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Anglers, above all things, are particular. We obsess over rods, reels, lures, tides, and even the moon phase. When we spend this much time perfecting gear and waiting for conditions to align, it’s important that our apparel is ready for the occasion. Long gone are the days of wearing blue jeans on the water. Today’s fishing pants are lightweight, breathable, and moisture-wicking.

The right pair of pants will ensure you can fish comfortably all day for the bite you’ve been waiting for. To find the best fishing pants for any scenario, I hit the water, rain or shine, and put some of the most popular pairs from Columbia, Simms, and more to the test.

The Best Fishing Pants

How We Picked and Tested the Best Fishing Pants

Finding the best fishing pants requires time on the water. Over the past year, I’ve spent countless days fishing with every pair of pants I could get my hands on. From poling flats for tarpon, wet wading for bonefish, and chasing trout in Colorado, these pants saw use in every climate imaginable. For a fishing pant to stand out from the rest, they had to be versatile enough to handle this diversity.

I’ve spent hours and hours testing fishing pants on the water to find the top performers. (Photo/Max Inchausti)

On top of that, they had to offer fundamental basics anglers come to expect with technical fishing apparel. This meant they had to be breathable, durable, moisture-wicking, and above all, comfortable. The pants that made this list did just that and more.

Best Overall: Free Fly Latitude Pant

Best Overall


  • Lightweight
  • Dries incredibly quick
  • Stretch material offers a wide range of movement


  • Must follow garment care instructions to get the longest life out of this pant

For good reason, Free Fly continues to grow in popularity amongst anglers. The founders—who we got to sit down with in an exclusive “Behind the Brand” interview—started the outdoor brand with the goal of creating comfortable performance apparel for those on the water. The Free Fly Latitude Pant lives up to that mission. This is a true technical fishing pant, lightweight and quiet. I recently took a pair to the Bahamas in search of bonefish. It was a completely DIY trip, meaning there were no boats—simply wading boots and miles covered.

These Free Fly fishing pants could be the most comfortable pair I own. (Photo/Max Inchausti)

While most anglers may lean towards shorts for a trip like this, the Free Fly pants excelled. The breathable bamboo material offered adequate sun protection in the crystal clear water, along with an extra layer of protection from shell fragments. It also dried surprisingly quickly, even after being totally submerged in the water.

I found myself going back to these pants day after day for their sheer comfort alone. The attention to detail—with features like a partial elastic waistband and zippered pockets—along with the built-in UV protection and fast-drying fabric makes these at home on any water body.


  • Material: Nylon blend offering quick-dry, stretch woven with DWR
  • Fit: True to size
  • UPF Rating: 50+
  • Sizes: S-XXL

Best Budget: Columbia Silver Ridge Convertible Pant

Best Budget


  • Lightweight
  • Plenty of pockets
  • Easy to convert to shorts
  • Affordable do it all pant


  • Pants run slightly small

A convertible pant is a staple in many anglers’ wardrobes for its versatility. Columbia’s take on this classic style is the Silver Ridge Convertible pants. Like other fishing pants, it’s constructed from a breathable nylon material that offers a lightweight feel and quick-drying properties.

The beauty in these pants is that you can convert them into a pair of 10-inch cargo-style shorts with a single zip. Each leg features a lower zippered pocket for a total of six pockets, including standard and rear pockets. As a former fisheries biologist, I put these through the paces daily for two years. In fact, they are the only pair of pants I still have and regularly use from my time as a biologist.

I like that I can wear these pants as shorts in warmer weather. (Photo/Max Inchausti)

Factor in that they are half the price of most fishing pants and double as a pair of shorts, and there is no doubt these are the best budget pick.


  • Material: Nylon ripstop
  • Fit: Slightly small
  • UPF Rating: 50
  • Sizes: 28-54W, 28-36L

Most Durable: Grundéns Gaff Pant

Most Durable


  • Great for colder days on the water
  • DWR finish repels water and stains
  • Built-in tool pocket for knives/pliers


  • Slightly heavy for the hottest summer days

Of all the fishing pants I own, none are as durable as the Grundéns Gaff Pant. I attribute this to the fabric Grundéns chose. While it’s nylon with a similar feel to hiking pants, it is substantially thicker than anything I’ve tested. The pants are tough and rugged, and have lasted me years on the water so far.

