After months on the trail, we found the best hiking pants for women. Our carefully curated list will help you narrow down the best hiking pants for your trail-blazing excursions.
During testing, we considered comfort, durability, and freedom of movement. We also looked at value, style, and clever features. After several months of researching the newest pants and putting them to the test, we’ve found the best options for every budget and use.
Luckily, we’re seeing an expanding list of hiking pants for women. And while there isn’t a single hiking pant to suit every woman, we’ve broken the list into useful categories to help you find the best fit.
Check out our guide to the best leggings if you want more suggestions for activewear to match all your adventures. Feel free to work your way through the list, or jump to a category below:
- Best Overall Hiking Pants for Women
- Best Versatility
- Best Budget Hiking Pants for Women
- Most Durable Women’s Hiking Pants
- Best Women’s Hiking Pants for Comfort
- Best Leggings for Hiking
The Best Hiking Pants for Women in 2022
Best Overall Hiking Pants for Women: Patagonia Quandary Pants
The Patagonia Quandary Pants ($79) offer everything hikers need to get out and explore, making them our favorite hiking pants for the second season in a row. Lightweight, comfortable, and durable — these pants do it all. Their hidden tabs at the knees allow them to roll up in addition to being light enough to wear in hot summer months.
They also provide UPF sun protection. On top of that, the DWR coating provides extra protection against unexpected light rain. Additionally, they are sturdy enough to use all winter long (add warmth with a thermal base layer), making them impressively adaptable.
These pants are designed to fit curves. Curvy women know it can be a pain to find pants that fit well (especially hiking pants). We were pleasantly surprised to find these fit perfectly in both the butt, thighs, and waist. And for those who may need added security at the waist, it comes with an inner drawstring to keep them in place.
Despite all of our raving, the thing we aren’t thrilled about on these pants is the pockets. We wish they were a bit deeper to ensure our phone’s safety. Zippered front pockets for total peace of mind while scrambling would make them absolutely perfect.
The Quandary’s lightweight fabric provides comfort for an all-day hike or backpacking trip, while still being durable enough for off-trail slogs. We’re confident that you’ll love them as much as we do.
- Weight: 10.1 oz.
- Fabric: 96% nylon, 4% spandex
- Inseam: 32″
- UPF 40 sun protection
- Perfect for women with curves
- Repellent finish to fend off light rain
- Shallow pockets
Runner-Up Best Hiking Pants for Women: prAna Halle Hiking Pants
Possibly one of the best pants of all time, prAna’s Halle pant ($85) is everything you need for a variety of adventures outside. Our staff has collectively rock climbed, thru-hiked, climbed 14ers, commuted to the office, traveled internationally, and more in these durable, well-equipped, versatile pants.
The prAna Halle is made with nylon and spandex four-way stretch fabric. They have an added water-resistant coating to make sure they hold up in inclement weather and are durable against wind, water, rock, and repeated use. Want to soak your feet in a creek, or need to climb or ride a bike without fabric holding you up? Just roll up the pants to capri length — prAna included handy snaps just for this purpose.
The Halle pant has a total of five pockets: two front hand pockets, two back snap pockets, and a zippered thigh pocket — perfect for a smaller phone (an iPhone XR just fits) or a wallet.
GearJunkie Managing Editor Mary Murphy owns four pairs of these pants. They function great and fit super well, and work every time, no matter the activity. And while they are great all-around summer hiking pants, we’ve even worn them in the colder seasons too.
Overall, these are some of the best women’s hiking pants on the market.
- Weight: 15 oz.
- Fabric: 97% nylon/3% spandex
- Inseam: 30″, 32″, or 36″
- Number of pockets: 5
- Adjustable fit at the waist and lots of sizes
- DWR finish
- Low-rise waist
Best Women’s Hiking Pants for Versatility: Kuhl Freeflex Roll-up Pant
Consider the KUHL Freeflex Roll-Up Pant ($89) if you’re not sure what kind of pants you need for your upcoming trek. These pants have withstood thru-hikes across various terrain and unpredictable weather, even on those sweltering 100-degree days, thanks to their sturdy polyester blend, UPF 50+ protection, water resistance, and moisture-wicking qualities.
We were also grateful for the 32-inch inseam that rolls up to a breezy 21-inch capri. This pant has many qualities we look for in a pair of hiking pants, which is why we consider them the best in versatility.
However, if you want front pockets to keep your cell phone or other items in place, you’ll be disappointed with these pants. And while they do have two back pockets with snap-button features, we still found the size inadequate to carry our phones.
