Reviews You Can Rely On

Best Hiking Pants for Women of 2021

The high-performance Ferrosis are ready for almost any adventure you a...
Photo: Clark Tate
Wednesday May 19, 2021
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Over the last 9 years, we've bought and tested 45 women's hiking pants to find the best fit for you. Our 2021 review covers 15 top options on the market today. Our test team researches options ranging from softshells, convertible pants, and hiking tights 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 how well they protect us from sudden showers and scorching sunshine. We also wear them to climb, travel, and socialize. No matter what type of adventure you like, we've found a hiking pant that can hang.

Top 15 Product Ratings

Displaying 1 - 5 of 15
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Awards Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award  Top Pick Award 
Price $79.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$70 List
Check Price at REI
Check Price at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
Check Price at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
Check Price at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
Overall Score Sort Icon
86
77
73
73
71
Star Rating
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Pros All-day comfort, versatile, breathable, wind-resistantMobile, wide range of fit options, shed water easily, excellent pocketsFeminine fit, many adjustment options, great movement, comfortableIncredibly light, soft with endless stretch, breathable, DWR finishDurable, breathable, excellent pockets, cinch-able high waist stays put
Cons Can be long, snug in the thighs, tie at the ankle isn’t the bestButton doesn’t appear to be durable, limited color optionsWeak buttons, small pocketsNot the most flattering, low rise can be uncomfortableFeel a bit odd at first, tricky fit, expensive
Bottom Line With their endless mobility, comfortable details, and technical chops, these pants are up for any adventureA great bargain for a convertible hiking pant the does it allThese are great pants for colder hikes, rock climbing, and bike commutes from the office to the trailIncredibly soft, flowy, and stretchy, these pants are comfortable, except for the low rise, which can make the crotch feel tightClever features make these tights a fun and practical choice
Rating Categories Ferrosi Pant Sahara Convertible Prana Halle - Women's Mountain Hardwear D... Abisko Trekking Tight
Comfort And Mobility (35%)
9.0
7.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
Venting And Breathability (20%)
9.0
9.0
6.0
9.0
8.0
Weather Resistance (15%)
8.0
7.0
6.0
6.0
5.0
Features (15%)
7.0
9.0
7.0
6.0
9.0
Versatility (15%)
9.0
7.0
9.0
6.0
6.0
Specs Ferrosi Pant Sahara Convertible Prana Halle - Women's Mountain Hardwear D... Abisko Trekking Tight
Measured Weight, Size Regular (oz) 9.5 oz 9.6 oz 12.0 oz 4.10 oz 9.0 oz
Size options and versions 0 to 14 0 to 22w, Petitie, Regular, Plus, Tall 00 to 22w, Short, Regular, Tall XS - XL XXS to XXL
Fabric 86% ripstop, 14% spandex 90D stretch woven ripstop Nylon 97% nylon, 3% spandex 94% Nylon, 6% Elastane 82% polyamide, 18% elastane
62% polyamide, 16% aramid, 12% elastane, 10% polyester
Fabric Features Quick-dry Quick dry Water, and abrasion-resistant Ultralight Stretch
DWR Finish? No Yes Yes Yes No
UPF? UPF 50+ UPF 50+ UPF 50 No rating No rating
Pockets 2 hip, 2 back, 1 cargo 2 hand, 2 back, 2 cargo 2 hand, 1 thigh (zip), 2 back (button) 2 side, 1 rear, 1 zippered thigh 2 leg (1 zip), 1 waist (zip)
Zip-Off or Roll-Up? Roll-up Zip-off Roll-up, available as zip-off Roll-up Limited roll-up
Integrated Belt? Yes Yes Yes, internal drawcord No Yes, internal drawcord
Fit Features Gusseted crotch, articulated knees, drawstring at waist, stretch fabric Gusseted crotch, mid rise, convert to shorts Articulated knees, mid-rise, relaxed fit, 3 inseam lengths Three inseam length options, elastic waist, stretch fabric Wide waistband, high wast, gussetted crotch, pre-shaped knees
Social or Environmental Certifications Contains non-textile elements of animal origin. Fluorocarbon-free impregnation


Best Overall Women's Hiking Pants


Outdoor Research Ferrosi Pant - Women's


86
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort and Mobility 9
  • Venting And Breathability 9
  • Weather Resistance 8
  • Features 7
  • Versatility 9
Weight: 9.5 ounces | Inseam: 31 inches
Endless stretch and mobility
Flattering fit that holds shape for days
Great for most outdoor activities
Lightweight and top-notch breathability
Trim through the thighs
Expensive

