For good hiking pants, look for pants with moisture wicking capabilities, dry quick, are durable and if possible, water repellent. Definitely, stay away from wearing jeans and Cotton while hiking, as they absorb and hold too much water, thus taking a long time to dry out. Cotton kills in the backcountry. Polyester or nylon pants are a much better option.
Also look for hiking pants that stretch a little bit for ease and comfort while walking (unlike jeans). Some hikers really like hiking pants that have zip-off pant legs, so they can easily turn into shorts on the go, some find the zip-offs annoying and prefer roll-up pants. Our favorite all around hiking pants are the Prana Zion Stretch Pants or the zip off version: prAna Stretch Zion Convertible Pants.
Here's a few of the most popular hiking pants:
- Prana Zion Stretch Pants (recommended)
- Outdoor Research Ferrosi
- Kuhl Renegade Pants
- 511 Tactical Pants
- Mountain Hardwear AP Pant
Patagonia and Mountain Hardwear also make worthy hiking pants. Alternatively, some people will just hike in gym pants (not sweat pants) or gym shorts.
Also keep in mind, you should also avoid wearing cotton underwear, and instead wear Merino Wool underwear which is better for hiking.