With so many pairs of pants out on the outdoor gear market, you can easily spend hours and hours researching, trying to find a good pair. As an avid hiker and backpacker, I have personally spent years researching and trying on many pairs of pants. Which has left me with these stylish hiking pants, that I believe are the best hiking pants for women in 2023.
The pants in this list are a result of countless hours of research and hands-on testing out on the trails. I focused on hiking pants that I found to have a good value to performance ratio. And pants that really function out on trail with excellent comfort, durability, features, and wear in three season temperatures.
5 Best Hiking Pants for Women in 2023
Best Overall: Kuhl Free flex Roll Up
While wearing the Kuhl Free Flex Roll Up Pant I found it to be a versatile and comfortable pair of hiking pants. I could tell that the pants were carefully crafted to optimize flexibility and freedom of movement. The stretchy polyester fabric allowed me to move naturally and without restriction.
The roll-up feature adds adaptability and allows you to easily adjust the pant length to suit changing weather conditions or to switch between different styles on the go. I really liked the roll up feature because it allowed me to turn the pants into a more breathable capri style in hot weather.
The drawstring on the waist and the loops really help to ensure a comfortable fit, making these pants ideal for long hikes, climbing, or simply exploring the great outdoors. For the overall construction of the Free Flex Roll Up Pant.
I really think Kuhl did a nice job creating a pair of hiking pants that work well in various conditions especially summer while making them stylish for town wear. The only downsides to the Free Flex Roll up pants are the button pockets, especially ff you like zipper pockets. I didn’t mind the buttons, but you might.
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Best Hiking Jogger: Prana Halle Jogger 2
The Prana Halle Jogger 2 is one of my favorite stylish and versatile hiking pants that I own. Plus, Prana has a long history creating women’s hiking pants that effortlessly blends comfort with performance. What I really like about these joggers is how comfortable they are. I found them not too restrictive though still tapered enough to be stylish.
The Prana Halle joggers are fairly durable hiking pants constructed with high-quality materials; they offer excellent durability for hitting the trails. I found the Halle Jogger 2 flexible and easily moves with you, providing the freedom of movement you need on inclines or declines.
The stretchy fabric, overall design, and drawstring allows for a snug but not too tight fit making you feel confident that you won’t lose your pants out on the trails. The hand pockets are able to easily store small objects and the hiking pants pockets are able to securely hold your essentials.
Overall, I believe the Prana Halle Jogger 2 makes for an excellent everyday wear hiking pants with a nice flattering fit, that works hard out on the trails or any outdoor pursuit.
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Best for Hot Weather: Outdoor Research Ferrosi
I really like the Outdoor Research Ferrosi pants. During my testing they were super comfortable and probably the most breathable pair of hiking pants I have ever worn. These hiking pants are a fantastic choice for active women seeking durable and functional apparel for hiking or backpacking trips during the summer. I found these pants durable with the ripstop fabric able to hold up against moderately worn trails.
The lightweight fabric in these pants ensure you can move effortlessly out on the trail, and the articulated knees enhance your range of motion and maximize the comfort of the pants. The pants also come with many features other pants have as well. The Outdoor Research Ferrosi pants have a zippered thigh pocket to secure your essentials and a comfortable drawstring waistband.
They are also made with durable water repellent treatment helping to repel water during wet occasions out on the trails. Whether you’re tackling challenging terrains or enjoying a leisurely hike, the Women’s Outdoor Research Ferrosi hiking pants are a reliable choice that will keep you comfortable. The only real downsides I noticed while wearing these pants are the front pockets are a bit snug and hard to get into.
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Best Cargo Hiking Pant: Eddie Bauer Guide Pro
The Women’s Eddie Bauer Guide Pro hiking pants are a fantastic option for those wanting pants with a lot of pockets. While testing out the Guide Pro Women’s hiking pants I really liked the side zip pockets. They were easily large enough for me to store my phone and other small accessories.
I found the pants fairly durable as well as they were able to withstand a moderately overgrown trail. The Guide Pro women’s hiking pants are made with a stretchy fabric that allows for unrestricted movement. The articulated knees really enhanced the mobility of the hiking pants.
