The 11 Best Hiking Pants for Women of 2022

We love the Patagonia Quandary Pants for their wide array of features.

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Best Hiking Pants for Women

REI

The quality of your clothing and gear inevitably affects how enjoyable your hike is. There’s nothing worse than finding out that your pants won’t stop riding up mid-trek or that the pair you’re sporting in the rain isn’t as waterproof as you thought. Picking a pair of hiking pants based on the conditions that you’ll be using them in is crucial, as are many other factors that all play into comfort and performance. 

With so many pant choices out there, each with different fits and features, it can be difficult to narrow down which pair is right for your hiking endeavors. To help with your search, we’ve researched dozens of options to find the best with a solid balance of breathability, style, fit, and functionality. The Patagonia Quandary Pants are our top pick for an all-around excellent pair of women’s hiking pants that get the job done on most types of trails and in a variety of conditions. Whether you’re tackling a frigid summit, heading out on a lengthy backpacking trip, crave pockets, or need something that goes from cool mornings to hot afternoons, there are pants on the list that’ll have you covered.

Your legs deserve a comfortable hiking sidekick — these are the 11 best hiking pants for women:

Best Overall: Patagonia Quandary Pants

Patagonia Quandary Pants

REI

Why We Love It: The combination of features makes these extremely versatile.

What to Consider: While they don’t come in tall sizing, they do come in regular and short.

We love that Patagonia has thought of almost everything to help keep us moving on the hiking trail. These multi-functional Quandary Pants won’t hold you back whether you encounter midday sun or some rock scrambles looking to snag a hole. With a lightweight feel and top-notch fit, comfort is at the helm of these hikers. They’re also roomy enough that if you need to add a base layer for warmth on colder days, you certainly can. They offer UPF 50+ sun protection, and the combination of nylon and spandex, more than half of which is recycled, gives our bottom half the flexibility to move and navigate the outdoors with ease.

While we wouldn’t suggest fording a river in these, a surprise rainstorm or wet spot on the trail won’t be a huge issue, as these pants are treated with a DWR (durable water-repellent) finish that keeps you dry in most conditions. The knee-level tabs allow you to transform these pants into capris if you get too hot, and five built-in pockets, including two with zippers, keep your belongings secure. For an all-around great hiking pant that’ll keep you comfortable, these tick all the boxes.

Price at time of publish: $79

Sizes: 0-22, regular and short | Material: 96 percent nylon, 4 percent spandex | Weight: 10.1 ounces | Water resistance: water-resistant

Best Budget: Baleaf Women's Quick-dry Water-resistant Lightweight Hiking Pants

Baleaf Women's Quick-dry Water-resistant Lightweight Hiking Pants

Amazon

Why We Love It: All the adjustable cords and ties make them easily tailored to fit your body correctly.

What to Consider: They tend to run a little big, so you should consider sizing down.

We love that the Baleaf Women’s Hiking Pants come in a spectrum of colors and are pleasing to the eye…and the wallet. A drawstring waist with elastic and bungee-cord ankle ties make these straightforward to adjust for fit and comfort while pesky bugs are kept away from the leg openings. Keep your keys and phone safely tucked into one of the three zippered pockets. The fabric blend promotes breathability, while flexibility is maintained by the four-way stretch. They also have quick-dry capabilities, which are ideal for hikers in any capacity. Since these pants sport thinner material, they’re more suited to hiking in warm to cool conditions versus really chilly temperatures. For quality mixed with a very budget-friendly price point, the Baleaf hiking pants are a solid choice for casual to moderately challenging hikes.

Price at time of publish: $35

Sizes: XS-XXXL | Material: 90 percent polyester, 10 percent spandex | Weight: Not listed | Water resistance: Water-resistant

Best Trail-to-town: Columbia Saturday Trail Pant

4.9
 Columbia Saturday Trail Pant

Backcountry

Why We Love It: They pack a punch for the price point.

What to Consider: The front slant pockets leave us wanting a bit more in room and security.

Color us impressed with the Columbia Saturday Trail Pant’s ability to go from casual lunch in town to a rugged hike or vice versa. They offer Omni-shade UPF 50 sun protection, water and stain resistance, and two-way stretch for ultimate range-of-motion in a light fabric that won’t trap heat or moisture. Articulated knees and an added gusset will have you climbing, stretching, and reaching with support instead of push-back from your pants. 

