The Best Hiking Pant for Women Review

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Melissa Krocker wearing the OR Reverie pant on a bike tour through India. The lightweight, quick-drying material makes them perfect for traveling and wearing for days on end.
Credit: Melissa Krocker
After wearing these pants day in and day out, on short day hikes, overnight backpacking trips, on airplanes, traveling around towns, and on mountain bike and climbing adventures, we came up with some distinguishing criteria for women's hiking pants. We evaluated these pants on the technical qualities that make them ideally suited to hiking such as mobility, breathability and moisture wicking ability, and water and wind resistance. We also noted that some pants have useful features that make a hiking pant easier to wear, such as an integrated belt, and some come with convertible options, providing multiple ways to wear your pants and regulate your temperature on a long hike.

Read the full review below >

Review by: McKenzie Long ⋅ Review Editor, OutdoorGearLab April 21, 2012

Top Ranked Hiking Pants - Women's Displaying 1 - 3 of 3 << Previous | View All | Next >>
Our Ranking #2 #1 #3
Product Name
Patagonia Simple Guide Pant - Women's
Patagonia Simple Guide Pant - Women's
Read the Review
Arc'teryx Palisade Pant - Women's
Arc'teryx Palisade Pant - Women's
Read the Review
Patagonia Byway Pant - Women's
Patagonia Byway Pant - Women's
Read the Review
Editors' Awards  Top Pick Award  Editors' Choice Award   
Street Price $99
Compare at 5 sellers
$139
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Varies $43 - $79
Compare at 2 sellers
Overall Score
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86
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74
Editors' Rating
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User Rating Be the first to rate itBe the first to rate itBe the first to rate it
Pros Extremely stretchy and comfortable, most moveable, water resistant, breathes wellSoft, lined waist with integrated belt, 2 zippered thigh pockets, articulated knees and gusseted crotch.Comfy, stylish, wrinkle and water resistant, convert to capris.
Cons No convertible features.Not very durable material, no UPF rating or convertible features.Belt buttons lack function, the dual function pockets seem unnecessary.
Best Uses Day hikes, long climbing approaches, multi-pitch climbs.Day-hiking, backpacking, climbing.Traveling, day-hiking, around town.
Date Reviewed Mar 08, 2012Jun 10, 2012Mar 08, 2012
Weighted Scores Patagonia Simple Guide Pant - Women's Arc'teryx Palisade Pant - Women's Patagonia Byway Pant - Women's
Comfort - 20%
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
8
Breathability - 20%
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
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7
Weather Resistance - 20%
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
7
Features - 20%
10
0
7
10
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8
10
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8
Mobility - 20%  
10
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10
10
0
9
10
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7
Product Specs Patagonia Simple Guide Pant - Women's Arc'teryx Palisade Pant - Women's Patagonia Byway Pant - Women's
Weight 301 g / 10.6 oz 268 g / 9.5 oz 340 g / 12 oz
Fabric 96% nylon/4% spandex, with a Deluge® DWR TerraTexâ¢âNylon/Spandex blend 52% nylon/ 48% polyester plain weave, with a DWR (durable water repellent) finish
Pockets 2 hand, 2 zip on rear, one zip on side 2 hand, 2 zip on side 2 front zip pockets with button flaps, one cargo pocket, 2 rear button pockets
Zip-Off or Roll-Up? None None roll up with 1 button into capris
UPF? 40 UPF None No
Other Features gusseted crotch, articulated knees Integrated clip belt, soft fabric on waistline, gusseted crotch, articulated knees DWR, snap adjust on waist
Comments Very stretchy and comfortable, really move with you well while walking $139 Comfortable and well fitting, the snap adjust on waist does not really work, button/zip pockets seem unnecessary

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review



Mobility & Comfort
When hiking, it is essential to have pants that move with you to prevent chafing and to allow you to move as fast as you want to go. The Patagonia Simple Guide Pants and the Arc'teryx Palisade Pants excelled in this category, both being made of part spandex to give them a stretchy, flexible edge over the other contenders. They also both have the unique construction of a gusseted crotch and articulated knees to allow for the most movement possible in a pair of pants. The OR Reverie also has articulated knees, and since they are the lightest and airiest pair of hiking pants, move with you very well. The least flexible pants were the Patagonia Byway pant, which felt constricting around the thigh.