I also liked how well the Guide Pro hiking pants felt against my legs. The fabric was rather soft and not coarse. One con I found which is a bit of a personal preference is the leg design around the ankle is a bit wide, I tend to like a straight or a more tapered fit. But, for some the leg design for these pants may not be a huge dealbreaker.
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Best Budget Hiking Pant: Columbia Saturday Trail Pant
The Columbia Saturday women’s hiking pants are one of the best budget hiking pants I have seen. These lightweight hiking pants are an excellent choice in warm weather and like the other hiking pants in this list offer many great features. My favorite features of the Columbia Saturday Trail women’s hiking pants are the pockets. Similar to Outdoor Research Ferrosi the Saturday Trail also has a side zip pocket that is deep enough to store a phone and other essentials.
The Saturday Trail pants while lightweight are pretty durable hiking pants that are able to handle moderately overgrown trails. These hiking pants also come with many other practical features like hand pockets and back pockets for storing small essentials, adjustable hip belt featuring a drawcord and belt loops, and upf sun protection.
The only downside with these pants is that the side zip pocket may be a little small for larger phones. Adrian’s phone was not able to quite fit in the side pocket of these pants. But, overall, out of this list of best women’s hiking pants the Saturday Trail is one of the best budget hiking pants out there in our experience.
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Buyers Guide: Best Hiking Pants for Women
Comfort, Fit & Style
When looking for the best hiking pants for women, comfort is probably one of the biggest considerations and can make all the difference in how enjoyable your hike will be. Look for pants made with breathable and stretchy fabrics that ensure freedom of movement.
Additionally, adjustable waistbands, articulated knees, and gusseted crotches can enhance comfort and mobility. Remember that comfort is closely tied to fit, so choose a size that accommodates your body’s shape without being too tight or restrictive.
When it comes to picking a pair of the best women’s hiking pants it’s important to consider the style and fit. Modern hiking pants come in various styles and fits that allow more opportunity to choose a design that reflects your personal style.
Some brands offer hiking pants that seamlessly transition from the trail to casual settings, making them versatile for various occasions. Neutral colors or earthy tones are often preferred for their ability to blend into natural surroundings, but brighter options may be available if you prefer a pop of color.
Slim-fit pants are usually slightly lighter than regular fit due to less fabric and work well for the outdoors and also are a bit more stylish than regular fit. Slim fit hiking pants can usually be used as travel or in town pants and typically have a bit more stretch.
Tapered fitting pants are looser at the seat and thigh and then gradually taper down to the ankle like slim fitted pants. I think this pant style tends to be the best of both worlds and is one of my favorite fits available. For me the Prana Halle Jogger 2 somewhat matches this fit well and provides enough comfort at the seat and thigh for me without being too tight.
Relaxed / Regular Fit
A relaxed fit or regular fit can be a bit more comfortable and looser. For extended trips I tend to prefer a regular fit like the Kuhl Freeflex Roll up women’s hiking pants over the tightness from a slim fitted hiking pants. If I am doing short hikes and will be running into town more often than I like the slim fitted hiking pants a little more. Relaxed fitted pants can be a little baggy looking at times.
Hiking Pants Materials
Selecting the right fabric for hiking pants is essential since it significantly affects your comfort, durability, and overall performance during outdoor adventures. When choosing the perfect fabric for hiking pants, go for tough synthetic materials that repel moisture. Furthermore, give preference to stretchy fabrics such as spandex or elastane, as they enable better free range of motion out on the trails.
Nylon stands out as one of the top fabrics for durability and the best hiking pants for women tend to have it in their blend. Its exceptionally durable and recognized for its quick-drying characteristics. It offers a somewhat gentler sensation on the skin compared to other synthetics, though it is often a little pricey due to how it’s produced.
Polyester is another awesome synthetic material. It has pretty good durability though not as quite as durable as nylon. It is naturally water resistant and tends to outperform nylon in this area. It is highly breathable and moisture-wicking. And also tends to be less prone to pilling compared to other fabrics.
Most well-designed women’s hiking pants contain a fabric blend with a small portion of spandex or elastane to ensure mobility. Hiking pants with spandex or elastane usually offer better stretch across the thighs and knees that work as an advantage for steep scrambles or rock climbing.
