Reviews You Can Rely On

The 6 Best Hiking Pants for Women

We tested women's hiking pants from REI, Prana, Outdoor Research, Patagonia, Kuhl, and others to find the best pair for your outdoor needs
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Best Hiking Pants Women Review (We've tested an excellent pair of hiking pants for your needs.)
We've tested an excellent pair of hiking pants for your needs.
Credit: Clark Tate
By Clark Tate, Kathleen Sheehan, & Cam McKenzie Ring  ⋅  Mar 28, 2024

The Best Women's Hiking Pants


Over the last decade, we've bought and tested over 60 women's hiking pants to find the best fit for you. This review covers 12 of the top options on the market today. Our test team researches options ranging from lightweight hikers to substantial softshell options before buying the top tier to test side-by-side. We hike hundreds of miles and scramble up spurs to push the limits of each pair's comfort and mobility. We evaluate how well they breathe on strenuous trails and hot days and how well they protect us from sudden showers and unexpected snow. We also wear them to climb, travel, and socialize. No matter what type of adventure you like, we've found hiking pants that can hang.

If you're heading into hot weather, you may be more interested in our testing of the best women's hiking shorts and a pair of top-ranked sunglasses. Planning rain or wet conditions? Check out our favorite rain pants. In fact, we've tested all kinds of women's clothing and even created a hand-curated list of the best hiking gear we've tested.

Editor's Note: We updated our women's hiking pants review on March 28, 2024, to include new options from REI Co-op, Fjallraven, and more.

Related: Best Men's Hiking Pants

Top 12 Hiking Pants - Test Results

Displaying 1 - 5 of 12
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Awards Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award 
Price $44.53 at Backcountry
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Check Price at REI
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$67.97 at Backcountry
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$80 List
$55.93 at REI
$70 List
$48.93 at REI
Overall Score Sort Icon
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78
75
73
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Pros Very comfortable, versatile, wind and water-resilientImpressive weather resistance, excellent mobility, comfortable, durableComfortable cut, sleek good looks, solid constructionMobile, wide range of fit options, vents and breaths wonderfully, good pocketsComfortable, endless mobility, breathe fairly well
Cons We have very few complaints, they are a little thinRigid waistband noticeable at times, not the most breathableNot as breathable or waterproof, less impressive pocketsDoesn't block the wind, not a great style around townThin fabric may wear faster, uses short-chain PFC-DWR
Bottom Line With their endless mobility, comfortable details, and technical abilities, these are our favorite overall women's hiking pantsGreat for cold weather hiking and wet days on the trail due to solid weather resistanceGreat all-round, all-day, work-to-trail hiking pantsThese 2-in-1 convertible hiking pants work wonderfully, providing great breathability and excellent valueThese incredibly comfortable hiking and climbing pants are made to move
Rating Categories Outdoor Research Fe... Arc'teryx Gamma Pan... Prana Halle Straigh... REI Co-op Sahara Co... REI Co-op Trailmade
Comfort and Mobility (35%)
9.0
8.0
8.5
7.0
9.0
Venting and Breathability (20%)
9.0
6.5
6.5
9.0
5.5
Weather Resistance (15%)
9.0
10.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
Construction Quality (15%)
8.0
9.0
7.5
7.5
5.5
Versatility and Features (15%)
8.5
10.0
9.0
7.0
8.0
Specs Outdoor Research Fe... Arc'teryx Gamma Pan... Prana Halle Straigh... REI Co-op Sahara Co... REI Co-op Trailmade
Measured Weight (Size 6) 9.6 oz (size 6) 11.2 oz (size 6) 11.2 oz (size 6) 12 oz (size 6) 8.0 oz (size 6)
Material 86% Bluesign-approved nylon (46% recycled), 14% spandex 70Dnylon/spandex plain weave 95% recycled nylon, 5% elastane 96% recycled nylon, 4% spandex 94% nylon/6% spandex
Fabric Features Water, wind resistant, quick dry, and breathable Water, wind resistant and breathable Water resistant, breathable Quick dry, water resistant Water resistant, quick dry, and breathable
Water Resistance PFAS-free DWR finish FCO-DWR Treatment PFAS-Free DWR finish DWR finish DWR finish
Size Options and Versions 0 to 24W, in Short (29"), Reg (31"), Tall (34") 00 to 16, in Short (29"), Reg (31",) Tall (34") 00 to 16, in Short (28"), Reg (30"), Tall (34") 0P to 26W, in Petite (27.5"), Regular (30"), Tall (33"), and Plus 0P to 26W, in Petite (28.5"), Tall (34")
Sun Protection UPF 50+ Not specified UPF 50+ UPF 50+ UPF 50+
Pants-to-Shorts Conversion Cinch around ankle Cinch around ankle No Zip-off Cinch around ankle
Pockets 2 hip, 2 back, 1 thigh 2 hand (zip), 1 side (zip) 2 hand, 1 coin, 2 back (snap), 1 thigh (zip) 2 hand, 2 back, 2 cargo 2 hand, 2 back, 1 thigh (zip)
Integrated Belt Yes, internal drawcord Yes Yes, internal drawcord Yes, internal drawcord Yes, internal drawcord
Other Features Articulated knees, drawstring at waist, stretch fabric, harness-compatible waist Trim fit, straight leg, adjustable waist belt, adjustable pant cuffs, 3 inseam lengths Gusseted crotch with vent holes, articulated knees, drawstring at waist, stretch fabric Mid rise, convert to shorts, relaxed fit, straight leg, 2 inseam lengths, reinforced cuff backs, flatseam Double fabric on knees and at heels, articulated knees, articulated hips, drawstring at waist, stretch fabric, cord loop at waistband
Social or Environmental Certifications 86% Bluesign approved nylon, 46% recycled Recycled nylon fabric, raw materials made with at least 30% recycled content Recycled nylon fabric, Bluesign, PFAS-Free DWR finish Contains materials that meet the Bluesign criteria
Contains recycled materials, From a Climate Neutral Certified brand
Bluesign approved fabric, Climate Neutral Certified Brand, short chain perfluorinated chemical DWR treatment


