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Best hunting trousers: tried and tested in the field

A good pair of comfortable and waterproof hunting trousers can seriously improve your day out in the field, says Chris Dalton

best hunting trousers

The best hunting trousers should be waterproof, as kneeling and crawling over wet grass will feature on most days. (If you’re looking for the best shooting smocks read here. )

Primarily, what I want from trousers out in the field is comfort and to achieve this they must fit well. I don’t want them to be heavy and they should be breathable, along with having sufficient and sensibly located pockets. They must be silent and made of material strong enough to withstand the brambles and thorns I invariably have to negotiate on most of my deer stalking. They also need to work in conjunction with my shooting boots and shooting jackets. 

Best hunting trousers

1. Seeland Hawker Advance trousers 

Seeland Hawker Advance trousers

Reviewer’s top choice

+ Score 9.5/10

+ Suitable for thorny terrain

– Pockets could get in way when crawling

– Long in leg

  • Light weight
  • Durable
  • Low noise 
  • Zipped front pockets
  • Elasticated ankle

The first thing I like about these waterproof hunting trousers is the feel of them — which is a strong start. The material is comfortable to the touch, slightly flexible and so I expect a good fit. They do not disappoint. The waistband is in the right place and the seat doesn’t sag. As well as sitting comfortably, the waistband offers ample and robust belt loops, which are ideal as I often carry a bone saw and knife in a leather sheath.

The leg length is slightly longer than my ideal but in some respect this is beneficial, as I tuck trousers into the top of high-leg boots when I stalk and it has no effect when I wear wellies. They have a drawstring inside the bottom of the leg, allowing you to secure them over a shooting boot if you prefer to wear them that way. On both sides of the legs are zips, allowing you to open air vents along the outside of the thigh if needed.

When stalking they are breathable, comfortable and easily withstood the thorn brambles and willow scrub that I frequently encounter in south-west Scotland. I would describe them as medium weight so are ideal for the type of stalking I do. They have no back pockets, which I don’t use anyway, but two good-sized front pockets, both fitted with a handy zip.

There are two further pockets, again with zips, but these are positioned below the front pockets and sit on top of the thigh. They are a good size for a mobile phone but the position is not ideal. When lying prone for a shot, or when crawling, I find they are in the way.

Technical spec is described as having a Seetex membrane consisting of three layers: an outer layer designed to repel water, a central membrane with an inner lining, and a third layer intended to allow moisture to wick away from your body. It worked well, as I remained dry after crawling in to take a roebuck in wet grass early one morning.

Seeland Hawker Advance hunting trousers

Features include air-vent zippers and good-size pockets

Overall I was very impressed and I would not hesitate to wear these for most of my stalking activities.  I would also, with the exception of a high-seat session in mid-winter, wear them all year round. I like comfortable and breathable hunting trousers that are not too heavy when I am stalking, irrespective of the temperature, as long as they are waterproof. These certainly ooze quality and are well worth a look.

2. Deerhunter Explore trousers Raven C50

Deerhunter Explore Trousers

Deerhunter Explore Trousers

Best for year-round use

+ Score 9/10

+ Silent

– No zips on front pockets

– Hook fastener at bottom could bunch

  • Look and feel of suede
  • Excellent fit
  • Low noise 
  • Zipped pockets
  • Medium weight

The Explore trousers were supplied in an attractive shade of dark green and had the feel and look of suede. Quality is apparent as soon as you open the packaging. The feel is good and the fit is perfect, right down to the leg length. At medium weight, they are silent with a good fit around the waist, secured by a press stud and a good number of strong belt loops. There is some elasticity in the waistband providing for adjustment if required.

