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Best Hiking Leggings for Women (Plus 5 Hiking Pants)

Woman hiking on coast path in leggings

Traditional pants or the snug fit of leggings? Our list of the best hiking leggings and pants for women will have something for you, along with essential advice on what to look for when buying.

I remember the days when hiking leggings were reserved for the most radical of peak baggers and ramblers. To the brave few willing to buck the trend of utilitarian hiking pants that used to make, let’s face it, even the most model-like hikers look a bit dowdy. Fast-forward to the last 10 years, however, and women’s hiking leggings are more prevalent than their baggy legged counterparts, adding a huge degree of accessibility to those less accustomed to donning a hiker costume every time they step off tarmac and onto the dir.

For most casual hikers, leggings have replaced hiking pants. They tend to be more stylish and are often more comfortable, as well as wearable in everyday life and for sport, not just on the trail. But what about for a serious, multiple-day trek? Can leggings really stand up to traditional hiking pants? Both hiking tights or leggings and hiking pants have specific strengths, and the best hiking leggings for women should be as stylish as they are comfortable, durable and weather resistant.

If you’re not sure which are for you, then you’ve come to the right place. In this article you learn about the following:

Summary of hiking pants and leggings for women

But before you get stuck in, here’s a quick overview of what your options are:

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ProductTypeBest suited toCost
Ibex Lizzi TightLeggings3 season hiking$$$$
Rockay Women’s TightsLeggings3 season hiking and running$$
Fjallraven Abisko Trail TightsLeggingsSummer hiking and climbing$$$$
Montane Ineo Pro PantsLeggings3 season hiking and climbing$$
BAM Enduro Bamboo LeggingsLeggings3 season hiking in dry conditions$
Apexgray Storm Sustainable Sports LeggingsLeggings3 season hiking and winter running$
Houdini W’s MTM Thrill Twill PantsFull length pants3 season hiking and climbing$$$
Mammut Women’s Hiking PantsFull length pants3 season hiking and climbing$$
Helly Hansen Odin Muninn PantFull length pantsWinter hiking and mountaineering$$$$
Mountain Equipment Chamois PantFull length pants3+ season hiking and mountaineering$$
Sprayway Escape Slim PantsFull length pants3 season hiking and climbing$

The 6 best hiking tights and hiking leggings for women

Ibex Lizzi Tight
Ibex Lizzi Tight

Ibex Lizzi Tight

Eco-conscious: Made from renewable merino wool

The oh-so-classy Lizzi Tight is a new addition to the Ibex line and the only merino hiking leggings that I’ve tried. Blended with elastane and nylon to help the tights keep their shape and not get baggy, the Lizzi Tight also enjoys all the benefits of merino wool. Most notably, thermoregulation, making them ideal for hiking in changeable conditions in the shoulder seasons and during cooler winter conditions. Yes, they’re on the warm side for wearing when the temperature rises too much over 13 or 14ºC. But the nature of merino wool means that you don’t get sweaty and sticky if the weather is better than expected.

I love the mid-rise waist band. It’s snug but not too tight, preventing the tights from riding up or slipping down, and feels very comfortable under a backpack. I’m also a very big fan of the stretchy side pockets which keep things well in place without sticking into your legs at all.

Additionally, these leggings are super stylish and look really great for casual wear with a knitted jumper!


  • Temperature regulating
  • Anti-microbial
  • Moisture wicking
  • Very comfortable, especially around the waist
  • Fabric doesn’t get baggy
  • Not see-through!


  • Pricey
  • Not wind or water resistant

Find the latest price at:

rockay tights
Rockay tights close up

Rockay Women’s Tights

Eco-conscious:Made with recycled fabrics and treated with Polygiene anti-odor technology for less washing

The stylish and versatile Women’s Tights by Rockay are an excellent choice for multi-activity enthusiasts. They are as at home at the gym or in a fitness class as they are out on the trail, paired with walking boots or trail runners alike. Their sporty design offers another eco-friendly alternative to traditional hiking pants with good moisture wicking performance and breathability. They’re also very comfortable with a mid-rise, wide waistband that doesn’t interfere at all with your backpack.

I’m a big fan of the zippable side pocket for extra security, as well as the tight fit that neither gets baggy with wear or feels clingy in any way. A top choice for active adventures in warm to cool conditions.