Best Overall Women's Hiking Pants


Outdoor Research Ferrosi Pant - Women's


88
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort and Mobility 9.0
  • Venting and Breathability 9.0
  • Weather Resistance 9.0
  • Construction Quality 8.0
  • Versatility and Features 8.5
Weight: 9.6 oz | Inseam Options: 29", 31", 34"
REASONS TO BUY
Endless stretch and mobility
Great for most outdoor activities
Lightweight and breathable
REASONS TO AVOID
Previous versions were more breathable
Expensive

The Outdoor Research Ferrosi pants are soft, comfy, and feature a UPF 50+ rating to protect you from UV rays and enough water resistance to shake off a splash or two. They have a relatively flattering fit, functional pockets, and practical details like a mid-rise waist, fleece-lined waistband, and integrated drawstring that works well under a pack's waist strap. The stretchy fabric shadows your every move and rolls easily to help cool you off on hot days. The Ferrosi pants also breathe well and dry quickly. Elastic bands let you cinch the hems for unfettered footwork.

The pants are trim through the thighs. If you size up for more room, they can gap at the waist. The waist tie solves the problem, but the resulting fit can be less flattering. If you overheat easily, there is a convertible version of the Ferrosi with mid-thigh zips that create Bermuda-length shorts. The thigh zippers limit stretch, though, and our testers prefer to roll the regular pants than unzip the convertible version. If you need a less expensive option, consider the versatile REI Co-op Trailmade Pants. If you can afford the Ferrosi pants, they're worth the investment – functional, versatile, and ready for a range of outdoor objectives, from water sports to backpacking trips to day hikes.

Read more: Outdoor Research Ferrosi Pant review

If we had to choose one pair to withstand blistering summer days, chilly fall winds, and wintery conditions, the OR Ferrosi hiking pants would be our pick.
Credit: Clark Tate

Best Value Hiking Pants


REI Co-op Trailmade Pants - Women's


73
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort and Mobility 9.0
  • Venting and Breathability 5.5
  • Weather Resistance 7.0
  • Construction Quality 5.5
  • Versatility and Features 8.0
Weight: 8 oz | Inseam options: 28.5", 34"
REASONS TO BUY
Unrestricted comfort
Well-considered pockets
Casual good looks
REASONS TO AVOID
Thin fabric and loose button
A few broken threads
Treated with short-chain PFC-DWR

We wore them while hiking, climbing, working, and yoga breaks and the REI Co-op Trailmade Pants never let us down. The midrise, roomy design and stretchy fabric moves with you no matter what. They also manage to offer all the usual features at a lower price point than the rest. The hand pockets work well, and there's a zippered option on the right thigh to secure your phone. Light water resistance, a bit of wind breaking, easy-to-roll hems, and a cinch that lets you batten them down to keep debris out round out these hardworking hikers.

Despite the doubled fabric at the back of the ankles and the knees, we're still a little worried about how long the lightweight fabric will last. When we prodded it with the tip of a paperclip, it punctured easily, and some of the threads pulled. There are already a few loose seams and the button at the waist is wobbly with no reinforcement. Their loose cut can also look and feel sloppy at times, but the fun colors and relaxed fit earned us compliments nonetheless. That said, we expect these pants to stand up to normal wear and tear, and they'll keep you comfortably out on the trail for less.

