Rain or shine, we like to ride in trail pants around here. They keep your pads clean, deflect a few of those nasty shin gashes, and they’re warmer than the cutoff version. This fall we collected and tested all of the MTB pants we could get our hands on to help folks better choose the best trousers for their trails. Between these dozen plus pairs of waterproof or wind-blocking pants, there should be an option that’s right for you.
What makes a great pair of winter riding pants? Sturdy and warm material is a key element for a good set of leg tubes. In the reviews below we will focus on how well these pants breathe, how they fair against the ground and washing machine, if they shed rain, and how they feel against the skin. All of these pants can cost a pretty penny, so preferably they will last a few seasons of brisk pedals.
In addition to material that fits and feels good on long rides, we all need our pants to stay in place with minimal fuss. We touch on the overall fit and waist-cinching system for each pair, as well as the skinny-jeans-factor where brands ride the line between making space for kneepads and keeping the material tight enough to not flap about and get caught on things. We will also point out any unique features and flaws for each pair, including different ankle closures that can be helpful or hindersome, and how well the pocket-placement works while peddling.
Gerow is our main tester for this roundup, and you’ll also find reviews and quotes from Anne-Marije Rook, Chris Scheiffer, and Matt Miller below.
|PANT||PRICE||GENDER||SIZE RANGE||COLORS||COOL FEATURES||BEST FOR|
|7Mesh Glidepath||$170||Men’s and women’s||XS-XXL||Black||Lightweight with DWR||Shoulder seasons|
|Chrome Plask Hybrid||$140||Men’s cut only||28-38||Black||Double front fabric||Casual aesthetic|
|Chrome Storm Rain Pant||$125||Men’s cut only||S-XL||Black||Roomy legs||Commuting|
|Dakine Heavyweight Thrillium Pant||$180||Men’s and women’s||S-XXL||Black||Super durable fabric||Aggresive DH|
|DHaRCO Gravity Pants||$158||Men’s and women’s||S-XXL||Multiple||4-way stretch||Overall comfort|
|Endura MT500 Freezing Point Trousers||$200||Men’s cut only||S-XXL||Black||Fleece lined||Freezing temps|
|Fox Ranger 3L Waterproof Pants||$175||Men’s cut only||28-40||Black, Blue||Zipperless front opening||Wet weather|
|Gore C5 Paceline Gore-Tex Trail||$200||Men’s and women’s||X-XL||Black, Blue||Super lightweight||Rainy commuting|
|POC Ardour All-Weather Pants||$250||Men’s and women’s||S-XXL||Black||Roomy legs||Moderate rain|
|POC Consort MTB Dungaree||$500||Unisex||XS-XXL||Brown||Large vents||Frigid wet rides|
|Race Face Conspiracy Pants||$180||Men’s cut only||S-XXL||Black||Good waterproofing||Wet riding or racing|
|Rapha Trail Pants||$180||Men’s and women’s||XS-XXL||Multiple||Wide waist adjustment||Dialed comfort and fit|
|Showers Pass Skyline Pant||$144||Men’s cut only||S-XL||Black||Reflective strips||Multisport use|
|Shredly Cascade Pant||$135||Women’s cut only||00-24||Multiple||Elastic waist||Multisport use|
|Specialized Trail Pants||$145||Men’s cut only||24-44||Black||Aerodynamic||Shoulder seasons|
7Mesh Glidepath Pants
The Glidepath Pant from Squamish-based apparel brand 7Mesh comes in women’s and men’s cuts with six sizes for $170. It’s DWR coated from hip to toe, which helps keep the trail spray off your legs. A pair of hand pockets on either hip is nice for chillin’, and there are adjacent zippered pouches to hold your phone and whatnot. There are cinch straps on either side of the waist, and belt loops all around if you need the extra security. The material is stretchy enough to wrap around large kneepads and to move instead of tearing on impact.
