Gear selection is one of the essential facets of professional climbing and for substantial reasons.
Climbers try to mitigate discomfort that could limit their concentration or cause hazards on the rocks, indoor boulders, or during gym practice sessions.
These gears aren’t limited to safety equipment like ropes, harnesses, or belay devices but extend to something considered trivial as pants.
Climbing pants cover about 50% of the body. They should not only serve as a costume, attire, or material to cover nudity like regular pants.
Still, they should offer freedom of movement, comfort, protection from the hostile environment, and other essential features. Identifying the most appropriate pants before an expedition is a crucial but tiresome task.
Thanks to this article, you might not need to worry about that anymore.
We’ve selected the best climbing pants for both sexes with a comprehensive buyer’s guide and well-thought FAQs.
Climbing Pants Buyer’s Guide
You might wonder: Do I need special pants to climb? Not necessarily, but climbing-specific pants have pros, offering certain features that regular pants can’t provide.
We’ll discuss primary factors guiding climbing pants selection in the following paragraphs. See a more detailed climbing pant buyer’s guide here.
Fabric: Synthetic-based materials and cotton are the most common fabrics used for climbing pants, both having their unique properties and specific advantages.
Both materials are breathable and lightweight, but synthetic-based materials are less durable, stretchier, and more suitable for warm weather. Cotton fabrics are less breathable and heavier but offer more durability.
Fabrics also influence fit; because synthetic-based are stretchier, they seem to provide the best fit. However, most pants you’ll find in the market are made from fabric blends of cotton and synthetic fabric.
Climbing Pants and Various Climbing Disciplines: Climbing encompasses several disciplines, including bouldering, alpine scrambling, wall climbing, e.t.c. As such, you should choose your gear according to your climbing demands.
A pant could be suitable for alpine scrambling but might be found wanting if it’s used for bouldering or some other discipline.
Why do we say so? Climbing is dynamic; your movement combination differs concerning the field, and so are your muscle and body motions.
Therefore, the weight, fit, and maneuverability of your climbing pants influence the climbing ease. For instance, you need more technical adeptness and maneuvering in bouldering than in alpine climbing.
Therefore, stretchy pants are more suitable. However, heavier and warmer pants are ideal for alpine climbing.
Features: Regular pants come with different designs, focusing less on any particular quality. However, climbing pants are styled to suit your needs, integrating innovative features like harness-compatible pockets, drawstring ankle cuffs, adjustable waistbands.
Adjustable waistbands ease the stress off fastening a belt to keep your pants on your waist. Some pants have a super-secure webbing to tighten or loosen fit around your waist.
Straps might be inconvenient, especially if you’ll put on a harness.
Where you’ll encounter insects during an outdoor climbing session, the drawstring ankle cuffs will prove helpful.
Tightening it will close excess material around the leg opening, preventing insects from crawling through or catching up by pointed materials while climbing.
Most regular pants have their pockets in strategic places on the sides and back. However, these pockets might not offer convenience should you require keeping anything in your pocket.
Climbing pants should have random-placed zippered pockets to save items like phones.
Top-10 Best Men’s Climbing Pants
Climbing in the summer can be fun, but extreme temperatures could discourage you. Heavy climbing pants are less breathable and can be very uncomfortable.
The Ucraft Xlite Climbing Pants provide a solution to hot climates and high temperatures because it’s remarkably lightweight.
Its made of ninety-two percent nylon and eight percent spandex; this pant offers exceptional elasticity and supports maneuverability for wide-range climbing applications with the articulated knee feature.
Ankle drawstrings and thin, adjustable, yoga-type waistband guarantee comfort. With two zipper pockets from four outer pockets, a chalk bag, and brush loops, you have storage space for frequently used, handy items.
- 92% nylon and 8% Spandex fabric
- Four outer pockets (two zippers) with a chalk bag and brush loops
- Unisex design
- Adjustable, yoga-type waistband
- Inbuilt drawstring ankle cuffs
Lightweight, performance inventions are essential to show technological innovation in every product, and that’s what the Mammut Ledge Pants are all about.
It’s made from a super lightweight blend of eighty-five polyamide and fifteen percent spandex, offering four-way stretchability and breathability. There are several things to say about the fabric.
First off, it’s abrasion-proof, making it ideal for granite walls and rocks. Secondly, it wicks moisture away from the skin due to the Midori treatment technology. Thirdly, the fabric is flexible, allowing you to convert it into ¾-length pants.
This model’s design is innovative, with full detail to climbing ease. It’s cut explicitly for rock climbing and integrates a velcro waist adjustment system for a comfortable fit.