The Outdoor Research Ferrosi pants are our favorites. Comfortable, breathable, wind and water-resistant, they work in so many situations that we never hesitate to pull them on for an adventure day. They have a relatively flattering fit and practical details like a mid-rise waist with a fleece-lined band and integrated drawstring. The pockets are functional, and the fabric is excellent. The stretchy fabric breathes incredibly well and shadows your every move. The pants resist water long enough for you to duck out of the rain. When they do get wet, they dry fast. The hems are easy to roll to your knees and have elastic bands that let you tighten them around your ankle. There's also a convertible version with mid-thigh zips that create Bermuda-length shorts for extra hot hiking days. We've tested them too. We like and recommend both versions. Most of our testers would rather roll up the regular Ferrosi pants than unzip the convertible version though. And the mid-thigh zippers do limit some stretch in the thighs. We recommend going with your general preference for convertible or regular versions, and we bet you'll love them, too.

These pants have a trim cut through the thighs and often feel snug when our curvy and muscular testers first pull them on after a wash. Several of the seams at the knees and on the back pockets also feel rough at first. As soon as we start walking, though, they loosen up (though never seem to fully stretch out) and these minor sensations fade. These pants are functional, versatile, and ready for various outdoor objectives, from water sports to backpacking trips to day hikes.

Read review: Outdoor Research Ferrosi Pant - Women's

Best Bang for the Buck


REI Co-op Sahara Convertible - Women's


77
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort and Mobility 7
  • Venting And Breathability 9
  • Weather Resistance 7
  • Features 9
  • Versatility 7
Weight: 9.6 ounces | Inseam: 32 inches
Useable Pockets
Breathe nicely
Mobile
Repel water
Limited color options
Button closure is insecure

The REI Co-op Sahara Convertible wowed us with their ability to offer excellent performance and handy features at an affordable price. We love the useful zippered pockets and the built-in belt. Some testers also really appreciate the wide-leg cut, which lets you convert the pants to shorts without removing your boots. The material stretches enough to allow for any adventure, from rock climbing to backpacking adventures. 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 these pants come in a wide range of sizes, from petite to plus.

The Sahara pants are beyond comfortable and never feel tight, but the generous cut isn't flattering for all. The waistband button could also use some reinforcement, and we'd like to see some cuter color options. Though there are less expensive options in our review, these pants offer the best cost to performance ratio.

Read review: REI Co-op Sahara Convertible - Women's

Best on a Tight Budget


Columbia Saturday Trail Stretch - Women's


60
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort and Mobility 5
  • Venting And Breathability 9
  • Weather Resistance 8
  • Features 4
  • Versatility 4
Weight: 9.2 ounces | Inseam: 32" inches
Stretchy fabric moves well
Highly breathable
Bargain price
Less durable
Pockets are small
Can be hard to nail the fit

The Columbia Saturday Trail Stretch pants are an economical option. They have enough stretch to keep up with your every step, breathe well enough to keep you comfortable on hot days, and shrug off splashes or quick rain showers. With UPF 50 sun protection, they're also a great option for exposed trails. These pants are available in a wide range of lengths and sizes, so you're likely to find a fit that works for you.

It may take some trial and error to nail the sizing in our experience. These pants are cut for curves and can blouse awkwardly at the hips while hugging the thighs too tightly on some body types. They also breathe too well at times and don't block wind effectively. Air moves through the fabric so efficiently that they don't work well on chilly, windy days without a layer underneath. The Saturdays are less durable than the other pants we reviewed, so they don't provide value over time. Still, we like the low entry price to get an adequate pair of hiking pants, and especially recommend them for those just getting into hiking and wanting to avoid a large investment. With their low sale prices, they'll get you on the trail and outside at a reasonable price.