Our writer and ripping trail tester Anne-Marije Rook tested these trousers, and she had largely good things to report. “The pant version of 7 Mesh’s popular Glidepath mountain bike short does not disappoint. The material is practically weightless and offers all-day comfort with 4-way stretch, articulated knees, and a jogger-like taper and cuffs at the ankles. I feared that the thin material wouldn’t stand a chance against snags and scuffs but they’ve held up surprisingly well, and even offer some light water resistance. The generous four pockets — two zipped, two open hand-pockets — offer plenty of options for any quick-access items and a snap belt keeps everything in place. They’re not as water-resistant as one would need here in the Pacific NorthWET but even so, these pants are so comfy that they’ve become my go-to pants in everything except a downpour.”
The shell of these pants is lighter than many of the others tested, and as a result, it breathes quite well. These are not the warmest pants, and they feel great if you keep moving on the ride, or if temps are above 50° F. The zippered pockets are in the perfect spot to keep your gear from bouncing around, and there’s ample space to hold as much gear as most folks want to put in their pockets. The overall fit is rather slim, with very little material to catch on the saddle or passing branches.
If you don’t plan to ride in active rainstorms and you like a svelte and subtle fit these pants have it covered.
Available at JensonUSA.
Chrome Plask Hybrid and Storm Rain pants
On the commuter/trail crossover side, the Chrome Plask Hybrid Pant is a cool option for riding to work and sliding down the trail after. They have double-knee fabric like a pair of Carhartt trousers, and the material is notable sturdy. Those front panels are also DWR-coated to keep some moisture out. There’s a pair of jeans-style external pockets on the seat and two hand pockets up front with a single zippered pouch on the right hip to keep the keys safe. Plansk Hybrid pants come in six sizes for $140.
Available at Chrome Industries.
You won’t be fitting kneepads under these pants, as they fit like denim skinny jeans. Instead, you get to look like the cool dirt-jump kids who only ride in denim. The material has just enough stretch that the pants move well with your legs, and they definitely don’t leave any snaggy fabric. The material should last through several seasons on the trail and at the pub, no matter your crash status.
These pants from Chrome have the most casual look of the bunch, making them a good wardrobe option even if you don’t take them for a ride.
In contrast to the Plasky pants, the Storm Rain Pant is clearly designed to slide over your jeans on the way to work or over kneepads in the dirt. Their elastic drawstring waist is easy to get on and off, and there are ankle zippers to help tighten them over rain boots or whatever you wear to ride to the grocer. Two zippered pockets will hold more goods than the drawstring can hold up, so don’t overload them with heavy tools if you don’t want to yank them up regularly. The three-layer waterproof construction keeps water out admirably and should manage dirt naps for a few seasons. Storm Rain Pants can be had in four sizes for $125.
For my body type, these don’t work as riding pants. The legs are far too long on my usual size small, leaving a pile of fabric bunched at the ankles. The crotch is also way too deep and it regularly gets snagged on the saddle and pulls the pants down. Likely these features make these perfect pants for wearing over jeans on a commute, but on the trail, they are not the trousers I would choose.
If you’re notably tall and thin these might be the perfect pants to keep your legs and pads dry, but for anyone with closer-to-average leg and waist measurements, they will be far too long.
Available at Chrome Industries.
Dakine Thrillium Heavyweight pant
Heavy is not a word we often use positively in cycling. The Thrillium Heavyweight Pant from Dakine is just that — heavy. These burly winter pants weigh twice what some others do in this test, and they feel designed for a motocross race. Unfortunately, all that thick warmth is in no way waterproof. They are held in place with a sturdy trident buckle, and the adjuster locks in place so you won’t have to worry about them falling off as the rain adds weight. The zippered hip pockets are as large as my size-large hands need, and they hold things in a fairly comfortable position. If your phone is too large it will hit your hip bone with each pedal stroke, which is common with front hip pockets. My iPhone 11 is a little too large for comfort. A third pocket on the left thigh is large enough for a granola bar and keys. The Thrillium Heavyweight Pant sells for $180 in all five sizes.
Riders will be able to fit whatever size kneepads they like under these pants, as the fit is quite baggy. Despite all of that added nylon the crotch isn’t baggy, and I haven’t had any issues with these clutching the saddle. There’s heaps of room for warm layers underneath in my usual size small, and while the fabric doesn’t stretch there is enough of it to move with you. There are holes in the upper-butt fabric to allow for some airflow, which is good because the heavy material is otherwise quite hot.