Read more: REI Co-op Trailmade Pants review

Light, comfortable, and cute, the REI Co-op Trailmade hiking pants are budget-freindly.
Credit: Clark Tate

Best for Technical Hikes Year-round


Arc'teryx Gamma Pant - Women's


85
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort and Mobility 8.0
  • Venting and Breathability 6.5
  • Weather Resistance 10.0
  • Construction Quality 9.0
  • Versatility and Features 10.0
Weight: 11.2 oz | Inseam Options: 28.5", 30.5", 33.5"
REASONS TO BUY
Impressive weather resistance
Lightweight softshell pant
Integrated belt and useful pockets
REASONS TO AVOID
Heavier for summer use
Expensive

The Arc'teryx Gamma pants are light enough for summer weather and can handle shoulder season and winter temps if you size them large enough to fit a base layer underneath. They are among the most weatherproof options in the test, with highly wind-resistant softshell material that is also water-resistant and quick to dry. We also love the integrated belt and handy zippered hand pockets.

Even though the Gamma is light for a softshell pant, they are thicker and hold in more heat than many of the models we tested. They breathe well but really shine in milder weather, shoulder seasons, and rainy days. They are also expensive and can be tricky to size with a trim cut. If you can afford them, though, they are awesome four-season hiking pants and one of our top recommendations for technical hikes, alpine conditions, or cooler weather adventures. If you want similar weatherproofing in a lightweight pant at a lower price, consider the Outdoor Research Ferrosi Pant.

Read more: Arc'teryx Gamma review

If you want a pair of hiking pants to wear year-round in technical terrain, the Arc'teryx Gamma Pants are a great choice.
Credit: Clark Tate

Best For Work to Trail


Prana Halle Straight Pants II


78
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort and Mobility 8.5
  • Venting and Breathability 6.5
  • Weather Resistance 7.0
  • Construction Quality 7.5
  • Versatility and Features 9.0
Weight: 11.2 oz | Inseams: 30", 32", 34"
REASONS TO BUY
All-day comfort
Feel polished and professional
REASONS TO AVOID
Not as water-resistant
Pockets don't secure a smartphone

If you don't want to waste time changing when you head to the trailhead after work or between the trail and dinner, the Prana Halle Straight Pants II are made for you. They wear like a polished pair of jeans but with stretch fabric that moves like a dream and never seems to lose its form. Articulated knees, generous proportions through the hips, and a gusseted crotch let you move through the world however you want. The cut tends to skim the thighs but fits well in the waist, with an integrated waistband to tailor the fit.

These aren't the most technical pants we've tested. The PFAS-Free water resistant coating blocks water only briefly before soaking into the fabric. They only lasted five seconds in the shower test before we started to get wet. None of the pockets secure a smartphone well, and they aren't as breathable or windproof as the Outdoor Research Ferrosi Pant. Usually, though, when we're heading for a hike after work, it's not an epic or technical climb, and these pants are great for a walk in the woods. The Kuhl Freeflex Roll-Up Pants are another great option for daily wear.

Read more: Prana Halle Straight Pants II review

The Prana Halle Straight Pants II are polished enough for the office and more than capable on the trails.
Credit: Clark Tate

Best Convertible Hiking Pants


REI Co-op Sahara Convertible - Women's


75
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort and Mobility 7.0
  • Venting and Breathability 9.0
  • Weather Resistance 7.0
  • Construction Quality 7.5
  • Versatility and Features 7.0
Weight: 12 ounces | Inseam: 27.5", 30", 33"
REASONS TO BUY
Useful pockets
Breathe nicely and repel water
Easy shorts conversion
REASONS TO AVOID
Don't block the wind
Scream "I'm on a hike"

The REI Co-op Sahara Convertible pants offer excellent performance and handy features at an affordable price. We love the useful pockets and built-in waist tie, but their standout feature is that the lower legs detach, and an additional vertical zipper allows you to convert them without removing your boots. The material stretches enough to allow for any outing, from rock climbing to backpacking, and they proved to be quite durable during our test period. They breathe well when it's hot, repel water when it rains, and easily fit a base layer underneath when it's cold. We especially appreciate that they come in a wide range of sizes, from petite to plus.

The REI Sahara pants are beyond comfortable and never feel restrictive, but the generous cut keeps them from passing for anything but athletic wear. Luckily, society loves athleisure these days. The thin fabric and zip-off legs are wonderful on warm hikes. But when the weather is cold, or the wind picks up, they don't do much to hold back the chill. When it's hot, though, these pants are hard to beat. We certainly tested less expensive options, but the Sahara pants offer an excellent cost-to-performance ratio. If you need a budget option, the Cycorld Convertible Outdoor Pants 11 also convert to shorts. Though they aren't as well-made and we suggest you size up for a comfortable fit.

