Dainese HGL Pants review – top-quality, lightweight trail pants

A lightweight, high-quality trail trouser for changeable conditions

Dainese HGL Pants
(Image: © Paul Burwell)

Bike Perfect Verdict

The Dainese HGL isn’t a cheap trail pant, but for the money you do get a high-quality construction, unique waist closure, water-resistant DWR surface treatment and full knee-pad compatibility. It’s roomy and spacious in all the right areas and there are also seven sizes to choose from. For mixed trail and weather conditions this really hits the sweet spot.


  • +

    Clean cut, plenty of slack for knee pads

  • +

    Lightweight, breathable and water resistant

  • +

    Simple three-position waist adjuster

  • +

    Twin zipped side pockets


  • -

    Redundant rear glove storage

  • -

    Hefty price tag

Why trust BikePerfect Our cycling experts have decades of testing experience. We\'ll always share our unbiased opinions on bikes and gear. Find out more about how we test.

Dainese has a couple of trail trousers in its range, but we’ve included the HGL over the heavier-duty HGR because it’s a bit more versatile. It has similar features to a lot of the pants in our best MTB pants roundup but is lighter weight, windproof and water resistant, making it a great riding pant for changing trail conditions.

Dainese HGL Pants

The pants feature elasticated ankle cuffs and full-length zips on the calves (Image credit: Paul Burwell)

Design and Specifications

The HGL is made from a nylon fabric, which has a bit of in-built stretch, so it moves with you as you ride. Dainese also constructs this pant in a more complicated way than most – rather than two strips of material in each leg, the HGL has several interlocking panels, which create a contoured fit especially around the knee. It adds to the cost but if you just hold this pant up by the waist you can see the articulated shape.

To stop material flapping or catching in the drivetrain, Dainese tapers the pant at the shin and also creates a bit of slack in the knee. This is way easier to pull on than the Specialized Trail Pant and you can also squeeze a set of Dainese Trail Skin knee pads underneath, without the pant becoming too tight or pulling unevenly.

Dainese HGL Pants

The waist has a simple three-position adjuster  (Image credit: Paul Burwell)

This theme is continued at the waist, so rather than regular Velcro waist adjusters the HGL features a custom Slide-Fit closure system. It’s similar to the fastener on the Rapha Women’s Lightweight pants and features a circular tab that pushes into an anchor point and then slides across. There are also two main positions, with the main one featuring a slightly offset secondary position to allow for fine-tuning. Obviously, you can’t micro-tune the fit in the same way as a Velcro tab but with everything mounted on the front of the pant, there’s no bulk at the waist, and nothing to irritate your skin or worse snag on your other clothes in the wash.

To save weight, a lot of lightweight pants often ditch the storage, but the HGL has full-size zipped hip pockets. I got my medium sized paws in them easily and the liner is also a soft touch material, so shouldn’t scuff a phone screen. Other details include elasticated ankle cuffs and full-length zips on the calves, which are handy after a muddy ride because you can loosen the zips and peel the whole pant off without getting covered.

The only feature that I’m not convinced about is the integrated hook button on the back of the waist. This lets you clip a pair of Dainese gloves to this trouser, the thinking being they’re safe and secure when you stop for a break, but since you can just as easily stuff your gloves in a pocket it seems a little pointless, plus if the trails are muddy and your backside is covered in splatter, do you really want to hang your gloves there?

Dainese HGL Pants

The zipped hip pockets are a decent size (Image credit: Paul Burwell)


For such a lightweight pant the HGL is well protected. The nylon fabric is windproof and gets a good-quality DWR (durable water repellent) treatment, which allows water to pool on the surface and run off easily. The seams are not taped, so in a downpour water is going to penetrate, but the trouser does dry quickly. It’s also not too heavy when it’s wet and I noticed it does rinse off quite easily post ride.

I’m a big fan of riding trousers and I’ve tested most, and I’d say the cut and fit of HGL is right up there with the very best. I usually run a decent-sized knee pad and there’s no bunching or pulling with this pant with them underneath. The HGL is not as tapered in the lower leg like the Specialized Trail Pant, but it is way easier to get into.

It’s early spring right now and the HGL is my choice for mixed conditions. It has enough protection when the trails are still a bit fresh but it’s light enough so you’re not going to overheat as it warms up. It offers a good amount of splatter protection and is easy to clean.

Dainese HGL Pants

The hook buttons at the back seem a little redundant (Image credit: Paul Burwell)


Like all Dainese apparel the quality is top-notch but you do pay a little bit extra – the HGL is similar in price to Rapha Women’s Lightweight pants but it’s 40 percent more than the 100% Airmatic and Endura MT500 pant. The good thing is the HGL is nicer to wear, it also comes in a greater range of sizes, and I think is a bit more versatile. 

Tech specs: Dainese HGL Pants

  • Price: $160 / £139.95 / €149,95
  • Sizes: XS-XXXL
  • Colors: Black, Gray
  • Weight: 289g (large tested)
  • Rival products: Specialized Trail Pant, 100% Airmatic Pant, Rapha Lightweight Pant
Paul Burwell
Freelance writer

Paul has been testing mountain bikes and products for the best part of 30 years, he’s passed comment on thousands of components and bikes, from the very first 29ers and dropper posts to latest e-MTBs and electronic drivetrains. He first put pen to paper for Mountain Bike International magazine but then contributed to What Mountain Bike, Cycling Today and Cycling Weekly magazines before a  20 year stint at MBR magazine. An ex-elite level XC racer, he’s broken more bones than records but is now sustained on a diet of trail building, skills coaching and e-bike trail shredding.