Best Waterproof Pants for Rainy Outdoor Activities Reviewed
Bad weather should never keep you from experiencing a good time outdoors. The invention of waterproof pants has enabled many people to work around weather uncertainty. You no longer have to worry about getting drenched while running on a wet day. A perfect pair of pants will also shield you from cold and windy conditions.
With the right gear not only is it possible to venture out in less than ideal conditions, but it is also possible to have a fun experience while at it. They should also be durable and fit your stylish preferences. The market has a variety of waterproof pants; this guide consists of quality options that are certain to meet your needs.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 10 hrs of research
- Columbia Storm Surge
- Outdoor Research Foray Pant
- Helly Hansen Voss
- The North Face Venture
- Patagonia Torrentshell
- Marmot Minimalist
- Berghaus Deluge Overpants
- CQR Tactical
- Grundens Weather Watch
- Nonwe Outdoor
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top Rated Rain Pants
1. Columbia Storm Surge
Very light mesh lining
The Columbia brand stands out for its less expensive waterproof technology that is yet to disappoint. Other than being waterproof pants, the other reason why people love this pair of slacks is their stain resistant capability. You get to work out and stay clean at the end of the day.Read more
It features an adjustable ankle closure; this means you can prevent water from dripping down to your shoes by tightening the closure around the shoe. Walking while your boots are soaked and weighing you down can be frustrating. The closure makes it possible to slip the pants on and off without having to remove your shoes.
Women love looking good all the time. These trendy women’s slacks are flattering and will ensure that you still look appealing. They are loose enough but still cling on your hips and thighs perfectly. The stretch capacity of the waist has added advantages.
You can wear several other layers inside the Columbia rain pants, and the waistband will not be uncomfortably tight. Removing the inner layers will not be necessary so that you can stay as warm as possible.
2. Outdoor Research Foray Pant
Includes one pocket
Soft on skin
Not very flexible
The professionalism behind the brand makes all the difference with this model. Outdoor Research uses a group of professional athletes to design the garments. They even offer an infinite guarantee on their products, displaying their confidence in the quality of the waterproof pants.Read more
The material is 100% polyester. If you carry out a controlled water test at home, there is no doubt water will bead-up on the surface with zero absorption. You can rely on the polyester to keep you dry. The waist has a combination of an elastic drawcord, rings, and hooks for suspension. You can secure the trousers with whichever option you prefer.
The design generously caters for ventilation. It has a 3/4 zip that runs from the bottom, including a button. It easy to adjust the amount of air that circulates your legs. You should be able to regulate temperature when you feel too cold or too hot.
3. Helly Hansen Voss
Requires more breathability
Knowing that Helly Hansen has been in the fabric industry for more than a century, boosts consumers trust in their products. The fabric was first popular among seamen who endured rough storms. This admiration proves how the quality of the product does not fall short of the standard it is famous for.Read more
If you are looking for waterproof pants under a budget, this pair will be a perfect match for you. You may wonder why the brand is inexpensive, given the authenticity claims. Well, the material is waterproof, but it is not very porous.
Wearing them around the jungle or hot areas will not work so well for you. You will sweat a lot, eventually getting dump and uncomfortable. Grab the pair if you live in cold places. Getting a pair of sharable pants can come in handy.
The model has enough length to accommodate people of different heights. The rise of the waist can reach the bottom of the ribs. However, the line between a very baggy trouser with too much fabric and a fitting trouser can be thin. Be careful with the dimensions when selecting the right size.
4. The North Face Venture
Adjustable ankle tabs
Has side zips
Minimal heat insulation
North face combines a variety of components to give you a product that offers it all. These are a pair of waterproof pants manufactured with excellent breathability. They have a thoroughly seamed 2.5 layer shell that will keep your legs aerated. The fabric is windproof, but despite its ventilation, you will still manage to retain your body heat.Read more
A majority of these models are bulky, which can be discouraging when you have to carry them around. You do not have to worry about bulk with these rain pants. The pair is so light that it is foldable into your pocket. The light packing makes it portable at all times.
The 1/2 zipping for this brand goes up to the knees. You will experience conditioned air circulation and layering for increased comfort. The best thing about them is their zipped-side pockets. The depth also makes them secure enough; you can store valuable things while you go about your journey.
5. Patagonia Torrentshell
Elastic ankle cuffs
New to the market
Using recycled material to make outdoor gear is a new eco-friendly trend. You may think that the recycled material will produce second-grade products, but these waterproof pants will prove you wrong. Even though it has a simple design, the product comes highly recommended in the outdoor world. The trousers feature a rip-stop technology.Read more
Fabric sensitivity will not limit your adventures in anymore. The trousers can withstand tear from twigs and rocks to a certain extent. Ripstop waterproof pants have an added durability threshold. A single pair can last you for the longest time.
