The Best Hunting Pants: Camo, Waterproof, and Scent-Control Versions
While it might sound silly, hunting pants have come a long way in recent years, and manufacturers of hunting apparel have put a LOT of thought into them. Advancements in material and design have made pants a sophisticated part of a hunter's gear, and pants can be a valuable part of your hunting arsenal. Seems wild, but it's true.
So here we'll take a look at our picks for the best hunting pants, and if you need some help with the basics, you can read here for guidance on how to select a pair of hunting pants, and here for info on how to use and care for them so that you can be more effective in the field.
Hunting Pants: Quick Picks
Before we dive into our full-length reviews, here's a quick rundown of our favorites, and why:
- The Frogg Toggs Pro Action Waterproof Rain Pant: A great basic option, good for single-day trips;
- The Men's Taclite Pro Tactical Pants with Cargo Pockets: A solid multi-purpose option, great for hunting and any other activities you may engage in;
- The Under Armour Men's Pants: Excellent camo, and good for early- to mid-season hunts;
- The ScentLok Men's Full Season TAKTIX Hunting Pants: Our pick for best pair of hunting pants. Hydrophobic, with moisture wicking, Carbon Allow scent-block, and multiple pockets—these have everything we'd hope for; and finally
- The SITKA Men's Timberline Pant: Comfy and flexible with support at the knee, great for crouching and crawling on spot-and-stalk hunts.
Comprehensive Hunting Pants Reviews
OK, let's get into the nitty-gritty: here our long-form, in-depth reviews. We looked at a lot of pants, and here are the ones we consider good options:
The Frogg Toggs Pro Action Waterproof Rain Pant
Summary: a solid "just-the-basics" waterproof option made in many camo styles
- Designed for waterproof wear;
- Can slip on over your clothes;
- Elastic / adjustable waist
- Not always very quiet;
- No pockets
We think the Frogg Toggs Pro Action Waterproof Rain Pant are a great "just-the-basics" option: they may not be anything too fancy, but they've got a number of design features that are great for... well, just about everyone: they've got a four-inch rise on the back, so they can fit under a hunting vest or rain jacket; wide-mouth leg openings so you can fit them over your hunting boots / rain boots; they're designed for wear over the clothes you've got on; and they've got an elastic waist, for comfort (and for those post-Thanksgiving hunts where you may have put on a few pounds!). They're created for rain-wear, and that's one of their main strengths.
So that's all good, but our favorite aspect of the Frogg Toggs is the print. In our humble opinion, perhaps the best thing a manufacturer of "just-the-basics" pants can do is manufacture those pants in wide range of camo styles, and that's what Frogg Toggs has done: they make the hunting pants is styles ranging from Mossy Oak Break-Up Country (for earlier-season hunts in greener environments), to Real Tree Timber (for later-season hunts, in grey, darker environments), to straight-up black (great for night hunting). If your local hunting environment undergoes a range of environmental changes—from the bright greens of late-September hunting, to the oranges and yellows of October and November hunting, to the greys and browns of December hunting—it can be to advantageous to have a range of camos to choose from. You can't always do that with high-end hunting products, but it can be a good option with "just-the-basics" hunting products.
That said, they're not perfect—they don't have pockets, and that would be a nice touch (although, if you're wearing them over another pair of pants, you may not need pockets). They can also make a little bit of noise, and if you're still hunting or spot-and-stalk hunting, that's something you'd obviously like to avoid—but they can be a good option for hunting from a tree stand or a blind, and if you're hunting in the rain, the rain may cover any sound that the pants make (and they're made from a waterproof material, which is also a nice plus).
The Men's Taclite Pro Tactical Pants with Cargo Pockets
Summary: Good for both hunting and everyday wear—not our pick for best overall, but one of our favorites!
- Good for hunting, and a range of other outdoor activities;
- Lots and lots of pocket space;
- Designed to be durable and long-lasting
- Not manufactured in camo;
- Not great for bowhunting
The Men's Taclite Pro Tactical Pants with Cargo Pockets get our vote for "most versatile" pair of hunting pants. They're a great option for hunting, but they can also be used for whatever else you're into—camping, hiking, preparedness, fishing, gardening, etc.—and we'd classify these as "all-around adventure" pants. We've even used them in a few professional roles, and we imagine they'd be a great fit for various outdoor/movement-based jobs, like park rangers, wilderness instructors, and even camp counselors.
It's pretty easy to see why they're so versatile: they're lightweight, they’re designed to be durable, they've got an external pocket designed for a knife, and they've got plenty of pocket space for documents, a cell phone, etc. If you're the type of hunter to who likes to buy gear that can be used on and off the hunt—and if we know anything about our hunting brothers and sisters, it's that they like to be frugal—these can be a great option.
