You can drop over $100 easily on a high-end outfitter’s hiking pants. I’ve worn many, and I’m always disappointed. The seams are often terribly constructed, and the plethora of pockets can’t hold much weight. You’re much better off putting gear on your belt than weighing down your pant legs anyway.
And don’t be fooled by convertible hiking pants — the ones that have zippers to remove the lower portion of the legs — pretty much anyone who buys them realizes quickly that they really have no need to change from shorts to pants in a day. Besides, when you’re out hiking, it’s important in most environments to keep your legs covered to prevent insect bites, sunburns, rock scrapes, and poison ivy.
Meet Wrangler’s “Technician” — the perfect hiking pants.
I all but gave up my quest to find the perfect hiking pants when they appeared before my eyes at Target, of all places.
Wrangler’s “Riggs” workwear is designed for people who work actively all day in destructive environments. But unlike, say a pair of cotton-duck Carhartts, much of the Riggs line is lightweight 7 oz. ripstop cotton. Ripstop just like the high-tech synthetic fabrics that most hiking pants are constructed from, but in soft, comfortable cotton.
I bought a pair of the Wrangler Riggs “Technician” style pants and was blown away from the first use. They are incredibly flexible, cool, and durable. I’m 6’1″ and 250lbs — bending over and taking high steps are very comfortable and easy. They are very roomy in the seat, thigh, knee and bottom leg opening without looking baggy.
The front and rear pockets are extra deep and well reinforced. In fact, all of the seams on Riggs pants are triple-stitched. The front right pocket has a handsome leather feature, meant to hold a tape measure without damaging the pant. It’s a great spot for a clip-backed knife. Unlike most outdoor pants, these only have one “extra” pocket, midway down the right side made to fit a cell phone, which, let’s be honest, is the one tool we want quick access to. It’d also be a convenient place for a Leatherman or other small hand tools.
“Ranger” pants are great for the pocket-minded hiker
The thing I like most about the Technician pants is that they look so stylish. With a nice shirt, you could easily wear them to a nice restaurant. But, if you’re looking for a little more utility, check out the Riggs “Ranger” pants, which use a bit heavier ripstop cotton (10 oz.), and feature cargo pockets, a tool loop, and reinforced knees. You can also get the Ranger pants in a fleece lined version. The Ranger is Wrangler’s most popular work pant, but it’s just a bit too utilitarian for my needs and style.
Both the Technician and Ranger pants are available in several colors, big & tall sizes, and as shorts. Wrangler also offers other styles in the Riggs Workwear line, including jeans, a carpenter pant, a Carhartt-like cotton duck pant, and overalls, as well as an entire line of shirts.
All Wrangler Riggs Workwear is backed up by a lifetime warranty against defects in material and workmanship.
The only downfall of these pants is that they aren’t available in women’s cuts and sizes, which is a shame. It should also be noted that distance hikers should avoid wearing cotton in cold temperatures. When cotton gets wet, it loses its insulating properties. However, the opposite is true for hot weather. Nothing is better than wet cotton to keep you cool in extreme heat.
So next time you’re looking to gear up for the great outdoors, avoid the nylon zip-off leg overpriced mountain gear hiking pants, and go for the seriously tough, yet light and comfortable Wrangler Riggs Workwear Technician or Ranger pant.
Available with free prime shipping on Amazon or at wrangler.com.