10 Best Hiking Pants With Reinforced Knees in 2024

Last Updated on 21/02/2024

Best Hiking Pants With Reinforced Knees

Who Makes the Best Hiking Pants With Reinforced Knees?

This guide shares the best hiking pants with reinforced knees for people who spend a lot of time outdoors. As well as hiking, outdoor pants with reinforced knees are ideal for camping, foraging, bushcraft, climbing, and any other activity that requires you to work on the ground or use your knees.

If you spend enough time outdoors, kneeling in the dirt or on rocks becomes routine, and with nothing but a thin pair of hiking pants on, you can feel everything on your knees. Even a single reinforced patch on your pants’ knees doubles the protection you appreciate when camping and hiking. You may notice that our highest-rated dog-walking pants feature in this guide, but did they take first place again?

The best hiking pants with reinforced knee patches are tough and durable, as well as being light and breathable – if you are wearing them in summer. In winter, you can justify a thicker pair of hiking pants with an even thicker reinforced knee to protect you from the freezing cold snow. You can learn more about the features of reinforced hiking pants further down the page.

10 Best Hiking Pants with Knee Patches

Helikon-Tex Men HOP Hybrid Outback Pants – Best All-Round

Helikon-Tex Men HOP Hybrid Outback Pants, DuraCanvas VersaStretch, Taiga Green/Black Waist 32 Length 32

The Helikon-Tex Men HOP Hybrid Outback Pants are the best rugged hiking pants with reinforced knees we have ever seen. They are designed to be used all year round for everything from hiking and camping to fishing and hunting. In addition, the material is wax impregnable, which means you can maintain a high level of waterproofing on your knee patches, rear seat, and around the cuffs, which are the areas most likely to get wet.

Made from a hybrid blend of DuraCanvas and VersaStretch, which contains 45% Nylon, 29% Cotton, 22% Polyester, 4% Elastane, these are a perfect balance. In addition, they are designed to be waxed, a huge plus and means you can make them your own with tailored waterproofing.

Some features we like are the two front thigh pockets which are perfect for your phone, compass, or multitool. Velcro ankle straps are ideal for sinching the bottom of your pants around your boots, as well as allowing you to convert them into three-quarter pants by strapping them above your calf. But, of course, the best thing about these has to be the material that feels so soft on the inside but performs so well on the outside.

VERDICT: The Helikon-Tex Men HOP Hybrid Outback Pants are my favorite pants for hiking and camping. They are super comfortable and lightweight but also incredibly durable for year-round use. Stretchy where they need to be, reinforced where they should be, and comfortable in all the right places. If you want one pair of outdoor pants with reinforcements that you can wear every day all year round, these would be my choice.

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Fjallraven Vida Pro Pants – Best Reinforced Camping Pants

Fjallraven Mens Vidda Pro Dark Olive 54 (US Mens 37) R

The Fjallraven Vida Pro Pants are the best camping pants with reinforced knees and seat without question. They are the type of pants that you want to wear seven days a week and find excuses to go camping and put them through their paces. Their comfort, durability, and style are unparalleled by competitors; however, it must be said that they are much thicker than your average hiking pants.

No matter how hard you try, there is nothing the Vida Pro Pants can’t handle. Brambles, jagged rocks, thorny bushes, getting too close to the campfire – every time I think, I look down expecting to see a hole there isn’t a mark on them. The super tough yet comfortable G-1000 material is lightly treated with a natural wax to bead water off. You can improve this by applying your wax more liberally to exposed areas the most.

All the pockets are deep, well-made, and well-placed not to get in the way or bounce around when hiking. There is a dedicated map pocket on the left thigh and an ax or fold-up saw pocket, which is incredibly useful when hunting for firewood. The reinforced knees have slots to insert padding if you are constantly crawling or working on your knees.

VERDICT: If we had to pick one pair of pants that had to last us the rest of our lives, it would almost certainly be these. These are premium products but not ridiculously priced, and when you consider they will probably last you 20 – 30 years, they seem like a fantastic investment to us. I challenge anyone not to love these as soon as you put them on.

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Also available in a ventilated option here


Montane Terra Mission Pants – Best for Winter

Montane Terra Mission Pants - Men's, Black, Small, Regular, MTMPRBLAB6

The Montane Terra Mission Pants are one of the best winter hiking pants with reinforced knees and are a level up from the standard Montane Terra Pants. The difference is that they have an insulated lining, 4-way stretch, and are made from Granite Thermal material with a double weave and 70D durable softshell toughness.

