TOP 14 Best Hiking Pants for Winter & Cold Weather 2019 [Warm Legs Matter]

TOP 14 Best Hiking Pants for Winter & Cold Weather 2019 [Warm Legs Matter]
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Do you ever get the feeling that this year is flying through?

Yesterday it was January, today it’s August, tomorrow it’s going to be November.

Maybe it’s just because I’m getting old. But nonetheless, winter is on its way – and it’s always a good idea to be prepared for it.

Especially if you’re going to be doing some hiking in colder temperatures.

So, it’s never too early to start shopping around for the best hiking pants for winter.

To help you get a head start, I’ve put together this review, buyer’s guide and FAQ section to have you kitted out in no time.

Summer’s overrated, anyway.

TOP 14 Best Hiking Pants for Winter 2019

Toomett Women’s Fleece Lined Windproof Hiking Pants

Review: These softshell pants from Toomett are made from polyester, with a fleece lining, adjustable waistband and belt, and multiple zippered pockets.

They’re windproof and water-repellant, and the fleece lining will keep you warm in colder weather. The pants have a zip fly and snap closure, and offer a slim, snug and comfortable fit.

Pros

  • Great price.
  • Loads of zippered pockets.
  • Choice of colors.

Cons

  • Will run too small for some.

Takeaway

A great budget hiking pant to start us off – just make sure you check the size thoroughly.

Clothin Men’s Softshell Fleece-Lined Cargo Pants

Review: These smart, fleece-lined cargo pants are warm and breathable, with a softshell exterior that has a durable, water-repellent finish.

It offers a side elasticated waist with belt hoops, two zippered hip pockets, two flapped back pockets and two velcro cargo pockets.

They have a zipped fly and snap closure, while the micro-fleece lining gives excellent wicking performance to keep your skin happy.

Pros

  • Smart, stylish design.
  • Multiple pocket configuration.
  • Great price.
  • Choice of colors.

Cons

  • Cargo pockets a little too far forward on the thigh.

Takeaway

Another terrific all-rounder, these budget pants are great for versatile use.

You might not be able to carry anything too bulky in those cargo pockets while hiking, though.

Nonwe Men’s Warm Windproof Mountain Fleece Pants

Review: Made from 95% polyester and 5% spandex, these Nonwe hiking pants offer a simple, no-nonsense design with five zippered pockets and a side elasticated waist.

They’re water-resistant and windproof, and the stretchy, fleece-lined fabric will keep you warm and comfortable in winter.

These versatile pants are ideal for a variety of uses when the temperature drops.

Pros

  • Simple design.
  • Zippered pockets.
  • Stretchy.

Cons

  • Not suitable for skiing or snowboarding.

Takeaway

A no-frills, versatile winter pant for just about everything except skiing and snowboarding. Offered at a good price, too.

Camii Mia Women’s Hiking Fleece Pants

Review: A 97% nylon and 3% spandex blend, these hiking pants from Camii Mia are fleece-lined and stretchable.

With a weather-proof outer layer, offering a regular fit with a zippered fly and plastic button closure at the waist.

They have two, slanted hip pockets to the front and two rear pockets – all zippered. Comfortable hiking pants at an affordable price.

Pros

  • Comfortable, regular fit.
  • Machine or hand wash.
  • Small choice of colors.

Cons

  • Not waterproof as advertised – only water resistant.

Takeaway

Decent, entry-level hiking or winter pants for casual users – especially for the price. They’re not going to be of useful in extreme conditions, however.

Zoomhill Men’s Pro Hiking Stretch Pants

Review: These Zoomhill men’s pro hiking pants have a tactical, eye-catching design with velcro adjustable waist tabs and ventilation zippers on the sides of the legs.

Made from a tough and durable water-resistant fabric, they also have an adjustable tab system at the base of the leg for your comfort.

They have stretchable panels at the knee and the hip to ease movement while hiking and come with two hip and two cargo pockets.

Pros

  • Tactical design.
  • Plenty of features – zippered vents a nice touch.
  • Choice of colors – including camouflage.

Cons

  • No rear pockets.

Takeaway

Well constructed and designed hiking pants with practical features and a nice choice of colors. Rear pockets would have been nice, though.

Columbia Men’s Silver Ridge Cargo Pants

Review: Columbia have been making outdoor apparel for more than 80 years, so they must know a thing or two about it by now.

These moisture-wicking cargo pants are extremely popular, made from 100% ripstop nylon that is machine washable.