There are two front hip pockets, which are a nice size but with no zip. However, two further front lower pockets are the ideal size for a phone. They sit over the thigh and have zip fastenings. Again, I prefer these to be located slightly more to the side as they can hinder when crawling if you have your pockets full. There is an additional single rear pocket with zip on the right and a handy folding knife-sized side pocket on the left side of the leg. Leg length is good and the bottom of the trousers has a strap and hook-and-loop fastener allowing you to secure them over the top of your boots. This does not stop you wearing them inside high-leg boots as I do, but it bunches a bit when you tuck them in.

They are made of a Deer-Tex performance shell, a layered system claimed to provide a breathable, windproof and water-resistant finish. For me, they did just that. On test I was dry while crawling in wet grass and, though we had some chilly mornings in April, I was never cold. These waterproof hunting trousers tick almost all of my boxes and are ideal for most of my stalking activities throughout the year.

3. Kuiu Attack pants 

camo stalking trousers

Best for breathability

+ Score 8.5/10

+ Pockets well positioned

– Price

  • Excellent quality and fit
  • Robust belt loops
  • Low noise 
  • Zipped pockets
  • Medium weight


These trousers were supplied by Kuiu, an American company started in 2011 by a former American footballer who is also an avid hunter. His goal was to produce high-end, lightweight hunting clothing incorporating performance and technical fabrics.

The kit oozes quality as it comes out of the package — a nice feel with a soft, slightly elasticated texture. I would assess them as medium weight and the fit, again, was excellent; nice around the waist and no sagging backside. They have a robust set of belt loops and plenty of them, fastening with a good strong button. The trouser legs fit well and are not baggy and the hem tucks nicely into my high-leg boot as they are slightly longer than my leg, which was fine.

There are two hand pockets and below those a further two ample thigh pockets, which have zips and a flap of material over the top that provides extra wet-weather protection to whatever is inside. They are slightly angled from vertical and perfect for the phone.

I also found them slightly better positioned for me when crawling than some of the other trousers on test. You also have two rear pockets, again of a good size with a zip and the same over-the-top material protection as the thigh pockets.

Technically, the material used is described as 3 DeFX, designed to give active insulation that allows moisture evaporation while engaged in strenuous activity. This is said to be achieved by using continuous insulating fibres, which eliminate the ends that normally poke through the fabric, allowing for a quiet, uncoated fabric that wicks effectively. Do they work? Yes they do, and very well. These Attack pants were probably the most breathable of the medium-weight hunting trousers on test.

The brand has gained much favour among hunters in the US and New Zealand, particularly where the terrain makes for some serious altitude climbing and you need comfort and breathability. A nice touch is a zip-covered opening with an internal mesh liner located on the outside of each leg, allowing you to open this and let air in if you need to cool down — a clever addition.

The material is strong and coped well with our local thorn thickets, as indeed it did with some wet weather. It also dries very quickly. These are ideal trousers for the hill. I was very impressed and overall they are excellent quality.

4. Ridgeline Men’s Stealth Pants Field Olive 

Ridgeline stealth trousers

The Stealth trousers are ideal for an August foray but are perhaps not the most robust

Best for summer weather

+ Score 7/10

+ Price

– Not suitable for winter

– Not suitable for thorny undergrowth

  • Light weight
  • Button fastening with belt loops
  • Fastening: Button
  • Zipped thigh pocket
  • Half elasticated ankle
  • Quick drying

The men’s Stealth trousers supplied to me are described as being in ‘dirt camo’ but they are also available in olive and made of what is described as polyester/elastic stretch fabric. The fit was good and they are comfortable to wear because the waist is slightly elasticated. The waistline was secured with a single button and the belt loops are strong but I would prefer a few more. As I wear a knife on my belt, if there is a big gap between the belt loops the knife can slide back when sitting or crawling and become uncomfortable.

They come with two fairly deep front pockets, which have zips, and a single thigh pocket ideal for the mobile. This is located to the side of the right leg, again fitted with a good zip for security. The leg length was perfect for me and the bottom hem is slightly elasticated, good for either tucking into high-leg boots or worn on the outside.