To add to the durability factor, the pants feature a water-resistant DWR coating, which repels liquids. This keeps me dry while I’m fishing and also reduces the risk of stains to extend the longevity.

I’ve worn these pants for years and they’re still like new. (Photo/Max Inchausti)

This pant comes ready with a convenient tool pocket on the right leg for die-hard anglers like myself. I like that I can keep my gear of choice—whether that’s a fishing knife or a pair of pliers—an arm’s reach away when needed.


  • Material: Nylon fabric with engineered stretch
  • Fit: Slightly small
  • UPF Rating: 50
  • Sizes: 30-42W

Best for Hot Weather: Simms Bugstopper Superlight Pant

Best for Hot Weather


  • Incredibly lightweight
  • Treated with Insect Shield
  • Adjustable and lockable hem


  • Expensive

Hot weather means bright days and a strong sun. While shorts may seem like a great option, sunburn is inevitable if you’re not careful. The best solution is a light and comfortable pair of fishing pants like the Simms Bugstopper Superlight Pant. These pants are amongst the lightest I’ve found and offer excellent mobility.

While many pants will hold up against heat, few will hold up against bugs and heat. Simms Bugstopper technology weaves Insect Shield into the nylon fabric to ward off mosquitos and other unwanted pests. The warm-weather material is thin and breathable yet manages to prevent insect bites at the same time.

I was skeptical at first, but after a day spent fishing the Everglades in peak mosquito season, I witnessed nothing short of a miracle. Motoring back to the ramp with a boat full of complaining anglers, I was the only one to escape bite-free (from the waist down).


  • Material: Nylon
  • Fit: True to size
  • UPF Rating: 50
  • Sizes: 30-42W

Best Fly Fishing: Huk Creekbed Fishing Pants

Best Fly Fishing


  • The most comfortable pair of pants tested
  • Adjustable waist band
  • Lightweight and breathable feel


  • Fewer pockets than other pants

Huk is unanimous with the conventional fishing community, but their Creekbed Pant has solidified itself as my new go-to for fly fishing. To start, they are downright comfortable. Imagine your favorite pair of sweatpants but in a lightweight fishing pant. Huk achieved this with a full nylon fabric construction combined with an elastic waistband.

I like that I can wear these under waders in springtime fishing or poling a boat across the flats. Paired with a DWR coating, they repel water and dry incredibly fast. If you’re a minimalist angler, the secured back pocket is perfect for a small fly box. All you need is a fly rod, and you’re ready to venture anywhere in search of fish.


  • Material: Nylon
  • Fit: True to size, with an adjustable waist band
  • UPF Rating: 50
  • Sizes: S-3XL

Best Ice Fishing: Stone Glacier M7 Pant

Best Ice Fishing


  • Vented sides
  • Fleece lined
  • Waterproof


  • Expensive

Stone Glacier is a brand built on building premium backcountry hunting apparel in solid colors. While they excel on the mountain, they’re just as good for any outdoor pursuit—including fishing. The M7 Pant falls into this category and doubles as an excellent ice fishing pant with many options not found on traditional ice fishing pants.

In my experience, one of the major highlights are the full-length leg zips. If you’re hauling gear long distances, unzip these vents to regulate your body temperature and prevent sweating.

The zippered ventilation is my favorite feature of these ice fishing pants. (Photo/Max Inchausti)

Next, these pants are fleece-lined with plenty of insulation, giving an added level of warmth on particularly cold days. But what good are ice fishing pants if they can’t keep you dry? The M7 series is designed for colder weather hunts in snow and ice, so the fabric sheds water incredibly well while remaining surprisingly breathable. If you’re looking for a new pair of ice fishing pants, it’s hard to go wrong with Stone Glacier. Plus, you’ll be ready for late-season hunts.


  • Material: Polyester face with fleece interior
  • Fit: True to size
  • UPF Rating: N/A
  • Sizes: M-2XL

Best Waterproof: Mountain Khakis Ridgeline Pants

Best Waterproof


  • Deep side pocket offers ample storage
  • Treated with DWR Coating
  • Comfortable stretch


  • On the heavier side

I’ll admit, prior to testing, I’d never heard of Mountain Khakis. But after several days of fishing, it’s safe to say these are just at home on the water as they are in the mountains. The Ridgeline pants are comfortable, with adequate stretch for full mobility. They feel like a pair of technical fishing pants I’d wear in warm weather. But thanks to the DWR coating, these are, in fact, ready for serious weather.

