10 Best Bushcraft Pants For Survival And Bug Out Bags 2023

Last Updated on 27/08/2023

Best Bushcraft Pants For Survival and Bug Out Bags

In this guide to the best bushcraft pants, we share the toughest and most durable pants you can wear anywhere outdoors without worry. We searched through hundreds of hunting, hiking, arborist, mechanics, military, and tactical pants as well as all kinds of workwear to find the absolute best pants for bushcraft and outdoor survival. 

What we found from looking at so many different types of pants is that hunting pants and bushcraft pants are almost the same thing. Workwear also has a strong relation to bushcraft and the secret sauce with using them is to pick the ones with some stretch – elastane, or spandex usually around 3%. The stretch is important when you are hiking, crouching, kneeling, or sitting so that you can move much more freely.

Cotton and canvas blends seam to be the most durable and allow you to maintain them with wax for the most durability. Reinforcements also turn a regular pair of pants into the ideal outdoor pants for camping. Here is the shortlist we made including our thoughts on each option and then further down you can read our guide on what to look for.

10 Best Bushcraft Pants

Fjallraven Vidda Pro Trousers

Fjällräven Vidda Pro Dark Grey 50 (US Mens 33-34)Outdoor gear buy

  • MATERIAL: G-1000 Original: 65% polyester, 35% cotton
  • POCKETS: 6 pockets (no back pockets)
  • WEIGHT: Mid-Weight

The Fjallraven Vidda Pro Trousers are without a doubt, the best bushcraft pants out there. They ranked among our top reinforced hiking pants but for bushcraft specifically, I wouldn’t want to wear anything else. Does that mean that you should ignore the other 9 in this guide? Well maybe, but before you do, at least consider the other options we think bring value in other ways.

The Vidda Pro Pants perform well 4 seasons of the year and I love them so much I even bought the ventilated version for summer. They are the ultimate all-around bushcraft pant with reinforcements everywhere you need them, even inside the pockets.

The fit is incredibly articulated with very little loose fabric which makes them look really good. They are not baggy in any way, nor are they tight or restrictive – they are just right for tasks around camp. You can get a range of sizes and lengths to suit your body type as well as around 14 different color combinations.

The reinforcements are on the knees and seat for sitting on the ground or kneeling by the fire with extra protection. You can also insert knee pads into the slots if you are working on the ground for long periods. The pockets are 10/10 with space for everything you would want to keep on your person including an axe or folding saw at knee height for easy access but also out of the way enough.

SUMMARY: The Fjallraven Vidda Pro Trousers are the pants I recommend to anyone who complains about their current pants. They will last a lifetime and can be rewaxed as often as you like – which for me is every couple of weeks on the seat, knees, and around the bottoms of each leg. The only issue I have is that there isn’t a back pocket. Other than that I think the price is not cheap but still great value.


First Lite Corrugate Foundry Pant

First Lite Corrugate Foundry Pant

  • MATERIAL: 90% Nylon 10% Spandex
  • POCKETS: 6 pockets
  • WEIGHT: Mid-Weight

The First Lite Corrugate Foundry Pants are perfect for bushcraft trips where hiking is involved. The main benefits of these pants are the reinforced patches, large ventilation zips, and low-profile knee pads. Designed mostly as hunting pants, you can get them in earthy tones or two types of camouflage and they all include removable braces.

The main material is stretchy nylon that is water-resistant and durable and then the reinforced patches are even more waterproof and extra tough. On the inside, the fabric is soft and ideal next to the skin in summer or over some base layer bottoms in colder weather. Articulation of the knees is great with or without the knee pad inserts in.

Breathability is good but the ventilation zips are about as big as they come and open all the way without any mesh liner. When you are hauling heavy gear, chopping firewood, or hiking uphill your legs can easily overheat and start to sweat. These long zips provide instant cooling to your legs and help keep your clothing dry for when the temperatures drop on an evening.