  • Zippered side pocket
  • Treated with Polygiene anti-odor technology
  • Moisture wicking and breathable
  • Very comfortable
  • Fabric doesn’t get baggy
  • Not see-through!


  • Pricey
  • Not wind or water resistant

Find the latest price at:

Fjallraven Abisko Trail Tights
Close ups Fjallraven Trail Tights

Fjallraven Abisko Trail Tights

The Abisko Trail Tights are the little sister of Fjallraven’s famous Trekking Tights. With the same reinforced knees and seat (though much more subtly designed), side pockets and a very comfortable waistband, the Trail Tights live up to the expectations set by the Trekking Tights. However, the lightweight design and lighter fabric at the crotch, backs of the thighs and waist for extra ventilation, make them much more suited to hiking in warmer conditions. They’re super stretchy and comfortable, mega stylish and highly practical for evenings at camp (although they’re a little clingy/shiny on the inside for me to sleep in – I’m just dead picky!). I also enjoy trail running in them during the winter months.

For more information read our full review of the Fjallraven Abisko Trail Tights.


  • Reinforced knees and seat
  • Very comfortable waistband
  • Two side pockets (one zippered)
  • Stylish design
  • Gusseted crotch


  • Pricey!
  • A little baggy at the ankles/calves

Find the latest price on:
Fjallraven | Alpine Trek | REI | Backcountry

Montane Women's Ineo Pro PantsMontane legging details

Montane Women’s Ineo Pro Pants

These 3-season hiking leggings are an absolute must for you ladies out there that value looking good as much as comfort, function and quality. The Montane Women’s Ineo Pro Pants are constructed of high performance stretchy fabric, which is abrasion resistant and wind resistant. The fabric also has a DWR coating to make the pants water repellent. Boasting articulated knees, a gusseted crotch for greater flexibility and comfort, and two discrete zippered hand pockets, these are full-featured hiking pants disguised as form-fitting, mega comfortable casual leggings. But the best bit? They’re the kind of leggings that you could wear to the office with everyday clothes as well as on long and demanding treks deep into the mountains.

For more information read our full review of the Montane Women’s Ineo Pro Pants.


  • Super comfortable
  • Excellent fit
  • Highly weather resistant
  • Work well as casual pants
  • Warm
  • Have elasticated waist with a drawstring


  • Pockets are a little visible when wearing for fashion!

Find the latest price at:
Montane | Cotswold Outdoor | Amazon

BAM Enduro Leggings
BAM Leggings close up

BAM Enduro Bamboo Leggings

Eco-conscious: Made from bamboo viscose and organic cotton

Though not made using traditionally outdoorsy fabrics, the BAM Enduro Bamboo Leggings still very much have a place on our list of hiking pants and leggings. The bamboo / cotton blend is slow to dry compared with synthetic fabrics, so they’re not a great option for wet or changeable conditions. However, for hiking (and biking and camping and general exploration) in cool but dry conditions, these mega comfortable and great looking leggings are ideal. They have a deep elasticated high waist that doesn’t interfere with a backpack harness, and a handy side pocket that fits a phone. As well as being super soft on the skin and not see-through at all, bamboo viscose also has anti-odour and temperature regulating properties, like merino. They’re the sort of leggings you can wear casually, all day, everyday, as well as on the trail.


  • ¾ length works very well with hiking boots
  • Anti-odour and temperature regulating
  • Has side pocket
  • Stylish design is great for everyday wear
  • Has gusseted crotch


  • Slow to dry so not good in the wet

Find the latest price at:

Apexgray Storm Sustainable Leggings Eco
Woman wearing hiking leggings

Apexgray Storm Sustainable Sports Leggings

Eco-conscious: Made from localy sourced recycled plastic, plus Bag for Life scheme encourages customers to send back the packaging bag

Another excellent option for the planet-conscious consumer looking for eco-friendly hiking leggings, is the Storm Sustainable Sports Leggings from Apexgray. Created using locally sourced recycled plastic, the Eco-lite fabric is incredibly soft on the skin. So soft, in fact, that they’ve fast become my go-to choice for wearing at home when I need something cosy and warm! Lounging aside, they also feel really comfortable and cosy on the trail. Fitted but not so tight that they’re restrictive, and not so loose that they get baggy with wear. They are also soft enough to wear inn bed on overnight hiking trips, which I’m usually pretty fussy about.

