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Best Hiking Pants for Women (Plus 7 Hiking Leggings)


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

I lost track of the number of women I saw hiking in leggings this past weekend. For most casual hikers, leggings have replaced hiking pants. But what about for a serious, multiple-day trek? Can leggings really stand up to traditional hiking pants? Both hiking tights and hiking pants have specific strengths, and the best hiking pants 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:

Disclaimer: We use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases.

ProductTypeBest suited toCost
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$
prAna Halle PantRoll-up pants3 season hiking and climbing$$
Outdoor Research Ferrosi PantsFull length pants3 season hiking$$
Jack Wolfskin Activate PantsFull length pants3 season hiking and climbing$$
Columbia Saturday Trail II Convertible PantConvertible pantsSummer hiking$
Norrona Falketind Flex1 Soft-Shell PantsFull length pantsWinter hiking and mountaineering$$$$$$
Fjallraven Abisko Trail TightsLeggingsSummer hiking and climbing$$$$
Montane Ineo Pro PantsLeggings3 season hiking and climbing$$
BAM Enduro Bamboo LeggingsLeggings3 season hiking in dry conditions$
Apexgray Storm Sustainable Sports LeggingsLeggings3 season hiking and winter running$
Fjallraven Abisko Trekking TightsLeggings3 season hiking$$$$$
Patagonia Pack Out TightsLeggings3 season hiking and climbing$$
Smartwool PhD TightsLeggings/base layerYear round hiking (including use as base layer)$$$

The 10 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 | Cotswold Outdoor

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:
Cotswold Outdoor | 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

prAna Womens Halle Pant

PrAna Halle Pant

The Halle pant from prAna comes in eight colors and looks like a casual slack. For all the pants that claim to work both on and off the trail, this pair actually does. With a dress shirt or sweater, there would be very little to suggest these are hiking pants at all. That’s not to say they won’t work on the trail, though. The Halle includes some of the best features hiking pants have to offer: water-repellent fabric, reinforced knees, a hidden zipper pocket and the option to roll up the legs.


  • Dressy enough to wear off the trail
  • Durable and water resistant
  • Multiple pockets, including a hidden zipper pocket


  • Not very breathable
  • Special sizing, which makes ordering online more difficult

Find the latest price on:
Amazon | REI | Backcountry

Outdoor Research Women's Ferrosi Pants

Outdoor Research Ferrosi Pants

If you want a pair of hiking pants with a relaxed fit, Outdoor Research Ferrosi Pants are both soft and loose fitting. A draw cord at the ankle allows you to adjust the length or the width when you need a snug fit. The pants are made from a ripstop material making them super tough and durable, providing excellent wind protection without added weight. Although the material is not very breathable, the cut of the legs is loose enough to allow airflow around your legs.


  • Loose fitting
  • Lightweight, wind-resistant material
  • 5 pockets


  • Fabric is not very breathable
  • Sizing runs long

Find the latest price on:
Amazon | Outdoor Research | Backcountry


Jack Wolfskin Activate Pants

Eco conscious: PFC-free DWR and Bluesign certified
Jack Wolfskin Activate Pants are designed to be comfortable and stay in place during the most strenuous physical activity. One especially thoughtful feature is a waistband that is slightly raised in the back, something anyone who has ever dealt with pants slipping down during climbing or under a pack can appreciate. Each of the three pockets zippers closes to keep your phone, keys, or anything else secure during your hike, and the breathable, softshell fabric is both comfortable and water resistant.


  • Water- and wind-resistant material
  • Slightly raised waistband
  • Zippered pockets


  • Cost
  • Pockets, though zippered, are very thin

Find the latest price on:

Columbia Saturday Trail II Convertible Pant

Columbia Saturday Trail II Convertible Pant

Convertible hiking pants, like Columbia’s Saturday Trail II Convertible Pants give you the option of both hiking shorts (10-inch inseam) and full-length pants. The bottom hem of the pants also includes a draw cord for times when you want the pants to stay put. They make especially great hiking pants for multi-day or muddy hiking trips because they dry quickly and are easy to wash with just water. Although the colors are all relatively muted, there are seven different colors to choose from.


  • Fabric includes SPF protection
  • Can be worn as shorts or pants
  • Deep front pockets


  • Tight around the thighs for some
  • Not very breathable

Find the latest price on:
Amazon | REI | Backcountry


Norrona Falketind Flex1 Soft-Shell Pants

Eco conscious: PFC-free DWR and Bluesign certified

One of the best options on our list for climbing and hiking in snow and winter weather are the Norrona Falketind Flex1 Soft-Shell Pants. They have a slim fit that won’t bunch under climbing gear, ankle straps to keep snow out, and gaiter hooks to hold your boot laces in. An adjustable waist with belt loops means you can wear a belt or not – whichever you prefer. These pants are truly designed to keep you warm and dry while allowing a full range of movement. They are also the most expensive hiking pants on our list.


  • Fabric is both stretchy and breathable
  • Water- and wind-resistant
  • Allow a full range of movement


  • Price

Find the latest price on:
Norrona | REI | Backcountry

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The 7 best hiking tights and hiking leggings for women

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’m also looking forward to 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 | Amazon | REI

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:

fjallraven Abisko Trekking Tights

Fjallraven Abisko Trekking Tights

The Abisko Trekking Tights from Fjallraven are a high-end option for a hiker looking for the comfort of tights with all the extras that set hiking pants apart: multiple pockets, reinforced knees, and extra durable fabric. One feature that hikers either love or hate is waterproof fabric swatches at the knee and bottom areas. Because the waterproof fabric is a contrasting color to the rest of the tights, it is very noticeable. If that is an issue for you, the black Abisko Trekking Tights are all one color. If you don’t mind the contrasting colors, there are four other colors to choose from in addition to black.


  • Multiple pockets
  • Sturdy but flexible
  • Designed specifically for hiking


  • Price
  • Contrasting panels draw attention to the knees and backside

Find the latest price on:
Amazon | REI | Backcountry

Patagonia Pack Out Tights

Patagonia Pack Out Tights

Patagonia’s Pack Out Tights are made from a thicker material than most active tights, so they are more flattering than some hiking tights and will stand up better to snags and scrapes. The mid-rise waistband won’t slip when you bend or stretch. In addition to a zippered pocket on the inside, each leg has an open exterior pocket perfect for slipping essentials in and out quickly. The snug (but not too tight) fit is a middle ground between form-fitting leggings and looser hiking pants.


  • Lining is very soft
  • Price
  • Not too tight


  • Not as durable as hiking pants

Find the latest price on:
Backcountry | Patagonia

Smartwool PhD Tights

Smartwool PhD Tights

Smartwool’s PhD Tights give you the warmth of absorbent wool and the comfort of a soft legging. Merino wool is warm, moisture wicking, and naturally resistant to odors. For multiple-day trips, wool makes a great material for a base layer as well. These tights have a nylon exterior to improve their water resistance and robustness against snagging. Although they are short on pockets compared with the Fjallraven leggings, there is a small pocket in the back for your keys and a side pocket for larger items.


  • Keep shape after multiple days
  • Warm, moisture-wicking wool
  • Naturally odor resistant


  • Only 2 pockets
  • Hot in summer weather

Find the latest price at:
REI | Smartwool

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.

About the author


Kimberly Mays is a writer and editor living in Western North Carolina, where she spends weekends in the garden and hiking with her husband and children.

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