We found the best women’s travel, climbing, and hiking pants. Pick a pair and get ready for adventure.
Finding pants that fit can be a real hassle. Add the need for technical performance, comfort, and at least a dash of fashion can leave you frustrated and pantless.
Luckily, women are seeing an expanding list of options, and we spent the last several months putting them to the test. From hiking in New Zealand to jet-setting across the country, from climbing both indoors and out to hitting the town for a local brew, we’ve logged countless hours testing these pants.
Below, you’ll find pants separated into three categories: hiking, climbing, and travel. Of course, some could fit in more than one category, and this list doesn’t cover every women’s pant out there. But these are our favorites after rigorous testing, and we’ll keep this list updated with new releases.
Best Women’s Hiking Pants
Comfort, durability, and freedom of movement are some of the most important things to consider when looking for a hiking pant. From lightweight summer options to sturdy alpine options, we’ve found the best women’s hiking pants.
Lightweight and comfortable, these pants have just enough stretch to keep you moving freely. Curvy women know it can be a pain to find pants (especially hiking pants) that fit the booty and thighs. We were pleasantly surprised to find these fit perfectly in both the butt and waist.
On top of that, the DWR coating provides extra protection against water and rain, and the hidden tabs allow them to be worn as capris during warm weather. Light enough to wear in the summer and sturdy enough to use all winter long (add warmth with a thermal base layer), these could quickly become your go-to hiking pant.
Cotopaxi Ara Joggers: $80
After years of running and racing in tights, we’re loving this new trend of lightweight, stretchy, comfortable sweatpants. The Cotopaxi Ara Joggers are a favorite for long, adventurous runs where bushwacking and scrambling up and down rocks are on the docket. They are durable enough for abrasive rock and stretchy enough for high steps and precarious moves.
For the past few months, one of our testers has been wearing these on missions in the rugged and wild Fiordland National Park on the southern tip of New Zealand. She’s happy to report these held up well during a month of wear and tear in the bush. If you are looking for a durable, comfortable pant that can go with you anywhere, look no further.
Whether hiking in the backcountry or traveling round the world, these pants will serve you well. While hiking on the AT, we were pleased to find the stretchy waistband delivers top-notch comfort. And the shirring on the legs flatters women of all different shapes and sizes. The FlashDry technology wicks moisture and speeds drying, so you never have to worry about stream crossings or hot hiking days.
Looking for a little more rugged protection and abrasion resistance? Check out this technical option from REI. Flexible panels in the waist and knees allow for easy movement, and the ankle drawstrings keep dirt and debris out. These pants lack belt loops, so you can’t pair them with your favorite belt. But the drawstring at the waist allows for cinching as needed.
We paired these with long underwear for winter hikes and comfortably wore them as-is during cool spring outings. We haven’t tested throughout the heat of summer but imagine these could get a little too warm. For cooler outings and mountain ascents, though, these are a favorite.
A great bang for the buck, we love these pants for both their durability and comfort. The two-way stretch and gusset makes high-stepping or scrambling a breeze, and the Omni-Shield finish repels unwanted water and stains.
But if you like to carry a lot in your pockets, you may be disappointed. Items easily fall out of slanted front pockets, and there is only one small zippered pocket. Pocket space aside, these are an excellent choice for getting outside, whether that be an epic backcountry adventure or a leisurely day hike.
We love leggings (check out our favorites here), but sometimes what works great in yoga class simply can’t stand up to the rigors of a multi-day trek. Luckily we found these trekking-specific tights: Our legging prayers have been answered! Offering all the same comfort and stretch you’ve come to expect in a legging, Swedish brand Fjallraven takes it a step farther, adding reinforcement over the rear and knees and providing plenty of gear-carrying pockets. A total win.
Best Climbing Pants
First off, you need to be able to move in your climbing pants. You don’t want to be worried about a plumber’s crack while climbing or take a whipper because your pants got in the way. The pants we’ve chosen move with you, are long-lasting, and even bring a bit of style to the local crag.
For those of us who love to lounge, live, and play in the same clothes, the Hampi Rock pants are a winner. Made of soft, durable, and breathable hemp, these pants make climbing, hiking, doing yoga, and running errands easy and comfortable. After Chelsey put them on for the first time, she didn’t take them off for at least 3 days and got countless compliments. The tapered bottom cut and wide, forgiving waistband are both flattering and functional. The Hampis are lightweight, cooling, and cute – great for spring and hot summer day outings on the rock, the yoga studio, or having fun outside.
Jeans were always seen as pants we put on at the end of the day after we adventured. However, that all changed for tester Chelsey Magness when she found Duer and Dish jeans. After slipping into a pair of their skinny jeans, she wore them literally every day for five straight days during a variety of activities and in all types of weather.