As well as providing insulation from freezing temperatures, these pants wick moisture in warmer weather. So water is repelled from the outside and wicked away from the interior to keep your legs dry and sweat-free. The knee reinforcements are made from rugged Cordura fabric, which is abrasion-resistant and doesn’t rip or fray.

If you want to wear these pants in summer, you will be glad to know that they feature a long ventilation panel on each leg operated with a zip. The deep pockets are also mesh-lined to use as additional vents and feature a secure zip to store valuables, and there is also a thigh pocket to keep other items at hand.

VERDICT: The Montane Terra Mission Pants are a very close second place because they perform well in winter. They might not be the best choice for warm summer months, but they are adaptable and can be used without much issue. If you want high-quality reinforced hiking pants, Montane products are a great place to start looking.

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Fjallraven Keb Pants – Most Breathable Pants With Reinforced Knees

Fjallraven - Men's Keb Trousers Regular, Black/Stone Grey, 52

The Fjallraven Keb Pants are known around the world as one of the most breathable reinforced hiking pants that still feel lightweight and versatile. As you can see in the image, the reinforced patches cover most of the front from beneath the pockets down and around the heel/lower leg and on the rear seat. The reinforcement fabric is Fjallravens’ signature G-1000 material renowned for its toughness and durability.

The advantage of these reinforced hiking pants is that you get the protection and durability of G-1000 in all the places you need it, and everywhere else is breathable. In addition, the ankle cuffs have a comprehensive adjustment system to get the perfect fit that is reinforced to avoid fraying. To further help keep your trousers in the right place, there is a lace/gaiter clip at the front of both legs to prevent debris from getting in.

The ventilation on these is impressive, with each leg as a full thigh zip and a lower calf zip to open up when your legs start to sweat. The upper vent is super long and will cool your legs down very quickly on a hot day. The lower zips are not your typical boot zip. Instead, it stops about 2 or 3 inches from the cuff. Again, this is amazing for cooling your legs down, and it feels like you are wearing shorts.

VERDICT: The Fjallraven Keb Pants are simply brilliant. They repel water, block wind, open up for breathability, fit like a glove (with stretch), have practical pockets and tough reinforcements, and are comfortable to hike in. We struggled to pick a favorite, but these were certainly a number one contender.

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Also available at REI


Haglofs Rugged Mountain Pants – Best Design


Haglofs Rugged Mountain Pants - AW19 - Large - Green

The Haglofs Rugged Mountain Pants are perhaps the most perfectly designed hiking trousers with reinforced knees we have ever tested. For starters, the knee and seat reinforcements are made from 4-way stretch fabric, while the lower leg patches are made from 500D Polyamide with PU coating. The fit is fantastic, and freedom of movement makes them ideal for climbing, bouldering, and mountaineering.

Sometimes, reinforcement patches can make hiking pants more rigid, but after wearing these, it makes you think, why don’t all reinforced hiking pants use stretchy patches? You also get an inbuilt gaiter strap around the ankles, which is easily adjustable to bring them in at the bottom to prevent dirt and water from getting in your boots. Again, Haglofs pays attention to the fine details and guarantees quality craftsmanship.

Featuring two deep front pockets that are easy to get in and out of as well as keep your hands warm and two zip thigh pockets for bulkier items. There is also a side vent that we always look for in soft-shell hiking pants, especially when they have reinforced knees that can add to the insulation. The fabric is breathable; however, you would be more likely to wear shorts or something more lightweight in summer.

VERDICT: These midweight hiking bottoms are very durable and comfortable to wear when hiking and climbing. The stretchy articulated knee patches reduce resistance and friction as you lift your knees to walk or climb. In addition, you don’t have to worry about damaging them on rough surfaces because they are tough as nails. The cherry on top is that they have stellar water repellency, so you rarely have to wear rain pants over the top.

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RevolutionRace GP Pro Pants

RevolutionRace Men’s GP Pants, Durable Pants for All Outdoor Activities, Rusty Orange, L

The RevolutionRace GP Pro Pants are masterfully reinforced on the knees, seat, and ankles to provide double the protection of standard hiking pants. Made from the burley and stretchy HyperShell fabric with breathable panels around the crotch and down the back of the legs, you get a good compromise of breathability and durability.

Featuring a thigh vent on each leg, you can unzip to cool off when hiking in heat or up a steep mountain. The comfort level is a high 10/10, thanks mainly to the perfectly articulated soft-touch fabric and abundantly stretchy. In addition, they have an excellent fit that doesn’t have any tight or baggy spots, no matter how high you lift your knees.

