6 Best Women’s Hiking Pants for Day Hikes

    Whether you’re a novice hiker or you hit the trails most weekends, you want to make sure you're wearing the best women's hiking pants available

    As a female, finding pants of any type that fit well is challenging — at best. If you’re a hiker, finding a pair of quality women’s hiking pants can seem virtually impossible. You want need a pair that offers rugged durability yet sufficient comfort and range of motion, can be worn in different seasons and weather, and looks halfway decent on. Sometimes, it’s even hard to know where to get started in finding a decent pair of women’s hiking pants.

    Fortunately, we’ve done much of the legwork for you (pun very much intended). Whether you’re a novice hiker or you hit the trails most weekends, here are our 6 top picks for the best women’s hiking pants for day hikes.

    1. Patagonia Quandary Pants

    No list of women’s hiking pants is complete without at least one pair from Patagonia. The lightweight all-season Quandary Pants are made of 95 percent nylon and 5 percent spandex and feature UPF 50. The stretchy material is finished with a durable water repellent (DWR) that’s moisture- and dirt-resistant, so you stay dry and clean even if the weather takes an unexpected turn. A secure tab-and-snap system enables the pants to convert to capris.

    The best thing about the Quandary Pants? They’re backed by Patagonia’s legendary Ironclad Guarantee, which exchanges, refunds, or replaces your item if it “does not perform to your satisfaction” — for life.

    Pros/Flattering cut with slimmer legs and Patagonia’s no-questions-asked lifetime warranty.
    Cons/The DWR finish doesn’t repel water quite as well as other pants, and some may find the double inseams uncomfortable.
    Bottom Line/You really can’t go wrong with Patagonia, but the Quandary is best-suited for shorter hikes in dry weather.

    2. Marmot Kodachrome Pants

    If you’re looking for women’s hiking pants to seamlessly take you from the trail to lunch with friends, look no further than the Marmot Kodachrome. The minimalist styling and stretchy nylon/elastane fabric allow these pants to be worn comfortably for extended periods of time and in many scenarios. A gusseted inseam and articulated knees provide true functionality during hikes, particularly for scrambling.

    Although the Kodachromes are versatile enough to wear all year, they truly shine in warm weather. The pants are exceptionally breathable and easily roll up into capris, plus they have UPF-50 protection and a quick-drying DWR finish. They’re also available in plus sizes and a zip-off convertible version.

    Pros/Extremely lightweight (just 9.4 ounces!) and cut slightly higher in the back to resist slipping down under a pack.
    Cons/They run slightly small, particularly in the thighs; you may want to size up.
    Bottom Line/Excellent all-around hiking pants, but lacking the adjustable, customizable fit some other options have.

    3. Coalatree Trailhead Pants

    Several things make the Coalatree Trailhead Pants the most unique women’s hiking pants on our list. For starters, they’re not technically women’s — they’re unisex. Really. Coalatree offers the pants in regular and slim fits, and a cinch cord at the hem creates a customized fit. Trailhead pants are made from 100 percent recycled ripstop nylon and anti-microbial spandex, so they’re extremely stretchy and durable and can be worn for days without washing. They also have an eco-friendly DWR finish that repels water amazingly well.

    Perhaps most impressive is that the Trailhead pants pack down completely into one of the front pockets. Again, really. The packed pants double as a travel pillow, and, when you open them up again, they’re somehow not wrinkled.

    Pros/Sustainable fabrics and unmatched versatility.
    Cons/Limited sizing means some people won’t find a perfect fit.
    Bottom Line/Affordable and well-suited to every outdoor activity imaginable, plus their packability is ideal for travel.

    4. PrAna Halle Pants

    Without trekking shoes, the PrAna Halle Pants easily pass for regular pants. They come in more than 10 colors and look more street-like, but these women’s hiking pants are loaded with handy trail features.

    The fabric is decidedly rugged — yet exceedingly comfortable. Because of their thickness, these pants are noticeably heavier than others, but articulated knees and stretchy material make them ideal for strenuous hikes and climbing. The front pockets are curiously small, but a large zippered thigh pocket is thoughtfully placed low enough to be accessible even while wearing a pack or climbing gear.

    Pros/Versatile styling, plus they’re available with convertible legs and in a tremendous range of sizes and colors.
    Cons/They take quite some time to dry if they get wet and hand pockets are tiny.
    Bottom Line/Because these pants are thick and not especially breathable, they aren’t great for multi-day or summer hikes, but they’re one of our favorites for cooler weather day hikes.