SUMMARY: The First Lite Corrugate Foundry Pants are an active outdoorsman’s best friend. They offer the durability and versatility of heavyweight trousers but can be cooled down in an instant with giant leg zips. The pockets all serve a purpose and even the ones on the thigh aren’t bothersome with multiple items in them. One of the best bushcrafting pants out there at the moment.

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SITKA Gear Timberline Pant

SITKA Gear Men's Timberline Pant, Lead, 36 Regular

  • MATERIAL: 4-Way Stretch 100% Polyester, Nylon Ripstop Seat & Knees
  • POCKETS: 7 pockets
  • WEIGHT: Mid-Weight

The SITKA Gear Timberline Pants are well-known in the colder regions as one of the toughest outdoor pants out there. Sitka has built a name for itself by creating premium hunting gear that performs as well as it looks. One thing they get right is their insulation layering systems with combinations to match every possible environment and climate.

The Timberline pants are like a softshell but not totally the same. Four-way stretch material feels soft, durable, and thicker than the Sitka Mountain pants, which are built very similarly. The seat and knee reinforcements are made from less stretchy ripstop nylon backed with Windstopper for increased weatherproofing. Overall, very comfortable to move around in.

Three nice features you will notice straight away are the (1) fleece-lined waistband and pockets that provide next-level comfort where you need it the most. (2) You can wear the removable knee pads to walk around in without any hindrance, and they make a big difference when you are kneeling to start a fire. (3) Removeable suspenders mean you don’t need a belt which many people find more comfortable when hiking or constantly bending down in the woods.

SUMMARY: The Timberline Pants from SITKA Gear are designed for hunters but ideal for wilderness guides and bushcrafters alike. They are warm but breathable and, most importantly, durable. You really can’t go wrong with a pair of Timberlines for your next pair of wilderness pants.

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Helikon-Tex HOP Hybrid Outback Tactical Pants

Helikon-Tex HOP Hybrid Outback Tactical Pants - Ripstop Mens Cargo Pants - DuraCanvas VersaStretch - Outdoors, Hiking, Law Enforcement, Work Pants, Coyote Brown/Taiga Green Waist 34 Length 32

  • MATERIAL: 65% Polyester, 33% Cotton, 2% Elastane
  • POCKETS: 5 pockets
  • WEIGHT: Mid-Weight

The Helikon-Tex HOP Hybrid Outback Tactical Pants are another favorite of ours for bushcraft and rugged outdoor wear. They are made of an incredibly tough Cordura fabric that doesn’t rip and is super abrasion resistant. This means you can scramble over rocks, kneel next to campfires, climb trees, and push your way through thick brush and briar.

A lot of thought has gone into making these pants perform so well outdoors. From the 50 mm wide belt loops to accommodate a tactical belt to the angle of the pockets and the tools that will fit in them. They are reinforced in more places than they are, not including areas that other pants don’t reinforce, like inside the pockets and all the way up the chaps.

Described as technical hiking pants, you can wear them all year round on their own or as part of a layering system. They kind of remind me of a cheaper version of the Fjallraven Keb pants (not featured in this guide). There aren’t a tonne of features, but they have everything you might need, with less bulk and an amazing fit. They fit snugly around your waist and have generous four-way stretch to retain complete freedom of movement.

The VersaStretch material is fairly lightweight and is what gives your legs such a good range of motion, and then the DuraCavnvas is still stretchy but more heavyweight. From new, they are very water resistant but not totally waterproof. The Duracanvas fabric allows the wax to be impregnated into it, while the stretchy panels will never need waxing.

SUMMARY: The HOP Hybrid Outback Tactical Pants from Helikon-Tex are becoming regulars at Gear Assistant and are a relative newcomer to the bushcraft world. They tick all the boxes apart from leg ventilation and are of excellent value compared to brands like Orvis. If you prefer slightly more athletic-fitting bushcraft trousers, then these are a no-brainer.