The waistband is elastic but is accompanied by belt loops for additional support. One thing we did notice is that you rarely ever have to pull your pants up as they sit so nicely just above the hips. There are two open-top pockets and two zip thigh pockets, giving you plenty of organization for valuables. Adjustable straps around the elasticated cuffs allow you to close them off at the bottom without feeling restricted.

VERDICT: The RevolutionRace Men’s GP Pro Pants are a favorite choice of bushcrafters and woodsmen because they last forever and are excellent value for money. The standout feature of these pants is just how elasticated they are – the waist, the ankle cuffs, and the fabric itself all make these an absolute pleasure to wear all the time especially outdoors and on the trail. Available in men’s and women’s versions.

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Notch Sonic Climbing Pants

Notch Sonic Climbing Pants 32-34" Waist, 30" Inseam

The Notch Sonic Climbing Pants are designed for arborists (tree surgeons/people who climb and prune trees) and so are made from the most rugged and abrasion-resistant fabrics out there. The inside lower leg and knee protection feature Armortex reinforcements made from a blend of DuPont Kevlar fibers. You could be crawling around on your knees all day long, dust them off, and they look good as new.

As for the rest of the trousers, the material is tough, lightweight, and breathable with excellent stretch. You get two front pockets with zips and one thigh pocket; however, they do not expand very much, so you are better off keeping them empty while hiking. The big silver logo above the knee patch is a bit too prominent for our liking, but it wouldn’t put us off wearing them (and you get the occasional nod of recognition from other tree surgeons).

VERDICT: If you want some of the most heavily reinforced knee fabric on a pair of lightweight hiking pants, then these are the perfect clash. Rugged Kevlar means you can drag these through the mud and not see a scratch on them. These are great for gardeners and arborists but just as suitable for hiking and camping.

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Patagonia Gritstone Rock Pants

Patagonia Gritstone Rock Pants

The Patagonia Gritstone Rock Pants are hard-wearing outdoor pants with knee reinforcements that also support knee pad inserts. They have a classic straight-leg fit that is neither too tight nor too loose and feature some modern improvements, such as articulated knees and mesh-lined pockets for ventilation. Compared with the combat pant style, these are relatively minimal, with two front, two back, and one thigh pocket.

Patagonia cares about the impact its products have on the world, which is why these pants feature a blend of 67% organic cotton and 33% polyester and are Certified Fair Trade. This blend makes them incredibly durable, water-repellent, and antimicrobial, and it has some nice stretch for climbing too. One nice feature on these is the OppoSet waistband, which makes adjusting them tighter and looser as fast and straightforward as possible.

VERDICT: The Patagonia Gritstone Rock Pants are an everyday replacement for jeans that work as well for hiking and camping as they do for working outdoors. Despite being hard-wearing and durable with high cotton content, these reinforced pants weigh 19 ounces, making them incredibly lightweight. If you want a simple pair of tough pants for hiking with reinforced knees without baggy side pockets, then look these up.


Carhartt Rugged Flex Steel Pants

Carhartt Men's Rugged Flex Steel Multi Pocket Pant, Shadow, 36 x 32

The Carhartt Rugged Flex Steel Pant is another choice that is designed for something other than hiking but performs way above expectations. They feature Cordura-lined knee pockets, which act as reinforcements, as well as slot knee pads. We highly recommend the Carhartt knee pads, too, which we review further down the page.

One of the main problems with wearing work pants for people constantly getting up and down from the ground is the lack of flexibility. The Rugged Flex Pants feature four-way stretch fabric comprised of a 59% Cotton, 39% Polyester, 2% Spandex blend. We find this to be an excellent ratio for outdoor pants that is both lightweight and durable.

Everything on these pants is made from Cordura Fabric and designed to be hard-wearing for tradespeople who go through regular pants in a couple of months. Usually, you would have to sacrifice some freedom of movement, but not with these.

VERDICT: The Carhartt Rugged Flex Steel Pants are a well-fitted pair of work pants with the rugged qualities many campers look for. They are perfect for hiking a couple of miles to camp and scrambling up rocks, but they would not be our first choice unless we planned to use them for work and day-to-day.

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Mountain Hardwear Polartec High Loft Pants

Mountain Hardwear Men's Standard Polartec High Loft Pant, Golden Brown, Large x Regular

The Mountain Hardwear Polartec High Loft Pants are not really hiking pants, although nothing is stopping you from walking in them, they do have reinforced knees, and we think they are cool, so we included them in this guide. They are made from the incredibly warm Polartec high loft fleece fabric, which guarantees to keep our legs warm.