The mid-rise waist with belt loops is ideal for almost anyone, as are the options for regular fit (32-inch inseam), long (34-inch inseam), and short (30-inch inseam). They may run a bit on the smaller side, so it’s key to keep that in consideration when ordering. If your legs get too hot on the trail, simply roll up the leg bottoms, and voilà…you’ve got capris. No need to pack a change of clothes for your post-hike beers — the Saturday Trail Pant was built for social hangs as much as summit conquers.

Price at time of publish: $42-$70

Sizes: 2-16, regular, long, and short inseams | Material: 96 percent nylon, 4 percent elastane | Weight: 9.5 ounces | Water resistance: Water-resistant

Best Convertible: REI Co-op Sahara Convertible Pants

REI Co-op Sahara Convertible Pants

REI

Why We Love It: There’s no need to take your boots off when converting these from pants to shorts or vice versa.

What to Consider: The converted shorts have a 4.25-inch inseam, which may not be the preferred length for some people.

Zip-off pants but make them cool. That’s exactly what the REI Co-op Sahara Guide Convertible Pants have done. These were made for hiking in warmer climates, and switching from full pant leg to shorts is a breeze with the wide-leg design and quick-use zippers. Ankle drawstrings can turn these into joggers with cinching around the bottom as well. Although they aren’t suited for hiking in cold temperatures on their own, they are roomy enough to fit a base layer underneath. 

UPF+ 50 sun protection and water-resistant, quick-dry materials keep you protected and comfortable on the trail. In addition to all of the pant features that make these comfortable to hike in, we love that they were produced in Fair Trade-Certified factories and meet Bluesign criteria, which dictates the human and environmental health impacts of textile manufacturing. 

Price at time of publish: $90

Sizes: XS-XXXL | Material: 88 percent nylon, 12 percent spandex | Weight: 12 ounces | Water resistance: Water-resistant

Best Leggings: Rab Elevation Pants

Rab Elevation Pants

Moosejaw

Why We Love It: They have a slim, flattering fit.

What to Consider: The waist might be a bit tight as they tend to run on the smaller side.

We love how the Rab Elevation Pants have managed to blend the best of both leggings and soft-shell pants into one garment. The stream-lined classic fit of a legging that also features UPF 30 sun protection and can handle light weather situations with water- and stain-repellent fabric is a win for hikers. Store your ID or keys in the zippered thigh pocket so you don’t have to worry about losing important items along the trail. 

Although these pants don’t have belt loops, a drawcord tie on the inside of the waistband allows them to be pulled tighter if needed. For everything from easy day hikes to trekking in unfavorable weather, these leggings are more durable and hardy than your average yoga legging. They'll go the distance while keeping you warm and dry.

Price at time of publish: $37

Sizes: XS-XL | Material: 89 percent nylon, 11 percent elastane | Weight: 9.4 ounces | Water resistance: Water-resistant

Best Pockets: Outdoor Afro x REI Trail Pants

REI x Outdoor Afro Trail Pants

REI

Why We Love It: They come in an extensive range of sizes.

What to Consider: The waistband is cinched, which might not be the most comfortable fit for everyone.

We love the sheer versatility in sizing offered by the Outdoor Afro x REI Trail Pants, with petite, regular, and tall, and an elasticized waist with a drawstring for a tailored fit. The fact that they come in more neutral colors as well as bright and fun hues like teal and papaya is an added bonus. Wear these trail to town with confidence, and with so much pocket storage, you can leave your purse or bag behind. UPF 50 sun protection and snag-, water-, and stain-resistant fabric will have these as a staple in your hiking wardrobe for years to come.

"I have these pants in the teal glaze and absolutely love them. The waistband is extra-thick and high, which creates a nice cinched silhouette that I really love, and I also get tons of compliments on the bold color. They kept me perfectly comfortable and dry on a rainy day of rock climbing. Regardless of what I'm doing, I highly appreciate a garment that's loaded with tons of pockets (someone like me who's always losing things needs them!),” shares T+L commerce editor Lydia Price.

