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How do I Choose the Best Trekking Pants?

Dan Cavallari
By
Updated May 23, 2024
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The best trekking pants will depend on the type of trekking you will be doing. You will need to consider the conditions in which you are likely to trek, as well as the general temperature of the region or regions through which you will trek. In just about all cases, you will want to choose trekking pants that are waterproof or water-resistant, and breathable to allow sweat to escape the pants. Lightweight trekking pants are a good choice if you will be hauling your own gear, though in snowy conditions, you will want to consider a high quality pair of snow pants.

Trekking can be a highly physical activity, which means the body is likely to sweat, sometimes profusely, during the trek. A good pair of trekking pants will be breathable, or able to allow moisture from sweat to escape the fabric used to make the pants. This keeps the skin dry, which means the skin will stay warmer in cold weather and more comfortable in warm weather. Synthetic materials specifically designed to wick moisture away from the skin may cost more than natural materials, though the investment will be well worth the extra comfort and body heat regulation.

Be sure the trekking pants you are considering are made from waterproof or water resistant materials that are fast-drying. In some regions, you will be likely to get wet, so choosing pants that can keep that moisture away from the skin can enhance comfort and your ability to regulate body temperature. If the pants do get wet, make sure you have chosen synthetic materials that will dry out quickly, or natural materials that will be warm even when wet. Most trekkers will wear the trekking pants for several days in a row, so it is important to be able to dry them out and stay warm and dry for several days.

Consider trekking pants with zip-off legs. These pants allow you to remove the lower portion of the pant legs, thereby making the pants into shorts. This is handy for trekkers who will be going through regions with temperature fluctuations, or for trekkers who tend to have large swings in body temperature during different levels of physical exertion. The lower pant legs can be stowed in a backpack and zipped back on should the weather change again, and in some cases, the pants will feature large cargo pockets in which the lower pant legs can be stored when not in use.

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Dan Cavallari
By Dan Cavallari , Former Writer
Dan Cavallari, a talented writer, editor, and project manager, crafts high-quality, engaging, and informative content for various outlets and brands. With a degree in English and certifications in project management, he brings his passion for storytelling and project management expertise to his work, launching and growing successful media projects. His ability to understand and communicate complex topics effectively makes him a valuable asset to any content creation team.

Discussion Comments

By Almita — On Jul 16, 2011

@minthybear19 - I wear actual leg weights, but maybe I'll switch them out for more gear. The more I can carry the better!

I use the type with the zip off legs too -- it just makes sense. If you get over heated, you can take off the legs for awhile. I guess the zipper vent pants would work too. They might actually be a better idea because your legs would still be covered. My only complaint with my pants is that my legs get scratched up when I take the legs off.

By minthybear19 — On Jul 16, 2011

@w00dchuck41 - Yikes! That's what belts are for.

Sizing and pockets are both super important, but if you want trekking pants that you can use in different areas, you should get the ones with zipper vents up the sides. That way, you can use them in lots of different places. Of course, snow trekking pants should probably be wool or fleece.

My trekking pants have zip-off legs to make them into shorts, zipper vents and lots of pockets. I actually like putting heavier items in my pants -- it's better than leg weights.

By w00dchuck41 — On Jul 15, 2011

@Almita - Over-sized pants are miserable too. When I went trekking a year or two ago, I thought that loose pants would be comfy if I had to camp in them -- which is not true, by the way.

They got caught on everything and the legs ripped to heck and back by the time we went home -- not to mention having to stop and pull them up again. I can't stress enough the importance of properly sized pants when you're outdoors.

By amsden2000 — On Jul 14, 2011

Pockets, pockets and pockets! When I go out trekking, I always bring a ton of little things with me -- so I love trekking pants with lots of pockets. Of course, don't pack too many heavy things into your pants or you won't be able to move comfortably.

The only other advise I can give to first-time trekkers is not to wear pants that are too tight. You want to be able to move comfortably, so avoid super tight waistlines and thighs. The last thing you want is a ripped seam on a mountain top!

Dan Cavallari

Dan Cavallari

Former Writer

Dan Cavallari, a talented writer, editor, and project manager, crafts high-quality, engaging, and informative content for various outlets and brands. With a degree in English and certifications in project management, he brings his passion for storytelling and project management expertise to his work, launching and growing successful media projects. His ability to understand and communicate complex topics effectively makes him a valuable asset to any content creation team.
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