Last updated: August 5, 2021

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Climbing trousers are a special type of trousers that offer you additional advantages compared to normal trousers. Climbing pants offer you more freedom of movement and robustness. There are climbing trousers for both indoor and outdoor climbing. Whether sport climbing, bouldering or alpine climbing, there is the right equipment for every activity. Climbing trousers are not only practical, but can also look stylish. Many climbers also like to wear their climbing trousers in their free time. Our climbing trousers test 2021 will help you find the best climbing pants for your needs. In the following article, we will give you tips to help you decide which type of climbing pants you need. You can read about the advantages and disadvantages of the different types of trousers in the following sections. With our comparison, you are sure to find the perfect equipment for your next climbing tour.




Summary

  • Climbing trousers have additional functions compared to everyday trousers. In climbing trousers you are above all more mobile. Climbing pants are more comfortable and durable than regular pants.
  • When buying climbing pants, it is important to consider whether you want to climb indoors or outdoors. The more intensively you are active outdoors with your climbing pants, the more robust and weather-resistant they should be.
  • If you like to go climbing regularly in your free time, you should definitely buy climbing pants for the long term. In contrast to normal sports trousers, the material of climbing trousers is more robust, does not get holes as quickly and therefore has a longer lifespan.

Best Climbing Pants: Our Picks

Buying and evaluation criteria for climbing pants

The next section is designed to help you find the right climbing pants for your needs. The criteria you can use to compare the different climbing trousers are:

In the following paragraphs, we will explain the listed criteria in more detail and give you tips on what you should consider when buying climbing pants.

Straps

Before buying climbing pants, you should decide who will wear them when climbing. There are special trousers for women as well as for men. Climbing pants for women and men are adapted to the respective body shape.

There are also unisex models that can be worn by both men and women. There are also special climbing trousers for children.

You will find a suitable model for the wearers listed from almost every popular brand of climbing equipment. Suitable climbing equipment is also important for children and young people to minimise the risk of injury. Elasticated waistbands help to adjust the trousers to the child's body shape.

Fit

The cut is crucial. You should have enough freedom of movement in your climbing trousers. That's why it's a good idea to try them on. You can test the mobility. You should test whether you have enough room to squat, do the splits and bend your leg. There should be no pinching at any point.

Your climbing trousers should ideally not be noticeable.

Another factor is the length of the pants. There are short and long climbing trousers. A distinction is also made between ¾ trousers and ⅞ trousers. Short trousers are less suitable for outdoor climbing, as otherwise scratches and scraped knees can quickly occur. Therefore, ¾ length trousers are preferred by women for outdoor climbing. There are also climbing trousers in extra length.

Basically, there are different fits for climbing trousers, so there is something for everyone. However, climbing trousers are cut rather tightly so that you can't get caught anywhere.

You also need to consider the weight of your climbing pants. Most climbing trousers weigh between 150 and 750 grams. When you try on your climbing pants, they should feel light. Unnecessary restrictions can hinder your climbing.

Material

Climbing trousers come in a wide variety of materials. Common materials are cotton, hemp, spandex, synthetic, denim and corduroy. It is important that the material feels comfortable against your skin. If you are climbing outdoors, your climbing gear should prevent you from getting cold.

An important factor is the robustness of the fabric. Your climbing pants must be able to withstand a lot. If your climbing pants come into contact with a rock or something similar, your pants should not rub off too quickly and form holes.

Cotton is a tried and tested material. Cotton has been used for climbing trousers for a long time. Cotton is very robust and breathable. However, unlike synthetics, the material is heavier and dries more slowly. Hemp offers the advantage that the material weighs much less than cotton. In addition, hemp is more breathable and durable than cotton. Furthermore, hemp dries faster. Therefore, hemp is a suitable material if you are looking for climbing pants for summer days or sultry climates. Hemp is also more sustainable than cotton.

Spandex is suitable if you are looking for climbing pants with maximum freedom of movement. The material is very stretchy.

This means that it does not pinch or cut into the skin during very acrobatic climbing movements. Spandex is also a very light material. Synthetic has the advantage of being breathable and durable. Synthetic fabric is very stretchy, quick-drying and breathable. However, if you sweat, the synthetic fabric can quickly stick to your skin. Jeans are characterised by their strong robustness. Corduroy keeps you warm and is comfortable to wear.