The simple design of the leggings boasts a good sized side pocket – much like the BAM Leggings – on each leg, with a lower waist (mid-rise) and softer waistband than the BAM’s.

The main downsides are the lack of wind and water resistance, and the fabric isn’t super breathable when I wear them running. However, the thick 280gsm high density fabric is ideal for hiking in the shoulder seasons or for wearing underneath waterproof pants or other hiking pants in the winter months.


  • SO soft on the skin
  • Very comfortable fit
  • Side pocket
  • Has gusseted crotch
  • Good value


  • Not wind or water resistant
  • Not super breathable when running

Find the latest price at:

Used gear banner

The 5 best hiking pants for women

If you know you want hiking leggings or tights instead of traditional pants, you can skip to the best hiking leggings and tights section. Otherwise, read on for all your options:

Houdini W’s MTM Thrill Twill Pants
Houdini pants details

Houdini W’s MTM Thrill Twill Pants

Eco-conscious: Made from 40% recycled polyester and fully recyclable

Swedish brand, Houdini, manages to create outdoor clothing that seems to be both on trend and eternally ahead of the game. This couldn’t be more apparent that with these stylish and super functional MTM Thrill Twill Pants. Boasting a new way of constructing clothing, the Made to Move design doesn’t conform to the usual cut of hiking pants. Instead, the pants work with the body resulting in exceptional comfort whether you’re kneeling, sitting cross-legged, climbing or negotiating steep, stepped terrain. They are also made of only polyester, 40% of which is recycled. This means that the pants are fully recyclable. Houdini even requests that you send the pants back to them to deal with, once they’re worn out.

The lightweight fabric has a nice amount of stretch in it, is quick drying and is decently breathable in warmer conditions. It’s also surprisingly wind resistant making these pants ideal for spring and summer hiking in conditions when the mornings and evenings are cooler.

They feature simple zippered pockets, a mid-rise waist with belt loops and seat pockets. Plus, the low profile waistband doesn’t interfere with the hip belt of a heavy backpack.

Finally, these fresh-looking pants offer a style that is suitable for everyday wear or even dinner out somewhere smarter than casual!


  • Stylish and smart-looking
  • Super comfortable and flexible
  • Zippered pockets
  • Lightweight fabric
  • Quick drying
  • Wind resistant


  • Sizing comes up big (I usually wear a size S but need a size XS in these, and there’s still a bit of room at the waist)

Find the latest price on:
Houdini Sportswear

Mammut hiking pants
Mammut hiking pants details

Mammut Women’s Hiking Pants

Eco-conscious: PFC-free DWR coating and Bluesign certified fabric

Much like the Sprayway Escape Pants, the Mammut Hiking Pants are a simple, no frills option for three season hiking. The super lightweight and stretchy fabric dries incredibly quickly after short downpours. And light rain beads away very effectively thanks to the DWR (durable water repellent) coating. They also provide UPF 30+ protection from the sun, making them an excellent option for summer jaunts in changeable conditions.

The pants feature a high waist that is secured with a zip and button, and a fitted slim cut with articulated knees. Plus, the two concealed zippered hand pockets further adds to the stylish and classic design that smoothly bridges the gap between trail life and everyday wanderings.

Some wearers may require a belt to keep the pants sitting high and prevent them from sagging at the crotch and seat (there are belt loops!).


  • Quick drying
  • Very lightweight fabric
  • Concealed hand pockets
  • Stylish design


  • May need to wear a belt (compromises comfort when wearing a backpack)
  • No gusseted crotch

Find the latest price at:
Mammut | Amazon | Alpine Trek

Helly Hansen Odin Muninn Pant
HH Odin Pants close ups

Helly Hansen Odin Muninn Pant

Eco-conscious: PFC-free DWR coating

For those predominantly hiking in chilly and windy conditions, the Odin Muninn Pant by Helly Hansen are an excellent choice. Though decently breathable in mild conditions, the robust and durable softshell fabric is a little on the thick side for summer hiking. However, it repels water very well in showery conditions and does a superb job at blocking out the wind on blustery winter hikes. In more extreme weather there’s also plenty of room to wear long johns or leggings underneath.

A few favourite features include the slim and stylish fit, the soft microfleece internal waistband and the adjustable ankles to fit around footwear. There’s a zipper at the ankles too, with boots hooks on the inside hem. The pants are also very comfortable in general, thanks to the stretchy fabric.