Trousers that have zippers tend to rust after a while. Luckily, the manufacturers have thought this through. The zippers at the pocket possess a durable water repellant to withstand rust. Since they are rain gears, the slacks will definitely get in contact with water.
It’s better to get this pair to avoid any rust issues. These rain pants can also be stuffed in its own pocket. Test out that amazing packaging technique.
6. Marmot Minimalist
Convenient sizing chart
Light pacelite layer
Easy to pack
Requires more length
A pair of pants with an inner lining will always have an advantage over other waterproof pants. The liner reduces the number of garment layers you have to put on. The Marmot slacks take pride in the lightweight pacelite layer. This new technology works the same way as a liner, without the extra weight.Read more
You do not have to worry about the denim trousers scratching the surface of your rain slacks; the layer is sturdy enough to protect it. If you ever get to own this pair, you will notice the seaming finish is unique. You might have come across the seaming tape in the construction industry, but yes, it is usable with membranes too.
The tape seals openings that lead to leakages. You can already guess that these trousers are leak proof. The tape seals the points around areas like zips that cause seepage into the interior.
As the name suggests, the rain pants have minimal features making them easy to pack. The lack of belt loops, suspenders or drawstrings- bring out the minimalist aspect. Being able to pack the trousers alongside other items in a small backpack is ideal. A bulky pair can let you forego essential things to create more room.
7. Berghaus Deluge Overpants
Many size options
Side waist adjustment
Waist loses elasticity
Desirable outdoor garments determine what kind of experience you will have. Berghaus trousers deliver the quality they promise for the longest time. Their 50-years of expertise enables them to design each garment with an exceptional manner of prowess.Read more
Their rain pants come highly recommended. Consider it a perfect gift for a person who loves the outdoors. From the fit, the sturdiness, and ability to withstand torrential downpour, the pants are generally multipurpose. The trousers do not limit the number of activities you can carry out while you wear them.
You get the best value for your money when you get to use the same pair of waterproof pants on various endeavors. The feature that stands out with this pair is the side zippers. Being able to adjust the layering on your legs makes these rain pants great for use even in wet and hot climate conditions.
They can come in handy if you like to walk in the rain near the beaches. The temperatures do not drop too low in such regions.
8. CQR Tactical
Not very durable
Many rainproof slacks come with the burden of creasing during laundering. That is where these waterproof pants stand out. They are not only crease resistant but also shrink and fade resistant. The design will retain the original color and look as good as new.Read more
Most of these gears start losing their water repellency when they wrinkle up. You won’t experience such issues with this purchase. Even though most waterproof pants are simple, they still function, as they should. Nevertheless, it wouldn’t hurt to have some style as you walk through the rain or snow.
The material has a blend of cotton and polyester. The polyester is synthetic and elastic, enabling you to move as freely and comfortably in the trousers as you wish. On the other hand, cotton is in minimal proportions. Cotton’s water repellency ability is negligible, but the heat retention capacity is high.
These waterproof rain pants will keep you dryer and warmer compared to those of other brands.
9. Grundens Weather Watch
For light rains only
Here is another taped seam variety for you to have a look at. This model is made from pure nylon, a comfortable material that will repel water. The only downside the manufacturers acknowledge is that the material is not as durable as other models.Read more
Its medium duty capacity requires you to be wary of your environment to increase the lifespan of your slacks. You should be keen not to handle it roughly. The brand mostly ventures in the fishing industry.
Supposing you were looking for waterproof pants to wear to the lake on your fishing adventures, this pair would be the right match for you. You may not encounter a lot of dirt on your boat, but it helps to know that the model is stain resistant.
Keep in mind that you can use them for other activities. Do not lock them away simply because it isn’t fishing time. Nylon is on the list of lightweight rainproof trouser materials. The breathability is on another level; hence, you won’t be drenched in your own sweat.
The rain pants’ colors, combined with the type of material, results in very reflective apparels. You are definitely not in trouble of being run over by a vehicle while you wear them. In fact, your chances of being visible at night when stranded somewhere are very high. That alone ought to attract you to this model.
10. Nonwe Outdoor
Elastic bottom cord
Water repellency needs improvement
The Nonwe men’s model is nothing short of outstanding. The excellent design of the pants makes people drawn to them. They are professionally and correctly structured.Read more
The manufacturers paid attention to every fine detail from the waist fit to the drawstring with the elastic hem at the bottom. The design stands out as being particularly stylish.
