As with any intense and difficult activity, a key role in being a successful hunter is preparation. And for hunting, preparation means studying and reading about the prey, the terrain, the weather, practicing all sorts of techniques such as shooting, moving silently, breathing, camouflaging, building efficient camps and so on. But none of these would be possible without first having the proper equipment.
Shooting with an improperly calibrated rifle will never improve your aim or precision, using a faulty compass will never get you to the desired destination and wearing blue jeans while sneaking up on game will never camouflage you properly. Thus, getting the right gear is of utmost importance if you wish to never return empty-handed from a hunt and what you’ll be wearing is probably at the top of the list.
There are so many things that hinge on the clothes you wear while hunting: how silently you can move when approaching the prey, how camouflaged you are, how easily you can move through difficult terrain without being slowed down or even hurt (think of bramble bramble patches or brush), how well protected you are from cold, rain or nasty insects and so on. At this point you’re probably thinking it’s a really daunting task to find pieces that fit all these criteria and won’t break the bank either.
It also doesn’t help that the market is extremely crowded at the moment, with a lot of the existing products being sub-par at best, so there’s a high risk of buying an expensive piece of gear that will break after just a few uses or not perform at all as advertised. Well, worry not, we’ve got you covered! In this article we’ll be looking at the best hunting pants for the money, as well as top performers for specific types of hunting or particular environments. After extensive research and testing in a variety of situations and environments, we narrowed down the list to a selected few items. We also ended up with more pairs of pants than it is normal for any sane person, but that’s a different story.
Without further ado, here are the very best hunting pants:
Top 5 Best Hunting Pants Reviews
1. Tru-Spec 24-7 Xpedition Pants
The Tru-Spec 24-7 Xpedition Pants is a clear top-pick for us after their excellent performance throughout the testing sessions. One of the first things we noticed right off the bat is how easy you can move around when wearing these pants: you can crouch, kneel, bend, crawl, twist, run, really any type of movement that is involved in hunting.
The pants won’t bag and you won’t feel the need to readjust them in any way, no matter what kind of moves you will pull. They fit very well but without feeling too snug or tight in critical areas such as knees, crotch or buttocks, as most sub-par pants tend to. This is because they have designed and crafted with nifty features such as gusseted crotch and articulated knees which allow for free movement without constricting or sagging.
You will always find extra fabric as padding where the pants are expected to take a beating as well as stretchy nylon in areas where they need to expand. And while these aspect will actually make you look really good, that’s generally not our top concern, but rather we appreciate that well fitting pants means far lower chance of getting tangled when going through thick vegetation or jagged terrain. Another component that plays a key role here is pockets: with so many pairs of pants, bulky or saggy pockets will get in the way when trying to crawl or move silently through thick foliage, so much so that we end up avoiding putting anything in them and thus completely defeating their purpose. With Tru-Spec 24-7 Xpedition Pants on the other hand, this is simply not an issue.
The same careful design principles were employed for the ergonomic pockets so you can put items inside and take them out easily, all the while without feeling like you’ve grown a few extra kneecaps. These pants feature the following array of pockets: front slash pockets for folding knives and similar tools, two back pockets – one with an easy access flap closure and the other with a secure zipper, front facing inset stretch cargo pockets with snap closure and very handy internal D-rings as well as a very accessible drop-pocket placed behind the right cargo one.
In previous versions of these pants most pockets would close using Velcro strips, which was not ideal for hunting as they can make too much noise, but with the current improved systems such as snap closure and smooth YKK zipper, you will be completely silent while grabbing something out of your pockets.
Another excellent feature that we have thoroughly enjoyed was the ventilation system which does a great job in cooling you during hotter days. On top of that, the vent openings are lined with insect netting which will prevent any nasty bugs such as ticks or mosquitoes from getting free access to your skin.
On the upper side, the pants display the same careful design with enhanced flexibility in mind: they sport an elastic waistband which allows them to fit properly even after you might gain or lose a few pounds. If you feel like a belt is necessary as well, the pants come with loops which should fit most regular-sized belts.
However, we would’ve liked to see a better spacing of the loops to allow hanging of heavier items on the belt, without it sagging too much. Moving down to the bottom part, we find ankle cuffs which are adjustable with a strap for a tight fit, which can also be attached to the shoelaces with a small clip. This will prevent the cuffs from sliding up the leg and will ensure that mud, snow, debris or even insects are kept out. Lastly, but definitely not least, the pants are coated with a durable water repellent (DWR) coating which will fend off most liquids.
However, prolonged exposure to heavy rain will eventually go through as the pants are not entirely waterproof. This was a necessary trade-off in order to keep them flexible, silent and breathable. All in all, we agree with Tru-Spec’s decision on this aspect.
2. SITKA Timberline Pants
As a brand, SITKA doesn’t really need any introduction to the hunters’ community; since its inception it has always stood for high-quality, durable and reliable gear. To this extend, the SITKA Timberline Pants are absolutely no exception and only further enforce and confirm the expectations we have from this company.