Read more: REI Co-op Sahara Convertible review

hiking pants women - the saharas have an elastic waist and loose cut that ensure they...
The Saharas have an elastic waist and loose cut that ensure they stay in place on your waist while giving your legs plenty of room to move and breathe.
Credit: Clark Tate

Most Likely to Last


Fjallraven Vidda Pro Trousers - Women's


57
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort and Mobility 4.0
  • Venting and Breathability 5.5
  • Weather Resistance 5.0
  • Construction Quality 9.0
  • Versatility and Features 7.0
Weight: 19 oz | Inseam Options: 30", 32", 34"
REASONS TO BUY
Sturdy fabric
Excellent pockets
Old school water resistance
REASONS TO AVOID
Rigid fit restricts high steps
Not the best in hot weather
Heavier

If you want hiking pants you would have to work hard to wear down, the Fjallraven Vidda Pro Trousers may be for you. The brawny poly-cotton fabric resists abrasion impressively well, the sturdy stitching holds fast even if they snag, and the knees and rear end are reinforced with an extra panel of fabric. Six well-sized and burly pockets are all functional and placed so that it's comfortable to walk while carrying quite a bit of gear. The company treats the fabric with wax to provide physical water resistance, avoiding the challenges of formulating a nontoxic, chemically-based alternative.

All of that powerful construction comes at a price. These pants are heavier than the rest and far less flexible. Even after weeks of breaking them in, they pull across the hips when lunging or drawing your knee up and your thigh parallel to the ground. It's a rough wake-up from the completely unrestrictive options in this review. If you find yourself battling through dense brush off-trail though, these are the pants you want. When you need to get a job done, from trail work to a walkabout, the Vidda Pro pants will have your back. Only the Arc'teryx Gamma Pants seem this well made. They're a better option if you want similar quality with the mobility of stretch fabric.

Read more: Fjallraven Vidda Pro Trousers review

The Vidda Pro pant's sturdy fabric and light weatherproofing make them a solid option for year-round use. Just pull them on over a baselayer and go.
Credit: Clark Tate

Compare Products

select up to 5 products to compare
Score Product Price
88
Outdoor Research Ferrosi Pant - Women's
Best Overall Women's Hiking Pants
$99
Editors' Choice Award
85
Arc'teryx Gamma Pant - Women's
Best for Technical Hikes Year-round
$190
Top Pick Award
78
Prana Halle Straight Pants II
Best For Work to Trail
$95
Top Pick Award
75
REI Co-op Sahara Convertible - Women's
Best Convertible Hiking Pants
$80
Top Pick Award
73
REI Co-op Trailmade Pants - Women's
Best Value Hiking Pants
$70
Best Buy Award
72
Mountain Hardwear Dynama/2 Pant - Women's
$85
70
Kuhl Freeflex Roll-Up Pants - Women's
$99
66
The North Face Aphrodite 2.0
$80
63
Columbia Saturday Trail Stretch - Women's
$70
57
Fjallraven Vidda Pro Trousers - Women's
Most Likely to Last
$170
Top Pick Award
56
Cycorld Convertible Outdoor Pants 11 - Women's
$42
51
Baleaf Quick Dry Cargo All Seasons - Women's
$38

hiking pants women - the outdoor research ferrosi pants balance comfort and technical...
The Outdoor Research Ferrosi Pants balance comfort and technical performance on the trail better than any other option in our testing.
Credit: Clark Tate

Why Trust GearLab


After scouring the market, we selected the top 12 pairs of women's hiking pants to test. Our women's hiking team tested these pants for several months in the borderlands of Arizona, the high alpine of Colorado and California, and in the sea-to-sky landscape of Downeast Maine. Test scenarios spanned climates, temperatures, terrain, and conditions. We pushed these pants to the limit, mountaineering, climbing, scrambling, trail running, and, yes, hiking.

For multiple years of continuous testing and trail adventures, we've worn the award winners until they're crusty enough to stand on their own. Then washed them and wore them again. We've also handed them around to our friends to get a feel for fit.

Our women's hiking pants testing is divided across five rating metrics:
  • Comfort and Mobility (35% of total score weighting)
  • Venting and Breathability (20% weighting)
  • Weather Resistance (15% weighting)
  • Construction Quality (15% weighting)
  • Versatility and Features (15% weighting)

Clark Tate, Cam McKenzie Ring, and Kathleen Sheehan make up our hard-nosed testing team. Clark is a former van lifer who moves from the desert to the mountains to the sea regularly. She hikes, climbs, runs, sea kayaks, and demands that these pants keep up with her along the way. Cam has been climbing for over 20 years and regularly logs plenty of trail miles to and from the crag, along with countless other adventures on foot. She has tested over 25 different hiking pants styles over the years, keeping her keen eye on details that make the difference between a good and a great pair of hiking pants. As a high school cross-country coach, Kathleen hits the trails and the adventure circuit in the Sierra Nevada daily during the summer and fall months. A comfortable, convenient pair of pants is an absolute must for her everyday happiness.