Read review: Columbia Saturday Trail Stretch

Best Trekking Tights


Fjallraven Abisko Trekking Tight - Women's


71
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort and Mobility 7
  • Venting And Breathability 8
  • Weather Resistance 5
  • Features 9
  • Versatility 6
Weight: 9.0 ounces | Inseam: 29 inches
Durable
Breathable
Perfect pockets
Comfortable high waist
Thick patches feel odd at first
Fit is hard to nail

Leggings make awesome hiking pants. Unfortunately, many of them start to unravel after your first army crawl under a downed tree. The Fjallraven Abisko Trekking Tights buck the trend with their rugged reinforcements and sturdy but breathable fabric. Despite the marketing claims, we were skeptical that the knee and bum patches would make any sort of sense. Color us converted. They move like tights but are thick and breathable enough to work in a range of temperatures and rugged terrain. They dry quickly, have incredibly useful pockets, and feature a comfy high waist with a drawstring to hold them in place. After six months of wearing them, we can say their durability is top-notch. As in, we accidentally hooked the reinforced knee and a bit of the regular fabric on the spikes of our mountain bike's flat pedals. The only damage sustained consisted of two tiny fabric picks. Impressive.

Fjallraven built these pants for curvy, muscular, and tall bodies. The extra fabric around our calves and ankles isn't a deal killer, but we should have sized down. The thick seams around the patches also feel odd when you first pull these tights on. We always forget about them on the trail, until we sit or kneel. Then we're just grateful. We also love that they're fun. In one of their bright jewel colors with bad-babe black patches, these pants make us feel like low-key superheroes.

Read review: Fjallraven Abisko Trekking Tight - Women's

Best for Climbing


Prana Halle - Women's


73
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort and Mobility 8
  • Venting And Breathability 6
  • Weather Resistance 6
  • Features 7
  • Versatility 9
Weight: 12 ounces | Inseam: 32 inches
Great range of motion
Comfy
Feminine cut
Not as breathable
Not our favorite pockets

The Prana Halle pants match your every move, no matter the terrain or sport. Designed with climbers in mind, they are comfortable under a harness and the strap of a backpack. They're also stylish. We love wearing these casual pants on our bike commute, through the workday, and then to a backyard BBQ or a hike. Their relaxed fit, gusseted crotch, articulated knees, and stretch fabric make sure you never feel restricted. An internal drawstring holds the pants up without a belt, and roll-up hems help you across creeks and let you cool your ankles in warm weather.

The Halle fabric has a durable water repellent (DWR) treatment, but it only fends off splashes. While their material is breathable, they are heavier than many of the pants we tested. That works well for rock climbing since the material offers more protection but makes them less ideal in hot weather. We also think the rise could be a smidge higher for current fashion trends, which would also work better with a waist strap or harness. That said, we love wearing them to work, climb, brunch, boulder, hike, and bar hop.

Read review: Prana Halle - Women's

Best for Wet Weather


Arc'teryx Gamma LT Pant - Women's


67
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort and Mobility 6
  • Venting And Breathability 4
  • Weather Resistance 10
  • Features 9
  • Versatility 6
Weight: 11 ounces | Inseam: 32 inches
Best weather resistance
Lightweight for a softshell pant
Integrated belt and deep pockets
Heavy for summer use
Expensive

The Arc'teryx Gamma LT pants are the most weather resistance pair we tested. The softshell material is highly water-resistant and quick to dry. It works nearly as well as a dedicated pair of rain pants. They are light enough for spring and fall weather and can handle cooler temps if you can fit a base layer underneath. They have a trim cut even after we sized up in them. We also love the integrated belt and handy zippered hand pockets.

Even though the Gamma LT is light for a softshell pant, they are still heavier and thicker than many other models we tested. They're best for shoulder seasons and rainy days. They are also expensive. But, if you need a highly technical pair for alpine conditions or cooler weather hiking, this model is our top recommendation.

Read Review: Arc'teryx Gamma LT - Women's

Notable Comfort


Patagonia Pack Out - Women's


69
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort and Mobility 10
  • Venting And Breathability 5
  • Weather Resistance 2
  • Features 6
  • Versatility 8
Weight: 10.2 ounces | Inseam: 29 inches
Soft material
Uber-comfortable
Great mobility
Functional, well-placed pockets
Don't dry quickly
Thick fabric is not ideal for hot days

We would be remiss if we didn't bring up these incredibly comfortable pants. There is little you can't do in the Patagonia Pack Out tights. We wore them to yoga, lounge at camp, nap at home, and under our ski pants. Their fabric is soft, very stretchy, and breathes fairly well. They have some brilliantly designed pockets, including one zipped hip pocket and two stretchy thigh pockets that can hold a smartphone, snack, keys, or a small notebook. Though they're stretchy, we wore them for days on end without the waistband sagging. We love the way these tights fit and function.

