Backpacking requires a special kind of gear. Hiking is fine, but backpacking goes on for quite a bit longer, and requires better, more versatile gear that will stand up over longer periods of time in the outdoors without coming apart or failing in some other way. If your pants rip while hiking, for instance, then you can just take them off at the end of the day. But if backpacking pants rip, you are likely going to have to break out the duct tape, and live with your ripped backpacking pants for the duration of your trip.
Backpacking PantsWhat to look for when you're looking for backpacking pants.
- Nylon – There are some good fabric choices when it comes to backpacking pants, but nylon is by far the most versatile. First, it dries quickly, which is always a great asset to have in a pair of backpacking pants. Second, nylon doesn’t rip easily, which means you can leave the duct tape and sewing kit inside your backpack.
- Convertible – You can check the forecast before you leave to go backpacking, but you never know what the weather is going to be on that second or third day until you’re out there. Which is why convertible backpacking pants are so useful. You have a pair of shorts when it gets hot, and a pair of pants when things cool off.
Best Backpacking PantsSome of the best backpacking pants for both men and women.
Men's Backpacking Pants
- 30 Inch Mountain Hardwear Matterhorn Convertible Pants (32 Inch Inseam) - The Matterhorn pants make a great backpacking pant for a wide variety of conditions. They're made of nylon, so they will dry quickly, but they're also coated with a durable water repellent finish, so they wont get wet easily to begin with. They're also convertible, which makes them ideally suited to summer weather, and have an impressive UPF 50 rating. A very solid pair of backpacking pants for men.
- ExOfficio Bugsaway Ziwa Convertible Pants - The Ziwa pants are another impressive pair of pants for backpacking in. They're convertible, and are nylon, so that they will dry well. They're also coated with a bug repellent, which will keep the bugs away from you around camp or on your lunch break, which is a great thing to have in some parts of the world. They also have plenty of pocket room, and belt loops, rather than a built in belt.
Women's Backpacking Pants
- Mountain Hardwear Yuma Convertible Pants - The Yuma pants are the kind of thing that you could wear over a pair of insulating pants in winter as easily as you could wear them in the heat of summer. They have a durable water repellent finish, to keep you dry, and the nylon fabric will dry quickly if you do manage to get them wet. And for summer, they have a UPF 50 rating, for maximum sun protection, and are convertible, so that you can get some much needed ventilation in the heat.
- ExOfficio Bugsaway Ziwa Convertible Pants - The Ziwa pants are a very solid pair of nylon hiking pants with one excellent feature that really helps them stand out, and that is a bug repellent treatment, so that you can leave the DEET at home. Besides that very useful feature they have a UPF rating of 30, and are convertible, so that you can make them in to a pair of shorts when things get too hot. A very solid pair of backpacking pants with all the features you could want.