Folks searching for a looser fit will be stoked on these pants. Dakine definitely thought about the sprinter’s thighs when designing these pants.
Available at JensonUSA.
DHaRCO Gravity pants
We have reviewed the DHaRCO Gravity Pants in the past and wanted to include them here to share some updates and this galactic colorway. They still come in a women’s and men’s cut in five sizes and a bunch of colors for $158. The waist is widely adjustable with a pair of velcro straps, and the sizing is such that I don’t have a pile of extra velcro to manage as I do with some other pants. The two leg pockets offer just enough storage to bring the trail necessities along without overweighting your legs. There’s also a pocket on the lumbar that a friend of mine calls the “butt warmer” because it’s a good place to keep your food warm without smashing it in a hip pocket.
Singletracks contributor reviewed these pants recently and had the following accolades to share. “Inspired by performance, functionality, and contemporary designs, the DHaRCO Gravity Pant is no exception; it really ups the ante in women’s MTB apparel. The four-way stretch, quick-drying, breathable, water-resistant material provides all the protection necessary for DH laps, yet it is versatile enough to pedal in during those colder fall and winter months. The gravity pant is made of slightly thicker material than other women’s pants (read: warmer); with an articulated cut, three pockets for essentials, waterproof zippers, and room for knee pads. If you happen to take a digger in these pants, your skin should be saved.”
These are some notably cozy trousers that fit exactly the way I like for racy MTB pants. There’s just enough room for knee pads, with zero extra flap to catch on things or slow me down in the wind. The knees are reinforced to make them last longer than some, and the material is well stretchy to move with your body. Thanks to their fit and overall feel, this pair is my personal go-to for long adventure days or rips in the bike park.
DHaRCO has functionality covered with these pants, and if you want to stand out from the crowd they have also dialed the aesthetic up a notch. You can get them in black if that’s preferable.
Endura MT500 Freezing Point Trousers
Endura’s MT500 Freezing Point Trousers match the Freezing Point jacket’s intent. On cold, and lightly moisturized days, the trousers make it possible to enjoy riding.
The Freezing Point trousers are made with Primaloft Gold Active Insulation panels on the front over the quadriceps and on the rear, there are waterproof spray panels, and the rest of the pants are coated with a C0 DWR water repellant. The trousers are made with a moveable material and lined with fleece. There are two zippered pockets, abrasion-resistant ankles, an externally adjustable waist guard, and zippered vents along the sides of the upper thighs.
Though the Freezing Point trousers pack a lot of heat, they have a slim and tapered fit so that they don’t feel too pouchy. I joked that I looked Randy from A Christmas Story when I first wore the suit on a ride, but mostly because I’ve never worn something with this much insulation on a bike.
My impressions on the pants are similar to the jacket: they’ll hold up well on the dryer, cold days and provide an ideal amount of warmth for temperatures between 25° – 35°. They aren’t the best pants out there for really wet snow. The pants feel durable, especially with abrasion-resistant ankles, and they are slim to avoid interference with cranks and chains. The venting on the trousers is a nice touch for some air conditioning when you’re pedaling hard on chilly days. MSRP: $200
Available at the Endura website.
Fox Ranger 3L Water Pants
We have reviewed a good number of Fox pants, including the beloved Rangers, and the Fox Ranger 3L Waterproof Pants turn up season extension to eleven. These pants have the same pair of hip pockets, ratcheted waist closure, and racy fit, now with 3L waterproof layers to keep the mud out. There’s a little more space in the legs to make up for the fact that the material doesn’t stretch much, these feel comfortable on the bike no matter the weather. Ranger 3L waterproof pants come in seven sizes and two colors for $175.
Fox has MTB pants dialed, and these waterproof pair is no exception. They have yet to leak through in some torrential downpours, and the waterproofing is enduring my lazy washing machine habits well. The robust material breathes okay, but I wouldn’t want to pull these on for a ride above 55° F.
If you already love Fox pants you won’t be surprised, and if you’re in the market for winter gear these will be a good piece to put on the list.