The Polartec high loft fleece is fluffy and deep but not so durable, so the integrated PowerSTretch panels on the waist, pockets, knees, and ankle cuffs add some long-lasting protection to the key areas. Two zip pockets allow you to secure your valuables, and the adjustable waistband means you can tighten them up so your phone doesn’t weigh your pants down.

VERDICT: Our favorite use for these is as campsite pants you can put on at the end of a long day to feel comfy and cozy at camp. They are ideal for keeping your legs warm as pajamas on a night inside your sleeping bag and for relaxing in your tent. You can even wear them as base-layer pants with reinforced knees under a pair of shell trousers.

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Black Diamond Swift Stretch Pants – Didn’t Make the Top 10

Black Diamond Swift Stretch Pants

The Black Diamond Swift Stretch Pants have reinforced knees and are slightly baggier than other options, which some people may desire, making them less suitable for climbing harnesses. However, these are relatively expensive compared to other options and lack many features you might expect, like thigh vents or boot zips.

CONCLUSION: Our opinion of these is that there is absolutely nothing wrong with them as hiking pants with reinforced knees, but there are much better options for the money. We feel they are overpriced, and the fit is unremarkable, which would lead us towards choosing a different choice in most cases.


Carhartt Knee Pad Insert – Accessory

Carhartt Men's Knee Pad, Acidic Green, S

The Carhartt Knee Pad Insert is our favorite accessory to any of the hiking pants above that have the capacity to hold them in position. We like these because they are lightweight, thin, highly flexible, and provide all the protection your knees need from the hard ground. They have a honeycomb design and are made from Polyurethane with a Thermoplastic Polyurethane film for durability. We highly recommend inserts over knee pads that need to be strapped, as the difference in comfort is drastic.

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hiking pants with knee patches

Guide to Reinforced Knee Hiking Pants

If you are specifically looking for a pair of hiking pants with reinforced knee patches, then there are some other things you should consider. Here is our guide to buying hiking pants with reinforced patches:


You should be looking at comfort as a number one priority with any hiking wear. The fact that you will constantly be moving and extending your legs means your pants will constantly contact your legs. So when looking for a comfortable pair of hiking pants with knee protection, you should consider soft materials with flatlock seems.


Our preferred fit of hiking pants is quite athletic, so they will also work with a harness for climbing. This means that the waist sits at the right level and doesn’t feel tight on the thighs. In addition, things like articulated knees and stretchy fabric help make the fit more forgiving and mean that it can be a little closer without feeling restrictive.

Finally, one of the features I always look for is a gusseted or diamond-cut crotch, a patch of fabric that allows for a much-improved range of movement.


Durability is critical with any outdoor gear but is likely the main reason you are looking for pants with reinforced knees in the first place. Fabrics made with ripstop technology and blended with materials like Kevlar or Cordura are the strongest and most common to find on reinforced knees. You need your pants to be able to stand up to both the elements and the environment you are in, as well as last over time, so durability is vital.


Three areas of hiking pants benefit from being reinforced, and they are the seat on the back for extra protection when you sit down. On your knees for climbing, scrambling, and working in the kneeling position, like when starting a fire or cooking at camp. And around your ankles and inner thigh to resist abrasions and rubbing against your boots.


Articulation is more critical with reinforced patches on the knees than regular hiking pants due to the thicker composition having less flexibility. Articulation is little notches and angles cut into the design, allowing the material to bend and stretch without tightening or riding up your leg—articulation matters.


Pockets are useful to a certain extent, but who really wants six pockets bulging with gadgets when you could keep them in a small backpack instead? We like two jean-style pockets at the top, or if they are vertical, they must have a zip closure. Thigh pockets can be useful for maps and multitools, but one is more than enough. We don’t need back pockets; however, I keep my wallet in regular pants so that I wouldn’t say no.

One feature to consider with pockets is that a mesh lining provides some much-needed ventilation for heat to escape when you’re hiking.


Depending on the climate, time of year, or activity, the breathability of your pants can play a crucial role in staying comfortable. Lightweight fabrics are naturally more breathable than thicker materials; however, the more water-resistant they are, the less breathable they become. Ventilation plays a significant role in your pants’ breathability and airflow, which we will look into shortly.


Deciding what kind of weight you want your pants to be is a decision that needs to be made early on and is often determined by the weather and season. If you want some hiking pants, you should go as lightweight as possible to get better breathability. If you want some 4 season hiking pants, then a midweight is your best option to allow summer use and layering in winter. Heavyweight pants with reinforced knees are often chosen by hunters, campers, and bushcrafters who spend a lot of time on their knees in the woods.


