Our Favorite Hunting Pants for Men and Women

High-tech hunting pants might not make you a great hunter, but they can definitely make a rough day in the field more enjoyable and keep you out hunting longer. Plenty of hunters still find success in denim jeans—I confess to having hunted in camo jeans only a few years ago—but there are lots of benefits to be had from the evolution in hunting-specific bottoms. If you’re like I was not that long ago, you might be skeptical of the value of new high-tech fabrics, especially once you see the price tags. Plenty of hunters will go with a sub-$50 pair of cotton-blend camo pants and call it good enough. And it likely will be. But if you’re considering something more, it’s worth pointing out that higher-end fabrics are trickling down into the budget categories, and I point out a few pairs of hunting pants below that are under $100.

First and most important, a good pair of hunting pants that keeps you dry and warm (or cool, depending on the season) will make you more comfortable in the field, and a comfortable hunter will be able to hunt longer and with a clearer head. If all you can think about is getting back to your vehicle and getting out of your gear, you’re not likely going to be on your game when opportunity presents itself.

Modern fabrics and design have also drastically increased the number of options in the market, so you can get pants that are tailored to your particular region and style of hunting, with specific camo patterns, season-specific warmth, weather-specific waterproofing and breathability, and lots of hunting-first features. There’s not one pair of pants that’s perfect for every occasion, but check out my recommendations below for some offerings that might be just right for your location and style of hunting.

The Expert: As a Colorado-based hunter of deer, elk, pronghorn, waterfowl, and moose in the Rocky Mountains, I’ve tested hunting pants in a range of climates and conditions from hot and dry high desert to thick forest in heavy rain and snow. I also hunt back home in Upstate New York’s Eastern hardwood forests and spend more time in a treestand in wide-ranging weather, so I understand the challenges of several different regions, seasons, and types of hunters.

What to Consider When Choosing the Right Hunting Pants

Layering Systems

While layering isn’t as essential for bottoms as it is on your upper body (keeping your core warm keeps your extremities warm), you can still use layers to address wild swings in ambient or body temperature, such as hiking up a steep grade with a pack on and then spending hours motionless in a treestand. Several of the hunting pants recommended below are designed to be used in a layering system and wouldn’t make sense as a standalone garment.

Layering isn’t generally of any value when hunting during warmer seasons, but in colder weather or any situation with wild swings, it’s easier to adapt to conditions when you’re wearing layers than it is when you’re wearing a single garment. The downside here is that you will at some point be carrying extra clothing which requires more pack space and some additional weight. With bulky insulated bibs, for example, that space and weight requirement can be fairly substantial, so make sure you need the layers before you commit to them.

Patterns and Colors

Hunting apparel companies offer more types of camouflage than ever, and you can spend days researching the purported benefit of one camo over another. Since Realtree, one of the first popularizers of modern hunting camo patterns, debuted decades ago, there has been an explosion in concealment R&D, and the marketplace offers dozens of patterns from manufacturers as well as third-party pattern companies such as Kryptek, Realtree, Mossy Oak, and others.

An in-depth discussion of camo efficacy is way beyond the scope of this article, but my baseline advice for choosing camo is to look for a brand that caters to your specific region and type of hunting. Not only will you get a camo pattern that’s in line with your hunting environment, but also the garments will be designed for your style of hunting.

More and more long-range rifle hunters are eschewing camo altogether since the patterns are less important at long distances than some basic concealment and stillness. Thankfully, apparel companies are catering to this audience, providing more solid colorways in earth tones. Buying solids has the benefit of making your pants capable of double-duty for work, play, or casual wear beyond the hunting seasons.


As the saying goes, “cotton kills,” and that’s because cotton absorbs moisture like a sponge and doesn’t dry out quickly. Moisture transfers heat much more readily than air, so wet pants will both pull your body heat off you and draw the outside cold into you. Aside from cotton, there’s no material that you need to avoid at all costs, nor is there any “best” material for every pair of hunting pants.

Most modern technical hunting pants use blends of materials such as nylon, polyester, elastane, spandex, and merino wool. The manufacturers try to balance breathability, durability, stretch, comfort, warmth, and many other factors to create the ideal fabric for each application.

If you hunt in wetter regions, you may want to look for pants with a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) coating. Many hunters carry separate rain pants for when precipitation hits, but a basic level of water repellency is a good idea—unless you hunt mostly in drier areas.

