For outdoor lovers, it’s no surprise innovative techwear is an absolute game-changer when it comes to outdoor exploration. Though some may be unfamiliar with the term ‘techwear’ (you can find more information about it here) essentially techwear refers to clothes that feature technical materials that serve a wide range of functions to keep you protected and high-performing in more extreme climates.
When it comes to finding great outdoor gear, pants should be high on the priority list. Whether you’re after cargo pants, softshell pants, bibs, tights or thermals, you want to make sure your pants offer a sufficient level of insulation helping to tackle harsh weather. However, you don’t want something too bulky; instead, aim for a durable design that’s still easy to move in. Even highly durable and heavyweight clothing should still give you a full range of movement so you can keep up with the most physically demanding tasks.
What to look out for in tech wear pants
Even in the coldest temperatures, your pants should still help with moisture management. Whether you’re facing an intense day on the slopes, hiking up some tumultuous mountains or heading in for a physically challenging day at work, the last thing you want is for your pants to retain your sweat. Instead, look out for moisture-wicking fabrics helping pull sweat away from the skin through small built-in capabilities. That way, you’ll stay fresh and dry all day long.
Techwear pants that offer proper insulation in cold weather is a must. Look out for clothing cut from extremely warm fabrics such as wool, which is exceptionally lightweight and naturally retains its shape. Though you want your clothing to be highly insulating, you don’t want something too bulky dragging you down, making it difficult to move in.
Speaking of easy movement, ensure your pants have stretch built into them, especially when performing physically demanding tasks. Although you want your techwear pants to offer superior warmth, again, make sure they’re not too bulky or heavyweight, restricting your movement. To ensure you get the full range of motion, look out for bottoms with elastic fibres offering enough stretch and flexibility.
With clothing technology constantly evolving, it’s hard to keep up with the latest trends in the techwear industry. However, to make life a little easier, we’ve rounded up the brands delivering the best techwear pants that will keep you seriously warm and are high functioning no matter what you’re up against.
Price: From $85
Ice Breaker, founded by 24-year-old Jeremy Moon, creates game-changing techwear from natural merino wool. They were even one of the first companies to establish a long term partnership with merino wool growers in New Zealand, making an eco-friendly and sustainable collection.
Here, you can expect to find the best merino wool techwear pants that are incredibly comfortable yet durable. If you’re looking for warm techwear pants, they have many merino heavyweight thermals, the perfect base layer in colder climates. However, Icebreaker has many lightweight techwear pants available too.
Price: From $125
Smartwool was born in 1994 by a team of outdoor lovers who wanted to inspire people to move through high performing and protective techwear. Initially, Smart Wool began manufacturing socks geared for you to ski longer, without feeling the brunt of the cold, which led them to become the first company to develop merino wool socks. Soon after, Smartwool expanded to supply highly technical apparel built for extreme weather conditions.
These techwear pants are some of the warmest bottoms you’ll ever get your hands on, as they’re cut from premium wool materials perfect for combatting the cold. If you’re looking for some highly technical base layers, then you come to the right place, as Smartwool techwear pants come with mesh ventilation, body mapping and heaps of pockets for your convenience. Also, these techwear pants are highly breathable yet warm at the same time.
The North Face
Price: From $89
Since the mid-sixties, The North Face has been the to-go outdoor clothing industry creating techwear through ethical and responsible manufacturing. The North Face doesn’t only infuse technical materials into their garments, but they also produce them in an incredibly sustainable way, helping to preserve the environments we love to explore. Their commitment to improving animal welfare by making clothes cut from synthetic materials puts this brand in a league of its own. If you’re looking to invest in a company that’s making the best techwear pants without harming the planet, make sure you check out this collection.
The North Face has a vast selection of techwear pants available in many different colours, styles and materials for affordable prices. If you’re looking for a versatile design, they offer cargo pants suitable for outdoor adventures as well as everyday use. These techwear pants have been cut from organic cotton to feel incredibly soft and cosy. Here, you can also find thermal bottoms made to feel like a second skin, ensuring no cold elements will creep in.
Price: From $55
In 1938, Columbia was founded by the Boyle family after they fled from Nazi Germany and relocated to Portland, Oregon, to start a new life. Initially beginning as a hat business, Columbia eventually grew to become one of the biggest outdoor clothing brands of all time. What makes Columbia so unique is how they reflect their Pacific Northwest heritage into their range of apparel that highlights innovation, function and quality. If it’s impressive techwear you’re after, check out Columbia.
Columbia has a diverse selection of techwear pants, with many styles offering Omni Heat insulation for superior warmth. If you’re looking for pants suitable for everyday wear, they have heaps of cargo pants with many cargo pockets that provide sun protection and are moisture-wicking to keep you fresh while you work up a sweat.
Price: From $70
This American clothing brand founded in 1912 creates premium outdoor clothing geared to be highly functioning and fashionable. Though this company came from humble beginnings – initially starting as a one-room operation selling hunting boots in Freeport, Maine, L.L Bean has become a global empire selling in over 150 countries. At L.L Bean you’ll find awe-inspiring and forward-thinking designs built for ultimate comfort.