Style

Many climbers want their climbing pants to be both functional and stylish. You can find climbing trousers in different styles. There are very eye-catching and very simple models to choose from.

If you prefer to be discreet, you can choose a pair of climbing pants with a jeans look.

There are wide climbing trousers and also climbing leggings. Leggings for climbing are preferred by women in particular because of their look. In climbing leggings you are very mobile. The disadvantage is that leggings can be damaged very quickly if they come into contact with a rock or something similar. Climbing trousers come in numerous colours and patterns. A classic colour is easy to combine. You'll be eye-catching with neon-coloured climbing pants. A common pattern is the camouflage pattern. There is a pair of climbing pants for every taste. Many climbers also wear their climbing trousers in everyday life because they are very comfortable. If you plan to do the same, you should consider this when choosing the style of your climbing pants.

Field of application

Before buying climbing pants, you should consider whether you prefer to climb indoors or outdoors. Outdoors you will probably climb mainly on rocks and indoors mainly on climbing walls. If you mainly climb outdoors, your climbing pants should be durable and absorb moisture. You should also know whether you like to use your climbing pants in summer or winter. Depending on which season your climbing pants will be used, they should have the appropriate properties. For example, it depends on the season how much your pants should protect you from getting cold.

Short climbing trousers are suitable for hot summer days. However, if you wear climbing pants with short legs, injuries can occur more quickly.

It's also easier for insects to bite you. There are climbing trousers that have ventilation zips. Long trousers are good in winter and keep you warm. Long legs also protect you from abrasions. Some trousers also have special features that are suitable for certain weather conditions. There are trousers that are completely waterproof or windproof. Other climbing trousers are only waterproof or windproof. There are also trousers that protect you from UV rays when climbing, which is especially important when climbing at heights. Climbing trousers with a zip-off can be worn as short or long trousers.

Activity

When choosing your climbing pants, it depends on the type of climbing you want to do. There are special climbing pants for bouldering or for alpine climbing. However, you can also use alpine pants for bouldering and vice versa. We will go into more detail about these two types in the next section.

Climbing pants are also popular for yoga.

The reason is that climbing trousers are very comfortable, have a good cut and offer full freedom of movement during yoga exercises. If you only want to wear your climbing pants for leisure, they don't necessarily have to meet special requirements. The main thing is that the pants are comfortable and, if necessary, look stylish.

Technical function

Your climbing pants should be breathable. This means that heat and perspiration are quickly expelled to the outside. This feature is essential to prevent you from getting cold when you are taking a break or when you are safe.

Compared to hiking trousers, climbing trousers have slightly deeper pockets.

Your climbing pants should also offer you other benefits. These include pockets in particular. Your climbing pants should have enough pockets and they should be easy to reach. Your climbing pants waistband should offer you enough tools, but not too many. Elasticated waistbands are also useful. With an elasticated waistband, you can adjust the length of your legs and prevent them from getting caught. If your trousers fit snugly, you have a clear view. Pre-shaped knees offer you additional freedom of movement. It is also helpful to have a gusset in the crotch to ensure that the leg loops of the belt stay in place. It also helps if the waistband is elasticated to ensure a comfortable fit. There are climbing trousers on the market that already have an integrated climbing harness. You don't need an additional harness. With such trousers, you can hang directly into the harness.

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying climbing pants

If you want to buy a pair of climbing pants, you probably have a few questions you should ask yourself before you buy. In the next sections, we have collected questions that are frequently asked by customers. We have compiled short and precise answers to these questions for you.

What is special about climbing pants and what advantages do they offer?

Climbing trousers are trousers that are especially designed for climbing. Compared to ordinary sports trousers, climbing trousers are more durable. In addition, climbing pants offer extras, such as useful pockets. You can tighten the trousers with elasticated waistbands or buttons. This ensures that you don't get caught in climbing pants and that you always have a clear view.

Many manufacturers offer climbing trousers as a sustainable option. The manufacturers pay particular attention to the sustainability of the material and production.

In principle, you can of course also go climbing with any trousers. However, climbing pants offer you some advantages that support you when climbing. First and foremost, they are flexible and robust. Furthermore, climbing pants are usually made of breathable fabric and are comfortable to wear. Thanks to the material used in climbing trousers and the cut, you have maximum freedom of movement.

What types of climbing trousers are there?