Gore C5 Paceline Gore-Tex Trail Pants
While titled “trail pants,” C5 Paceline Gore-Tex Trail Pants from Gore are likely the best pair we tested for commuting. Their legs are baggy, with plenty of room for jeans beneath, and the elastic waist is easy to pull on and off. There are zippers and snaps on the ankles to further ease the dressing and undressing process, which is always appreciated when your hands are numb. There’s just one hip pocket that zips shut on the right leg. They come in black or blue in five sizes for $200.
These are possibly the most waterproof pants in the bunch. I have been riding through some “record level” PNW rainfall with these on and arrived home with dry kneepads. Even the mud sluffs off immediately so you can easily wear them 2-3 times before washing. The material is thin and isn’t super stretchy, but there’s enough of it that it should be able to move around as long as your legs aren’t too muscly. Like sweatpants, the elastic waist is cinched with a shoestring, and I had trouble keeping the pants in place with my phone and keys in the hip pocket. Once I moved my phone to a jacket compartment they stayed up just fine.
If you need double-duty trail and commute pants that truly don’t leak, look no further.
POC Ardour All-Weather Pants and Consort MTB Dungaree
POC Ardour All-Weather Pants are big and baggy and angry with the rain. Like a lot of the less stretchy rain pants, they have additional fabric to allow your legs to move about on the bike. That means there’s plenty of room between you and the pants for kneepads and layers. The hip pockets are somewhat small, and I have had trouble positioning my phone so it doesn’t hit my hip with every pedal revolution. Both ankle cuffs are nice and tight, creating a nice bond with the top of my high-top winter shoes to keep the puddles at bay. Women’s and men’s cuts come in black with five sizes to choose from for $250.
These pants are relatively thick and baggy, maintaining a good distance between your skin and the material. They have soaked through a few times, though it took a Bellingham size downpour to do it. The upper legs eventually let water through, which may not be such a huge deal of you have a pair of wool knickers on underneath. The lower legs seem fairly water proof, and held up to the elements better than the thighs.
The POC Consort MTB Dungaree bibs take all of the waterproofness of the pants above and turn it up a bit. The upper flaps increase material overlap with your jacket to ensure the earth stays outside your clothes and you remain as dry as possible. The shoulder straps can be cinched to keep the crotch at your favorite height, and there’s a strap across the back to tighten the whole shebang in place. There are long vents in the legs to cool off and let air through when needed. Just remember to check that you have something on underneath. Consort Dungarees come in this sandy color in six different sizes for $500.
The leg area in these pants is similar to the non-coverall version, and the waterproofness seems even better. I have yet to soak through these, and I will definitely be pairing them with my favorite rain jackets for the wettest shreds. I have a pair of waterproof high-top MTB shoes, and with these and a good jacket there are few storms that will keep me inside. Even when it was below 40° F and pouring I felt fine with these and a load of other waterproof kit on. While these are expensive, they truly do allow you to ride when other pants cant.
If you never wanna pull up your pants or get your legs wet on the bike again, these are for you.
Race Face Conspiracy pants
There’s a clear theme in rainpants here. Race Face Conspiracy Pants are baggier in the legs to allow for movement without making the material stretchy, as that flex would let water in. They are simple and clean like most of the Race Face kit we’ve tested, with a pair of hip pockets that could each fit a phone or snack inside. The waist shuts with an adjustable ratchet belt like the Fox closure, and the ankles are just open enough to let your feel slide through without the need for elastic. The Conspiracy Pants are available in five sizes for $180.
A good ol’ Race Face racy theme rings through these pants, and they are as comfortable to pedal in as they are simple and well designed. The high lumbar keeps your butt covered, and they haven’t yet leaked through on sloppy soup rides. All of the seams are sturdy and have remained solid despite the washing machine.
Waterproof seekers who want a clean look will dig these pants. Available at JensonUSA.