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.
The Halle pants aren&#039;t our first pick for backpacking missions, but...
The Halle pants aren't our first pick for backpacking missions, but they work for a handful of days in mild weather.
Our testing extends from early spring&#039;s windy, cold conditions to...
Our testing extends from early spring's windy, cold conditions to hot summer days to fall's chilly weather.
Testing in a variety of conditions is essential to finding what these pants do well and where they fall short.

Analysis and Test Results


Sorting through the pages (and pages) of a “best women's hiking pants” Google search is overwhelming. We get it. To help you find the best pants, we bought the top options and tested them in the field and the lab to compare their comfort, movement, breathability, weather resistance, versatility, and features. Below, we break down each metric, explain why it's important to consider it and identify which pants stand out from the crowd.


Value


We want performance, and we always want a good return on our investments. Expensive options often include snazzy features like zip-off legs, water-resistant material, or more breathable or durable fabrics. The zip-off option alone usually costs 10% to 15% more than traditional pants. Of course, they double as a pair of shorts, which adds a lot of value for some hikers.

Finding a great value for you depends on your needs, but we like the REI Co-Op Trailmade and Sahara pants for their reasonable price point and reliable performance across the board. Both are very comfortable, the Trailmade thanks to stretchy fabric and the Sahara thanks to a roomy cut.

hiking pants women - the trailmade pants are cute, comfy, and work in all four seasons if...
The Trailmade pants are cute, comfy, and work in all four seasons if you have a solid base layer.
Credit: Clark Tate

The Sahara pants convert into shorts, so the fact that their price is in line with non-zip options really showcases their value. The Columbia Saturday Trail Stretch pants offer a high value for a pair of lightweight hiking pants that move well and look nice enough for work wear in casual offices.

We also think the top-performing Outdoor Research Ferrosi pants provide a lot of value. If you want the best of the best, they aren't that much more expensive than some of our budget options. The Prana Halle Straight Pants cost about the same and feature an incredibly comfortable and fairly fashionable cut and seemingly durable construction. We find ourselves wearing these often and think you'll get a great cost-per-wear value. Look for ripstop or abrasion-resistant fabrics if you want long-lasting hiking pants.

hiking pants women - the sahara pants move with you and give you a pair of pants and...
The Sahara pants move with you and give you a pair of pants and shorts in one.
Credit: Clark Tate

Comfort and Mobility


Hiking pants must move well, so this category counts for the largest percentage of the final score. If your pants chafe, pinch, or impede your movement, they will impact your trip and your mood. Fabric stretch, cut, and fit make the biggest difference in terms of comfort and mobility.

Plus sizes: Many options we tested are available in plus sizes and variable lengths. The correct sizing and fit maximize comfort, so be sure to look into the sizing options that suit your body before ordering.


The REI Co-op Trailmade Pants, Outdoor Research Ferrosi, and Prana Halle Straight Pants top the charts in comfort and mobility. All are incredibly cozy for a wide range of activities, from hiking to climbing. TheTrailmade pants rely on their soft, stretchy material and loose cut for comfort.

The Ferrosi and Halle pants make the most of their infinite stretch fabric and movement-focused construction details like articulated knees. The Ferrosi pants also feature a “cowboy stance” curve in the legs.

The Prana Halle are comfortable enough to wear all-day, from the desk to the trail to dinner.
Credit: Clark Tate

The excellent Arc'teryx Gamma Pants have a multi-panel construction with curved seams for a 3D fit. Another comfortable pair of pants is The North Face Aphrodite 2.0, with its loose cut and stretchy material.

Both The North Face Aphrodite 2.0 and Mountain Hardwear Dynama 2 are cozy and flexible pants. The Dynama, in particular, features a heavenly soft fabric. While their durability holds them back on bushwhacks or rocky climbs, they're both excellent loungers. We love the Dynama for less abrasive hikes and water-based adventures.

Rise and waistband construction have an outsized effect on comfort. Low-rise pants aren't always the best option for hiking. The soft and flowing Mountain Hardwear Dynama 2 pants are a joy to run in, but their low rise and non-gusseted crotch can feel stifling when you're high stepping or scrambling with a pack on.

