With the recent spike in popularity of climbing, finding the best climbing pants for men has become important for many male climbers. Whether you’re scrambling up a boulder or scaling the gym rock wall, you want climbing pants that are breathable, versatile, comfortable, weatherproof and abrasion-resistant.
To save you loads of time, we’ve put together a no-frills list of the best climbing pants for different types of climbing. From bouldering to hot weather outdoor climbs to ascents in snow and ice, scroll through to find the climbing pants that will help you perform your best.
Top Pants for Climbing
Best for Bouldering: Black Diamond Notion
Bouldering is a type of climbing that requires complex body movements, which is why the Black Diamond Notion Pants are our top pick in this category. The stretchy material and gusset crotch give you a wide range of motion for technical climbing. We also love the drawstring waistband to keep everything in place and reinforced knees for more durability.
Compared to other pants on this list, the Notion pants are thicker and less breathable, which makes them ideal for bouldering in mild weather or hitting the rock gym.
- High Stretch
- Made for bouldering
- Not the best for hot weather
Best on a Budget: Marmot Arch Rock
Though slated as the most affordable climbing pants for men on the list, the Marmot Arch Rock Pant is much more than just a budget option. The UFP 50 protection makes it perfect for a sunny day out on the trail, and it's treated with PFC-Free DWR for water repellency (just in case it rains).
Other useful features for climbing include a gusseted crotch, articulated knees, and an elastic waistband with an adjustable belt. We also love the quick-dry material that’s super breathable and lightweight.
- Sun protection
- Water resistant
- Not as versatile as other pants
Best Made with Eco-friendly Materials: Patagonia Venga Rock
It’s no secret that not all clothes are made with ethical labour standards and environmentally friendly materials. With the Patagonia Venga Rock Pants, however, there’s full transparency. The Roc cotton comes from eco-conscious farms and is blended with spandex to be breathable, stretchy, and comfortable.
Though you could wear these versatile pants while doing just about anything, they were built with climbers in mind. The front pockets with mesh liners lie flat under a harness; the darted knees and gusseted crotch allow easy mobility; and the partial elastic waistband is lightweight and low-bulk. Plus, the sizes are inclusive, ranging from 28 to 42.
Best Climbing Jeans: Black Diamond Forged Denim
If you’re a climber who finds jeans too tight and restrictive for climbing, the Black Diamond Forged Demin Pants may change your mind. They’re built specifically for climbing, with flexible Cordura Stretch Denim and a relaxed fit.
Like most things made by Black Diamond, climbers can count on these pants to be durable, well-made, and good-looking. Finally, we love that you could wear these jeans seamlessly from the rock gym to drinks with friends.
- Stretch denim
- Relaxed fit
Best for Hot Weather: Outdoor Research Ferrosi
Climbers who live somewhere with scorching summers will need lightweight but durable pants like the Outdoor Research Ferrosi. These pants are not made for climbing-only, which can be a good thing if you plan to wear them hiking or camping as well.
Some features useful for hot weather include UPF 50+ protection, quick-drying technology for when you start to sweat, and a lightweight nylon-spandex blend of materials. They also have climbing features such as articulated knees, a harness-compatible waist, and a seat gusset.
- Material could be thicker
Best for Winter and Ice: Outdoor Research Cirque II
For winter climbing conditions, the Outdoor Research Cirque II Pants offer climbers a good combination of abrasion resistance, warmth, comfort, and mobility. Some cold-weather features are the reinforced scuff guards and a waistband with ActiveTemp, a thermoregulating technology that keeps you cool and dry while climbing.
Like other pants on this list, these are versatile enough to be used in more than one way; in this case, winter cycling, snowshoeing, and other winter adventures.
- Very durable
- Not as comfortable in warmer weather
Buying Guide: FAQ
Q: What’s the difference between climbing pants and regular pants?
A: The best pants for rock climbing have unique features to help the climber with scaling and technical steps. Unlike regular pants, climbing-specific pants can have a harness-compatible waist, a gusseted crotch and articulated knees for greater mobility, zippered pockets for secure storage, and belt loops for clipping things directly to you.
Q: Can I use hiking pants for climbing?
A: While you can use hiking pants for climbing, it’s better to use climbing pants that are built for the sport. Climbing, especially outdoors, can cause rips and tears, so it’s important to have abrasion-resistant material.
You’ll also want pants that provide extra stretch for when you’re doing dynamic movements for improved performance and safety. The last thing you want is to climb in too-tight pants!
Q: What are the most important features to keep in mind when buying climbing pants?
A: Here are some features you should look for when looking at climbing pants:
- Pockets and waistbands that are harness-compatible
- Drawstring ankle cuffs to keep the pants fitting securely
- An adjustable waistband for maximum comfort
- Weather-resistant materials if you’ll be climbing outdoors
- Abrasion-resistant materials in case a rock snags on your pants
- A gusseted crotch and articulated knees for a wide range of movement
If you’re a serious climber, finding climbing-specific pants can be a game-changer. Pants that are specifically designed for climbing are breathable, lightweight, comfortable, stretchy, and durable. These are even more critical if you’re climbing in higher altitudes or bouldering: you’ll want strong pants like the ones we’ve included in this list to help your climb.
As you’re looking for the perfect rock climbing pants, keep an eye out for features that will enhance your mobility and keep you protected from the rain, wind, and even ice and snow.