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Walking Trousers

Best Walking Trousers Reviewed 2021

Ranging from lightweight summer backpacking options to full on mountaineering wear, here's our pick of our favourite walking trousers on the market at the moment

There are a number of things to consider when looking for the best walking trousers to suit you.

First of all, consider the season that you’ll be wearing them in. If you’re doing lots of winter walking, you’ll want something warm, windproof and water resistant or even waterproof. If you’re walking mostly in summer, you’ll probably want something lightweight, breathable, wicking and maybe insect and UV proof.

It’s also important to consider the type of activity you’ll be taking on and how strenuous your hikes will be. Will you need something durable to take on rocky scrambles, and that won’t rip with the first touch of a crampon spike? Or will you need something simpler, just to wear on short and easy pub walks?

“The trousers reviewed below are all either included in our recent Outdoor 100 and they range from lightweight backpacking trousers to full winter mountaineering pants.”

The suitability of a pair of hiking pants to different scenarios depends mostly on the types of fabrics used as well as their thickness. A popular material is softshell, which is a breathable, stretchy and snag resistant blend of a number of fabrics and materials including polyester and elastane. Another popular material is a polyester and cotton blend as it tends to provide a high level of protection from the wind. Each different construction has different advantages and disadvantages when compared against each other, so there isn’t necessarily one that can be described as being the best.

Aside from fabrics, it’s important to look at the adjustment options on a pair of hiking trousers. For instance, what kind of waistband do they have, is it elasticated or semi elasticated? If there’s no elastication, is there an integrated hipbelt or just belt loops? Then down at the bottom, are there volume adjusters on the ankle cuffs? These can be useful if you want the trousers to hold to your boot, keep warm air in, and not flap in the wind so much. Also consider the amount of pockets and their placement, closure and size. Are they big enough to hold a map, are they secure enough to keep your phone or car keys inside?

Then finally, articulation is extremely important when you are looking for the best walking trousers. Take a look at how they are constructed around the crotch and at the knee and be sure that they won’t hinder your movement or rub uncomfortably against your skin.

The Best Walking Trousers 2021

  • Fjällräven Keb Trousers – Best Walking Trousers Tested
  • Häglofs Rugged Flex Pant
  • Mountain Equipment Ibex Pants
  • Fjällräven Abisko Trekking Tights – Best Tights For Hiking Tested
  • CimAlp Explore H Pants
  • Salewa Alpine Hemp Lite Trousers
  • Mammut Runbold Pants
  • Klättermusen Gere
  • Keela Scuffers
  • Sasta Kaarna
  • Revolution Race GPX Pro
  • Páramo Maui

The trousers reviewed below range from lightweight backpacking trousers to full winter mountaineering pants. We’ve included pairs to suit every season and every type of terrain, and the majority come in men’s and women’s versions. If you’re after something waterproof, go check out our guide to the best waterproof overtrousers.

BEST BUY: Fjällräven Keb Trousers

Price: £200
Weight: 610g
Best for: Hiking, hillwalking and trekking
Key attributes: Durable, well-articulated, eco-friendly

These trousers are already highly regarded, but the latest version has an improved fit and functionality. They still employ a hybrid construction of weatherproof and tough G-1000 Eco – a sustainable polycotton blend that can be waxed for additional water-resistance – with 4-way stretch fabric panels. This offers good durability yet exceptional freedom of movement.

They are now a little slimmer fitting overall, particularly in the lower leg and over the rear. Stretch panelling is a bit more extensive and a seam has been removed across the rear thigh. There are still double leg vents to help dump heat, but the top vent now has a two-way zip, which does improve usability. The pocket construction has been simplified, as has the patterning at the ankle. These design changes have made them even better suited to technical trekking and hillwalking, resulting in a superb pair of outdoor trousers.

Full Specifications

G-1000 Eco: 65% polyester, 35% cotton with stretch panels (63% polyamide, 26% polyester, 11% elastane) / Adjustable leg endings / Pre-shaped knees / Boot hooks / 2 hand pockets / 2 thigh pockets / Thigh and calf ventilation / impregnated with Greenland Wax for water-resistance.

Get the latest price at:
fjallraven.com

 

 Haglöfs Rugged Flex Pant

Price: £130
Weight: 410g
Best for: Hillwalking, scrambling, general outdoor use
Key attributes: Stretchy and slim-fitting

The Rugged Flex by Swedish brand Haglöfs are an evolution of their original Rugged Mountain Pant. You could call this new design a 2020 makeover with new stretchy fabrics and a much, much slimmer fit.

