Every hiker knows that the right clothing and gear can mean the difference between an incredible hike and a miserable one. A solid pair of women’s hiking pants can provide comfort and breathability for your legs, which work very hard on tough trails. Not all hiking pants are created equal, and having a few high-quality pairs can enable countless fantastic hikes in all different kinds of terrain and climates. We created this guide to the best hiking pants for women so you active ladies can find the perfect pair for your next outdoor adventure!
To narrow down our selection of the best hiking pants for women, we went through a rigorous research and testing process. Our investigation started with a list of dozens of products and brands. Using a mixture of professional review website, customer reviews, product pages, and our own hiking experiences, we used a very informed and practical approach to narrow down our list and create this guide. We hope it helps you find the best pair of women’s hiking pants for your budget and preferences.
Choosing the Best Hiking Pants for Women
In our opinion, one of the most important aspects of any women’s hiking pants is their breathability. A high-quality pair of hiking pants is always made of materials that allow airflow and prevent hot air from getting trapped next to your skin. Otherwise, your legs will get sweaty while hiking and that moisture will build up inside of your pants, which feels gross and uncomfortable.
There are lots of different materials that are breathable – some of our favorites include hemp fabrics, synthetics like nylon or polyester, and Merino wool (for colder conditions). Our best recommendation when choosing hiking pants for women is to avoid cotton fabrics and instead opt for a material that touts “sweat-wicking” or “moisture-wicking” properties.
Another important trait of any women’s hiking pants is stretchiness. Any decent pair of hiking pants needs to provide a full range of movement without ripping or coming apart. This will enable you to scramble over rocks, hop over downed trees, or climb steep trails without feeling like your pants are preventing certain movements. Similar to breathability, certain fabrics like Spandex are better for this, but the best way to determine stretchiness in any pair of women’s hiking pants is to try them on.
So you’ve found a pair of pants that’s breathable and stretchy. Awesome! The next thing you need to look for is durability, because the last thing you want is to buy a pair of women’s hiking pants that gets destroyed immediately after a few tough hikes. The best pair of hiking pants should last you for many, many miles of hiking.
You won’t be able to test this when you try on a pair of pants, but reading online reviews and asking friends for recommendations can absolutely help. Additionally, many companies (REI, PrAna, etc.) offer guarantees on the quality of their gear and will allow returns if it fails to hold up on the trails.
Comfort, Fit, & Style
While highly subjective, comfort, fit, and style should absolutely factor into your purchasing decisions for hiking pants. Any pair of gear you buy should feel amazing on your body and fit in with your preferences and desired aesthetic (and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!).
Here are some of the style and fit elements women often consider:
- Design (e.g., straight leg pants, cargo pants, leggings, etc.)
- Baggy or slim fit
- Petite or tall size availability
- Comfort of the materials
- Number of pockets and storage areas
- Color and patterns
Some of these might sound silly, but if you’re going to spend money on some of the best hiking pants for women, you should absolutely find ones that look and feel great on your body.
While we aim to keep price out of the equation when we’re evaluating each of the individual pairs of hiking pants for women, it’s absolutely an important factor to consider when you’re choosing a pair for yourself. The best hiking pants aren’t always the most expensive. Typically, we’ve found that high-quality women’s hiking pants range from $50-100, but there’s a lot of variability within that range.
For the purposes of this review, we’ve grouped these hiking pants into three price tiers:
- $ = Under $60
- $$ = $60 to $100
- $$$ = $100+
Best Women’s Hiking Pants for Any Budget
PrAna Halle Pants
Overall Best Hiking Pants for Women
- Price: $$
- Materials: 97% Nylon, 3% Spandex
- Notable Features: Stylish fit, breathable & stretchy materials, lots of color options, Short/Regular/Tall lengths and Plus sizes are available
Stylish, comfortable, and super practical, our pick for the best hiking pants for women is PrAna’s Halle Pants. We’ve been hiking (and climbing, and working, and lounging…) in these pants for years and they still look and feel fabulous. Versatile enough to wear casually but durable enough for hiking, scrambling, and climbing, these are our go-to pants for most outdoor adventures.