If you want just one pair of pants that can keep up with you on all of your outdoor excursions, including rock climbing, scrambling, hiking, backpacking, and everything in between, then you’ll want to get the KUHL Freeflex Roll-Up Pant.
- Weight: 4.5 oz./sq. yd.
- Fabric: 50% polyester, 50% new polyester
- Inseam: 32″
- UPF 50+
- Roll-up pant leg
- Shallow pockets
Best Budget Hiking Pants for Women: Columbia Saturday Trail Pant
A solid bang for the buck, the Columbia Saturday Trail Pant ($65) helps you get out on the trail and stay within your budget. Beyond a great value, we love its durability and comfort. The two-way stretch and gusset make high-stepping or scrambling a breeze.
The Omni-Shield and Omni-Shade finish ward off harmful sun rays and repel unwanted water and stains — making them ideal for warm sunny days and chilly off-season adventures. These pants have a lot to offer for such a reasonable price.
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’s only one small zippered pocket. In the case of problematic storage, their back pockets with hook and loop finishes do provide some redemption.
Pocket space aside, the Saturday Trail Pant is an excellent choice for getting outside, whether on an epic backcountry adventure, or a leisurely day hike. We think they’re the best women’s hiking pants for the price.
- Weight: 11.2 oz.
- Fabric: 96% nylon, 4% elastane
- Inseam: 29.5″, 32″, or 34.5″
- Great price
- Articulated knees and gusset
- UPF 50 protection
- Water- and stain-resistant
- Pockets poorly designed
- Not enough functional pockets
Most Durable Hiking Pants for Women: Fjallraven Keb Curved Trousers
The Keb Curved Trousers by Fjallraven ($235) are ultra-durable for trekking. In fact, they should come with a warning that reads, “Once you put these on, be prepared to go do big things.”
The G-1000 material is abrasion-resistant, and the reinforced knees and rear provide extra protection where you need it most. Complete with long side vents and large snap-down cargo pockets, these pants are ready for just about anything. We also appreciate the strategically placed elastane, which allows for a full range of movement.
We have tested these in rain, in frigid temperatures, and on hot, sticky days. They’re very breathable in the hottest of temperatures, thanks to the side vents. And for colder weather, it’s easy to throw on a thin pair of long underwear underneath.
Undoubtedly, these hiking pants come with a substantial price tag. Aside from price, they aren’t light, weighing over one pound — although that’s what makes them pretty darn tough!
But, if you’re looking to buy just one pair of pants that you can wear hiking all year round and do practically everything in year after year, then the Keb Trouser is worth every penny.
- Weight: 1 lb. 3 oz.
- Fabric: 65% polyester, 35% cotton
- Inseam: 32″
- Reinforced areas
- Ventilation for warm weather
- Layering capabilities
Best Women’s Hiking Pants for Comfort: Coalatree Trailhead Pants
If sweatpants and hiking pants had a baby, the Coalatree Trailhead pants ($89) would be it. They’re undeniably comfortable and trail-ready. Oh, and did we mention they also look great? The eco-friendly DWR finish repels water and keeps stains at bay as well.
Another fantastic surprise is that these are anti-microbial — reducing their need for frequent washings. The four-way stretch allowed us to scramble, climb, and lounge without restriction. And the ripstop nylon proved impressively durable and tear-resistant.
Also earning high marks for breathability, these will surely become a favorite pair of hiking pants for summer. They’re also available in a slim-fit design.
The one pesky thing we noticed on these pants was the ankle ties. They had a tendency to come undone if not carefully tied. We would have preferred ankles to have either drawcord, an elastic ankle, or the option to roll them up and fasten them in place.
Despite the strings attached, the Coalatree Trailhead pants strike a great balance of all-day leisurewear with maximum comfort and functionality for tackling all the hiking trails on your summer bucket list.
- Weight: 10.9 oz.
- Fabric: 88% nylon, 12% spandex
- Inseam: Unavailable
- Incredible comfort
- DRW finish wards off water and stains
- Anti-microbial properties
- Pesky ankle leg ties
Best Leggings for Hiking: Athleta Headlands Cargo II Tight
With heavy-duty fabric and reinforced anti-abrasion paneling on the front that keeps you warm and protects you from dense foliage, the Athleta Headlands Hybrid Cargo II Tights ($119) have everything a hiker needs.