While these tights are exceptionally comfortable to wear around town and at home, they aren't our favorite for several hiking applications, which keeps them from earning an award in this category. The Pack Out is thick, making them better suited to cool weather. And they take a while to dry out when wet. For these reasons, they aren't the best option for deep backcountry adventures. We like them for mild weather day excursions, but even more so around town and at home. The generous pockets can stretch out and sag over time, but they are so roomy and deep that we still feel like our belongings are secure—unless cartwheels happen. And, sometimes, cartwheels happen. Still, we adore the feel of these pants and enjoy how cozy we feel doing all of our favorite outdoor and indoor activities.

Read review: Patagonia Pack Out - Women's

Compare Products

select up to 5 products to compare
Score Product Price Our Take
86
$80
Editors' Choice Award
A comfortable and flattering cut with breathable and durable fabric that moves with every step you take makes for one awesome hiking pant
77
$70
Best Buy Award
A well-priced pant with lots of features
73
$85
Top Pick Award
These pants perform, whether hiking and climbing in the backcountry or biking your way around town
73
$75
Soft and comfy pants that we love for everything from lounging to yoga to low-abrasion hikes to jogs
71
$175
Top Pick Award
These rugged and breathable tights protect your legs and work at a range of temps, but are pricey and tricky to size
70
$169
We really like how well these comfortable and breathable pants move with us and the functional pockets made to be used on the trail with a back
69
$90
A cozy, versatile hiking tight
69
$75
Rugged, stretchy and breathable, these pants keep you happy on the trail and have enough style for the street
69
$70
A lightweight pair for hot days but they aren't the most durable
67
$190
Top Pick Award
The best cooler and wet weather option in our test group
64
$125
The Sabria's minimal design makes the pant a go to for all kinds of activities
60
$60
Best Buy Award
A budget-friendly, slim-fitting, and stretchy pair of lightweight pants
59
$55
Light and stretchy fabric let these casual hiking pants move with you but the elastic waistband doesn't stretch much and the waist is cut too big for our test team
54
$80
More of a front country model due to poor water resistance and chaffing issues
37
$89
We like the look and hand feel of these pants around town, but the cotton fabric and stiff feel aren't our favorites on the trail

We tested these pants head-to-head for months to get you the...
We tested these pants head-to-head for months to get you the nitty-gritty details on which works best on the trail.
Photo: Clark Tate

Why You Should Trust Us


Clark Tate, Cam McKenzie Ring, and Kathleen Sheehan make up our hard-nosed testing team. Clark is a van lifer who moves from the desert to the mountains to the sea regularly. She hikes, climbs, runs, kayaks, and sails 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.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

This crack team tested the selected hiking pants for several months in southern Utah's deserts, the borderlands of Arizona, the high alpine of Colorado and California, the low alpine of the Blue Ridge, and in the sea to sky landscape of Downeast Maine's Acadia National Park. 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 were 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 handle on fit.

Related: How We Tested Hiking Pants for Women

Analysis and Test Results


Sorting through the pages (and pages) of hiking pants is overwhelming. We get it. To help you out, we bought the top options and reviewed them here for their comfort, movement, breathability, weather resistance, versatility, and features. Below we break down each metric, why it's important to consider, and which pants stand out from the crowd.

Related: Buying Advice for Hiking Pants for Women


Value


We always want a good return on our gear investments. Expensive options often have more 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. They also serve 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 Sahara for their reasonable price point, durability, and reliable performance across the board. The Columbia Saturday Trail Stretch are decent and work for light to moderate hiking, offering high value for a pair of lightweight hiking pants that move well. They are less durable than other options, so the value is short-lived if you really get after it.

The Sahara pants aren&#039;t tight or loose, allowing you to move when...
The Sahara pants aren't tight or loose, allowing you to move when you need to.
Photo: Meg Atteberry

Look for ripstop or abrasion-resistant fabrics if you want long-lasting hiking pants. We recommend the durable Outdoor Research Ferrosi or Arc'teryx Palisade pants if you are a dedicated hiker and plan to gain value through longevity. After months of high-abrasion testing, the pants looked good as new. We've also worn the Patagonia Pack Out and Fjallraven tights for years without any pilling or significant wear.

