When it comes to rock climbing or bouldering, it is fundamental to find a good pair of rock climbing pants to master the sport. From moves like sitting in, step-ups to the dyno, you do not want your pants to be in the way of you grabbing for that handhold or crimp. What’s more, the embarrassment of your pants splitting or being see-through given it is not stretchy or elastic enough. So what are the best men’s climbing pants out there that differentiate from women’s climbing pants, can fulfill your needs and still look good?
What are the Best Men’s Climbing Pants?
Below you’ll find the list of the top 8 Best Men’s Climbing Pants. We compiled this list from men’s climbing pants we have used, asked others about, and researched further to give you the best possible roundup. With many years of experience with men pants for climbing you can be assured that this article will give you what you’re looking for.
We also wrote a buying guide and answered some of the frequently asked questions (FAQs) at the end of this article.
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Prana’s Helly Hansen pants for men have a stylish “chino” style. The built-in adjustable belt brings a better fit without a traditional belt. They can also roll up and snap shut at the bottom to stop them from getting caught on your shoe.
The pants were flexible and gave extra room around the crotch. The downside is they can be a bit tight around the thigh.
They have ventilated gussets for added breathability, which makes them great in high humidity.
Unfortunately, the pockets are pretty small at the side, but it makes up for it with a zip-up side pocket.
- Built-in belt
- Roll-up snaps
- Ventilated gusset
- Tight around the thigh
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Much like the Saturday Trail Convertible Pants, the Columbia Silver Ridge Convertible Pants can switch between full-length cargo pants and shorts in a matter of minutes. They are a development of the Silver Ridge Cargo Pants, with all of the same features as their slightly less adjustable brother. Those in search of a specialized hiking garment will prefer the convertible version as this allows for more customizability while on the trail. Those who are looking for a versatile product that can also be used in everyday situations will probably prefer the regular cargo pants version, as it looks more minimalist and aesthetically pleasing.
- Can be converted into shorts for warm weather hiking. Omni-wick technology keeps skin dry.
- UPF 50 protection
- The zip above the knee may be aesthetically undesirable in everyday situations
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You get a stylish straight leg pant with enough flexibility to get your legs where they shouldn’t be. The high rise legs also mean you don’t need to roll up the pants when climbing.
Prana’s rock climbing pants also have five mesh pockets, which stop them from filling with water. The downside is the pockets are pretty small and don’t have any security protection. If you’re climbing with valuables, you need to be careful they don’t slip out.
Although the mesh pockets helped with the breathability, they often pulled out and felt slightly flimsy.
The material repled dirt easily, great for long weekends camping. They also looked like regular pants, which gave an added versatility.
- Mesh pockets
- Straight leg cut
- Snug fit
- Small pockets
- No breathable gusset
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The nylon and spandex loose-fitting legs allow the Prana Zion pant to give you more room to maneuver. It also features a well-ventilated gusset to keep you cool when needed and adds greater mobility to your climbing.
They designed the pants’ bottom to roll up quickly, which stops your climbing shoes from getting caught. To keep the pant leg in place, they use a pop button, which easily fastens.
The Prana rock climbing pants have a double zippered security pocket on the left leg. This feature gives you access from the top and side of the cargo pocket.
To guarantee a good fit around the waist, the Prana pants come with a built-in belt. You can easily adjust it by pulling the tab or releasing the buckle.
- Built-in belt
- Ventilated crotch gusset
- Designed to be rolled up
- Small pocket depth
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The Columbia Silver Ridge Cargo Pants are a fantastic casual hiking garment that is comfortable to wear all day on the trail in moderate climates. The Omni-Wick fabric keeps your skin dry by wicking off excess moisture, and the Omni-Shade technology keeps your skin safe from harmful UV rays.
The Columbia pants are a classic straight leg design but come with articulated knees to increase mobility while hiking, although not enough for advanced bouldering as most users will still feel restricted. The waist is elasticized and comes with an adjustable belt to fit comfortably to the user. They are made of a ripstop fabric to ensure durability and some protection against thorns and rocks that you may brush up against on the trail.
