How to Choose the Best Pair of Climbing Pants

How to Properly Wash Your Climbing Pants

Whether the majority of your climbing takes place indoor, at a fitness center, or outdoors, washing them is a necessary step in maintaining their quality. Fortunately, these tips can help you maintain their cleanliness while also prolonging their value.

  • Wash your climbing pants on delicate
  • Make sure all zippers are closed when washing
  • Use a free-rinsing soap
  • Some materials are best dry-cleaned

Keeping your climbing clothes clean is crucial. Climbing can be an adrenaline, sweat-inducing sport. Over time, bacteria can grow on your clothing. If possible, it might make sense to hand wash and air dry your best climbing pants.

How to Taper Your Climbing Pants

Tapering your climbing pants refers to pants that start loose up top and then taper off as you get closer to the ankle. As you could imagine, tapered climbing pants are ideal because it gives the climber the comfort they need at the waist, but the tightness and lack of extra slack on the ankle end. 

While similar to skinny jeans, tapered pants are looser around the knees and waist and then resemble a skinny jean fit toward the bottom half. Tapered pants are a good alternative to climbers who prefer jeans because of their snug fit. Jeans are one of the most durable options but are not always the most flexible. Tapered pants give climbers the best of both options.

What Are the Best Climbing Pants?

The best climbing pants are ones that fit you well, are comfortable, protect you from the elements, and hold up among multiple climbs. While it is necessary to find what pants meet your individual climbing needs, there are a few things that can also help you narrow down your options:

  • Length: Climbing pants that are too long can get in the way as you attempt to find your footing.
  • Material: While different climbers will have different preferences when it comes to the fabric material, it is smart to choose something that is breathable.
  • Comfort: In addition to a good fit, you also want to choose a pair of climbing pants that are designed with a flexible material, giving you added comfort.
  • Size: Size is about much more than the length of your climbing pants. You also want a pair of pants that will fit you right in the waist and legs. If you’re between sizes and aren’t sure which to get, it is typically better to go with the smaller size. Otherwise, you run the risk of them slipping off you or you fumbling with them when climbing.
  • Weight: The weight of your climbing pants can affect your climbing capability. Lightweight materials with a stretch tend to be preferable.
  • Pockets: Pockets are often useful to hold your climbing gear. Pockets that come with a zipper or latch are even better.
  • Protective: The best climbing pants are protective. They should also protect you from crags when climbing or hiking, both outdoors and indoors.
  • Durability: Climbing pants can undergo a lot of wear, and tear and durable materials tend to last for longer.

Rock climbing pants come in all different types and fits. You will also find features like SPF protectant and moisture-wicking, which may or may not be important to you, depending on where the majority of your rock climbing takes place. If you spend a lot of time climbing outdoors, then you might even consider insulated or windproof pants.

The Best Climbing Pants Materials

Considering the materials you want when choosing climbing pants can help you narrow down your options. A few of the most common materials include:

  • Cotton: Cotton is breathable and moisture-wicking. Organic cotton is a popular fabric choice.
  • Nylon: Nylon tends to be abrasion and thermal-resistant. Many leggings are made with nylon and spandex materials.
  • Denim: Many climbers enjoy the durability of denim. It is not always a flexible choice though.
  • Spandex: Spandex is lightweight and elastic. It is also known for being very durable and heat resistant.

Climbing pants are not limited to these materials. You might come across other materials like four-way stretch Lycra or leather.

Your Best Options for Climbing Pants

Here are a few top climbing pants in the market today:


Ucraft Xlite Rock Climbing Knickers

The Ucraft Xlite Rock Climbing Knickers are an excellent choice for both men and women. They are ideal for both indoor and outdoor rock climbing.


  • Available in multiple colors, including bold ones that will help you stand out during night time outdoor activities
  • Three-quarter length, preventing you from slipping on pants that are too long
  • Designed with 92% nylon and 8% spandex, for a comfortable and flexible fit
  • Outer pockets with zippers

Arc’teryx Gamma LT Pants

The Arc’teryx Gamma LT Pants are available in both men’s and women’s sizes. They are a top choice in the climbing industry for many reasons.


  • Designed with articulated knees
  • Gusseted crotch
  • Made with 88% nylon and 12% elastane
  • Treated with DWR finish to make it water-resistant
  • Laminated zippers for storage
  • Pant cuffs to help you find the right fit


Men’s Ferrosi Pants

Men’s Ferrosi Pants are a top seller because of the breathable, durable materials. They will keep you cool, whether hiking or rock climbing outdoors in the heat. 