The main downside is that the thick adjustable tabs at the waist sit in the same place as a backpack waist belt. This isn’t too much of an issue with a light daypack. But it clashes badly with a fully loaded overnight backpack. I have to loosen the tabs right off so that the pants sit low on the hips and become a little baggy at the crotch.


  • Highly windproof
  • Very comfortable
  • Repels water well
  • Zippered pockets
  • Durable and robust


  • Waist tabs clash with heavy backpack waist belt
  • Sizing comes up a bit on the large side
  • Pricey

Find the latest price at:
Helly Hansen | REI

Mountain Equipment Chamois pants
ME Chamois Pants details

Mountain Equipment Chamois Pant

These softshell Chamois Pants are a best seller for Mountain Equipment. And for good reason. Featuring EXOLITE 210 stretch double weave fabric, these highly comfortable hiking pants are extremely soft on the inside yet abrasion resistant and water, wind and snow repellent on the outside. The result is a durable, versatile and robust pant that deals very well with hiking in winter conditions as well as cool summer strolls. On the really cold days, the pants are roomy enough to wear long-johns underneath, but not baggy at all. They also boast a highly useful ankle zip – to ensure a good fit over all styles of hiking boots, and three zippered pockets including a thigh pocket.

Finally, the microfleece lined waistband is a delight on the midriff and is complemented well by the adjustable and streamlined webbing belt.


  • Zippered ankles
  • Articulated knees
  • Gusseted crotch
  • Fleece waist lining
  • Water, wind and snow repellent
  • Three zippered pockets


  • Fly buttons are a little on the stiff side
  • Hem drawcord not included, even though there’s a channel for one!

Find the latest price at:
Alpine Trek | Mountain Equipment

Spray Way Escape Slim Pants
Spray Way Pants details

Sprayway Escape Slim Pants

The Sprayway Escape Slim Pants offer a sleek, stylish design that manages to look more casual than ‘outdoorsy’ — ideal for women whose outdoor adventures merge with everyday living. But these superb value, lightweight hiking pants are not just all about their good looks. No indeed. They also have a wonderfully comfortable waistband that is high and slightly padded at the back to prevent the pants from riding up when wearing a pack. Plus, they have a DWR coating that sheds light rain highly effectively, they are very quick drying and they’re decently breathable.


  • Three zippered pockets
  • Very comfortable waistband
  • Slim and stylish fit
  • UV Rating: UPF 50+


  • No gusseted crotch

Find the latest price at:
Sprayway | Amazon

Hiking pants vs hiking leggings

Traditional hiking pants have long been a staple of outdoor gear because they are made from durable material that can stand up to rough conditions on the trail. If you do any off-trail hiking in bushes or briars, full-length hiking pants will give you more protection from stickers than leggings. Hiking pants generally have multiple pockets and often convert to shorts or capris for especially warm days.

Hiking leggings and tights, on the other hand, are more comfortable than most hiking pants and can double as a base layer in cold weather. If the weather is warm, leggings are easy to roll up, although they do not generally completely convert to shorts or capris. Sizing is more forgiving with leggings, although some hikers are not comfortable with how form fitting they are. Hiking tights give more freedom of movement than hiking pants but are less durable and have fewer pockets. In wet conditions, most leggings can’t compare with proper pants as they tend to take much longer to dry. That said, it’s much easier to pop a pair of waterproof pants over the top of leggings. Another disadvantage to leggings and tights is that the fabric is sometimes so thin that they do not provide adequate protection from mosquitoes.

What to look for in a great pair of hiking pants or leggings

Whether you are looking for a new pair of hiking pants or wanting to try out hiking tights this season, you will want to consider multiple factors: weight, material, breathability, and waterproofing.


The weight of your hiking pants or tights will depend upon the weather conditions and season you are hiking in, as well as the terrain.

  • Hot weather

    For summer hiking, the lightweight fabric of Columbia’s Women’s Saturday Trail Pants and Outdoor Research’s Ferrosi Pants make them a great choice for staying cool in.

  • Cold Weather

    However, if you want something more suited to cold, snowy conditions the Norrona Falketind Flex1 Soft-Shell Pants will keep you warm dry. Or you could opt for Smartwool’s PhD Tights. They are the only wool option on our list, making them our top choice for a tight that can double as a base layer.