Having full range of motion makes hiking more fun. The Outdoor...
Having full range of motion makes hiking more fun. The Outdoor Research Ferrosi pants let you high step to your heart's content.
Photo: Ryan Reed

Comfort and Mobility


Hiking pants must be comfortable and mobile, so this category counts for 30% of the final score. If your pants chafe, pinch, or impede your movement, it will impact your trip and your mood. Fabric stretch, cut, and fit make the biggest difference in terms of comfort and mobility. We give you an idea of which of our body types work with each of these pants, but it's also a good idea to check the measurements of your favorite options.

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


The Patagonia Pack Out tights and Outdoor Research Ferrosi pants top the charts in comfort and mobility. Both are incredibly comfy for a wide range of activities, from hiking to climbing. The Pack Out relies mostly on its soft, stretchy material and a wide waistband for its comfort. The Ferrosi makes the most of its infinite stretch fabric and movement-focused construction details including an extra triangle ''gusset' of fabric in the crotch and articulated knees. The loose and stretchy North Face Aphrodite 2.0 is a close second tier.

The Patagonia Pack Out tights are the coziest pants we&#039;ve ever hiked...
The Patagonia Pack Out tights are the coziest pants we've ever hiked in.
Photo: Clark Tate

Not far behind is the Prana Halle, which moves every bit as well with its stretch fabric and articulated knees. But the waist can stretch out between washings. It's not a huge issue since the pants have an internal drawstring, but it makes the Halle's a little less cozy. The soft and flowing Mountain Hardwear Dynama 2 pants are a joy to run in, but a low rise and non-gusseted crotch can feel stifling. Most of these top comfort options work well for a range of body types and come in petite to plus sizes. The Dynama's rise didn't work comfortably for all of our testers.

It doesn&#039;t get much more mobile than this. The Prana Halle tights...
It doesn't get much more mobile than this. The Prana Halle tights never restrict your high steps.
Photo: Clark Tate

Rise and waistband construction have an outsized effect on comfort. Low-rise pants aren't the best option for hiking. Mid-rise options like the Ferrosi and Halle are the most common and popular. The Fjallraven Abisko Trekking Tights have a highrise waist with a broad band that holds the pants on your hips comfortably. The Abisko scores well in this metric despite the odd-feeling reinforcement patches because of their accommodating waist, silky fabric, and endless flexibility.

The Outdoor Research Ferrosi pants have a comfortable fleece fabric...
The Outdoor Research Ferrosi pants have a comfortable fleece fabric lining the waist and a forgiving elastic drawstring.
Photo: 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. The Halle, Abisko, Ferrosi, The North Face Aphrodite 2.0, Arc'teryx Sabria, Patagonia Quandary, and Vuori Ripstop all have internal waist ties. The Arc'teryx Palisade features a full-on integrated belt.

Then there are the controversial comfort versus fashion versus function issues that come up when discussing convertible hiking pants. Most zip-off hiking pants have a relaxed cut, keeping the zipper away from your leg to improve comfort, like the REI Sahara. They aren't often flattering. The Outdoor Research Ferrosi convertible pants take another approach. They are narrow through the thigh, which is often a more streamlined and flattering cut. They then rely on super-stretchy fabric to improve comfort and mobility.

Light, breathable and weather resistant, the Ferrosi zip-off pants...
Light, breathable and weather resistant, the Ferrosi zip-off pants set you up for success on the trail.
Photo: Clark Tate

The tradeoff offers excellent movement, but the zipper is not flexible. It rubs and leaves a bra-like imprint on some of our testers' legs. It's not painful, but we notice it. The feeling is exacerbated if you have strong, curvy thighs. If that's you, we'd definitely recommend the non-convertible Ferrosi pants. Without the zipper, the Ferrosi offers all-around comfort that all our testers fell for. Even with the zipper, they still move very well, earning an above-average score in this metric.

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

The Arc&#039;teryx Palisade pants breathe really well while blocking cold...
The Arc'teryx Palisade pants breathe really well while blocking cold winds from ripping away your warmth.
Photo: Ryan Reed

Venting and Breathability


When you're active, you generate heat and sweat. All that moisture can feel clammy when you're warm and give you the chills when you stop moving. 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 a physical opening or with breathable fabric, which lets air and moisture exit through the material.


Pants that shine in this metric provide both venting and breathability. The Outdoor Research Ferrosi's fabric is incredibly breathable. The REI Sahara and Columbia Saturday Trail pants are only slightly less breathable, and the REI model zips off the bottom half to provide the ventilation shorts provide. They function to keep you cool and are all excellent choices for peak summer hikes. The Sahara is the only pair we reviewed that let you keep your boots on when you convert them to shorts, a nice bonus if you do this often.