Usually, when looking at hiking pants you will see two-way stretch or four-way stretch. Hiking pants with two-way stretch will allow stretch Crossway. Alternatively, hiking pants with four-way stretch, allow increase stretch both crosswise and lengthwise expansion. Both are nice but four way offers stretch in more directions.
Stretch is usually more important with more fitted hiking pants. Pants that are regular fit or relaxed fit may not have a blend of spandex or elastane as it is not as crucial since the fit is not as snug and limiting.
Ripstop fabrics are designed with a reinforced grid pattern that prevents small tears from spreading. This makes ripstop nylon or polyester ideal for rugged terrains, as it enhances the hiking pants durability and extends their lifespan.
Cotton is not a fabric that you see often in the best women’s hiking pants because it does not function well on the trails. Cotton provides a soft and comfortable texture against the skin, but it has quite a few drawbacks.
Cotton is highly water absorbent, dries slowly, and can become adhesive to the skin, leading to chafing. Cotton’s poor drying ability can make it potentially unsafe for cold or wet climates as it can make the body cooler leading to hypothermia. Its typically not the best fabric for walking out on the trails.
When choosing fabric material for women’s hiking pants, consider the climate and terrain you’ll be facing, as well as your personal preferences for comfort and performance. A good balance of durability, moisture management, and stretch can make your hiking pant and experience much more enjoyable.
Integrated belts or various types of waist adjustments, articulated knees, and gussets have become common elements incorporated into the design of the best women’s hiking pants over the years.
Waist Adjustments & Belts
Nobody wants their pants falling down out on the trails. In women’s hiking pants, the waist closure choice is crucial for comfort and fit. Various closure types cater to different preferences and needs. Drawstrings offer customizability and stability, while elastic waistbands provide ease of wear and flexibility.
Some pants feature adjustable drawstrings, buckles for a tailored fit, and snap or button closures. Make your choice on your preferences on comfort, body shape, and adjustability preferences.
Articulated knees and Gusset
Articulated knees and gussets are features that are appreciated in traditional hiking pants and pant design. A lot of the best hiking pants for women in this list have these features. The articulated knees allow for a full range of movement in the leg and knee area as the knee bends. Usually, it is simply a tailored design or just added material around the knee of the pants. Gussets are extra room in the crotch area that make the hiking pants feel less restrictive.
Most hiking pants should have at least one pocket. All the hiking pants mentioned in this selection come equipped with pockets, with most of them at least offering four pockets. Front and back pockets are common, along with streamlined side or thigh pockets, often featuring zipper closures for added security.
While some individuals prefer to avoid excessive bulk in their hiking pants, having organized pocket options can greatly assist on the trail, particularly for storing personal items like phones, money, or Chapstick.
One really common issue with women’s hiking pants, really almost all pants. Is how small and shallow the pockets are compared to men’s pants. While most hiking pants on this list have pretty good storage some of the bests are Kuhls Free Flex Roll Up and Eddie Bauer Guide Pro hiking pants.
Durability is an important factor when choosing hiking pants, you don’t want your hiking pants falling apart on you. Good thing is most women’s hiking pants are robust and resilient against snags, tears, and abrasion to an extent.
Some hiking pants are more durable and made of stronger materials like nylon and polyester with ripstop. Ripstop can greatly enhance durability of the pants helping to prevent snags. Outdoor Research Ferrosi is one pair that has ripstop technology.
Thickness is another factor that impacts durability. In general, a thicker pair of hiking pants will tend to be more durable. With a drawback of added weight compared to lightweight fabrics used in lighter pants. Thinner pants offer slightly less resistance to the trails but will be more breathable helping you stay cool.
Lightweight hiking pants are generally preferred for their breathability and ease of movement, making them ideal for warm weather or strenuous activities. However, for cooler conditions or when facing rugged terrain, slightly heavier pants might provide better insulation and protection. Look for pants that feature lightweight and breathable materials, especially if you’re planning on hiking in warm weather.
Additionally, consider the versatility of hiking pants; regular fit hiking pants tend to make it a little easier to layer underneath in colder weather. Ideally, the weight of hiking pants should align with the specific conditions and activities you’ll encounter, ensuring you’re equipped with the right gear for a comfortable and enjoyable outdoor adventure.