Featured here are two types of fabric that are both treated with an eco-friendly durable water repellent to help on those slightly drizzly days. Across the front of the thighs and on the calves there’s a tough polyamide which feels a little like tightly-woven cotton. Then, on the knees, shins, backside and inner thigh there’s a four-way stretch elastane-based fabric to allow dynamic movement.

For scrambling, general hillwalking, or even casual use, these are a great pair of trousers that performed excellently in our tests. Bear in mind, if you have thick legs you might need to consider going one size up with these.

Full Specifications

Available in men’s and women’s versions / Sizes XS- XXL / Climatic fabric: 95% Polyamide, 5% Elastane / FlexAble fabric: 90% Polyamide, 10% Elastane with 4-way stretch / Bluesign approved / Velcro adjustable ankle cuffs / two zippered hand pockets / one zippered thigh pocket / Fluorocarbon free DWR.

Check out our full Haglofs Rugged Flex review

Get the latest price at:
haglofs.com

 

Mountain Equipment Ibex Trousers

Price: £70
Weight: 445g
Best for: Mountaineering, trekking
Key attributes: Alpine-specific fit and details

If you’re looking for a pair of walking trousers for just about every outdoor occasion or activity then you won’t go far wrong with the Mountain Equipment Ibex. 

Whether you’re climbing in the Peak District or backpacking along the Cape Wrath Trail, this pair of softshell trousers are going to give you all the stretchiness, water and wind resistance and just general comfort that you require. It’s no surprise, really, that these are a best seller for Mountain Equipment – keep an eye out for them when you’re next in a mountain town, you’re bound to see someone wearing a pair.

Things you get with the Ibex then: an integrated hipbelt, zippered handwarmer pockets, a single zipped pocket on the backside and even two zipped pockets on the thigh as well (which double as vents – nice). One thing mountaineers are really going to appreciate with these is the zipped and gusseted ankles which will accommodate all-mountain boots when required. 

Full Specifications

Available in 28-40 S,R,L / Exolite 210 stretch double weave Soft Shell fabric / alpine fit with regular fit ankle / 2 zipped hand pockets and 1 rear zipped pocket / 2 zipped thigh pockets with integrated mesh lining / integrated belt with double press-stud waist closure / microfleece lined waistband / ankle zips with internal gusset panel.

Get the latest price:
webtogs.com

 

CimAlp Explore H Pants

Price: £100
Weight: 460g
Best for: Hillwalking, scrambling, climbing and bouldering
Key attributes: Stretchy yet durable

While these might be a fairly lightweight pair of trousers (though not the lightest) they’re actually surprisingly durable. That’s all thanks to the four-way stretch that the X-Trem fabric offers, plus the light Dupont Cordura overlays on the knees and ankle cuffs.

They feature a semi-elastic waist band, a typically alpine fit (CimAlp are a French Alps-based brand after all), DWR treatment for a degree of wet weather performance, two zipped hand pockets and one zipped thigh pocket.

The articulation is impressive – we’d say they’d not only be a good option hillwalkers and scramblers, but for climbers and boulderers as well.

Full Specifications

Available in men’s and women’s versions / DWR treatment / wind resistance up to 60km/h / UPF 50+ / two zipped hand pockets / one zipped thigh pocket / semi-elasticated waist / belt loops / Fabric X-Trem and Dupont Cordura.

Check out out full CimAlp Explore H Pants review

Get the latest price at:
cimalp.com

Salewa Alpine Hemp Lite Trousers

Price: £115
Weight: 290g
Best for: Spring/summer scrambling and climbing
Key attributes: Innovative fabric, technical design, maximum freedom of movement

Salewa are big believers in the benefits of hemp, a natural and sustainable performance fabric with a low impact on the environment. They say it is “exceptionally soft and breathable with lightweight, airy fibres that feel comfortable next-to-skin” and delivers excellent thermo-regulating, fast-wicking properties. And that’s what you get with the Alpine Hemp Lite trousers, which strike a fine balance between comfort, breathability and weight.

With a technical design and a cut that maximises freedom of movement, these stretchy trousers are specifically designed for climbers. They are cool and highly breathable, ideal for spring and summer trad climbing, or indeed hillwalking and scrambling, they should hit the spot pretty nicely. Salewa say the trousers are ideal for “indoor climbing gyms, bouldering centres and out on rock on milder days”.

