The Best Hiking Pant for Women Review

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Veronica Palmer, northbound PCT hiker, shows off the lightweight Columbia Aruba Pants. In the heat of the desert, these pants provide great breathability and the light, neutral color reflects heat away from the body.
Credit: Austin Palmer
You wouldn't plan your next hiking trip without pants, but with so many options, how do you know which women's hiking pants are best suited for your next adventure? We tested eight of the best models to answer that question. We wore pants that roll, buckle, snap, and zip and pairs that convert to capris, shorts, or both. We wore all pairs with hiking boots and sandals, and we found some were versatile enough to wear both on the trail and in town. We hiked, biked, and climbed for months in the desert and in the mountains, and we traveled thousands of miles in cars and planes. Our ratings are based on comfort while partaking in various activities, breathability in warm and cool temperatures, weather resistance and the technology to dry quickly, features such as zip-off pant legs that convert to shorts, and mobility while doing the things we love outdoors! Below is a thorough rating of each pair compared side by side.

Also, check out our buying advice to learn more about how to select the perfect pair for you. Don't miss our other hiking related articles: Women's Hiking Boots, Women's Hiking Shoes, and Women's Backpacking Backpacks.

Read the full review below >

Review by: ⋅ Review Editor, OutdoorGearLab

Top Ranked Hiking Pants - Women's Displaying 1 - 5 of 8 << Previous | View All | Next >>
Our Ranking #2 #3 #1 #8 #5
Product Name
ExOfficio Nomad Roll-Up Pant - Women's
ExOfficio Nomad Roll-Up Pant - Women's
Read the Review
Prana Halle
Prana Halle
Read the Review
Marmot Lobo's Convertible Pant - Women's
Marmot Lobo's Convertible Pant - Women's
Read the Review
Patagonia Simple Guide Pant - Women's
Patagonia Simple Guide Pant - Women's
Read the Review
Columbia PFG Aruba Convertible Pant - Women's
Columbia PFG Aruba Convertible Pant - Women's
Read the Review
Editors' Awards    Top Pick Award  Editors' Choice Award     
Street Price Varies $60 - $75
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User Rating Be the first to rate itBe the first to rate itBe the first to rate itBe the first to rate itBe the first to rate it
Pros Lightweight, soft Nylon material, fleece-lined waistband, pocketsFeminine fit, many adjustment options, mobile, comfortable, articulated kneesVersatile, stretchy, lightweight, feminine fit, Blue Sign approved fabric, mobileExtremely stretchy and comfortable, most moveable, water resistant, breathes wellLightweight, breathable, relaxed fit
Cons Very loose fit, sizing is offPilling, weak buttons, not very breathable, small pockets, heavyToo tight to wear a base layer, longer shorts lengthNo convertible features.Unflattering, not wind resistant, few features, small waistband button closure
Best Uses Three season hiking, backpacking, travelingThree season hiking and climbing, traveling, around town wearThree season hiking,backpacking, climbing, biking, and travelingDay hikes, long climbing approaches, multi-pitch climbs.Three season hiking, traveling, backpacking
Date Reviewed Jun 24, 2014Jun 24, 2014Jun 23, 2014Jun 24, 2014Jun 24, 2014
Weighted Scores ExOfficio Nomad Roll-Up Pant - Women's Prana Halle Marmot Lobo's Convertible Pant - Women's Patagonia Simple Guide Pant - Women's Columbia PFG Aruba Convertible Pant - Women's
Comfort - 20%
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8
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9
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8
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8
Breathability - 20%
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6
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10
Weather Resistance - 20%
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8
Features - 20%
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Mobility - 20%  
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Product Specs ExOfficio Nomad Roll-Up Pant - Women's Prana Halle Marmot Lobo's Convertible Pant - Women's Patagonia Simple Guide Pant - Women's Columbia PFG Aruba Convertible Pant - Women's
Weight 8.4 oz 12 oz 8.5 oz 14.1 oz 9 oz
Inseam (from crotch to cuff) 31 in 31 in 34 in 32 in 30 in
Fabric 100% Nylon 97% Nylon, 3% Spandex 93% Nylon, 7% Elastane Plain Weave 91% all-recycled polyester/9% spandex double weave 100% Nylon (omni wick, omni shade)
Pockets 2 hand, 2 back, 2 side zip 2 hand, 2 back (button), 1 side zip 2 hand, 2 side zip, 2 back 2 hand, 1 on rear, one thigh cargo 2 hand, 2 cargo
Zip-Off or Roll-Up? roll up roll up roll up & zip off None zip off
UPF? upf 30 None upf 30 None upf 30
Integrated Belt? no yes, drawstring yes, drawstring no no
Fit Features treated with teflon, lightweight, wrinkly resistant, available in petite, relaxed modern rise 3 inseams- short, regular, tall, articulated knees, dwr finish, relaxed fit, mid rise abrasion resistant nylon, dwr finish, inseam gusset panel, blue sign approved fabric dwr treatment, available in short, regular, and tall, articulated knees elastic waist (partial), relaxed fit, lightweight