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SITKA Gear Stratus Pant

SITKA Gear Stratus Pant Optifade Elevated II Large

  • MATERIAL: Polyester Micro-Fleece Knit Face, GORE-TEX INFINIUM with WINDSTOPPER Technology membrane, Polyester Micro-Grid Fleece Knit Interior
  • POCKETS: 6 pockets
  • WEIGHT: Mid-Weight

The SITKA Gear Stratus Pants are fantastic for bushcraft layering systems and provide insulating protection as well as Windstopper technology and water repellency. They are made from a fleece blend that sheds light rain but won’t always keep your gear dry underneath and don’t hold water even when soaked. You can also get these pants in a bib version that has full-length leg zips and chest warmer pockets instead love thigh pockets.

The benefit of the Stratus b is that they block 100% of wind, keep your legs warm, have dedicated knife pockets, and are as comfy as they look. The lining is a microfiber fleece which is super soft and a pleasure to put on, while the outer is made from a more durable fleece blend with a DWR treatment. The wind-blocking membrane isn’t watertight, but it definitely enhances the water resistance of the fleece.

You can 100% wear these in summer, although there are better options. These are far better suited to colder weather and as part of a layering system to match the climate you are in.

SUMMARY: The SITKA Gear Stratus Pant is a firm favorite for hunters because they are silent when moving around, have a great camo pattern, and are way tougher than they look for pushing through briars. The reason you should buy these is for the softness of the microfleece material lining the inside and the warmth the fleece provides in conjunction with the Windstopper membrane. It is like wearing sweatpants or jogging bottoms but designed for pushing through thick brush, kneeling on wet moss, and withstanding cold wind.

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Big Bill Merino Wool Hunting and Shooting Cargo Pants

Regular and Big and Tall Merino Wool Hunting and Shooting Cargo Pants to Size 52 Made in Canada (Green, 36" Waist / 33" Length)

  • MATERIAL: 80% Merino Wool, 20% Nylon
  • POCKETS: 6 pockets
  • WEIGHT: Heavy-Weight

The Big Bill Merino Wool Hunting and Shooting Cargo Pants are the only wool bushcraft pants in this guide because there aren’t that many out there and these are the best. They are made in Canada and designed as everyday outdoor pants for frigid weather conditions. Merino wool can be worn all year round and surprisingly doesn’t really get hot in summer – it’s an excellent insulator for both trapping and blocking heat.

The big question is, are they itchy? A lot of people will say not, but my honest opinion is that they are a little itchy at first, but after 5 minutes, you hardly notice it. Also, in winter, you will most likely have a base layer underneath, so this isn’t an issue. I should mention that they are softer than they are itchy, but it’s hard to ignore a tickle, and so that is what I remember.

You get some nice cargo pockets on the side, a back pocket, and two side pockets which is plenty to keep all your valuables. There are suspender buttons on the inside if you prefer them to belts, but no suspenders are included. The fit is relaxed but not too baggy, with plenty of room to layer up underneath or wear rain pants over the top. Wool is an excellent fabric to wear in the rain as it works no matter what, but it isn’t the most waterproof option.

SUMMARY: The Merino Wool Hunting and Shooting Cargo Pants from Big Bill are a bit more traditional, but they work and will continue to work going forwards, no matter how many new fabrics are innovated. Wool is one of the all-time best materials to make bushcraft clothing from, but it requires skill and craftsmanship to pull it off. The Big Bill Merino Wool Pants do that and have become specialists in this exact type of bushcraft clothing.

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Wrangler ATG Reinforced Utility Pant

ATG by Wrangler Men's Reinforced Utility Pant, Gray, 34W x 32L

  • MATERIAL: 97% Cotton, 3% Spandex
  • POCKETS: 5 pockets
  • WEIGHT: Light-Heavyweight

The Wrangler ATG Reinforced Utility Pants are by far the cheapest bushcraft pants out there at less than half the price of their closest competitor and up to six times cheaper than some. Regardless of the price, these all-terrain gear (ATG) utility pants are actually really good for outdoor work and wilderness survival. They aren’t waterproof in any way, but because they are 97% cotton, you can impregnate them with wax to make them waterproof.

Some features we are amazed to exist on such cheap wilderness pants are the diamond gusset crotch for perfect mobility, articulated and reinforced knees, zippered thigh pocket, and stretch cotton which makes hiking in ‘jeans’ a possibility. While you can use them for hiking, that is not where they perform best. They perform at their peak when you are working around camp, and any other lightweight pants would be too thin or fragile.

