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This Hunting Brand Makes the Best Hot-Weather Pants I’ve Tested

First Lite is known for hunting gear. But after using its Trace Pants for several months, travelers, hikers, and anyone who likes nice pants should put it high on their list of pants for warm temps.
First Lite Trace 5-Pocket Pants
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I’m not really a “shorts guy.” I’ve known this a long time, and I think it’s due to dressing formally for 10 years while working as a photographer in the Caribbean. If you can wear pants in tropical 90 degrees while photographing an inauguration ceremony, you can wear pants anywhere.

And if you wear pants in hot weather, you need to try the First Lite Trace Pants. They are, in a word, phenomenal.

First Lite Trace Pants review
The author wearing the First Lite Trace Pants; (photo/Sean McCoy)

In short: The First Lite Trace Pants are light and airy, yet protective. They have excellent pockets and built-in ventilation, and they look good enough for many workplace settings. They’re the best hot-weather pants I’ve used, period.

First Lite Trace Pants


  • Fabric KineticGrid
  • Fit True to size
  • DWR No
  • Scent control Yes, HeiQ Pure Odor Control Technology


  • Super-breathable
  • Fast-drying
  • Excellent, ample pockets
  • Knife pocket


  • Built-in belt's buckle prone to damage

First Lite Trace Pants Review

I received the Trace pants this spring while researching the best hunting pants on the market. And as soon as the temps started to rise, they worked into a very regular rotation among my clothing.

Now that summer is here, they’re my go-to daily pants — so much so that I’m considering a second pair. That’s because they have a very unique fabric that is so cool and breathable, while still durable, that they fit any active lifestyle that includes time in the outdoors and travel. More on this later.

In testing, I used the First Lite Trace 5-Pocket Pants during an early-season turkey hunt, an epic camping trip to the Great Sand Dunes National Park, a 2-week trip to hike the Tour du Mont Blanc through France, Italy, and Switzerland, wild boar hunting in Texas, and on countless daily errands around Denver.

These pants are awesome.

First Lite Trace Pants
(Photo/Sean McCoy)

Now, the fabric. First launched in 2023, the KineticGrid fabric is created uniquely using melt-yarn technology. Basically, a thread is woven into the fabric during production but later melted away. This method creates a porous material that allows air to flow through the garment while retaining its structural integrity and durability.

First Lite Trace Pants fabric
The fabric of the First Lite Trace Pants is so airy you can see through it when held up to the light; (photo/Sean McCoy)

It works great. Wearing the pants in everything from 95-degree heat while boar hunting to 100-degree garden weeding in Denver, I’ve never felt that the pants were much warmer than shorts. The fabric is wonderfully light, much like linen in its breathability.

However, unlike linen, this synthetic fabric dries wildly fast and wicks moisture well. It is also odor-resistant, a fact I appreciated when I used them as sleeping pants while staying in refuges in the Alps.

Next, let’s talk pockets.

First Lite Trace Pants: Pockets and Vents

The Trace Pant has excellent pockets. Both front hip pockets are roomy enough for a cell phone and wallet. They’re deep enough to be secure. But given the rowdy hunting world, two button-down thigh pockets provide excellent security for items you simply cannot lose.

Finally, you get two back zippered pockets. These work well, too.

Next, you have two vent zippers for each leg. These zippers further open the already breathable fabric and allow great airflow to your legs.

Here’s a funny thing: While they aren’t considered pockets, these zippered recesses make fabulous pockets, too. I used them to secure my phone while riding in an open-door helicopter so as not to lose it. I also used them to carry my passport during a full day of travel from Colorado to Munich.

(Photo/Sean McCoy)

Are they officially pockets? Maybe not, but they sure do work well. Just remember to remove the items stored there before using them as vents.

Add a built-in belt, and you have one fine pair of pants. My only ding against them is that the plastic buckle on the belt lost a tiny bit of plastic, so the belt doesn’t lock as tightly as when they were new. It’s a small deal, and if the buckle gets worse, I’ll probably just ditch this belt and add my own.

These aren’t cheap pants at $150. But they’ve proven durable so far and are incredibly comfortable. They look good, too. For those looking for hot-weather hunting pants, these are a no-brainer.

But the bonus point is that they make some of the best travel pants I’ve worn. The pockets work great on airplanes to hold a passport and other small items. They’re secure yet cozy and nice enough to wear to a fancy restaurant in Geneva, Switzerland.

First Lite Trace Pants
(Photo/Sean McCoy)

Versatile in warm weather and comfortable, with secure pockets and anti-odor treatment, the First Lite Trace Pants check many boxes. They’re one of the best technical pants I’ve worn for summertime.

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Sean McCoy

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