These techwear pants are ideal for everyday use, as L.L Bean has a range of jeans, sweatpants, trousers, chinos and cargo pants that are laidback style, perfect for those fishing trips on the weekend. These pants have been cut from premium fabrics to feel incredibly cosy. Not to mention, these techwear pants are efficient, as they come with many pockets, moisture-wicking materials and are durable yet easy to move in. However, if you’re looking for a more rugged style, check out their selection of jeans, as they’re highly stretchy geared to move with you.
Price: From $180
Founded on the idea that “there is always a better way”, Arc’teryz create game-changing apparel striving for more than just mediocrity. With the Coast Mountains serving as both inspiration and a testing ground, Arc’teryx will have you prepped for just about every outdoor adventure. Whether you’re hiking up a rocky mountain, facing severe cold weather or strong winds, no problem is too big for Arc’teryx.
Arc’teryx create every kind of techwear pants to accompany you on your outdoor expedition, from softshell pants, cargo pants, base layers; they have it all. They have a range of highly insulated Gore-Tex pants that are windproof and waterproof. These techwear pants are also highly breathable, helping moisture escape while you’re shredding through the gnar. However, if you’re looking for a performance base layer, they have many styles that deliver thermal comfort and moisture management, the perfect pants to wear under all your other garments.
Price: From $470
Founded by Errolson Hugh and Michaela Sachenbacher, this Berlin-based company provides highly technical apparel with practicality at the forefront. Though Acronym initially started as a boutique design agency, they collaborated with multiple brands to create their clothing line. Operating outside of the fashion calendar, dropping their collection whenever it’s ready, Acronym is unlike any other brand as they march to the beat of their own drum.
These techwear pants are the epitome of functionality, as they are water repellent and offer a tapered fit to seal out the cold. These designs come with many pockets and zippers so that you can securely store away all your items. Also, these techwear pants have an articulated construction to help you move with great ease.
Price: From $195
ACG stands for “All Conditions Gear”, one of Nike’s best subdivisions that launched in the late eighties to supply outdoor lovers with high-quality gear. ACG is different to other Nike lines, as, unlike other collections more focused on a chic, sporty aesthetic, this line produces clothes made for outdoor exploration. This line began with a small waterproof collection that proved insanely popular; the ACG brand grew to offer a diverse range of outdoor gear.
These techwear pants and tights come in the most colourful and striking prints geared to add a little colour to the rest of your survival gear. These techwear pants are also highly protective, cut from breathable and lightweight materials. Also, many of these designs are sustainable and eco-friendly.
Stone Island Shadow Project
Price: From $893
If you’re looking for stylish and high performing tech wear, then look no further than Stone Island Shadow Project. Unlike many outdoor brands solely focused on practicality, Stone Island Shadow Project also makes their pieces trendy enough to be worn as streetwear as well. Treating their design studio like a science lab, Stone Island Shadow Project always finds the most technical fibres to fuse into their clothing.
Here you can find an extensive range of black cargo pants that are cool and sleek, promising to go with the rest of your gear. These pants are incredibly convenient as they come with many cargo pockets, mesh panels, tapered legs and an elasticised waist. Stone Island Shadow also supplies techwear pants available in more neutral colours.
Price: From $423
Ten C’s name was inspired by the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, “The Emperors New Clothes”, which tells us to look beyond what we see and value what is truly there. Rooted in this ideology, Ten C creates timeless and classic pieces that go beyond the trends with an expiry date.
Ten C’s techwear pants feature high-end materials such as water-resistant polyamide, plush Mako cotton, Japanese Jersey, high-density nylon and polyester microfiber knit to protect you in extreme climates. These bottoms are military-inspired, serving utilitarian silhouettes with heaps of straps and belt loops to feel like a customised fit.
Price: From $135
Carhartt Work In Progress (WIP) is a subdivision of the iconic brand, delivering the most impressive techwear that has completely changed the workwear industry for the better. Founded in Europe in the late eighties, WIP set out to capture Carhartt’s essence while offering slight alterations to keep up with harsh physical demands and extreme weather conditions.
Carhartt WIP has an endless selection of techwear bottoms available in premium materials such as cargo, corduroy, denim and cotton built to be exceptionally cosy. If you’re looking for highly fashionable workwear, then you’ve come to the right place. Whether you’re looking for some durable bibs or stretchy denim jeans, you can find them right here.
Price: From $225
Outdoor enthusiasts Palmer West and Jonah Smith founded Aether in 2009 after being dissatisfied with the mediocre equipment available at the time. West and Smith set out to buckle this trend, high-quality outdoor apparel guaranteed to be highly protected and performative.
Aether offers some of the best cargo pants cut from fine cotton to provide you with ultimate comfort. These pants are a relaxed fit and super stretchy, geared for easy movement. Also, for additional convenience, these styles offer a waistband with a drawcord and elastic detailing to fit as tight or as snug as you wish.