Fully functional six-zip pockets also distinguish them as great technical hiking pants. Even though they have “cargo” in their name, don’t let that fool you into thinking they’re bulky. The wide waistband sits high on the natural waist, which flatters the body’s curves while simultaneously giving the impression you’re ready to tackle some challenging terrain.
While these pants are robust and offer the kind of seriously impressive features we rave about, we do find them to be expensive, especially due to the thick material that doesn’t breathe well in hot weather. However, given the well-thought-out features, we understand the price point.
Ultimately, we were incredibly impressed with the Athleta Headlands Hybrid Cargo II Tights. We can’t recommend them enough for anyone who plans on taking their hiking to higher altitudes.
- Weight: Unavailable
- Fabric: 91% recycled nylon, 9% spandex
- Inseam: 26″, 28″, or 31″
- UPF 50+
- Durable fabric resistant to snagging
- Durable water repellent
- Six secure-zip pockets
- Too thick for warm weather
Best of the Rest
Looking for a pair of stylish pants you can put through the wringer? Then you need to meet the Patagonia Skyline Traveler Pant ($99). These pants are one tester’s go-to pair of pants for climbing, hiking, kid-chasing, and bike-errand-running. They have yet to fail, and we get compliments on them with every wear.
We love the tapered leg and the slightly tight fit. Not only is it very flattering, but for walking through the brush, climbing, and even biking, it means worry-free, non-snagging steps. The DWR finish makes them both durable and water-resistant, which is always a good thing.
Sadly, the same tight-fitting design we like that keeps them free from snagging is also their downfall. Those with sturdy calves will find the skinny legs restrictive.
If you don’t mind a sleek fit, the more technical Skyline Traveler Pant is definitely the pant to consider for your hikes. Its complementary look, budget-friendly price, and durability make them a strong contender when choosing pants that go beyond just hiking.
- Weight: 9.4 oz.
- Fabric: 88% nylon, 12% spandex
- Inseam: 27″
- Flattering style
- Versatile pant
- DWR finish
- Restrictive in some areas
Our legging prayers have been answered, thanks to the Fjallraven Abisko Trekking Tights ($175). It’s no surprise that we are big fans of leggings, but sometimes what works great in yoga class simply can’t withstand the rigors of a multiday trek.
Luckily, we found these trekking-specific tights that made us all agree on the best leggings for hiking. Offering all the same comfort and stretch we expect from a legging, Swedish brand Fjallraven takes it a step further, adding reinforcement over the rear and knees. The side pocket easily fits a phone, a drawcord in the wide waistband makes for easy size adjustments, and waist loops are ideal for attaching items.
Fjallraven isn’t known for being budget-conscious, but in this case, you get what you pay for, and these leggings have the durability to withstand the test of time.
If you want a streamlined look while trekking or cross-country skiing in the backcountry, you’ll want to get your hands on the Abisko Trekking Tights. These leggings could be the only ones you’ll ever need.
- Weight: 9.03 oz.
- Fabric: 88% nylon, 12% spandex
- Inseam: 26″
- Reinforced high-wear areas
- Functional pockets
- Waist loops
Here, prAna took its classic and trendy Stretch Zion fabric and made yet another amazing pair of pants: the Sky Canyon Jogger ($89). They’re slightly stretchy, water-resistant, and have a UPF 50 sun safety rating.
We like the mid-rise for comfort and the tapered bottom. And we especially love the extensive storage with six pockets. For short hikes when you don’t carry a backpack, you can find a place for everything in these pants.
These pants don’t get our highest rating for toughness, lacking features like abrasion resistance and reinforcements. Thinking of comfort, we would have preferred an elastic waist over their existing non-stretch waistband for added comfort.
Nonetheless, prAna’s Sky Canyon Jogger pant offers everything you need and nothing you don’t. And you’ll look cute without spending a fortune. These pants were made to do it all in style, from multiday backpacking trips to a casual stroll on your local trail.
- Weight: Unavailable
- Fabric: 97% nylon, 3% spandex
- Inseam: Unavailable
- Sun protection
- Plenty of pockets
- Semi-relaxed fit for comfort
- Won’t withstand abrasions
- Ungiving waistband
A choice pick for summer alone or combined with base layers for cool hikes, First Lite’s Alturas Guide Pant ($135-145) is a breathable, durable pant that cuts no corners. The pockets are legitimately utilitarian without feeling like cargo pants, and the fabric has a four-way stretch that’s excellent over long distances.
These pants will last. Beat the tar out of them for a few years, and then keep it up. Specializing in pants made for hunters, durability is top of mind in First Lite’s line, and its gear proves itself in the field. Invest here if you’re looking for a pant to get you through whatever time and time again.
