best hiking pants for women

Best Hiking Pants for Women: Reviews

While guys seem to have plenty of options, if you’re looking for the best hiking pants for women it can be a little harder to find a pair that fit well, look good and are comfortable for long periods of walking.

Hiking pants have a variety of features but most will fit into these 3 categories: General hiking pants, convertible hiking pants and winter hiking pants. 

Hiking Pants for Women

*Below, you'll find our detailed reviews and a buyer's guide, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.

A good pair of general hiking pants will probably be your best bet for most of your hiking. If you’re not expecting very hot or cold conditions then all you really need is a pair that feel comfortable for long periods and are durable. If you manage to find a pair that do this and look good too, even better. Here are the most important things to consider when choosing a good pair.

Buyer's Guide​

Comfort

There’s nothing wrong with looking out for an attractive pair of pants but you don’t want to sacrifice comfort for the sake of fashion. You want them to fit comfortably around your waist with an inseam that allows for good mobility without feeling too long or baggy.

walking trousers

Your inseam is determined by the length of your leg and not your overall size or height. To get your inseam measurement you need to measure the distance between your crotch and the bottom of your leg. This measurement is critical if you want a good fit while allowing for comfortable walking.

If you’re not expecting cold weather then choosing a light fabric will make for more comfortable hiking.

It’s hard for manufacturers to make sure that their pants cater for different types of body shapes that women have. If you are more curvy then make sure you get a pair with an elasticated waist or one that allows for a fair amount of adjustment with a drawcord or integrated belt.

Mobility

If you’re just going to be walking then a high level of mobility may not be a big deal for you. If that’s the case then a loose or regular fit will be fine.

If you expect to be doing some high-stepping or more intense activity like climbing or bouldering then mobility is important. In this case you’re going to want to choose a pant with fabric that has good stretch.

Loose fitting pants aren’t great for climbing. If you’re going to be raising your knees then an active fit pant will be less restrictive. Active fit pants aren’t the greatest for long distance walking though so decide which activity you’ll be doing more of and try to find a good compromise.​

Durability

There’s always going to be a compromise between lightweight and durability when choosing trekking pants. Very lightweight material is great for walking in but will pill and wear a lot quicker when sitting on logs or sliding against rocks.

If you know that you’ll be scrambling or making your way through brush then it's best to choose a thicker material with good abrasion resistance.

Some pants will have reinforced knees are back panels so look for a pair of these if you want a really durable pair. They may be a little heavier to walk in but at least you won’t have to replace them after your first hike.​

Breathability

trekking pants

Breathability refers to how well the fabric of the pants allows hot, moist air to pass through it. When you perspire you want the moist air against your skin to be able to escape so that you stay cool.

Some synthetic fabrics are notoriously bad at doing this but manufacturers of quality hiking pants have developed some clever ways to blend and weave these fabrics so that you get a light, water resistant fabric that still has good breathability.

Wearing fabric that doesn’t breathe well will trap the moisture against your skin and you’ll soon end up with chafing thighs and in a bad mood.​

Weather Resistence

Even if you don’t expect to be hiking in rain, good water-resistance is definitely something you want to look for in hiking pants. Walking in wet pants is no fun.

An unexpected downpour and pants that aren’t water resistant can quickly make you grumpy. Besides rain, walking through a stream or falling in some water will make you wish you’d paid more attention to this important factor.

Pants that have been treated with a durable water repellent (DWR) will ensure that water will bead off the fabric rather than soaking into it. Besides water resistance, you also want to choose a quick-dry fabric.​

Features

In an effort to retain a flattering cut and sleeker lines hiking pants for women are often a little light in the pocket department.

Storage in pockets means less diving into your pack for snacks or your phone. Getting a pair with at least one fair sized thigh storage pocket is always a good idea.

Zippers, or snaps on pockets are always a good bet for extra security. Adjustable cuffs with drawstrings or velcro are also a nice to have extra as they help secure pants around your boots for extra protection against bugs.​

Reviews of Women's Hiking Pants

After looking through loads of pairs we narrowed our favorites down to these top 5 general hiking pants for women.​


These pants are super light and their movement-mirroring stretch makes them extremely comfortable even when getting into some high activity hiking.

If you’re planning on working up a sweat by climbing and scrambling in some warm weather then these will be great.

Even if you find yourself in some light drizzle the water resistant fabric will just shed those drops.

The fabric dries really quickly when it does get wet and is stain resistant too so you don’t need to worry about getting mud on them.

The drawstring cuffs make it easy to seal them around your boots or shorten them to Capri length if you’re getting a little too warm.

