Best Rain Pants for Hiking: Essential Rain Pants Buying Information & Top 8 Reviews

hiking rain pants featured
Written by Dennis Owens

The best rain pants for hiking are a necessity for any backpacker. You can never truly predict the weather when hiking in the wild, especially during winter. Rain pants become useful when hiking in cooler areas and regions that are prone to light rains. These leg wears are very effective, principally above tree line, since they can provide lifesaving protection against hypothermia.

There are some places that may prove impossible to set camp, and it is raining. Therefore, your only option is to go on with the journey. It is during such times that waterproof rain pants come in handy. The list of product reviews provides useful buying information.

Best Features to Consider


The secret to comfortable hiking is to wear several layers of light pants, which are easy to put on and off. Most rain pants are made of three layers – a base layer, an insulating layer, and an outer shell for comfort and protection against light showers, snow, and wind.

The base layer is usually responsible for wicking moisture away from your legs, and reduces chilling. The insulating layer retains heat next to your legs. On the other hand, the outer shell protects you against cold winds and light rains.

Breathable & Waterproof

The ideal specifications for good rain pants are breathable and waterproof. These metrics are found in woven fabrics. The surface of woven fabric is coated with good material such as PVC, which repels water effectively.

waterproof hiking boots

This type of fabric has many tiny pores, which allow molecules of moisture from sweat to pass out from the skin. You should consider waterproof over-pants especially when hiking in wet and cold conditions. The material should also be fast drying and easy care.

Best Design Metrics

Go for pants that have fully tape seam, this ensures that external elements such as water droplets do not penetrate through the edges. The waistband should be elastic; this allows you to adjust the waist effectively.

Pants with UV and sun protection are very useful for safeguarding your skin against the effects of scorching sun. Pockets are very important during hiking. Make sure the pants you are about to buy have back welt pockets with button closure or slant zippered side pockets.

Top 8 Hiking Rain Pants

Singbring Waterproof Hiking Pants singbring hiking pants

Waist Size: XL (40 to 43 inches); L (36 to 39 inches); M (32 to 35 inches); & S (29 to 32 inches)

Best Features: Polyester soft shell; zippered front pockets; adjustable waist; waterproof; lightweight; & three-season wear

Best Use: Mountaineering, Camping, Fishing, Travelling, Alpine Climbing, & Hiking

The Singbring Waterproof Hiking Pants are a comfortable and convenient pair of hiking pants. You can find the pair in different waist sizes, and color.

The available sizes are: extra-large (available waist size ranges from 40 to 43 inches), large (available waist size ranges from 36 to 39 inches), medium (available waist size ranges from 32 to 35 inches), and small (available waist size ranges from 29 to 32 inches). The available colors are black, gray, and army green. The waist is adjustable, allowing you to achieve the best fit.

The zipped front pockets provide you with effective storage for essential items while on the trail. You can never drop your mobile device or wallet if it is zipped inside the pocket. The shell is made of polyester fabric, which is amazingly strong, highly water resistant, and long lasting.

The shell is made to resist mildew, abrasion, and shrinking. Apart from being thin, the fabric is very strong and good bug proof. The knees are reinforced for improved abrasion resistant, especially during climbing.

These are three-season (spring/summer/autumn) pants, best suited for fishing, mountaineering, climbing, camping, traveling, and hiking. The pants can protect you from freezing temperatures.

They are fitted with a fairly thin base layer which acts as a good cold-proof. You have to be careful with the sizes; though. Most people end up complaining about the fit because of poor waist choices.

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Outdoor Research Helium Pants research helium pants

Waist Size: LG x 31, XL x 31, Medium, Small, and XS x 31

Best Features: Made of 100% nylon; fully seam taped; lightweight; packs into back zipper pocket; PERTEX shield; elastic w/ drawcord waistband; standard fit; and 31-inch inseam length.

Best Use: Traveling, Casual, Hiking, Camping

You should look no further than the Outdoor Research Helium Pants when you want protection against light showers and snow when on the trail. Weighing only 5.9 ounces, these pants are remarkably lightweight and they are easy to stuff on your backpack zipper pocket. They are made of pure nylon, making them highly durable.

The fabric is PERTEX treated offering you a strong shield that is highly waterproof, abrasion resistant, and breathable. Light rain will never wet your skin, and the material is good in wicking moisture leaving you dry and warm.

It is easy to move around with these pants on, a feature that makes climbing exceptionally easy. Unlike other pants that let water flow in through the joints, Outdoor Research pants are fitted with fully taped seams that ensure no water enters the trousers through the joints.

