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The Best Bushcraft Pants to Survive Every Season

Bushcraft pants are designed to be durable and comfortable in the toughest conditions.

Having the right clothing is important whenever you’re in the wilderness but especially in a disaster situation when you can’t rely on being able to buy replacement kit when you get home.

We’ve rounded up the best survival pants for different weather conditions and budgets.

Our favorite? It’s got to be the Sitka Timberline pants. (read review below)

The Ultimate Bushcraft Pants: Sitka Timberline Pants

If only the best of the best will do, look no further than the Sitka Timberline Pant.

The top-performing brand for comfort and performance, these pants are extremely durable, with waterproof seat and knee panels, removable molded knee pads and a water-repellent finish.
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Admittedly, the big downside is the eye-watering price tag.

But they fit like a dream and are durable enough to last for years. When paired with a thermal layer, they should be good for three-season use.

Pros

  • Excellent design and comfort
  • Durable
  • Removable knee pads
  • Water repellent

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Knee pads may sit a bit high or low depending on your build.

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Runner-up: Fjallraven Vidda Pro

Fjallraven pants are a firm favorite with experienced bushcrafters.
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They’re made from a polyester/cotton fabric that’s treated with Greenland wax to add wind and water-resistance.

It’s worth double-checking the fit and sizing before buying – when fitted correctly, the design of the pants allows for a good range of movement. There’s also a ‘long’ version for taller people.

The pockets have been designed for specific functions. There’s a map pocket, internal phone pocket, and multi-tool pocket. It’s nice to see some thought go into the functionality of the pockets, though the lack of rear pockets may bother some people.

Pros

  • Excellent design and comfort
  • Good range of front and cargo pockets.
  • Knee pockets for (optional) pads
  • Elasticated cuffs help keep snow out

Cons

  • Pricey (though not as expensive as the Sitkas!)
  • No back pockets

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Budget Pants: Dickies Double Knee Work Pant

They’re not labeled as bushcraft pants, but Dickies’ range of multi-functional work pants are renowned for being comfortable and almost indestructible.

This model comes with reinforced knees, front and back pockets and a phone-sized leg pocket.

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This is a great pant for dry conditions when you may be pushing through trees or brush or carrying out camp tasks. However, as the fabric isn’t water repellent, it may not be the best choice if you’re likely to encounter a lot of rain.

Dickies pants don’t have the bells and whistles of the Sitka range, but as they’re around a tenth of the price, so they’re great for budget-conscious preppers.

Pros

  • Tough, hardwearing fabric
  • Reinforced knees
  • Comfortable and long-lasting
  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • No cargo pockets
  • Fabric isn’t water-resistant

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Best for Hot Weather: LA Police Gear Urban Ops

Another popular brand of budget pants, the LA Police Gear pants come in a wide range of colors and are cheap enough to have a couple of pairs on the go.

The Urban Ops pants are particularly good in hot weather. The polyester/cotton fabric is light and dries quickly if it gets wet.

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They have an elastic waistband which makes for a comfortable fit, but a lot of people find them a bit snug and the low rise won’t suit everyone.

Pros

  • Lightweight and cool in hot weather
  • Wide range of colors
  • Good selection of pockets
  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • Fabric isn’t water-resistant
  • Fit won’t suit everyone

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Best For Winter: Filson Mackinaw Field Pant

When the mercury drops and the landscape turns white, there’s one brand of winter bushcraft pants on everyone’s lips: Filson.

Renowned for quality and warmth, the Mackinaw Field Pants are made from 100% wool sourced from hardy sheep in the US and Canada.

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Unlike most fabrics, wool is both breathable and naturally water repellent. Most importantly, if it does get wet, it’ll still keep you warm.

The Mackinaws have six pockets and you can wear them with either a belt or suspenders. One word of warning – don’t shove these into the washing machine as they WILL shrink.

Pros

  • Very warm
  • Breathable and water-resistant
  • Natural material
  • High quality, durable workmanship

Cons

  • Dry clean only
  • Expensive

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Best Women’s Bushcraft Pants

woman hiking in snow

If you’re looking for a female fit, you may feel you get a rough deal when it comes to choice.

But you don’t need to resort to buying men’s pants (unless you want to!) as there are several brands that provide the same quality and features in a women’s fit.

At the higher end, we’d recommend the women’s versions of the Sitka Timberline pant and the Fjallraven Vidda Pro.

The Under Armour Tactical Patrol Pants are a comfortable mid-range option with a good variety of pockets.

For budget-conscious preppers, the Blackhawk Women’s Tactical Pants are a lightweight option – good for warm weather or as a second pair of pants in your Bug Out Bag.

Do You Really Need Them?

“Bushcraft Pants” often come with a high price tag. But are they worth it?

In our opinion, yes.

Most of the time, you’re not just paying for a brand name. You’re paying for a fabric that repels water, dries quickly and is tough enough to push through stiff brush without tearing.

A pair of $15 cotton pants may be fine for summer hiking trails, but if you’re looking for clothes that will survive a disaster scenario, you need to set your sights a little higher.

A good pair will last you a decade or more, so while the upfront investment may make you wince, in the long run, it could work out cheaper than having to buy new pants every season.

But if you’ve got some old cargo pants lying around that you want to pimp up, this guy will tell you how to do it:

What to Consider When Buying

Gone are the days when buying a pair of pants was solely about comfort. That’s still the most important factor, but if you want the perfect pants for bushcraft or bugging out, there are a couple of other things to consider.

Fabric

Cotton is not a great choice of fabric for outdoor activities, as it absorbs and holds onto moisture, drawing your body heat out and away from your body.

A polyester blend will do a better job of wicking away sweat and will dry quickly after a soaking. For very cold conditions, wool is your friend.

You may find there’s a trade-off between weight and durability. Unless you know you’ll be outdoors in very hot weather, a medium-weight fabric that won’t snag or rip is a good middle ground.

Some pants also have a water-resistant treatment, though you can always add this at home with a chemical or wax treatment. You don’t want fully waterproof pants as your main layer of clothing, for reasons we discuss in this article.

Pockets

The more the better right?

Well, only if you’re going to use them.

Most will have a variety of pockets and belt loops to store money, tools, phone, and snacks. It’s useful to have at least one zipped pocket for valuables you want to keep close to hand.

Reinforced Fabric or Knee Pads

Expect additional fabric to reinforce areas of high wear – primarily your knees and butt.

If you spend a lot of time kneeling, then look for pants that have integrated knee pads or pockets that you can tuck pads into. You can always replace a pair of pants – replacing your knees is trickier.

Zips and Ankle Fastenings

Leg zippers can help with ventilation in warm weather and ankle cuffs allow you to create a snug fit and fasten your pants high up your boots so they’re less likely to get wet.

Conclusion

Before looking for a pair of specialist pants, think carefully about what conditions you’re going to be using them in.

However expensive or feature-filled, the best pants are the ones that are comfortable for you and will keep you warm, cool or dry when SHTF.

If you want a more flexible clothing system, add a thin pair of thermal pants for cooler conditions. If you know you’re going to spend a lot of time outdoors in the rain, you may want a pair of waterproof pants to wear over your main layer.

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