Technology has brought a huge range of monumental changes to the way people hunt, from more advanced high-powered rifles to improved scopes, electronic sights , rangefinders, trail cameras , hunting apps and a whole range of other high-tech gear. Another, more basic area where technology has changed the world of hunting is in terms of clothing.
In the past, many people simply put on their long underwear and a few other layers before heading out into the field. Nowadays however, many hunters are concerned with trying to purchase the absolute best hunting pants, jackets and other gear—and let’s not even get started on trying to choose the best camo patterns , as this opens up an entirely new can of worms deserving of its own article.
- PURPOSE: The Traverse Pant is constructed to help the big game hunter cover miles of mountain terrain with minimal resistance
- FEATURES: The 4-way stretch polyester gives maximum fit, feel and mobility in a streamlined build. This pant is proven to perform, ultralight and all business
- GORE OPTIFADE CONCEALMENT SUBALPINE: is designed for stalking and ambushing ungulates from ground level in tree-covered and vegetated terrain.
- FABRIC DETAILS: 4-way stretch woven Polyester (90% Polyester, 10% Spandex). WEIGHT: 14.55 oz. // 34R
- PERFORMANCE FIT: Designed for minimal layering. Whether an early season piece or already insulated this garment fits to prevent inefficiencies in heat retention caused by dead space
Still, there is some sense to putting a bit of thought into your hunting clothes, as it’s important to ensure you are fully comfortable and protected from the elements. After all, nothing can ruin a trip quicker than getting wet or becoming so cold that you’re forced to abandon your stand or blind . For this reason, this guide is going to be focused around helping you find the best hunting pants.
If you just want to know what the best brands, then you definitely can’t go wrong with purchasing hunting pants from one of these big names:
- Sitka Gear
- Browning Hell’s Canyon
Still, before we get into looking at the specific products, it’s first important to provide a quick note about the actual necessity of all of this high-tech hunting clothing.
Is Specialty Hunting Clothing Really Necessary?
One of the most common questions that comes up is whether or not specialty hunting clothing is really necessary? Humans have been hunting for tens of thousands of centuries without the need for specialty gear such as we have now. So why is it suddenly so necessary to spend hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on a set of specialty hunting gear? After all, isn’t it the combination of your firearm, optics and skill level, as well as a bit of old-fashioned luck, that will play the primary determining factor in whether or not your hunt is successful?
In short, yes; these factors will likely be much more important in your success than will the clothes you’re wearing, even if you’re wearing the newest, fanciest high-tech camo clothing with scent blocking technology and all of the other bells and whistles. However, this isn’t to say that this specialty clothing might not be able to give you an added advantage. In hunting, the line between success and failure can be razor thin, so it’s all about maximizing your advantages wherever you can—even in terms of your clothing.
The only problem is that most of the top-of-the-line hunting pants and other clothing tend to be quite expensive, sometimes costing several hundred dollars for a single item. This probably isn’t much of an issue to you if you have an unlimited budget to spend on hunting gear. However, if you’re on a bit of a tighter budget like most people, your money definitely would be better spent on optics, firearms and other more necessary items.
On the other hand, if you don’t mind spending upwards of $100-300 on a pair of pants, you’ll quickly find that a good pair of hunting pants provides many benefits over a cheap pair of jeans or other pants.
What to Look For in Hunting Pants
Many of the benefits provided by hunting pants primarily have to do with two factors: the way the pants are made and the materials they are made from. For this reason, these are two of the most important factors you’ll need to consider when buying hunting pants. As well, you’ll also need to put some thought into when and where you’ll be wearing them.
The advent of new and improved synthetic materials is one of the major reasons behind the sudden increase in new specialty hunting clothing. These new materials continually prove to have huge benefits that natural fabrics just can’t provide. Waterproof materials, breathable fabrics and thin, ultra-warm insulation are just a few of the options you’ll find in the best hunting pants. Of course, not all of these fabrics are ideal for all conditions. This means it’s important to consider exactly when and where you’ll be wearing them, as the best hunting pants for cold weather are probably not the same as the best hunting pants for hot weather.
Weather Conditions/Time of the Year
As most people know, hunting in the desert isn’t the same thing as hunting in a swamp or on a mountain. Similarly, hunting in warm conditions doesn’t present nearly the same challenges as hunting on days when the temperature drops to well below freezing. For these reasons, it’s important to choose a pair of pants that best suits the challenges you’re likely to face. Of course, if you can afford a separate pair of pants for each occasion, then all the better for you. However, if you are forced to choose only one, you’ll need to think more carefully about the situations you’ll be in most often, as well as what factors are most important to you (comfort, durability, warmth, water resistance, etc.)
