The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of gear

Best Hiking Pants for Women

The high-performance Ferrosis are ready for almost any adventure you a...
Photo: Clark Tate
Tuesday November 3, 2020
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Over the last 8 years, we've tested 40 women's hiking pants to find the best fit for you. It's hard work, but these 14 favorites are worth it. Our test team researched options ranging from softshells, convertible pants, and hiking tights before buying the top options to test side-by-side. We hike hundreds of trail 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, because our favorite pants can do it all. No matter what type of adventures you like, we've found the hiking pant that can hang.

Top 14 Product Ratings

Displaying 1 - 5 of 14
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Awards Top Pick Award Top Pick Award   Top Pick Award 
Price $65 List$89.00 at Backcountry$68.95 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
$38.47 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$57.82 at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
Overall Score
75
69
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73
Star Rating
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Pros Flattering and comfortable cut, versatile, durable, UPF 50Infinite mobility, soft and cozy, excellent pockets, highly versatileLightweight, breathable, comfortable, flat waistband with a drawstringMaterial is soft and stretchy, lightweight, deep front pocketsFeminine fit, many adjustment options, great movement, comfortable
Cons Sub-optimal pockets, tapered leg restricts hem rollHeavy, slow to dry, not ideal for hot daysNot water resistant, snags easilyLimited features, not water resistant, slow to dryWeak buttons, small pockets
Bottom Line These stretchy and comfortable day-hikers take you straight from daily life to the trailheadA cozy, versatile hiking tightA lightweight pair for hot days but they aren't the most durableA soft and comfortable pair for all-day wearThese pants perform, whether hiking and climbing in the backcountry or biking your way around town
Rating Categories REI Co-op Taereen Pant Patagonia Pack Out - Women's The North Face Aphrodite 2.0 Mountain Hardwear Dynama Prana Halle - Women's
Comfort And Mobility (35%)  
10
10
9
9
8
Venting And Breathability (20%)
5
5
8
9
6
Weather Resistance (15%)
6
2
5
2
6
Features (15%)
5
6
5
5
7
Versatility (15%)
9
8
4
6
9
Specs REI Co-op Taereen... Patagonia Pack Out... The North Face... Mountain Hardwear... Prana Halle -...
Measured Weight, Size Regular (oz) 9.5 oz 10.2 oz 7.5 oz 7.5 oz 12.0 oz
Size options and versions 4 to 22w, Petite, Regular, Plus XS to XXL XXS to XXL, Short, Regular, Plus XS to XL, Short, Regular, Long, Plus 00 to 22w, Short, Regular, Tall
Fabric 94% nylon, 6% spandex 87% polyester, 13% spandex double-knit mossed jersey 95% nylon, 5% elastane 96% nylon, 4% elastane 97% nylon, 3% spandex
Fabric Features Quick dry, stretchy None Quick dry, moisture wicking Water, and abrasion-resistant
DWR Finish? Yes No Yes Yes Yes
UPF? UPF 50 No rating None UPF 50 UPF 50
Pockets 2 hand, 2 back zippered 3 side (1 zip) 2 hand, 1 zip 2 hand, 2 back 2 hand, 1 thigh (zip), 2 back (button)
Zip-Off or Roll-Up? Limited roll-up Limited roll-up No Roll-up Roll-up, available as zip-off
Integrated Belt? No No Yes, internal drawcord No Yes, internal drawcord
Fit Features Mid rise, stretchy construction Thick elastic waist, gussetted crotch, regular rise Stretchy fabric, gathered material along sides, drawstring at waist and feet Stretch waistband, relaxed fit, elastane fabric, cinch up to capri Articulated knees, mid-rise, relaxed fit, 3 inseam lengths
Social or Environmental Certifications Fabric is bluesign approved Fabric is bluesign approved, Fair Trade Certified sewn

