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Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Mountain Hardwear AP Pants at Amazon
"Durable, quick-drying, highly maneuverable, and supremely comfortable."
Best Value: Craghopper Kiwi Trousers at Amazon
"For the rugged roads ahead, they perform far better than their price tag might suggest."
Best for Comfort: Pants Slip Warpstreme at Lululemon
"Uses a design that—as they say—“gives the boys some room."
Best for Denim-Lovers: Boulder Men’s Slim Fit at Boulder Denim
"The slim-fitting pants give tremendously, thanks to that diagonal stretch, while reinforced stitching adds durability."
Best for Hauling Stuff: Rogue Kargo Pants at Back Country
"In a word, they’re sleek, even when the pockets are over-loaded."
Best for Cooler Climates: Nau Kush Utility Pants at Back Country
"They’re the smart upgrade you need from those horrible pleated khakis haunting the back of your closet."
Best for Warmer Climates: Denim Relaxed at Duer
"Stretchy, comfortable right out of the box, and keeps you cool in even the hottest of climates."
Best for Rugged Environments: Tapered Trousers at Fjallraven
"The fabric is both wind- and weather-resistant and wicks moisture like a paper towel."
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Mountain Hardwear AP Pants
Mountain Hardwear has spent decades making premium alpine equipment, elevating them to be one of the most reliable brands on the market, and their AP Pant is a good indication why. The pants utilize a unique stretch cotton nylon sanded canvas fabric for 75 percent of the fabric, along with additional nylon and a touch of stretchy elastane, making them durable, quick-drying, highly maneuverable, and supremely comfortable. The pants perform admirably in practically any travel scenario, from hiking and biking to hitting the climbing gym or merely wandering the asphalt canyons of your favorite city.
Roll ‘em up when you hope on the bike and secure ‘em with snap closures; reflective elements at the cuff keep you visible. In addition to the traditional four pocket design, the AP Pants also come with a front cell pocket, zip security pocket, and a comfortable roll waistband that won’t cinch or give way to plumber’s crack.
The fit is loose but not baggy, with inseams at 30, 32, and 34 inches and waists broken out from 28 up to 42; belt loops help dial the fit, though most report wearing them solo. Better still, they come in a refreshing array of colors in both two-tone and solid patterns.
Best Value: Craghopper Kiwi Trousers
The Kiwi Trousers pack in loads of travel-ready tech for a low price. Made of a mix of durable polyester and 35 percent cotton, they’re both comfortable and very quick-drying. The unassuming pants also are rated to SPF50 to protect you from the blistering rays of the sun and have been treated with Craghopper’s proprietary NosiDefence, a barrier of specially constructed fibers that are too tough for insects like mosquitos and ticks to penetrate. Unlike fabric treated with anti-insect chemicals, this protection extends for the life of the pants.
They also come with SmartDry tech, a water-repellent and stain-resistant finish bonded onto the base fabric to keep you drier longer than lesser pants with only a modest amount of DWR. You also get an integrated (and removable) belt and a bit of elastic at the waist to amp maneuverability. The Kiwis also boast a massive collection of pockets—nine in total, including five zippered pockets and one for your mobile phone.
They probably won’t win any sartorial nods of approval, but for the rugged roads ahead, they perform far better than their price tag might suggest.
Best for Comfort: Lululemon ABC Pants Slip Warpstreme
Long-haul flights make comfort an essential quality of a good pair of travel pants, and Lululemon’s line of ABC pants use a design that—as they say—“gives the boys some room.” In addition to that feature, the Slim Warpstreme pants are made of very travel-friendly Warpstreme fabric, which wicks sweat, dries quickly, and delivers four-way stretch. In addition to the traditional four-pocket design, you also get a zippered pocket ideal for your passport, as well as a top pocket on the right suitable for your smartphone. Despite that “extra” room at the crotch, the overall fit is tailored and trim, narrowing from the knees to the cuffs. Flip those cuffs up and you expose reflective details, a must-have when pedaling into nightlife.
