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Patagonia Simple Guide Pant - Women's Review


Hiking Pants for Women

  • Currently 4.0/5
Overall avg rating 4.0 of 5 based on 1 review. Most recent review: March 16, 2015
Price:   $99 List
Pros:  Extremely stretchy and comfortable, most moveable, water resistant, breathes well
Cons:  No convertible features.
Manufacturer:   Patagonia
Review by: McKenzie Long ⋅ Senior Review Editor, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ March 16, 2015  
Discontinued - Update, March 2015
The Simple Guide Pants have been discontinued and replaced by the Patagonia RPS Pant. More detail on the new version is included below and you may also want to check out the Best Hiking Pant for Women.

A pair of lightweight softshell pants that have articulated knees and are part spandex, the Patagonia Simple Guide is very flexible and water resistant. The combination spandex and polyester material cuts down on the breathability ever so slightly, allowing other pairs to edge ahead in that area.The Simple Guide has a streamlined, comfortable design with just the right features for hiking and climbing, such as durability, weather resistance, and a zippered thigh pocket.

If the most important feature in your hiking pants is for them to move as you move, then the Patagonia Simple Guide Pants are a wise choice. These are the best choice for long alpine climbing approaches since they double as an excellent climbing pant and hiking pant. The Arc'teryx Palisade Pant - Women's is also extremely comfortable and flexible, though they are not as durable and are more expensive than the Simple Guide. If you are looking for the most ideal pant for a long hiking or backpacking trip, the lighter Marmot Lobo's Convertible Pant- Women's has the best combination of attributes. They convert into three different pairs of pants and breathe better than the Simple Guide pant.

RELATED: Our complete review of hiking pants - women's

  • Photos
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review

New version Patagonia RPS Pant vs. Discontinued Patagonia Simple Guide

The Simple Guide is being discontinued, and the replacement is called the RPS Pant. Patagonia provided us the following info about the replacement.

"The key differences are, the RPS Pants are slightly thinner. They use a 4.5oz - 52% nylon/48% polyester stretch plain weave instead of the Simple Guide's 6.2-oz 91% all-recycled polyester/9% spandex double weave. As you can see, the Simple Guide Pants also uses spandex instead of nylon/polyester and therefore, had a bit more stretch than the RPS pants will have. Both pants had an articulated technical fit. The RPS Pants have 5 pockets, but only one (the leg cargo pocket) is zippered. All of the pockets (4), were zippered on the Simple Guide Pants.

In short, the RPS pants are designed as more of a technical climbing pant, than an all around mountaineering pant, like the Simple Guide Pants."

— Patagonia

Pictured on the very left (below) is the Simple Guide; on the right in purple, you will find the new replacement, the RPS Pant.
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A lightweight softshell pant, the Simple Guide is heavier and less breathable than other hiking pants in this review, but in turn are more suitable to alpine rock climbing or spring ski touring. This pair would make the best cool weather hiking pant.

Performance Comparison

Hiking in Yosemite in the Patagonia Simple Guide Pants. These pants are stretchy and comfortable, though thicker and heavier than other models.
Credit: Kevin Smith

Comfort & Fit

Even though they are slightly thicker than other pants in this review, the Simple Guide Pants are extremely comfortable to hike in. The pants have a slim fit, being form fitting around the rear and thigh, which makes them flattering and particularly comfortable. The spandex included in the matarial makes the pants conform to fit to your body.


These pants are made out of 100% recycled polyester, and breathe decently well and even though they have no convertible features built in. They can still be rolled up at the cuffs for more temperature regulation while hiking or climbing. Lighter weight options such as the ExOfficio Nomad Roll-Up Pant - Women's or zip-off pants like The North Face Paramount II Convertible Pant - Women's will offer more ventilation.

Weather Resistance

These pants protect against the elements with a water-resistant DWR treatment. They will get wet in a downpour but they dry quickly, which a huge plus.


The Simple Guide Pant has one zippered rear pocket, two zippered hand pockets, and one thigh pocket. The zippered thigh pocket is well placed for use with a pack waist belt or a climbing harness. If you are planning a long backpacking trip, these would not be the most ideal pants. Though they are comfortable and easy to move in, they have no convertible features like other pants in this review, and no waist adjustment for on-the-go changes after wearing for multiple days in a row.


The Patagonia Simple Guide Pants are amazingly stretchy and comfortable and move well with you while hiking. They are gusseted under the legs, have articulated knees, and constructed with 9 percent spandex, making them very flexible and moveable pants. These same features are what makes them ideal for rock climbing, particularly alpine climbing. Lengthy multi-pitch routes typically involve a long-ish hike to the climb, which demands a pant that is comfortable to hike in as well as climb in, and these pants fit the bill.

Best Application

The Simple Guide pants are best used on long climbing approaches, short spring ski tours, or hikes that involve a lot of scrambling. Since they are the stretchiest and easiest to move in, they also are the best for climbing. They make the best pants for an adventure that involves more than simply hiking, but are not the best choice for a backpacker. Those wanting to do multi-day hikes will be more comfortable in something like the Columbia PFG Aruba Convertible Pant - Women's.


The Simple Guide Pants are on the upper end of the price spectrum for hiking pants, but they are very cleverly constructed and comfortable. For a softshell pant, they are a great deal. Since Patagonia offers a reliable satisfaction guarantee, buying these is virtually risk free.

Other Versions

Patagonia RPS Rock Pant - Women's
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  • Cost - $90
  • Updated Version of the Simple Guide Pant

Patagonia Dual Point Alpine Pant - Women's
  • Cost - $200
  • Beefy, Alpine women's pant
  • Removable suspenders
  • Dual thigh pockets

McKenzie Long

OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews

Most recent review: March 16, 2015
Summary of All Ratings

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Patagonia Simple Guide Pant
Credit: Patagonia
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