  • Quick drying

    The best hiking pants are also quick drying. It’s likely that you won’t put on waterproof pants each time there is a tiny rain shower. So your hiking pants or tights should be able to deal with that moisture quickly to avoid chafing and heaviness.

  • Stretch

    All hiking tights and leggings will be stretchy and will move easily with your body. And although not as form fitting as leggings, traditional hiking pants should also have a degree of stretchiness to them to ensure maximum comfort levels and zero movement restriction. Look for fabrics blended with spandex or elastane.


Breathability is exceptionally important feature of hiking pants and applicable to hiking in both hot and cold conditions. Whilst it’s mostly a matter of comfort when hiking in hot conditions, in the cold it can be a little more serious. Sweat that cools and stays on your skin can lead to dips in body temperature that can be hard to raise again. So if you tend to sweat a lot, opt for something that does a good job at transferring moisture away from your body. The most breathable options on our list are the Norrona Falketind Flex1 Soft-Shell Pants and the Stride Tight from Arc’teryx. The North Face Hybrid Hiker Tights is also very good at wicking moisture away from your skin and dry in record time.

Fair weather hikers may want to opt for something that converts to shorts instead. Columbia’s Women’s Saturday Trail Pants zip off at the knee and are an ideal option for hot days and cool evenings, or for when the mozzies come out late in the day.

03Water and wind resistance

Most hiking pants are not waterproof. For full protection against the rain you’ll need to wear waterproof rain pants over the top of your hiking pants or tights. However, the best hiking pants for women should have a degree of water and wind resistance that will be able to withstand light showers and moderate wind. There are a couple of options on are list that offer really decent water resistance: Jack Wolfskin’s Activate Pants and the Norrona Falketind Flex1 Soft-Shell Pants. These are ideal for hiking in light rain and when hiking through snow, but will struggle a little when it comes to prolonged heavy rainfall.


Design features of the best hiking pants for women

  • Woman with hand in pocket


    If you like having easy access to small things then having a couple of pockets is key. Zips are always useful to prevent things from falling out, and cargo pockets all for more hefty items to be carried without discomfort.

  • Articulated knee of the best hiking pants for women

    Articulated knees

    Hiking pants with a couple extra seams at the knees allows greater levels of comfort when bending your knees. This is especially important when climbing and scrambling, but also when crouching down.

  • Gusseted Crotch of pants

    Gusseted crotch

    The extra piece of material in the crotch of hiking pants eliminates an uncomfortable seam and also adds durability in an area of high stress – you’re less likely to split your pants at the crotch!

  • Waist band

    Waist band

    Having a comfortable waist band is really important. Choose something that sits in a position you are used to (some people prefer low rise to high waists etc), but also look for soft fabrics on the inside as well as width in the band itself.

  • Belt loops of womens hiking pants

    Belt loops

    Although wearing a belt can be uncomfortable for some, having belt loops makes your pants much more customisable. They also provide a place to clip small items to.

  • Roll ups of pants

    Roll ups

    Some pants have buttons or fasteners that allow you to roll up your hiking pants when hiking in warmer conditions. Having this option immediately makes your pants more versatile.

  • Reinforced knee

    Reinforced cuffs and knees

    Some pants have an added layer of tough fabric in the knee or cuff area – the places that get the most wear and tear. This can seriously lengthen the life of your pants. So if durability is important you may want to look for this feature.

  • Cuff fastener of hiking pants

    Cuff drawcord or fastener

    A draw cord or fastener at the cuff can be used to roll your pants up and hold them there. It’s also useful when hiking in snow to prevent the snow from creeping up your legs, or indeed in windy weather. Need more airflow? Just loosen the cuffs right out.

Hiking leggings and tights are a combination of the comfort women love in yoga pants and leggings and the durability of hiking pants. On the other hand, some ladies prefer hiking in pants with a looser fit and more durable material. Whether you want a pair of pants that can stand up to anything or leggings that can double as a base layer, one of the hiking bottoms on our list is sure to fit your needs this season.

Joey Holmes

Joey Holmes
Joey is based in Cornwall, UK, and runs Cool of the Wild. She can’t get enough of being outdoors – whether that’s lounging around the campfire cooking up a feast, hitting the trail in her running shoes, or attempting to conquer the waves on her surfboard – she lives for it. Camping is what she loves to do the most, but has also spent many hours clinging to the side of a rock face, cycling about the place, cruising the ski-slopes on her snowboard, and hiking small mountains and big hills.

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