You can add the sun to the list of elements the Nonwe waterproof pants protect you against. They also have proper aeration to keep you from sweating excessively. They may not be able to handle harsh weather conditions, but they will manage a bit of rain for a while.
They are useful during short light rains when you only need to be outside for a short period. The slacks will definitely keep you dry. The product has a fly zipper, unlike many rain resistant models. You can get these waterproof pants on and off quickly by unzipping the fly and sliding it off.
One would say that the pair includes a minimalist feature. These rain pants can be folded into a very tiny size that will use up minimal space in your bag. Forego making the tough decisions on what you need to leave behind; the design will save you enough room.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
The breathability maters with the climate
Water resistance and breathability are often challenging to balance. However, most breathable waterproof pants will shield you from wet conditions. Brands offer a selection of both breathable and non-breathable rain pants.
The fabric used in making these waterproof garments features an outer layer of nylon or polyester. The inner layer consists of a laminate of several advanced membranes, which allows air and water vapor to pass one-way.
They cost more than non-breathable fabric though there is a debate on their ability to absorb sweat in hot climates. However, they are useful in cold conditions like in the snow where you’ll sweat lightly. The fabric can keep up with the sweat output.
Non-breathable waterproof garments are made from a polymer-coated fabric. They are more affordable and available in the market. They are completely insulated and don’t allow air and vapor in or out of the clothing.
They are often light, easy to stow and can be unfolded for immediate use. The major drawback with these garments is that the polymer coating eventually peels off. They are also light, therefore prone to tearing.
Having more information on the two kinds of waterproof pants will help you decide which one best fits your needs. You can also make your selection based on the budget you are working with.
Avoid unnecessary loads
You need a lot of gear for hiking, camping, or backpacking. The mass of each piece of equipment of clothing needs to be factored into each of your choices. Your waterproof pants will also factor into the load you will haul since there are times you will want to take them off.
An ideal pair should feel light on your body, and offer flexibility, as well as fold and pack neatly into your backpack.
Choosing the smallest and lightest pair may seem like an appealing idea, but the durability of such slacks is questionable. There is also the likelihood of getting rips and tears all over the trousers if you wear them for long periods.
Thicker options mean better material and protection from the elements. They can be put on for long and bare rough conditions. However, fitting them into your backpack can be a challenge. Whichever way look at it, there has to be a subtle compromise when it comes to weight versus material and other factors.
Fabrics matter in everything you wear
The fabric used to make waterproof slacks offer protection from rain, sleet, and snow. Additionally, these fabrics are also durable and breathable. From the list of products featured on this list, it is evident that products rarely have a satisfactory combination of breathability and being waterproof. To suit both needs, you need to find a fabric that offers the highest degree of these qualities.
Non-breathable fabrics like those coated in polyurethane are inexpensive. They offer complete protection from water but can feel stuffy in hot conditions. For an all year round option, breathable fabrics like Pertex, eVent, and Gore-Tex are the most preferred options.
Each characteristic offers unique attributes
Aside from protection from water splashes and rain, there is more to look for in a potential purchase. The manufacturers of these products also consider your comfort, style, and flexibility. Here are a few features to look out for when selecting your waterproof pants.
The shell is the outer side of the clothing. It protects the wearer from water, snow, and other wet conditions. Soft-shell trousers wick moisture to keep you dry while also repelling water. Hard-shell slacks are rigid and waterproof. There are also hybrid-shelled trousers that are breathable as well as waterproof.
Slacks with articulated knees feature a design that reflects the contours of your legs. This feature allows for more comfort and flexibility when hiking and other activities. They permit a more extensive range of motion. This feature comes in handy, especially if you are going mountain climbing.
Durable water repellant
All waterproof garments have DWR inscribed somewhere on them. This captioning is a guarantee that the front side of the fabric has gone through a chemical treatment to make it repel water. It also prevents the pants from accumulating water on their surface, as it bounces off or forms into balls that fall off.
DWR apparels have a breathable middle layer that allows body heat to seep through ensuring comfort in hot weather.
You will notice belt loops, elastic waistbands, or integrated belts featuring in the products on this list. These features hold up the rain pants and make them look like ordinary pants. They allow you to wear your pants like a regular pair of trouser even on non-rainy days: without feeling out of place. The only drawback is that the belt can hinder the hip straps on of a backpack.
The stitching and binding of water-resistant or waterproof clothing are essential. A pair of waterproof pants may feature waterproof material but allow water to seep in if the seams’ sealing is shoddy. As such manufacturers use seam tape to hold waterproof garments together.