They are among the best quality in ultra-lightweight rain hiking pants. You should buy a pair to replace those heavy pants of yours that are so challenging to backpack. This legwear comes with an inner storage pocket.

All you have to do is stuff the pants into the storage pocket and pack the pocket into your backpack. These are definitely resourceful pants for light rain; the same cannot be said for heavy downpour.

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White Sierra Trabagon Pants white sierra trabagon pants

Waist Size: XL, L, M, S, XS, & XXS

Best Features: 100% polyester; leg gusset (snap adjustable); adjustable waist (comfort fit); highly packable; fully seam taped; and Teflon fabric protector.

Best Use: Casual, Hiking, Camping

These White Sierra Trabagon Pants offer more than a comfortable wear. To begin with, they are made of 100% micro ripstop polyester material that is woven with Teflon. The ripstop polyester material is very strong and durable.

It will take a special kind of activity for you to be able to puncture a hole through them. The Teflon fabric shield ensures that your legs are completely protected from light rain and moisture. They are available in numerous sizes, including: XL, L, M, S, XS, XXS, and they are black in color.

The waist is adjustable, allowing you to achieve a comfortable fit based on your adjustments. The leg gusset is snapping adjustable. If you have been searching for the best backpacking pants, then White Sierra Boys Trabagon are the best choice. They are remarkably packable; they actually fit in thigh pocket or a back zipped pocket on your backpack.

Do not worry about elements getting in contact with your body. The edges are fully seam taped for improved protection against elements such as water droplets from light rains.

Unlike most pants you will find in the market, these ones fit true to your desired size. They can save you from the wetness and cold when you are caught up by light showers while hiking in the rainforest.

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Putu Lovers Waterproof Softshell Pants putu lovers pants

Waist Size: XX Large (US 34, 36); X Large (US 34); Large (US 32, 33); Medium (US 30, 31); & Small (US 28, 29)

Best Features: Softshell; radiation protection; UV protection; polar fleece lining; and quick drying.

Best Use: Casual, Hiking, Camping, Alpine Climbing, Fishing

The Putu Lovers Waterproof Softshell Pants are the best outdoor, hard wearing technical pants for the money. These pants can beyond doubt handle rough environments. They are made from Softshell material with a lifestyle relaxed fit that offers exceptional water resistance against light rains.

They are incorporated with polar fleece lining and radiation/ UV protection. The sun rays will not scorch your skin when you have these pants on. They are quick drying, making them ideal for hiking in the rain forest and river fishing.

They take but a few moments to dry up after being submerged in water. They are available in a number of sizes: XX Large (US 34, 36); X Large (US 34); Large (US 32, 33); Medium (US 30, 31); & Small (US 28, 29). They are also available in different colors, including army green, black, deep camel, khaki, coffee, and dark grey.

The pants are fitted with useful pockets with concealed zip closure for improved security. There is a stylish fastening belt for achieving the perfect fit. You will love the colors and the various sizes. However, expect some challenges with the waist. The pants tend to run small. Be careful with the fit; if possible test them on the spot before purchasing.

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Portwest Classic Rain Trousers portwest classic rain trousers

Waist Size: XL (40 to 41 inches); L (36 to 38 inches); M (33 to 34 inches); S (30 to 32 inches); XS (26 to 28 inches); 5X Large; 4XL (48 to 50 inches); 3XL (46 to 47 inches); & 2XL (42 to 44 inches).

Best Features: 100% polyester fabric; PVC coated; fully taped seam; elasticated waistband; roomy fit; lightweight; all weather trousers; and extremely packable.

Best Use: Casual, Hiking, Camping, Backpacking, Alpine

These Portwest Classic Rain Trousers are one of the best waterproof pants made from 100% polyester fabric that is PVC coated. The shell is highly durable and waterproof. The pants can withstand the abuse of the trail and the terrain. They are the ideal trousers to wear during alpine climbing.

They are fitted with an elasticated waistband for comfortable fit. They are available in numerous waist sizes including: 5XL, 4XL (48 to 50 inches), 3XL (46 to 47 inches), 2XL (42 to 44 inches), XL (40 to 41 inches), L (36 to 38 inches), M (33 to 34 inches), S (30 to 32 inches), & XS (26 to 28 inches).

They are also available in 6 different colors, which are navy, black, yellow, olive green, orange, and grey. The elastic waist ensures that the trousers do not grow large with continued use. The trousers are incorporated with fully taped seams, a feature that ensures water and other elements do not penetrate into the pants through the edges.