Surprisingly they didn’t stink or lose that perfectly snug “out of the dryer” feeling thanks to a combination of CoolMax fibers (that both wick moisture and insulate in colder weather) and a Silvadur anti-microbial treatment (which helps them stay fresher for longer).
Perhaps the biggest plus is the high articulated rise on the backside. This important feature makes it so that you can bend over and take high steps without worrying about showing your rear end to the world. While we wouldn’t wear them for any aerobic or sweat-inducing sports, they’re great for climbing, acrobatics, hiking, camping, and traveling.
prAna Halle Pants: $85
Constructed of prAna’s stretch Zion fabric, these pants flex when needed and look good doing it. One of our favorite all-around pants (bring on the climbing, hiking, and travel!), we’re impressed with how quickly they dry and their ability to look fresh after a long day outdoors.
You can easily wear these to the local crag and then head out to dinner without ever needing to change. They do seem to run small, so you may want to consider ordering down a size. And for those looking for a twofer, check out the Halle Convertible Pant ($95), which quickly transforms into capris with the pull of a zipper.
If alpine climbing is your jam, these pants are sure to be your new best friend. They’ve proven breathable, lightweight, and comfortable all day long. The double-weave textile in the seat and knees provides additional abrasion protection, and the low-profile belt allows the fit to be adjusted, without causing any under-harness bulk. These are a highly water-resistant soft-shell that keeps modest moisture at bay and breathes very well thanks to air-permeability. They’re not waterproof, but still good in light precipitation.
We appreciate the attention to detail, including the chalk bag attachment point on the waist. These pants are a hefty investment, but one that will last through heavy wear and tear.
Best Travel Pants for Women
It’s all about comfort and versatility when traveling. With all that gear, you don’t have a lot of space in your bag, which is why we’ve found pants that can easily take you form airport to trailhead to dinner out on the town.
These truly are the best of both worlds: the comfort of a legging and the look of a jean. The stretchy Pilayo fabric hugs in all the right places without being overly clingy, while the faux fly and belt-loop details give the structured look of a jean. We’ve received compliments while wearing these on a cross-country flight and at end of a long hike. Proof they’re equally at home traveling and on the trail. They seem to run true to size and come in navy, black, cassis (pictured), and “Black Heather 2.”
Made of organic cotton, these lightweight pants will keep you cool all summer long. They also dry impressively fast, and the elastic waistband stays comfortable even on long international flights. Though not developed as a hiking pant, per se, they are the perfect summer travel companion if your itinerary involves fewer backcountry treks and more sightseeing outings. We were happy with how small these pack up and appreciate the ability to dress them up with a nice shirt or pull on over your swimsuit for a casual day roaming the beach.
Redew Jeans: $190
Jeans may seem an odd travel suggestion, but hear us out because these aren’t just any old jeans. Swedish brand Redew is out to revolutionize the toxic jean industry, using 80 percent fewer chemicals and less water in production. Plus, they’re donating 25 percent of profits to wildlife conservation efforts.
Best of all, these fit. The stretchy, fashionable cut means you can easily wear them hiking, climbing, or biking, and then out for a beer afterwards. And, as our contributor Mallory Paige has learned, these jeans last wear after wear. She’s regularly washed one pair with no fading or adverse effects. She has another pair she’s never washed, and they still fit just as perfectly (after a solid 100+ wears) as they did the first time around.
If you like wearing jeans while traveling, grab a pair of these and take flight knowing you can wear them your entire trip without worrying about washing.
Kavu Rowan: $75
Part sweat pant, part adventure pant, part travel pant, these three-quarter-length pants move with you and keep you feeling good the whole way. Honestly, the pattern alone will brighten your day.
Chelsey took these on a recent camping trip to Orcas Island filled with hiking, camping, and boating. And even though she brought other pairs of pants throughout the weekend, she ended up spending most of her time in these. Why? Because they were the most comfortable, and while they felt like the sweatpants, they looked cute and performed amazingly well.
While we wouldn’t take them on an ultralight backpacking trip, they are now a go-to pick for long travel days and hanging out around the campfire.
When bug protection is of utmost importance, these pants (and the entire BugsAway line for that matter) are a lifesaver. Treated with Insect Shield, the bug protection is bound to the fabric and lasts through 70 washings. When traveling overseas, we especially liked the zippered security pocket for your passport and the comfortable drawstring waist. From hiking in the buggy southern U.S. to traveling abroad, these pants have kept us bug-bite-free. Perhaps the bugs just don’t like us, but we like to think it’s because these pants worked so well.
Your legs are covered. Now it’s time to grab the perfect bra and get ready for adventure.
–Have a favorite pair of pants we didn’t include? Let us know and we’ll check it out for future updates to the article.