They incorporate a UPF 50 fabric for protection against the sun, and a host of well-placed pockets and features that are as practical as they are attractive. For what you get – they’re a great price, too.

Pros

  • Name you can trust.
  • Well made and durable.
  • Loads of practical features.

Cons

  • Not ideal in chillier temps.

Takeaway

While they might not be the best hiking pants for cold weather (unless you use layering) they’re still an outstanding product from Columbia and well worth a look.

The North Face Men’s Paramount Trail Convertible Pants

Review: Like Columbia, The North Face need a little introduction when it comes to their outdoor gear and apparel.

These convertible hiking pants can be adjusted to become shorts if you’re really hot, which means they might not be the best snow pants for hiking – but they’re versatile enough for everything else.

Made from 100% nylon with a durable, water-repellent coating and factor 50+ sun protection, these pants also offer a wealth of features to keep hikers happy.

Pros

  • Loads of pocket options.
  • Quality construction.
  • Well-known brand.

Cons

  • Again, not ideal when the mercury really drops.

Takeaway

Another excellent hiking pants option – providing you layer up for the wintery weather. The convertible option is a useful inclusion.

Helikon-Tex OTP Outdoor Tactical Pants

Review: Made from a 93% nylon and 7% spandex mix with a tough, Teflon coating, these tactical-style hiking pants marry comfort and durability.

They’re lightweight and breathable, offering moisture-wicking technology to keep you cool even when exerting yourself.

The six-pocket system is very well designed giving you easy and practical access to your gear – while not hindering your movement.

Pros

  • Great pocket design.
  • Super tough and durable.
  • Quality construction.

Cons

  • Can be noisy when walking.

Takeaway

Well designed and built tactical hiking pants from a trusted Polish company. Not bad at all.

Helly Hansen Women’s Vanir Hybrid Pants

Review: Making gear specifically designed for ocean or mountain environments, Norwegian company Helly Hansen produces some of the best outdoor apparel in the world.

This super-comfortable hybrid pant is made from 89% polyester and 11% elastane which is water-repellent, windproof and breathable.

It’s designed with flexibility in mind, ensuring it will not hinder your movements no matter what outdoor activity you’re enjoying.

Pros

  • Top quality construction.
  • Name to trust.
  • Beautiful design.

Cons

  • Will need an extra layer in colder conditions.

Takeaway

Helly Hansen products will rarely disappoint and this is no exception. It’s a really smart and flattering design, too.

Outdoor Research Men’s Cirque Pants

Review: Made from a fusion of nylon, polyester and spandex, these hiking pants offer great performance in all conditions.

Breathable, windproof and water-resistant, they will keep out the elements while keeping you warm and dry.

With adjustable tabs at the waist and zippers at the base, they ensure a good fit. Suitable for any outdoor activity come wind, rain, shine or cold.

Pros

  • Smart, well-made design.
  • Zippered pockets.
  • Comfortable, adjustable fit.

Cons

  • More color choice would have been nice.

Takeaway

While versatile, they’re probably one of the best pants for winter hiking available. A great product from this Seattle based company.

Burton Men’s Cargo Snow Pants

Review: Burton is a household name when it comes to skiing and snowboarding gear, and they enter the fray with this hiking cargo snow pant for men.

It is waterproof and breathable for protection in all weather conditions, with a lining that regulates your body temperature and adapts to any activity.

It’s super-stylish and fashionable, and features an excellent pocket system, pocket key clip, expandable cuffs, and integrated waist adjustment.

Possibly the best winter hiking pants of 2019.

Pros

  • Outstanding quality and design.
  • Name to trust.
  • Excellent selection of features.
  • Tailored look.
  • Good choice of colors.

Cons

  • Let me know in the comments if you find one.

Takeaway

I love these pants. A top-drawer effort from Burton, yet again.

Just remember they’re not insulated – so look elsewhere if you’re looking for the heavy-duty ski variety, but these are seriously good pants for winter hiking.

Arc’teryx Men’s Gamma LT Pants

Review: Another quality company manufacturing a well-designed and built range of mountain gear, Arc’teryx offer this lightweight, a durable and versatile pant that is made from 88% nylon and 12% elastane.

They are highly breathable but with abrasion and water-resistant outer softshell. Designed in a way that specifically allows room for a base layer – making them ideal for use in colder conditions with some thermals underneath.

Pros

  • Quality construction.
  • Name to trust.
  • Simple, yet elegant design.

Cons

  • Will need an extra layer in colder conditions.

Takeaway

Versatile, stylish and durable, these pants are a great option for winter hiking – so long as you layer-up when if it gets really chilly.