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review


  • Review Photos
  • Editors' Choice Winners
  • All Reviewed Products

Selecting the Right Product
Do you prefer to hike in pants or shorts? Or both, depending on the environment? With an extensive selection of hiking pant options it can be a challenge just to decide what to wear, let alone where to go. We took the guesswork out of your next purchase by comparing eight of the most popular pants side by side. We focused on comfort, breathability, weather resistance, features, and mobility. In our observations, we found that all of the selections in our review had an ideal time and place, but only a couple were suitable for any adventure. The highest ratings were awarded to models that excelled in all of our rating metrics, such as the Marmot Lobo's Convertible Pant - Women's, our Editors' Choice Award Winner, and the Top Pick Award Winner, the Prana Halle. Some rated high in particular metrics yet didn't quite measure up in others, such as the Columbia Aruba Convertible, which are lightweight, breathable, and offer features such as UPF rating, but they don't have a flattering fit and lack versatility. We paid close attention to what distinguishes a pair of pants for hiking and where we would most prefer each style. This played a large role in our ratings as well- a hiking pant must excel on the trail and wherever else we may wander, including happy hour!

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The relaxed fit of the Columbia Arubas were appreciated on cold mornings - we found it comfortable to layer beneath the baggy fitting pants. By lunch time, it is easy to convert back to a single pant layer or shorts on the warmest days. They are versatile in changing conditions on long-term backpacking trips.
Credit: Austin Palmer

Types of Hiking Pants
It is common for hikers and travelers to seek out articles of clothing that are multi purpose and capable of covering miles of dirt trail in varying and unforeseen weather conditions while upholding a degree of style for the casual Fridays at work.

Almost all of the models in our review offer some type of convertible features. Pants like the Columbia Aruba convert into shorts by zipping off the lower portion of the leg, while models like the Prana Halle offer the option to roll up the lower portion of the leg into a long Capri length, which then attaches with snaps to secure the rolls in place. Then version like the Marmot Lobo's and The North Face Paramount II Convertible Pant - Women's can do both.

There are essentially three types:

Standard Pants
Pants that only function as pants, this style offers zero versatility in the way of conversion but may be well suited for those who have a wardrobe focused on a particular climate. Still highly mobile, breathable, and quick-drying, these pairs are well-suited to use outdoors and are often lighter weight than convertible pants, which have many additional zippers and buttons. The Arc'teryx Palisade Pant Women's and the Patagonia Simple Guide Pant Women's are the only models we tested in this category. This style is works for both work and play due to the simpler design suitable for wearing to the office and around town.

Roll-Up
This style features legs that roll up to capri length (typically or 1/3 of the pant leg) and secure with a button or snap, converting between full length and length. This provides the versatility of serving as two pair of pants in one. This style is well suited for wading through water, climbing, and adding ventilation in warmer weather. This feature is nice for wearing with sandals, as well. An example of this style is the Kuhl Splash Roll Up Pant Women's.

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(L to R) Prana Halle, Kuhl Splash Roll Up, TNF Paramount II Convertible, ExOfficio Nomad Roll Up, Marmot Lobos Convertible. <br>
While the placement of securing buttons/ tabs/ snaps vary in height, most of the pants can be rolled higher or lower - the Prana Halle and the North Face Paramount IIPants have the most structure for staying put, should you decide to roll up higher or lower than the securing points.
Credit: OutdoorGearLab

Zip-Off
This style includes models that zip off to become shorts, which also often but not always, include a roll-up feature. This style has zippers that circumference the thigh (typically mid-way between the knee and the hip crease, although lengths of shorts will vary), and the lower + of the pant leg can be removed entirely by pulling over shoes, left to rest around the ankles to serve as gaiters, or left unzipped partially for added ventilation. These models are well suited for hikers and outdoor recreationists intending to travel longer distances and/or for longer periods of time where weather forecasting and conditions may not be readily available during the planning stages. Zip-off models excel in the mountains where cool mornings and hot afternoons are typical. This style is also suitable for those looking to simplify their wardrobe and acquire versatile articles of clothing.

