Outfitting yourself for the hunting season means ensuring you’re wearing hunting clothes suitable to the terrain, climate and even the game that you’re pursuing.
Quite a bit more is involved than buying the pants that meet your budget. In the long run, getting the wrong pants could cost you a prize buck, could result in a miserable day in harsh conditions and could ultimately cost you far more than you had first expected.
We have delved deeply into many (not all) of the potential variables you may have to consider when deciding on which hunting pants to get.
What you’ll discover is that there’s far more available than you may have first imagined.
We’ve broken it down a number of ways:
Climatic Conditions – warm, moderate and cold
Hunting Scenarios – backcountry, upland, treestand
Specific Game – whitetail, duck, turkey
Add-ons - you might like to wear suspenders or need knee pads
No matter what the weather, the game you’re after, whether you sit in a stand or skulk through the undergrowth, someone, somewhere has produced a pair of pants that will suit your activities and your style.
Hunting Pants to Match the Climate Conditions
No matter what time of year your hunting takes place it is essential you dress to be comfortable and protected.
It is unlikely you’re going to be wearing the same hunting pants in all conditions, particularly if you’re starting during hotter times of the year and continuing on into the dead winter of late –season hunting.
Your requirements are going to change from the early season to the late season as your hunting methods will gradually alter too.
Warm Weather Hunting Pants
In some regions, hunting season falls in the warmer months and the temperatures can be quite oppressive.
As a result, the hunting pants you need to look for should be suited to hotter temperatures.
It’s important that the pants you wear provide you with the following capabilities:
The expectation is that you will be active so the pants must be flexible at the knees so that movement isn’t restricted.
Although the fabric is generally light in weight, you can reasonably expect it to be durable so it will survive rugged terrain and sharp undergrowth.
We have put together a strong selection of warm weather hunting pant choices from the most popular hunting clothing companies in the game.
Kuiu Tiburon Pants
In the course of examining the selection we came out with a clear choice for most popular warm weather hunting pants – Kuiu Tiburon Hunting Pants.
Read the full article that compares the leading warm weather hunting pants.
Cold Weather Hunting Pants
In the depths of winter when the colder weather has set in it can be a challenge to remain warm and comfortable, particularly for blind and treestand hunters.
High quality insulated hunting pants that form the outer layer of your hunting outfit are vital in ensuring your mind will be on your prey and not the cold.
Take a look at the range of cold weather hunting pants assembled for comparison and analysis.
One of the more popular choices for use in colder climates is fleece lined hunting pants. These pants provide plenty of warmth, feel extremely comfortable against the skin and are particularly durable with a tough outer shell.
Softshell Hunting Pants
A very particularly type of cold weather hunting pants are the softshell hunting pants. This type of pants are made of a tightly woven fabric to effectively create a blocking shell that blocks out the wind, light moisture and cold.
But their greatest attribute is the freedom of movement they provide. Because they are made with a blend of nylon or polyester and Elastane or spandex they stretch and move with the body so you are not inhibited at all.
You should be looking for a soft shell pant that is breathable, reasonably heavy in weight and treated with DWR technology.
You can use the soft shell pants in concert with a softshell jacket to provide a formidable barrier against the elements.
An outstanding example of a high quality softshell pant that offers an impressive slew of features designed to ensure the hunter remains free to move in complete comfort is the Huntworth Houlton Soft Shell Pants.
With a 100% polyester shell they offer a windproof shield outside of a thick Sherpa fleece interior.
These pants are also treated with an antimicrobial treatment for scent control and are reinforced in the higher stress areas.
For around $170, they stack up extremely well against all of the more recognizable brands that tend to dominate the market.
Early Season Hunting Pants
There is a subtle difference between warm weather and early season when it comes to equipping yourself with appropriate clothing.
Although you definitely need to buy yourself lightweight, breathable pants for the warm conditions of early season, you should also consider the cool conditions of the mornings and late afternoons.
This means the pants you need must be versatile in their performance and be suited to a much wider temperature range than what you might get for hot conditions.
One of the best examples of a great choice as an early season pant is the SKRE Uinta Hunting Pants.
The two-way stretch polyester offers great freedom of movement with water repellent qualities and an ability to dry extremely quickly.
Not only that, it is rated for use in the cooler conditions more closely associated with the mid-season.