If you need maximum weatherproofing in your pants, you’re likely in the market for a pant that uses specialized fabric-membrane combinations such as Gore-Tex. These high-tech garments borrow tech used for years in snow sports and mountaineering and provide high levels of wind- and waterproofing while remaining breathable unlike, say, a rubberized rain slicker. Keep in mind, however, that while these layers perform great, they have some drawbacks such as stiffer, noisier materials and higher price points. They also will never be as breathable as thinner, lighter fabrics that aren’t waterproof but allow body moisture to escape freely.

Nice-to-Have Features

Hunting pants come with lots of little features that get touted in product descriptions, such as purpose-built pockets, built-in kneepads, quiet pocket snaps, and durability-minded details such as reinforced fabric on high-wear areas.

Pockets I’m usually fine with almost any arrangement of pockets on my hunting pants, as I tend to always have a pack and prefer to keep frequently used items, such as my phone and binoculars, on my upper body. The classic 5-pocket setup you’d find on blue jeans works just fine. Look for cargo pockets if you know you’ll use them. I don’t like anything substantial on my legs as it can swing around and snag while you’re hiking.

Kneepads Lots of hunting pants come with kneepads, and you might love them or hate them. While I find thick built-in kneepads annoying at first, I usually forget about them after the first mile of hiking and am glad to have them when I need to stop and stay low. Folks with bad knees or any hunters spending time above tree line where rock is the predominant ground may want to filter their search down to only pants with kneepads.

Likewise, many pants will feature articulated knees that keep the fabric from binding when you flex at the knee joint hiking or getting low. Some pants, such as the Under Armour model recommended below, have extra material around the knee. This is actually my preferred setup, as I don’t ever feel like I need full kneepads, but I do enjoy a little extra cushioning there.

Reinforcements While lots of modern pants focus on being ultralight and breathable, you’ll get more years out of them if they have reinforced fabric in certain areas. First and foremost, I like pants with reinforcement in the rear end, which is usually the first place to go threadbare if you often sit on rocks and rocky dirt that slowly abrades the fabric. While I almost never use rear pockets, they can often act as de facto fabric reinforcement if the rear isn’t otherwise fortified.

Other areas it’s nice to have extra material: the cuffs at the ankles, which can rub against each other and wear, and the knees, which tend to bump against things when you’re hiking or rub against rocks and dirt when you’re kneeling.

How We Selected These Hunting Pants

I’ve personally worn a wide range of hunting (and non-hunting-specific) pants in various conditions, everything from cotton bibs and jeans to some of the most expensive, technical hunting-specific pants on the market. To make these recommendations, I considered pants I own or have owned, as well as tested a half-dozen current models from the most popular and widely available hunting apparel brands. I also spoke with other hunters, brand reps, and store owners about their opinions of the different materials and brands available. Our category picks offer guidance if you’ve already narrowed down your search.

Best Overall Hunting Pants

Under Armour Ridge Reaper Raider HD Pants

Key Specs

  • Colors/Patterns: Jet Gray, UA Forest All-Season Camo, UA Barren Camo
  • Sizes: 30–42W (waist), 30L–36L (inseam)
  • Materials: 91% polyester, 9% elastane
  • Insulation: None

Under Armour is one of the few non-endemic brands to do hunting apparel right. Far from being athletic wear painted camo and rebranded, Under Armour hunting gear is performance minded and well-thought-out. I wore the Ridge Reaper Raider pants across multiple hunting seasons last fall and found them to be a good all-around weight.

I’d probably opt for something lighter for desert climates and hot early-season archery hunts, since the highly elastic material is fairly thick, but I was able to layer under them despite a performance fit and wear them for even my coldest hunts of the year. The articulated “moto” knees provide essential padding for more active hunts without having to stuff bulky, annoying kneepads in.

  • Too warm for some early-season hunts

Best Overall Runner-Up

Kryptek Alaios Lightweight Hunting Pants

Key Specs

  • Colors/Patterns: Highlander, Obskura Transitional, Charcoal Gray, Typhon, Coyote Brown, Ranger Green
  • Sizes: 28–40W (waist), 32–35L (inseam)
  • Materials: 90% polyester, 10% elastane
  • Insulation: None

Kryptek is perhaps best-known as a popular high-tech camouflage pattern technology, and it’s the only one tested and approved by the U.S. military for concealment. The brand actually produces a lot of outerwear, and I’ve found its pants to be not only well-made but also a bit more affordable than a lot of the big names in the space. There are also some smart features I love that aren’t usually available in pants at this price point, such as reinforced belt loops and mesh-backed heat-dumping zippers at the hips.

