While these Maxtrail Midweight Warm hiking pants from Columbia are not going to blow your socks off with any fancy features, revolutionize your hiking experiences with innovative ideas or take the fashion world by storm, they are a really reliable, reasonably robust, very versatile and extremely wearable pair of walking pants, suitable for year-round use. Windproof, shower-resistant, easy to care for and comfortable to wear, they’re ideal for coastal and countryside walks, and the occasional foray into higher hills and even mountains.
Lightweight and comfortable
Windproof and water-resistant
Convert to three-quarter length pants
Range of pockets
Majority of material recycled
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Meet the reviewer
Pat has hiked all over the world, his adventures taking him to Mont Blanc, the roof of Western Europe; the Norwegian Alps; the highest peaks on Australia; and New Zealand’s Great Walks – among others. He’s an experienced tester of hiking footwear and gives each pair a thorough thrashing before reviewing.
Columbia Maxtrail Midweight Warm walking pants: first impressions
Extremely comfortable to wear – whether you’re lounging around in a hut or campsite, or striding out tackling some trails – Columbia Maxtrail Midweight Warm hiking pants are made using the large American brand’s Omni-Shield shell fabric. This is a material mix that includes recycled and non-recycled polyester (with the latter being the largest ingredient).
• List price: $100 (US) / £90 (UK)
• Style: Lightweight hiking trousers
• Gender specificity: Men’s and women’s
• Sizes: Inseam: 32in; Waist: 28–40
• Weight (Men’s large): 436g / 15.4oz
• Materials: Omni-Shield – Recycled polyester (57%), non-recycled polyester (34%), Elastane (9%)
• Colors: Black / City Gray / Delta / Stone Green
• Compatibility: Year-round, non-technical walking, hiking, trekking, travel and backpacking
Windproof and resistant to rain (up to a point), they retain their thermal properties when wet, and dry quickly if you do get a drenching. There’s also an Elastane element in these trousers that supplies a decent degree of flex, which means you can move freely on trails and crags.
They come with a belt, albeit a pretty basic one, and the ankle-ends of the legs have a cord and toggle so you can hitch them up three-quarter-style in warmer weather, or when going barefoot through shallow water crossings (or when paddling in rivers or bays).
The design includes a pair of nice, deep hand pockets, a wide thigh pocket with a popper for carrying a map or other sizeable objects (although it’s not large enough to accommodate an OS-size map with the flap shut) and a single zipped rear pocket for keeping precious things (such as credit cards) safe.
So, are they good enough to join our illustrious list of the best hiking pants on the market today? I’ve been putting them to the trail test in a range of locations over fall and winter this year.
Columbia Maxtrail Midweight Warm walking pants: on the trails
I first wore these trekking trousers on the alpine trails that wend around the ankles of Mont Blanc, during a hut-based hiking adventure in Les Contamines-Montjoie in France’s highest nature reserve. It was early fall in the Alps, and while the day walks were warm, after-sunset temperatures plummeted quickly and the night hikes we went on were a whole lot chillier. These versatile pants served me well throughout however, providing plenty of thermal protection from the icy breezes that met us on the peaks and passes.
In the months since then, as the fall intensified and then segued into winter, I’ve been wearing the Maxtrail Midweight Warm hiking pants during day walks and overnight hikes in the southwest of Britain, including on the exposed, wind-whipped tors of Dartmoor and along gusty sections of the South West Coast Path.
While they are not fully waterproof – meaning you’ll require proper rain pants if you’re hiking in heavy rain – the Omni-Shield material does deflect misty moisture and light showers, and continues to keep you warm even soaked. Although lightweight, they’re also pretty warm. Besides their thermal properties, one of the best things about these trousers is their windproof performance – which I have found to be brilliant.
Once the cold and wild weather has passed, I look forward to having a chance to wear the Maxtrail Midweight Warm hiking pants hiked up around my shins while wading through river crossings and during beach-based ambles.
Author of Caving, Canyoning, Coasteering…, a recently released book about all kinds of outdoor adventures around Britain, Pat has spent 20 years pursuing stories involving boots, bikes, boats, beers and bruises. En route he’s canoed Canada’s Yukon River, climbed Mont Blanc and Kilimanjaro, skied and mountain biked through the Norwegian Alps, run an ultra across the roof of Mauritius, and set short-lived records for trail-running Australia’s highest peaks and New Zealand’s Great Walks. He’s authored walking guides to Devon and Dorset, and once wrote a whole book about Toilets for Lonely Planet. Follow Pat’s escapades on Strava here and instagram here.