Check out the Uinta and 7 other early season hunting pants in our in-depth comparison buying guide.
Mid-Season Hunting Pants
As the season progresses the weather starts to cool, but can be unpredictable. This requires specialist mid season hunting pants that provide warmth on the colder days, breathability when it’s mild and protection against wind and rain.
The pants that make up what may be considered suitable for the middle of the hunting season will be different depending on the part of the country you’re hunting in.
For the majority, the pants should cater to providing warmth in the cool morning starts, but should be versatile enough to provide ventilation as it warms up.
These pants may consist of a soft shell exterior, moisture wicking capabilities and some form of scent control to be effective for a mid-season hunting trip.
Wet Weather Hunting Pants
There have been some remarkable advancements in the development of fabrics for use to create waterproof hunting pants.
Not only will today’s hunting rain pants keep you dry but they will also allow you to move silently and help keep you undetected through scent control features.
The majority of rain pants can be paired with matching rain jackets to form a complete barrier against rain to protect you from head to toe.
One of the most popular hunting rain pants available today is the Sitka Downpour Pant which features a 3-layer fabric with a brushed polyester knit face.
The pants form a well fitted breathable outer layer that has been given a complete DWR treatment.
Numerous hunters have been impressed by the fact that they have spent the day in pouring rain dressed in the complete Downpour gear and have remained completely dry and comfortable throughout.
The Downpour is just one of the six recommended hunting rain pants we have examined to get a better feel of what to wear in wet weather.
If you look for clothes that have been treated with a DWR (Durable Water Repellent) finish you will be on the right track towards gearing up to stay comfortable in all adverse conditions leaving you to concentrate on the important parts of your hunting trip.
Hunting Pants to Match Your Hunting Scenario
Hunting from a ground blind or sitting up in a treestand? Your pants requirements are going to be vastly different to what you might need when pushing through dense undergrowth or scrambling over rocky outcrops.
Matching your hunting pants with how mobile you’re going to be is another important consideration you’ve got to make before making your purchase.
Treestand Hunting Pants
One of the scenarios where you can choose a pair of pants without having to worry too much about looks and stealth is when buying for treestand hunting.
In most cases, you can expect to be sitting 15 to 20 feet off the ground in conditions that are less than ideal and will need significant insulation to keep you comfortable.
This is where hunting pants designed for treestand hunting are important.
They need to be well insulated and they can be bulky, but most of all, they have to keep your legs warm.
Because you won’t necessarily be moving around too much once you’re positioned in the stand, you shouldn’t worry too much about how they look or whether they rustle as you walk.
You should look for a pair with zips up the sides to make them easy to put on and take off. What you might find you need to do is wear one pair to get to your hunting location and then, when you’re in position, change to your warmer pair so you’re comfortable while you wait for your prey to pass by.
Upland Hunting Pants
The toughest hunting terrain calls for durable hunting pants and that’s why the upland hunting pants have been created.
It’s important to be comfortable in the gear you wear, but when it comes to the thick brush and inhospitable terrain of the upland region, you also want to be well protected.
When you look for a pair of upland hunting pants you should be looking for something that will keep you dry, protect you from being scratched and torn, will keep you warm in the early morning and late afternoon and will be comfortable at all times.
The range of upland pants is extensive but the one that caught our eye above all the rest was the First Lite Sawbuck Brush Pants. They scored strongly in the area of comfort and durability and provide you with plenty of mobility to help keep you moving throughout the day.
Take a look at the full selection of upland hunting pants that formed our guide.
Thorn Proof Hunting Pants
Although hunting pants are primarily worn as a means of staying warm and playing a part in camouflaging yourself, for the upland hunter they are crucial in protecting against thorn and briar scratches and punctures.
The really good thorn proof hunting pants available from leading manufacturers are made using specialist heavy duty materials to ensure sharp thorns can’t penetrate.
As well as being responsible for protecting the legs, these pants must also allow movement and be soft against the skin to avoid chafing.
The majority of hunters who need briar resistant pants are going to be doing a lot of walking and that means the pants need to perform strongly in the comfort stakes.
We have put together a guide that examines a range of some of the leading thorn proof hunting pants currently available.
