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Anupama Pradeep

Top 10 Best Waterproof Pants for Hiking [2022 Reviews]

A good pair of hiking waterproof pants will provide you with the best freedom of movement, comfort and also the desired flexibility to perform all activities.

However, don’t compromise with the material used for its making. Try to get those which are made out of lightweight nylon as it increases the durability of the pants along with offering great breathability.

In addition, it also provides extra protection from wetness and the windy climatic conditions. Based on the season in which you are going to hit the trails, choose the material of the hiking pants.


Quick Comparison: Best Rain Pants

**Below, you'll find our expert's reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.

How to Choose the Rain Pants for Your Activities?

Weight and Size

If you are planning to hike, then try to get a gear which is light in weight. Waterproof pants are normally lightweight. However, you keep away some weight factor by carrying the lightweight rain pants.

Since the waterproof pants are kept in your backpack and are used only when required, it is highly important that you pack it very small.


Majority of the waterproof pants which are used for hiking is made out of hundred percent nylon materials.

Other hiking pants are constructed from nylon-spandex as well as polyester mix. These fabrics will help the hiker to stand against the wetness and the water prone settings.

The material which is used for the construction will define the weight of the pants. Both polyester and nylon materials are light weight. Even though nylon material hiking pants are more expensive, they are extremely weather-resistant and durable.

Waterproof Technology:

There are basically two different types of waterproof technologies and they are coatings and laminates. The laminate includes a layer which protects the water from getting inside from the outside area along with permitting the vapor from the inner portion to go out. They are constructed from polyurethane or polytetrafluoroethylene.

On the other hand, the coating technology is applied straight to the inside portion of the pants - a polyurethane layer. The coating will be made to porous by the application of an agent which forms tiny holes within it.

Fabric Layers in Waterproof Pants

waterproof pants rain jacket covers gaiters

Basically, the waterproof pants come in three different options: 2-layer construction, 2.5-layer construction and 3-layer construction.

When you buy your pair of pants for your hiking needs, they may appear like a single fabric layer. However, in real, there are multiple layers which are pressed together. The outer layer, known as the face fabric will resist the water from absorbing into the fabric and due to the same it would cause this layer to get soaked and get heavier.

The middle one or the second layer acts as the waterproof-breathable membrane and is present under the face layer. The final layer or the third layer is where the things will get different in case of waterproof pants.

Both the 2.5 and the 3-layer hiking pants are having an innermost membrane which prevents the body sweat as well as the body oil from getting into the pores of the second layer. Here is where the three-layer pants benefit the hikers.

The 3 layer waterproof pants use polyurethane backing. This is durable and provides more comfort.


In order to get maximum protection from the nasty weather, the waterproof pants used for hiking should have taped seams. So, you should keep this in mind while buying your hiking pants.


The durable water repellent (DWR) is a chemical treatment which is practiced on the first layer of the fabric in order to keep it away from absorbing water.

This will help to avoid the face fabric to get soaked in rain water and feel damp and bulky. Apart from this, the DWR coating won’t be inhibiting the breathability of the second layer and hence your pants will let all the body heat to escape easily.

Articulated Knees and Gussets

The articulated knees and gussets that are seen in the crotch of your hiking pants are the two factors which you should look into the design part while making your purchase. The articulated kneed will copy the walking motion of a hiker by developing a bend naturally towards the knee portion of the pants.

The gussets are patches in diamond shaped fabrics that is attached to the inner thigh of your hiking pants. Similar to that of the articulated knee design, this extra piece of fabric will aid in the range of motion along with making the hiker feel comfortable and fit.

Roll Up and Convertible Pants

Convertible pants are an ideal choice for the hikers since they can be easily zipped-off and converted into shorts. This is really a fast and easy process to increase the leg ventilation.

This is mostly preferred by those hikers who have concerns about the look as the zippers may add extra pain to use and of course they add up additional weight and feels bulky. These models are now becoming trendy among both women and men hikers.

How to Clean Your Waterproof Hiking Pants?

Below mentioned are the steps which you should consider while washing your waterproof hiking pants.

  • Always check for the tag which lists the washing instruction by the manufacturer. Even though you will perform the best practices for washing these pants, it is a good and wise decision to check whether they match with the maker’s thoughts.
  • Rinse properly the detergent dispenser of your washing machine for removing residue, if any.
  • Switch to technical wash for your waterproof outerwear. You can also make use of mild detergents that does not contain any kind of additives such as stain removers. Make sure that you don’t use any powder detergent, bleach or fabric softener as they may damage the membrane of the waterproof clothing.
  • Ensure that you close all the zippers to prevent it from snagging.
  • Switch to warm wash settings and if possible make an extra rinse for removing all detergent and then finally a low spin cycle too.
  • Dry the pants under a liner or you can even use dryer on a medium heat.
  • If you are putting it in a drier, then the heat will help the DWR treatment to get reactivated on the outer layer of the pants.
  • Once it is over, pack it inside your stuff sack.

Review of Some of the Best Waterproof Hiking Pants

Our Recommendation

REI Co-op Sahara Convertible Pants - Men's

The REI Co-op Sahara Convertible pants will keep you comfortable and cool under any nasty weather conditions. It is light in weight and is water-repellent too.

The pants can be easily converted to shorts with just the pull of a zipper. The fabric used for the construction is 94 percent nylon and 6 percent spandex. The pants are available in varied sizes and hence you can choose the one according your size and height.

REI Co-op Classic Sahara Convertible Pants
Major Features:
  • Stretch fabric with center gusset
  • Lightweight nylon fabric
  • Durable water repellent (DWR) is applied
  • low-bulk fabric with flat seams
  • Can be packed down small
  • Color-coded thigh zippers help
  • UPF 50+ rating
  • Loaded with pockets plus an additional hidden passport pocket
  • Reinforced cuff backs
  • Flat seams
  • Zip fly with snap closure

The North Face Freedom Snow Pants - Men's 32" Inseam

The North Face Freedom Snow Pants are fully featured pants that are best suited for your chilly hiking days. They are lightweight and provides waterproof exterior which is highly durable and offers round-the-clock water protection. The pants are available in all sizes and in different shades.

The North Face Freedom Snow Pants
Major Features:
  • Classic, free-fitting DryVent windproof system is employed
  • It is highly waterproof and does well among breathable rain pants
  • Fully seam-sealed 2-layer shell pants
  • Includes cargo pockets and vents
  • Brushed handwarmer pockets
  • Chimney Venting system which permits easy air flow
  • Durable kick patches
  • Relaxed fit

Foot Note!!!

Choosing the best rain pants for hiking are important since it provides the hiker’s better insulation as well as comfort. Nobody wishes to hike in soaked pants or in wetness during cold climatic conditions. Wet pants will make you feel heavier and will provide you with a bad or unpleasant hiking experience.

Remember, to be really choosy! There are certain pants which are not 100 percent waterproof. However, they will be water-resistant; the water drops and will fall off down the surface of the pants. These are more beneficial as they lower the possibility of soaking into the fabric, thereby making it wet, bulkier and colder.

Majority of the makers who come up with their waterproof hiking pants design it with better breathability. This is certainly a tricky task to balance between the waterproof technology and breathability.

The half zip and the full zip designs are having good ventilation, thus lowering the sweaty as well as clammy feelings around your legs while on your trails. The breathability quality greatly depends on the pants which you are planning to buy.

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