The fit is really good on these pants, and if I weren’t already a fan of wrangler jeans, I would be after wearing these. They look like regular jeans, but because of the stretch and gusseted crotch, they feel more like climbing pants. As well as the handy zip pocket on the thigh, you also get the standard two back and two front pockets. One nice feature worth mentioning is the accent on the front pockets, which changes the angle at the bottom. This is so you can clip your multitool, pocket knife, or keychain in a comfortable and easily accessible position.

SUMMARY: The ATG Reinforced Utility Pants from Wrangler over-deliver for the money, and if you like them, you can stockpile two or three pairs for the same price as the higher-end bush pants. Once you wax up the seat, knees, and lower parts of the leg, your budget bushcraft pants will be able to compete with the big boys. Give them a go. You won’t regret it.

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Badlands Huron Upland Pant

Badlands Huron Upland Pant - Water-Resistant Bird Hunting Pant, Olive, X-Large

  • MATERIAL: Poly/Nylon/Spandex Blend, Abrasion Resistant Nylon Overlays
  • POCKETS: 6 pockets
  • WEIGHT: Mid-Weight

The Badlands Huron Upland Pants are a really nice combination of lightweight and stretchy comfort and rugged reinforcements. The abrasion-resistant panels run from above the knee on the front and from just below the knee on the back for the most hard-worn areas. The nylon panels are overlaid on top of the lighter fabric so that on the inside, you get a softer surface.

The fit is a little tighter around the upper thigh, so if you have tree trunk legs, these may not be for you. The slimmer fit is something that initially attracted me as I was fed up with trying on outdoor pants to find they were mostly too baggy. Because the material is so stretchy at the top, the tightness of the fit is never a problem.

I would describe these as fairly minimalist, with very low-profile pockets for a knife, phone, and wallet, but not much else. I think they should have put some more of the abrasive nylon on the seat and saddle, as well as the lower legs, but that’s not a big deal. The articulation of the legs is very good, and they don’t ride up at all when you take a knee.

SUMMARY: The Huron Upland Pants by Badlands didn’t really stand out to us, but they are still a decent option. The stretchy and durable combination of fabrics makes them comfortable to wear for wilderness training and lounging around camp. If you like wearing hunting pants but don’t want the camo prints, then these look really good and are designed to move through the dense shrub.

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DAN’S Brush Buster Briar Proof Chaps

Brush Buster, Briar Proof Chaps, Unlined, Made in U.S.A. (Medium - Thigh 26/Inseam 30) Brown

  • MATERIAL: 1000 Denier Magnutuff Nylon
  • POCKETS: No pockets
  • WEIGHT: Heavy-Weight

The DAN’S Brush Buster Briar Proof Chaps are not technically pants at all, but you can wear them over the top of your favorite pants when you need the extra protection. They are made from the almost indestructible 1000 Denier Magnutuff Nylon, which you could probably drag behind a car for 50 miles before it shows signs of damage. The thick fabric is ideally suited for bushcraft and wilderness skills like flint knapping on your knee, wood carving, starting fires, setting traps, and hunting.

Some people will argue that you don’t need any special trousers for bushcraft, which is true, but when you have to walk through briar patches, stinging nettles, and thick bushes, your legs will be torn to shreds unless your trousers are durable enough. These chaps mean that 80% of the time when you don’t need heavy-duty protection, you can wear any kind of pants or shorts, then the 20% of the time you need them, you just slip them on, you don’t even have to take your boots off.

The only feature they have is the 3/4 length zip on either side, so you can easily slip them over your boots or ventilate when needed. There are no pockets, but the design means you can access both from and back pockets on your pants underneath without restriction. The only attachment points are one on either side, which uses a snap buckle to fasten onto your belt.

SUMMARY: The Brush Buster Briar Proof Chaps made by DAN’s Hunting Gear are not something I would wear into town, but when you are in the woods, having additional leg protection is a big advantage. What I like about these chaps is that I can wear some shorts or lightweight pants most of the day and then just whip these on when I need to. 