The Alaios pants also have eight different pockets that are smartly place to stay out of your way and prevent snags. I particularly like the zippered cargo pocket that sits high on your quad, which keeps it from impeding your knee flexion when hiking or kneeling. The reinforced knees are durable enough with an extra layer of fabric, but they’re also ready to receive the sold-separate kneepads if desired.

  • Affordable
  • Reinforced knees
  • Proven camo patterns
  • Optional kneepads not included

Best Rain & Snow Pants

Forloh AllClima 3L Hunting Pants

Key Specs

  • Colors/Patterns: Deep Cover, Exposed, Snowfall, Black, Green, Magnet
  • Sizes: S–2XL
  • Materials: 86% polyethylene tetraphyte, 14% spandex
  • Insulation: Tricot liner

When precipitation is a possibility, rain pants are a must to keep your hunt going. I like to carry a rain bottom in my pack to slip over my regular hunting pants when weather moves in. The AllClima 3L, from Montana-based company Forloh, uses the same construction as high-end modern ski pants. Despite being up to the task of sleet and snow, the AllClima 3Ls are about as breathable and waterproof as any pant with this construction can be.

These are a bit heavy for early season, but they’re great for longer sits in the snow and especially for transitional precipitation such as sleet, which can soak and chill you quickly. The pants aren’t cheap, but they’re 100 percent American-sourced and -made and built to last for many seasons.

  • High breathability
  • Durable DWR coating
  • High waterproofing
  • Too hot for early seasons
  • Expensive

Best Budget Hunting Pants

RedHead Tec-Lite Pants

Key Specs

  • Colors/Patterns: TrueTimber Strata, TrueTimber HTC Green, TrueTimber Kanati
  • Sizes: S–XXL
  • Materials: 90% polyester, 10% spandex
  • Insulation: None

Luckily for budget-minded hunters, the tech pant revolution has started to trickle down into lower-priced garments. RedHead sells a lot of cheaper hunting apparel in the big box hunting stores and now wisely offers the Tec-Lite pants for hunters who want tech-pant performance but not tech-pant prices.

The cut and style are still fairly traditional, with hip and rear pockets and button cargo pockets, but there’s no cotton, and the pants stretch with you as you move. The sizing is numbered at the waist, but all waists feature a 32-inch inseam, so it’s harder to get a precise fit, and lankier hunters might be left out on this model.

  • Available only in 32-inch inseam

Best Hunting Pants for Women

Kryptek Vahalla Women’s Lightweight Hunting Pants

Key Specs

  • Colors/Patterns: Highlander, Typhon
  • Sizes: 0–10
  • Materials: 88% polyester, 12% spandex
  • Insulation: None

Thankfully, lots of hunting apparel brands are meeting the rising demand for women’s-specific hunting clothing, and the Valhalla pant is a perfect all-season pant. Not only is the women’s version tailored for female bodies, the sizing will be familiar to women so they aren’t guessing at a men’s size chart. (I’ve tested the men’s Valhalla and found the fit articulated but not as skin-tight as some other brands, so they are a good option for larger folks who still want a performance fit.)

These ultralight, highly breathable pants are ideal for high-exertion hunting and thus are best suited to a Western or Southern hunter that likes to cover ground. Like all Kryptek gear, they also feature high-tech camo tested and approved by the U.S. military for concealment.

  • Proven camo patterns
  • Affordable

Best Hunting Bibs

Sitka Gear Incinerator Aerolite Bibs

Key Specs

  • Colors/Patterns: Elevated II
  • Sizes: M–3XL
  • Materials: 2-Layer Gore-Tex
  • Insulation: Synthetic PrimaLoft Gold Insulation, Aerogel

Treestand whitetail hunting in cold weather is a gear challenge like no other that Sitka has stepped up to with its Incinerator bibs. The bibs deliver maximum warmth while keeping weight and bulk down with lightweight, synthetic insulation. I wore the Incinerator bibs during late whitetail hunting in Upstate New York in sleet, snow, and subfreezing temps and felt like I could sit there all day if I had to.

The biggest challenge with the Incinerators is that they’re too warm if you’re hiking any distance in them and need to be carried and put on at the stand. At about four pounds, they’re not ridiculously heavy to carry, and though still fairly bulky for fitting in smaller packs, they come with a built-in cinch strap to compress them down. I strapped mine to the outside of my pack after cinching. As with most Sitka gear, the Incinerators have lots of smart hunting-specific features such as a soft, brushed face fabric that quiets your movements, a waterproof safety harness pass-through, and an easy-access grunt tube holder.