What We Like 

  • Light but durable polyester ripstop fabric
  • Water resistant and quick-drying so great for hiking in showery conditions
  • Brushed tricot lined waistband for a comfortable fit
  • Front slash pockets, zippered thigh pockets, zippered back pocket for storage of personal items.

What We Don't Like

  • Although they are wind resistant they don't provide a lot of warmth on a very chilly morning
  • Legs felt a little short

If you like your hiking pants with plenty of stretch then these are a good bet.

The spandex gives these pants loads of stretch so although they’re a relaxed fit, they do tend to hug the hips.

If you prefer a looser fit then get a size up from your usual size. If they’re too loose on you you can always use the concealed drawstring to make sure they stay up.

I don’t like a low rise waist on hiking pants so I really like that these are cut with a mid rise waist.

The roll-up leg feature is a nice touch. If it gets a little warm you just roll the leg up and snap the straps to keep them in place. The reinforcement in the knees adds durability without detracting from the appearance or mobility.

What We Like 

  • Stretchy durable fabric with articulated knees providing great mobility 
  • DWR finish gives good water resistance
  • Roll-up leg feature for hiking through streams or wet areas
  • Upper right leg has hidden zippered stash pocket for keeping cash safe

What We Don't Like

  • Sewing on the top buttons seems a little flimsy
  • Material a little thicker so may be too warm on very hot days out.

I like active fit hiking pants but sometimes they can feel a little restrictive. Not so with these.

These pants are super-comfortable and versatile, having the kind of stretch that even makes them great to use for yoga.

The fabric is water and stain resistant and the tight weave provides UPF 50 sun protection.

They’re machine washable but the nylon fabric is so light that it makes them easy to quickly wash in a sink.

They’re dry pretty soon after too. They’re not kidding when they call these “Anytime” pants.

They look so good that we’d happily wear these to casual or even semi-formal occasions.

What We Like 

  • Stretchy, active fit with boot-cut legs looks good as well as being practical
  • Omnishade UPF 50 sun protection 
  • One rear pocket and two deep side pockets giving plenty of space for personal items
  • Price

What We Don't Like

  • If you are a slim 5'9" or so, then the legs may be a little short

The fabric of these pants is really soft and has great stretch.

The lightweight Nylon is surprisingly breathable making these ideal for summer hiking.

They have some water resistant properties but they’re by no means waterproof. If you’re expecting heavy rain then you'll need a rain shell.

They dry quickly though so even if you do get caught in a downpour you’ll be fine an hour or so later.

These are great for hiking but if you’re expecting to be getting into contact with some rough surfaces then you’re going to need something a little more durable.

What We Like 

  • Stretchy fabric with gusseted crotch and articulated knees for comfort on the trail
  • UPF50 sun protection
  • Zippered security pocket
  • Legs roll up to Capri-length making them more versatile for summer hiking
  • Price

What We Don't Like

  • Although the fabric stretches, the waist doesn't. Make sure you get the correct waist size

If you’re expecting it to get hot but don’t like the idea of convertible pants then go with these. The fabric is very lightweight and breathable in spite of the Nylon.

They’re a little noisy when walking but the level of comfort easily makes up for that. The straight leg cut is a regular fit so don’t expect to be able to wear other layers under this.

Women’s walking pants are often a little shy with the pockets so we really liked how many pockets these pants have and how deep they were.

Even though they’re great for warm weather hiking they have really good water resistance and dry really quickly too.

What We Like 

  • Loads of pockets: 2 side, 2 rear & 2 side pockets, great if you carry a lot of stuff
  • Lightweight, breathable fabric making them ideal for warm weather
  • Water resistant and quick-drying means you don't need to worry about the odd shower.
  • Price

What We Don't Like

  • Noisy - you're not going to be sneaking up on anyone in these!
  • Very little stretch

Convertible Hiking Pants

"Convertibles" are a great option if you want to be able to cater for warm and cool weather without having to pack extra shorts. Being able to go from long to short and back again with a quick pull of a zipper is great but make sure you take the following factors into account.

*Below, you'll find our detailed reviews and a buyer's guide, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.

Buyer's Guide

Comfort

Convertible walking pants are usually a loose or regular fit so for the most part they’ll be fairly comfortable. The main difference is the addition of a zip somewhere near your knees.

women's hiking trousers

Make sure that your skin is shielded from the zipper so that it doesn’t chafe your knees while walking. Check the length of the pants once the bottom legs are removed.