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(L to R) Columbia Aruba Convertible, TNF Paramount II, Marmot Lobos Convertible. <br>
Side by side, you can see the different lengths of these three pants when converted to shorts. These three are the only pants in our review that convert into shorts. Of the three, the Columbia Aruba are the only pair that did not also convert into secured, roll up capris.
Credit: OutdoorGearLab

For more information on what distinguishes the pant styles and how to choose the best style for your adventures, check out our buying advice.

Criteria for Evaluation

Comfort and Mobility
In times of adventure, it is essential to be comfortable. Hiking, bending over to retrieve gear from a pack, cartwheels, summit yoga poses, high steps, and climbing all demand mobility. Spending long days on the trail, climbing mountains, mountain biking, or traveling, all call for comfortable clothes. Hiking pants should be comfortable enough to transition into any adventure that awaits, and comfort is often due to the fit, fabric, and construction.

We wore the Kuhl Splash Roll-Up pants while preparing camp, collecting...
We wore the Kuhl Splash Roll-Up pants while preparing camp, collecting water, and cooking. They excelled at bending, lifting, and moving around, never falling loose or tightening up. We love that we can trust these pants to stay comfortable, securely fastened, and mobile.
Credit: Briana Valorosi

Outdoor clothing companies utilize a variety of fabrics, from nylon to spandex to polyester to proprietary blends such as Omni wick and Terra Tex. Each fabric offers unique properties for fast drying, mobility, durability, ease of washing, the ability to repel dirt and stains, etc. Each fabric also offers a varying degree of comfort. The Kuhl Splash Roll Ups are made of 68% cotton, which remains soft to the touch and comfortable against the skin. See our buying advice article for a description of different common fabrics as well as their pros and cons so you can select the type most suitable to your adventure.

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(L to R) Prana Halle, Kuhl Splash, TNF Paramount II, Columbia Aruba, ExOfficio Nomad, Marmot Lobos. From the front view, the side by side comparison offers an opportunity to see the different rises, inseams, lengths, and fits. The Columbia Aruba have the loosest fit while the Marmot Lobos have the slimmest fit.
Credit: OutdoorGearLab
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(L to R Prana Hall, Kuhl Splash, TNF Paramount II, Columbia Aruba, ExOfficio Nomad, Marmot Lobos. The rear view shows the fit of each pant and its ability to flatter (or not, in some cases). The Prana Halle and Kuhl Splash have well designed back pockets. The Columbia Aruba do not have back pockets. TNF Paramount II, ExOfficio Nomad, and the Marmot Lobos have simple pocket designs that are least intrusive when active or sitting.
Credit: OutdoorGearLab

Mobility is determined by both the stretch in the fabric and the restriction of movement from the construction. The better a pant moves with you, not against you, the better the mobility. A gusseted crotch and articulated knees expand the range of motion. The Arcteryx Palisade and Prana Halle both offer gusseting and articulated knees while both the Halle and the Marmot Lobo's excel in comfort and mobility. These two pairs are designed with spandex and elastane in the fabric to provide plenty of stretch, never restricting movement.

As for other comfort details, the Marmot Lobo's and the ExOfficio Nomad Roll-Up Pant - Women's have fleece lined waistbands, which we found incredibly luxurious on the trail.

Breathability
Whether we find ourselves on a leisurely hike or we set high mileage goals for long distance travel, good breathability is responsible for keeping us cool and dry. Our bodies generate heat as we exert energy during activities. Our breathability ratings assess the airflow through the fabric, the ventilation systems in place, and the technology for wicking sweat away from the body. The ExOfficio Nomad are lightweight and loose fitting, allowing airflow through the fabric. The roll up feature on these and many other of our test models allows for ventilation around the lower leg and foot. The Columbia Aruba Convertible have mesh-lined pockets that allow for added airflow on the upper thigh ,and are also designed with proprietary Omni wick fabric that wicks moisture away from the body. Heavier weight models, such as The North Face Paramount II offer less breathability than others in the review, but with the ability to convert into shorts with ease, temperature can be managed. The Kuhl Splash Roll Up are made of 63% cotton, which is known for its inability to wick away moisture efficiently.

