After a day's walk, everything has twice its usual value - G.M. Trevelyan
After a busy week in the office or an unbearable couple of days on the factory floor, there’s nothing like getting out into nature to recharge your batteries so that you can just let all of your accumulated stress slip away.
It doesn’t have to be the sort of adventure that you spend hours planning and trying to figure out, you can just sling whatever you need into a backpack and head into the hills, forests, or out onto the beach trails and coastal paths.
Getting out into the wild doesn’t have to involve tents or camping (although it can if you want it too), an RV or motel rooms and you don’t have to spend a night on the forest floor gazing up at the stars, as nature has a way of replenishing your soul in a single afternoon.
And the best way to let Mother Nature do what she does best and put the spring back in your step is by putting on a sturdy pair of boots and hiking your cares and worries away.
But if you are thinking about, or planning to start hiking to reduce your stress levels and improve your personal fitness and health, you’re going to need more than just a pair of boots.
You’re also going to need the right pants too and given the unpredictability of the weather and the fact that you’ll want to be able to wear those pants all year round, whatever the season, there are no better trousers for hiking in than convertible pants.
Able to transform from pants into shorts in an instant, they offer the convenience of both and the assurance that no matter what the weather is like, you’ll be able to hit the hiking trail in style and comfort.
That’s why we found five of the best pairs of convertible hiking pants that you can wear to explore the world in, so all you have to do is slip them on, lace up your boots, and head for the hills.
Are you ready to start hiking? Then let’s get convertible…
Top 5 Best Hiking Convertible Pants
OUR TOP PICK
Outdoor Research is a specialist clothing firm that develops and manufactures the sort of hard-wearing, warm, and element proof clothes that mountaineers, climbers, and rugged outdoors people want and need.
Based in Seattle, they’ve been tailoring jackets, shirts, and pants for the best of the best for four decades.
Ferrosi are Outdoor Research’s best-selling and award-winning brand of hiking pants and are lightweight, quick-drying, DWR (durable water repellent) treated, and have a UPF (ultraviolet protection) rating of fifty.
Fitted with five pockets and movement mirroring stretch material, they’re made to love the outdoors almost as much as you do.
They’ve been the pants and shorts combination of choice for every sort of amateur and professional outdoors enthusiast since Outdoor Research introduced them and are built to withstand whatever nature and the wilderness can throw at them, and you.
If you want to take a walk on the wild side, then Ferrosi is the convertible pants to do it in.
- Ferrosi’s combined DWR and UPF rating make them the ideal convertible pants for all sorts of conditions and weather. They really are the convertible hiking pants for all seasons.
- Durable, lightweight, and strong, whether you’re just planning an afternoon in the woods or setting out for a weekend full of mountaineering, Ferrosi will see you through your endeavors in comfort and style.
- If you’re looking to store a lot in the pockets, you’ll either need to cut down on what you’re planning to take with you or find another pair of pants. Outdoor Research doesn’t exactly make the pockets big in these pants.
- And they’re not what most of us would call cheap either. If you want a pair of convertible Ferrosi, you’ll pay the same high premium that the Outdoor Research name demands of all of its customers.
Columbia takes great pride in the fact that they have been crafting innovative outdoor clothing technology since nineteen thirty-eight.
And, as they so succinctly put it, the last eighty years and some change have been a good start. They’re proud of what they do, and the clothes they make have garnered the sort of reputation that other brands can only dream about.
Tailored from Columbia’s signature fabric that’s designed to draw moisture away from the skin and into the pants, Silver Ridge also has built-in DWR and a UPF rating of fifty, which makes them ideal for all-weather hiking.
Breathable, durable, comfortable, and lightweight, with a single stroke of each leg zipper they’ll go from full-length pants to cargo-style shorts in the blink of an eye.
Built around a family tradition of excellence and quality, Silver Ridge is one of Columbia’s most enduring hiking pants, and are made to keep you comfortable, safe, and focused from the beginning of your outdoor escapades all the way through to the end.
They were tested, just like all of Columbia’s products are, in their backyard of the unforgiving wilds of Oregon, and if they can make it through that unscathed, there isn’t a trail that they won’t be able to help you face with confidence and ease.
- Eminently affordable, Silver Ridge has been made with the everyday adventurer in mind and doesn’t know when to quit.
- Machine washable and tumble dryer safe, even after regular trips through the laundry they won’t lose any of their inbuilt performance.
- Some reviews have drawn attention to the fact that the zippers that these convertible pants use aren’t of the highest quality and have a tendency to stick or be stiff. That can slow down the conversion process and make trying to turn them from pants into shorts a little bit difficult. If you’re looking for a speedy, Superman-style short change, then maybe Silver Ridge aren’t for you. But if you don’t want to be the quickest off the long shirt draw, then look no further than Columbia.
For Marmot, everything started high on an Alaskan glacier in nineteen seventy-one, when two USC students Eric Reynold and Dave Huntley were inspired to do things differently.
At that moment, Marmot was born and they’ve been cutting a swathe through outdoor clothing firsts ever since. And nearly half a century later, they’re still pushing boundaries and showing the rest of the hiking world what can be done with the same know-how that gave the Marmot faithful Transcend convertible hiking pants.
Fashioned from a nylon and spandex mix, Transcend has all the stretch that you’ll need when the trails get a little more difficult but are comfortable and loose-fitting enough to keep you cool on even the hottest day, which will delay the inevitable pants to shirts conversion until the last moment.
With a UPF rating of fifty and DWR built-in, these light, tough, and stronger than strong convertible hiking pants will become your newest, and best, outdoor friend.
