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The Best Hiking Pants for Women for Camping, Traveling and More

Climb any mountain in these built-to-last hiking pants.

collage of three womens hiking pants
Duluth, REI, Hikerkind

Finding the right pair of pants may sound simple, but it can be a years-long endeavor involving hours of research, days of shipping (and returning) pairs from all over the country (and sometimes, the globe) — not to mention weeks, even years of fine-tuning your preferred inseam, rise, material choices and (of course) color.

When it comes to hiking pants, the search and the journey is no different: there's a dizzying array of materials, colors, rises, inseams and use cases to choose from. If you're feeling lost after trying to pick the pair that's right for you, we can help out: our team has spent years trying and testing the best women's hiking pants out there, with feedback and thoughts on some of the biggest brands in the business.

What should you look for in hiking pants?

Type of Material

Certain materials will offer particular benefits. Polyester is durable, can easily be imbued with water-resistant treatments and can be altered for a variety of finishes and textures. Then again, it is synthetic, and although many fabrics are now made from at least 50 percent recycled poly, it's still worth being mindful that it does have an impact on the environment.

There's also cotton and linen, which are more rare in today's world of performance-driven synthetic fabrics, but still have their places: they're also durable, not often as breathable but have the best next-to-skin feel if you like traditional fabrics.

Most hiking pants you'll see on the market have been blended with spandex, nylon or elastane (and sometimes, all three). This is meant to enhance stretch, comfort and the lifetime of your pants.

Proper Fit

Ah fit, our fickle friend: because all bodies are different, one fit could look completely different from one person to the next. It's important to try a range of styles on to get an idea of what works best for your body.

Do you like a tighter, or more relaxed feel? Do you prefer a tapered leg, a straight leg or a jogger? Do you like a higher-waisted option, or is mid-rise more your game? Hiking pants for women come in just about any combination of the above that you could wish for: fit is about finding what works for you, and that can take trial and error.

If you're shopping online, we recommend finding the model's measurements (most brands list those now under or next to the model's photo) and comparing with your own. Reviews are also a rich source of information regarding fit.

Specific Hiking Features

No hiking pants worth their salt doesn't come without a few features. We tend to look out for internal drawstrings or belt loops, cinching at the hems, water-resistance or water-proofing, convertible zippers that can transform pants into shorts and of course, pockets. Depending on your intended activity, you may want all of these features at once, or you may be interested in just a few.

How We Tested

women's hiking pants
The Hikerkind trousers in action on Whidbey Island in Island County, Washington.
Hayley Helms

Our editor took many, many hikes testing these (and other pants that didn't make the cut) for potential inclusion in this guide. She hiked everywhere from the Pacific Northwest to Mexico, including the deserts of Joshua Tree and Anza Borrego, under towering redwoods on the California coast, in the mountains of the Eastern Sierra and Rockies and on the wide option trails in Arizona, Utah and Colorado. She tested during summer, winter, spring and fall and in variable conditions including wind, rain, snow and of course, sunshine.

After hundreds of hours on the trail, here are her top picks for the best women's hiking pants.

Hikerkind Trousers 01

Best Women's Hiking Pants

Hikerkind Trousers_01


  • Fit is the best and most accurate of all hiking pants tested
  • Tailored look allows these to be worn literally anywhere and work

  • Pockets aren't as utilitarian as other cargo styles
  • Sizes: XS - 3X
  • Pockets: 4
  • Waterproof: No
  • Material: 37% polyester, 53% recycled polyester, 10% spandex (bluesign certified)
  • Best For: Hiking, traveling, running around town, even work in a pinch

    It's not even hyperbole: if I could only wear one pair of hiking pants for the rest of my life, I'm pretty sure it would be these. Hikerkind's mission is to bring a sense of refinement and quality to the trail, and they succeeded; I've worn these pants everywhere from hiking in the Pacific Northwest to taking meetings at Outdoor Retailer and they've looked at home in every environment I've worn them in.

    The fit is fantastic, to the point of feeling tailored, without sacrificing durabilty. The recycled, double weave poly/ spandex blend keeps things breathable, stretchy and frictionless, and all materials used to make these trousers are either bluesign or OEKO-TEX certified. I've had mine for a year and taken them on countless hikes, trips, dinners and days on the go and they look brand new.

    hikerkind trousers
    Hayley Helms

    I found the 11" rise on the XS to be a little on the long side, but I like my fit oversized anyway, so it didn't bother me too much. The one downfall of the Trousers would be the pocketing: the front pockets do fit a smartphone but it feels a little awkward walking with one in your pocket, and since there are no closures on the front pockets, I was a little concerned my iPhone was going to slip out without my noticing. However, given the quality and superior fit of the rest of the pants, I was quick to forgive the front pockets — and simply bring a hip pack or hiking backpack with me on treks.