Fjallraven Men’s Vidda Pro Trousers

Review: Made from 65% polyester, 35% cotton, these pants are highly durable, with a mid-sitting waist, and pre-shaped knees for comfort and flexibility.

They offer a great selection of pocket options, including hand pockets, map pockets, multi-tool pockets, and internal phone pocket – and I like pants with pockets!

Weather-resistant and breathable, these pants are suitable for any adventure, made from this Swedish company’s very own G-1000, a densely woven fabric treated with Greenland Wax.

Pros

  • Excellent build quality.
  • Superior weather-proofing and finish.
  • Multiple, practical pocket system.

Cons

  • On the expensive side.

Takeaway

A top quality product from the Swedes, the wax-sealed weatherproofing on these pants is a real winner. Pocket design is excellent, too.

Burton Women’s Gore-Tex Gloria Snow Pants

Review: Burton and Gore-Tex – need I say more? Undoubtedly the best women’s pants for cold weather hiking, these pants are packed with features.

They include fully taped seams with GORE-SEAM tape, sleek mesh-lined inner thigh vents and a two-layer Gore-Tex plain weave fabric that keeps you warm and dry.

They’re a slim fit with anti-scuff cuffs, cargo pockets and a lightweight taffeta lining. These Burton snow pants are ideal for anything you want to accomplish in wintery conditions.

Pros

  • Quality build.
  • Trusted name.
  • Gore-Tex construction.
  • Excellent weatherproofing.

Cons

  • Expensive.

Takeaway

The best cold weather hiking pants in the review. I’ll likely be ordering the male version when I’ve saved enough money…

How to Choose the Best Hiking Pants for Winter

Below you’ll find a guide to selecting the best winter hiking pants for you and what to look for before making your purchase.

Size and Style

Hiking pants come in all sorts of sizes and styles – as if you hadn’t already guessed.

It might be stating the obvious, but you do need to make sure you order the correct size when making your purchase.

Pay close attention to both the manufacturer’s sizing instructions and measurements, and, where possible, the reviews and questions from other customers.

One product might fit you in what you believe to be your normal size – but it might run a little small or large in another design.

two people hiking in winter

Also, consider the style of the pants.

Some people prefer a regular cut, some prefer slim or skinny fit, and some like them roomy and baggy.

It’s all down to personal preference, but make sure you check the pant design before ordering so you know exactly the cut you’re going to get.

If everyone actually did this, there would be a significantly lower number of returns and negative, one-star reviews on products that don’t deserve it!

Material

As much as size and design will vary, so too the materials used in the construction of the hiking pants.

More often than not they are of hybrid construction, with nylon, polyester, and spandex being the usual candidates.

Gore-Tex fabric will be used from time to time, too.

Sometimes a company’s own, the patented fabric will be introduced that sounds impressive but you’ve never actually heard of it.

You’ve got to ensure that whatever the pants are made from it’s going to get the job done while not being abrasive or uncomfortable on your skin.

While you’re at it, you should look for a good cold weather sleeping bag, where it’s also important the material doesn’t bring you out in a skin rash when you’re wrapped up in it.

man hiking with dog in winter

Weatherproofing

It’s a favorite subject of mine to remind people just what this phrase actually means – and all the phrases that are tributaries of it.

  • Weatherproofing is the general, overarching term given to how well a product can stand up to the elements. This involves…
  • Windproof – How reliable is the product at keeping out the wind? This is especially important if you’re out in open spaces, high up mountains or in Chicago.
  • Water-resistant – Is a product that will resist water to a certain degree, but it will get wet eventually and soak whatever happens to be under it.
  • Water-repellent – Similar to water-resistant – a product that will repel water on its surface for a short space of time or volume of liquid.
  • Waterproof – Something that will not let water in at all and will stand up to a downpour.

Learn and know these terms to prevent all kinds of headaches.

And make sure that the hiking pants you’re considering meet the criteria that you need.

But if you think you might be in for a dousing, you should be prepared by picking yourself up a good camping tent heater to help get you dry and warm in a jiffy.

Warmth and Breathability

When it comes to winter or cold weather hiking, successfully keeping warm is going to be a major factor in choosing the best apparel. But a word of caution is needed.

Sometimes, the trade-off for having something really warm is its breathability – and you’re going to get yourself into a hot and sticky mess if you’re working up any kind of a sweat.

I’ve included many hiking pants in my review that wouldn’t necessarily be considered winter hiking pants used as a standalone.