They are breathable and quick drying but these are definitely intended for summer or warm-weather stalking. Of all the trousers tested, these were the lightest and ideal for an August foray after rutting roebuck or a warm summer stalk in woodland, but not for crawling through heather or wearing in cooler or wet conditions. I don’t think they would cope very well with a blackthorn thicket, but wear them as above and they will be more than enough. Essentially, I want trousers that can cope with any type of weather condition and that I can wear most of the year round.



All of these medium-weight waterproof hunting trousers are excellent. Crucially, all the trousers on test offer what I demand: comfort, a good fit, a high degree of waterproofing, breathable, strength and not too heavy.

You might also like to consider these waterproof trousers as well

1. Sioen Flexothane Classic Rotterdam Trousers

Best value for money

  • Machine washable
  • Coated knitted polyamide Flexothane Classic fabric

+ Resistant to all oil derivatives such as fuel, diesel and grease
+ 150% stretchable
+ Noiseless
+ Windproof
+ Very tear-resistant

Even though these waterproof trousers are an affordable option on the list these are excellent value. Whilst they don’t have all the features that some of the higher priced entries do, there is still so much to love about these trousers that for the money, you just can’t get any better.



2. Schoffel Saxby Overtrousers 

Best overall

  • 100% waterproof, windproof and highly breathable
  • Machine washable
  • Made from Venturi 2-layer laminate
  • Available in navy or tundra

+ Improved fit

+ Quick drying
+ Durable ripstop fabric
+ Packs away into its own pocket
+ Articulated knees for freedom of movement
+ Full length side zips to fit over boots
+ Security pocket

There’s always a debate to be had in the fieldsports community, as with any other subject when it comes to buying kit, as to whether it is worth spending the money on something more expensive or whether you’re better off with something cheaper, and that it’ll do pretty much the same job. Whilst that is true in some instances, it isn’t true with these. The quality and the kit you get with these waterproof trousers make them worth every penny. Whether it’s the fit, the practicality, the durability or anything else that these trousers have to offer, sometimes it’s worth investing that little bit extra to get the best you can buy.



3. Harkila Orton Packable Waterproof Overtrousers

Best for long-term use

  • 100% Polyester
  • Includes GORE-TEX 2-layer technology
  • Made using the Härkila Weather System

+ Packs away into the pocket bag
+ Full length side zips
+ Lightweight and breathable

With the design being a combination of pure Polyester, GORE-TEX Technology and incorporating Harkila’s own Weather System design, these trousers come out on top in this list when it comes to pure durability and long-term use. If you are willing to spend a little bit extra, with Harkila’s waterproof trousers you’ll get an addition to your kit that will last you a very, very long time.



4. Ridgeline Packlite Overtrousers

Best high-end price

  • Velcro hem
  • Lightweight
  • Packable (bag included)

+ Elasticated waist for easy fit
+ Boot zips

The lightweight fabric of Ridgeline’s offering is 100% waterproof and manages to be very breathable and lightweight yet robust and substantial. Some people may be put off by the fact that there is a separate bag for these trousers to be stored away into, but that shouldn’t really make too much of a difference when it comes to practicality and ease of transport.



5. Musto Fenland 2.0 BR2 Waterproof Overtrousers

Most practical

  • 100% Polyamide
  • Machine washable
  • Packs away into internal pocket

+ Velcro for easy fit over boots
+ Zipped thigh pocket
+ High back with waist adjustment
+ Hardwearing 2-layer nylon fabric
+ Articulated knees for unrestricted movement

Any truly great pair of waterproof trousers need to have the magic hat-trick of being lightweight, breathable, but still windproof. And not only does Musto’s offering make this a priority, there’s so much more besides to like about these waterproof trousers. They fit easily over boots, there are zipped thigh pockets, there is unrestricted movement thanks to the articulated knees and so much more. These trousers can do almost anything, and whilst they don’t have quite all the features that over best overall option does above, there really isn’t much in it.


This piece was originally published in 2021 and has been updated. 

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