They are fitted with side access pocket that is secured with stud closure. You can use the pocket to store smaller items, such as your smartphone. You can pair the pants with a rain jacket (Portwest S440) for complete protection against light rains and cold weather.

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Helly Hansen Rain Pants helly hansen rain pants

Waist Size: 4XL, 3XL, XXL, XL, L, M, & S

Best Features: 100% polyester fabric; push button adjustment at hem; elastic waistband w/ drawcord; mildew resistant; and waterproof.

Best Use: Casual, Hiking, Camping, Backpacking, Alpine

The Helly Hansen Rain Pants are just the pants you need to wear in extreme weather conditions. They are particularly designed to provide you with the protection you need against light rains, snow, and cold. The 100% polyester fabric offers durability, and strength needed for effective abrasion and tear resistance.

You can actually use the pants for mountain climbing, and you will not see a scratch on them. Unlike most trousers in the market, this pair is made specifically for rough environments and extreme conditions. Stretch, durability, and strength make polyester fabric the best pants material.

However, the resourcefulness of the fabric is enhanced by the PVC coating. This improves dimensional stability, and resistance to elements, such as water and abrasion. With the PVC coat, water droplets from light showers are effectively repelled ensuring that you remain dry and warm at all times during hiking, camping, fishing, or mountaineering.

The elastic waist w/ drawcord offers you the perfect fit without much ado. The versatility of the trousers is enhanced further with the presence of push button adjustment at the hem. The material is somewhat heavy but very effective.

The trousers are well-constructed and thick ensuring that they can withstand tearing when exposed to rough surroundings. The only problem with these pants is that they are not highly breathable. Therefore, it is not advisable to wear them for extended durations.

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Makino Quick Dry Hiking Pants makino mens quick dry pants

Waist Size: 36W x 31L; 34W x 30L; 33W x 30L; 29W x 30L; 28W x 29L.

Best Features: Nylon fabric; convertible; straight style; elastic waist band; lightweight, quick dry, & breathable; Asian size; zipper closure; and many pockets.

Best Use: Casual, Hiking, Camping, Backpacking, Alpine

These Makino Quick Dry Hiking Pants are unique convertible rain pants for the money. The shell is made of long lasting nylon fabric, which is waterproof, wrinkle-proof, fast drying, and highly breathable. You can wear them for long without sweating because the moisture is released away from the pants through the fabric.

The style is straight, and the waist is elastic. This allows you to achieve a better and personalized fit. The articulated knees along with the gusset free up legs offer added benefits as far as versatility is concerned.

In actual fact, you can use the pants on rough terrain and they will still withstand any abrasion. They are highly convertible. You can transform them into a pair of cute shorts by disengaging the middle zipper at the knee level.

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Outdoor Research Cirque Pants outdoor research cirque pants

Waist Size: XX Large, X Large, Large, Medium, & Small.

Best Features: Fabric (7% spandex, 43% polyester, and 50% nylon); gusseted crotch; reinforced boot lace hook; low profile waist; & articulated knee.

Best Use: Casual, Hiking, Camping, Backpacking, Alpine

If you are in the market in search of high energy outdoor chinos, then you should settle for the Outdoor Research Cirque Pants. They have a technical soft shell construction, and they are highly durable for alpine skiing and climbing. The shell’s fabric is made of 7% spandex, 43% polyester, and 50% nylon.

This combination offers you all the reinforced features you have been looking for in hiking/outdoor pants. The available sizes include XX Large, X Large, Large, Medium, and Small. The available colors are black and pewter.

The low profile waist fits perfectly under harness. The gusseted crotch and articulated knees resist abrasion when climbing or skiing. The pants are ultra-lightweight and highly breathable. Therefore, you will never produce excess heat while the pants are on.

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In Conclusion

The best rain pants should have full-length zippers, making it easy for you to add or remove them over boots. Breathable-waterproof legwear has traditionally been heavy, with the popular models weighing more than a couple of pounds.

marmot precip full zip

Nowadays, you should have no trouble keeping the weight of breathable waterproof pants under a pound. In actual fact, it is not uncommon to find pants that are extremely lightweight.

All the aforementioned features are achievable with the right fabric. Most people, especially novice hikers, do not pay attention to the fabric used to make garments. You should not make such a mistake; know the fabric. Do you think we have missed any useful rain pants? If so, let us know in comments.


Dennis Owens

Dennis Owens is a graduate of National Camping School and REI Outdoor School. He knows everything about what gear to take with you, how to plan your trip to stay safe and what to do if you get lost in the mountains. We are lucky to have Dennis with us as he is a ‘walking encyclopedia’ when it comes to the wilderness.