Hunting Pants for Specific Game
The type of game you’re going after will determine the conditions, the time of year and your movement and each of those factors means a different type of hunting pant is required.
We have covered a few of the various pants designs released by the top manufacturers.
Hunting Pants for Whitetail Hunting
There are a few important factors that you might consider necessary when looking for a pair of hunting pants to wear when whitetail hunting.
While it is necessary to carry some portion of blaze orange on the top half of your outfit, the bottom half can be completely devoted to concealment.
Your pants should also be made of a material that is going to allow you to move without making any noise.
A top priority is also going to be comfort and this covers two aspects, particularly during the late season hunt:
You need pants that provide enough insulation to keep you warm for the entire day
You need pants that allow plenty of movement at the knees and backside
Hunting Pants for Elk Hunting
By its nature, elk hunting is a tough pursuit. It requires a lot of energy and you’re going to be doing a lot of walking over rough terrain.
The pants you need for your elk hunt expedition are going to have to be a good combination of tough durability and relaxed comfort - a difficult pairing.
You’ll need to start with a solid base layer that is suited to the temperature you’ll be moving through.
But it’s the external layer that will be key to your comfort and your ability to move easily. A Merino wool hunting pant will provide breathability, waterproofing and windproofing.
The features you should be looking for when buying elk hunting pants include:
- Durability - you're likely going to be going places where snags, rips and abrasions are common. Your pants are going to have to withstand this abuse.
- Flexibility - elk hunting requires a lot of walking and stalking and moving through difficult terrain. You need pants that can move freely with you.
- Scent Control - an important aspect of a successful elk hunt is staying undetected and that means suppressing odors
- Noise Suppression - similarly, the pants you wear must move without creating unwanted noise that will give away your position.
- Weather Protection - staying comfortable in all types of weather is key to a successful hunt and your hunting pants need to provide protection against rain, wind and sun.
Hunting Pants for Duck Hunting
A good pair of under wader pants will provide excellent mobility, temperature regulation, and overall comfort, while also having an exceptional ability to remain dry.
The key to the design of a good pair of duck hunting wader pants is insulation. You will find that many manufacturers use fleece as a great, low-cost means of providing comfortable insulation.
A wader pant that surpasses many others in terms of warmth and comfort they provide is the Banded Tec Fleece Wader Pants.
They are designed to be worn under waders or bibs and have a water-resistant layer as well as an inner layer to capture the warmth from your body.
The Banded Tec Fleece Wader Pants are a great low-cost option and they, along with 6 other highly effective duck wader pants have been examined in much greater detail.
In rivers and other bodies of water that are not expected to rise above your waist, wading pants will be remarkably beneficial to your performance.
If water is expected to rise above your waist, then waders would be preferable to pants.
Most wading pants are designed with no sock or boot attached to the ankle cuff of the pants; however, some manufacturers create stocking foot wader pants which are wading pants which have neoprene stockings (booties) attached to the leg of the pants.
These are the types gear hunters who spend the majority of their time in water should strongly consider using.
Hunting Pants for Turkey Hunting
Conditions for long days of hunting turkey can be warm to the point of being unbearable which is why it’s important you’re wearing suitably lightweight and breathable pants.
The problem is, the terrain you’re trekking through is invariably overgrown with sharp briar shrubs that want to rip your clothes (and you) to shreds.
So what you need is pants that will provide you with the necessary protection from external pain but are still breathable enough to ensure you’re not baking before you even get to your hunting ground.
It’s a balancing act, but our article that picks apart the best possible pants for turkey hunting helps to make the decision a little easier.
Hunting Pants for Quail Hunting
One of the more popular and rewarding hunting pursuits is quail hunting. It’s rewarding because the taste of wild quail pays you back for every ounce of effort expended.
This type of upland bird hunting requires planning and ensuring you’re properly equipped. And among the more important pieces of equipment to get right are your hunting pants.
It is crucial you are wearing the right hunting clothes when hunting quail because the ground conditions can be pretty brutal.
They prefer damp, exposed areas due to the plentiful food supply. This means the best times to go quail hunting is immediately following rain.
Unfortunately, these types of conditions are not the most pleasant to be walking (or slogging) through.
To top the difficulty off, quail seem to really like briar patches, it’s their refuge when they feel threatened. And this means you’re likely going to be walking through these patches to spot them.