- 85% Polyamide, 15% Spandex fabric
- Specific cut for rock climbing
- Concealed front zipper, two slit pockets, and leg zipper pocket
- Abrasion-proof material
When the weather makes outdoor activities like climbing unbearable, the Arc’teryx Sigma AR Pants become the most suitable lower-torso option.
It’s designed with a composite mapping technology that uses Burly™ Double Weave fabric to provide warmth yet lightweight and elastic. It also features a slim, tapered fit and adjustable waistband with full articulation and mobility for comfort.
It comes with harness-supportive zippered hand pockets and thigh pockets. While this pant is available at a high price, it offers good value for money, considering its durability, features, and fabric quality.
- Burly™ Double Weave fabric
- Harness-supportive zippered hand pockets
- Adjustable waistband
- Slim, tapered fit
This model prioritizes comfort from its elastic waistband that holds it fit without digging into the skin to its straight-leg fit with extra legroom for unrestricted movement.
It’s made of a highly breathable nylon and elastane fabric with a water-repellent DWR finish suitable for all types of climbing.
Drop-in front pockets are cut squarely, so your items are held in place while climbing, and a harness-supportive zippered back pocket provides a secure place to keep your phone.
The Mountain Hardwear Men’s Basin Pull-on Pant is an intelligent choice for climbing and regular use.
- PFC-free DWR finish allows waterdrops bead and roll
- Full elastic waistband
- Square-cut drop-in front pockets and harness-supportive zippered back pocket
- Adjustable internal drawcord and faux fly
Bouldering is revered as the most technical of all climbing disciplines. The La Sportiva Pueblo Pant is the most suitable bouldering pant on this list for its outstanding comfort and mobility.
An innovative blend of ninety-six percent cotton, four percent spandex, articulated-knee design, and gusseted crotch makes it durable, stretchy, and exceptionally mobile.
It’s not as breathable as most pants on the list, but it’s thick and warm, making it a natural choice for bouldering as most climbers prefer to boulder in cold weather conditions.
This model has roomy front and back drop-in pockets but no zippered pockets, making it less suitable for multi-pitch climbing. Provided that you get it for bouldering or warm weather trekking and touring, it’s a highly recommended option.
- 96% cotton, 4% spandex fabric
- High-quality fully elastic waistband
- Articulated knees and gusseted crotch aids mobility.
Patagonia has spun and woven seemingly the most durable climbing pants of organically grown cotton and canvas with antimicrobial and DWR finish to keep you cool, fight odor, and keep the fabric’s quality for much longer.
While the fabric combination seems rigid, prioritizing abrasion resistance, this model surprisingly offers mobility thanks to its articulated-knee pattern and gusseted crotch.
One innovative feature of the Gritstone is its pad-accommodating thickly reinforced knees, making it suitable for off-width and aid climbing.
The elastic waistband feature is replaced with belt loops and the OppoSet® integrated waist adjustment system.
You have abundant storage space to keep handy items with two rear pockets, two drop-in front pockets, and a hidden side pocket.
- Organically grown cotton and canvas fabric with antimicrobial and DWR finish
- Articulated-knee pattern and gusseted crotch aids mobility and comfort
- Adjustment: Belt loops and OppoSet® waist adjustment system
- Thickly reinforced knees
Getting an all-season climbing pant with the features we’ll highlight next is an absolute bargain.
Why do we say so? This model is made of ninety-seven percent nylon and three percent spandex fabric with a water-repellent finish. It’s designed to last long and handle cold weather with reinforced wear areas.
You can also trust it to aid your mobility with the gusseted crotch and articulated knee features.
It’s patterned fits into any style and supports whatever outdoor adventure with an adjustable lower leg cuff that can comfortably fit around boots.
Slash front pockets, welt back pockets, and a side zip welt pocket provide secure storage space for your items.
- 97% nylon, 3% fabric with water-repellent finish
- Adjustable lower leg cuffs
- Reinforced wear areas
- Gusseted crotch and articulated knee aids mobility
- Regular fit
- Slash front pockets, welt back pockets, and a side zip welt pocket for storage
While many climbers believe jeans aren’t suitable for climbing, we’ve found some jean lovers opined that jeans are equally ideal for climbing as other fabrics.
If you fall among the latter, the Coalatree Decaf Denim might just be your choice. Common complaints about jeans lie in their restrictiveness and heat accumulation.
Fortunately, Coalatree has come up with an innovation that has effectively taken care of these complaints. This model’s fabric is made of recycled coffee grounds and plastic bottles, making it unusually breathable, soft, and four-way stretchable.
Moreover, it’s fashionable and can function for regular non-climbing purposes.
- Breathable jean fabric
- Four-way stretchability
- Hidden zipper pockets make it suitable for multi-pitch climbing
- Dynamic uses
Prana Zion pants are versatile, way above average in style, features, durability, and comfort. They’re made of ninety-seven percent nylon and three percent spandex fabric with water-repellent coating.