If you think about it, pockets are actually a really important part of any adventure—especially if you're not wearing a hunting vest. If you're heading out in the wilderness, you're going to need some gear, and you're going to need some space to hold that gear. The pockets here are what you'd hope to see in a high-end pair of tactical pants: two front pockets at the hips, to cargo pockets, and two back pockets. The rear pockets on the Taclite Pro are reasonably deep, and the front cargo pockets have velcro at the top and (in our experience), are large enough to fit a tag (and, just to offer some unsolicited advice: it makes sense to keep your tags on the same spot on your body, *every* time you hunt; we've used cargo pants like these when hunting, and tags always go in the front-right cargo pocket, so we always know where they are).
Our only complaint about the Taclite Pro is that they're not (currently, at the time of this post) manufactured in any type of camo. This seems like a pretty easy fix on the part of the Taclite people, and we'd image that there are plenty of folks who'd be interested in a camo pair of Taclites. That lack-of-a-camo option means that may not be a great option for bowhunting, where you need to get up-close-and-personal with your game (and camo is really important for that sort of thing) but they can be a great option for all other sorts of hunting.
All-in-all, though, we think the Taclites are a great option, especially if you'll be hunting during season and having other adventures off-season.
Under Armour Men's Pants
Summary: A good early- to mid-season pair of water-resistant pants with scent control
- Water-repellant but also breathable;
- Anti-odor feature keeps odor-causing microbes from forming;
- Machine washable
- Not manufactured in a range of camos;
- Less pocket space than other high-end pants
Under Armour has made a foray into the hunting world in recent years, and that makes a lot of sense: they came on the scene in 1996 and marketed themselves as makers of sports apparel designed to keep athletes warm and dry, primarily through moisture-wicking materials. That type of fabric has a broad appeal to athletes (and to dudes like us who somehow manage to sweat, even when sitting still, while typing at a desk), but it's also a great fit for hunting apparel, as well. Under Armour's moisture-wicking materials—but even moreso, their waterproof materials—are great features on a pair of hunting pants.
And that's why we like the Under Armour Men's Hunting Pants. They've got Under Armour's "Storm Technology," which means that fabric is treated with water-repellant compounds designed to fight moisture. The material is breathable, which makes it a great option for warmer-weather hunts. Plus, they're machine washable, which doesn't sound like a big deal, but there's a lot of hunting apparel that isn't washing-machine friendly, and that's a definite plus.
Given the camo prints that the pants are manufactured in, they're a good fit for early to mid-season hunting, when flora is still healthy and green (or in areas where flora is healthy and green throughout the entire hunting season!). They're breathable, which means they're good for warmer climes, but if you size 'em right, they should be able to fit over a pair of winter pants or thermals, as well. We'd love to see these in more subtle shade of camo, for late-season hunting, but that's a minor gripe. We'd also like to see a little more pocket room, but that's a problem that can overcome if you're wearing a well-pocketed vest.
Our favorite aspect of these pants, though, is the anti-odor tech they've got. Most hunters seem to understand that camo is important, but it seems like there are a lot of hunters who are still figuring out that masking their scent is just as important as camouflaging their appearance. The Under Armour Hunting Pants are made with a process that inhibits the growth of odor-causing microbes, and that can go a long way to masking your scent on a hunt. Plus, as we mentioned, they're machine-washable, so you can launder them with your scent-eliminating detergent of choice. They're not moisture-wicking, which is a bummer—especially since that's what Under Armour is known for—but they can be a great pick nonetheless.