Best Overall Women's Hiking Pants


Outdoor Research Ferrosi Convertible - Women's


Outdoor Research Ferrosi Convertible - Women's
Editors' Choice Award

$62.73
(30% off)
on REI
See It

84
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort and Mobility - 35% 7
  • Venting And Breathability - 20% 10
  • Weather Resistance - 15% 9
  • Features - 15% 8
  • Versatility - 15% 9
Weight: 9.5 ounces | Inseam: 31 inches
Flexible and mobile
Nice fit that holds its shape for days
Multi-use
Lightweight
Tight through the thighs
Thigh zippers are awkward

The Outdoor Research Ferrosi Convertible tops our list of favorite hiking pants. Comfortable, breathable, as well as wind and water-resistant, they work in so many situations that we never have to take them off. 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 material shadows your every move and never feels restrictive. The pants resist water long enough for you to duck out of the rain. When they do get wet, they dry fast. They also convert to Bermuda-length shorts for hot hiking days.

The zip-off style is not for everyone, but some hikers like the ability to switch to shorts mid-hike. Others, including some of our testers, would rather stuff a pair of shorts in their pack. These pants have a trim cut through the thighs and felt snug on our curvy and muscular testers. We found the conversion zipper that circles your upper leg distractingly uncomfortable at first. Though the feeling does disappear for most testers during a hike, some refused to wear these for longer walks due to a fear of chaffing. The Ferrosi does come in a non-convertible style if you have sensitive skin or robust thighs. Otherwise, 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 Convertible - Women's

Best Bang for the Buck


REI Co-op Sahara Convertible - Women's


REI Co-op Sahara Convertible - Women's
Best Buy Award

$69.95
on REI
See It

77
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort and Mobility - 35% 7
  • Venting And Breathability - 20% 9
  • Weather Resistance - 15% 7
  • Features - 15% 9
  • Versatility - 15% 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 helpful features at an affordable price. We love the useful zippered pockets and the built-in belt. Some testers also really appreciate that the wide-leg cut lets you switch to shorts without removing your boots. The material stretches enough to allow for any adventure, from rock climbing to epic backpacking trips. 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


Columbia Saturday Trail Stretch - Women's
Best Buy Award

$54.99
(8% off)
on Amazon
See It

60
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort and Mobility - 35% 5
  • Venting And Breathability - 20% 9
  • Weather Resistance - 15% 8
  • Features - 15% 4
  • Versatility - 15% 4
Weight: 9.2 ounces | Inseam: 32" inches
Stretch 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, and they have enough stretch to keep up with every step you take. They breathe well enough to keep you comfortable on hot days and shrug off splashes or quick rain showers. With UPF 50 sun protection, they also work well on exposed trails. They're 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, though. They're cut for curves and can blouse awkwardly at the hips while remaining tight in the thighs on some body types. They also breathe too well at times. 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, with their low sale prices, they'll get you on the trail and outside at a reasonable price, as long as the weather is warm.

Read review: Columbia Saturday Trail Stretch

Best Casual Hikers


REI Co-op Taereen Pant


REI Co-op Taereen Pant
Top Pick Award

$65 List
List Price
See It

75
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort and Mobility - 35% 10
  • Venting And Breathability - 20% 5
  • Weather Resistance - 15% 6
  • Features - 15% 5
  • Versatility - 15% 9
Weight: 9.5 ounces | Inseam: 32" inches
Comfortable
Flattering fit
Great for daily wear and travel
No pocket for a smartphone
Not great in super hot weather

The REI Co-op Taereen is the perfect hiking pant for a capsule wardrobe, taking you from your bike commute to a casual office environment to the trailhead. And comfort? They're like a sleek pair of grown-up sweats. They solve the age-old challenge of fitting a narrow waist and thick, athletic thighs with a generous cut and a wide elastic waist that nips in just a bit. They're flattering too. The Taereens don't restrict your movements whether you're cranking at your keyboard, on the trail, or at the climbing gym. Their tapered legs are in vogue and keep your hems out of your way.

