How to find the best hiking pants for women

Best hiking pants for women

A hike can be as long as a walk through the park up to a multi day backpacking trip. For shorter walks a Jeans is totally ok but if you want to walk longer and feel comfortable, a good pant that  will protect you against harsh weather, abrasion is very important. Check out our recommendations for the best hiking pants for women and choose your favorite.

We will show you our recommendations of best hiking pants on the market at the moment and talk about a few things you should think about and need to know when choosing your new hiking pants.

Another great choice for hiking are hiking tights/leggins.

Sure, your budget is an important consideration but don’t try and save just a few bucks if you are gonna hike in extreme weather or long trails by compromising on water resistance or comfort.

If you once found your favorite hiking pants you will most likely stick to exactly those forever. 


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Hiking pants for women reviews

These Prana halle pants* are very popular among hikers. They are lightweight, made out of 97% Nylon and 3% Spandex. Being breathable, quick drying, durable these pants are great for hiking, mountain hiking or desert bouldering. They can get easily rolled up to knee and fastened. UPF 50, sun protection. Claimed to be water resistant we realized in reality they are not really and we found them to be more comfy to wear on colder days than hot days.

A lot of our friends like these pants very much because they are very comfortable and it doesn’t matter if you are curvy or skinny they fit every women’s size

The Columbia Saturday trail pants* are another pair of lightweight, breathable comfortable hiking pants. Can resist light rain. The articulated knees give you great mobility and you can easily convert them into capri pants. UPF 50. 

An affordable, comfortable option compared to other more expensive outdoor pants.

This hiking pants from Arc`teryx* is a great choice for rainy days. They are water resistant and quick to dry. If you can fit a layer underneath they are even good enough for a winter hike. (make sure to test that before you buy as they have a very trim cut)

The pants are not convertible though so not the best for a really hot summer hike and they are a little pricy.
But if you are going to plan a hiking trip in rainy weather or Alpine conditions the price is worth it.

This pants from Mountain Hardwear* is a great comfortable pant for hiking. 
Very soft and stretchy material. A few pockets for keys, phone etc.
Very breathable and thin material that makes it more of a summer pant than a winter pant.

Only downside that it’s not a very durable pant. After a few months of regular wearing they didn’t look very nice anymore, but still good for the trail and very comfortable to wear. 

Very comfortable, convertible pants with a drawstring instead of a belt.
Water resistant and very breathable, but not as quick drying as other pants (doesn’t matter if your on a day hike).

Depending on your leg shape the zipper could cause issues because it is a little tight around the leg.

These pants will keep you warm and dry during real snow adventures. 
Wether you will go skiing or hiking. 

Our friend wore them while skiing and said: “very comfortable and warm (we had 10 degrees) and water resistant. I also love the nice colors.”

Buying hiking pants, what you need to know:

During the last decade the amount of hiking equipment/clothing exploded. This means like for hiking boots* you can choose between just everything…. Can be quite stressful too. You can choose between:

  • Different materials
  • Convertible or non convertible 
  • Convertible to short shorts or over knee shorts
  • is the zip off leg easy to get over your boots
  • Do you need any features like a lot of pockets or belts
  •  long or short
  • for cold or warm climate
  • water resistant or not
  • etc. etc.

So to choose the best hiking pants you need to think about the climate you are going to hike in.
If you hike mostly in areas where you can get a lot of suddenly rain or fog water resistance is important, if you hike mostly in a warm/hot climate breathability is very important.
If you go on a really cold winter adventure you need to layer or have a really good warm, water resistant winter pants. 


When it comes to hiking, running, sitting in a canoe or climbing one of the most important criteria to buy pants should be comfort and mobility.

If it itches, pulls, are too tight, to “noisy” or limits your movements in any way it can really impact your enjoyment of a trip.

So fabric is one significant factor when it comes to comfort and also mobility. Make sure to make a “squat” or “lunges” test when trying on hiking pants. You’d like to have some pants where you can get down low with in them.
If they have a little stretchy fabrics (spandex or elastane) included they will move with you better. 

Since humans all have different shapes/proportions it is very hard to recommend one for all. 

Some models nowadays are very tightly cut and the zipper area can be a little less stretchy, so be aware and test if you can really move comfortably.