Price at time of publish: $100

Sizes: 0-16, tall and petite, 18-26W | Material: 94 percent nylon, 6 percent spandex | Weight: Not listed | Water resistance: Water-resistant

Best for Hot Weather: Mountain Hardwear Dynama/2 Ankle Pants

Mountain Hardwear Dynama2 Ankle Pants

REI

Why We Love It: Incredibly lightweight and packable, they’re ideal for hikers that travel.

What to Consider: They run a little big, so consider sizing down.

The Mountain Hardwear Dynama 2 Ankle Pants were made for hot-weather hiking. Their shorter crop happens to be ideal for petite frames as well. The sun is no match for the UPF 50 sun protection built into the pants, and they do a fantastic job at wicking moisture when you work up a sweat. The fabric stretches and moves well with you on the trail, and the wide waistband sits flat, bringing the comfort level of these pants to a new level. 

The hand pockets are deep enough that small items won’t fall out, and the zip pocket on the leg is the perfect size for your phone. They wash and dry in a jiffy as well, making them a great travel companion for those who love to explore the outdoors. Oh, and they style well for street or summit, so you can grab dinner or a drink to celebrate your hiking efforts without changing.

Price at time of publish: $79

Sizes: XS-XL | Material: 94 percent nylon, 6 percent elastane | Weight: Not listed | Water resistance: Water-resistant

Best High-waisted: Fjallraven Abisko Tights

Fjallraven Abisko Tights

REI

Why We Love It: Unassuming pockets on the sides fit what you need while staying stylish and streamlined.

What to Consider: The reinforced areas of the legging might take a little getting used to.

The 7/8 length and high-waist design make the Fjallraven Abisko Tights a home run for a legging that can meet a hiker’s demand without sacrificing comfort. The high waist tucks everything in nicely so you feel supported at your core without any waistband digging in. Designed specifically for trekking with a reinforced bum and knees, they won’t wear or tear easily during your adventures, either. 

Thick material will keep you warm while still wicking moisture with the best of them. These Fjallraven tights are for those who love the flexibility of being active in a legging while providing that extra support and highlights we crave from traditional hiking pants. Although they’re considered more of a splurge, their high-quality design and durability will make them more of an investment in something you’ll have for years to come. 

Price at time of publish: $120

Sizes: XS-XL | Material: 71 percent polyester, 29 percent elastane | Weight: 8.6 ounces | Water resistance: Water-resistant

Best for Cold Weather: Mountain Hardwear Yumalina Fleece-lined Pant

Mountain Hardwear Yumalina Fleece-Lined Pant

Backcountry

Why We Love It: They come in short, regular, and long to fit most body types.

What to Consider: There’s only one pocket, located on the thigh of the right leg.

Cold weather is no match for the Mountain Hardwear Yumalina Fleece-lined Pant, specifically designed to keep you warm when the temperatures drop. The soft, micro-fleece lining combined with the shell-style pants are like a warm hug when the conditions on your hike are not, and there’s room to add long underwear to maximize their use as well. The drawstring waist allows you to cinch them a bit tighter if needed, and the four-way stretch flows with your body and won’t restrict your movements as you hike. For those who get cold easily or like to hike through the winter months, these cozy but functional pants are an easy choice.

Price at time of publish: $89

Sizes: 0-16, short, regular, and long inseams | Material: 88 percent nylon, 12 percent elastane | Weight: 5.1 ounces | Water resistance: Water-resistant

Best for Rain: REI Co-op XeroDry GTX Pants

REI Co-op XeroDry GTX Pants

REI

Why We Love It: They don’t make as much noise when you walk as traditional rain pants.

What to Consider: They are not insulated, so wearing another layer underneath is necessary.

Who said hiking in the rain had to be miserable? Not in these; stay warm and dry in the REI Co-op XeroDry GTX pants with two layers of Gore-Tex protection. Despite being windproof and waterproof, these pants offer breathability, a crucial feature when hiking and working up a sweat. We love the ankle zippers for fitting over boots of all sizes and ease of taking the pants off or putting them on. They’re roomy without feeling bulky, so you can layer up to your liking underneath and still feel comfortable. They even pack up into their own pocket, so when the sun comes back out, you can whip them off and stow them quickly. 

