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While shorts may seem logical for summer hikes or warm-climate treks, you might actually want to reach for a pair of hiking pants instead. Hiking pants can defend your legs against the sun, weather, and even natural hazards on the trail — think, getting scratched by bushes or bitten by bugs. And thanks to fabric technology and other neat features, you won’t feel constricted or overheated.
When shopping for the best pair of hiking pants, you should consider options made of stretchy materials that are highly breathable, quick-drying, and water-resistant, since you might be walking through streams or could get caught in an unexpected rain shower. They should also be lightweight, durable and rip-resistant, and shed dirt easily — especially if you plan to wear them on multi-day outings. Keep an eye out for features such as built-in UPF sun protection, inner snaps at the knees to convert them from full-length trousers to capris, and drawcords at the ankles to customize the fit and keep ticks and other critters out.
The great news is that today’s hiking pants combine function, comfort, durability, and style, making them a versatile bottom you can wear on the trail, to lunch, while traveling, or running errands. Below, shop the best hiking pants for women, according to customer reviews. (Related: A Newfound Passion for Hiking Has Kept Me Sane During the Pandemic)
Eddie Bauer Guide Pro Pants
With 92 percent of reviewers giving these pants four or five stars on Amazon, you’ll want to add a pair to your outdoor rotation ASAP. The lightweight bottoms are made with two-way stretch fabric and a durable water-repellent finish to move with you while offering protection from light rain or splashes from streams. Plus, they also feature built-in UPF sun protection, have cargo pockets to stash your essentials, and can easily pack down into a backpack for multi-day trips. And if you happen to be more pear-shaped, said they had no problem getting these pants over their hips thanks to the stretchy fabric. (Related: These UPF Clothes Will Protect Your Skin During Any Outdoor Activity)
One fan wrote “these pants are great for hiking the trails and stylish enough for everyday wear. I first bought them for my Alaskan vacation. The one day that it rained, the water repelled off and I stayed dry. There is sufficient stretching in the fabric to wear thermal pants underneath. I now have three pairs.”
Vuori Ripstop Pant
Rock these versatile pants hiking and literally, everywhere else. They have two-way stretch so you can scramble freely over rocks and an abrasion-resistant fabric that ensures they won’t rip or tear as you slide over fallen trees or pass by thorny bushes. The five-pocket design gives you lots of storage space and the modern, slim fit with the relaxed leg is flattering and comfortable. Choose from five earthy colorways, including army green, charcoal, and copper.
“I did a 10-mile hike and these pants worked out perfectly,” noted a shopper. “At one point we had to cross a small river and some water splashed and wet the bottom, and though these aren’t 100 percent waterproof they dried very quickly.”
Athleta Headlands Hybrid Cargo Tight
Made of recycled nylon, these high-performance hiking pants are also sustainable, so you can feel good about your purchase. The stretchy fabric won’t hinder your movements, it’s designed to withstand nicks and tears, packable to save space, and water-resistant to keep you dry in wet conditions. Not to mention, six secure zip pockets keep all your necessities safe on the trail and in town. (Related: The Best Hiking Shoes and Boots for Women)
“Been a fan of these pants for years, have all the colors they have offered,” raved a customer. “Great for lounging, running errands, hiking, even took them for a 6-mile run!! They have held up well over the year. Highly recommend!”
Columbia Saturday Trail Pant Pants
Reviewers love these pants so much, many noted that they own multiple pairs. They’re stain-resistant, repel water and moisture, and feature built-in UPF sun protection — everything you should consider when shopping for a durable hiking pant. Also nice? They have pockets for storing your essentials and roll-up legs that convert to capris when you start to heat up. (Related: I Wore This Breathable Face Mask On an 8-Day Hiking Trip)
One reviewer wrote: “Love these pants! Got my first pair and wore them all over Southeast Asia in high temps when sun and bugs warranted covering legs much of the time. An added bonus is that you can easily roll them up, and there’s a snap fixture inside (that you don’t feel) that will fasten to a well-disguised snap on the outside, transforming them to capris. Also, the side zipper pocket is great for stowing small items like a key, credit card, or money. They fit and wear well. I practically wore my first pair out I wore them so much. So bought another identical pair. They are casual and roomy enough to wear on demanding hikes, yet not too casual to wear with a blazer or dressy top and sandals. All around versatile pant.”