Durability and Other Important Features
The best hunting pants for the money are those that are built to withstand the wear and tear they can be subjected to while out in the field. This is another area where those synthetic fabrics often perform better than jeans or other regular pants, as their chemical makeup allows them to be much more resistant to catching on branches, tearing or otherwise being damaged. Still, this isn’t to say that there aren’t some high-quality cotton or wool hunting pants out there, as you’ll soon see in the list below. In this sense, the important thing isn’t what materials the pants are made from as how they are made.
Top-quality hunting pants generally feature reinforced stitching and an overall more rugged, robust design than those found on other pants. In fact, this is another reason why they tend to be more expensive, as simply more time and energy is put into making them.
Reviewing the Best Hunting Pants
Considering the factors listed above, there’s probably no such thing as the best hunting pants. The choice comes down to when and where you’ll be wearing them, and what type of hunting you’ll be doing. If you’ll be mostly sitting in a blind or on the ground during potentially freezing temperatures, you’ll definitely want something that provides some extra insulation and more protection against the elements.
On the other hand, you’ll want to focus more on comfort and freedom of movement if you’ll be doing a lot of hiking. Of course, then are the other factors like noise prevention, pockets and storage, etc.
What this is all meant to say is that a good pair of hunting pants is a good pair of hunting pants, meaning you probably won’t really notice a difference between those made by any of the top brands. This is why this review will focus more on the top brands rather than individual models, as each brand produces a range of top hunting pants suitable for nearly any situation.
Although it may be one of the more expensive brands of hunting and outdoor clothing, Sitka also happens to be one of the best. Whether you’re looking for rugged, lightweight pants suitable for all seasons or heavy duty insulated gear designed for more extreme mountain conditions, Sitka has something for it all. One of the most popular models, Sitka Gear Mountain Pants offer lightweight, comfortable protection and a precise fit that’s designed for moving quickly and stalking quietly.
If you’re worried about the weather possibly ruining your hunt, Sitka’s Cloudburst Pants are made with two-way stretch, waterproof Gore-Tex to ensure you stay fully dry even in a downpour. Alternatively, Sitka’s Timberline Pants ramp up the design of the Mountain Pants by adding a waterproof, double-reinforced butt and knees, as well as removable molded knee pads. Finally, for those seeking the ultimate in comfort and warmth the Sitka Layout Bib Pant combines knee/seat padding and a waterproof Gore-Tex shell with PrimaLoft insulation to keep you warm and dry when lying in a ground blind.
Browning Hell’s Canyon
Another top hunting brand, Browning’s Hell’s Canyon series of hunting clothing offers several different pants to suit any condition. The original Hell’s Canyon Soft Shell Pants offers three layers of soft shell fabric that provides a tight fit for ultimate freedom of movement and perfectly quiet stalking. These pants include numerous storage pockets and also feature Browning’s ADDvanced Scent Control system .
For earlier season hunts, the lightweight, water and wind-resistant Hell’s Canyon Ultra Lite Pants provide outstanding mobility and breath-ability, allowing you to walk for miles without having to worry about breaking a sweat. The Ultra Lite pants also feature ADDvanced Scent Control, as well as a soft fleece lining.
Kryptek also produces several different models of top hunting pants, among them the Kryptek Men’s Stalker Pants . What’s interesting about these pants is that they’re made from CVC Twill cotton, which provides the lightweight breath-ability of normal cotton in a much more rugged form. An ideal choice for warmer weather hiking or hunting, these pants also feature a double-reinforced seat and knees for added durability.
Also designed for warmer weather, Kryptek Valhalla Pants feature a dry-quick technology that helps to wick away moisture and are an excellent choice for even the hottest days. If you’re in search of pants suitable for cooler to cold weather, Kryptek’s Dalibor II pants definitely fit the bill. These pants are made of polyester to provide a strong, stretchy fit and also help keep you warm.
All of the pants listed above definitely rank amongst the best hunting pants on the market, but this list is by no means conclusive. Therefore, when it comes time to decide which hunting pants to buy, make sure you pay attention to what they are made of, how they’re made and when and where you’ll be using them.