Mid-rise options like the OR Ferrosi, Prana Halle Straight, and REI Co-op pants are the most common and popular hiking pants in the test. Higher rise options like the Arc'teryx Gamma Pant can also work well for longer hikes with the right proportions. A backpack waist strap and the front of a climbing harness both sit below the waistline with its included belt. We find this stagger fit very comfortable.

hiking pants women - the higher rise and easily adjustable belt of the gamma pants holds...
The higher rise and easily adjustable belt of the Gamma pants holds the pants in place no matter what, increasing comfort.
Credit: Clark Tate

Many pants include a soft lining around the waistband and internal drawstrings, like the Outdoor Research Ferrosi. We appreciate that the drawstrings let you adjust the waist without worrying about wearing a belt under a backpack. In addition to the Ferrosi, the Halle II, REI Trailmade, Khul, REI Sahara, and the North Face Aphrodite 2.0 all have internal waist ties.

Then there is the controversial comfort vs. fashion vs. function dynamic that arises with convertible hiking pants. Most zip-off hiking pants have a relaxed fit, keeping the zipper away from your leg to improve comfort, like the REI Sahara. They aren't often flattering, but the Sahara, while obviously a hiking pant, looks reasonably nice.

Most of the pants that score high marks for comfort work well for a range of body types and come in petite to plus sizes.

hiking pants women - with soft fabric and an excellent cut, the kuhl&#039;s move with you.
With soft fabric and an excellent cut, the Kuhl's move with you.
Credit: Clark Tate

Venting and Breathability


When you hike, you generate heat and sweat even when it's cold out. All that moisture can feel clammy when you're hot and give you the chills when you stop moving in cooler weather. Airflow is key to regulating your temperature on the trails and is particularly crucial for thru-hikers. Pants can improve airflow in two ways — by venting air through physical openings or with breathable fabric that lets air and moisture exit through the material itself.


Pants that shine in this metric often provide both venting and breathability. The Outdoor Research Ferrosi, REI Sahara, and Columbia Saturday Trail pants are all highly breathable. In addition, the Ferrosi and Saturday Trail pants are easy to roll up to your knees, and the REI model zips off the bottom half to provide the ventilation of shorts.

They function to keep you cool and are all excellent choices for peak summer hikes. The Sahara is the only pair of hiking pants we reviewed that let you keep your boots on when you convert them to shorts, a nice bonus if you do this often. The Cycorld Convertible pants breathe well and the lower legs zip off as well, but you do need to take off your shoes to do so.

A quick couple of zips...
A quick couple of zips...
And you&#039;re ready to soak in the sun.
And you're ready to soak in the sun.
The Saharas are unique in that they allow for the removal of the legs without forcing you to take your shoes off. This could prove incredibly useful when on the go.

The Mountain Hardwear Dynama 2 and The North Face Aphrodite 2.0 are made of incredibly breathable fabrics. They are excellent choices for casual hot weather hikes where you won't risk wearing out their less-than-durable fabrics.

Of the pants that don't convert to shorts, most are made to be rolled up and include snapping tabs or cinches to secure the folded fabric. It's incredible how much a little airflow on your ankles and calves can cool you off. The Prana Halle II and Arc'teryx Gamma pants give you this option, and they're also quite lightweight and breathable without the roll.

The thicker and less breathable Khul Freeflex pants have roll-up hems for hot days. You can also roll up or cinch the thicker Fjallraven Vidda Pro pants above your ankles. This allows you to feel a breeze while still keeping your upper calves protected from the sun.

hiking pants women - the face of a hiker emerging from a surprisingly warm spring hike...
The face of a hiker emerging from a surprisingly warm spring hike with dry, sweat-free legs.
Credit: Clark Tate

Weather Resistance


Your legs can be an afterthought when protecting your body from the wind, sun, and rain. They shouldn't be. If your legs are cold, wet, or burnt to a crisp, you'll be miserable even if your rain jacket or sun shirt keeps your core happy. While you'll need dedicated waterproof pants for a downpour, water-resistant fabrics can get you through a drizzle or buy you time to seek shelter. Many of the hiking pants we tested have water-resistant fabric, a durable water-repellent (DWR) coating on the fabric, or both.


The Outdoor Research Ferrosi repels water and blocks wind better than any other hiking pants we tested. Another admirable choice is the Arc'teryx Gamma LT. Both pants do a good job of cutting the wind and offer UPF 50 sun protection. While neither is waterproof, both feature DWR coatings that help light rain and splashes run off the fabric. The Ferrosi pants kept us dry for over 50 seconds in the shower test. The Gamma lasted only 35 seconds but features a new DWR treatment that is free of problematic fluorocarbon chemicals

Long-chain (C8) PFAs, or per- and poly-fluorinated chemicals, are toxic forever chemicals that never break down in your body or the environment. They were used to create water-resistant DWR finishes for years. Many leaders in the outdoor industry have been working to create alternatives that are less dangerous.