We like to see a big vent on each thigh as well as mesh pockets and breathable fabric. Unfortunately, lower-leg vents are rare, but if you have read our reviews above, you may consider the Fjallraven Keb pants in 4th place, which have them. Believe it or not, pockets with mesh linings can positively affect ventilation by allowing hot air to escape and keeping your groin cool.

Boot Zips

Boot zips are an overrated feature, so we are pleasantly surprised with the lack of them in our recommended guide above. They are only helpful if you want to take them off and put them on without taking your shoes off. But taking your boots off only takes 30 seconds and saves you from getting the insides caked in mud. You can use them as vents also, but unless you have lower fasteners, the material blows around like an annoying flag.


The waistband should be at a reasonable level so that a good fit means you don’t require a belt. Many hiking pants include an integrated belt which is great for adjusting the tightness. Elasticated waistbands have the most forgiving fit and provide the best comfort overall when hiking and climbing. If you want to wear a belt, then make sure there are sufficient belt loops and not just a drawstring.


A simple and easy sign of quality is double and triple stitching. Any outdoor clothing that is only single-stitched has an excellent chance of coming loose without too much wear and tear. Quality stitching can make thin material stronger and is like the skeleton of your outdoor clothing.

Ankle Adjustments

Ankle adjustments should not be overlooked, and if you like to walk barefoot, you don’t want to be dragging the heels with every step. Press studs combined with an adjustable strap seem to be the most secure option, and other types of straps and then an elasticated drawcord. Velcro is not a good idea for ankle adjustments as velcro tends to have a weaker bond when covered in mud and soaking wet.

reinforced knee hiking pants

What is a Reinforced Knee?

A reinforced knee is an additional patch of material on the knee of your pants that adds durability and protection to a high-impact area. For people who spend a lot of time on their knees outside, a reinforced knee is vital to the longevity of their pants. We found that the knee patches don’t need to be super thick, but the type of material makes a difference in toughness.

What is a Reinforced Seat?

A reinforced seat on pants is a patch of fabric covering your entire butt to add an extra level of defense when sitting down outside. Reinforced seats often have an element of water repellency integrated into the material to keep your bum dry when you sit down. With a reinforced seat, you can feel more secure sitting down on jagged rocks or sliding down a hill on your bum without worrying about ripping them.

What is a Reinforced Cuff?

On hiking pants, a reinforced cuff is an extra layer of material around the ankle area at the bottom of each leg. The purpose of having a reinforced cuff on hiking pants is to prevent them from getting worn through on the heel and starting to fray. Reinforced ankle cuffs also add abrasion resistance to rocks and, more importantly, the action of your pants rubbing as you walk, which over a few thousand miles can cut right through a single layer.

Why Convertible Hiking Pants with Knee Patches Don’t Work.

Convertible hiking pants, with the option of zipping off your pant legs and feeling the fresh air around you, won’t come with reinforced knees. The extra thick material required for knee patches doesn’t take well to zips running through them and would be uncomfortable to wear.

The chances are that if you’re in an area where you need reinforced patches on your pants, you want to keep your legs covered up.

Can you Reinforce the Knees on Hiking Pants?

Yes. If you’re handy with a needle and thread, you can probably add knee patches yourself. There is the risk of damaging your pants if you sew your patches on, and you will void the warranty.

The patches should be made from material that works well with lightweight hiking pants and is suited to long days of hiking, without chafing or discomfort.

If your hiking pants are too thin, this might not work. You are better off going it with some already toughened bushcraft pants and reinforcing them.

How Do You Reinforce Knees on Trousers?

If you have a hole in the knee of your pants or you simply want to reinforce some pants you own, then you can do this yourself. You can buy iron-on knee patches that adhere to your jeans or trousers through heat transfer, but this might not be an option for lightweight fabrics that could be damaged with an iron. You can follow a guide like this, or the other option is to simply sew on a patch of material using a needle and thread like in this video.

What Does Double Knee Mean for Hiking Pants?

Double-knee pants are typically associated with Dickies and Carhartt work pants which feature large patches of reinforced fabric on the front to prevent the age-old problem of ripped knees. Double Knee means the same thing as a reinforced knee, but you may find the former will typically use larger patches designed for wear and tear instead of a reinforced knee, which also considers freedom of movement.


We hope you found this guide to the best hiking pants with reinforced knees and seat educational; it took us nearly four days to write, including hours of research and comparison tests. Please get in touch with any comments and questions.

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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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