The tape is an adhesive strip applied using heat to cover up the stitching and junctions of the fabric seam. It is not advisable to purchase waterproof slacks that don’t feature seam taping. To confirm that a pair of pants features seam tape, turn it inside out and check to see if there is a thin and transparent tape layer over the seams. You can even feel it using your fingers to test out the seam tape’s integrity.
Find what suits your scene best
You should select waterproof pants based on the kind of activity that you wish to partake. Below are several ways you can choose a compatible pair of waterproof pants.
When considering the best clothes for hiking, a lightweight, breathable, and packable option will serve you best. Hiking is subject to changes in weather, a light option that you can stow in the outer compartment of your backpack is the best choice. Extra features are likely to make your desired pants more cumbersome and difficult to fit into a small pocket.
Fishing consists of many hours of standing or sitting on riverbanks. Waterproof pants are essential since fishing can be done on both during rainy and sunny days. You need slacks that can offer at least 2-layers of protection. Breathability and weight are not priorities on the list of considerations since you will not be taking long hikes.
Backpacking trousers have similar requirements as hiking pants. A backpacker has a finite amount of space. Therefore, they need an option that is packable and lightweight. Waterproof pants also need to offer a measure of comfort, durability, and flexibility.
If you are not on a budget, 3-layer slacks will best fit your needs. They may cost more, but you can wear them for long and fold them to fit into small compartments.
Climbing and mountaineering require that waterproof pants have several features. These slacks need to offer protection from water, a degree of water resistance, and insulation from the cold weather. Durability is another important factor since they will face a lot of contact with rough rocky or icy surfaces.
Additional features such as three-fourth or full-length zippers make it easy for a climber to remove their boots without taking off their pants.
Skiing and winter sports
Winter sports consist of various activities that take you through cold and wet conditions. Aspects such as breathability, durability, warmth, and insulation should be high on your list of priorities.
The requirements for activities such as ice climbing are the same as those for mountaineering. A number of the products on this list will serve well for snowboarding, backcountry, and cross-country skiing.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
With continued use, the water-phobic qualities of waterproof garments eventually wear off. However, thanks to innovative products like Gear Aid Pro Cleaner, you can reinforce these water-phobic coating making your slacks as good as new.
The treatment is sprayed on the outside of a clean and dry pair of pants. After slowly drying outside for 24 hours, the treatment sets in and revitalizes your trousers. There are also products like Gear Aid Seam Grip that repairs leaky seams.
If your slacks get a rip, you can patch them up with sealant tape. Tenacious Sealing & Repair tape is an excellent example of a product you could use. It is robust yet transparent and comes in a 50cm x 7.5 cm roll. To use the tape, just cut a piece that can cover the torn area.
Place this patch on the rip, and after 24 hours the bit will bond with the fabric. Since the sealant tape is transparent, the patch is barely distinguishable from the material. Besides the neat finish, the sealant also prevents leaks from the patched area.
Other Factors to Consider
Waterproof slacks may not be the most stylish clothing, but you will be grateful to have a pair once it is raining. They come in a variety of sizes from many manufacturers. If you’re purchasing from a department store ensure that you feel the coating and check the seal seams to avoid disappointment.
You should also read online reviews from other customers for an unbiased review of the product before making an online purchase. Additionally, check out the vendor’s return policy and warranty to know whether you can return the product if it is faulty.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: What is the difference between waterproof and water-resistant pants?
People interchange these two words, but they are quite different. As much as they both keep you dry, the water resistant ones will only do it to some limited extent. They have a lower water protection capacity compared to their waterproof counterparts.
The fabrics will keep water from sipping in during light rains. Though when faced with a torrential downpour, your pants will be soaking wet. On the other hand, waterproof trousers have a particular technology at play. The manufacturers use specific fabrics, coatings, and sophisticated lamination.
The idea behind it is to prevent water from getting through the pants so that you get to stay dry. The components fill the pores of the fabric, creating an entirely new garment. The astonishing part is that it allows water vapor to pass through.
You will not get drenched in your own sweat while trying to stay dry in the rain. The breathability makes it perfect for all weathers. These garments are a bit more costly because of the whole engineering behind the technology but so worth it.
q: Are all waterproof pants the same?
You may not notice it, but these garments are not identical. The application processes used highlights the distinction between them. The component can be weaved into the fabric using lamination, coating, and weaving.
Coated trousers have their entire surface covered by the component uniformly on one or either sides. The coating is not as breathable as the laminated membrane. You might end up getting wet from your sweat since vapor release is slow. However, manufacturers are upgrading the coating, making them thinner and more permeable.
