Winter is frequently the end of the hiking season for fair-weather enthusiasts. However, if you’re committed to experiencing the outdoors in all its glory, regardless of the weather conditions, a little rain, sleet, or snow won’t stop you from going on your adventures. You may find that the paths are more private and hence more enjoyable during the winter months.
As a frequent traveler, perhaps you’re looking for the best cold weather hiking pants. Or maybe you require a new wardrobe for your upcoming winter hiking tour. Whatever the case may be, we’ve got you covered!
Our Top Picks
What To Look For In Cold Weather Hiking Pants?
First and foremost, what characteristics should we be looking for? These are the most important features to look for in a pair of winter hiking pants.
The capacity to keep moisture out is unquestionably the most crucial feature to consider while looking for winter hiking pants. Regardless of where you’re going, you’ll want to be sure your bottoms are resistant to water penetration.
It’s nice to have hiking pants that are fashionable or flattering, but it shouldn’t be the primary reason you buy them. Ensure the hiking pants you buy are comfortable to wear and provide a wide range of motion (particularly if you plan to climb). They shouldn’t be too tight either.
A lack of insulation isn’t as dangerous as a lack of waterproofing in a pair of winter hiking pants, but it’s something to consider. Thinner pants are easier to manage in terms of weight and range of motion, but they won’t keep you as warm as thicker pants. If your pants have insulation, you’ll want to keep your base layers lightweight to avoid overheating.
Best Cold Weather Hiking Pants For Women
We believe it is critical to wear high-quality hiking pants on winter treks and in severely cold weather to keep safe. We spent hours scouring REI, Backcountry, and the websites of the most popular brands for the best winter hiking pants. These are the best hardshell winter hiking pants we’ve found.
Patagonia Women’s Torrentshell Pants
Patagonia’s Women’s Torrentshell Pants will keep you moving. The lightweight polyester-spandex blend provides the extra moving area for outdoor physical activity in cold weather. It properly controls your body temperature and keeps you from overheating.
- Made from recycled materials
- Waterproof fabric and breathable membrane.
- With cuff-to-thigh zippers.
These winter trousers are durable. They do run a little bit, and the waist pulls do an excellent job of cinching you in. They do get hot when doing high-intensity hikes, but that is typical of all winter pants. My base layers remained dry.
REI Co-op Screeline Hybrid Pants
The REI Co-op Screeline Hybrid Pants have a pleasant elasticity that allows you to expand and compress according to your hiking needs. The fabric has abrasion resistance, making it resistant to wear on the surface.
- Water-resistant and quick-drying
- UPF 50+ sun protection that lasts a long time
- Closure with snaps
- Waistband with an inside drawstring
They’re comfortable and stretchy. It didn’t get wet or heavy, and I could fold it up as the weather changed (mountain hiking is versatile with that). Its pockets are deep enough to hold my phone and other essential items. My phone can also fit in the back pocket. These pants are fantastic!
Arctix Women’s Insulated Snow Pants
- 100% Polyester
- 85 grams ThermaTech Insulation offers warmth in a lightweight, low bulk garment (keeps you warm at temperatures from -20 to +35)
- 600 Denier Ballistic are used to reinforce the ankle, scuff and hem guards to hold up against daily wear and tear
The Arctix Women’s Insulated Snow Pants are ideal for travelers who require clothing to survive even the worst weather. These pants will get you through whether you’re trekking for fun or hitting the slopes for a skiing trip. These insulated hiking pants keep the heat in and the cold out, making them ideal for hiking in any winter climate.
- Zipper closure is insulated to keep the warmth in.
- Ankle reinforcement
- Guards against scuffs and hems
These are fantastic pants. They aren’t quite as “slim” fitting as others, but they aren’t as fluffy either. I’m 5’6″ and weigh 125 pounds, so I ordered a medium. They were a little big around the waist, but there was an interior adjustment that you could tighten.
Outdoor Research Ferrosi Convertible Pants
- Fabric Performance: Water-Resistant, Wind-Resistant, Breathable, Quick-Drying, Lightweight, Movement-Mirroring Stretch, UPF 50+
The nylon-spandex fabric blend of the Outdoor Research Ferrosi Convertible Pants provides for a wide range of motion, making these pants a hiking woman’s best friend. They’re a good choice for a cold-weather trip because of their waterproofing and adaptability. These pants are highly versatile, making them one of the best women’s hiking pants for cold weather.
- Adaptable to a wide temperature range
- UPF 50+ nylon-spandex fabric
Finally, the third time’s a charm. (I had already tried two others.) These convertible pants have a great fit and feel to them. I’d been hunting for a pair of convertible hiking pants for a long time and knew these were the ones as soon as I put them on. Both the length and the waist are ideal. Zippers aren’t an issue because it is long enough to provide adequate coverage.
CAMEL CROWN Women’s Softshell Pants
These CAMEL CROWN Women’s Softshell Pants include a fleece inside to keep you warm in cold and snowy weather. They’re both waterproof and windproof, giving you the best of both worlds. These pants are also insulated, keeping the heat in a while, keeping the cold out. The pants are highly flexible, especially around the knees, allowing you to move freely while trekking. They’re also highly adaptable since they may be worn alone or with a base layer for increased warmth in colder weather.
- Flexible and breathable.
- Windproof and water-resistant.
- Elastic waistband – for all-day comfort.
- Two hand compartments with zippers
- Designed for outdoor activities
This pair of hiking pants are fantastic. They’re soft, so you won’t hear a swishy sound when you walk. They’re elastic, so they move with you, but the material is sturdy enough that shredding them on rocks and branches isn’t a concern. The lining is nice and cozy, and it kept me warm without any other layers on my trek today in 30-degree weather. The zippers are strong, and the pockets are spacious.
