Best waterproof trousers for walking might not be the most fashionable pieces of kit, but you’ll be thankful you have them when the heavens open. While some walking trousers (see the best women’s walking trousers and men’s walking trousers in our recent reviews) come with a durable water repellent (DWR) coating, this isn’t going to offer enough protection in heavy or sustained downpours.
So what do you want from a new pair of waterproof trousers? They need to keep the weather out, obviously, but we also like them to be lightweight and packable in the hope of good weather, at which point they’ll be living in your pack. In the event that it does start chucking it down, they need to be easy to pull on in order to minimise how wet you get, so we like to see long zips to aid this. We also like to see pockets, vents (or two way zips on the leg) and a slim cut so they don’t act as sails in the wind. Of course, they must also be comfortable.
Here, we puts 10 pairs of the best waterproof trousers for walking (all available in men’s and women’s) to the test to see which pair you should invest in.
Top 10 best waterproof trousers for walking in UK 2021
Below, we’ve gathered together the best waterproof trousers available.
1. Montane Minimus Waterproof Pants
These lightweight pants are built for fast hiking or trail running, and pack down into a tiny pouch for easy portability in small rucksacks or large running belts. Montane even has a picture of them next to an apple to drive home how small they are when packed – if you have space to carry an apple, you can carry these. The trousers have quarter-length side zips so they can be pulled on quickly over trail-running shoes or hiking shoes (though it might take a bit more finagling to get them past a full boot), and they are highly breathable so your higher-intensity activities don’t result in sweaty legs.
2. Sprayway Nakuru Rainpant
British brand Sprayway’s Nakuru Rainpants are relatively simple but well-built overtrousers that use a 2-layer construction. A soft but reasonably tough 40D polyester face fabric, finished with a protective PFC-free DWR, is bonded to a Gore-Tex membrane for reliable waterproof-breathable performance. A taffeta and mesh drop lining means they feel very comfortable and rarely clammy. The semi-elasticated waist has drawcord adjustment and ½ length side zips for easy on and off. Velcro ankle adjustment gives a secure seal around your walking boots. They’re not the lightest or most packable pants around, but they utilise quality materials and ought to give good service.
3. Montane women’s terra ridge trousers
Female climbers, mountaineers and hikers heading up into the hills from spring through to autumn should look no further than these excellent adventure trousers, which manage to be both tough and flexible in one comfortable package. Montane’s trousers are stretchy enough to wear for climbing and scrambling, and have a soft microfleece-lined waistband that makes them feel great to wear all day long. We like the removable belt and adjustable trouser cuffs, which help to get the perfect fit, and the handy zipped pockets and internal security pocket.
4. REGATTA CHANDLER OVERTROUSERS III
At £50, these are the cheapest on test, but how do they hold up? Well, they have an internal lining that makes it slightly more difficult to pull them on over boots, and the short zips at the bottom don’t prove to be a massive help in this regard.
I know that even some of the best waterproof trousers are noisy to walk in, but these seemed especially so, and they are rather baggy, meaning they flap away in the wind quite a bit. Poppers on each ankle help cinch them in at the bottom to counter this slightly. They were certainly comfortable to wear, and the elastic waistband ensures you can achieve a good fit.
One thing that does bother me is that I found it quite easy to overheat in these. Some ventilation zips would have helped, and they aren’t very light or packable, but for the price (they are often on sale for just £25), you can’t expect the world.
5. Berghaus Hillwalker
Berghaus offers the Hillwalker trouser in three leg lengths, and the waistband is both elasticated and equipped with a drawstring, so they’re well fitted and secure. The reliable and desirable Gore-Tex laminate fabric is layered with a mesh and nylon inner for condensation protection and comfort. The side zips are long, and protected from rain by storm flaps.
6. ROYAL ROBBINS ZIP ‘N’ GO TROUSERS
Here’s an update on the classic convertible backpacking trousers, but in smart-looking grey, not khaki. The headline act is surely its zip-off legs, but there’s a little more thought gone into these than usual. The zips are good quality and the tracks shielded from rain, while drawstrings on each leg are handy for fastening around hiking boots. The uncomplicated, though highly durable fabric used on the Active Traveller Stretch Zip ‘N’ Go is nylon, with a little elastane for stretch, though as the name suggests it comes with ‘Insect Shield’ repellent. That has obvious uses for travel in hot climates.
7. Mountain Warehouse Explore Women’s Convertible Trousers
A great multi-purpose walking trouser for women, is the Mountain Warehouse Explore Convertible Women’s walking trousers.
They’re also fade and shrink resistant, which means you can wear and wash them as often as you like and they’ll fit and look exactly the same. The ample number of pockets ensure you can take everything you need without having to shove all the smaller items in your backpack, only for them to be lost in the bottom.
8. Marmot Precip Eco Waterproof Trousers
For many years, Marmot gear passed us by and it wasn’t until a friend of ours rocked up to a hike with one of their Highlander Down jackets on that we decided to do a bit of sleuthing around the brand – fatal mistake! Now they’re one of our favourites due to their sleek, stylish designs.
The Marmot Precip Eco Waterproof trousers are extremely comfortable overtrousers using a 2.5 layer breathable fabric called NanoPro Eco. “Why Eco?” I hear you cry – well Marmot are using recycled nylon in their construction which helps cut down on land-fill and is a gesture towards sustainability. Frankly though, they are a damn good set of lightweight (~250g) overtrousers and will keep you dry for not much expense.
When the package arrived containing the Precip Eco trousers, I was struck by how minimalist they are. The 35cm side zips are covered by a storm flap on each side and there is no cinching at the bottom of each leg when they’re on you can barely tell that you’re not just wearing a pair of black walking trousers.
9. Columbia Men’s Evolution Valley Pant
Another over-layer option with leg vents, an adjustable waist and a fully seamed-sealed breathable fabric for water protection.
We especially liked the zip pocket on this version, which protects your valuables whilst active and would perhaps make them a good option for cycling around town or weekend mountain biking adventures.
10. Regetta Mens Action Water Resistant Walking Cargo Trousers
These waterproof trousers come in five colours, so you can choose one that suits your preferences and styles best. They fit comfortably and come in a range of sizes, meaning that you are sure to find one that fits you perfectly.
The waist is also partially elasticated, giving you a little more comfort when it comes to sliding them on, as well as allowing them to sit securely.
They are made from polycotto, and are also resistant to both stains and water, which is great for tackling the British weather.
It has four large pockets, each of which has a great capacity, and one of which has a secure zip closure with a covering. While they are made for men, they could be worn as women’s waterproof trousers as well, so they are suitable for both genders.
How should I care for my waterproof trousers?
You might think that washing waterproof trousers will remove the water-repellent coating, but washing can actually prolong the life of your waterproofs. This is because dirt and oils (such as those from sweat and sunscreen) reduce the water-repellent coating’s effectiveness. Wash your trousers with liquid soap or a gentle detergent to remove dirt and oil, then tumble dry or iron them on a cool setting. Don’t use fabric conditioner as this may contain oils or fragrances that stay on the fabric. If you still find they’re not as waterproof as they used to be, you could try topping up the water repellent effect using a wash-in re-proofing product, available from outdoor retailers.
As you can see, there is a wide variety of walking trousers to choose from and when it comes to selecting the best, that’s a choice that should be left to the individual.
After all, we all want different things from our walking trousers, even if the main detail is that they’re suitable for our walking preferences.
We hope you’ve found our guide and reviews helpful and that you find the best waterproof trousers for walking for you.