Full Specifications

Available in men’s and women’s versions /  Adjustable waistband with cord regulation / belt loops / two flat front pockets / two rear zipped pockets / crotch gusset for freedom of movement / body mapped construction / elastic hem adjustment system with cord locks.

Selected for the Outdoor 100 2021/22. Check out our full Salewa Alpine Hemp Lite Trousers review

Get the latest price at:
salewa.com

Mammut Runbold Pants

Price: £89
Weight: 300g
Best for: Fast-hiking, summer hillwalking
Key attributes: Lightweight, stretchy, comfortable

“The freedom of movement they offer with the four-way stretch is second to none. I especially like how light they are, it barely feels like you have them on!”

The Runbold from Mammut is a super comfortable pair of hiking trousers, made from a tough, abrasion-resistant nylon material blended with a bit of Spandex. This has a four-way stretch to give the wearer great freedom of movement. Just what’s needed when you’re getting active in the outdoors. They have a stylish, athletically-profiled, cut to them and come fully equipped with extremely practical zipper pockets. Special shoutout, while we’re on the topic of pockets, for the side pocket; a feature that’s practically begging to look after your maps for you.

Full Specifications

Available in men’s and women’s versions / 2 slit pockets with zipper / seat pocket with zipper | map pocket on leg / Legs can be adjusted from full-length to 3/4 length / quick-drying and breathable.

Check out our full Mammut Runbold Pants review

Get the latest price at:
mammut.com

 

Klättermusen Gere

Price: £240
Weight: 810g
Best for: Mountaineering
Key attributes: Tough, comfortable, quick-drying and windproof

These technical trousers from Swedish brand Klättermusen are extremely durable and incorporate plenty of features, while boasting strong eco credentials too. You get zipped side pockets, as well as two front pockets and two back pockets. There’s a built-in attachment hook to seal the ankle against the bootlaces, curved inner leg seams and reinforcement at the instep – designed to provide additional durability against low shrubs, rocks, or crampon spikes.

These are clearly trousers designed for rough and tough high-level adventures. This is something that’s very much underlined by the pant’s pre-bent knees, and elasticated waist, for all-important freedom of movement.

Full Specifications

275 g/m²95% Ultramid® Bio-Mass Balanced Polyamide, 5% Elastane bluesign® approved fabric / Zipped side pockets and two back pockets / Zipped side ventilation with mesh facing and storm flap / Built-in attachment hook to seal the hem against the bootlaces / Curved inner leg seam

Check out our full Klattermusen Gere Pants review

Get the latest price at:
klattermusen.com

Keela Scuffer Trousers

Price: £80
Weight: 544g
Best for: Hiking and hillwalking
Key attributes: Reliable, durable, good value

Scottish brand Keela is known for its no-nonsense gear, the kind of stuff that is right at home bagging Munros and tramping across the rugged landscapes of the Highlands. The Scuffers are well-proven outdoor trousers with a relaxed fit around the thighs and backside, basically bucking the current trend for figure hugging cuts. Adjustable ankle cuffs can be cinched in around boots or loosened to create a bit of extra airflow. They’re decently water resistant, fending off light rain, and though in heavy stuff the trousers will eventually saturate, they’re very quick drying. With a bit of wind on a warm summer day they’ll be dry within an hour.

They feel very durable, with plenty of resistance to abrasion as well as a little stretchiness. This makes them perfect for three-season use, and since the generous cut allows for layering, they could even be combined with baselaye tights underneath for full-on winter weather too.

Full Specifications

Quick-dry fabric with 4-way stretch / Removable webbing belt / two zipped handwarmer pockets with a hidden security pocket / zip fly / reinforced seat and ankle scuff patches / adjustable ankle cuffs / thigh zips for ventilation.

Selected for the Outdoor 100 2021/22. Check out our full Keela Scuffers trousers review

Get the latest price at:
keelaoutdoors.com

 

Sasta Kaarna

Price: £194
Weight: 425g
Best for: Hiking and bushcraft
Key attributes: Lightweight, durable, eco-friendly

Sasta have managed to do the double this time round in our list of the best walking trousers for 2020. This pair are wool based, but are thin and light, making them perfect for summer use. In true Scandinavian form, sustainability is woven into Sasta’s values, and the fact that the wool is fully recycled is evidence of this. Features we liked during testing include the zipped pocket on the thigh, the durable reinforcements and the Velcro tabs on the ankle cuffs. They also have a nice trim cut, with good articulation.

Full Specifications

Only available in a men’s version / fabric: 70% recycled wool, 30% polyester / zipped thigh pocket / two handwarmer pockets / Velcro ankle cuffs / reinforced knees and cuffs.

