Walking trousers made from blended fabrics are our favourites when looking for an all-round pair of hiking pants. With a pair of trousers made from blended fabrics, you are ready to tackle all kinds of terrain in both comfort and style.
They are robust, lightweight, and can be used in all kinds of conditions. We absolutely love the versatility offered by trousers made from blended fabrics!
If you are looking to buy only one pair of trousers, this is the right choice! The mix of synthetics with spandex materials results in a highly robust and comfy pair of trousers.
Best Outdoor Brands
Dope Snow – This is a company that is taking the snowboard and outdoor apparel industry by storm. It has fresh and functional products.
Peak Performance – This brand stands for modern designs, technical solutions and high quality.
The North Face – Their pants feature innovative waterproofing and insulating technologies to keep you dry and warm.
Best Outdoor Trousers By Conditions
Wrapping It Up
That was it folks! Our ultimate buyer’s guide for outdoor trousers. We hope you enjoyed the read and are now ready to tackle your next mountain adventure together with your new favourite pair of outdoor trousers.
If you are keen on finding out more about the Dope Collection, make sure to check out our other buyer’s guides in the related reading section!