    5. Arc’teryx Gamma LT Pants

    The Arc’teryx Gamma LT’s are far and away the most expensive women’s hiking pants on this list, but their premium construction and innovative engineering make them standouts. They’ll last for decades and hold up to frequent and technical hikes.

    A softshell nylon-elastane blend and top-tier DWR provide stellar flexibility and some of the best weather resistance in the segment. Thoughtful touches justify the investment, including large mesh-lined pockets that can be unzipped to improve airflow, a reflective logo for low light, an integrated webbed belt, and adjustable cuffs with grommets to secure them over boots, like gaiters. Note that the Gamma LT has a flattering slim fit, but doesn’t roll up or convert to shorts.

    Pros/Excellent for wet and cold weather, plus several well-thought-out features.
    Cons/Cost, and they aren’t ideal for warm weather.
    Bottom Line/Although they’ll set you back more than many other hiking pants, the Gamma LT’s will last a long, long time.

    6. Outdoor Research Ferrosi Convertible Pants

    The Outdoor Research Ferrosi Convertible women’s hiking pants are incredibly well-rounded. They’re relaxed without being baggy, zip-off legs convert to bermuda shorts, and an ankle cinch cord quickly makes them into capris or narrows the leg opening. The 90D ripstop nylon and spandex are both super tough and ultra-soft and provide excellent wind resistance. An integrated drawstring and fleece-lined waistband help the pants stay comfortably put all day, and there are five surprisingly deep pockets — including a zippered one at the thigh.

    It’s worth noting that the Ferrosi pants aren’t exceptionally water-resistant, but they do repel it long enough for you to get out of heavy rain. When they do get wet, they dry fast. If a zip-off pant doesn’t appeal to you, Outdoor Research makes a non-convertible version that is equally outstanding.

    Pros/Ankle cinches and convertible legs provide significant versatility and value.
    Cons/No DWR finish.
    Bottom Line/Aside from a couple of very minor drawbacks, the Ferrosi pants are an excellent pick overall.

    7. Bonus #1: Patagonia Pack Out Tights

    We couldn’t not include at least one pair of hiking tights, and Patagonia’s Pack Out is one of the best. They fit snugly because they’re tights, but aren’t too, well, tight. The double-knit polyester/spandex fabric blend is soft, cozy, and substantially tougher than traditional leggings, so you can wear them alone or as a base layer. Thicker fabric also means these tights hold their shape after extended wear and aren’t see-through.

    Easily our favorite feature is the number of pockets — three. Patagonia included two huge drop-in side pockets and a zippered hip pocket. You’re typically lucky to get one in hiking tights. The extra-thick waistband doesn’t budge, making them ideal for wearing with a pack or climbing harness.

    Pros/Incredibly comfortable, plus several pockets.
    Cons/They’re not breathable in warm weather and take quite awhile to dry.
    Bottom Line/Opt for a pair of actual hiking pants when wet weather is a real concern, but otherwise the Pack Out should be one of your go-to’s.

    8. Bonus #2: Belong Designs Women's Smokey Forest Leggings

    OK, you got us, we had to add two pairs of outdoor tights to our list. Belong Designs’ Women’s Smokey Forest Leggings feel like a second skin, moving with your body and feeling soft inside and out. They’re breathable, and the stretch material makes them adaptable to both short- and long-legged women, without blowing out the featured pattern. Belong Designs includes a snug hidden zipper pocket in its leggings, too — just enough to stash a credit card or a key while you take off on an adventure.

    These leggings have hit the trails on hikes as well as runs, and months after purchase, they still look as good as they did the day we got them. And while the design in the photo is the one we have, Belong has really taking styling to the next level and have nearly 20 unique looks that let you capture the essence of the mountains.

    Pros/Amazing designs and long-time comfort are their hallmarks.
    Cons/While they're adaptable to height, if you're 5-foot-3 or under, you may find that they start to bunch up.
    Bottom Line/Soft, lightweight, breathable, and featuring ergonomic compression technology, these very well could become your new favorites.

    Taryn Shorr is an avid outdoor enthusiast, frequent traveler, and wannabe photographer based in southern Arizona. She lives for the opportunity to explore The Great Outdoors, both at home and in new destinations, and firmly believes that nature is a form of both therapy and religion.


    Feature image by Banana Oil

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