RAB Incline Light Pants Review – Lightweight Hiking Excellence

Discover the lightweight and durable RAB Incline Light Pants – perfect for avid hikers seeking breathable comfort and versatile performance.
RAB Incline Light Pants

RAB Incline Light Pants

Uncover the Superior Comfort and Durability of RAB's Incline Light Pants
The RAB Incline Light Pants offer exceptional comfort and durability with strong performance in breathability and versatility, though requiring additional waterproofing in heavy rain.


Design & Versatility
Comfort & Support
Durability & Performance
Waterproofing & Breathability
Value for Money


  • Lightweight and breathable
  • Durable construction
  • Effective weather resistance
  • Practical features (adjustable cuffs, multiple pockets)
  • Comfortable for hiking and climbing


  • Not fully waterproof
  • Higher price point
  • Limited insulation


Brief Overview

The RAB Incline Light Pants are designed to meet the needs of avid hikers and outdoor enthusiasts looking for a blend of performance, comfort, and durability. These pants are specifically crafted to handle a variety of hiking conditions, making them a versatile addition to any hiker’s wardrobe. Engineered with lightweight materials, they promise enhanced mobility and breathability, essential for those long treks and challenging climbs.

Initial Impressions and Context of Testing

Upon unboxing the RAB Incline Light Pants, the first thing that stands out is their sleek, minimalist design. The pants exude a sense of high quality, with meticulously finished seams and a modern, athletic cut that suggests both style and functionality. The fabric feels soft yet robust, hinting at a balance between comfort and durability.

To put these pants to the test, I wore them on a series of hikes varying in terrain and weather conditions. From a sunny, warm day hike in a local nature reserve to a misty, cooler ascent up a mountain trail, the RAB Incline Light Pants were subjected to a comprehensive evaluation. My goal was to assess their performance in real-world scenarios, ensuring they could handle the demands of different hiking environments.

In the following sections, I will delve into the technical specifications, performance evaluation, and other critical aspects of these hiking pants, providing a thorough review based on my hands-on experience.

Technical Specifications

Key Features and Technology

The RAB Incline Light Pants are packed with innovative features designed to enhance the hiking experience. Here are some of the standout aspects:

  • Lightweight Construction: The pants are made from a lightweight stretch fabric, which ensures ease of movement and reduces fatigue during long hikes.
  • Breathable Fabric: Equipped with Matrix™ single weave fabric, these pants offer excellent breathability, keeping you cool and comfortable even during strenuous activities.
  • UPF Protection: The fabric provides UPF 30+ protection, shielding your skin from harmful UV rays.
  • DWR Coating: A Durable Water Repellent (DWR) finish ensures that light rain and moisture bead up and roll off the surface, keeping you dry in unpredictable weather conditions.

Design and Materials

The design of the RAB Incline Light Pants is focused on functionality and comfort, incorporating several thoughtful elements:

  • Material Composition: The pants are constructed from 88% polyamide and 12% elastane, combining durability with flexibility.
  • Articulated Knees: This design feature enhances mobility, allowing for greater freedom of movement, which is essential when navigating rough terrain.
  • Gusseted Crotch: Provides additional comfort and range of motion, making these pants ideal for climbing and scrambling.
  • Adjustable Waistband: An integrated belt and adjustable waistband ensure a secure and comfortable fit.
  • Multiple Pockets: The pants include:
    • Two zipped hand pockets
    • One zipped thigh pocket
    • One rear pocket with a zip closure

These pockets are strategically placed for easy access and secure storage of essentials.

Practical Features

In addition to the design and material choices, the RAB Incline Light Pants come with several practical features:

  • Ankle Adjustment: Adjustable cuffs at the ankles allow you to customize the fit, ensuring the pants stay in place and providing versatility for different footwear.
  • Low-Profile Seams: Minimize chafing and enhance comfort, especially during extended wear.

By integrating these technical specifications, RAB has created hiking pants that are not only versatile and functional but also tailored to meet the specific needs of outdoor enthusiasts. In the next section, we’ll explore how these specifications translate into real-world performance.

Performance Evaluation

Fabric Performance

Breathability The RAB Incline Light Pants excel in breathability, thanks to the Matrix™ single weave fabric. During intense hikes in warm weather, the pants effectively managed moisture and heat, preventing the uncomfortable, sticky feeling that can come with less breathable materials. Even on steep climbs, I found that the fabric allowed sufficient airflow, keeping my legs cool and dry.