Rapha Trail Pants
Like the DHaRCO pants above, the Rapha Trail Pants offer a dialed fit that was clearly designed by mountain biker who likes to party on the trail. The fit couldn’t get much better, and the stretchy fabric feels great against your skin. These pants are so cozy I wear them like sweats when I’m reading on the couch. The thigh pockets are well placed to keep your gear secure and away form your hip bones and there are two hand pockets to keep your fingers warm while waiting for friends. The waist tightens with a locked clasp to keep then precisely as tight as you like. Women’s and men’s Rapha Trail Pants come in a variety of colors in six sizes for $180.
Whether racing or riding, these pants provide the protection and warmth you want from MTB leg dressing, and they do ti with a fabric that feels better than most. The tough DWR coated fabric is sufficient for trail-spray, though I would choose something else for a rain ride.
Folks who want a really good feeling pant in a variety of colors will likely appreciate this pair.
Showers Pass Skyline Pant
The Showers Pass Skyline Pant seems more designed for road cycling than MTB, but they work well for both. The tighter elastic material is more aerodynamic than most MTB pants, but it’s no tighter than the tailored trousers most World Cup DH racers are stuffing themselves into. If you have small legs like mine these pants will still have some give. I have worn these skiing, road riding, and mountain biking, and they work well for all three. Surely you could also wear them to play pickle ball in a pinch. They move well with your body, and the material is surprisingly breathable for how heavy and warm it can be. Skyline pants come in four sizes for $143.
These pants are not truly waterproof, but they keep a lot of the water out and the fabric dries relatively quickly. They are definitely warm enough for a 40° F pedal if you keep moving, and the seams are well placed so they’re not annoying while doing so. A few reflective stripes in the right places will help you be seen on the way to and from the trailhead.
Shredly Cascade pant
As the temperatures begin to fall, it’s nice to have at least one pair of warm and comfy pants to ride in. Some MTB-specific pants are constructed with rigid fabric, designed to take a beating in the event of a crash. The Cascade fabric is not rigid or ultra thick but it does the trick to prevent cuts and scrapes with the best of them.
The Shredly Cascade pant is “jogger-style,” made specifically for pedaling on your mountain bike, but also for those who want to double down on function. The lightweight, soft, durable, four-way stretch, quick-dry fabric is a dream come true for multi-discipline athletes in the crowd. The relaxed fit, coupled with articulated knees, elastic ankle cinches, and a yoga-style waistband are perfect for pedaling as well as hiking, climbing, going to the gym, and just casually wearing around town. If you happen to have the “pleasure” of being caught in a rainstorm with these, they do a nice job of repelling water and not sticking directly to the skin.
The fit of these pants is perfect. The gusset doesn’t hang so low that it catches on the saddle while descending, and there are no annoying snaps, velcro adjusters, buckles, or inside waist cinchers to pinch your midsection when in a seated climb. The articulated back panel accommodates even the most bulky chamois and somehow creates the illusion of having a really nice butt. The pant also boasts two large mesh hand pockets for breathability and air flow, as well as zippered hip pockets to carry essentials like keys, chapstick, large phones, you name it. Did I mention all the amazing print choices? True to Shredly style, the Cascade pant comes in a variety of colors and patterns, all of which are easily paired with the ultra-soft, solid color long sleeve tops.
Cascade Pant MSRP $135, Available at Shredly.com
Specialized Trail Pants
Back to the lighter weight racy side, the Specialized Trail Pants are a straight ahead tight pair of leg coverings to keep the cold out. The material stretches all over the dang place, and it’s as comfortable as nearly anything in this roundup. There is a pair of zipered pockets, on the hips, and a large phone fits but barely clears my hip bones while pedaling. The ankle cuffs are decidedly tight, and if you have large feet they can be hard to get on and off. The upside is that they grab tightly to the top of your shoes for a solid loam-guard. The waist cinches shut with a ratchet strap, similar to the other racy-looking models. Specialized Trail Pants are available in women’s and men’s cuts, in a range of sizes and colors, for $145.
These pants are wicked comfortable, which seems to be the story with most of the tighter race cut trousers. There is plenty of space for kneepads as long as they are the thinner pedal-oriented sort. These pants work fine when the trail is wet, and the sky isn’t, and I would happily pedal in them down to 50° F.