If you’re thinking you’ll just do the three peaks challenge in your jeans, think again. Walking trousers are almost as important as walking boots when it comes to hiking, and you’ve got the unpredictable British weather to contend with whether you’re climbing a mountain or simply walking the dog.
Many of the best walking trousers are built with waterproofing, UPF protection and a significant amount of pockets, to prepare you for every eventuality on your adventure. Most are made with lightweight materials that are breathable but can still block out harsh winds and they won’t stick to your legs when they get wet. You may think all of this sounds a bit OTT, but trust us, once you've taken to the hills in a pair of walking trousers designed specifically for the great outdoors, you'll never want to trek out in your old jeans again.
If you know you’re going to be walking in particularly hot or extremely cold conditions, you may want to consider fabric type a little more seriously than if you are off on a mild stroll. Cotton is your best friend when it comes to ensuring there is some warmth packed into your walking trousers and you may want to ensure the trekking bottoms you opt for have waterproofing features before heading off into the unknown. Be sure to check for a decent UPF rating (sun protection) if you are off anywhere warm.
Extra features to look out to make your walking trips that bit more comfortable?
Drawstring toggles for extra warmth around your ankles, multiple pockets for easy access to items on the go and a bit of reinforcement around the knees is ideal if you are trekking in the mountains. The rest is down to style and budget, so take a look at our top picks that we think walk the walk.
If you're heading off on an adventure, you might want to check out our other travel kit guides:
These walking trousers are packed with handy features and thoughtful design elements that really do make for a more comfortable walking experience. The Berghaus Explorer Eco men’s walking trousers not only have high UPF sun protection of 50+ but they are also finished with a durable water repellent treatment making them the perfect rain or shine trekking trouser. With 5 pockets, you're catered for in terms of storage space for accessories, plus there are two hand-warmer specific pockets for when it’s really chilly. One of the handwarmers even has an additional security pocket incorporated! They are a lightweight material and ensure a comfortable fit with their drawstring waistband. They’re not too pricey either, so if you’re looking for a good all-rounder for your walking trips that is packed with helpful features, these are the ones to get.
The Sherpa Mirik Pant aims to provide ultimate comfort with its combination of cotton and spandex that makes them reportedly soft to the touch, breathable and stretchy. Anyone looking for a really comfortable pair of walking trousers will want to check these out. They also have a water-repellent finish, gusseted crotch and support on the knees so that you can walk with ease even when on the toughest of trails and regardless of weather. They also come in a few different colours which is an added bonus and often a rarity for walking trousers. If comfort is what you are after and you are not too fussed about extra features, these are a safe bet.
Made from abrasion resistant, micro sanded twill, these walking trousers are designed to take a serious bashing - If you are looking for walking bottoms that can take a scrape, these are the ones. The magic combination of the gusseted crotch and 2% spandex mean that these trousers aim to give you a decent amount of freedom when trekking and hiking, too. If you are sick of the wear and tear that a budget pair of walking trousers go through, these PrAna Bronson Pants could be just the ticket.
When backpacking or travelling one of the most important things is comfort and adapting to changing elements, and the Berghaus Navigator II Stretch Pant has got you covered. These are affordable walking trousers that aim to see you through your walking journey with a bit more comfort than your average walking trouser thanks to the stretchy addition of a bit of elastane in the fabric, great for anyone who often finds they get a bit of chaffing when trekking. They have a water repellent finish as well as sun protection, and lots of little pockets (some may be too small for a large smartphone) for all your essentials on the go. If you are planning an intense walking trip that will likely bring you unpredictable weather scenarios, these are the pair to go for.
If you’re a regular adventure hiker then the Fjallraven Vidda Pro walking trousers are tough enough to keep you warm and dry when venturing off the beaten track. They feature double reinforcement over the rear and knees, and are made from wind and water resistant G-1000 material. They have plenty of pockets including specific areas for your phone and a map so that you never get lost, and an adjustable leg hem for extra warmth or breathability when you need it most. Perhaps not as tough as the PrAna Bronson Pant but they can still handle heavy wear and tear. These are by no means a basic pair of walking trousers, they are a serious walking garment to add to your trekking ammo.
Heading on a family adventure? Check out our guide to the best family tents.