The Silver Ridge pants are a budget-friendly, all-around strong choice for three-season hiking, and minimalist, and stylish enough to use as comfortable everyday pants, making them a truly versatile product.
- Available in a large range of colors. Complete with Omni-Wick technology to keep moisture off the skin.
- UV-protective. Gusseted for comfort and mobility
- Not flexible enough for climbing or bouldering
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The Columbia Ultimate ROC Flex Pants are one of the more flexible additions to this list, as the name suggests. These are designed to be comfortable and lightweight for casual summer hiking and outdoor activities, providing plenty of breathability of airflow to keep your skin dry. They are made of a blend of cotton and elastane, designed to be tough and long-lasting. They come with plenty of pockets including one specialized knife pocket, helpful for outdoor adventures. While they are flexible pants, they are not as flexible as specialized rock climbing pants as they are designed as a standard, casual fit, and not gusseted around the crotch area for those moments when you have to stretch for those high footholds. The knee areas are articulated which means you will not feel restricted while hiking. The pants are not waterproof and are not designed to be insulating, so are best used as a light, summer garment.
- Flexible hiking pants, as the name suggests. Designed for casual spring, summer, and autumn hiking. Complete with several pockets, including a knife pocket
- Not particularly heat insulating
- While flexible, these pants are not designed for climbers and may still be slightly restrictive during technical moves
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The Mammut Camie Climbing pants are made from a mixture of cotton and elastane, designed to stretch in order to help you move when on the wall. The crotch has been gusseted and the knees articulated to maximize flexibility, and the stretchy material is both extremely comfortable and malleable, meaning you will never feel restricted in your movement. The minimalist chino design is also suitable for everyday situations, unlike many other climbing pants which stand out a little too much when worn away from the crag.
The fabrics are Fair Wear and Bluesign certified, making these an ethically positive choice for your climbing pants, both socially and environmentally. While they are not particularly heat-retaining or waterproof, for a pair of casual pants suitable for climbing and daily situations, you can’t go too wrong with the Camie pants.
- Stretchy material is both extremely comfortable and malleable
- minimalist chino design is also suitable for everyday situations
- Fair Wear and Bluesign certified fabric
- Ethically produced with low environmental impact
- Not particularly heat-retaining
- Not waterproof
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The Mammut Nordwand Pro Pants are a premium product for those who are serious about extreme alpinism, ice-climbing and ski touring. No detail has been spared in the design of these pants, and they have taken years of testing and modifying before arriving at the final product.
The pants are made from a mixture of materials, including a new GoreTex Pro Stretch membrane to maximize mobility, GoreTex Pro Most Rugged technology for advanced weather protection and durability, and a dope-dyed hardshell exterior to protect you in extreme conditions.
Much like the Mammut jackets, these pants also come equipped with harness-friendly pockets. Seam edges are reinforced to protect against the weather and against accessories such as crampons. Everything is adjustable to ensure the most protective and comfortable fit. There is a side-ventilation system to help you moderate your temperature and moisture build-up inside the garment. There are also detachable braces to help everything stay in place when using the pants.
While you will have to pay a fair amount to get your hands on these pants, if you are venturing into such hostile environments that demand such features, you should not compromise your health and safety over the price of your equipment. These premium pants are tried and tested by athletes in the field and can be relied upon in the harshest of conditions.
- Great fit for alpinism, ice-climbing and ski touring
- GoreTex Pro Stretch membrane to maximize mobility
- Dope-dyed hardshell exterior to protect in extreme conditions
- Harness-friendly pockets
- side-ventilation system to help you moderate your temperature
- Detachable braces
- Premium Pricing
Based on all of our experience with men pants for climbing, we found that Prana Helly Hansen Men’s Pants is the best men’s climbing pant available today.
Our Premium Option is Prana Men’s Stretch Zion with all the best features and high-quality materials, but that’s only if you have more money to spend.
However, if you are on a slightly tighter budget, you can also consider the Columbia Men’s Pants Silver Ridge Convertible as an affordable alternative.