Styled straight with a regular fit, they offer comfort and are suitable for any type of climbing.
Thanks to the ventilated inseam gusset features, they’re outstandingly breathable and keep to your hips due to the built-in waist belt adjustment system.
Mesh pockets are well situated for ease of use and provide secure space for your items.
- 97% nylon, 3% spandex with DWR coating
- Ventilated inseam gusset offers maximum breathability
- 30 inches built-in waist belt adjustment system
The Mountain Hardwear Yumalino Pant is designed to offer you the best winter climbing experience. It’s lined inside with microfleece for warmth, but this soft lining also offers comfort.
The fabric is water-repellent and stretchy, easing movement and maneuverability. Thanks to the full-length inseam gusset, you can even experience mobility at its best.
- Four-way stretch nylon fabric offers mobility
- Side zip pocket for storage
- Full-length inseam gusset for mobility
- DWR finish repels water
- Cozy-soft fleece lining
Top-10 Best Women’s Climbing Pants
We’ve considered the best climbing pants for men. We’ll now review the best women’s climbing pants.
The model’s overall accuracy is not in question, scoring excellently in all aspects.
Made of ninety-three percent soft organically grown cotton and seven percent spandex fabric, it’s all-around stretchable, highly breathable, and decently regulates temperature.
The wide, eighty-five percent recycled polyester and fifteen percent spandex waistband are elastic, ensuring complete mobility and comfort under a harness. Lay-flat, drop-in front and rear pockets provide storage space while bottom cuffs snaps can be adjusted to fit your ankle.
The pants are perfectly modeled to the body thanks to the mid-rise pattern, Fair Trade Certified™ sewing, and standard fit.
- 93% organically grown cotton, 7% spandex fabric
- Lay-flat, drop-in front and rear pockets
- Elastic waistband
- Fair Trade Certified™ sewn
You can introduce your fashion style to climbing if you’re a fan of body hugs with the Arc’teryx Oriel Leggings.
It’s made of abrasion-resistant, seventy-one percent nylon, and twenty-nine percent elastane fabric, providing durability, stretch, and quick-dry.
Critics target leggings’ material for their unsuitability against rough surfaces, but this model has proven its worth against granite, wedged slides, and the rigors of trad climb through sandstone.
Stretchy pants like leggings could begin to wear from their seams, but the Arc’teryx Oriel has narrow seams made with tough thread that maintain their fit.
- 71% nylon, 29% elastane fabric
- Moisture-wicking and quick-drying fabric
- High pant-rise
Have you been searching for leggings that can withstand cold weather and alpine climbing or mountaineering? That’s what prAna Women’s Rockland Legging is all about — padded in the right areas and overlain with Chakara® compression stretch fabric and moss-face finish.
This model supports four-way stretch, dries quickly, and is very flexible thanks to the triangle Coolmax gusset pattern. It’s also a bluesign product, meaning it doesn’t contain dangerous chemicals that could harm you and the planet.
- 88% Nylon, 12% Lycra Elastane with Chakara® compression stretch fabric and moss-face finish
- High pant-rise
- Bluesign product, keeping you and the planet safe from harmful textile chemicals
Spending a day out at the gym? How about you get a nice pair of climbing pants for gym sessions? Mammut Crashiano Tight seems to work best for these sweaty gym sessions.
This model features a harness-supporting, super-wide elastic waistband for a perfect fit, sweat-absorbing, moisture-wicking lining, and high stretchability, plus fewer seams that aids comfortability.
- Super-wide elastic waistband
- Moisture-wicking lining
- Fewer seams aid comfortability
Little details make the difference! The Patagonia Altvia seems like the best option for technical accents — every feature is geared towards this.
It’s made of lightweight, recycled polyester and spandex, offering four-way stretch for optimum mobility. It’s also designed with articulated patterns for tricky movements.
For off-width and aid climbing, knees, butt, and inner calves have reinforced paneling for protection. Drawstring ankle cuffs close up excess material around the leg opening, preventing insects from crawling through.
Thanks to the zippered flat pockets, you can store items without interference with your harness.
- Lightweight, recycled polyester and spandex fabric
- Reinforced paneling on knees, butt, and inner calves for protection
- Drawstring ankle cuffs
- Zippered flat pockets provide storage space without interfering with harnesses.
- Low-profile waistband with an integrated adjustable belt
Hiking or casual climbing in the summertime is one of the most enjoyable adventure experiences, but you could get very uncomfortable without the most suitable gear for the weather.
That’s why we recommend Cotopaxi Baja Pants made with four-way stretch fabric with a durable water-repellent finish. It’s tailored with a twill backer, offering next-to-skin softness.
