Whether you’re planning a multi-day hiking adventure across a mountain range or just looking to have a good ol’ ramble in the nearby woodlands, a solid pair of walking trousers or leggings can make a big difference. The best walking trousers will make sure that you’re comfortable and cosy come rain or shine, which is ideal in a country that can provide all four seasons in one day.
To help you find your perfect all-weather, all-round match, we’ve compiled a buying guide to iron out any of the proverbial creases. Then, we’ve got five recommendations for men and five for ladies, each consisting of our favourite pairs available to buy on Amazon and eBay from the best outdoor brands such as Rab, Berghaus, Jack Wolfskin and Arc'teryx.
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Table of Contents
When it comes to buying walking trousers, practically every pair out there is made from synthetic materials that are durable and flexible. But there are still some other, more nuanced factors worth considering, such as the water repellency. In this segment, we’ll be taking a look at the ones we think are most important.
The first factor you’ll want to take into account, particularly due to the country where we reside, is the waterproofing. Or sadly, the lack thereof, because, walking trousers aren’t usually fully waterproof.
More often than not they are water repellent instead, thanks to a DWR (durable water repellent) coating. Don't worry though, because this will still stand up against the average downpour. Make sure you do check the description for this claim, as some cheaper pairs might not even be water-resistant at all.
If you would like full waterproofing, then you can opt for a pair ‘over trousers’ which are worn, as you can imagine, over your regular hiking trousers. However, although they will protect against the elements better, they have less accessibility and often come with no pockets!
Anyone who has ever been on a long trek will tell you that the clothing worn can make the trip memorable for both the right and wrong reasons, which is why we would recommend looking for trousers which have adjustable fittings.
Generally, there are two main areas to look for, the waistband and the ankle cuffs. You’ll either have the option of Velcro or an elasticated drawstring – both fulfil the same purpose, however, the elasticated drawstring will likely have greater durability as Velcro can become less sticky over time.
This feature will not only help with the fit and comfort but will also keep out cold air when the weather drops. If you're trekking in a warmer climate, it'll make it more difficult for little critters like midges and mosquitos to get in, too.
It may seem obvious, but pockets really are very useful when out walking! Generally speaking, the more technical the trousers (think climbing instead of hiking) the more pockets they’ll have, although that’s not always the case.
Ideally, you'll want a pair which come with at least two standard front pockets and one interior pocket. If you like to keep a lot of gear handy, you can always look for more.
We’ve also found that many ramblers like having pockets of different constructions, for example, a larger side leg pocket for carrying a map. If this is something you're interested in, check the specifications in the comparison tables beneath each of our recommended pairs.
Finally, while we may not get to use them very often due to our climate, having zip-off sections means that your trousers will offer you complete versatility and be capable of being worn practically all year round. They're also ideal for taking on holiday.
These trousers work as you would imagine, with a zip around the leg and usually just below the knee. If the sun does happen to pop his hat on when you’re midway through a lovely stroll in the Lakes, you can take off the bottom half and continue with the benefit of added breathability and ventilation.
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Nil Plus Outdoor Trousers
The Perfect Pair for Practicality
Overland Zip Away Pants
Devilishly Good Looking Walking Trousers
A Pair for Walking in the Summer Months
Zip 'n' Go Pants
The Backpacker Classic
Paclite Gore-Tex Waterproof Overtrousers
For the Guy Who Likes to Stay Out in the Downpour
On initial inspection, these walking trousers from Maier are one feature away from being the perfect pair. However, while they may not zip-off, the legs can be rolled up and fastened just below the knee, which we think is a pretty good compromise.
Other than that, they offer four useful pockets, including one that is passport-sized, perfect if you're planning a foreign climbing trip. Best of all, as well as being water-repellent, the fabric used is super thin and stretchy, making those long strides ascending the mountain that little bit easier.
We know it's not all about looks, but it doesn't hurt to look semi-stylish while you're out in the sticks. This offering from Jack Wolfskin is right up there when it comes to being both smart and practical. The company use their own membrane, Texapore, which has a DWR standard of waterproofing.
Alongside their devilishly good looks, these trousers can also be stripped off and zipped down to shorts should the weather turn it up a notch. Plus, on top of all that, they're pretty darn comfy too!
If you tend to keep your trekking to the warmer months, then you'll likely want a pair of walking trousers that accommodate the higher temperatures. These beauties from Rab are incredibly breathable and light, but still offer some protection against the elements if required.
As well as their admirable material, the trousers have four pockets that are perfect for storing extra goods as well as adjustable cuffs and a fleecy inner waistband that increases their comfort. If you find that walking trousers can sometimes be somewhat rigid, these will be like a breath of fresh air.
Heading on holiday? Royal Robbins has been producing these classic backpacking trousers for as long as we can remember, and a pair of these may just be what you're looking for. The main attraction is undoubtedly the zip-off legs, but there is plenty more to admire.
The product has drawstring cuffs perfect for fitting around hiking boots, as well as being made from a highly durable and stretchy nylon-like material that dries in a flash. Our favourite part, though, is that they're a tonne cheaper than almost every other other option!
Getting us underway are our only fully waterproof men's trousers. Using the well-revered Gore-Tex membrane these trousers will keep you dry all day, should you wish to stay out in the downpour that long.
They also come with an adjustable drawstring fitting in the waistband, and clip buttons on the cuffs. The downside is that these are overtrousers, so they will need to be worn with other clothing. Plus, there are no pockets, so they're going to be a little awkward when it comes to storing accessories.
Whether you're looking for UV protection for a holiday hike or the guarantee that your feet will stay dry on the morning dog walk, we think you'll find a few of our related buying guides useful!
The ideal pair of walking trousers will have you remembering your adventures for all the right reasons. We're sure that if you keep the features from the buying guide at the forefront of your mind when picking a product, you'll come away with a pair that are perfect for your needs. Here's to the next ramble!
Author: Lewis Clark
No. 1: Maier｜Nil Plus Outdoor Trousers
No. 2: Jack Wolfskin｜Overland Zip Away Pants
No. 3: Rab｜Sawtooth Pants
No. 4: Royal Robbins｜Zip 'n' Go Pants
No. 5: Berghaus｜Paclite Gore-Tex Waterproof Overtrousers
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