This post contains affiliate links. Affiliate disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases from Amazon.com and other Amazon websites.
With advancements in fabric technology and tailoring, MTB pants have radically improved over the past few years. We take a look at the best options for riders who prefer not to get their legs out
With advancements in fabric technology and tailoring, MTB pants have gone from something reserved just for downhill racers into something you might now reach for on a cold and/or wet trail ride.
Gone are the days of bulky and thick pants that didn’t breathe, now MTB pyjama pants are made from the same materials as baggy MTB shorts, with stretchy fabrics, and even feature vents. Brands have realised that a slimmer fit is less obtrusive, and can help to keep your knee pads in place, too.
What Is A Mountain Rain Pant?
Technically, anything breathable is going to be able to cope with being rained on. Equally, mountain bikers have ridden in all manner of costumes since the beginning of dirt.
However, these pants, made from waterproof-breathable soft shell material, are designed to cope with changing weather conditions.
They are articulated, often stretchy, usually slim fitting and lightweight. They are also called ‘soft shell pants’ although they typically aren’t waterproof, but instead will provide the protection needed for a little rain and damp, but won’t slow you down if it does get heavier.
Wait, why would I wear Rain Pants While Riding?
For some mountain bikers, the only time they get out is when the sun shines. I might be kidding myself, but the number of times I’ve run into a rider mid-winter, out on what they knew would be a wet ride, wearing arm warmers and a jacket, I have to wonder.
Then, you’ll see them ride home at the end of the trail with their calves sticking out as wet as if it were sweat.
Yep, it makes no sense, but then we’re all different. There are some people who want to be out there no matter what the weather, and others that just want to get a ride in regardless of the conditions.
But for most of us, we can be out hitting trails without sacrificing our shower time… and anything that helps us spend more time riding is an advantage.
A good pair of pants, worn with good quality waterproof-breathable socks will keep your lower half warm and dry.
This gives you the choice of wearing your lighter gear, and if it ended up getting wet, then you’re no worse off than you would be from just riding home. And if it rains on the way home, then you’re already dry beneath your pants.
What to look for in Biking Rain Pants?
Mountain biking pants fall into two categories – waterproof and water-resistant.
Waterproof mountain pants will keep you drier for longer, although if you haven’t got waterproof socks, your feet will be very uncomfortable when the rain stops. Of course, wearing a waterproof jacket and waterproof walking shoes are an option, but few people do.
Water resistant pants are better considering they keep you warm and dry in all but the heaviest of rain. But even if you do get heavy rain on a ride, it isn’t an experience that you’ll want to repeat.
As such, all the pants that made the cut, were either fully waterproof or water-resistant and looked after the important parts.
When it comes to choosing a pair of mountain pants, there are three things you need to look for
Waterproofing – Generally, all pants will be water-resistant, which means they will deal with a light and brief shower, but are designed to be waterproof. Do they have a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) coating on the outside? This will keep the rain droplets on the outside of the fabric, but won’t stop leaks if the waterproofing has failed.
Seams – these are the spots that are most likely to fail when it comes to waterproof pants. To take the pressure off seams, look for a gusseted crotch, which allows the material at the top of the leg to be held away from the seams where it contacts, and for the seams to move independently. Dealing with this aspect will make the pants more waterproof, too.
Fit – Pants are not something to gamble on. If this is your first pair, make sure you get a good fitting pair – you can always adjust them over time, but getting a pair that is too small or baggy is going to make you miserable. Go get measured up, or if you know your size, or close to it, try and use a tape measure to take the inseam measurement.
What You Can Wear Under Them
A good pair of MTB pants will usually be ultra-lightweight, which makes sense as they will usually be used on short-to-medium distance rides. For that reason, it makes sense that you don’t want to wear too many layers underneath.
A pair of thin synthetic or Merino wool base layers, will best retain any warmth your legs have generated from pedalling, and will wick moisture away from your skin.