Lamination involves covering the textile with two or more layers of a breathable membrane. The membrane is the more favored version of waterproofing textiles. Only natural and synthetic polymers are acceptable for lamination.
The flexibility of the components plays a significant role. The organic elements mimic your body’s movement comfortably: that is why they are used in clothing. Hard material would restrict you from going about your regular activities easily. The different types of waterproof pants are all comfortable, and they all achieve the same goal.
Be mindful of the weight of the slacks as well. The waterproof pants will spend more than half of the time in your backpack. You ought to have something that can be light enough to fold and carry around on hikes.
Select a pair that you can comfortably wrap up and pack away. Something heavy will weigh you down, so take consideration of the bulkiness as well.
q: When do people wear waterproof pants?
Some people love their hobbies, sports, and workout so much that bad weather does not seem like an obstacle. Companies came up with these garments for such people. They also come in handy when you have to run an errand while it’s wet outside.
You should consider keeping a pair in the house when such occasions arise. The trousers are also multipurpose. In many cases, hikers have a pair of these pants in their backpacks. Mountains are cold at the peak, and it can rain at any point of the day.
Cotton cloths will get heavy after they get soaked with water, and the whole journey becomes tiresome. Waterproof pants have insulating properties. They not only keep you dry but also they keep you warm. They trap your body heat inside the trousers.
Temperatures drop when it rains but having these pants will protect you from contracting cold-related health issues. Your experience is bound to be better because of the comfort level maintained. The numbers of activities you can do in the waterproof pants are limitless.
You can also pack your trousers when you go fishing or pack rafting. The rise and fall of waves get water splashing. You should definitely wear these waterproof pants if you want to stay dry.
q: Are rain pants rip proof?
Thanks to innovation, your trousers are safe from ripping in the woods and harsh environments. Well, modern technologies have their faults, but it will take a whole lot of energy to shred them. Weaving synthetic fibers like polyester and nylon into the textile fabrics prevent the continuation of a tear. Brands use a unique weaving structure to that effect.
The manufacturers weave the fiber in square patterns. The structure minimizes a tear from stretching from one square to the next. Until recently, waterproof pants were very light; users had to be wary of the path they followed.
A tear would get you off guard and sometimes make things miserably awkward for you. Initially, the available options were durable heavy khaki trousers and easily torn waterproof pants. Choosing between durability and comfort was a tough call to make.
The heavier ones would weigh you down, and the other ones were not reliable. The synthetic fibers made things a whole lot easier since they are simultaneously durable and comfortable. However, not all of them are rip proof by default. Different brands offer different quality.
q: How should my waterproof pants fit?
The best fit for these waterproof pants would be somewhere in between a baggy and a tight fit. Having them too compact will limit your air circulation space. When you have enough space for air circulation, there will be adequate temperature regulation around your legs. When your legs get too hot, you sweat a lot and feel uncomfortable.
Baggy slacks result in extra fabric hanging around. Twigs and bushes will entangle the material. The material also adds excessive weight, which tires and slows you down. Do not forget important details like the gusseted crotch area.
The extra fabric around the crotch gives you the freedom to stretch your legs without the fear of ripping the trousers apart. The knee area should have an articulated design that also adds movement allowance.
The waist area also needs to be snag to prevent blood flow restrictions and drawstring marks on your skin. Your first choice ought to be something with an adjustable drawstring to let you determine the kind of fit you want.
q: What can I wear under my waterproof pants?
In most cases, people carry the rain protection garments in their backpacks, only to unpack and wear them over their standard gears. However, some people find it better to wear them as standalone pants.
Wearing hiking gear under the waterproof pants can cause you to sweat a lot. You would end up drenched, defeating the purpose of staying dry. Nevertheless, doing so still has its advantages.
The gear shields your skin from getting in contact with the cold trousers. There is also an added level of warmth when wearing undergarments with waterproof pants.
q: Which is the best way to wash rain pants?
The technology behind the pants is sensitive; that is why you have to be careful with your cleaning routine. Otherwise, the waterproof property will fade away with lack of proper care. You should avoid using fabric softeners, bleach, powder detergents, and stain removers. They remove the agents that boost the water repellency.
Before you start, you can wear them to brush off mud stains. Machine-wash using warm water and liquid detergent only. Rinse twice and keep the spin to a minimum to avoid creasing. You can either air dry it or tumble dry on a gentle cycle.
The temperatures should be warm: very high temperatures will shrink it. When the repellency starts fading, you can reactivate the durable water repellent treatment by tumble-drying the cloth for 20 minutes when it’s dry after washing.
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