Are you excited to breathe in the cold, crisp winter air while enjoying the beauty of nature trails? While winter hiking is a fun activity, it can also be tough on your body without the right preparations.
You need to dress warm and comfortable while still ensuring you have enough mobility to walk and climb. That’s where a good pair of winter hiking pants can come in handy.
Keep reading to see some excellent winter hiking pants options and learn how to choose the right ones for you!
Our Top Picks
Are you looking for a great pair of winter hiking pants for both mild and chilly days? These Eddie Bauer Rainier Pants are the perfect option! They’re lightweight yet very insulating, and they provide amazing mobility with articulated knees. You’ll be able to walk, run, and climb in these without feeling cold or uncomfortable.
These winter hiking pants will also keep you dry as a bone with their StormRepel technology. It causes moisture to bead up and fall off the pants rather than soaking in.
This is very important, especially if you’re hiking in rain or snow. All it takes is 40ºF weather or colder and exposure to water, like damp clothes, to cause hypothermia symptoms.
The pants also have built-in sun protection, keeping UV rays off your skin. Sun damage doesn’t stop in the winter!
- They have articulated knees
- StormRepel technology to keep moisture away from your body
- UPF 50+ for great sun protection
- They can run a little small
- The zippers can sometimes get stuck
There’s no need to go over budget for some winter hiking pants! BenBoy has great pants available that have a warm fleece lining inside. They’ll feel like your pants have a blanket as the lining, which will keep you warm all day! The outer material is just as great with waterproof and windproof materials, keeping your legs safe from the elements.
You’ll also notice that the pants are scratch-resistant, have a comfy elastic waistband, and have four pockets. So, you can store all of your fun hiking essentials and gadgets on your body for immediate access.
Hiking often involves bending and climbing, so you’ll need a durable pair of pants. And BenBoy winter hiking pants actually have wear-resistant knees sewn into them. You can expect these pants to stay intact even if you snag yourself on rocks or trees. The knees also have excellent elasticity, allowing you to move freely throughout your endeavors.
- Waterproof and windproof fabric
- Fleece-lined for added comfort and heat retention
- Wear-resistant knees
- The zippers can be finicky
- They may feel a little tight, as they’re form-fitting
Best for Hiking in the Snow
Hiking in the winter means there’s a possibility that you’ll come into contact with snow. But going for a hike in thick snow pants isn’t the best for mobility.
These Rdruko winter hiking pants are a better option, as they’re thinner and much stretchier than traditional snow pants. They also have a soft and insulating fleece lining to keep your body heat contained. There is no need for underlayers!
The outer fabric of these winter hiking pants repels water, keeping cold moisture away from your skin. These pants use a triple-layer waterproof fabric, so there is no way water will make its way to your legs. It’s even fade- and shrink-resistant, so the pants will stay looking new for years to come. This is great to hear if you’re an avid winter hiker!
Deep zippered pockets are great at storing all your hiking gadgets and essential items like your phone and wallet. Everything will stay dry and water damage-free, keeping you from spending money on replacements.
- They have an elastic waistband with an adjustable belt
- Waterproof, fade, wrinkle, and shrink-resistant materials
- The clasp hooks can be finicky
- They may be a little long
If you’re looking for excellent adjustability and mobility, the KUHL Klash pants are the perfect option! These winter hiking pants have an ergonomic fit along with knee articulation, allowing for full mobility.
They have a nice stretch to them, an ultrasuede waistband, and nylon belt loops, keeping you comfortable all day. And, of course, the pants are water-repellent, keeping you dry at all times.
The abrasion-resistant cuff guards act as a reinforcement to prevent ripping and tearing, which is definitely possible on a hike. You’ll find that the hems have zippers, which are perfect for those stiff, bulky hiking boots.
Simply unzip them, position the pants over your boots, and zip them back as far as they can go. Some boot hooks lie inside as well, which can help keep your winter hiking pants in place with every step.
- Abrasion-resistant cuff guards and water-repellent material
- Great knee articulation with knee darts for movement freedom
- They have a zippered hem so you can fit them over boots along with boot hooks
- The pockets are a little tight
- The zippers don’t stay secured sometimes
Outdoor Ventures offers comfortable polar fleece-lined pants that are excellent for all your winter hiking adventures. They’re completely snowproof and windproof, keeping all your much-needed body heat inside on chilly days. And they do it all without that gross staticky feeling that can get quite annoying while moving around.
The outer layer of these winter hiking pants is abrasion- and tear-resistant. So, you can rely on these pants for all your rocky and icy adventures. But that doesn’t mean they lack mobility! They have some spandex in them, allowing a four-way stretch as you move throughout your hike.