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Husqvarna 598967054 Chainsaw Pant

Husqvarna 598967054 Chainsaw Pant, Large 36" - 38" Waist, Orange

  • MATERIAL: Dyneema®, Cordura® and Kevlar®
  • POCKETS: 3 pockets
  • WEIGHT: Heavy-Weight

The Husqvarna 598967054 Chainsaw Pants are not what you might expect to find, but we had to put them in because of how much my friend wears his. They are designed to safely use a chainsaw without accidentally chopping off a leg, but this translates into extreme durability for bushcraft and wilderness living.

The material is lined with kevlar and uses Cordura and Dyneema for the face fabric, which is incredibly difficult to damage. Because they are designed to stop a chainsaw, they provide the ultimate protection against axes and when working on your knee or lap with a knife. You may spend your evenings whittling or flint knapping, in which case some cut-proof pants like these will serve you well.

All the seams are reinforced to match the versatility of the material, and especially around the chaps, you have a lot of reinforced protection. While these pants are great for climbing trees, working with wood, spending time on the ground, and all kinds of bushcraft tasks, they aren’t the best hikers. The material is flexible but still much more rigid than proper hiking pants, which is something you will want to bear in mind.

Braces are included and are comfier than most, although you can remove these and wear a belt if you prefer. They are harness compatible, and the gusted crotch means you can really get your legs up high without resistance. They aren’t especially water resistant, but they are fairly insulative and breathable.

SUMMARY: The 598967054 Chainsaw Pants from Husqvarna make amazing bushcraft pants because you can’t cut through them, which is good for your trousers and your legs. The bright orange color isn’t for everyone, but it does make you visible to hunters when you are camping deep in the woods. They aren’t lightweight or very good for hiking, but for campsite work and woodcraft, they are my favorites.

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sitting on ground in bug out pants

What Makes Bushcraft Pants Different?

If you have read through some of our recommendations or previous post about bushcraft gear, then you will already know the emphasis we put on durability and reliability. Pants for bushcraft prioritize toughness over being lightweight, and that is what makes them different.

Bushcraft pants are easy to spot because the material is often twice as thick as on regular pants, and there are reinforcements everywhere. Some wilderness crafters prefer a pant with lots of pockets big enough to fit rounds of ammunition or a map, while others prefer the low-profile minimalist look. There are many different types of bushcraft trousers which we break down below.

Why Do Bushcraft Pants Need to Be So Tough?

Bushcraft pants need to be as hardwearing as they come. You need to be able to put them on and feel comfortable walking through thick brush and briar patches. They need to be able to withstand constantly kneeling down on the hard ground and not catch alight from a single spark. If you can’t trust them, then you shouldn’t be wearing them.

Foraging for food, hunting, collecting firewood, blazing trails, and exploring untouched wilderness all involve walking through the undergrowth at some point or another. Sometimes that is just long grass, but other times it can be fields of stinging nettles, poison ivy, brambles, or thorn bushes that can really irritate and shred your legs up. In a wilderness scenario, your pants need to be able to protect your legs without flinching.

Types of Bushcraft Pants

While most bushcraft bottoms can be used all year round as part of a layered system, there are a few different subcategories you may find more specific to your research:

Lightweight Bushcraft Pants

Lightweight bushcraft pants are like hiking trousers but with reinforced patches on the knees, seat, and lower legs. You can expect stretchy materials that wick moisture very well and dry out fast, which makes for a comfortable experience. The downside is that they are probably the least durable and while they are best for summer, they are the worst for winter.

Ventilated Bushcraft Pants

Ventilated survival pants are fantastic for all-year-round use, but in the summer, when you are hiking with your gear, they really help keep your body temperature down. In the winter, they are equally useful as they will work as part of a layering system that you can then vent out to prevent sweating (“you sweat, you die” – Les Stroud). The vents will usually run on the outside of either leg and can sometimes have a mesh lining.