The pants breathe well, but their thick, durable fabric isn't suited for mid-summer heat, and narrow ankles can only fit in a few rolls. They're best suited to temperate months. The fabric resists a few splashes but soaks through quickly when it rains, taking time to dry. While they are comfortable enough under a backpack, and they can handle a few days on the trail, their features aren't ideal for thru-hikes. Their pockets are only useful for some cash, keys, and an ID. We've been wearing them for months now, and they still look great. There is some pilling where our lead tester's upper thighs rub, but it's nothing anyone else can see. And we love that these pants make it easier to fit more trail days into your life.

Read review: REI Co-op Taereen Pant

Best Trekking Tights


Fjallraven Abisko Trekking Tight - Women's


Fjallraven Abisko Trekking Tight - Women's
Top Pick Award

$174.95
on Backcountry
See It

71
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort and Mobility - 35% 7
  • Venting And Breathability - 20% 8
  • Weather Resistance - 15% 5
  • Features - 15% 9
  • Versatility - 15% 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 are all the rage these days. 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. And, 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 petals. The only damage they sustained were two tiny fabric picks. Impressive.

Fjallraven built these pants for curvy, muscular, and tall bodies. We should have sized down. The slightly bunched fabric isn't a deal-killer for us, though. The thick seams around the patches also feel odd when you first pull these tights on, but we never notice them on the trail. And we 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 Comfort


Patagonia Pack Out - Women's


Patagonia Pack Out - Women's
Top Pick Award

$89.00
on Backcountry
See It

69
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort and Mobility - 35% 10
  • Venting And Breathability - 20% 5
  • Weather Resistance - 15% 2
  • Features - 15% 6
  • Versatility - 15% 8
Weight: 10.2 ounces | Inseam: 29 inches
Soft material
Great mobility
Versatility
Functional, well-placed pockets
Don't dry quickly
Thick fabric is not ideal for hot days

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 hiking tights fit and function.

The Pack Out is thick, making them better suited to mildly warm or 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 trips, as well as 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

Best for Climbing


Prana Halle - Women's


Prana Halle - Women's
Top Pick Award

$57.82
(32% off)
on Backcountry
See It

73
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort and Mobility - 35% 8
  • Venting And Breathability - 20% 6
  • Weather Resistance - 15% 6
  • Features - 15% 7
  • Versatility - 15% 9
Weight: 12 ounces | Inseam: 32 inches
Great range of motion
Comfy
Female-specific 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 repellant (DWR) treatment, but it only fends off splashes. While the 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 wear 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


Arc'teryx Gamma LT Pant - Women's
Top Pick Award

$189.00
on Backcountry
See It

67
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort and Mobility - 35% 6
  • Venting And Breathability - 20% 4
  • Weather Resistance - 15% 10
  • Features - 15% 9
  • Versatility - 15% 6
Weight: 11 ounces | Inseam: 32 inches
Best weather resistance
Lightweight for a softshell pant
Integrated belt and deep pockets
Heavy for summer use
Not convertible
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


We buy the best hiking pants on the market and test them...
We buy the best hiking pants on the market and test them head-to-head to hone in on their relative strengths and weaknesses.
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, and the low alpine of the Blue Ridge. Test scenarios spanned climates, temperatures, terrain, and conditions. We pushed these pants to the limit, mountaineering, climbing, scrambling, trail running, and, yes, hiking. For six months now, 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 all 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 scored bought the top options and reviewed them here on their comfort, movement, breathability, weather resistance, versatility, durability, 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 pant 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 tights for years without any pilling or significant wear. The REI Tareen pants hold up like champs as well, though they do pill a bit where your thighs touch.

If you&#039;re not excited to pull on your hiking pants and they don&#039;t...
If you're not excited to pull on your hiking pants and they don't keep up with your every step, you'll never want to wear them.
Photo: Clark Tate

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—the fabric of all of these pants stretch, but some more than others. 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.


The Patagonia Pack Out tights and REI Taereen 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 Taereen has a relaxed fit, stretchy fabric, and clever construction that nails the tricky thigh-to-waist ratio.

