Best Gore-Tex waterproof trousers

Your secret weapon for enjoying the great (and very wet) outdoors

Best Gore-Tex waterproof trousers

by William Austin-Lobley |
Updated on

The great outdoors is, as the name suggests, great. From expansive grassland and swelling hillsides, trickling brooks to raging rivers, to lush forests and stoic mountaintops, there’s countless ways and places to enjoy nature’s majesty. But all of these beautiful things exist because of one very important thing – rain.

Here in the UK, we are pretty familiar with rain, and those of us who enjoy outdoor pursuits are even more so. The UK’s hiking and trekking hotspots are some of the wettest, with areas like Snowdonia, the Lake District, and the Yorkshire Dales and Moors all being renowned for regular downpours. In some areas of the Scottish Highlands, a holy land for all serious outdoor enthusiasts, there can be anywhere up to 3,000mm of rainfall a year.

But we don’t let this stop us, because all we have to be is prepared, and stowable waterproof trousers are an essential element of this readiness. A decent pair of waterproof trousers are a must, and those with the addition of Gore-Tex are considered the crème de la crème of such garments.

Related: The best waterproof jackets | The best 30-35 litre backpacks reviewed

Thanks to Gore-Tex’s years of innovation and experience, its waterproofing materials and membranes have never been lighter, more durable, or more waterproof. To help you find the best solution, we’ve rounded up the best Gore-Tex waterproof trousers available.

Here are our top recommendations:

The best at a glance:

Berghaus Paclite Gore-Tex Overtrousers

Gore Wear Gore-Tex R3 Active Pants

Montane Ajax Waterproof Trousers

Sprayway Mountain Rainpant

Haglöfs 2020 L.I.M Gore-Tex Pant

The best in detail:


Best Gore-Tex waterproof trousers

Berghaus Paclite Gore-Tex Overtrousers1 of 5

Berghaus Paclite Gore-Tex Overtrousers

The Berghaus Paclite Gore-Tex Overtrousers are all about comfort, waterproofing, and value. The trousers are light and efficient at keeping the water out, thanks to the Gore-Tex's Paclite used in their construction. The elasticated waist and adjustment toggle keeping the fit tight. The side zip comes up to just below the knee, so getting boots on in a hurry is simple, and the two-zip allows for some venting when things get a little warm. Around the ankle cuff, there are cinch-poppers to tighten the material around your boots. The cut of the trouser legs is enough to cover your standard hiking trousers and offer excellent articulation without being too baggy.
Verdict: Great for enthusiastic and determined walkers - our go-to choice for hikers.
Pros: Low-fuss, reliable, affordable, comfortable, stowable. Available in men's and women's cuts.
Cons: No fly or button closure.
Weight: 228g

Gore Wear Gore-Tex R3 Active Pants2 of 5

Gore Wear Gore-Tex R3 Active Pants

Straight from the brains at Gore-Tex comes the R3 Active Pants. While the other options listed here are more traditional hiking over-trousers, the R3 Active Pants are an athletic fit, designed to be for running. Though angled towards athletic individuals, those who like to hike light will be happy with the fit, waterproofing, wind-proofing and breathability. The R3 also have a pre-shaped knee to help comfort while mobile, an elasticated waistband, ventilation openings and Velcro leg cuffs. The Gore Wear C3 Active Pants are the closet women's equivalent cut of the R3 Active Pants. Note that these pants are primarily design for cycling, but have the same benefits for other outdoor pursuits as the R3.
Verdict: Perfect for wet-weather hikers and outdoor athletes who want to travel light. Worth coupling with some thermal in the colder climates.
Pros: Low-profile, lightweight and weatherproof.
Cons: Only a small key pocket, cold weather requires thermals.
Weight: 170g

Montane Ajax Waterproof Trousers3 of 5

Montane Ajax Waterproof Trousers

If you have a little more cash to spend, it's worth your time reaching for the Montane Ajax Waterproof Trousers. The close, ergonomic cut is comfortable over your standard hiking pants, with the articulated knees and gusseted crotch keeping the range of motion high. The elasticated waist has a drawcord to better the fit, and a couple of loops for some Montane braces for those who are so inclined. These trousers are tough, too, with plenty of Rip-Stop fabric to keep your waterproofing safe over rocks and through forests, and the added instep reinforcement will reduce wear and improve the trousers lifespan. The three-quarter leg zip is great for mountain boots.
Verdict: Durable, comfortable, and waterproof, these trousers will keep trekkers and mountaineers happy and dry for many years to come.
Pros: Robust, comfortable and ergonomic.
Cons: A heavier option.
Weight: 323g