These are quickly becoming my go-to fishing pants for their breathable material and waterproofing. (Photo/Max Inchausti)

This combination in a fishing pant is something I’ve always looked for. You never know when a summertime storm will pop up. The breathability and comfortable fit of the Ridgeline pants paired with the waterproof coating make it a great all-around option for anglers looking to be prepared no matter the conditions.


  • Material: Nylon
  • Fit: True to size
  • UPF Rating: 50
  • Sizes: 30-40W, 30-34L

What To Look for in Fishing Pants

The fishing apparel market can be quite daunting from the outside. Countless companies market their pants as the best, and new products flood the market every year. Before you decide to add to your wardrobe, here are the most important things to consider.


When it comes to anything clothing-related, fit is first and foremost, and fishing pants are no different. Finding pants that fit properly will lead to more enjoyable days on the water. The first thing I look for is overall fit. Think, how does the waist fit? Is the inseam sized properly? You’re headed in the right direction once you find a pair that fits properly. The last thing to consider is the range of motion. Make sure the fabric does not restrict your movement, such as lifting your leg. It’s one thing for them to fit right in the store, but hopping over boulders in a stream is another story. When you can, try them on in the store to answer all these questions.


Fishing pants may seem relatively simple, but between brands and models, there are endless features. Determine how you plan to use these pants most to find the features that maximize time fishing. For instance, if you constantly reach for pliers, look for a pair with a plier pocket. Countless options are available, including zip-off pants, bug-repelling, and waterproof. Take the time to find what you really need to get the most out of your investment.


Finding durable fishing pants can be surprisingly difficult. I’ve ripped more pants than I care to admit. I even ripped an entire thigh off a pant, jumping into my truck several years ago. When you invest in technical fishing apparel, you want to know if it will hold up. Look for things like quality fabric, double or even triple stitching, and quality hardware. If a pant has all these, some time went into the design to make sure it would hold up for seasons to come.


Fishing pants range widely in price from budget-friendly options to pants costing as much as designer jeans. Regardless of your budget, there is an option for you. A pair of fishing pants must meet three basic requirements. They must be lightweight, breathable, and comfortable. If you find a pair of pants that meet all these and are in your budget go for it. Don’t buy into marketing tactics and names.


Q: What’s the best material for fishing pants?

Plenty of materials and blends are used in fishing pants, but the most popular is nylon. Pants built with nylon and nylon blends are breathable, moisture-wicking, and comfortable. For the best performance, read the tag and opt for pants with nylon as the primary material.

Q: What color should you wear fishing?

Color is an important part when it comes to catching fish. Fish have surprisingly good eyes, and if you come unprepared, they’ll leave before you even get a shot at them. That said, color is also very dependent on where you fish. Anglers fishing clear saltwater flats should opt for a blue or light tan. These colors blend in well with the sky and hide well, even with wary fish.

For anglers fishing around dense foliage, green and brown are great colors. They blend in well with trees and leaves to conceal your presence.

Q: When should you wear pants vs waders?

The biggest factor for deciding between waders and pants is water temperature. Generally speaking, the 60-degree threshold is where I start to lean toward fishing pants. In trout streams, this typically coincides with summer. With warm air and warming water, waders start to become hot and uncomfortable. While this water temperature may seem cold to some, the pants add a level of protection, and if you’re constantly on the move, you won’t have an issue.

What Are the Best Fishing Pants?

Serious anglers demand the most out of their gear, and fishing pants are no exception, whether you’re freezing on the ice or baking in the sun on a bass boat. The right pants can keep you on the water and the fish longer. With countless days fishing over the past few years, I’ve tried just about everything. The best fishing pants are equal parts lightweight, breathable, and moisture-wicking, and let me fish comfortably for hours on end. I’ve found the Free Fly Latitude pants check all those boxes—and more.

Why Trust Us

For more than 125 years, Field & Stream has been providing readers with honest and authentic coverage of outdoor gear. Our writers and editors eat, sleep, and breathe the outdoors, and that passion comes through in our product reviews. You can count on F&S to keep you up to date on the best new gear. And when we write about a product—whether it’s a bass lure or a backpack—we cover the good and the bad, so you know exactly what to expect before you decide to make a purchase.