There are climbing trousers, alpine trousers and bouldering trousers. Basically, you can also use climbing pants for bouldering. In the same way, you can use bouldering pants for climbing. However, both types of trousers have special characteristics.

Alpine pants

Climbing trousers that are suitable for alpine climbing have special pockets. The pockets can be used to store equipment needed for alpine climbing. Alpine climbing pants usually have an integrated belt or belt loop, which are very helpful when climbing. Pre-shaped knees help to ensure maximum comfort.

Advantages
  • Robustness
  • Extra storage space
  • Protects against moisture
Disadvantages
  • Heavier material

Special fabric ensures that the fabric is protected from abrasion. The material of apline climbing trousers is usually very flexible, so that it adapts to different layers of clothing. Alpine climbing pants are particularly robust against weather conditions and offer optimal insulation. In addition, these trousers are very breathable.

Bouldering pants

Climbing pants for bouldering or sport climbing do not need to have special pockets. You don't necessarily need extra storage space. However, bouldering pants should have a high waistband around the waist. Pre-curved knees and elasticated waistband help to ensure flawless moves when climbing. In addition, you usually have a holder for a brush.

Advantages
  • Comfortable
  • Lightweight
  • Maximum freedom of movement
Disadvantages
  • Doesn't protect you from the weather
  • Doesn't keep you cool

Bouldering trousers don't necessarily have to protect you from getting cold, because you can put on another pair of trousers when you take a break. Basically, you can say that bouldering pants are designed to be simpler. Due to the high cotton content, bouldering tro users are usually very light.

How can I sew my own climbing pants?

Climbing pants can also be sewn yourself. You can find some instructions for climbing trousers on the internet. Some of the instructions also include the pattern. Hobby sewers who like to climb exchange information on how to sew climbing trousers, especially in forums.

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Safe climbing equipment is important. This includes a decent pair of climbing pants to avoid abrasions.
(Image source: Bhargava Marripati / Unsplash)

Sewing your own climbing pants is a good idea, especially for children. If you have the right material at home and the appropriate sewing skills, you can easily make your own climbing pants. Children grow quickly, so you can probably save money by sewing your own pants. If you notice that your climbing trousers quickly become defective, it is also a good idea to make your own climbing trousers to save money. However, keep in mind that especially for alpine climbing, you should use a pair of purchased pants. Safety is very important when climbing and the trousers have to withstand a lot. Therefore, it is mainly suitable to make your own climbing pants for bouldering.

How do I care for my climbing pants properly?

Basically, you should follow the manufacturer's instructions when caring for your climbing pants. The manufacturers usually provide instructions on how the climbing pants should be cared for to maximise their lifespan. The inside label for care instructions will tell you how you should wash your climbing pants.

How do I repair my climbing pants?

If your climbing pants are torn, you can patch them yourself or have them repaired. Many outdoor clothing companies offer a repair service. You can easily hand in your climbing pants with holes. The price for the repair varies depending on the damage and the garment.

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During intensive climbing, your climbing pants may get damaged. Reinforced material at the knees helps to prevent damage to the fabric in this area.
(Image source: Hu Chen / Unsplash)

There are manufacturers who offer patching accessories. With the patching tools, you can patch holes up to a certain size yourself. On the one hand, there are patches that you can apply, and on the other hand, there is liquid material in tubes for closing holes. After you have patched the area, you should test whether your freedom of movement is restricted.

What are the alternatives to climbing pants?

Alternatively, you can use hiking pants for climbing. On the plus side, you can also use them for hiking. However, your hiking pants may not offer you any helpful tools for climbing. The extras in hiking trousers are designed for hiking and may not support you optimally when climbing.
In hiking trousers you are more immobile due to the material.

Another alternative is a normal pair of sports trousers. The advantage is that you probably have a normal pair of sports trousers anyway and don't need to buy them separately. The disadvantage of sports trousers is that they are not as durable and can break down quickly. Another alternative is to take a normal pair of trousers for climbing. Another advantage is that you will probably have them in your wardrobe at home. What speaks against normal trousers is that you have much less freedom of movement in your normal jeans. In addition, your normal trousers do not offer you any useful extras that are an advantage when climbing.

Type of trousers Summary
Hiking trousers Do not have the appropriate extras that help you when climbing
Sports trousers Are quickly damaged by climbing
Normal trousers Do not offer you the optimal freedom of movement
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