Days in the mountains often start off cool but heat up quickly. A...
Days in the mountains often start off cool but heat up quickly. A convertible option covers your bases for different weather conditions.
Photo: Sanni McCandless

Of the pants that don't convert to shorts, many are made to be rolled 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 do to cool you off. The thicker and less breathable Prana Halle and REI Savanna pants have roll-up hems for hot days. The more breathable Arc'teryx Palisade, Mountain Hardware Dynama 2, and Marmot Kodachrome do as well. We like that this option gives us a breeze while keeping our upper calves protected from the sun.

The Halle pants roll up to a capri but are not convertible into...
The Halle pants roll up to a capri but are not convertible into shorts.
Photo: Cam McKenzie Ring

Leggings tend to breathe well, and the two hiking tights we tested are no exception. The Pack Out seems to wick moisture away effectively, but the fabric is pretty thick, keeping us warmer overall. They are best for temperate weather and are often too warm for summer hiking. The Fjallraven Abisko Trekking Tights also work in cooler temperatures thanks to their thick patches, but the rest of the fabric is much more breathable than the Pack Out tights. They regulate our body temps in a wider range of conditions, and we like them better for warm hikes.

The Mountain Hardwear Dynama 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.

The Outdoor Research Ferrosi pants are water-resistant. They shed...
The Outdoor Research Ferrosi pants are water-resistant. They shed water effectively in all but a downpour. We had a hard time getting this water droplet to stay put. The rest ran right off the fabric.
Photo: 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. The Arc'teryx Gamma LT repels water and blocks wind better than any other hiking pant we tested. The Outdoor Research Ferrosi doesn't stand up to rain for long, but does a good job of cutting the wind and has UPF 50 sun protection. They top the weather-resistant chart.


While you'll need dedicated water-proof 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-resistance fabric, a durable water repellent (DWR) coating on the fabric, or both.

The combination of a hydrophic material and added DWR coating makes...
The combination of a hydrophic material and added DWR coating makes water bead up and roll right off the Arc'teryx Gamma LT.
Photo: Cam McKenzie Ring

Along with the Arc'teryx Gamma LT and Outdoor Research Ferrosi, the REI Co-op Sahara pants also do a stellar job of sloughing off water. However, all of them will saturate eventually in a steady rainstorm. 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, Dynama 2, Aphrodite 2.0, Marmot Kodachrome, REI Savanna, and Patagonia Quandary pants.

All of these pants wet out eventually. So it also matters how...
All of these pants wet out eventually. So it also matters how quickly they dry. For a trekking tight, the Fjallraven Abisko pants are pretty speedy.
Photo: Clark Tate

You also want to think about how long it takes a pair of pants to dry, especially if they're the only ones you have with you in the backcountry. The Ferrosi, Sahara, Arc'teyrx Sabria, Savanna, Dynama 2, and Saturday Trail Stretch dry the fastest. The Arc'teryx Gamma LT takes a bit longer but is still considered quick drying. Thicker pants like the Halle and Vuori take a while. Of the hiking tights, the Abisko is the fastest to dry.

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.
Photo: Scott Ring

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, or The North Face Aphrodite 2.0. The Ferrosi pants defy the trend. They block the wind while breathing well — one of the many reasons we love them.

The Columbia Saturday Trail Stretch have a UPF 50+ rating...
The Columbia Saturday Trail Stretch have a UPF 50+ rating, protecting our legs from sun exposure and limiting the amount of sunscreen we need to apply.
Photo: Norah Siller

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 melanoma location on 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.) 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, summer fabrics have a UPF of only 6.

Of the award-winning pants, only the Pack Out, Abisko, and Gamma LT Softshell do NOT have a UPF of 50.

Details like the Fjallraven Abisko tight&#039;s knee and bum...
Details like the Fjallraven Abisko tight's knee and bum reinforcements can make all the difference in performance.
Photo: Clark Tate

Features


For hiking pants, features like functional pockets, internal drawcords, or cinches on the hem can be the difference between like and love. For us, it comes down to the pockets. Women's pants are finally showing up with usable versions, so we're starting to demand them — big demerits for fabric folds barely big enough for a breath mint.