There’s not much point in using waterproof pants with thick thermal underwear beneath. You’ll end up with a sweaty backside and wet legs.
Starting with a good pair of base layers, and moving up to a pair of waterproof-breathable socks is the best bet.
Of course, if you are carrying a backpack, then you will need to consider the weight of your gear against the extra bulk of these.
This product was recommended by Danielle Wolter Nolan from DNK Presents
We organize and guide empowering adventure experiences for individuals, groups and businesses. We focus on getting people to step outside their comfort zones, try something new and in turn gain confidence through experiential learning. Our trips include guided backpacking, mountain biking rides/camps/clinics, yoga and wellness retreats. My favorite mountain biking rain pants would be Bontrager, they are the best!
This product was recommended by Christina Towle from BuzzBright PR
Just like humans, our men’s MTM Thrill Twill Pants by Houdini are made to move. Discover the kinetic freedom in these stretchy and quick drying pants designed using Houdini’s Made to Move concept, a new way of constructing garments originating in our natural movement. Excellent for climbing, hiking or everyday use.
- Made to Move is an innovation in garment construction. Instead of traditional 2-dimensional pattern cutting, Houdini drapes the garment on a moving body from a single piece of fabric. This way, you get a pair of pants that follows every stretch, bend and reach you make.
- MTM Thrill Twill Pants are an updated version of a classic Houdini climbing pant. They are made in Metropolis Stretch Twill, a quick drying, stretchy and durable polyester fabric. The fabric is made in part from recycled fibers and is fully recyclable.
- The MTM Thrill Twill Pants will accompany you on adventures for many years to come. It’s a highly versatile product that works excellently for climbing, but also for a trek in the woods, commuting on your bike or having dinner with the in-laws.
This product was recommended by James Kilpatrick from Beanie Coffee
I like that these cycling pants have a fleeced interior, which enhances breathability and boosts water resistance. They’re also useful for prevention of loss of heat from the body, even under extreme wintry or snowy conditions.
This product was recommended by Tim Bigknee from SightsAndInsights
These pants by TBMPOY are made of quick-dry fabric technology that are perfect for outdoor conditions. Don’t skip your mountain biking outing just because of the weather with these durable waterproof pants. It has an adjustable waistband and belt, zip pockets, and a fleece interior for ultimate warmth and comfort.
This product was recommended by Ali Rizvi from Dream Superhero
The MT500 Burner Pant and Short borrow innovation from the race kit developed for the Athertons
This product was recommended by Patricia Johnson from Pedal Lovers
– 4 way stretch fabric, with durable seat panel and mesh back knees
– High stretch crotch and rear panels
– Zipped fly with ratchet waist adjuster and velcro waist adjusters
– Zipped hand pockets
– Contemporary slim fit
– Clickfast™ liner compatible
– 3D molded outer knee protection – Developed with the Athertons – 90 Day Satisfaction Guarantee
This product was recommended by Patricia Johnson from Pedal Lovers
– Reflective Elements for visibility at night*
– 5 layers 4Dimensional design, with the firm seams will fit tight into all of the curves of your saddle area. Effectively reduce abrasion, shock, provide good protection
– Breathable & Durable that are designed to effectively absorb moisture and release sweat from the skin and keep you dry. It is designed with skin-friendly materials that does not irritate the skin and never fade.
– Great value for money
This product was recommended by Goutham Narayan from AndroidFist
It is proven even in the most challenging conditions by the world’s top motocross athletes. Reinforced 600D saddle panel increases the durability without compensating its performance. A full-grain leather outer along with double-layer knee system provide increased durability against guards, and the bike and knee braces.
This product was recommended by Noman Asghar from Fan Jackets
This waterproof rain pants are very sturdy and made from high-quality polyester that can save a biker in heavy rain. It comes with multiple pockets and left side zipper pocket is 100% waterproof that can keep your belongings safe in harsh weather. In short a cool pants for bikers and hikers.