Most people make sure to get a waterproof jacket when they go hiking in the rainier months of the year, but you may not think to get a pair of waterproof hiking pants too. But there are a lot of good reasons to get a waterproof pair of hiking pants, one of them being that all the water that is shed by your waterproof jacket has a habit of dripping down on to your pants, and getting them wet too. With a pair of waterproof hiking pants, however, that water will keep travelling down to the ground, rather than soaking in.
Waterproof Hiking PantsWhat to look for when you're shopping for waterproof hiking pants.
- Ventilation – Whenever you use waterproof gear, whether it’s a jacket or a pair of pants, it’s best to have some ventilation. Waterproof materials tend to hold moisture like sweat in, rather than allowing it to escape, and you can end up wet from all that moisture that has nowhere else to go. Breathable fabrics, and even zippers along the inside of the thigh are both great ways to ventilate your legs.
- Material – Be warned that not all materials that get called waterproof are created equal. Gore-Tex, for example, is a dependably waterproof material that will keep you dry for a long amount of time. eVent is another, if lesser known material that does a good job of keeping you dry all day long.
Best Waterproof Hiking PantsA few of the very best waterproof hiking pant options, for both men and women.
Men's Waterproof Pants
- Patagonia Torrentshell Pants - If you want a good pair of waterproof hiking pants but don't want to spend a whole lot, the Torrentshell pants are a good compromise. They're nylon, with an H2No barrier and a DWR finish, so they will keep water out, but these are probably not the pants you would want to be caught in a rain storm all day long in. Still, the price is right, and the benefit of nylon is that these will at least breath well.
- Arc'teryx Alpha SL Pants - If you want something that's truly waterproof, then the Alpha SL pants are ideal. They use the most breathable version of Gore Tex, called Paclite, so you will stay dry but not end up with sweaty legs. And as with all Arc'teryx products you get some great small touches, like waterproof zippers, which help to make these a great pair of waterproof hiking pants.
Women's Waterproof Pants
- Patagonia Torrentshell Pants - These are made of nylon, with an H2No barrier and a DWR finish. So they will keep you dry, up to a point. These are probably not the pants you want to be caught in a day long rain storm in. The benefit of nylon, however, is that it breathes very well, so chances are you will not, at least, get wet from sweating too much. And since these are only nylon the price is definitely right.
- Arc'teryx Alpha SL Pants - If you want quality, and you want to stay dry no matter what the weather is doing, Gore Tex is a great choice. These pants use Paclite Gore Tex, which is a particularly breathable version of the waterproof fabric, which is an ideal combination for avoiding sweaty legs while working hard.