To find good pants suitable for hunting quail (or pheasant or grouse) you should choose from the selection of upland hunting pants we have examined.
Hunting Pants to Match Your Budget
Hunting Pants Under $100
You don’t have to pay a fortune to get good quality hunting pants as long as you’re prepared to look around for them.
Companies such as King’s Camo and Mossy Oak are producing durable pants (and jackets) that provide the insulation, protection against abrasion or soft feel required for all day comfort.
No matter whether you’re looking for early season, late season or anywhere in between, you can pick up good quality pants even if you’re under a tight budget.
Check out the full list of available hunting pants for under $100 in our complete analysis.
Protecting Your Hunting Pants
Your pants, no matter where you go or what you do in them, are going to take a lot of abuse.
You may push through dense undergrowth, wade through thorny briar patches, make river crossings or trek over loose dirt trails.
In all of these scenarios the fabric of your pants will be exposed to sharp objects, moisture, debris and dust.
They’re going to take a beating and this can reduce their life.
One way to protect both your pants and your legs, not to mention stop annoying stones, seed heads and other sharp objects from getting into your shoes is to wear gaiters.
Your gaiters may be placed over (or sometimes under) your hunting pants to act as a barrier against the harsh wilderness you’re moving through.
They stop debris from getting into your hunting boots and shield your pants from the roughest abrasions. They can also reduce the amount of moisture that may get through.
Ultimately, they can extend the life of your pants tremendously, saving you the expense and hassle of having to buy yourself a new pair each year.
Hunting Pants, Plus…
The bare pants are sometimes not enough to provide you with the greatest level of comfort or protection.
That’s why we’re also taking a look at the selection of hunting pants that give you just a little more in the way of added extras.
Hunting Pants with Suspenders
If you’re like me, it’s highly unlikely you’re going to find a pair of pants that fit you perfectly. The pants that are the length I need are generally too generous at the waist.
Rather than wear a belt, the way to keep them from slipping around your ankles may be to buy hunting pants with suspenders.
There are a number of great quality pants available with suspenders included to keep you from having to constantly pull them up into place.
They are comfortable and, once you’ve put them on, you barely know they’re there.
Hunting Pants with Kneepads
If you’re doing a lot of crouching, crawling or scrabbling over rough terrain, the inclusion of knee pads, either attached or removable, will make things so much easier.
One of the toughest and best value for money hunting pants that come with knee pads is the Pnuma Outdoors 2020 Tenacity pants.
These pants are on the lightweight side and are suitable for early season whitetail hunting and then again in the late-season.
They are made from 90% polyester ripstop and 10% spandex, providing a good mix of protection and mobility ensuring they’re comfortable in all conditions.
At the knees are the removable knee pads so that when it comes time to do some crawling you will have the protection needed to get over the ground without any discomfort.
We have put together a selection of hunting pants with knee pads for all hunting scenarios.
Hunting Pants or Hunting Bibs?
Both pants and bibs provide the hunter with the comfort and protection needed for a full day’s hunt. While some people have a preference it can present a problem trying to decide whether to wear hunting pants or bibs.
They each have their strengths and weaknesses and these should be weighed up against each other.
They provide greater warmth for the back and torso because they cover the kidneys and waistline
Bibs retain the heat extremely well
Bibs allow plenty of shoulder and arm movement
Weight is placed on the shoulders rather than the waist
You won’t be constantly adjusting your bibs
They’re not designed for warm or mild conditions
Walking in them can make you uncomfortably hot
They’re bulky due to their insulation padding
Bathroom breaks can present a problem
They’re well suited to mild conditions
People are more comfortable wearing pants
They’re easy to move around in
They can let in cold air during cold temperatures
Can be uncomfortably cold sitting in a tree stand
Unless they are a perfect fit at the waist, they can require constant adjusting or the use of a belt
Whether you choose hunting pants or hunting bibs, your choice is going to be determined by the conditions you’re going to be hunting in.
Recognizing those conditions and then suiting up to match them will mean you’re going to be able to concentrate on the important things rather than be distracted by the cold, the heat, the wet or the sharp objects sticking holes in you.
When you’ve found the pants that perform in multiple conditions, for heaven’s sake, buy a second pair so you’ve got them ready for when the first wears out.
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.