Recently I added a page where I reviewed 6 of the top technical mid-layers for Western mountain hunting adventures. In that, I described my quest to find the perfect mid-layer and I am still on that quest for pants as well. That is part of the reason I am writing this technical hunting pant review.
Despite the fact that I have used one pair almost solely over the past three years and they have served me extremely well. There could be a better option on the market, so the quest continues. I am also a gear nerd so that is part of the driving force.
One aspect to keep in mind as you read our reviews is that we are not sponsored by anyone, only by our day jobs and passion for the outdoors. We pay for all of the gear we use and with 4 of us in the 1st Rut family, we all use different gear, have different preferences and have tried just about everything at this point. The technical hunting pant review that follows does not include every conceivable option. However there are many good choices below depending on your requirements.
How do I evaluate hunting pants?
This should be pretty straightforward criteria. If you are going to invest, and it is an investment, in new hunting pants they need to last so durability is the top of my list. The second criteria is comfort, you are going to spend days in these pants hunting so they need to be comfortable. The last criteria I use is quietness, I can’t sound like MC Hammer dancing while I am stalking around the mountains or sitting in a tree stand. Can’t touch this!
With that said, let’s get into the review. Up to bat today in this technical hunting pant review are:
|First Lite – Kanab 2.0 / Obsidian||90% Wool / 8% Nylon / 2% Poly||5||1lb 4.2 oz||$175|
|Under Armour – Ridge Reaper||100% Nylon *||5||1lb 4.0 oz||$160|
|Mossy Oak Break Up||100% Cotton||4||1lb 7.0 oz||$15|
|KUIU – Attack Pant||100% Polyester||6||1lb 8.3 oz||$140|
|Stone Glacier – De Havilland||50% Poly / 43% Nylon / 7% Spandex Tech||6||1lb 10.2 oz||$190|
|Prana Zion Stretch||97% Nylon / 3% Elastane||5||0lb 15.6 oz||$60|
If we look at the data table, we can compare the statistics on these pants. I am not 100% sure on the material content on the Under Armour Technical mountain hunting pant weight review pants due to no tag being in the pants but I input what is listed on the website. Note* the pants I have are older and could be different makeup. All of these options, including the Mossy Oak, are relatively the same weight, all within 6 oz.
The number one data point that sticks out to me is the material content. The Mossy Oaks are 100% cotton and the First Lites are almost entirely wool. The others are some blend of poly fabrics. All of these materials have different pros and cons depending on the blend and application. The price ranges listed are all MSRP and there are discount codes littering the internet to save you in the 10% range plus end of the season sales.
This is First Lite’s upgrade to the original Kanab pant. There are numerous qualities I like about these pants. The wool content of these pants makes them comfortable, extremely quiet, and the wool helps keep the stink down. The material will also dry fast if you get stuck in a storm. They also have a couple of unique features with two elastic sections (pictured) in the waistline to help with fit and comfort. There are three sections of the pant that are not wool material to increase durability (inside thigh, inside cuff at the bottom of legs, and the back side of the pants where your pack would ride).
Another feature is the pants can roll up to the knee and have a button and hook to keep in place. (Pictured). This is useful in extremely warm hunting environments. The single pocket on the back is zippered to keep your items in place. The wool blend has a number of positive attributes we just covered but it has one big downside. Despite First Lite’s efforts to increase durability in sections of the pant, if you wear these in any type of brushy or rough terrain you will shred them to pieces. Ask the #millenial of the 1st Rut family if you doubt this statement as his pants looked like a rodeo clowns after a week in the mountains.
#Millenial Comments: I noticed excessive pilling in the crotch within the first couple of days, by day 5 it had ripped completely open and I had to sew it up. In addition to the excessive pilling, there are two dime sized holes in the pants. If that wasn’t bad enough, there are a number of smaller than a dime sized holes throughout the pants along with threads coming loose. All of this wear after one week long hunt in the mountains.
Pictures of wear and tear below.
The Under Armour Ridge Reaper pants are a pretty standard hunting pant. They really sit in the middle of the range in terms of our review criteria. These pants are below average in my mind when comparing to the other pants in this review in terms of the criteria. They have held up well for me for a number of years, but they do not get the same use when compared to the other options. They don’t have the same level of features when compared to the First Lite / KUIU / Stone Glacier pants, but they will do exactly what they are supposed to.
The material is not as soft and quiet as the others in this review, but they are also not the loudest. From a noise standpoint, these pants sit in the middle of the range. One interesting feature is the pockets are blaze orange (pictured) on the inside, which could be a positive if you are worried about taking them off and losing them in the woods or mountains. The pockets also have survival tips printed on them in the event you need those. In all, they are a no-nonsense hunting pant that will last. All told, these are a basic hunting pant that you are paying a premium for name brand and the camo pattern.
These pants don’t fit the technical hunting pant review description, but it is a good data point to add when looking at hunting pant options. They are by far the cheapest, I purchased these after the season at Wal-Mart for less than $15. If you are on a budget, this is the way to go. They are a standard denim pant printed in camouflage.
These would work perfect for whitetail hunting or turkey hunting as they are quiet and durable. If you are mountain hunting, I would not wear these if I was going to be away from the truck or camp for more than a day. The 100% cotton material is quiet and comfortable but if they get wet and the temperature is dropping or cold you are in for a world of hurt. They will take far longer than the other options to dry and you are risking hypothermia in the mountains. Save your pennies and get a poly blend of pants, they are worth it.
