Ah, so you think your jeans will serve you well on a big outdoors walk? Perhaps, but if you’re wearing a pair of proper walking trousers you won’t have to worry about getting them covered in mud, sheep poo, grass or the like.
The best walking trousers, which come in designs for men and for women, aren’t just a glorified pair of chinos. On the contrary, they can be highly technical, using a range of materials and technologies to ward off the wind and rain.
And now is a great time to pick up a pair, as many retailers are discounting stock. A good pair of walking trousers, especially rain-resistant ones, will keep you dry throughout winter—you might even want to consider using them as part of your winterproof commuting clobber. We check the prices shown below every day, so when any of these trousers go into a sale (for example, in the Boxing Day sales) we'll always show you the best price.
Our expert pick:
- Walking trousers are designed to perform in a range of outdoor environments, but the degree to which they do that depends on the materials and technologies they use. The best walking trousers help you feel comfortable and dry on long walks, offering a versatile design that helps you transition into different seasons. For those reasons, our current top pick is the Berghaus Explorer Eco.
- These trousers can be zipped off at the knees, transforming themselves into breathable walking shorts for summer. The ECO nylon fabric is treated with DWR (Durable Water Repellent), enabling the trousers to survive a shower or two, and provides UPF 50+ protection for the skin on your legs.
The different types of walking trousers
Also known as trekking trousers, this type of active clothing can be split into sub-categories depending on the fabric they’re made from, the fit and the features.
Softshell walking trousers, for example, are commonly made from synthetic fabrics. They’re often windproof and rain-resistant, but not fully waterproof. You can buy them with a mesh or fleece lining, and wear them over base layer leggings in winter. People tend to wear softshell trousers during winter walking and hiking.
You can also buy hardshell walking trousers, which are hard-wearing and breathable, providing impressive protection from wind, rain and rough and tumble. These tend to be worn during winter, or in environments when you’re susceptible to harsh weather and need a sturdy extra outer layer over your base layers.
The best walking trousers are usually made from blended fabrics, and are suited to pursuits such as backpacking, hiking, trekking and robust outdoor walking where you’ll be encountering varying terrain and surroundings.
Common materials here include polyester or polyamide and cotton, which are used to construct trousers that are tough yet feel soft against the skin. You can buy walking trousers that are resistant to thorns, brambles and even mosquito bites, while any with a wax coating put in a good water-repellent performance.
Due to their lightweight design, walking trousers can be rolled up and stashed neatly away in backpacks, making them the ideal choice of lightweight clothing for backpacking holidays, hiking trips and general adventuring.
How to buy the best walking trousers for you
From walking trousers with zip off legs that convert longs to shorts in seconds, through to multi-pocket trousers that have a space for every outdoor gadget, this activewear hero is a game changer when it comes to trekking.
As mentioned above, our current pick of the best walking trousers is the Berghaus Explorer Eco, but that’s not to say they’re ideal for everyone. When browsing our list below, consider what weather and terrain you want to wear your trousers in.
Also, think about how you want them to fit and how important style is to you, as well as how many pockets you need. For example, are you hoping a wealth of pockets will suffice in place of a backpack?
There’s also the question of breathability. Highly breathable walking trousers are great for keeping you cool when trekking in hot weather or for long periods, but this isn't always necessary. We mention this feature in particular because it can increase the cost of trousers, so you might be spending more than you need to.
Fit and style are down to personal preference, but the majority of walking trousers are styled on the looser side—when striding in the wilds or clambering up hills, you want to feel as comfortable as possible. And remember, you can tighten up the belt fastening on your trousers, but you can't magically make them bigger.
Below we’ve rounded up the best walking trousers for men and for women, based on durability, performance and their ability to help you feel comfortable in the great outdoors.
The best walking trousers to buy right now
1. Berghaus Explorer Eco
Rainproof walking trousers that convert into shorts
Reasons to buy
For those times when comfort and durability takes precedence over everything else, you won’t get much better than our top pick for the best walking trousers, the Berghaus Exporer Eco. These trousers have a generous fit and a non-elasticated waistband, which means no digging into your flesh when you move or bend.
The Berghaus Explorer Eco sport a minimalist design, so they can be paired with pretty much any technical jacket, base layer or summery t-shirt. Speaking of summer, you can zip these trousers off at the knees, transforming them into walking shorts when you're exploring in hotter climes.