Made of nylon and Spandex, the Halle Pants are stretchy enough for scrambling and wick moisture effortlessly. They also have leg snaps so you can convert your full-length pants into capris for stream crossings and hot summer days. With different length options (Short/Regular/Tall) and Plus sizes, they’re designed to fit all shapes and sizes of women’s bodies. Additionally, the Halle Pants are available in several different colors, ranging from neutral earthy tones to playful pastels.
While these are our favorite women’s hiking pants, they’re not perfect. Several reviewers complained about the shallow pocket depth. This wasn’t a deal breaker for us – we prefer to use a day pack for all of our belongings – but women who want larger pockets to store things may want to consider a different pair of hiking pants. In our experience, the material tends to attract pet hair and dust easily, which is something especially noticeable with the darker colors.
CHECK REVIEWS & PRICES FOR PRANA HALLE PANT:
Coalatree Trailhead Pants
A Very Close Runner-Up
- Price: $$
- Materials: 88% Nylon, 12% Spandex
- Notable Features: Made from recycled materials, lots of color options, fantastic multi-use pants,
If you’re an avid hiker who hasn’t heard of the Coalatree Trailhead Pants yet, you’re missing out. These stretchy, water resistant, breathable pants are the perfect all-season hiking, running, climbing, and lounging companion. Perfect for virtually any outdoor activity, the Coalatree Trailhead Pants are unisex and come in two fits, Slim and Regular. They’re also designed to be packed and stuffed into one of the front pockets so you can stash them easily in a weekender bag or backpack. It’s clear that Coalatree took every piece of hiker feedback and designed the Trailhead Pants with the details in mind.
With that said, there are a few things to note about the Trailhead Pants. Because the pants are unisex, they can take a few tries to get the sizing right. Based on reviews, there doesn’t seem to be a single pattern of fit problems, but rather that people ordered the pant size they normally order and experienced either too snug or too loose of a fit. If it’s your first time ordering these pants, don’t be surprised if you have to go through a trial and error process.
CHECK REVIEWS & PRICES FOR COALATREE TRAILHEAD PANTS:
Columbia Saturday Trail Pants
Best Budget Hiking Pants for Women
- Price: $
- Materials: 96% Nylon, 4% Elastane
- Notable Features: Stylish slim fit, breathable & stretchy materials, Short/Regular/Long/Plus sizes available
As far as outdoor gear brands go, Columbia is the king of budget-friendly, wearable gear. The Columbia Saturday Trail Pants are an excellent example of this – they’ve got a slim fit, are versatile and breathable, and come at one of the lowest price points of all the options on our list. Perfect for any type of hiker, these stretchy pants work well in every season and come with snaps on the legs to roll them into capris for warmer weather. They also come in Short/Regular/Tall lengths and have a Plus option, making these pants accessible to all body shapes and sizes.
What you save in cash, you may sacrifice in durability. Some reviewers mention that the materials on these pants can be flimsy and thin when compared to other products, and get wrinkled easily when washed. However, if you’re okay with some wrinkles and are on a budget, you can’t go wrong with Columbia’s beloved Saturday Trail Pants.
CHECK REVIEWS & PRICES FOR COLUMBIA SATURDAY TRAIL PANTS:
Patagonia Pack Out Tights
Best Hiking Leggings for Women
- Price: $$
- Materials: 87% Polyester, 13% Spandex
- Notable Features: Very durable, two side pockets (one per leg) and a zippered pocket, Fair Trade certified
If you’re the type of lady who prefers to hike in leggings, the Patagonia Pack Out Tights are our favorite option. Thick, comfortable, and breathable, these stretchy leggings are basic but have all the bells and whistles you need in a pair of hiking pants for women. With three pockets – two side pockets and a zippered one – you can store small items in a pinch.
The best thing about the Pack Out Tights? They are known to be super durable, which many customers rave about. Not only are these leggings tough, but they are also backed by Patagonia’s Ironclad Guarantee, meaning they’ll repair or replace them if they become damaged when you use them.