One tip I always share is that if your pants have mesh-lined pockets, then turning your pockets inside out will create a mini vent. Another type of ventilation is the boot zips at the bottom of some pants that can be opened to improve airflow and even rolled back into a pair of shorts.

Insulated Bushcraft Pants

Insulated bushcraft pants are thicker and usually have multiple layers of material, including a lining and a shell. The shell is often waterproof or windproof so that the insulation can really trap all the heat. Obviously, these are designed for winter and will likely be too hot during the daytime in summer.

We have tested dozens, if not hundreds, of outdoor trousers, and aside from down-filled bottoms, Sitka hunting gear proves to be the warmest and has the widest range of outdoor insulation clothing out there. We are not affiliated with them in any way. We just think they make awesome winter bushcraft pants, and Reddit agrees.

Waterproof Bushcraft Pants

Waterproof pants for outdoor hobbies should be proportionately as tough as the pants underneath. I personally prefer combining my bushcraft pants with some waterproof overpants instead of looking for an all-in-one. The only exception to this is insulated pants which will benefit from the waterproofing, and because you are wearing them in winter, they don’t need to be as breathable.

Water resistance is more often what I look for as this will be ok for 90% of the time, and for the other 10%, you can put your rain pants on. Waterproofing is great in heavy rain, but the downside is that you sacrifice breathability, which is also important in the woods.

Tactical or Combat Pants

It is a reoccurring theme that bushcrafters like wearing military clothing. The reason should be obvious by now – durability. Tactical pants and combat trousers are great for survival and bug out because they are rugged and hardwearing, as well as having lots of useful pockets for your everyday carry items.

Soft Shell Bushcraft Pants

Softshell pants have come a long way and are now a very viable option for bushcraft. In fact, many hunting pants now use softshell fabric with reinforcements on the lower legs and knees. This is because soft shell materials are insulative, water resistant, windproof, and very comfortable to move about in or sit still for long periods. Also, materials are far more durable than they used to be and no longer get snagged and show loose bits of string. 

Bushcraft Chaps

You don’t see many people wearing chaps, but in the hunting and bushcraft community, they have a strong following, along with bushcraft kilts, but that is a different story. They are actually awesome and remind me of Crocs sandals – they don’t look very cool, but once you try them, you’re sold, and you don’t care what they look like.

Bibs and Dungarees

It is debatable whether they fall into the pant category or they are part of their own sub-category, but we thought it was worth mentioning them. Bibs and dungarees are basically pants that come up to your chest and have fixed straps that go over your shoulder. They are not held up by a belt, nor do they usually support one with belt loops. They are amazing in winter for fishing and hunting though we may have to write a full guide on them in the future.

Kneeling down in bush pants

Guide to The Best Bushcraft Pants

Here are the features we look for and compare when trying to refine our search for the best bushcraft pants:


We won’t rattle on about this anymore, but it is the first thing we look for, and we always ask the question, how durable is this? The thicker the fabric, the more durable it will typically be, but you need to find the right balance between thickness and freedom of movement.


Reinforced patches are key to bushcraft trousers as they are what make them last longer than any other type of pant. The first place trousers will show wear is around the heels, and so a reinforced heel helps to solve this. In the woods, you will constantly be kneeling down, so knee patches help protect you and resist pressure and abrasions.

There are lots of natural seats in the wild such as tree stumps, logs, rocks, and moss, but more often than not, you will find yourself sitting on the bare earth. A reinforced seat not only helps to keep your pants dry but also won’t scuff easily or rip if you slip onto your butt.

Other places you can benefit from reinforcements are the entire lower legs which will likely be exposed to thorny plants and a lot of wet grass. Also, the inside of pockets should have some kind of reinforcement and not rely on thin lining material to keep your tools safe. A tool in your side pocket can easily wear through or simply tear a hole from the inside if you don’t have adequate reinforcements inside.


Because you will need to do some hiking in your bushcraft pants and because they are made from thicker material means that articulation around the knees is crucial. Articulation allows you to move your legs without the fabric being obstructive or a hindrance. It comes down to the way the fabric is cut and sewn together, which can appear as subtle creases when the leg is straight.