The design suits regular use but is fostered with features suitable for climbing. The waistband features recycled polyester and Lycra® spandex fabric for a comfortable fit even under a harness or backpack hip belt.
For ankle fit, the internal drawcord is functional. Moreover, you have two drop-in front pockets, a zippered back pocket, and a side-seam zip pocket.
- 95% nylon, 5% spandex fabric
- Straight cut and standard pant fit
- Durable water repellent finish
- Recycled polyester and Lycra® spandex waistband
- Internal drawcord for ankle fit
We can applaud prAna’s innovation in designing a model made of stretch Zion fabric with the fitting cut of leggings.
The Mariel Jeggings is a tested and trusted all-around adventure and travel pant, offering comfort and mobility with this fabric and design. It features tapered cuffs, a pull-on elastic waistband and supports moisture wicking.
- 65% TENCEL™ Modal, 30% Nylon, and 5% Elastane fabric
- Drop-in side panel pockets, front slash pockets, and back welt pockets
- Stretch ‘Zion’ performance fabric with PFC-free and DWR finish
- Pull-on elastic waistband
A top-performer in style and comfort! These jogger-style pants are durable and designed to provide overall mobility with ease, featuring a gusseted crotch, four-way stretch, and pre-shaped knees.
It also has an elastic waistband with a drawcord and adjustable cuffs for closure.
- 98% cotton, 2% elastane fabric
- Four-way stretch
- Gusseted crotch
- Elastic waistband with a drawcord
Featuring sixty percent Cordura, thirty-four percent nylon, and six percent spandex fabric, these pants are pretty stretchy.
However, they aren’t as tight-fitting as the leggings and joggers, offering comfort and more room for air. As such, they’re suitable for bouldering, sport climbing, and trad climbing.
This model’s fabric is abrasion-resistant and dries quickly, implying that you worry less about rough surfaces and feel more relaxed and comfortable.
Thankfully, these pants offer protection from UV rays, making them suitable for outdoor activities.
- 60% Cordura, 34% nylon, 6% spandex fabric
- Abrasion-resistant Cordura fabric
- Regular fit
- Four-way stretch
You’ll likely set out in the morning and retire late in the evening. That’s why you need to get a pair of pants that’ll keep you going for this long.
We recommend Patagonia Chambeau Rock Pants for this purpose. It’s mainly geared towards offering comfort to the wearer; therefore, it features an articulated pattern and stretch.
A blend of recycled polyester and spandex fabric makes it lightweight, breathable, and stretchy, while durable water repellent finish makes water drops bead and roll off.
The waistband is harness-friendly and can function well under a backpack hip belt since it’s elasticized and contoured.
Pockets don’t only provide storage space but lay flat and are breathable, working comfortably under a harness. It’s slim fit, no ankle drawcords, but has tapered lower legs, providing a clear view of foot placement.
- 4.1 oz. 90-denier, 87% recycled polyester, 13% spandex fabric
- Articulated pattern for more effortless mobility
- Elasticized, contoured waistband
- Tapered lower legs
- Breathable mesh pocket bags
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What’s the Difference Between Climbing Pants and Regular Pants?
Regular pants are designed for everyday use, unlike climbing pants engineered with specific features for climbing.
These features include water repellent or moisture-wicking fabric finish, harness-friendly pockets and waistbands, tapered lower legs or ankle drawcords for closure, and articulated patterns for added mobility.
Some have stretchy fabrics that support dynamic body movements and offer freedom of maneuverability.
Can I Use One Model For All Types of Climbing?
Climbing is a general term that encapsulates sports like hiking, alpine climbing, mountaineering, bouldering, e.t.c. As such, some gear choices may differ totally or in designs.
For instance, while climbing Pants are essential for all climbing types, their features may vary.
Alpine climbing or mountaineering pants are thicker or have extra padding in wear areas, while bouldering pants are more breathable and stretchier.
Pants used for off-width and aid climbing have reinforced paneling in their knees, butt, and inner calves for protection.
It would be best if you chose your pants according to the requirements of your discipline.
Baggy Cuts Vs. Athletic Cuts — Which One Is Better?
Most times, the choice regarding cuts comes down to preference. Baggy and Athletic cuts are equally suited for various climbing types.
Nevertheless, baggy pants tend to brush against rocks during climbs, reducing their expected lifespan.
Baggy pants without ankle drawcords may restrict a clear view of foot placement.
Climbing pants are amongst the essential climbing gear. Climbing without pants is almost impossible, if not impossible. Hopefully, you’ve gained insight into some of the best climbing pants for both sexes with the varieties listed above.
Well, decide on your preferred choice and get climbing. Please let us know your thoughts on our best climbing pants in the comments section below.