This is because they’re breathable, versatile and when used in conjunction with an inner layer or thermal underwear – they’re excellent in just about any situation or condition.

Make sure the pants you’re choosing are good at wicking away moisture from your skin – sweaty chafing ten minutes into a hike isn’t a good look or feel.

And if you’re choosing a pant that isn’t already fleece-lined or insulated – know before you go into colder temps that you will most likely need to add an extra layer.

A bit of common sense will go a long way – but if you need to give yourself a heat boost, pack some awesome portable hand warmers to keep you toasty on your hike.

In winter – I never leave home without one.

Pockets

Pockets are important.

Where are they? How are they sealed? How many of them does the product have? How large are they? Are they going to develop holes as soon as I fill them with loose change?

Good hiking pants will have a decent selection of pockets (without going over the top) and without hindering your performance or movement in any way.

Personally, I prefer a combination of zipper and velcro pockets, as deep as possible and well-spaced. Two on the hip, two on the rear and at least one cargo pocket to the side of the thigh.

But that’s just me – choose whatever suits you best.

man in city in winter

Other Features

Almost all hiking pants – winter or otherwise – will come with added features and hardware that are supposed to make life easier.

Adjustable waist straps, belts and/or belt loops, zippered side vents for breathability, anti-scuff cuffs, drawn string/zipper bottoms, fly or button zippers…

All the bells and whistles you could ever possibly need on some hiking pants.

Just consider what will be useful for you and do away with all the rest.

Cost

Finally, hiking pant prices will always play a factor in choosing the right product for you.

It’s crazy how much they can vary, from less than 20 bucks, to pushing 300.

Always opt for the best you can afford – but that doesn’t always mean spending a small fortune.

Sometimes, bargains are to be had at a fraction of the cost of the big names.

mans hiking pants

FAQs

What Pants Should I Wear for Winter Hiking?

Well, I’m hoping after all of this you have a better idea by now!

But seriously, you should choose a good quality, sturdy, weatherproof trekking pant that will wick moisture away from your body.

And, at the same time, it shouldn’t in any way impede your movement or progress.

It’s up to you if you want fleece lined, thermal, insulated hiking pants, or you prefer a more lightweight version you can add an inner layer to.

Personally, I would opt for the latter – you can always take away layers if need be – and the pants are more versatile for warmer conditions, too.

Being lightweight is key – easy to travel with. Just like a good camping stove. That’s a very tenuous link, but check them out anyway – it’s good to eat a filling hot meal at the end of a long hike.

Are Snow Pants Good for Hiking?

No. At least, the super-insulated, heavy-duty ones won’t be.

They’re designed for skis or a snowboard use – limited movement because that is how you’re going to be traveling, anyway.

But they’ll be far too heavy and a great hindrance when hiking any sort of distance. You’ll be exhausted in double-quick time, not to mention sweating like a cat in a room full of rocking chairs.

There are lightweight versions available that are far more suitable – take a look at the Burton products in my review as an example.

How Do I Layer Pants for Winter Hiking?

First, you need to ensure that the hiking pants you’ve opted for actually have enough room for a base layer.

If you’re going to struggle to get pants on over another layer, movement is going to be seriously restricted and it’s not going very uncomfortable and not any fun at all.

It’s up to you how many layers you think you’ll need – and this will all depend on the material of each layer, your chosen activity, and the current conditions.

But for hiking in cold weather, I’d be very comfortable with ankle-length thermal underwear and a breathable, weatherproof hiking pant over the top.

It’s not rocket science. Just remember these considerations are key:

Weather protection – movement – breathability.

Which leads me nicely onto…

What Does ‘Wicking’ Mean?

Wicking refers to the process of taking moisture from one place and putting it somewhere else.

In this case, a technology within the hiking pants that acts to ‘wick’ moisture away from the skin – leaving you clean and dry.

Certain fabrics can get you all hot and bothered quickly – especially if you’re doing any exercise – like hiking.

So look out for products that have a good wicking system in place for maximum comfort and breathability.

What are the Best Hiking Boots to Use With These Hiking Pants?

It doesn’t really matter what kind of boots you use in conjunction with the pants – what matters is if you’ve got quality hiking boots in the first place.

Take my advice and pick from these excellent winter hiking boots.

You won’t go far wrong.

Summary

Get ready for the winter hiking season well in advance with these awesome hiking pant options.

Hopefully, I’ve given you food for thought in this article on what you should choose for your next pair.

And let me know in the comments what you think is the best hiking pants for winter.

Happy hiking!

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