Water resistance is a crucial aspect to consider when selecting hiking pants for women. Having pants that repel water can prevent moisture from soaking into the fabric, keeping you dry and comfortable in wet conditions.
Look for hiking pants with water-resistant coatings or treatments that bead water and allow it to roll off the surface. Most of the best hiking pants for women will have some form of DWR treatment to make them water resistant.
A good balance between water resistance and breathability is important to ensure you stay dry from both external moisture and sweat. Whether you’re hiking through damp forests, crossing streams, or facing unexpected rain, investing in water-resistant and breathable hiking pants will help you maintain your comfort and focus on the trail ahead.
As mentioned above, breathability is dependent on the thickness of the hiking pants and the fabric. Hiking requires a lot of effort which makes us sweat. Which makes it important to choose a pair of hiking pants that offer good breathability. When sweat can’t evaporate, it hinders your ability to cool down when needed the most.
Typically, you’ll find that pants marketed as rain pants or softshell pants are less breathable, whereas lightweight all-weather pants tend to be much more breathable. Keep an eye out for breathability as a highlighted feature, and if it’s not mentioned in the label or listing, be sure to check whether the pants are designed for a more specific purpose.
The majority of hiking pants offer some form of UPF or sun protection. Most lightweight hiking pants are excellent at having good sun protection and breathability. While most thicker pants will have better sun protection and warmth when needed.
If you tend to get warm easily you will probably be okay with most lightweight hiking pants. Plus, if you get cold you can always layer with a base layer for added warmth if needed. Or you can add a pair of rain pants to cut cold wind from blowing in which I had to do when I went backpacking at
But when it gets really cold you may need to take a look at a pair of thicker winter softshell type of hiking pants like REI Co-op Activator 3.0 which are thicker pants with good wind resistance and insulation.
Convertible vs Roll up Pants
Convertible and roll-up hiking pants both offer unique advantages and considerations, and the choice between them depends on the specific conditions and your personal preferences.
Convertible hiking pants are like a 2 for 1. They can zip-off into shorts or pants. This can be ideal for changing temperatures on multi-day hikes. They save you from carrying extra shorts but can appear bulky when zipped off and may not be the most comfortable because of the zipper. Also, these are not the most stylish for trail to town use.
These offer a simpler way to adjust temperature by rolling up cuffs, suitable for predictable weather. They have a cleaner look but may not provide as much ventilation as shorts on hot days, and cuffs can sometimes come undone during active movement.
Convertible pants cab work well and be a versatile pick for extended multi day hikes. While roll-up pants work well for conditions that are consistent or you prefer a streamlined appearance with the option of making the pants more of a capri style.
Hiking Shorts vs Pants
Hiking shorts and hiking ants each come with their own set of advantages and trade-offs, and the decision between them hinges on the specific context and temperatures out on the trail.
Hiking shorts are essential to have in your wardrobe for summer apparel. They offer unmatched breathability and freedom of movement, making them an excellent choice for warm weather hikes or intense activities. They allow for optimal ventilation, helping to regulate body temperature and reduce the risk of overheating.
The lack of fabric around the calves can also prevent the accumulation of dirt and debris. However, hiking shorts will not provide as much sun protection as hiking pants due to exposing your legs to potential sunburn or scratches from brush and foliage.
Hiking pants offer the obvious advantages of more coverage, protection, and versatility in varying conditions especially when they have roll up features. Tailor your choice to the weather, terrain, and your own comfort.
Why Trust Us?
We are a small independent team that makes it our mission to produce honest reviews and provide you with helpful knowledge. We do not receive any money in return for reviewing a product positively and do not accept direct sponsored reviews which allows us to remain truly unbiased and transparent. We do accept gear for testing from quality companies however, this does not dictate whether it will get a positive review or not, we always highlight pros as well as significant cons of products.
All our comments are based on our own research and experience from various hikes out in the field. We are always constantly evaluating and in the process of testing hiking gear. As we continually test, evaluate new models, and try emerging brands, we will update our recommendations. As a product user if you have any suggestions feel free to let us know and we will do our best to test them!
We hope you found this list of the best hiking pants for women helpful for your next backpacking trip.