Also see if there are any bulky seams that might cause some issues between your legs or anywhere else where they could rub.

Also check what kind of waist the pants have and what you like best. Some pants waists are too high or too low. Normally if they fit right across the hip bones most people would feel that the most comfortable.

And then there is your personal feeling too: do you like shorts, or long pants, or leggings? You like a pant that has it all or don’t mind to wear layers?


Another important factor would be versatility. More important when heading out on a multi day trip than just a day trip.

If you are on a multi day trip and only have one pair of pants with you, it should be able to handle all kind of weather conditions.
From sun to rain, hot to cold. Even on a day hike in the mountains the weather can change quickly.

You can choose between a zip off (different sizes here, from above or beneath the knee shorts) or a roll up model. It is also a personal choice, some people (like me) don’t really like zip off pants so I would rather get a roll up option or a 3/4 leggins and knee high socks (plus carrying an extra lightweight rain pants with me).

You need to think about if you want/need a real water resistant pair that you even could use in a canoe.


Breathability is another mayor factor in any kind of outdoor clothing. When you start to get moving your body will generate heat and start to sweat to cool down. So if your clothing don’t have any breathability this can cause troubles (in colder weather) because your clothing will get wet and you will get cold quickly. In worst case it can lead to hypothermia. 

This is more important for the upper body because we actually don’t sweat much from the lower half. So eyes open when you buy winter hike basic layers.
A good ventilation is still important to feel comfortable and for multi day hikers to prevent a so called “crotch rot” ….

A lot of water proof pants are known to not being as breathable as non water proof ones.

90 km sign
On my 24hour- 100 km walk I was wearing 3/4 leggins plus shorts to keep warm during the night.

Durability and weather resistance

If you are looking for hiking pants with good durability as main criteria for bouldering or wild terrain, you should look for ripstop or abrasion resistant materials.
Ripstop means it won’t stop holes from happening but it stops the fabrics from spreading.

Weather resistant is more important for all kind of hikes. I always thought that my legs don’t need much protection against wind or rain, but then I got caught from rain and wind on a 37miles hike and I felt miserable because my legs were so cold.

Weather resistance:

For weather resistance you need to consider the three elements: rain, wind and sun.

The most immediate element you think about should be rain. It is the worst if it’s starting to rain and you get soaking wet in the middle of your hike. It is easy to carry a lightweight rain jacket in your backpack, and a lot of people don’t mind to carry a rain pants* in their backpack and slip them on when the rain starts. But easier would it be if you are wearing an all weather hike pants already.

Clothing with cotton is nicer to wear (my personal thought) but will easier get wet because it attracts water, while synthetics repel water. So you should look out for materials and eco-friendly/healthy coatings if on the hiking fashion hunt.

If you get wet during a multi day day hike your pants should dry quick too. The next thing to consider would be to have a quick drying, water resistant pants.

When it comes to wind, the very lightweight pants are not as good as wind protection compared to a little more structured fabrics. If it is very windy, the slip on rain pants actually come in handy as an extra wind protection.

Pants as sun protection:

Last but not least what you could consider when out on a multi day hike is sun protection.
Sunscreen is one option but I would only recommend natural sunscreen (you could even make your own), because conventional ones have chemicals included that can be harmful for wild water and their habitants if we go swimming. And they can also be harmful for us (some chemicals used are so called hormone disrupter) So if you are exposed to the sun for days, sun protection with clothing is much safer. And nicer if you can’t have a shower to wash sunscreen off in the evening.

Pants, shirts with UPF 50 are perfect. A hat and some natural sunscreen* for your nose and hands and you are all set for a safe summer hike.


Extras you could look out for could be:
Make sure the size of the zip off leg “hole” is big enough to get stripped over your boots.
Are they comfortable enough to make squats.
Are there any useful pockets, or are they too small.
Does the pants have useful drawstrings or belts you actually don’t need or bother you.

It is the same than with boots and other gear. If you know where you will hike mostly, do you do day hikes or multi day hikes, is it winter or summer, etc. and then choose the right quality product you will have a very happy hike.

Since a lot of us does like to wear running tights or leggings on hikes too, we also have a blog post about the best hiking leggings.

Tell us about your favorite hiking pants and why you love them in the comments below! is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. We are also affiliate partner for other programs/stores like, etc. 

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