Best Cold Weather Hiking Pants For Men
ARC’TERYX Cassiar Snow Pants
We are not surprised to see a pair of Arc’teryx pants on this list, as they’re one of the most well-known brands in technical outdoor clothing and fit our criteria nicely. The Arc’Teryx Cassiar Snow Pants for men are ideal for traveling around your favorite ski slopes daily. They’re an investment, to be sure, but one you won’t regret after you’ve tried them out.
- 4-way stretch fabric
- Zippered pockets
- Water-resistant zippers for ventilation
- Closure with a snap fly
These shell pants are ideal for me! All of the other pairs seemed to fit together like balloons, making it impossible to move around. The Cassiars have a considerably more streamlined profile, and the difference is noticeable. They have a more streamlined appearance and feel, but they are elastic enough to feel restricted. There’s even enough area underneath for an Atom Lt pant. These are the greatest snow pants for anyone who doesn’t want to seem like an average snowboarder with baggy pair of pants. “The winter pants I’ve ever owned!”
Columbia Bugaboo II Pants
- Exterior adjustable waist tabs
- Reinforced cuff guard
Columbia has been a prominent name in the outdoor business for the greater part of a century. So, it’s no surprise that their Bugaboo II Pants are one of the best men’s cold weather hiking pants. These are an excellent option for male and female skiers and snowboarders who want to shred the slopes without breaking the bank.
- Waterproof and comfortable
- Adjustable waist
- Zippered Hand Pockets
These pants are fantastic. They’re small and light, yet they’re well insulated. Because the waistband is elastic and adjustable, it fits perfectly. They are highly water-resistant. There are a variety of colors and sizes to choose from (including shorter lengths). The value is unrivaled. They have key ski features, such as a bottom section that unbuttons and a second elastic cuff: excellent trousers, great material, and incredible comfort, at a lower price than ski shops.
FJALLRAVEN Keb Trousers
Fjallraven is known for its high-quality trousers, which come in a wide range of sizes and styles to accommodate all types of walkers and outdoor lovers. And, when it comes to best cold weather hiking pants, their Keb Trousers are a must-have. The Fjallraven Keb Trousers are classic trekking pants with modifications to keep them on the trail for the long haul. It’s stretchable, and they’re ready to go. Take a look, and you’ll see why these winter hiking pants have earned so many honors.
- Engineered Fit
- An award-winning model
- Made of stretchy fabric and G-1000 Eco.
- Hip-to-knee ventilation zippers
These are the most amazing pants on the planet. For outdoor activities (trekking, snow sports), I got a green two-tone pair that I couldn’t stop wearing. They appeared to be excessively “technical” in the city, so I quickly replaced them with a black pair. I hope these pants last forever, but Fjallraven maintains quality and design if they don’t. It’s becoming increasingly rare to come across anything that is well-executed.
686 Smarty 3-IN-1 Cargo Snow Pants
The Smarty Snow Trousers from 686 have a feature that no other pants on this list have: modularity. These pants aren’t just one pair, but a three-in-one system that allows you to layer up or down depending on the weather. With the option of wearing them as solo shell pants, insulated thermals, or toasty loungers for your après fun, the 686 SMARTY 3-In-1 Cargo Pants bring that adaptability to your trousers.
- External Waist Adjustment
- waterproof and breathable fabric
- Boot Gusset with Snap Closure
- Cargo Pocket
For extreme cold, some people wear a gore-tex hardshell and some fleece. For the price of most outer shells, these pants come with an interlayer of fleece pants and an outer shell. I wear these to work and remove them when I get there; they get hot after a while. I have two additional pairs of snow pants that aren’t as tasty as these. They fit well but might be a little more snug around my thighs. Fantastic pants!
Helly Hansem Odin Skarstind Pants
For those unfamiliar with Helly Hansen, the company makes some of the world’s hardest and most durable weatherproof outerwear. As it turns out, their gear’s focus on warmth and weatherproofing also makes it great for mountaineering. Helly Hansen Odin Skarstind Pants is a little on the pricey side, but they’ll never let you down.
- Seamed seals
- Hardcore proprietary waterproof fabrics
- Articulated knees and a gusseted crotch
- Waterproof and breathable
I spend time on the water and land, and I need waterproof gear to go out whenever I want. The weather was 55 degrees, windy, and raining steadily…these trousers were PERFECT! After an hour’s stroll in the rain, I arrived home completely dry. Well-crafted… You will be delighted!!!
Frequently Asked Questions About Cold Weather Hiking Pants
Are snow pants good for hiking?
When deciding what pants to wear for winter hikes, keep in mind the three features that all of your winter hiking gear should provide. Those three items will keep you warm, dry, and moving. If you frequently hike in cold weather, you may need to invest in a pair of snow pants. But, if you want to walk in places where you might have to do some bushwhacking, you’ll need something a little more sturdy.
How cold is too cold for hiking?
Cold tolerance varies from person to person. Some enjoy the rain, wind, or snow outside. What does “cold weather hiking” mean? 30 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit are too cold for unskilled or have amateur equipment. Hiking in temperatures below 40 degrees needs outdoor survival skills, such as staying warm and avoiding hypothermia and frostbite.
Remember: Bad weather can kill you in as little as an hour or two.
Are blue jeans suitable for hiking?
Jeans can be worn anywhere from the office to the pub and everywhere in between, but hiking in your jeans is not a smart idea. While hiking in jeans in the great outdoors may appear attractive (maybe), cotton absorbs moisture rather than wicking it away as wool and polyester materials do. As a result, water, sweat, and filth will easily adhere to your jeans.