The very first thing that immediately hits you when putting a pair of these pants on is how light they feel! Our first instinctive reaction was that there’s no way they can also be durable and weather-proof enough while maintaining this very comfortable feel. You genuinely feel like you’re wearing sweatpants after putting them on. But boy, did they prove to be all that and more once we took them out into the wild!
The maiden hunting trip started out with a crisp chilly morning that very soon brought along one of those annoying drizzles which was the perfect opportunity to properly test the pants. While they are not marketed as being entirely water-proof, they are sufficiently water resistant and will repel most of the regular rains without soaking.
However, both the knee pads and the seat are completely water-proof and this is an incredibly useful feature: there are very few things worse than walking around with a wet bottom just because you briefly sat on a wet rock to catch your breath. Such a seemingly minor thing can totally ruin your focus when you most need it, so we’re very glad that SITKA has properly tackled this potential issue. And while we’re on the topic of knee pads, the pants come with removable, heat-molded, knee protections which, while a bit awkward at first, will prove invaluable when crawling around on jagged terrain, sage brush, or even worse, cacti.
Coming back to our first hunting trip with these pants, after the morning rain stopped we were eventually facing a really hot afternoon. To our surprise, that was really no issue at all: the pants easily wick any sweat away and your legs can really breathe under them. To top it off, even when greeted with strong gusts of wind, these would not penetrate the pants at all. Weather protection versatility is by far one of the most important criteria when choosing hunting clothes and the SITKA Timberline Pants are easily receiving an A+ from us!
Keeping in line with our initial parallel with the sweatpants, moving around in these pants is just as easy: you can pull any kind of moves in them, no matter how sudden or twisted and you will never feel like they are holding you back or constricting your legs.
They stretch exactly where you expect them to, without ever sagging when standing in a resting stance. When it comes to camouflage patterns, they are extremely well done and will work really well to conceal your presence, especially the Subalpine option.
On top of that, the design is so well thought that not even the pockets will break the pattern. In fact, someone standing a few yards away will probably not even notice that the pants have any pockets at all! Well, rest assured, the pockets are there and they are plenty: two handy ones on the upper side of the legs, closed with high-quality, silent, vertical zippers, one in the rear on the right-hand side and two deep cargo pockets which close with snaps.
Some final features that we feel we should mention: great belt loops which have a generous width and good spacing that will allow you to hang even heavier stuff on your belt without pulling it down as well as the very handy adjustable suspenders. Oh yeah, the belt loops do not break the camouflage patterns at all! Talk about attention to details.
Lastly, there is also a variant of these pants that was specifically designed for women which we very much appreciated. All the features and perks of the male pants are of course present in the female version as well:
3. Kryptek Men’s Vellus Insulated Fleece Pants
If hunting in the colder season or regions is your cup of tea and warmth is your top priority when shopping for hunting clothes, then look no further than Kryptek Men’s Vellus Insulated Fleece Pants ! We must admit that when we first took these pants out of the package we were completely surprised by the outside micro-fleece layer, which is generally a type of fabric you would expect to find as insulation on the inside. This definitely piqued our interest and couldn’t wait to take them out in the field for some thorough testing.
The very first thing we wanted to see is how they fared in really cold weather and a crisp 12 °F (or -11 °C) provided the perfect opportunity for that. The verdict: what’s that thing you call cold? OK, we admit, we also brought along a thin pair of long johns to serve as under-layer, but this is the standard for testing any pants in such low temperatures.
With this minimal amount of layering and garments, such low temperatures and the occasional strong gusts of wind couldn’t penetrate and we kept warm throughout the entire hunting trip. Since we weren’t forced to bulk up with multiple layers, movement was never impaired, so wearing these pants will ensure you keep your flexibility and movement freedom at all times, even in harsh weather.
Considering that our prey always has the upper hand over us in their own natural environment, we cannot afford any handicap due to poor choice of hunting clothes. Not being able to freely crouch, crawl or sprint when needed would be a complete deal breaker but thankfully Kryptek’s Vellus pants are easily passing these tests. An added benefit of this design is that you will be very silent while moving: unlike other pants which have a rougher or firmer outer layer, the micro-fleece makes virtually no sound when stretching or rubbing against other surfaces.
One small gripe we had with the outside fleece layer was that during very heavy rain it got a bit soaked, weighing us down a little, but nothing too serious. The water however never penetrated and never reached the skin which was a very pleasant surprise after being rained upon for hours.
It kinda felt like having a superpower! This is in part due to the sealed seams but mostly capitalizing on the excellent “3M Thinsulate” water-resistant insulation which is made out of siliconized hydrophobic fibers that absorb even less than 1% of their weight in water.
On top of that, this fabric is also interwoven with precious metals micro fibers that do not allow bacteria to live on it and thus preventing odors which is an amazing perk to have. Having neutral-smell clothing when hunting is a significant advantage that will vastly improve your odds of bagging the game.
As the name implies it, the “Highlander” camouflage pattern that these pants use lends itself well to mountain desert or transitional alpine relief as well as other varied rocky terrains. The pockets blend in well and generally do not break the pattern. Lastly, one nifty feature of these pants are the bottom leg zippers which are quite useful either for cooling down and venting during warmer weather or to make it easier to take off or pull on the pants without having to remove the footwear.