Waterproofing While the RAB Incline Light Pants are not fully waterproof, their Durable Water Repellent (DWR) coating provides impressive water resistance. Light rain and splashes from streams bead up on the surface and roll off, keeping the fabric dry. In heavier downpours, however, the pants did eventually soak through, but they dried relatively quickly once the rain stopped.

Durability The combination of polyamide and elastane in the fabric mix offers a robust yet flexible construction. After multiple hikes through dense underbrush and over rocky terrain, the pants showed minimal signs of wear. The material resisted abrasions and tears, maintaining its integrity even in challenging conditions.

Weather Resistance

The RAB Incline Light Pants demonstrated excellent weather resistance across various conditions. In cooler, windy weather, the pants provided adequate protection against wind chill without feeling bulky. The DWR finish was particularly useful in misty or drizzly conditions, adding a layer of protection against moisture. However, for heavy rain, pairing these pants with waterproof over-trousers would be advisable.

Practical Features

Pockets The pockets are a standout feature, providing ample storage without compromising mobility. The two zipped hand pockets are deep and secure, perfect for carrying small essentials like a map or compass. The thigh pocket is conveniently placed for easy access, and the rear pocket adds additional secure storage space. All zippers are robust and function smoothly, even with gloved hands.

Ankle Adjustment The adjustable cuffs at the ankles allow for a customized fit, ensuring the pants stay in place over different types of footwear. This feature is particularly useful when transitioning from trail runners to hiking boots, as it prevents the pants from dragging or catching on underbrush.

Articulated Knees and Gusseted Crotch These design features significantly enhance mobility and comfort during rigorous activities. Whether scrambling over rocks or navigating steep inclines, the articulated knees and gusseted crotch allow for a full range of motion without restriction.

In summary, the RAB Incline Light Pants offer a high level of performance in terms of breathability, durability, and weather resistance. Their practical features, such as well-placed pockets and adjustable cuffs, enhance the hiking experience, making these pants a reliable choice for various outdoor conditions.

Fit and Comfort

Sizing and Fit

The RAB Incline Light Pants are designed with a modern, athletic cut that caters to a variety of body types. The sizing is generally true to size, but it’s always a good idea to refer to RAB’s sizing chart for the best fit. The pants offer a tailored fit that contours well to the body without feeling restrictive. The inclusion of an adjustable waistband with an integrated belt ensures a secure and customizable fit, which is especially useful for long hikes where comfort is paramount.

For those with a more muscular build, the stretch fabric accommodates larger thighs and calves comfortably, without feeling too tight. Conversely, for slimmer individuals, the adjustable waistband helps in achieving a snug fit, preventing any unwanted sagging or movement during vigorous activities.

Comfort During Various Activities

Hiking and Trekking During long-distance hikes and treks, the RAB Incline Light Pants proved to be exceptionally comfortable. The lightweight, breathable fabric prevents overheating, while the stretch material ensures freedom of movement. Whether ascending steep trails or descending rocky paths, the pants moved seamlessly with my body, avoiding any chafing or discomfort.

Climbing and Scrambling The articulated knees and gusseted crotch are particularly beneficial during climbing and scrambling activities. These features provide enhanced flexibility and range of motion, allowing for high steps and wide stances without any fabric pulling or restriction. The low-profile seams also contribute to the overall comfort, reducing the risk of chafing during extended periods of wear.

Everyday Wear Surprisingly, the RAB Incline Light Pants also perform well in everyday settings. Their sleek design and comfortable fit make them suitable for casual wear around town or at the campsite. The pants offer a blend of technical performance and casual style, making them a versatile option for both outdoor adventures and daily activities.

User Experiences

As an experienced hiker, I found the RAB Incline Light Pants to be a reliable choice for various outdoor pursuits. On one particular hike, which involved both steep inclines and a fair amount of rock scrambling, the pants excelled in providing comfort and mobility. Despite the challenging conditions, I never felt restricted or uncomfortable, and the adjustable waistband ensured a perfect fit throughout the day.

In conclusion, the RAB Incline Light Pants deliver an excellent balance of fit and comfort, making them a valuable addition to any hiker’s gear collection. Their thoughtful design and high-quality materials ensure that they perform well across a range of activities, from hiking and climbing to everyday wear.