Best for Denim-Lovers: Boulder Men’s Slim Fit
Founded by two climbers in Canada, Boulder boasts some of the most stretchy denim available, one that retains its shape over years of rugged use. And while they envisioned their jeans as ideal climbing pants, they perform just as well on the open road. The slim-fitting pants give tremendously, thanks to that diagonal stretch, while reinforced stitching adds durability. The fabric is both stain- and water-resistant, and considerably more breathable than traditional denim; a hydrophobic wash also sheds unwanted odors for days of continuous use without washing.
Ideal for slim and medium builds, you get the traditional five pockets typical to most jeans, along with a deep zippered pocket inside the left pocket to secure your passport, cash, or cell phone. Some of the newer models in Boulder’s line have pockets that are almost too deep, but the Slim Fit gets the depth right: big enough to secure your goods, but ones that don’t leave swimming for money to tip the taxi driver.
Best for Hauling Stuff: Kuhl Silencr Rogue Kargo Pants
No one can argue with the utility of a pair of cargo pants, just like no one can claim that they don’t look a bit too baggy/frat bro. Kuhl solves this fashion/function dilemma simply be streamlining the cargo pockets, making them look less like giant cargo bags sewn onto a pair of pants and more like storage as part of an organic whole. In a word, they’re sleek, even when the pockets are over-loaded. The brand’s signature articulated design follows the body’s natural movement along with a gusseted crotch to assure freedom of movement, while the 100 percent poly soft shell fabric delivers warmth, weather protection, four-way mechanical stretch, UPF 50 protection, and durable comfort for days of hard-charging applications. In addition to the two flap-over cargo pockets, you also get two front and two rear pockets as well as a welt drop-in pocket. Elastic drawcords at the hem make it easy to cinch the legs, which also comes with a reflective pull tab.
Best for Cooler Climates: Nau Kush Utility Pants
An upgrade to the basic work pants of old, Nau blends a mix of organic cotton (81 percent) with recycled polyester and a touch of hemp to deliver a pant suitable for the brisk days of autumn and early winter. The slim-but-not-hipster-slim fit offers room for movement, with double-layer knee patches reinforcing the most common wear points.
The two back pockets have button flaps to help secure your passport and wallet, along with two front pockets and a coin pocket and an additional hidden left pocket. Roll up the hem and you expose a vertical strip of reflective tape. Aesthetically, they’re the smart upgrade you need from those horrible pleated khakis haunting the back of your closet.
Best for Warmer Climates: Duer Performance Denim Relaxed
Duer has successfully flipped the script on denim. Rather than giving you a pair of stiff jeans that feel like ovens in hot weather, their Performance Denim is stretchy, comfortable right out of the box, and—thanks to the integration of Coolmax fibers—keeps you cool in even the hottest of climates. Much of that maneuverability comes from the jeans’ gusseted crotch, while triple stitching at all the seams assures that they’ll last for years.
The Relaxed edition benefits from a bit more room, but Duer also makes trim and skinny models whose fit make full use of all that stretch. The moisture-wicking fabric is also anti-bacterial. The jeans come in a variety of rinses, including the deep blue Heritage (our pick) and the ‘80s throw-back Vintage Tint.
Best for Rugged Environments: Fjallraven Sormland Tapered Trousers
Made with hunters in mind and ideal for travelers who crave to follow the roads—and trails—less taken, the Sormland offers a perfect blend of function and comfort. Fjallraven uses their proprietary G-1000 Silent Eco fabric here, a mix of 65 percent poly and 35 percent cotton partnered with a polyamide/polyurethane lining and liner (respectively) that will stand up to weeks of rigorous abuse. The fabric is both wind- and weather-resistant and wicks moisture like a paper towel to vent out any dampness.
The mid-waist fit rides slightly higher at the back for added comfort when hauling a backpack, with tapered legs that easily slide inside a pair of rubber boots. The back pockets are secured by buttons, and you also get two front pockets as well as a custom knife pocket on the right side, complete with a snap strap to secure your kit.