There are five pockets in total, with two of them designed purposefully for warming your hands during cold weather walks. Add to that the eco-friendly manufacturing process, and you can be satisfied that you’re doing your bit for the environment whilst also enjoying the outdoors.
2. Fjallraven Vidda Pro
The best walking trousers for hiking
Reasons to buy
These are serious walking trousers for Bear Grylls wannabes. Thanks to the G-1000 Original fabric, you won’t be getting wet or cold any time soon regardless of what weather you chuck at these trousers.
What’s also good to know is they’ve also been inbuilt with additional bum and knee support - so slipping and sliding down banks and tripping over tree roots aren’t so much of a rip hazard. With 7 pockets, all of which having their individual uses, you know these trousers aren’t messing about.
3. Peter Storm Packable Pant
The best budget-friendly trousers for walking
Reasons to buy
If you’re more of a casual, intermittent walker looking for something simple, we recommend these Peter Storm packable pants. At RRP £15 they’re a steal, and they’re waterproof to boot.
Made from nylon, these walking trousers are recommended for trekking, hiking and backpacking as they’ll do a solid job of protecting you from the elements.
Our favourite thing about them is that they come in a stuff sack and can be packed away into this small, waterproof holder. Ideal for walking and backpacking!
4. Mountain Hardwear Chockstone Trousers
A technical trouser with excellent stretching abilities
Reasons to buy
If you like a fitted trouser, then these are the ones for you. Keep in mind that one of their main selling points is the stretchiness, so you don’t need to worry about being restricted.
While they are waterproof and wind resistant, these Mountain Hardwear Chockstone Trousers aren’t the most heavy duty on the market - so if you’re planning on going right into the wilderness, perhaps step it up a gear and opt for the Fjallraven Vidda Pro Trousers.
But, for an avid hiker who likes the odd rock climb or scramble, these are a great middle weight trouser that will last years.
5. Montane Terra Ridge
Move mountains with these fast-drying trousers
Reasons to buy
These women’s trousers are primed for mountain hikes. Featuring GRANITE STRETCH Dynamic fabric, they dry faster than you can say ‘rain drop’. But, having said that, they don't feature the strongest waterproofing so save these for when the mountains are green rather than covered in snow.
Lightweight yet tough, these should be your first choice if you’re planning on attacking the Alps or hiking the Highlands when the weather is warm. And let’s not forget the side vents incase you need to air yourself out a little.
If you are heading off on the 3 Peaks Challenge and want a pair of walking trousers that are comfortable and low maintenance, these are the ones.
6. The North Face Women Venture 2
The best waterproof trousers designed especially for women
Reasons to buy
If you’re looking for stronger waterproofing than the Montane Terra Ridge can offer, we’d recommend the North Face Women’s Venture 2 walking trousers.
They offer maximum waterproof protection, including a seam-sealed shell and velcro ankle tabs to keep you dry even down to your socks! As well as waterproof, the fabric is 100 per cent windproof.
Recommended for all weather types, including snow, these comfortable, casual trousers are one of the best walking trousers available for women right now.
7. PrAna Bronson Pant
Fashion conscious outdoor trousers for casual strolls
Reasons to buy
These chino-esque walking trousers are for those that love walking but want to adopt a more stylish approach to covering some countryside mileage.
The organic cotton fabric weaved with spandex provides you with a sturdy, durable trouser that’s comfortable to wear whether you’re popping to the pub or taking the dog out for a run around the fields.
If you normally opt to go walking in your 'normal clothes' but want to upgrade with some trousers that are walking-specific, but without looking like Ray Mears, opt for these.
8. Berghaus Navigator II Stretch Pant
Technical trousers that laugh in the face of rocky terrain
Reasons to buy
If you are looking for a reliable item to take on your annual walking holiday, look no further than this trusted Berghaus walking trouser. Offering high durability and abrasion resistance, these trousers are tough enough for you to tackle even the rockiest terrain.
If you happen to come across a stream or two or the heavens open halfway, they’re also packing a highly water repellent finish, making them a great all-rounder for the walking wardrobe.
They dry quick, have six pockets and, whilst a little baggy, look pretty good too. If you want a trusted brand and you're not too fussy about fit and style, these are a great option.
Looking to kit the kids out or your next hike? Check out the best walking boots for kids to ensure you have a whole team of happy campers!