Pros and Cons


Lightweight and Breathable The RAB Incline Light Pants are exceptionally lightweight, making them ideal for long hikes where minimizing weight is crucial. The breathable Matrix™ single weave fabric ensures that you stay cool and dry, even during intense physical activity.

Durable Construction Constructed from a robust blend of polyamide and elastane, these pants are built to withstand the rigors of the trail. The fabric is resistant to abrasions and tears, ensuring longevity even in challenging conditions.

Weather Resistance The Durable Water Repellent (DWR) finish provides effective protection against light rain and moisture, while the pants’ wind resistance helps keep you comfortable in variable weather conditions.

Practical Features Well-designed pockets, including two zipped hand pockets, a zipped thigh pocket, and a rear pocket, offer ample storage space for essentials. The adjustable ankle cuffs and waistband add to the overall functionality and customization of fit.

Comfort and Mobility Articulated knees and a gusseted crotch enhance freedom of movement, making these pants suitable for activities that require a high range of motion, such as climbing and scrambling.


Not Fully Waterproof While the DWR coating provides some water resistance, the pants are not fully waterproof. In heavy rain, they may become saturated, necessitating additional waterproof layers.

Price Point The RAB Incline Light Pants are positioned at a higher price point compared to some other hiking pants on the market. This might be a consideration for budget-conscious hikers.

Limited Insulation These pants are lightweight and breathable, which is excellent for warmer conditions but might not provide enough warmth in colder weather. Layering with thermal base layers may be necessary in cooler climates.

Final Thoughts

The RAB Incline Light Pants offer a well-rounded package of performance, comfort, and durability, with several practical features that enhance the hiking experience. However, potential buyers should consider the need for additional waterproofing in heavy rain and the investment required for these high-quality pants. Despite these minor drawbacks, the pros far outweigh the cons, making these pants a solid choice for serious hikers and outdoor enthusiasts.

Comparative Analysis

When comparing the RAB Incline Light Pants to the Prana Stretch Zion II Pants and the Columbia Silver Ridge Cargo Pant, a few key differences and similarities emerge.

Prana Stretch Zion II Pants The Prana Stretch Zion II Pants are renowned for their durability and comfort, similar to the RAB Incline Light Pants. Both utilize stretch fabrics that offer excellent mobility, but the Prana pants are slightly heavier, making them more suitable for cooler conditions or rugged terrains where additional durability is needed. The Stretch Zion II Pants also feature a DWR finish, but they include a ventilated inseam gusset, enhancing breathability in hot weather, a feature the RAB Incline Light Pants match with their Matrix™ fabric. The Prana pants also have a more relaxed fit compared to the athletic cut of the RAB Incline Light Pants, catering to different stylistic and comfort preferences.

Columbia Silver Ridge Cargo Pant In contrast, the Columbia Silver Ridge Cargo Pant is a more budget-friendly option that still offers solid performance. These pants are lightweight and feature Omni-Wick™ technology for moisture management, similar to the breathability found in the RAB Incline Light Pants. However, the Silver Ridge Cargo Pants do not offer the same level of stretch and mobility, which may limit their comfort during more dynamic activities like climbing or scrambling. The Columbia pants shine with their UPF 50 sun protection and multiple cargo pockets, providing ample storage, which might appeal to hikers needing more practical, everyday hiking trousers.

In summary, while the RAB Incline Light Pants excel in breathability, lightweight construction, and flexibility, the Prana Stretch Zion II Pants offer increased durability and a relaxed fit, and the Columbia Silver Ridge Cargo Pant provides a cost-effective option with excellent sun protection and storage solutions. Each of these pants caters to different hiking needs and preferences, allowing hikers to choose based on their specific requirements and budget.


The RAB Incline Light Pants stand out as a top choice for hikers seeking lightweight, breathable performance without compromising on durability. With their Matrix™ single weave fabric and thoughtful design features like articulated knees and adjustable cuffs, these pants offer exceptional comfort and mobility on the trail. They excel in warmer conditions where breathability is key, though they may require additional waterproofing in prolonged rain.

While priced higher than some competitors, the RAB Incline Light Pants justify their cost with superior materials and craftsmanship that promise long-lasting performance. For hikers prioritizing comfort, freedom of movement, and practicality in their gear, these pants prove to be a worthwhile investment. Whether you’re tackling challenging hikes or simply exploring the outdoors, the RAB Incline Light Pants deliver versatility and functionality that make them a dependable choice for various outdoor adventures.

Further reading