Should you opt for the Patagonia Pack Out tights, know that they don’t come in Short or Long versions, so you may have some difficulty with length if you typically buy within those categories. Many customers complain of poor fit, so be sure to try them on before removing the tags so you can return them or exchange them if needed!
CHECK REVIEWS & PRICES FOR PATAGONIA PACK OUT TIGHTS:
Kuhl Horizn Skinny Pants
- Price: $$
- Materials: 100% Polyester (56% stretch, 44% non-stretch)
- Notable Features: Relaxed and stylish fit, lightweight, variety of inseam options to accommodate different heights
For comfort and performance without sacrificing style, the Kuhl Horizn Skinny Pants are some of our favorite hiking pants for women. They’re made of 100% polyester – a blend of stretch and non-stretch fibers – which has great moisture-wicking properties and is flexible for tough trails and scrambling. We love the look of these hiking pants for women, as they’re fitted and flattering while still providing plenty of range for movement. These pants come in three different inseam lengths so you can choose your sizing based on your height.
One of the most common complaints about these pants is the sizing – many critical reviewers say that that it’s hard to get the fit right. Because of this, we’d strongly recommend trying them on before committing and ensuring that wherever you buy has a flexible return policy.
CHECK REVIEWS & PRICES FOR KUHL HORIZN SKINNY PANTS:
REI Co-op Sahara Pants
- Price: $$
- Materials: 94% Nylon, 6% Spandex
- Notable Features: Lots of pockets, adjustable waistband belt, zippered convertible shorts/pants
If you’re looking for a pair of convertible women’s hiking pants, the REI Co-op Sahara Pants are a fabulous option. With two versions – shorts and full-length pants – you’ve got a lot of options when it comes to wearing these versatile hiking pants for women. We’ve tested out these pants on several local trails as well as in the backcountry in Patagonia, and they’ve held up well with very minimal wear over hundreds of miles. If they do break, they’re backed by REI’s generous return policy, which is one of our favorite things about buying gear there.
Both versions of the Sahara pants come in a slightly baggier fit than others on our list, which can be a pro or con depending on your own personal preferences. We like this aspect because it enables us to layer them during colder hikes during the winter. Additionally, there are no Short or Long versions of these pants, so petite and tall women may have a harder time finding a size of these pants that fits.
CHECK REVIEWS & PRICES FOR REI SAHARA PANTS:
Outdoor Research Ferrosi Pants
- Price: $$
- Materials: 86% Nylon, 14% Spandex
- Notable Features: Extra stretchy, very lightweight and breathable, relaxed and loose fit
Women who like looser-fit pants will enjoy the breezy Outdoor Research Ferrosi Pants. These are some of the stretchiest and most breathable hiking pants for women, with plenty of pockets and room to move in any direction. Many customers love these pants so much that they own multiple pairs, and with Outdoor Research’s variety of color options, you can mix it up. The Ferrosi pants come in Short and Long versions to fit various leg lengths and body types.
These pants admittedly aren’t for everyone. While the loose fit may be appealing to some, it may feel too baggy to others. Additionally, some women have complained about fit issues around the thighs. The Short and Long versions of these pants don’t actually come in as wide of a variety of colors, so if you’re petite or tall, you have fewer options to choose from.
CHECK REVIEWS & PRICES FOR OUTDOOR RESEARCH FERROSI PANTS:
Vuori Ripstop Climber Pant
- Price: $$
- Materials: 98% Cotton, 2% Elastane
- Notable Features: Very stylish, versatile for casual wear and hiking, lots of colors to choose from
If you’re looking for hiking pants that are also comfortable enough to sleep in and cute enough to wear out of the house as “athleisure,” the Vuori Ripstop Climber Pant is a solid option. Vuori is known for its comfortable and stylish activewear, and these pants are no exception. For hiking, they hold up well and are stretchy enough to accommodate scrambling. They also come in a lot of appealing colors, which we love.
In fact, we almost gave these the “Most Stylish” designation because they’re just so cute and cozy, but there are a few drawbacks we got hung up on. The first and most important thing to note is that these pants are made of cotton blend, which means they absorb more moisture than others on our list. For this reason, we’d recommend these more for casual day hikers and less for backcountry or extra adventurous folks.