Some will be fairly short (above the knees) while others will zip off below the knees. Whichever you prefer, make sure that the length of the short pants doesn’t end up exactly level with your knees. The weight of the zip will bump against your knee and drive you nuts in no time.​

Mobility

The shorter shorts will give you more mobility but will expose your knees to potential sunburn. If they zip off below the knees make sure that they won’t impede your mobility when climbing.

A loose fit pair will be too baggy for the kind of mobility needed for scrambling. Choosing a pair with toggles to secure the legs once the bottoms are zipped off will help in this regard.

Breathability

When the bottom legs are removed breathability isn’t really an issue because your legs will feel nice and breezy. If you’re wearing them long however, that’s when you want to be sure that the fabric still has good breathability.

It’s not always going to feel hot enough to wear them as shorts but a brisk walk, even in cold weather, will still have you working up a sweat.​

Versatility

The versatility of being able to go long or short whenever you want is only of real benefit if it’s simple to switch between lengths.

Make sure the zippers are easy to use when removing or replacing the legs. Choosing a pair with quick dry fabric will mean that you don’t have to pack an extra pair of shorts to swim in.​

Weather Resistence

Convertible hiking pants are never going to be the greatest at keeping you warm in really cold weather but they should still do a good job on those cool mornings and evenings or in light rain.

Good wind resistance and DWR coated fabric are definite features you should look out for.​

Features

convertible hiking trousers

Color coded zippers will make it easy to identify which leg bottom goes where and will save you time and hassle when trying to zip them back on. Some pants come with this feature but if they don’t then marking the zippers with some nail polish is a good DIY fix.

Some manufacturers have designed the weave of their fabric to provide UV sun protection. While of little use when the bottoms are removed, this is a nice feature if you’re hiking in full sun. Getting the leg bottoms off over your boots can be tricky.

Pants with vertical ankle zippers make it a lot easier and will save you having to take your shoes off each time. Some pants have a bug repellent treatment that is a great help to keep ticks and mosquitoes away.​

Convertible Hiking Pants Reviews

If we were heading out in some warm weather then these are our top choices:


If you like having plenty of options then you’ll love these pants. Like regular convertible pants, you can go long or short.

With these you have the additional option of rolling up the legs and clipping them in place for a Capri length.

You’re going to want to use these options when it gets warm because these aren’t particularly cool pants.

The inseam is long enough for a comfy fit but I would have preferred a waist with a slightly higher rise. These pants have loads of secure pockets and the cargo pockets are big enough to slip a mobile phone into.

What We Like 

  • 3-in-1 lengths: Long, Capri or Shorts giving you great versatility
  • 2 front pockets, 2 rear pockets and 2 side cargo pockets
  • Durable, DWR-treated fabric for water-resistance.

What We Don't Like

  • No vertical zippers on legs making them a bit difficult to get off over shoes
  • Pants can get a bit hot in warm weather
  • Buttons on pocket flaps can be fiddly

If you want a single pair of pants to cater for cool mornings and evenings as well as hot days then these are a good choice.

When you wear them long they have great wind resistance and will keep you pretty warm. Once the sun is out they’re cool, breathable and comfy with the legs off.

The color coded zippers make it easy to see which leg goes where when you’re zipping the legs back on.

The size on these runs a little large so consider going a size down when you buy a pair. They’ve got good stretch in all the right places and the fit makes them great for climbing.

What We Like 

  • Different colored leg zippers for easy matching of upper and lower legs
  • Durable, abrasion-resistant fabric which still remains light and breathable
  • Good wind-resistance
  • Good stretch for high-stepping

What We Don't Like

  • Would have preferred more angle on the front pocket entry
  • Cargo pocket is a little small

I love the cut of these pants. The length and waist are cut so that even if you’re a little curvy they still feel really comfortable and look flattering.

The fabric has enough stretch in it to allow for high stepping and is durable enough to survive some scrapes on rocks.

The legs zip off below the knee which means that they may catch you a little on the knee when crouching.

This length will protect your knees from sunburn though and they look better than pants that zip off too short.

What We Like 

  • Durable, abrasion-resistant fabric with just enough stretch for high-stepping
  • Water resistant and quick-drying 
  • Lining stops the zippers from chafing knees keeping you comfortable
  • Flared leg-bottoms making them fit well over boots

What We Don't Like

  • No cargo pocket

Finding a pair of hiking pants for women that has both a good fit as well as enough pockets can be a challenge.

These pants answer that challenge beautifully. The stretch and cut make them easy to climb or scramble in and the pockets are deep enough to hold a cell phone or GPS.

They’re not too baggy but still feel comfortable when sitting or squatting. The legs zip on and off easily and the ankle zippers mean you won’t have to remove your boots when doing so.