If you want a pair of sneakers that were made for the track, you head straight to the athlete-friendly sports brands, and so likewise when you want a pair of convertible hiking pants that’ll help you navigate wilderness paths in luxury, you’ll turn to a brand that specializes in mountaineering, hiking and the outdoors.
And that’s why, when you’re looking for convertible hiking pants, you’ll go in search of Marmot’s Transcend.
- Light, durable, and comfortable, Transcend are made to help you to conquer any outdoor obstacles that you’ll encounter on your travels.
- Their formidable UPF rating and built-in DWR will keep you warm, safe, and secure no matter what sort of weather you find yourself caught in.
- They’re relatively loose-fitting and baggy for hiking pants, so if you like things a little tighter, you’re probably not going to take to or feel comfortable, in a pair of Transcend.
prAna market themselves as a premium lifestyle clothing brand for outdoor enthusiasts and are a brand of choice for those who hold sustainability as close to their hearts as their love of hiking and the wilderness.
Made to be environmentally friendly and ecologically conscious, prAna’s Zion convertible hiking pants are as kind to the planet as they are comfortable.
Transforming into cargo shorts with a quick flash of the zip, Zion are durable, lightweight, and strong, have a UPF rating of over fifty, and inbuilt DWR.
Tailored from a spandex and nylon combination, Zion are made to handle the toughest of terrain with ease and ensure that you never get caught in any sort of weather that you’re not prepared for, and able to function in with confidence.
Made in a wide range of colors, Zion are built to be tough outdoors and the look good everywhere, whether you’re scaling a mountain path or indulging in some craft beer action at a local brewery, there isn’t a situation where they won’t be the pinnacle of rugged outdoor, and indoor, fashion.
- They look good, they’re comfortable and thanks to their fusion of nylon and spandex, they’re stretchy enough to let you take on any trail in style and comfort.
- And did we mention that they zip down to cargo shorts? We did? Well, we thought we’d mention it again because Zion looks even better as shorts than they do as pants.
- All of the ecologically conscious design and thought that goes into the design and manufacture of every pair of prAna isn’t cheap. They’re a reassuringly expensive brand of convertible hiking pants that absolutely reinforces the idea that if you want to look good, it’s going to leave a pretty significant dent in your pocketbook.
Mier is one of the newest brands on our list, but in the twelve years since their inception, their mission statement to produce high quality, affordable outdoor clothing for the dedicated enthusiast has seen them take the world of extreme sports, mountaineering, climbing, and hiking by storm.
And their convertible hiking pants epitomize everything that they do as a company. Aficionados of the brand may wear their hearts on their sleeves, but Mier clothing carries its passion in every single one if it’s stitches and fibers.
Made from an eighty percent nylon and twelve percent spandex mix, these quick driving, lightweight, six pocketed hiking pants convert from full-length pants to cargo shorts quickly and easily.
Fashioned to cope with the harshest of climates and deal with any environment, Mier’s convertible hiking pants will make sure you’re never caught short. Unless of course, you’ve zippered them down and that’s how you’ve decided to wear them that day.
Best of all though, all of Mier’s clothing comes with a limited two-year warranty that covers any, and all, production faults, so if they do fail when you least expect them to, Mier will replace them and you’ll be able to walk away with a brand new pair of pants. Or whatever it was you originally paid for them.
- Light, tough and strong, MIer’s convertible hiking pants will see you through any, and all of your outdoor adventures, and they won’t hurt your pocketbook.
- That two-year limited warranty is worth its weight in outdoor gold. If Mier has that much faith in their products, it’s hard not to follow in their wake and put your faith in them too.
- They don’t have anywhere near the same sort of UPF protection as the other convertible hiking pants on our list do, so if that’s a factor that’s important to you, it might be wise to look elsewhere for your convertible hiking pants.
Best Hiking Convertible Pants Buying Guide
What Are Hiking Pants?
Hiking pants are lightweight, durable pants usually made from a combination of nylon and spandex that are tailored to be strong enough to cope with different weather and all sorts of outdoor conditions.
The material that they are made from usually features some sort of DWR (durable water repellent) and ultraviolet protection (UPF - the higher the factor, the more protection they’ll provide) to help shield the wearer from both the sun and rain.
They are also made to be comfortable and are designed to stretch with their wearer’s movements, no matter how extreme, without ripping or tearing.
What Are Convertible Hiking Pants?
Convertible hiking pants are hiking pants that are designed to convert from full-length trousers into shorts via two zips, one on either leg.
When the zipper is pulled one way, the legs of the trousers come off just below the knee, changing the pants into shorts. Then to reattach the legs of the pants, they are positioned to allow the zipper to work, the zip is then fastened and the legs of the pants are reattached.
A lot of hikers and climbers prefer convertible pants, due to the freedom they provide and the fact that they are, essentially, two pairs of pants in one.
Which Convertible Hiking Pants Are Right For Me?
As all convertible hiking pants are designed to essentially do the same thing, and convert from full-length pants to shorts and back again, the factor that will limit your choice the most, is your budget.
If you do have a smaller budget for your convertible hiking pants, we’d always recommend Columbia’s Silver Ridge as they’re purpose-made for the outdoor life and will not let you down when you need them the most.
If however, budget isn’t a limiting factor, then the only convertible hiking pants of choice that should even feature on your radar, has to be prAna’s Zion. Ecologically conscious and made to last, they’re the convertible hiking pants that the professionals choose to wear.
So, the choice is yours. Suit up and we’ll see you out on the trails.