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The Eight Best Hiking Pants for Summer and Fall 2021

Having the right pair can make your day in the backcountry a lot more enjoyable

For hiking, scrambling, climbing and other outdoor adventures, the right choice of pants can make the difference between feeling comfortable and well-protected from everything from the sun, the temps, brush and insects and being overheated, wet, or scratched. Choosing the right pants for outdoors activities starts with deciding what kind of conditions and activities you will wear them in, what fit you prefer and your personal usage preferences.

If you need them to stretch a lot, for an activity like climbing or scrambling, you’ll want pants that move with you. If you want them to dry out quickly in case of rain or getting them wet on a boating excursion, choose faster-drying synthetics.  Heavier fabrics are more abrasion resistant but can be less breathable. Luckily, there are options for every user, and here are some of the best.

Arc’teryx Sabria Women’s 

These pants are made of Fortius DW 1.0 fabric, a mix of nylon and elastane. They’re water-resistant but breathable, and the material is light enough for comfort on hot days. The four-way stretch articulated knees and gusseted crotch make it a good choice for scrambling. You’ll also look good in this pair, as Arc’teryx are definitely able to inject some style into all of their clothes. Take note though, that the fit is a little small. Flap hip pockets allow you to keep a few small items handy. The internal waist adjuster won’t chafe beneath hip-belts or harnesses. MSRP $150

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Arc’teryx Men’s Palisade 

Arc’teryx has always been an innovator when it comes to fabrics and the Terrex stretch nylon material of the Palisade Pants makes for smooth, stretchable, water-resistant but also touch pants. The fit is fairly slim, but the articulation throughout the pants and the stretch material make it move with you no matter where you are going. MSRP $170

Columbia Men’s Tech Trail 

These polyester and elastane pants are a great choice for hiking and other outdoor excursions. They taper a little, creating a bit a smaller entry point at the ankle for mosquitoes and blackflies. They’re a medium-weight pant but are rugged enough to last a long time. A zip storage pocket, hip and back patch pockets offer plenty of space for small items. Belt-loops and elastic waist keep this pair up. Rugged, straightforward pants that are great for hiking. MSRP $90

Columbia Women’s River Ankle 

These capris are made of a light blend of elastane and polyester. The material and the loose fit, as well as the calf-length legs make the perfect for casual hiking, bouldering and climbing. The draw-string waist easily tucks beneath pack hip belts and harnesses. Hand pockets are perfect for small items. MSRP $45

Mountain Hardwear Men’s Ap 5 Pocket

The cotton canvas, nylon and elastane mix in these pants makes for a combination of abrasion resistance and stretch that’s perfect for the most rugged hikes and climbs. Hip and rear-patch pockets offer lots of space for handy items. The relaxed fit will stay comfortable and breathable on the longest outings. Mountain Hardwear’s serious commitment to making technical gear shows in these well-designed, tough and functional pants. MSRP $55

Mountain Hardwear Women’s Dynama

These pants are made of a nylon-elastane blend. The amount of stretch in these pants makes them perfect for high-movement activities. They dry quickly and shed water. The stretch waist-band will lie nice and flat under pack waistbelts or harnesses. Not as abrasion resistant as some pants, but they more than make up for it with their light weight and packability. Front hip and back pockets hold any small items you want to keep handy. MSRP $54

The North Face Men’s Motion

The patented Triextra material in these pants offers a little stretch and lots of abrasion resistance. Hip and back patch pockets. A zip pocket for your phone is a nice touch. The gusseted crotch and articulated knees help these slim fit pants move with you in any terrain. The North Face know that many adventures continue after sunset and a special touch in the motion pants is the band reflective tape on the inside of the sleeve cuffs. When you roll up your cuffs for cycling or hiking at night, you’ll get some extra visibility. MSRP $54

The North Face Women’s Bridgeway

A recycled polyester and elastane blend lowers the carbon footprint of these pants. The standard, relaxed fit is comfortable on hot days, and the stretch in the fabric makes them suitable for high-mobility activities. The durable water repellant coating sheds water, but these light, technical pants also dry very quickly if drenched. A large, convenient pocket on the left thigh and a zip pocket on the right thigh offer lots of room for essentials. An integrated, low-profile belt system lies flat under your hip belt or harness. MSRP $115

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