While we give these pants high praise for their ruggedness out in the field, we don’t consider them the most flattering, and that’s due to their primary function as hunting pants. So, they won’t be a great choice for the office.
If you don’t mind a rugged look while bushwacking across the terrain and prefer a no-frills appearance, then the First Lite’s Alturas Guide Pant is a hiking pant that doesn’t mess around.
- Weight: 11.2 oz.
- Fabric: Durable nylon with DWR
- Inseam: Varies by size
- Zipped pockets that secure items
- Breathable for hot hikes
- Not stylish for around town
We had to add REI’s Co-op Active Pursuits Tights ($70) to our list. These tights offer a lot of comfort at a reasonable price. The polyester blend does a great job wicking sweat while still soft against the skin. The UPF 50 sun protection is a nice added feature while playing out in the warm summer months.
Additionally, we appreciate the wide waistband that never gave us any trouble when rolling down. There’s also a drawstring that allows for a custom fit. Best of all, they don’t fall or sag, even when jogging or hiking with speed in mind. The zippered waistband pocket is just big enough to stash a key or chapstick, but not much else.
And let’s not forget to mention the reflective tape on the back of the calves. It was a detail easy to overlook until we found ourselves on a late-night excursion — a grateful feature for added safety.
These aren’t as crazy-durable as the aforementioned Abisko leggings, so we wouldn’t slide down rocks or go wild bushwacking. They also don’t have a side stretch pocket — just a small zip pocket in the back, so don’t expect these pants to carry a phone.
The Active Pursuits Tights are perfect if you’re looking for a pair of leggings with many surprising features that are great for the trail, errands around town, running, or gym use.
- Weight: Unavailable
- Fabric: 85% polyester, 15% spandex
- Inseam: 27″
- 50 UPF protection
- Reflective calf strips
- Stay in place
- Wicking properties
- No pocket for phone
- Less durable than others
Women’s Hiking Pant Comparison Chart
|Patagonia Quandary Pants||$79||10.1 oz.||96% nylon, 4% spandex||32″|
|prAna Halle Hiking Pants||$85||15 oz.||97% nylon/3% spandex||30″, 32″, or 36″|
|Kuhl Freeflex Roll-up Pant||$89||4.5 oz.||50% polyester, 50% new polyester||32″|
|Columbia Saturday Trail Pant||$60||11.2 oz.||96% nylon, 4% elastane||29.5″, 32″, or 34.5″|
|Fjallraven Keb Curved Trousers||$235||1 lb. 3 oz.||65% polyester, 35% cotton||32″|
|Coalatree Trailhead Pants||$89||10.9 oz.||88% nylon, 12% spandex||N/A|
|Athleta Headlands Cargo Tight
||$119||N/A||91% recycled nylon, 9% spandex||26″, 28″, or 31″|
|Patagonia Skyline Traveler Pants||$99||9.4 oz.||88% nylon, 12% spandex||27″|
|Fjallraven Abisko Trekking Tights||$175||9.03 oz.||88% nylon, 12% spandex||26″|
|prAna Sky Canyon Jogger||$89||N/A||97% nylon, 3% spandex||N/A|
|First Lite Alturas Guide Pants
||$135-145||11.2 oz.||Durable nylon with DWR||Varies by size|
|REI Co-op Active Pursuits Tights
||$70||N/A||85% polyester, 15% spandex||27″|
Why You Should Trust Us
Here at GearJunkie, we are dedicated athletes, outdoor hobbyists, and all-around adventure aficionados. In other words, we do it all. We spent over a year researching and putting our hiking pants through the wringer, keeping a keen eye on durability, comfort, functionality, and even style.
Contributor Rebecca Ross is a hiking and backpacking enthusiast. She’s hiked all over the Pacific Northwest, often combined with climbing objectives. An American Alpine Club grant recipient, she’s no stranger to international climbing expeditions.
Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Hiking Pants
Thickness and Durability
Do you plan to hike only in warm summer months or do you plan to hike all year round in fluctuating weather? These questions are important to keep in mind when choosing hiking pants. Long-distance hiking in the heat will warrant breathable, lightweight fabric to keep you cool. Also, since pants are adding additional features to safeguard you from the sun — look for pants with UPF protection.
On the other hand, during shoulder seasons when the weather is cool, you’ll want to find pants that are thick, and even roomy enough to layer long underwear underneath. Our top pick for durability and versatility in off-seasons while giving you the extra features of sun protection and DWR coating is the Patagonia Quandary Pants.