  • Lightweight and very warm
  • Gore-Tex weatherproofing

Best Hunting Pants for Early Season

Kuiu Kutana Pants

Key Specs

  • Colors/Patterns: Valo, Verde, & Vias camos. Ash, Bourbon, Gunmetal, & Loden solids
  • Sizes: 30–42 (waist), 34 (inseam)
  • Materials: Primeflex Stretch Nylon
  • Insulation: None

Active early-season hunts, such as lower-elevation Western archery pursuits, can have hunters covering lots of ground in high heat and sun exposure where shorts would feel appropriate but you still need concealment and protection. I like Kuiu’s Kutana Stretch Woven pants for warm-weather hunting because the Toray Primeflex fabric weighs under a pound and is breathable but is more durable than other lightweight pants. Lots of lighter hunting pants use spandex, but the material is more susceptible to snags and doesn’t last as long when abused season after season.

Kuiu also makes the Tiburon pant, which might be a good choice for extreme heat, but I prefer the durability of the Kutana and the fact that I can push them into cooler hunting seasons by wearing a baselayer underneath.

  • Very slim fit
  • Available only in 34-inch inseam

Best Crossover Hunting Pants

Prana Stretch Zion II Pants

Key Specs

  • Colors: Rye Green Camo, plus six solids
  • Sizes: 28–42 (waist), 28–36 (inseam), standard and slim fits
  • Materials: 95% recycled nylon, 5% elastane
  • Insulation: None

It can be tough to swallow spending over $100 on pants that you use only a few weeks each fall. Hunters that aren’t set on sticking to specific camo patterns and hunting-specific brands have lots of options for pants that can be worn when not hunting and can usually save some money as well. Prana recently released an updated edition of its popular Stretch Zion pants that now incorporates recycled nylon as the primary fabric.

Go with one of the six earth-tone solid colorways if you’re after more versatile casual wear, but if it’s concealment you want, the Stretch Zion IIs come in one traditional camo pattern as well. These are activewear pants that stretch with your movements, and they also come with a DWR finish to keep you dry when conditions get wet.

Best Hunting Pants for Heavy Brush

Orvis Pro LT Pro Hunting Pants

Key Specs

  • Colors/Patterns: Sand/Dark Khaki
  • Sizes: 32–36 (waist), 30–34 (inseam)
  • Materials: Nylon Cordura, polypropylene, nylon
  • Insulation: None

One area where lightweight, technical hunting pants tend to come up short is durability. While most will endure snags without falling apart, they are likely to experience pulls that can damage the pants bit-by-bit over time. For upland bird hunting and other pursuits that drag you through dense brush and brambles, a more durable pant is recommended. The Orvis Pro LT pants use lightweight and breathable Cordura but are stiff enough to resist brush.

Pants such as Filson’s Tin Cloth offer durability through heavy-duty materials but aren’t really performance garments because of their stiffness and weight. The Pro LT pants deliver tear-resistance and water-resistance as well thanks to a DWR coating.

Our Expert, Justin Park, on Insulation, Durability, and His Favorite Hunting-Pants Feature.

Q: Do I need insulated pants for hunting?

A: Though personal experience in the field will best determine your answer, there are a few types of hunters that will likely want insulated pants. Treestand hunters in cold climates will almost always benefit from insulated pants, since long hours of inactivity make it hard to fight off the chill when the mercury drops. Likewise, late-season Western hunters may want insulated pants, especially if they don’t have strenuous hikes to their hunting spots.

Too much insulation combined with heavy exertion can lead to excessive sweating and damp garments that will end up having the opposite of their intended effect, chilling you when you stop moving and cool down. If you’re worried about sweating out insulated pants but need warmth for longer sits, consider a zip-on insulated pant you can put on after the heavy breathing is done.

Q: Are lightweight technical fabrics durable?

A: My experience wearing lightweight modern hunting pants through several seasons of heavy use is that most brands are fairly durable. They are much more susceptible to snags and pulls than, say, waxed canvas, but you are trading that extreme durability for lighter weights, range of motion, and breathability.

If you regularly hunt in heavy brush, I recommend looking at a durability-first pair of pants, such as the Orvis Pro LT,which is still remarkably lightweight and breathable but features a stiffer, more rugged material designed to hold up through brambles.

Q: Your one must-have hunting-pants feature?

A: While it may seem nonessential, the inclusion of zips for dumping heat are a feature I use frequently in almost any season. If you tend to exert heavily getting in and out of your hunting zones like I do, you will get too hot and sweaty no matter how lightweight your pants are. Having zips (ideally mesh-backed) on the outsides and/or the insides of your thighs is the best way to dump heat quickly and avoid steaming your pants out, which can lead to serious chills if the weather shifts, you start staying put, or the sun goes down.

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