Our other reviews you may find useful in your research:
What You Should Know Before Buying men’s climbing pants
Advantages and benefits of rock climbing pants
You may be asking why it’s necessary to buy special pants just for climbing. Couldn’t you wear any athletic pants? Though the downside of climbing pants is that they tend to be a little bit more expensive, that extra cost pays off in the end. Both male and female rock climbing pants have a number of attributes that differentiate them from average pants. They are often stretchier than normal pants, allowing for the flexibility and mobility needed on certain climbs. They are often more durable than other pants, meaning that rough rock won’t cause them to rip.
Additionally, depending on the pants that you choose, they may have certain features, such as cinchable or roll-up ankles, that may not be necessary for everyday life but really come in handy when it comes to climbing. Climbing shorts are also very popular for those who like further breathability and do not mind the risk of getting scratches or bites while climbing.
How to choose the best rock climbing pants
When it comes to choosing the best rock climbing pants, there are a number of considerations that it is important to keep in mind. To begin with, your number one priority is fit. The last thing that you want to be thinking about as you are trying to send your project is that your clothing, in particular pants are uncomfortable, so well-fitting pants are crucial.
You should also keep in mind the type of weather conditions you plan on climbing in when it comes to selecting the length and material of climbing pants. Finally, you want to look for something durable. Climbing tends to put a lot of wear and tear on our clothing, so you want to make sure your pants will stay intact pitch after pitch.
One possible option to counter humidity is to get climbing pants that are also convertible hiking pants. It helps in cooling you down as well as offer that option to wear it casually as climbing shorts. These are some of the key benefits of rock climbing pants you need to look out for.
Most Important Features
As we mentioned before, there is a huge number of outdoor pants available from Columbia, and it can be a little difficult to know where to begin when trying to find the right pair for you. Before buying, you should think about how you want to use your pants, what conditions you will subject them to, and the amount of money you are willing to spend on them. Here are a few pointers to help you think about what is important to you. The most important features of your pants should depend on which activities you will be using them for. If you want a good pair of Columbia hiking pants, ideally weather resistance, comfort, and breathability should be prioritized. Pockets may also be important for storing items you require the quickest access to. If you are looking to go into alpine conditions in your Columbia snow pants, ensure they are tough, completely waterproof, and warm enough to keep you comfortable in such difficult conditions. For climbing, consider flexibility and mobility of the pants, particularly around the crotch and knee areas, as well as breathability so that you do not get distracted by unnecessary sweating. If you would also like a product that can be worn in everyday situations, you may also want to consider how they look, although many people like to have a dedicated pair of pants for outdoor activities, which would make this less important.
Precautions to Note
Everyone has their own personal preferences when it comes to climbing pants, so this is just a list of guidelines when it comes to purchasing the best pair.
Know yourself and your preferences before deciding to purchase, as you may prioritize comfort over durability or breathability over storage. Pay attention to what you appreciate and what you wish you had in your climbing pants the next time you’re out at the crag. This could help guide your decisions the next time you decide to buy a new pair of climbing pants.
Questions and Answers About men’s climbing pants
How should climbing pants fit?
Unlike popular belief, climbing pants don’t need to be loose-fitting. But they do need to have stretch to them to do the big moves like sitting in and high set ups. Climbing pants without any movement can make it tough to climb.
Should I wear shorts to rock climb?
We generally find that longer shorts are suitable for climbing, while shorter shorts that don’t cover the leg skin under your harness will be pretty uncomfortable – the harness leg loops will bite into the skin. We generally think knee-length shorts are the best option for this reason.
Why is stretchy jeans or pants helpful in climbing?
The stretch and flex of a pair of pants or leggings is probably the most important feature that determines how suitable they are for climbing in. Rock climbing requires a lot of suppleness and flexibility, and pants that inhibit this will actively work to make climbing more difficult. If you can’t execute moves like a high-step, then you have to find an alternative beta that may be more difficult.
Is wearing jeans for rock climbing advisable?
Some people will turn up to the crag or the gym in normal ‘high street’ jeans. If they are stretchy and don’t inhibit movement, this is fine. But most jeans will be too tight and restrictive to be suitable. Further, denim is notoriously bad for holding moisture rather than wicking it away. It’s not a hard-no, but there are so many great climbing pants on the market that are more suitable!