4. Walls Legend Cargo Pants
If you’re in the market for a more of no-fuss, no big commitment pair of hunting pants, then the Walls Legend Cargo Pants should prove to be ideal in this case. Made from a thinner fabric than the other pants that we have tested and reviewed, they are also some of the lightest of the bunch.
On their own, they are more suited for warmer seasons or areas as they do not come with any insulation worth mentioning, but with some layering (such as some long johns) you should be fine even on colder days. On the other hand, being less thick and bulky means you will find it very easy to move around while wearing these pants without feeling at all constricted.
You will meet no resistance when trying to bend or crouch, but there’s not much in term of elasticity so you might need to readjust them yourself in case they are bagging in certain areas. And while we’re on the subject of the fabric, it is treated with a water-resistant coating that will keep you dry during regular rains, but you shouldn’t expect the pants to be completely water-proof during heavier downpours.
We were very pleased to see that this coating remained intact after machine washing and tumble drying them three times. Also, the pants didn’t shrink and neither did the color fade at all afterwards. That’s a very important aspect considering that the pants come in several very well designed camouflage patterns: “Real Tree Max”, “Mossy Oak Bottom Land”, “Mossy Oak Obsession” and “Mossy Oak Break-up Country”. Each resembles a different layout of leaves, grass, tree bark and branches that forms a very compelling image that will help you blend in with the environment and better conceal yourself from the prey.
The Walls Legend Cargo Pants come with six well designed pockets that should provide ample storage for all the bits and pieces of small equipment or provisions that you might wish to bring along. There are two back pockets and two cargo, leg, ones which are closed with button flaps.
On top of that, you have two swing, front, pockets that are decently deep. Other notable features are the elastic waistband which will ensure a good fit even if your weight varies a little bit and the lower leg drawstrings that allow you to tie the pant cuffs tightly over your boots, to prevent debris or insects from going up your legs. Overall, we really enjoyed Walls Legend pants: while they’re not the absolute best, they have a more than decent array of useful features, quality build and they are filling a specific niche well. On top of that, they’re very affordable when compared to other options.
5. Scent Blocker Knock Out Pant
Some of the animals that we track, stalk and eventually hunt have a near supernatural sense of smell; one tiny mistake such as positioning yourself wrong or using inadequate gear and they will detect you from hundreds of yards and will bolt away, never to be seen again.
This is one of the reasons for which our mantra has always been that a hunter should take any advantage they can when they’re out there, no matter how small or inconsequential it might seem. When the line is drawn, the most seemingly insignificant details might make the difference.
From our experience scent is generally one of those “items” on the list that most hunters are aware of, but very few seem to actually work diligently towards eliminating or at the very least mitigating it. Many times we’ve seen a whitetail suddenly stop grazing, their head perking up and a second later bolting away, without the hunter making any noise or being visible to the prey. That “something” that spooked the deer was the human smell and no amount of foliage, trees or camouflage will prevent it from letting the game know you’re there.
Now that we’ve established how important masking our scent is, you might be wondering what’s that got to do with a pair of pants? Well, considering that’s roughly half of your attire, when hunting for animals that have very sensitive sense of smell, you need clothes that are specifically designed to block or trap the hunter’s scent.
To this extent, the Scent Blocker Knock Out Pant are some of the finest we have tested and reviewed. As our introduction and their name have surely tipped you off, the main selling point of these pants are the smell blocking technology and materials used.
While it is very difficult to measure the actual efficiency of lack of scent, considering that no two situations out in the field are similar (i.e. positioning, terrain, wind, air humidity, the age of the animal, etc.), after several trips we could notice that overall we were able to get closer to the prey without tipping it off and at the end of the day we were, on average, less likely to leave empty-handed. Based on these results we can definitely say that we feel like this technology is doing its job properly!
Apart from the main feature, these pants are also really quiet, even when performing some twitchy or sudden moves. This is due to the highly stretchy fabric that confers them flexibility and doesn’t constrict your limbs at all, whereas a more rigid cloth would surely make lots of noise.
However, this also means that they’re also not very thick and as consequence they are not suited for cold weather, but rather more fit for early season. Should it happen to be really warm outside, that shouldn’t pose any issues as these pants allow your skin to breathe and are even doing a great job a wicking sweat away.
If a colder day is upon you, using some under-layer should pose any problems as you should have plenty of room to fit some long johns or leggings to further insulate you. On top of that, they would act as additional noise dampeners making your movements feline silent. If you’re unsure which size you should pick from the available options, check out the following sizing chart which should guide you in making the correct choice:
Additional features include six pockets (two jean-style inset pockets, two side cargo pockets and two back side ones) which should provide ample storage space to bring along small essentials. The excellent front-side camouflage pattern should further assist you in becoming a stealthy predator. Lastly, we strongly advise to go all-in with the scent blocking approach and also use a scent-removal detergent, such as the excellent Primos® Control Freak which we have reviewed and tested extensively.