Price at time of publish: $149

Sizes: XS-XL | Material: Polyester and two-layer Gore-tex paclite waterproof breathable laminate | Weight: 9.1  ounces | Water resistance: Waterproof

Most Flattering: Athleta Women’s Rainier Tights

4.8
Athleta Rainier ⅞ Tight

REI

Why We Love It: They offer a superior fit and feel.

What to Consider: They’re more suited for casual versus technical hiking.

We love Athleta’s Rainier tight for the plush feel and all-around flattering fit, with a high waistband, moderate compression, and 7/8 length. They hug your lower half in all the right places while being functional up to high-impact physical activity with quick-drying material. These can easily go from a morning yoga class to coffee and an afternoon hike to dinner in town. The Rainer looks good with anything from hiking boots to sneakers or sandals. Just because they’re leggings doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice storage space, either. A small drop-in pocket on the back of the waistband is ideal for your ID or credit card while side pockets with zippers can keep your phone secure on the trail.

Price at time of publish: $109

Sizes: XXS-XL, regular, petite, and tall | Material: 78 percent recycled nylon, 22 percent lycra spandex | Weight: Not listed | Water resistance: Water-resistant

Tips for Buying Women’s Hiking Pants

Think about your storage needs

Pockets are a handy feature in any piece of clothing, but with hiking pants you really need a pocket that offers security as well. Losing your keys on the trail is not ideal, so if you’re storing them in your hiking pants pockets, it’d better be one with a zipper. When shopping for hiking pants, it’s a good idea to find a pair with at least one or two solid pockets with deep enough storage for your phone or other small but important items. It’s also key to take the placement of the pockets into consideration when trying the pants on as you don’t want to put something in there and have it rub uncomfortably as you move along the trail. You’ll also want to avoid designs that are hard to access like back or waist pockets that could be hard to reach with a large backpack on. Leggings tend to have fewer pockets than traditional hiking pants; however, it all depends on your pocket needs. You can always carry a backpack if you prefer not to have anything weighing your legs down.

Look for at least some water resistance

It’s not always ideal to hike in waterproof pants as they tend to not be the most comfortable option for a long haul, but having a pair of hikers that are made with water-resistant material is a must for people who hike even semi-regularly. That way, getting caught in a quick rain shower or a persistent drizzle isn’t a huge deal. When browsing for hiking pants, look out for a DWR (durable water-repellent) fabric coating, which will make water bead up and wick off the pants, though they won’t be completely waterproof.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • What materials are good for hiking pants?

    Fabric hugely impacts the comfort, functionality, and price of hiking pants. Finding the best balance of durability, breathability, flexibility for movement, water resistance, and comfort is going to ultimately affect your hiking experience. Typically, the best option for this is in synthetic-blend with fabrics like polyester, nylon, and spandex/elastane. Together, they offer material that won’t absorb water but instead wick it away, durability to prevent snags and tears, and flexibility so the pants move with you as you navigate the hiking trails. Cotton is usually a good one to avoid as it tends to absorb water and takes longer to dry while also sticking to your skin for an overall uncomfortable situation.

  • How should hiking pants fit?

    We all have different body types and there are many styles to choose from, so it mostly comes down to your personal preference. Hiking pants should be comfortable enough to wear all day long (or for several days on certain hiking trips) and have a good mix of being somewhat form-fitting without restricting your movements. The waist should fall on a comfortable spot for you without digging in, and the length should be appropriate for your height so it’s neither too short nor too long. 


    If you want the ability to add a base layer underneath, it might make sense to look for a relaxed-fit pair of hiking pants that will naturally be a bit roomier. If you prefer a slimmer, more streamlined fit that a legging or straight-leg pant offers, make sure the material is flexible enough to give as your body moves. Some pants in this style will have articulated knees and gussets to help with that by adding extra fabric or seams in areas that see pulling and stretching of the fabric the most. 

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

A hiking enthusiast herself, Lauren Breedlove used her personal experience with finding the right pants for hiking in a variety of conditions around the world to curate this list. In her own search, she’s worn a wide variety of styles to find the perfect fit for her. She also scoured the internet, researching and selecting the best pants for every type of trail, condition, and body type. 

Up Next: The Best Packable Jackets for Women and Men

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