The best waterproof trousers reviewed

A pair of waterproof overtrousers are essential kit for any all-weather hill-goer, so here are our top picks....

Mountain walker in the damp wishing for waterproof trousers

by Trail Mag |
Updated on

If you’re looking to stomp your way to the heights of a mountain or down into a valley’s depths, good choice. You’re in for a stunning treat away from the hassles and peeves of the modern world. Unfortunately, there’s one inconvenience you’re not going to be able to avoid – the rain. The odd shower is nothing to worry about, but if you’re heading out for a long hike in areas notable for their harsh and changeable weather (yes, we’re looking at you, Snowdonia, Scottish Highlands and Cumbria), then you need to be prepared.

To stay warm, dry and comfortable during a downpour a pair of waterproof trousers (sometimes referred to as rainpants or overtrousers) and quality walking boots are both essential kit for any all-weather hill-goer. They can be worn for entire walks, or bundled into a backpack until needed.

Below, we’ve gathered together the best waterproof trousers available. If you want to know what you should be looking for in terms of specs and function, head down to the bottom of the page and read our buyer’s guide.


The best waterproof overtrousers reviewed

Sprayway Santiago / Atlanta Rainpant1 of 4

Sprayway Santiago / Atlanta Rainpant

ProsThese waterproof trousers are made up of a two-layer fabric with a loose, condensation-drawing lining to keep the wearer comfortable and dry. The elasticated waist keeps them comfortable when worn with multiple layers, the side zips help them slide over hiking boots and the Velcro adjustment tab keeps the excess leg material nipped in. The price for an item of this quality is not to be ignored. ConsDue to the layering of material, the trousers are quite heavy when compared with other designs. Though the Velcro tab is a welcome addition, they aren't the neatest fitting option.

Berghaus Hillwalker2 of 4

Berghaus Hillwalker

ProsBerghaus offers the Hillwalker trouser in three leg lengths, and the waistband is both elasticated and equipped with a drawstring, so they're well fitted and secure. The reliable and desirable Gore-Tex laminate fabric is layered with a mesh and nylon inner for condensation protection and comfort. The side zips are long, and protected from rain by storm flaps. ConsThe extra-waterproofing and comfort-promoting additions result in a heavier trouser that isn't as easy to pack as some lighter alternatives.

Montane Atomic Pant3 of 4

Montane Atomic Pant

ProsThe Atomic Pant is a remarkably light and packable waterproof trouser solution, thanks the Pertex Shield fabric and absence of a mesh lining. The thigh-length side zip is a real bonus here, allowing the trouser to easily and quickly fit over hiking boots, while the studded ankle cuff and Velcro calf tab add control to the trouser fit. These are certainly some of the most comfortable and neatly fitting waterproof trousers we've tried. ConsWhile the lack a mesh lining does make these trousers lighter, they're more prone to condensation and therefore lack comfort over extended periods of time. The Pertex Shield fabric is also thin, so abrasions and tears are of more high concern.

Haglofs L.I.M Comp Pant4 of 4

Haglofs L.I.M Comp Pant

ProsThe three-layer Gore-Tex active shell fabric is lightweight and offers good condensation control. There is an internal baffle for the ankle zip which helps to keep the rain out and corrects the loose ankle structure often found on pants such as these. The elasticated waist and drawcord sit comfortably thanks to the brushed polyester lining. These pants are very well thought out. ConsYou pay for the quality with these waterproof trousers.

Waterproof Trousers: A Buyer's Guide

Here are some of the features you need to consider when buying new waterproof 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 in order to allow them to be put on without 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.


Fabrics with higher breathability reduce the likelihood of condensation, but are expensive and heavy. Mesh linings help move condensation away, but adds weight and can snag when dressing. Thinner fabrics may be more comfortable, however they will also be quicker to wear out. Fabric choice is all about knowing your needs: if you know what you need, you know where you can and cannot afford to compromise.

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

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