The fabric copes really well with water and dries quickly after getting wet.

What We Like 

  • Ankle zippers make it easy to remove lower leg sections over shoes
  • 2 front pockets, 2 rear pockets and zippered side pocket make carrying your personal items easy
  • Movement-mirroring stretch for comfort over all terrains
  • DWR treated fabric for water resistance
  • UPF50 sun protection

What We Don't Like

  • Would have preferred some more color options

With a 27” inseam these pants have quickly become a favorite of women hikers with a more petite build or those with shorter legs.

Besides their comfy fit these pants other great features. The material is impregnated with insect repellant that will keep ticks, mosquitoes and other bugs from making a meal of your legs.

The repellant will apparently last for about 70 washes. These are a loose fit and very comfortable on long hikes.

The partial elastic waist felt comfortable during activities and the legs zipped on and off pretty easily. 

What We Like 

  • Ankle-zippers for easy lower-leg removal over shoes
  • Fabric treated with insect-repellant that actually works & UPF30 sun protection
  • Color-coded zippers for easy identification
  • 2 front pockets, zippered pocket on right thigh, multi-tool pocket on left leg

What We Don't Like

  • No rear pockets
  • Petite sizing would be too short for some women

Winter Hiking Pants

​Staying warm and dry while hiking in winter can be tricky but it’s essential if you want to enjoy the experience. You want a pair that will be able to cope with the wind, rain and cold but still be comfortable to wear and easy to move in. Here are some pointers to help you choose a good pair.

*Below, you'll find our detailed reviews and a buyer's guide, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.

Buyer's Guide

Comfort

Winter trekking pants are generally lined and insulated and this additional fabric adds to the bulk and weight of the pants. When done properly you get the benefit of staying warm without any disadvantages.

Winter hiking pants

If it’s done wrong then you’ll be feeling seams rubbing on your legs or your mobility will be reduced. A good pair of winter pants should provide the warmth by virtue of the design and superior materials, not just by using thicker material.

Make sure that the size you choose and the inseam allow you to comfortably wear additional layers under the pants.​

Mobility

Getting a relaxed fit pair will mean that even with additional thermal layers you should still enjoy free movement. If you prefer a regular or active fit then make sure that the pants are properly lined so that you can forego the additional layers and still stay warm.

Make sure that the fabric has some stretch. This is especially important for insulated and lined pants because the layers of fabric will make the pants thicker and more restrictive.

Breathability

It’s a real challenge to make a fabric that is warm and water resistant while still being breathable. It’s even more difficult if you want the fabric to be waterproof and not just resistant.

trousers for trekking

When you look at winter hiking pants you’ll see that some of them say that their pants are waterproof-breathable. This means that they’ve used specially designed layers of fabric that repel water on the outside while still allowing moist air to escape.

If you only expect cold weather and not rain then choosing a fleece lined pair of pants made from cotton or wool will be a good choice. They won’t be water resistant but they’ll be very warm and comfortable. The natural fabrics also don’t make a rustling noise like some waterproof pants do.​

Versatility

A pair of waterproof-breathable hiking pants will usually have a shell that doesn’t lend itself to being worn anywhere else but in the outdoors. If you get a regular fit pair of fleece lined pants you may be able to find a pair that could work as casual wear.

Don’t be tempted to let your desire for versatility lead to compromising on waterproofing if you’re heading into rain or snow.​

Weather Resistence

Staying warm and dry is essential to enjoying cold weather hiking. Weather resistance in hiking pants comes down to insulation, lining and waterproofing.

trekking pants for women

Pants with well designed insulation layers will keep the cold out while retaining heat. Fleece linings are great if you’re going to be in very cold conditions and these fabrics will often have wicking properties that help to manage perspiration.

When considering the conditions you expect, decide whether you need waterproof or simply water resistant pants. Waterproof pants are essential in snow or rain but they do sacrifice some breathability and mobility.

If you want to be sure to stay dry then make sure that the seams of your pants are critically or fully sealed. If you only expect some light rain then rather go for a water resistant pant with DWR treated fabric.​

Features/Extras

Pants with reinforced cuff guards and hems will last a lot longer if you’re walking through mud and scrub. Some pants will have snap gussets on the lower legs and gaiters that will help seal your boots and prevent snow and scree getting in.

Adjustable velcro tabs on the cuffs also make it possible to get a good seal around your boots. If you hike with gloves then make sure that the pockets are easily accessible without having to remove your gloves.