  • Made with an abrasion-resistant fabric
  • Movement-mirroring stretching design
  • Insulated enough for windy conditions
  • Designed with 86% nylon, 14% spandex with soft shell design


Mountain Hardwear AP Pants come with many useful climbing features. Features like reflective accents and a durable stretch fabric are ideal for outdoor climbers. 


  • Designed with articulated knees
  • Designed with 75% cotton, 23% nylon and 2% elastane
  • Roll-up legs with closure
  • Pockets with a zipper


Patagonia Venga Rock Pants

The Patagonia Venga Rock Pants are a favorite when it comes to women’s rock climbing gear. Whether you’re bouldering or hiking, they are both comfortable and supportive.


  • Designed with an organic cotton blend for flexibility and breathability
  • Gusseted crotch for broader movements
  • Adjustable waist is available
  • Coated with DWR to keep you dry in wet conditions
  • Pockets on the thigh, perfect for when harnessing
  • Rear pockets for storage

Halle Pant by Prana

The Halle Pant by Prana is a top choice of pants for climbing. They are made with stretchy fabric and durable pants materials.


  • Designed with a stretch material
  • Designed with a relaxed fit and articulated knees for ultimate movement
  • Treated with water repellent finish, DWR for water resistance
  • Can roll up the legs and snap them in place, great for crag climbing
  • Built-in belt
  • UPF rating of 50+ for sun exposure


KUHL Renegade pants

Good climbing pants are not always easy to find for children. But, the Kuhl Renegade pants are a great option.


  • Designed with a stretchy Duralux fabric which is 95% nylon and 5% spandex
  • Comes with articulated knees
  • Fabric is abrasion-resistant
  • Numerous pockets for storage


prAna Axiom Jean

The Prana Axiom Jean is a good choice for climbers who prefer denim materials. They are perfect for climbing and all your other favorite outdoor activities, like hiking. 


  • Great option for climbers who want jeans
  • Designed with a stretch fabric that is also durable
  • Features diamond-gusseted crotch
  • Moisture-wicking design

Where to Get Climbing Pants?

There are a few places to get a good quality pair of climbing pants. A few of the top locations include:

  • Amazon
  • REI
  • Carhartt
  • Kuhl

If you’ve never worn climbing pants before, then it can be helpful to try some on in person first or to choose a place that allows for free returns. You want your climbing pants to fit you just right, and that can be difficult to do when ordering online. If you do choose to take advantage of one of the great deals available online, then we’d recommend carefully recording your measurements before ordering.

Climbing Shorts

Some climbers will prefer to wear climbing shorts instead of pants. This is especially true for climbers who prefer to climb during the summer months. Additionally, some climbers will still prefer the comfort of climbing shorts, even during cold weather. You can always go with a pair of climbing shorts on top of your pants to benefit from both. A midway pair of capris can also be useful as a good alternative.

How to Choose Climbing Pants With Useful Extras

Rock climbing requires the use of extra equipment, depending on the type of rock climbing that you choose. Protective features like belt loops or harness holders can be useful. There are also climbing pants available that come with a kneepad slot. They are a must if your climbing sport includes kneebaring. Once you’ve found your ideal knee pad, then you’ll want to try on your new climbing pants with the inserted knee pads. 

Other special features can make for a good pair of climbing pants, including:

  • Harness compatible: It can be helpful to try your pants on with your preferred style of climbing harness. If you don’t wear a harness, then you might need a pair of climbing pants or shorts with a chalk bag loop in it.
  • Gear loops are built-in spots to attach your harness. Different pants have gear loops in different locations, and choosing a pair that fits your preferences is essential. Some gear loops are also adjustable.
  • Zippered pockets are also useful to store items. Make sure your pockets are large enough to hold your items.
  • Diamond gusset: The diamond gusset is the portion of the pants that cover the crotch. As you climb and bend, you definitely want to have some flexibility here. Not all pants are made with a flexible gusset, but they are necessary for ultimate movement and flexibility when climbing.

Choosing the right type of climbing pants is almost as important as choosing your climbing helmet. With so many different materials and types of pants in the market, it can feel overwhelming, narrowing down your choices. Take advantage of this guide to help you determine the best materials and features when choosing your ideal pair of climbing pants.