Breathability / Sweak Wicking
All of the pants in this review are made out of synthetic materials that wick sweat away from the skin. Once again the OR Reverie scores the highest by virtue of being the lightest. The thin, light nylon makes them the most breathable and the quickest material to dry. The Arc'teryx Palisade Pant is mostly nylon, and is runner up for breatheing well and drying quickly. The Patagonia Simple Guide, while breathable and flexible, is thicker and part polyester, making them warmer but slightly less breathable than the Reverie.

Water / Wind Resistance
All of the pants reviewed with the exception of the Palisade Pant, have a DWR treatment, adding water resistant properties to the nylon or polyester fabrics that make up the pants. Each pair holds up to a light sprinkling or a walk through tall, dew covered grasses. However, in a downpour none of them will stay completely dry. Each pair in this review seems to stand up to wind fairly well, with the Simple Guide being the best by virtue of being the thickest and the Reverie allowing the most wind through since they are the thinnest.

Sun Protection
Clothing with a UPF Rating is not essential for hiking clothes. However, garments like this are extremely beneficial if you plan to hike in an area that is either near the equator or at high altitude, or if you are hiking near snowfields or bodies of water, all of which give you extra exposure to the sun's damaging ultraviolet rays. Now there are more and more outdoor clothes being produced with high UPF ratings to shield the wearer from the sun's radiation. To learn more about UPF rated clothing, reference our hiking pants Buying Advice article.

The pants in this review that have UPF protection are the TNF Paramount Peak Pant, with a UPF rating of 30, and the OR Reverie, with the fantastic sun protection rating of UPF 50+. Neither of the Patagonia pants reviewed or the Arc'teryx Palisade Pant has a UPF rating, which means that they provide under 15 UPF.

Useful Hiking Features
One of the things that make technical hiking pants stand out from other technical pants such as softshell pants or climbing pants is the features tailored specifically to hikers such as number and placement of pockets, convertibility, and a waist cinching feature.

The pants with the most pockets is the TNF Paramount Peak, with two hand pockets, two front cargo pockets, and two rear pockets. Both the Simple Guide and the Reverie, in addition to hand and rear pockets, have one thigh zippered pocket, which is the most ideal place for a pocket while hiking. As long as you do not fill it with something so bulky that it bangs your leg, it is easily accessible while walking and does not interfere with the waist belt of your pack. The zipper keeps important essentials from getting lost. The Byway pant has two zip or button hand pockets, two rear pockets, and one cargo pocket on the calf, which is a little low to be ideally placed. The Palisade Pant has two zippered pockets on the thigh, and they are large enough for maps, snacks, or any other important accessory that needs to be easily accessible.

The pants that do not have a convertible feature are the Simple Guide Pants and the Palisade Pants. Both the Reverie and the Byway pant convert to capris with a roll and button feature. The Paramount Peak pant also buttons into capris, but additionally zips off into shorts, making them the most versatile pant when it comes to wear options. For more advice on whether or not to buy zip-off hiking pants, check out our Buying Advice article to read about the pros and cons of convertible pants and to see what an Appalachian Trail thru-hiker thinks about these pants.

Since all pants tend to stretch out when worn for multiple days in a row, particularly pants you are moving and sweating in, the fit of the waist of a pair of hiking pants is a big concern, particularly for women. The pants can fit perfectly when you buy them, but after a few days on the trail they can be falling off. The simple solution is to wear a belt, but for a hiker who doesn't want to carry another item that adds weight, this can be annoying. Most hiking pants have a way to deal with this issue, and some work better than others. The Byway pant has two snap tabs on the waist, presumably to cinch the waist tighter by snapping in the smaller snap, but these come undone very easily and don't make the waist much tighter. The Paramount Peak Pant has a drawstring, yet it is hard to tie and it is difficult to get them to stay tight enough with the string. The Reverie and Palisade Pant handles this best by having an integrated belt that can be made tighter or looser, and this feature hardly adds any weight to the already lightweight pants.

The Bottom Line
EDITORS' CHOICE AWARD
The Arc'teryx Palisade Pant - Women's wins our Best in Class award for conforming to our light and fast philosophy of gear that is functional, stripped down to the necessities, and will aid you in your outdoor pursuits with clever features.

TOP PICK AWARD
The Top Pick goes to the Patagonia Simple Guide Pant - Women's, for being the stretchiest and most comfortable pants that we reviewed. These are the best pants to wear if you are doing more than one activity, such as hiking and climbing or biking all in one day.


Best long distance hiking or backpacking pant: TNF Paramount Peak
Best pant for the weight conscious hiker: OR Reverie Pant

Also check out our Dream Hiking Gear List as well.

McKenzie Long
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