Sprayway Mountain Rainpant4 of 5

Sprayway Mountain Rainpant

Sprayway has always been one of the UK's best outdoor equipment providers, and the Mountain Rainpant is a great addition to its range. The 3-layer Gore-Tex construction can protect the wearer against some of nature's most persistent wet and windy weather, and some pretty tough terrain. The fit is very comfortable, and the long leg-zip helps with boots. The Velcro cinch on the ankle cuff is great for getting the fit just right, and the soft inner lining of drawcord waistband is a welcome addition.
Verdict: Comfortable and protective, the Mountain Rainpant is a great companion for those mountainside downpours.
Pros: Robust 3-layer Gore-Tex, comfortable waist, high zips.
Cons: Heavier option due to material, no fly, or button closure.
Weight: 335g

Haglu00f6fs 2020 L.I.M Gore-Tex Pant5 of 5

Haglöfs 2020 L.I.M Gore-Tex Pant

Haglöfs 2020 edition of its L.I.M Gore-Tex pant is excellent. The Gore-Tex Paclite Plus 2.5 layer construction provides extra breathability, in addition to maintaining the material's lightweight, stowable, and wind and waterproof properties. The waistband is elasticated and carries a true zip fly with popper closure. The closer, more athletic cut is welcome, and the knees are articulated to offer the wearer a full range of motion. The zip is the longest on the list, reaching up to the waist, which is ideal for those wearing bulky mountain boots. Unfortunately, the L.I.M: Less Is More philosophy doesn't seem to have affected the price tag. But, if you're dedicated to your hikes, some rain, storms, and even more rain, then it'll be worth it.
Verdict: Haglöfs has done it again. It has produced the best waterproof trousers on the market at a cost that few will be able to weather.
Pros: Lightweight, comfortable, long zip, and carefully constructed.
Cons: Expensive.
Weight: 220g

Waterproofing all you can is essential on a hike. We've tested an array of waterproof jackets to ensure that you can protect your top half, and also rounded up the best drybags to keep all your packed gear safe and damp-free.

The difference between Gore-Tex Paclite and Paclite Plus

Gore-Tex Icons

Both negate the use of an inner lining material, and both are light and waterproof, so we’ve taken a look at the real difference.

Gore-Tex Paclite

The Gore-Tex membrane is bonded to the outer shell material, before being covered by an anti-oil substance and carbon. Gore-Tex has engineered this material to be used for everyday activities, golfing, and hiking.

Pros: Lightweight, breathable, windproof, and affordable.

Cons: Unsuitable for tougher environments.

View Gore-Tex's information on Paclite.

Gore-Tex Paclite Plus

The Gore-Tex is laminated to an abrasion-resistant outer face textile, thereby providing durable and robust protection. The inner surface is coated with an abrasion-resistant treatment, which improves the garments durability and reliability. Gore-Tex has engineered this material to be used for hiking, trekking, and mountaineering.

Pros: Extremely durable, windproof, and long-lasting.

Cons: Heavier and more expensive.

View Gore-Tex's information on Paclite Plus.

Which Gore-Tex material do I need?

That depends on what your chosen activity is. For a light walks and day hikes, the Paclite material will suit you well. The lightweight and smaller pack-down size will fit nicely in your day pack. The material will protect you from downpours, and keep off the worst of the wind. Tougher terrain is best avoided with Paclite – you won’t want to tackle scree and thick brush.

For tougher hikes, treks and mountain climbing, head for something with Paclite Plus. While it’s a slightly heavier material, the increased durability means that you can head off to rough and rugged terrain without the worry that you’re going to scuff and tear your garment. The initial outlay might be a little higher, but the longevity and reliance of the material may be worth it for your needs.

Waterproof Gore-Tex Trousers: A Buyer's Guide

Tape measure

Here are some of the features you need to consider when buying new waterproof Gore-tex trousers:


Waterproof overtrousers are often baggy by necessity. Some manufacturers offer articulated knee joints, Velcro calf adjustment, ankle cuff press studs, waist drawstrings, and varying leg lengths to help combat waterproof trouser looseness.


This area is often elasticated for extra comfort. A drawcord allows extra control of fit, while Velcro tabs, press studs, or belt loops allow further user-refined fit.

Leg zips

Legs zips allow the bottom portion of the waterproof trouser to be opened up to allow them to be put on without the need to remove boots. The longer the zips, the better, however, these openings do provide space for rain to leak through. Water-resistant zips can prevent this to a degree, as can external flaps.


By its very nature, waterproofing material inhibits fabric breathability, and for this reason, condensation can form. As condensation creates discomfort, ventilation is included by some manufacturers to promote airflow. A trouser with long side zips and two or three zip pulls will allow extra ventilation at the calf, knee, or hip. These vents will need to be closed off during heavy rains.

Scuff patch

The inner-ankle can rapidly wear out through friction from boots, crampons, rocks, and vegetation. The scruff patch is an extra panel of material included on some waterproof trousers to slow this wear. Another way to avoid such wear is to correctly tighten calf straps and ankle cuffs where available.

William Lobley is a Content Writer and reviewer for WhatsTheBest, specialising in technology and outdoors. He also writes for Empire Online.

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