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The North Face Utility Hybrid Hiker - Women's Review

Techy tights that combine all the things we love about hiking pants and put them into a fashion-forward tight that functions on big trail days
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The North Face Utility Hybrid Hiker - Women's Review
Credit: The North Face
Price:  $80 List
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Manufacturer:   The North Face
By Meg Atteberry ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 9, 2019
  • Comfort and Mobility - 30% 7.0
  • Versatility - 15% 8.0
  • Durability - 15% 6.0
  • Weather Resistance - 15% 3.0
  • Features - 15% 9.0
  • Breathability - 10% 5.0

Our Verdict

The North Face Utility Hybrid Hiker Tights are stylish yet functional, expanding the definition of hiking pants. The fabric allows for a full range of movement, while the features add tons of function and style. They perform well on clear weather days in cooler to mild conditions, but these pants don't breathe as well as we would like. The functional pockets double as a fashionable feature that not only look great but work well. These pants push the limits of what a hiking tight can be.
Great pockets
Fashionable and functional
Lots of mobility
Don’t breath well
Potentially awkward fit
Slow to dry

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Utility Hybrid is a unique addition to our lineup. They are technically a hiker tight, but their features create a fashion-forward look that isn't your typical set of tights. Not to mention, the big, zippered pockets function much like a hiking pant. All this makes them part mobile tights, part pants, and part fashion statement.

Performance Comparison

the north face utility hybrid hiker for women - testing out hiking pant mobility and durability while climbing one...
Testing out hiking pant mobility and durability while climbing one of the Flatirons outside Boulder, CO.
Credit: John Luebbers

Comfort & Mobility

When we set out to free solo a Flatiron in Boulder, Colorado, we were stoked to put the Utility Hybrid Hiker to the test. As we ascended 600 feet of slabby rock, we often had to step high and with confidence. The Utility Hybrid's performed beautifully, giving us a full range of motion without feeling like they were too clingy or inhibiting.

On a thin-framed person, they almost fit perfectly; however, we found the crotch to be a little baggy. Curvier women will love the large waistband and ability of these pants to stretch.

The 95% nylon and 5% elastane blend felt a little itchy to us on our first wear. However, once washed, the itch factor disappeared, although they still felt just slightly stiff. They aren't as soft as tights you might be used to, as they have more of a hiker pants feel to them. The North Face aptly named this “hybrid” that lands directly between hiking pants and tights.

the north face utility hybrid hiker for women - the high waist of the utility hybrid hiker allows you to move with...
The high waist of the Utility Hybrid Hiker allows you to move with confidence. You don't have to worry about falling out of these hiker tights.
Credit: Meg Atteberry


These pants are highly versatile, working great at the crag, on a run, and around town. The fashionable design of the pockets gives these pants a hip, almost urban feel to them. You can easily dress them up after a quick hike and hit the town.


Overall, we didn't notice any pilling or stitching issues while testing the Hybrid Hikers. We did notice that the pants appear to be of two different materials, with the front side being softer than the backside. To the best of our knowledge, this is to protect the rear when scooting over obstacles. The front side of the tights may be more susceptible to wear and tear over time. These tights retain most of their shape if you plan to wear them all day. There was a bit of sag in the rear, but our primary tester doesn't pack much junk in the trunk and tends to have this problem with almost every pair of tights, so it could just be us.

the north face utility hybrid hiker for women - the front and rear of the utility hybrid are made of slightly...
The front and rear of the Utility Hybrid are made of slightly different materials.
Credit: Meg Atteberry

Weather Resistance

Hiker tights don't repel water all that well, and the Utility Hybrid's are no exception. These pants perform poorly when inundated with water. You might want to put on something else or pack rain pants for wet days on the trail. It took hours for these pants to dry out completely.

On windy days, since the Utility Hybrid's aren't as breathable, they do a decent job keeping the wind out. However, keep in mind that hiker tights, in general, tend to be cooler than hiking pants.

the north face utility hybrid hiker for women - the pack-out (left) and the hybrid utility hiker (right) both make...
The Pack-Out (left) and the Hybrid Utility Hiker (right) both make for a great hiking tight option. The North Face pants are preferred by our testers in chilly weather.
Credit: Meg Atteberry


If useful pockets are important to you, then you'll love the features on the Utility Hybrid Hiker Tights. Two roomy, zippered hand pockets, as well as two zippered thigh pockets, allow for plenty of functional storage options. We can fit most smartphones in these pockets and truly appreciate the attention to detail with this feature. Not to mention, the design of the pockets adds some style, which we love. The two rear pockets aren't as useful to us, but they do help round out the pants' look.

the north face utility hybrid hiker for women - the four zipped pockets of the utility hybrid hiker tights give you...
The four zipped pockets of the Utility Hybrid Hiker Tights give you plenty of storage options.
Credit: Meg Atteberry


Usually hiking tights have the issue of becoming too cold, but we find the Utility Hybrid to be a bit too hot. On warm weather days, these tights don't breath that well and we wish that they let in a little more of a breeze. However, if you plan to hike in colder environments, these tights offer more insulation than you might expect from tights.

the north face utility hybrid hiker for women - the utility hybrid hiker tights work great on everything from...
The Utility Hybrid Hiker Tights work great on everything from leisurely hikes to tough terrain.
Credit: John Luebbers


These pants are not exactly a bargain, but certainly a fair deal considering you get hiking tights that function, fit, and are durable and flattering. These fashion-forward tights come with the bonus of being a great addition to your wardrobe off the trail, giving these pants a value boost over some of the other hiker tights models.


The North Face Utility Hybrid Hiker pushes the boundaries of function and fashion. Although there is certainly room for improvement in breathability and weather resistance, these are a great option for those looking for a pair of hiking tights with some flare.

Meg Atteberry