If you’re looking for a pant that’s more robust and will have no problem in cold temperatures, we recommend the Fjallraven Keb Curved Trousers with their ultradurable material and design.
Pant Length & Versatility
Hiking pants come in three main options: full-length, convertible, and roll-up.
Full-length pants are a great option for complete leg protection, even in the summer. Most of the pants on our list are considered full-length like the Patagonia Skyline Traveler Pants or the Columbia Saturday Trail Pant.
Convertible pants — none are shown in our list — are a 2-in-1 packaged deal. They can be worn as shorts or pants, as the legs zip off. They’re a great option for variable weather and multiday hikes where you want more options and less gear to pack — and they really make you look like a septuagenarian hiker if that’s the look you want.
And somewhere between full-length and convertible lie roll-up pants similar to Patagonia’s Quandary pants. Such pants have a tab, button, or drawcord that secures the cuff when rolled up.
Being able to move freely is a major hallmark of the best hiking pants. Whether running down the trail or scrambling up a rocky patch, you don’t want your pants restricting your movement. This is where design features like a gusseted crotch, articulated knees, and stretchy materials prove useful.
The female shape can be tough to fit, but there are more options now than ever before. Some brands like Fjallraven offer curvy and straight fits, while others have added plus-size technical options. And because every body is shaped differently, it can be helpful to try on a few pairs before buying to ensure a snug (but comfortable) fit.
When it comes to trekking-specific leggings, like our favorite pick, Fjallraven Abisko Trekking Tights they can often be slightly tighter and less forgiving than typical yoga pants but are more durable and often reinforced to aid in longevity on the trail.
When out on the trail, pockets can be helpful when needing to access items quickly. Often you’ll see hiking pants with front and back pockets. Pants with more versatility will provide a zippered pocket on the thigh for added security.
Sometimes you’ll find pants — more common in leggings where pockets are minimal — will have a stash pocket on the waist to hold small essential items like keys, chapstick, and money.
Since we like to stay on the move, we prefer pants with deep pockets that fit our phones or snacks and, ideally ones that zip. When it comes to pockets that are not functional for our needs, they tend to make it on our cons list. A hiking pant that surpassed our expectations with a generous amount of functional storage is the prAna Sky Canyon Jogger, which has six pockets
A DWR (durable waterproof repellent) coating is used on most hiking pants. It doesn’t make pants completely waterproof but adds enough protection to keep you dry on dewy mornings or in light showers.
The Coalatree Trailhead Pants provide a DWR finish for unexpected rain, but we don’t recommend wearing them as an all-weather pant. Instead, you would want something designed to take on more precipitation like the Columbia Saturday Trail Pant with Omni-Shield for repelling stains and water. However, if you wish to have total waterproof protection — rain pants layered over hiking pants will do the trick.
It’s worth mentioning that DWR coatings wear out over time, so you’ll want to treat heavily used hiking pants for optimal performance. Nikwax Softshell Proof Wash-In is an easy way to keep your pants repelling water year after year.
Additional Features for Hiking Pants
The little extras can really make or break a good pair of pants. Some of the features available are well-positioned cargo pockets, zippered pockets, cooling vents, belt loops, and built-in belts.
Additional features we like are stain resistance and anti-microbial properties for fewer washes, protection from abrasions to keep your pants lasting through rugged terrain, and even designated waist loops designed to keep items handy. Whether you want these or not depends on your personal hiking plans and style.
What Kind of Pants Are Best for Hiking?
The best hiking pants will vary from person to person. Big things to look for, though, are comfort, breathability, and the ability to dry quickly. If you plan to do a lot of winter or cold-weather hiking, you may want an insulated legging or room to layer long underwear underneath.
Are Leggings Good for Hiking?
The last few years have seen an explosion in hiking leggings (and everyday leggings in general). We like them for a few reasons.
First, the flat waistband is comfortable underneath a pack. Hiking-specific leggings are made to be more durable, although that sometimes comes at the expense of breathability.
We also appreciate having a side-leg pocket for quick phone storage. Some leggings may not be as quick-drying as hiking pants or offer as many larger cargo-style pockets.
Do I Really Need Hiking Pants?
You can, of course, hike in darn near anything. And if it comes down to not hiking or hiking in less-than-perfect pants, we’d always choose hiking. That said, the best hiking pants offer increased comfort and utility on the trail.
If you’re just going for a quick outing, having the right pants is less important. If you’re backpacking for a week, the right pants could make or break your adventure.