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 an issue since the pants have an internal drawstring, but it makes the Halle's a little less cozy. All three of these top comfort options work well for a range of body types and come in petite to plus sizes.

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 don't work well for hiking. Mid-rise options like the Taereen 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 accomodating 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 Kuhl Spire, and Patagonia Quandary all have internal waist ties.

Then there is the controversial comfort versus fashion versus function issues that come with 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 award-winning Outdoor Research Ferrosi's takes another approach. They are narrow through the thigh, which helps them look sleek. 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, check out the non-convertible Ferrosi pants. Without the zipper, we'd expect the Ferrosi to offer incredible comfort. As it is, they move with you very well, earning an above-average score in this metric.

Both The North Face Aphrodite 2.0 and Mountain Hardwear Dynama are very cozy and flexible pants. The Dynama, in particular, features heavenly soft fabric. While their durability and performance hold them back on the trail, they're both excellent loungers.

We love the Ferrosi in the desert since they breathe well, add extra...
We love the Ferrosi in the desert since they breathe well, add extra durable, but keep the cold desert winds at bay.
Photo: Callie Manning

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 move directly through the material.


Pants that shine in this metric provide both venting and breathability. The Outdoor Research Ferrosi's fabric is incredibly breathable. You can also zip off the pants above the knee: the ultimate vent. The REI Sahara and Columbia Saturday Trail pants are only slightly less breathable, and the REI model also zips off. That's why we recommend these pants so highly to hard-core hikers. They work hard 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.

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 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 pants have roll-up hems for hot days. The more breathable 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 fabric but don't have any formal venting. 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 our 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 better than any other hiking pant we tested. The Outdoor Research Ferrosi is another good option. Both cut the wind, and the Ferrosi 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 sluffing 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 Prana Halle and REI Taereen pants. Still, it took a few minutes for the water to reach our legs through their thick fabric during our shower test, though.

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 Ferrosis, Saharas, Arc'teyrx Sabria, and Saturday Trail Stretch dry the fastest. The Kuhl Spire Roll-Up and Arc'teryx Gamma LT take a bit longer but are still considered quick drying. Thicker pants like the Halle and Taereen 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 (and rain) 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

And 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 left side spot for a map or bar (both zipped) give us plenty of secure storage options.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

According to our tests, 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.

Although the zippered side pocket of the Ferrosis won&#039;t hold a...
Although the zippered side pocket of the Ferrosis won't hold a smartphone, but our phone feels secure in the extremely deep waist pockets.
Photo: Meg Atteberry

The Outdoor Research Ferrosi and Mountain Hardwear Dynama have bottomless front pockets that can fit your phone or your hands and a good portion of your forearms. The REI Taereen'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, only the Columbia Saturday Trail Stretch and REI Taereen pants, and Patagonia Pack Out tights do not. The Pack Out tights are tight and don't need one; neither do the REI pants. The Taereen features a neat jogger-style cut that gives strong thighs and muscular bums room while nipping in at the waist to hold the pants in place. If you've ever been frustrated trying to find hiking pants that give you enough room in the thighs without falling off, try these.

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 trips to Europe 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. These pants can convert to a Bermuda-length short, breathe well, resist water, and fight off the wind. 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 many others we tested cannot do so well. 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 REI Taereen pants are versatile in life and outside. We love...
The REI Taereen pants are versatile in life and outside. We love them for hiking, bike commuting, bouldering, and brunching.
Photo: Clark Tate

For lifestyle versatility, the Prana Halle and REI Taereen earn top marks. Both offer endless stretch, reasonable breathability, and slightly thicker fabric that provides more protection. And they look good. We wear both of these pants to our causal offices and to get drinks with the gang. They are perfect active travel options.

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

The Taereen pants are a little better for working and long flights. The curvy cut doesn't need a drawstring to stay in place, and they never pinch at our waist. The Halle 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.

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 excellent performance in a few...
So many pants in this review offer excellent performance in a few metrics, 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