A popular first step was to switch to short-chain (C6) DWR, which employs shorter-chain fluorocarbons and breaks down a little faster than, well, never. There doesn't seem to be evidence that it's harmless though, companies just think it may be less harmful than PFAs. The European Union had a plan in 2020 to ban its use.

Now many companies have created and use PFAs-Free DWR treatments, though they won't tell us what chemicals they're using now.

The REI Co-op Trailmade and Sahara pants and the waxed Fjallraven Vidda Pro pants all bought us about 20 seconds in the shower. The Trailmade and Sahara pants both use short-chain PFAs DWR, while the Vidda Pros avoid the issue with a physical wax treatment.

hiking pants women - the or ferrosi pants do an incredible job of shedding water.
The OR Ferrosi pants do an incredible job of shedding water.
Credit: Clark Tate

Water beaded briefly on the other pants we tested with DWR coatings but quickly soaked into the fabric. This is the case with the Halle II, Kuhl Freeflex, Dynama 2, and Aphrodite 2.0 pants.

Drying time is an essential factor in a hiking pant, especially if they're the only ones you have with you in the backcountry. The Sahara, Dynama 2, and Saturday Trail Stretch dry the fastest. The Ferrosi and Arc'teryx Gamma LT take a bit longer but are still considered quick drying. (The felt liner on the Ferrosi pant's waistband holds water longer than we'd like.) All of the pants we tested dried overnight.

hiking pants women - water resistance and fast-drying fabrics help pants like the...
Water resistance and fast-drying fabrics help pants like the Columbia Saturday Trail Stretch work well into the colder months.
Credit: Clark Tate

It's nice to keep the wind from cutting right through your pants on a blustery day. Often, wind resistance comes at the expense of breathability. Models with more structured fabric, like the Arc'teryx Gamma LT, often do a better job than highly breathable pants like the Saturday Trail Stretch, Mountain Hardwear Dynama 2, or The North Face Aphrodite 2.0. The Ferrosi pants defy the trend. They block the wind well despite their thin and stretchy fabric.

hiking pants women - the arc&#039;teryx gamma lt has great weather resistance and can be used...
The Arc'teryx Gamma LT has great weather resistance and can be used for a variety of colder weather activities, like spring skiing and hiking in wet weather.
Credit: Scott Ring

Then there's the sun. It's easy to slather sunscreen on our shoulders and noses but skip our legs. That's a problem. According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common location for melanoma for light-skinned women is the lower leg. If you have darker skin, it's more often found on your palms, the soles of your feet, or under your nails. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't protect your legs, too.

Many of the pants in the review have an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) rating of 50 or more, which allows only 1/50th of UV radiation through. While all clothing blocks some rays, many light and summery fabrics have a UPF of only 6. Of the award-winning pants, only the Gamma LT Softshell and Fjallraven Vidda Pro pants do not have an advertised UPF of 50.

hiking pants women - the prana halle straight pants provides upf 50+ sun protection...
The Prana Halle Straight pants provides UPF 50+ sun protection, great for a day at the beach.
Credit: Clark Tate

Construction Quality


Since we can't test these pants for years before we review them, we look closely at their construction quality to get a sense of how long they'll last. We expect the Arc'teryx Gamma, Fjallraven Vidda Pro, and Outdoor Research Ferrosi pants to withstand the test of time.


All three of these pants include solidly constructed features, with sturdy pockets, useful hem cinches, and solid seams. The Gamma pants lead the pack, however, with double-stitched seams and stitches so refined that they are too small to snag with a paperclip. The fabric is hard to puncture. If you do manage to punch a small hole, the warp and weft quickly shift back into position to repair the spot.

The Vidda Pro Trousers feature reinforced panels at the rear and the knees. While you can snag their larger stitches, they don't pull through. The OR Ferrosi pants are similarly well-made, but their thin fabric may wear faster.

hiking pants women - double seams, tidy and sturdy stitches, and durable fabric give us...
Double seams, tidy and sturdy stitches, and durable fabric give us confidence that the Gamma pants will last.
Credit: Clark Tate

The REI Co-op Sahara, Prana Halle Straight II, and Columbia Saturday Trail all offer smart cuts for comfortable fits. Their fabric is easier to puncture, and their stitches can snag. However, they still don't pull and bunch the fabric. The Kuhl Freeflex Roll-up Pants are similar, but their fabric has piled a bit and a few seams loosened over time.

hiking pants women - the kulhs look polished but can take a beating on the trail.
The Kulhs look polished but can take a beating on the trail.
Credit: Clark Tate

Versatility and Features


We consider how versatile these pants are on the trail and how versatile they are in your life. For a multi-day backcountry trip or even a long day hike, it's essential to have pants that can handle shifting weather conditions. Technical fabrics and zip-off or roll-up hems help you move from a cool trailhead to a hot hike to a cold and windy summit. For after-work walks, bouldering missions, or international trips that will involve a trail or two, there are other factors to consider, like the style. We break down the considerations below.