ScentLok Men's Full Season TAKTIX Hunting Pants
Summary: Hands down, our pick for best hunting pants—waterproof, with moisture wicking properties, and odor absorption capability—highly recommended
We're going to skip the pros and cons on this one, because ScentLok Men's Full Season TAKTIX Hunting Pants somehow includes all of the features we'd hope to find in a pair of hunting pants, and we can't find much to complain about. They feature:
- NeverWet Hydrophobic Coating. The TAKTIX pants have a treatment that repels any kind water—and that includes water you'd find in mud, muck, and mire. Waterproof materials have come a long way in that couple of years, and the NeverWet treatment is designed so that water should bead up on the surface and slide off. Mud and other substances may stick to the surface of the material, but it's designed to keep those substances from penetrating the garment;
- Moisture Wicking. So, as we just mentioned, the "NeverWet" tech is to keep water off you. "Moisture wicking" material is the opposite—it's to take the moisture inside your clothes and force it to the outside of your clothes. A "moisture wicking" material is one that takes water and moisture inside and pushes it outside. It's a pretty amazing process, and it's one that occurs in nature—sheep's wool is naturally wicking, which is why sheep can stand in rain and remain perfectly warm: the wool takes the moisture and repels it outward so that the sheep remains dry. Apparel companies have found ways to mimic that process in their clothes, and many garments—like the TAKTIX pants we're praising—are designed to minimize the moisture inside your clothes. It's a REALLY cool feature, and you can find it on a lot of high-end outdoor clothing;
- Odor Absorption / Carbon Alloy Technology. Of all these features, the TAKTIX odor absorption feature—the Carbon Alloy Technology—may be the most fascinating. If you read that and it didn't sound right—after all, how does carbon absorb odor?—you're not alone. Here's how it's designed to work: the ScentLok TAKTIX Hunting Pants have multiple layers of fabrics, and between those layers are miniscule particles of activated carbon and zeolite (which is a man-made or natural mineral absorbent. All of those particles have a vast amount of surface area, and that surface area absorbs odor as it passes through the fabric. In other words—it's designed so that sweat, oils, and other odors your body produces gets captured in the fabric. Pretty darn cool;
- Multiple Camo Patterns! You may have noticed that a lot of our critiques of pants revolve around the lack of camo options. On this count, the TAKTIX comes through! It's manufactured in various Real Tree and Mossy Oak patterns. Figure out what kind of environment you'll be hunting in, and match it to the camo type you need, and hopefully you should be good to go. And, last but not least...
- Pockets! Yes, pockets. For some reason, it always seems like you either get camo and only a few pockets, or a lot of pockets and no camo. The TAKTIX has both (and why should that be so hard?). It's got eight—count 'em, eight—pockets, many with zippers and buttons. AWESOME.
We think these are fantastic, and we consider them a great option for bow hunting, rifle hunting, or just about any kind of hunting you want to do. Just make sure you get the sizing right, and have fun. We consider these the best hunting pants.
The SITKA Men's Timberline Pant
Summary: Great for kneeling and crawling through thick brush—our pick for spot-and-stalk hunting
So, finally, our last pair of hunting pants: The SITKA Men's Timberline Pant. The SITKA wearers we know are almost endlessly enthusiastic about SITKAs, and they can something of an investment, but we have to admit: there is a lot to like here. Among the most beneficial features are:
- The cold-weather camo colors, like Open Country, Optifade Open Country, and Sub-Alpine—most hunting pants seem to made in summer/early-fall forest colors, so that's a unique design feature, so that's a unique design right off the bat;
- The material that's designed for wear-and-tear—the four-way stretch woven fabric is regarded as more durable than many other hunting pant fabrics, and can provide a little bit more comfort than some stiffer varieties;
- The knee panels, which are a pretty unique feature, and can provide a lot of protection and save you a lot of pain. If you've ever knelt down in the brush to conceal yourself, only to find yourself kneeling on rocks and knobby branches that have fallen from trees, you know that pain of a thin-fabric pair of pants; and finally
- The waterproof seat can save you from a wet bottom, which can be pretty uncomfortable if you've hunkered down in a particular spot to wait things out.
If we had to sum these up, they're about movement: they're re-enforced with removable kneepads designed to let you crouch, kneel, and crawl through the terrain, and they're made with materials known to be flexible and quiet, so if you're ascending/descending for a spot-and-stalk—or even if you're just climbing the ladder up a tree stand—you can do so with the extra noise that lower-tier "plastic-y" pants might have.
On their own, they don't seem warm enough for cold-weather hunting, so you may want to couple them with thermal wear if you plan to do some low-temperature hunting, but if you plan to do a lot of moving on your hunt, we think these can be a good option.
Our Pick for Cold-Weather Hunting Pants?
You may have noticed we didn't include any recommendations for cold-weather hunting pants. Good eye!
We didn't include a cold-weather pair because we don't really know of any made specifically for cold weather that are also flexible, quiet, and easy to wear. In our experience, you tend to get one, maybe two, of those qualities, but it can be difficult to find all those characteristics all together in the same pair of hunting pants.
In fact, we've had the best luck wearing our hunting pants of choice, and coupling them with a warm, flexible, scent-control base layer, in a combo provides stealth and warmth. That topic is beyond the scope of this post, so we've written a review our favorite base layers here if you'd like to read more.
Grab Your Pants and Go
Alright, that about wraps up our in-depth look at pants! We hope it's helped you in some way. They’re a simple item with a lot of features, and while they’re easy to overlook, they’re pretty darn important. Good luck, be safe, and happy hunting!