Women's Winter Hiking Pants Reviews

If you want to stay warm and dry on your next winter hike then these 5 winter hiking pants for women are some of the best options available.​


These active-fit pants have been designed to keep you warm and dry during high activity hiking in wet, cold-weather conditions.

The fabric is waterproof-breathable and is fully seam sealed to maximize your odds of staying dry in even the wettest conditions.

They were designed with skiing in mind but make for a great pair for winter hiking. The legs are a bit long so they’re better suited to wearing with boots rather than lower profile shoes.

The insulation does a great job of keeping the cold out and the warmth in.

What We Like 

  • Comfortable nylon-embossed taffeta lining is breathable
  • Waterproof with sealed seams preventing leaks
  • Adjustable waist tabs for a comfortable fit even if you are wearing a base layer
  • Lower-leg snap gusset and internal gaiter seals around boots keeping snow and water out

What We Don't Like

  • Sizing a little off with the waist fit being a bit loose and the legs a little tight

These fleece lined pants are a great choice for hiking or climbing in cold and wet weather.

The material is waterproof and breathable so it’ll do a good job of keeping the water out while keeping you comfortable even if you work up a sweat.

Some winter pants can feel a little light but this fabric has a nice thick feel to them and is really warm. We really liked that these pants had a lot of decent pockets.

The sizing felt a little on the big side but this makes them comfortable when wearing some thermals as an additional layer.

What We Like 

  • Durable fabric is very comfortable with good mobility
  • Soft fleece lining makes them really warm even in the cold mountain air
  • 2 front pockets, two side pockets and 1 back pocket - all zippered for peace of mind

What We Don't Like

  • Seams of the fleece lining were noticeable when hiking

These lightly insulated pants work well to keep you warm while allowing for a high degree of mobility.

The waist rise in front was at a comfortable level while the rear waist came up a little higher for extra protection for when you take a tumble in the snow.

The snap gusset and internal leg gaiter make them boot friendly. The adjustable waistband make it easy to get a comfortable fit around the waist while being secure enough to keep water and snow out.

The fabric is very water resistant and washed well too. These are an ideal choice if you’re heading out into the snow.

What We Like 

  • Water-repellent fabric with light, breathable insulation great for active days in the snow
  • Internal leg gaiter and snap gusset make these great for wearing over boots
  • Wide adjustable waistband with belt loops 
  • Zippered side entry front pockets

What We Don't Like

  • No rear pockets
  • Not waterproof, so not suitable for hiking in very wet weather.

If you absolutely have to stay dry then this is about as good as it gets.

These pants are waterproof-breathable and with the seams fully sealed it will take a serious amount of rain before any water gets through these.

To maximize the water protection they’ve decided to have no pockets on these which is a pity. They’ve got plenty of room in them though so you could easily wear another pair of pants with pockets under them.

While they have great waterproof properties these aren’t the warmest so you’ll want to be wearing another layer anyway. The adjustable cuffs work well to get a good seal around your boots. If it looks like it’s going to rain then these are the pants you want to be wearing.

What We Like 

  • Omnitech waterproof-breathable fabric with fully sealed seams really keeps you dry 
  • Elasticated waist with drawcord for a comfortable fit
  • Hook and loop adjustable cuffs with velcro straps fits snugly around your boots
  • Price

What We Don't Like

  • No pockets

When it comes to staying warm and comfy nature knows best.

These pants are made from a thick blend of New Zealand Merino wool and are incredibly warm and super comfortable.

The high quality wool does push up the price though making these one of the more expensive pairs of pants we’ve reviewed.

The fabric is thick enough to keep you warm but still remains breathable so you won’t overheat once you get indoors.

They don’t have much in the way of pockets but if we were going for a long walk in cold weather these are the pants we’d be wearing. They’re not water resistant though so be prepared to pull on a rain shell if you see some dark clouds gathering.

What We Like 

  • Very warm and soft, durable fabric for an extremely comfortable fit
  • 2 front patch pockets 
  • Flattering fit means they look good both on and off the trail
  • High breathability so no overheating even if you are very active

What We Don't Like

  • A little pricey 
  • Small pockets
  • Legs are on the long side and may need hemming if you are short

Conclusion

Each of the women’s hiking pants we reviewed above are great products in their own right. The different features and fabrics make them suitable for a range of different conditions.

A good pair of general hiking pants will probably be fine for most conditions. If you’re expecting very warm or cold weather then choose a pair better suited for those temperatures.

Your budget is obviously an important consideration but don’t try and save a few bucks by compromising on water resistance or comfort.

Buying the best hiking pants for your budget is an investment that will reward you over and over once you hit the trails.








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