The trail tights have the pocket market cornered. It doesn't hurt that their compressive nature holds our belonging tight against our legs, keeping them from bouncing around as we walk. While we've been in awe of the generous and perfectly placed Patagonia Pack Out pockets for some time, the Fjallraven Abisko pants take the cupcake here. Both have pockets big enough for any smartphone, but the Abisko includes a cloth cap. It holds our very expensive minicomputer securely, without making us slide our hand past a scratchy zipper. A credit cart waist pocket and a left side spot for a map or bar (both zipped) give us plenty of secure storage options.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

The large Pack Out pockets do lose some elasticity over time. They are deep enough to keep your belongings secure regardless (unless you are really into inversions). Other models, like the Prana Halle, Patagonia Quandary, and Marmot Kodachrome, have shallow hand pockets that don't hold much of anything, including your hands. All three include a zipped thigh pocket that can hold some smaller phone models or a bar.

Cinchable hems are a popular trend in hiking pants right now. We...
Cinchable hems are a popular trend in hiking pants right now. We like them.
Photo: Ryan Reed

The Outdoor Research Ferrosi has bottomless front pockets that can fit your phone or your hands and a good portion of your forearms. The Arc'teryx Palisade and REI Savanna sport pockets with an extra fabric fold to hold bulkier items. The Mountain Hardware Dynama 2's front pockets 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.

An inner drawstring helps with fit adjustments and means you don&#039;t...
An inner drawstring helps with fit adjustments and means you don't have to wear a belt, which is much preferred when also wearing a harness or hipbelt.
Photo: Cam McKenzie Ring

The other 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. 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 Columbia Saturday Trail Stretch and Patagonia Pack Out tights do not. The Pack Out tights are tight and don't need one.

Hem cinches are becoming more popular, keeping your hems out of the way in wet weather or when foot placements are particularly important on technical terrain. The Ferrosi pants, the Savannas, and the Dynama 2 all let you snug your hems in. Of them, we're most impressed with the thin elastic bands and lightweight, easy-to-adjust clasps on the Savanna and Dynama 2.

The Outdoor Research Ferrosi pants are versatile enough to tackle...
The Outdoor Research Ferrosi pants are versatile enough to tackle nearly any three-season conditions you'll run into on the trail.
Photo: Clark Tate

Versatility


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, you want 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 hikes, short walks to boulders, 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 model is the Outdoor Research Ferrosi. They're durable, breathe well, resist light splashes of water and stains, fight off the wind, and are easy to roll up to your knees. The zip-off version can also convert to a Bermuda-length short. We feel confident heading off into the backcountry, knowing that these pants can handle it. We especially appreciate their trail versatility on multi-day ventures, where we really need our pants to handle varying conditions. These pants also resist stretching out after multiple days of use, which we can't say of many of the other options tested.

The REI Sahara convertible pants also zip-off, shed water quickly, and breathe very well, but they get chilly fast in a stiff breeze. The Arc'teryx Palisade balances wind-blocking and breathability almost as well as the Ferrosi pants and their fabric is a little stiffer and more substantial. We like the feel and love the extra protection we get when venturing off-trail. We spent a day bushwalking through east coast briars in them and came out with no more than a couple of scratches on our legs. The pants were fine.

The Ferrosi pants perform well enough to keep up with us on almost...
The Ferrosi pants perform well enough to keep up with us on almost any hiking (or climbing or water-based) adventure we can dream up. And they look pretty darn good doing it.
Photo: Ryan Reed

For lifestyle versatility, the Prana Halle earns top marks, offering endless stretch, reasonable breathability, and slightly thicker fabric that provides protection. 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. The Halle also has a tab that holds the hem roll and allows for more airflow. They are also more comfortable under a climbing harness, making them a favorite for climbing days.

Pants like the Prana Halle are versatile on the trail and in life...
Pants like the Prana Halle are versatile on the trail and in life. We just wear them all day and see what we get into.
Photo: Clark Tate

We also like the Patagonia Pack Out tights for days that head from yoga, to work, to the trail. While the Arc'teryx Gamma LT handles a range of wet and cold environments, it's not so great in warm weather. Since most people hike in pleasant temperatures, we don't consider the Gamma very versatile.

So many pants in this review offer great performance in a few...
So many pants in this review offer great performance in a few metrics, while a few have stellar performance across the board. Don't forget to compare the product ratings to find the right option for you.
Photo: 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 with confidence and in style.

Clark Tate, Kathleen Sheehan, & Cam McKenzie Ring