Water Resistance
You may not leave the trailhead with the expectation of rain, but it is nice to have a pant that will stand up to weather, wet dogs, and spilled water bottles. Our water resistance score is a measure of how well the test models managed water, either precipitation or otherwise. Some dried fast while others required hours of hanging to dry. This metric is also important when considering travel - washing clothes in sinks is only efficient if they will dry before we need them again. New technologies such as Teflon or Scotch Guard treatments force water to bead off of the material. In minor precipitation, most of the pants kept us dry. The Prana Halle, the Marmot Lobo's Convertible, and the North Face Paramount II are coated with a DWR treatment that inhibits water from soaking in. ExOfficio has treated the Nomad Roll Up with Teflon to increasewater resistant properties. The Kuhl Splash Roll Up are designed with a proprietary uberkuhl fabric, unique to Kuhl, for quick dry performance. While all of the test models provide some water resistance, it is important to note that none are intended for continuous wear in wet environments, constant rain, or in water specific and winter activities.

Features
Every pair in our review has notable hiking specific features. While it is possible to find comfort, mobility, breathability, and water resistance in many technical pants, these hiking pants have features tailored toward hikers - those spending hours, days, and months on the trail.

Three pairs in our review, the Columbia Aruba, North Face Paramount II, and Marmot Lobo's, convert into shorts. A zipper circumferences both thighs so that the lower -2/3 of the pant leg can be removed entirely and then worn as gaiters around your ankles or tucked into your backpack. The North Face Paramount II has unique cord loops on the back of the waistband for simple and secure storage of the removed leg portions. The leg zippers also create added ventilation when partially unzipped. This feature is versatile enough for a wide range of weather and trail conditions, allowing you to pack less clothing.

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Converted into shorts, the Columbia Arubas remain loose fitting without any tightness around the zippered thigh area.
Credit: Ryan Edwards

The Kuhl Splash, Prana Halle, and ExOfficio Nomad are designed to roll-up and secure the lower portion of the leg in a conversion to capri length pants. The fastening designs vary from buttons or snap closures to cord and cuff loops. This feature is great for wading across streams, creating added ventilation at the ankles and calves, and keeping long lengths out of the dirt. While none of them rolled particularly high, typically mid-way between the ankle and knee, we found this feature to be particularly appreciated in spring and fall weather where shorts are too cold and long pants are too warm.

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The Nomad Pants can be rolled up or scrunched up and the closure functions well in both applications. We like the scrunched up look- just reach under the bottom of the pant legs, pull the cuffs out and around, then snap. It was simple and easy to convert these pants for river crossings as well as added ventilation on the warmest days.
Credit: Briana Valorosi

Sun protection is often assumed when wearing full length pants and is not a requirement in clothing, but some clothing equipped with UPF ratings to ensure that sun does not penetrate through the fabric and burn your skin. This feature is particularly beneficial when hiking through desert regions or high altitudes where tree cover is absent and the sun is very strong. Near bodies of water and snowfields, this feature adds protection against the sun's reflective properties and the likelihood of increased sun exposure. A UPF rating is found in all pairs in our review with the exception of the Arc'teryx Palisade, the Kuhl Splash Roll Up, and the Prana Halle.

Pockets are a notable feature on pants for hiking. With or without a backpack, it is convenient to access a camera, chapstick, and a snack with ease and while in stride. Pairs that offer large cargo pockets and secure back pockets allow for this easy access. The Kuhl Splash Roll Ups are designed with the largest cargo pockets and secure back pockets, including two secret pockets within the two back pockets, making it a breeze to access a camera, store an energy bar and keep your car keys safely tucked away. The ExOfficio Nomads have two upper thigh pockets that are accessible without bending over and add security with zippered closures. We loved the large velcro pockets of the North Face Paramount II. With the exception of the ExOfficio and the Columbia pairs, which have generous pockets, the front hand pockets tend to be too shallow to securely store much more than chapstick. All of the models in our test offer a minimum of four pockets so there is bound to be a secure storage option for essentials.