The most trail-versatile models are the Arc'teryx Gamma and Outdoor Research Ferrosi pants. They resist light splashes of water and stains, fight off the wind, breathe fairly well, and are easy to roll up to your knees. A zip-off version of the Ferriossi pants can also convert to a Bermuda-length short. We feel confident heading off into the backcountry, knowing that these pants can handle it. These pants also resist stretching out after multiple days of use, which we can't say of many of the other options tested.

hiking pants women - from damp forest floors to hot beaches and desert sands, the ferrosi...
From damp forest floors to hot beaches and desert sands, the Ferrosi pants will keep you comfortable.
Credit: Clark Tate

For lifestyle versatility, the Prana Halle Straight II earns top marks. It offers endless mobility, a killer cut, reasonable breathability, and a slightly thicker and more structured fabric that provides more protection day-to-day. And they look good. We wear these pants to our casual offices and to get drinks with the gang. It's a perfect active travel option.

hiking pants women - the arc&#039;teryx gamma pants work well in all four-seasons from...
The Arc'teryx Gamma pants work well in all four-seasons from technical climbs to beachside strolls.
Credit: Clark Tate

For hiking pants, features like functional pockets, internal drawcords, or cinches on the hem have an outsize impact on their versatility. For us, it comes down to the pockets. Functional pockets are finally starting to become standard on women's hiking pants, so we're starting to demand them. This means big demerits for fabric folds barely big enough for a breath mint.

hiking pants women - six useful pockets will hold all your necessities in the fjallraven...
Six useful pockets will hold all your necessities in the Fjallraven Vidda Pro Trousers.
Credit: Clark Tate

The Outdoor Research Ferrosi, Arc'teryx Gamma, Fjallraven Vidda Pro, and REI Trailmade main pockets can fit your phone or your hands. They also made their thigh pocket big enough for a smartphone, and all have a securing zipper or snap. Since the pockets are set off to the side, it's one of the most comfortable ways to secure a smartphone. The REI Sahara pants are basically cargo pants, and all the pockets work well.

hiking pants women - we appreciate the sahara&#039;s large and secure pockets.
We appreciate the Sahara's large and secure pockets.
Credit: Clark Tate

The front pockets on the Prana Halle II and Mountain Hardwear Dynama 2 won't secure much of anything, but they're pretty perfect for your hands. That human-first functionality is enough of a throwback to make us smile. The Halle pants also have a zipped thigh pocket, but it's a little too small for most phones with a case.

Another important feature to consider is an internal drawstring. It's common for your weight to fluctuate while backpacking, traveling, or being a woman. While most of the pants include belt loops, actual belts can be uncomfortable to hike in and rarely work well under a hip strap or climbing harness.

hiking pants women - a drawstring at the waist, like this one on the rei co-op trailmade...
A drawstring at the waist, like this one on the REI Co-op Trailmade pants, make for more versatile hiking pants.
Credit: Clark Tate

An internal drawstring lets you keep your pants in place as they stretch out or your body shifts. Most hiking pants include them. Of the award winners and most notable options, only the Fjallraven Vidda Pro Trousers do not, though they have enough structure that they're less likely to need one. They also include belt loops if you do.

hiking pants women - the arc&#039;teryx gamma pants up the ante with an integrated belt.
The Arc'teryx Gamma pants up the ante with an integrated belt.
Credit: Clark Tate

Hem cinches are another nearly ubiquitous hiking pant feature. They keep your hems out of the way in wet weather or when foot placements are particularly important on technical terrain. Nearly all of the pants in the test let you tighten their hems with the assistance of thin elastic bands and lightweight, easy-to-adjust clasps or cinches.

hiking pants women - we appreciate being able to cinch the hems on the dynama 2 pant.
We appreciate being able to cinch the hems on the Dynama 2 pant.
Credit: Ryan Reed

The process works well in all of the award-winning pants. Of these, the Fjallraven Vidda Pro Trousers stand out for a more complicated but well-made and functional snap system. It works well to secure the hem. An integrated clip gives you the option to secure them to your shoelaces instead.

hiking pants women - no matter what weather or hike you&#039;re planning, we&#039;ve found a pair...
No matter what weather or hike you're planning, we've found a pair of hiking pants for you.
Credit: Clark Tate

Conclusion


We put a lot of miles, energy, and wear and tear on our joints to bring you this list of the best women's hiking pants. We hope our side-by-side tests and thorough analysis help you find the perfect option to conquer your adventure plans confidently and in style.

Clark Tate, Kathleen Sheehan, & Cam McKenzie Ring