Check out our full Sasta Kaarna review

Get the latest price at:
sasta.fi

Fjällräven Abisko Trail Tights

Price: £145
Weight: 265g
Best for: Summer hiking and hillwalking
Key attributes: Stretchy, lightweight, comfortable

“If you’re all about wearing outdoor kit that provides first-rate freedom of movement, you’ll dig these.”

OK, they’re not walking trousers per se, but they still deserve to be on this list – especially when you consider that many women (and men as well) choose to hike in leggings these days.

And these aren’t any old tights either. As the name suggests, they’ve been specifically made for trekking, with two useful pockets (one with a zipper and on with an overlapping closure), ceramic print on the knees to protect the fabric from wear and a toughened up backside as well. Handily, Fjällräven have cut the waist nice and high so you won’t have to keep pulling them up every 10 minutes – the drawcord will back you up in that regard too.  Stretchy, warm but breathable and offering dynamic movement for a range of activities, these could well be the perfect pair of tights for the outdoor enthusiast who likes a snug fit.

Full Specifications

Available in men’s and women’s versions / 82% polyamide, 18% elastane / polymide, aramid, elastane and polyester reinforcements / map Pocket and safety pocket / pre-shaped knees / fluorocarbon-free impregnation.

Check out our full Fjällräven Abisko Trekking Tights review.

Get the latest price at:
fjallraven.com

Revolution Race GP Pro Pants

Price: £95
Weight: 520g
Best for: Hiking, trekking and general outdoor use
Key attributes:Superbly multifunctional, gloriously comfortable

With the GP Pro trousers, Revolution Race have created a pair of pants that are designed with multi-functionality at their heart. Built from weather resistant, stretchy materials, and sporting ventilating zippers and more pockets that you can shake a hiking pole at, these might just be the only pair of outdoor trousers you’ll ever need.

They feature two deep hand pockets and two zippered pockets on the thighs. The left thigh pocket is even specifically designed with your mobile phone in mind. There are also Hypershell reinforcements, making them both wind and water repellent. The groin, the inner thighs and the back of the knees are further reinforced by four-way stretch material, giving them excellent support. The stretch panels ventilate beautifully, giving you a very comfortable fit, while zippered ventilation panels mean you can open things up when you’re working hard on the trail. Importantly, the trousers are tight fitting but stretchy enough to give you excellent freedom of movement, which is why they work so well for a range of applications.

Full Specification

Polyester 65%, Cotton 35% with stretch Polyamide 88%, Elastane 12% panels / Thigh ventilation with zipper / 2 hand pockets / 2 bellowed thigh pockets with zippers / back pocket with zipper / Pre-bent knees / Adjustable leg opening with buttoned closing / Elastic leg opening / Knee pad pockets / Extended belt loops / Gusset in crotch / Phone pocket inside one thigh pocket / Boothook in leg opening / PFC-free DWR finish

Selected for the Outdoor 100 2021/22. Check out our full Revolution Race GP Pro trousers review

Get the latest price at:
revolutionrace.co.uk

Páramo Maui

Price: £70
Weight: 335g
Best for: Spring and summer hiking, trekking and travelling
Key attributes: Breathable, practical, well-made

Páramo’s Maui walking trousers (shorts are available as well) might look fairly simple and non-technical, but they actually bring a surprising amount to the table thanks to subtle features and a useful blend of natural and synthetic materials. These, we’d say, are best suited to any summer hiking and will also serve well on milder spring and autumn days as well. With their relatively light overall weight, they wouldn’t be too much of an inconvenience on any treks where they might stay in your backpack on some days. There are also a number of aspects about them that make them very suited to adventure travel. The Parameta A Cotton+ fabric used is a blend of organic cotton and synthetic fibres that is fast wicking, so it moves moisture away from your skin fast and dries quickly too. It’s also woven densely enough (with a ripstop construction) to withstand, say, rough rock or sharp branches, and to block out UV rays and biting insects.

Full Specification

Men’s sizes S-XXL (three leg lengths in some sizes) / Women’s (Atka) sizes XS-XXL (three leg lengths in some sizes) / Nikwax Parameta A Cotton + Fabric (UPF 50+) / Articulated knee design and shaped gusset / OS Map sized cargo pocket / Elasticated waist with belt loops for a secure and comfortable fit.

Check out our full Paramo Maui trousers review

Get the latest price at:
paramo-clothing.com

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