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Expanding cargo pockets accommodated small items like chap stick but were capable of carrying a point and shoot camera as well. Another design detail that we appreciated.
Credit: Briana Valorosi

After days on the trail, pants may tend to loosen and stretch at the waist. A belt offers a simple solution but for those looking to minimize the pack list and still be comfortable while drawstrings at the waistband, like on the Prana Halle and Marmot Lobo's Convertible allow for a secure and comfortable fit regardless of fluctuations in personal sizing and material stretch. The Arc'teryx Palisade offers something unique to the models in our review: an integrated belt that can be adjusted to tighten or loosen the fit. This feature simplifies the pants and eliminates the need for a separate belt.

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Although some testers voiced concerns about a puckered waistband when the drawstring is tied, we didn't find any discomfort and experienced minimal puckering of the pants. The drawstrings are lightweight and lay flat against the body. As seen from a top view, these low rise pants rest comfortably against the body.
Credit: Briana Valorosi

Editors' Choice: Marmot Lobo's Convertible
Spring in the desert presents cactus, dry heat, and of course opportun...
Spring in the desert presents cactus, dry heat, and of course opportunities for hiking and climbing. The Lobos stood up to the challenge and offered the best pants for the environment.
Credit: Rachel Walera
The Marmot Lobo's Convertible Pant - Women's stood out as the best pair in our review- the Lobo's are extremely comfortable, breathable in warm weather and during activity, and offers unparalleled design features such as a feminine fit and colorful details on the capris. While the Lobo's are the slimmest fitting, the stretch material offers excellent stretch and mobility. They dry fast when wet, convert easily to Bermuda length shorts and are lightweight. We love the mid-rise waist when backpacking as we don't have to worry about chaffing on our lower backs or having to constantly adjust the pants. This pair is functional and versatile, as well as stylish.

Best Buy: North Face Paramount II Convertible
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Veronica "Pixel" Palmer in front of the Middle Sister in the Three Sisters Wilderness in Oregon while on a PCT thru-hike. She is wearing the Best Buy winning North Face Paramount II Convertible pants for her long distance hike.
Credit: Austin Palmer

The The North Face Paramount II Convertible Pant - Women's are our Best Buy winners for being a tough and versatile pant. While this pair did not necessarily excel in all of our rating metrics, they are one of the most durable pairs and offer the versatility of converting to three different styles, all at an affordable price. The Paramount II can be a long pant, capri, and short. Essentially you are buying three pairs of pants in one! We favor these as shorts, and think that the change from a 10" short in the previous version, the Paramount Peak, to the 6" short on the Paramount Valley and Paramount II, is a plus. This shorter short is more flattering without being uncomfortably short. The difference between the Paramount Valley and the Paramount II is a slightly stretchier material, which makes them more comfortable and mobile.

Top Pick for Multi-Use Styling: Prana Halle
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The Prana Halle pant is designed with climbers in mind - the pants fit comfortably with a climbing harness and can be adjusted to a higher or lower waist height by utilizing the inner drawstring. Whether you prefer your pants above or below your climbing harness/ backpack/ ect, the drawstring allows for a customized fit regardless of your adventure.
Credit: Will Brommelsiek


Since zip-offs aren't winning any style awards on the runways, we give the flattering Prana Halle our Top Pick for women's hiking pants that can be comfortably worn for different activities and situations. Designed with climbers in mind, this pair easily ascends cliff faces, hikes well, and are stylish enough for casual wear. The stretch and range of motion in this pair is unparalleled. The option to roll them up is well suited for spring, summer, and fall conditions, while the nylon material is structured enough to remain in place if you desire a roll up higher or lower than the securing snaps. The relaxed fit and articulated knees keep the pants moving with you in comfort and the mid-rise waistline relieves worry of revealing your backside when bending over or climbing. The Halle are offered in three lengths- short, regular, and tall- and have a feminine, versatile fit capable of going from the trail to dinner in town.

Best Models for Specific Applications
Best for traveling: ExOfficio Nomad Roll Up
Best for backpacking: Marmot Lobo's Convertible or Columbia Aruba Convertible
Best for climbing: Prana Halle
Most versatile for work and play: Prana Halle or Arc'teryx Palisade
Best Shorts Conversion: North Face Paramount II Convertible

Briana Valorosi
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