Cotopaxi Baja Pant
While they might not resemble a typical hiking pant, customers rave about this minimalistic legging-pant hybrid that can be worn on the trail, plane, or as an everyday option. Made of durable, weather-resistant, four-way stretch, the super-soft pants deliver on function and style. A concealed, side seam zip pocket provides a place for you to stash credit cards, IDs, and your passport, while the smooth, low-profile spandex waistband sits comfortably against your skin, so you can easily clip your daypack or hip belt around your waist with no interference. (Related: I Wore This Breathable Face Mask On an 8-Day Hiking Trip)
“I took these on an Italian hiking trip,” shared a customer. “Even the guide asked me about them and considered getting the men’s version. They are comfortable, lightweight, packable, and have just that slight bit of stylishness to take them above the ordinary travel/activewear pant.”
Prana Halle Straight
A favorite among hikers, bikers, and everyone in between, these pants are made of a stretchy material that easily moves with you, quick-drying technology to keep you cool and comfy, UPF 50+ to protect you from the sun, and wrinkle-resistant fabric so they maintain their shape on the trail and while packed in your bag. As an added bonus, there are hidden snaps at the knees, so that you can wear them as full-length trousers or roll them up into capris for more airflow in hot climates.
“My workhorse pants! I have eight or so pairs of these pants,” reported a shopper. “I am a wildlife photographer, and they are the ONLY pants I wear in the field. The fit is comfortable and flattering, there are plenty of pockets, and I love that I can roll them up when I am shooting shorebirds or in marshes and have to wade out in the water or mud. Mine get put to the test with frequent abuse and washings and they never fail.”
Baleaf Hiking Cargo Pants
This affordable trekking pant is as cute as it is functional. It’s lightweight, breathable, water-resistant, quick-drying, and has built-in UPF protection, making them ideal for warm-weather excursions. Another feature particularly great for muggy summer days is the adjustable cord lock around the cuff of the pants to keep bugs out during hikes. Also worth noting: These bottoms will fit a variety of body types, as one reviewer mentioned that these were the only hiking pants they found that accommodated their curves.
Mountain Hardwear Dynama 2 Ankle Pant
If you’re interested in a pair of cropped pants (and not a roll-up style trouser), opt for these hiking pants. They are made with super stretchy fabric, wick away water and moisture, and boast a zippered pocket to keep your valuables safe. Plus, they’ll look just as chic at dinner at the end of the day, as they will in all your Instagram photos on the trail. (Related: The Best Hiking Backpacks for Women)
One reviewer shared: “I’ve worn these climbing, hiking, on steamy hot days, and in the rain. So far, they’ve been some of my favorite pants. They’ve even been complimented in social situations. They’re cute, comfy, breathable, and dry quickly.”
The North Face Aphrodite 2.0 Pant
These hiking pants from The North Face check all the boxes: durable, lightweight, quick-drying, and stretchy. They have drawcords at the waist and ankles for a more personalized fit (and to keep bugs at bay), and pockets to stash your belongings. And, unlike other boxier pants, these have a tailored fit that hugs your body in a flattering, comfy way. (Related: The Best Hiking Sandals for Women That You Can Actually Trek In)
“Went on the search for the perfect hiking pant and found these at a retail store but purchased on Amazon to get them in a short inseam,” said a customer. “They are the best! They’re crazy soft and stretchy, super comfortable. I’m a pretty sweaty person, especially when I’m hiking, so I usually wear shorts but wanted the extra bug and sun protection of pants. I was worried pants would make me even more overheated, but these were great. They breathe super well and dry super fast.”