I have never met a group of people more obsessed with good pockets than the bushcraft and survival crowd. And I am one of them. I love a good pocket.

Leg pockets are great if you like to carry small items on your person. Zippered pockets are what you want to keep your valuables safe because if you lose them in the woods, you are never going to find them. I only use back pockets for my wallet, which you don’t need in the woods, so I don’t mind not having them.

Front pockets don’t need to be extra deep, but they can’t be too shallow. Shallow pockets are more trouble than they are worth. I like when there is a drop in the pocket entry so that you can securely clip a multitool or knife, and I like it even more if there is a tool loop for an axe. 


Comfort is less of a priority than ruggedness, but it is still important if you are wearing your pants all day and night. On the more lightweight and stretchy pants, they will feel lightweight and unrestrictive. The tougher materials always benefit from having some kind of soft or brushed lining so that it doesn’t irritate your legs or feel uncomfortable. I personally like microfiber because it is the softest and wicks moisture very efficiently.


Bushcraft pants have a bad reputation for being baggy, too short on the leg, and generally unflattering. This isn’t the case anymore, and you will find that most bush pants now have a much slimmer leg and athletic fit without so much fabric bunching. If you can match your waist size and inside leg to the measurements, then you stand the best chance of getting a good fit.


Ventilation on the sides of your legs is a big advantage when you are hiking, and your legs start to get hot. In summer, a vent can help keep you cool and in winter it can reduce perspiration and condensation on the inside of your trouser leg. Lower leg zips can also be used as vents as can any mesh-lined pockets turned inside out.


Breathability is different from ventilation and describes how the fabric lets heat, moisture, and air pass through it. As you move about, your body generates heat and in turn, starts to sweat. If your pants aren’t breathable, they will trap too much heat and make you sweat and then trap all that sweat inside. Breathable pants allow heat and moisture to escape as well as allow cool air through.


Because we tend to only use waterproof pants when it is raining heavily, or it is really wet, and we will be out for hours, we aren’t that bothered if our bushcraft pants arent 100% waterproof. Waterproofing is most important on your knees and seat for when you are kneeling or sitting on wet ground. It also matters most around your lower legs, which will come into contact with wet grass and get soaked even if it isn’t raining anymore.


Some things we look for on a waistband are comfortable lining fabric that doesn’t get easily twisted or dig into your hips. We like plenty of belt loops for full trouser support and, specifically, wide belt loops to accommodate a tactical tool belt. As a recent suspender convert, I now also always look for suspender attachments.

Bushcraft skills sharpening stick near pant legs

Do Bushcraft Pants Need to Be Waterproof?

Bushcraft pants do not need to be waterproof and actually work best when paired with a pair of waterproof pants over the top. Water repellency always helps but is not a priority unless the climate you live in rains more than it stays dry. If possible, using a waterproof wax on the key areas is the best way to go about it, and it can be applied liberally to the knees, butt seat, and lower legs.

Why Do Some Bushcraft Pants Have Knee Pads?

You may have noticed that many of our recommendations include knee pads or have kneepad slots on them, and be wondering why. When you learn the truth is that many bush pants are actually hunting pants, the pads kind of make sense. To stalk and get close to your prey, you may need to crawl and constantly take a knee, and then when it comes time to take a shot, getting down on your knees can help improve stability.

Are Camo Pants Important for Bushcraft?

If you hang around with enough bushcrafters and outdoors people, you might start to think that camo pants are part of the uniform, and maybe you missed the memo. The reason for this is that hunting pants are an obvious choice to wear outdoors, and also hunting goes hand in hand with bushcraft and wilderness skills. Unless you are hunting or trying to stay hidden, then there is no need to get camo pattern pants.


We hope you found this guide for the best bushcraft pants as interesting and helpful as it was intended to be, and as always, get in touch with any questions.


Gear Assistant
Gear Assistant

This article has been written and/or edited by Andrew N. 20+ years of hiking, mountaineering, and camping experience, with access to all the latest outdoor gear.

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