The KUIU Attack Pant is a versatile and durable option for any hunting environment. They have held up very well for me the past 3 years and are extremely durable and quiet. The attack pant is far more durable compared to the Kanab 2.0 but is also slightly louder than the Kanab 2.0. They have a number of features that are beneficial to western hunts in September or October whitetail hunts.
The material is soft and comfortable to wear for days on end. Each leg as a zippered vent that is 12 inches tall and 2 inches wide (pictured). The inside of this zippered vent is meshed to keep bugs and debris out of your pants. I use this feature daily when hunting in September and October to regulate temperature. The pockets are large and well placed for both western style and tree stand hunting alike. The inside of all pockets on the front of the pants is mesh as well. The back pockets, which I don’t use, are zippered as well to keep items from falling out. This pant has served me well for the last 3 years and they are built to last much longer.
These are new this year from Stone Glacier and let me say when I opened the package, I was a bit perplexed. I know that doesn’t sound like a ringing endorsement but bear with me. My first thoughts were they seem heavy in the hand and the material is going to be loud. When I rubbed it together they sound like nylon wind pants. For a guy built like me, this is something to consider as my thighs rub together. #husky After trying them on and wearing them on a 4-mile hike I am warming up to them. They are still louder than my tried and true KUIU’s. They are built like a tank and have a bunch of unique features. For one, the fly is adjustable (pictured) which I can see being useful as you slim down on a mountain hunt regardless of your calorie intake.
There is a built in “belt” in place of the normal button which every other pair of paints has, which coordinates with the adjustable fly, but it takes some getting used to. The knees are reinforced which I like, but my favorite feature and the one reason I purchased is the leg vents. The vents are a full 21” in length and will let in a huge amount of air, but unlike the KUIU they do not have mesh to keep debris and bugs out. They do have belt loops for a real belt and the front thigh pockets have a button to keep your gear in your pocket. The other 4 pockets do not have a closure.
They are heavier than the other options but that is due to the sizing being S-XXL where the Under Armour and KUIU are sized similar to jeans. The inseam is around 2 inches longer than the other options in this review. I am curious to see how these wear in during my hikes as they feel like a pair of First Lite Corrugate Guide pants that used to have. My hope is they quiet down as they break in. I will come back to this review and post an update in a few months to see how they progress. One more item of concern, and admittedly this may be overthinking it, but I am concerned with the durability of the plastic buckle. I do think these pants could be worn on later season hunts when the temperature begins to drop and you would still be comfortable.
If anyone knows a secret to softening up material like this, please let me know.
Disclaimer: I have not hunted in these, but if public land ever opens back up I plan to take them turkey hunting, not exactly a prefect representation of hunting in the Rockies, but in the meantime I am wearing them on my training hikes, step up workouts with pack, and in my day to day. I felt like these were a good option to add to the technical hunting pant review.
The comfort of these pants is really impressive. They are light and fit really well. I am a bigger guy through the bottom half, and they fit well. They also have a pull tab to snug the waist down if they are just a bit big through the waist. This would come in handy on a western hunt as you will lose a few pounds trekking through the mountains. I am very impressed with the comfort thus far.
Since I haven’t had them on the mountains yet, I can’t comment on the durability in that scenario but based on what I have heard and read about these pants they are durable. One of the reasons I picked this pair up is I continually hear about them online and on podcasts. They seem very well built for the price point. They will absolutely be more durable than the First Lite Kanab 2.0, I can say that with conviction.
In terms of being quiet, I definitely didn’t open the package and think “oh man, these are going to be loud” and if I was ranking them, they would fall in behind the KUIU Attacks and the First Lite Kanab 2.0. The fit will help in the noise category as the legs are more tapered as opposed to boot cut. There is enough material at the bottom of the leg to cover my boots, but not excess material as in some of the generic sized pants (L, XL sizing).
If I compare the weight of these pants, they are the lightest weight pants in my review, which is crazy to me as I thought of the First Lite Kanab’s as ultralight, however I was wrong.
In terms of pockets, there are 5. Two in the back and one has a zipper closure which I appreciate. Two front pockets and one on the left thigh. It is closed with two zippers, one on the top and one on the side. I am not sold on this design, as I could see myself drop my phone or a diaphragm call in that pocket, zip the top and not remember the side zip. That would make for a bad day of hunting. Don’t ask me how I know things like that happen, let’s just say they do happen. Not something that is make or break, but something to keep in mind as you are looking for hunting gear.
There are numerous options for hunting pants on the market and these are just a few. With that said, there are a couple of really good options on this list. If you are in the market for new hunting pants, I would give the KUIU Attack Pants a chance. They have been a real work horse for me, and I have no complaints. I really want to like the Stone Glacier’s, but I am concerned with the noise of the material. I will update this once I have worn them in so to speak. If they wear in and become a little quieter, I will have both pairs with me when I head out west and will update this review after. The KUIU are tried and true and you will not be disappointed.
1st Rut Early Season Recommendation:
Our backcountry mid-layer review is here!
If there are other options out there, that you think are better drop us a line firstname.lastname@example.org. Until next time, get outside.