These winter hiking pants also have a high-waisted bootcut design. They’ll sit snugly against your body and open wide enough at the bottom for your large hiking or winter boots. And two front reflective security pockets can hold your essentials and keep your fingers warm if you forget your gloves!
- Snowproof, windproof, waterproof, anti-pilling, and anti-static
- They have a polar fleece lining
- Abrasion and tear-resistant
- They aren’t very breathable
- They run a little small
Winter Hiking Pants Buyer’s Guide: What to Look For
You don’t want to buy the wrong pair for your specific needs. So, considering materials, style, and fit can help you make the best decision.
Winter hiking pants should always be waterproof or at least water-repellent. If you live in the northern part of the United States, you probably get snow and ice in the winter. And moisture and cold aren’t the best combination for your body, as there’s the potential for hypothermia.
Another thing to look for is insulating materials like fleece or nylon. Both of these things can trap body heat and keep it against your skin. Warmth is very important, especially when temperatures are near or below freezing.
The style of your pants may be another element that’s important to you. If you’re going on a hike, you probably don’t want bulky pants. This reduces your mobility and inhibits climbing and stretching movements, which you need on a hike.
Bootcut winter hiking pants or zippered hemmed pants are good style elements to look out for too. They’ll help ensure that your boots can fit properly under your pants instead of having to bunch up the pants.
Adjustable pants are usually the best option when looking for winter hiking pants. Or pants that have belt loops. Loose hiking pants aren’t comfortable, and they can let cold air in, defeating their purpose.
Some pants come with adjustable velcro belts, and others come with loops so you can add your own belt. Elastic waistbands are also a good idea, as they stretch with your body.
How to Choose the Right Pants for Winter Hiking
Here are a few things for you to think about before making your winter hiking pants purchase.
Where Will You Be Travelling?
Think about your winter hike. What state or country will you be visiting? Are their winters mild or freezing cold? If they’re very cold and snowy, you might want to opt for fleece-lined pants for that extra layer of warmth. But if they’re mild, you probably won’t need all that. Single-layered hiking pants would be just fine.
If the place you’re visiting gets a lot of precipitation, you may also want waterproof pants rather than water-repellent. Waterproof means that moisture cannot seep into the pants at all. But water-repellent means they can eventually get wet. They can only repel water for so long before it soaks into the material.
Consider the Length of Your Hike
How long will your hike be? You can probably get away with thinner winter hiking pants if it’s only an hour or two. But, if you’ll be away all day, thicker or fleece-lined ones are sure to keep you warm the whole time. The longer you’re out in the elements, the more warmth you’ll need.
Think About Comfort
Your comfort is vital when on a winter hike. Chafing, stiff pants will make you miserable and uncomfortable. So, you may want to look for soft, stretchy winter hiking pants that will also retain your body heat.
Articulated knees are excellent features to look for that will allow you full mobility on your hike. Soft materials like nylon and spandex are also great, as they offer a good amount of stretch.
Winter Hiking Pants Frequently Asked Questions
Are winter hiking pants supposed to be baggy?
No, your hiking pants should never be baggy. Loose and baggy pants can get caught in the wind and on branches, rocks, ice, etc. Baggy pants can become dangerous and get you injured. But they also shouldn’t be skin-tight, as this will inhibit your mobility. They should be somewhere in the middle.
Are winter hiking pants and snow pants the same thing?
Winter hiking pants and snow pants are not the same. Snow pants are more for playing in the snow or snow sports like skiing, snowboarding, and tubing. They typically don’t allow tons of movement and have a plush look and feel.
But hiking pants are more stretchy and typically thinner, which allows you to move more easily. They also usually have abrasion-resistant materials, as you’re more likely to rub up against trees, rocks, and ice.
Do your winter hiking pants always have to be waterproof?
Your hiking pants don’t need to be waterproof. But it’s a good idea. Keeping water and general moisture away from your skin is vital in the wintertime. Waterproof pants are a good backup even if it’s not forecasted to rain or snow.
Grab a New Pair of Winter Hiking Pants!
Some winter hiking pants will be the perfect addition to your winter gear collection. They’ll keep you warm, rip-free, and dry throughout your cold-weather hiking adventure.
If you need an idea of which ones to choose, the overall best option is the Eddie Bauer Rainier Pants. But there are plenty of other excellent options that are sure to fit your needs as well!
Do you need some more winter hiking gear? Check out our 15 Must-Have Winter Hiking Gear Items for more ideas!