        Lululemon Convertible High-Rise Hiking Jogger

        Best Upgrade Hiking Pant

        Lululemon Convertible High-Rise Hiking Jogger

        • Sizes: 0 - 14
        • Pockets: 5
        • Waterproof: Water-repellant fabric
        • Material: Body: 65% Recycled nylon, 30% Nylon, 5% Elastane
        • Best For: Hiking, climbing

          I haven't met any Lululemon pants I didn't like so far, and when the brand came out with its inaugural hiking collection last year, I was eager to try it on for size. I found the Cargo Hike Pant to be the upgraded big sister to my favorite Hikerkinds for a few reasons: the pocketing is superior, and offered so many options for stowing my items I found myself able to leave a pack at home for hikes under 3-5 miles.

          The fit is also fantastic, although some may want to size up if you like a roomy waist. This one is definitely fitted, and while true to size, if you end up eating a big lunch after your hike (as I am known to do occasionally) then you'll be a little uncomfortable post-snacking.

          lululemon cargo hiking pants
          Hayley Helms

          The body fabric is a blend of recycled nylon and elastane, the result of which is a stretchy, smooth, somewhat-crinkly-but-not-uncomfortable fabric that breathes, wicks moisture and regulates temperature. I did find myself getting a little warm in these, but once I shed my midlayer on top, I was fine.

          Based on all of the pants I tested, I would say these have the most accurate and snug-fitting waist. They're not the most breathable pair I tested (keep reading to find out which were) and they're not as soft as others I've hiked in, but you can't beat the fit and for me, that's well worth the upgrade.

          REI Co-op Activator 3.0 Pants

          Best Budget Hiking Pants

          REI Co-op Activator 3.0 Pants

          REI Co-op rei.com
          • Sizes: XS - XL
          • Pockets: 4
          • Waterproof: DWR water-resistant treatment
          • Material: 63% nylon, 26% polyester, 11% spandex (bluesign approved)
          • Best For: Hiking, traveling

            I would suggest these pants for anyone who is just getting into hiking, or doesn't hike very often, or who appreciates a budget-friendly option that still does a fine job on the trail.

            While I found the bluesign-certified nylon-poly-spandex fabric to be soft and comfortable, I had a hard time with the fit — I ordered these based off my measurements according to the size chart, but I was swimming in these hiking pants. The waist doesn't offer the ability to cinch, which I think is a major con in any hiking pant that needs to fit a variety of women's bodies, and the center gusset had an excess of fabric; even if I wore a belt to fix my waistband issue, the rest of the pants were simply too big to be comfortable.

            The online reviews of these pants from customers are mostly positive, so I won't write these off completely. That said, if you're on the petite side, I would seriously consider sizing down.

            Wondery Isabel 2.0 Outdoor Pants

            Best Pants for Hiking and Climbing

            Wondery Isabel 2.0 Outdoor Pants | Brew


            • Fabric moves with you
            • Fit and length are accurate

            • Sewn-in tag is scratchy unless you have a shirt tucked in
            • Sizes: XS - 3X
            • Pockets: 6
            • Waterproof: No
            • Material: 97% cotton, 3% spandex
            • Best For: Hiking, climbing

              BIPOC owned and operated Wondery is the new kid on the block in terms of hiking apparel, but it's done what many established brands have yet to: offer expanded sizing, up to 3XL, with different lengths as well.

              Another aspect that I liked about these pants, besides the fit, was what they're made out of. There are a ton of synthetic performance fabrics in the outdoors apparel category, but I generally prefer the feel of materials like cotton and linen, if I can find them. The Isabel 2.0 Outdoor Pants are 97-percent cotton, three percent spandex — the right ration for just enough stretch and movement, without sacrificing the natural feel of cotton.

              The waist is extra-cinchable, thanks to two straps that you can pull back on either side of the waistband, rather than a single, integrated strap running all the way through the waistband. I didn't love how the sewn-in tag felt against my skin when I had the waist cinched all the way down, but that was fixed quickly by tucking in my shirt. On hotter days when I want to shed that layer I can see this being an issue, but in all honesty, if it gets hot enough to where I want to take my shirt off, I'll probably be wearing shorts.

              Kuhl Freeflex Roll-Up Pants

              Best Quick-Drying Hiking Pants

              KUHL Freeflex Roll-Up Pants


              • Sizing is accurate material is comfortable for long days

              • Pockets are on the shallow side
              • Sizes: 0- 16
              • Pockets: 6
              • Waterproof: No
              • Material: 152 gram 50% polyester/50% new polyester
              • Best For: Hiking, climbing, travel

                Kuhl's Freeflex Roll-Up hiking pants are a crowd favorite, plain and simple: reviews tout the high quality of the fabric, the accurate fit and the quick-drying abilities of the polyester fabric — not to mention the convertible nature of the pants, hence the "roll-up" in the name. The pants can be rolled into capris, adding versatility to an already capable pant.

                There are a few downsides that warrant mention: the pockets are shallow and can't hold a phone, which is typical, if not disappointing, of women's pockets. They're also set a little lower on the leg to accommodate a hiking harness, which can get kind of annoying if you're hiking in them, not climbing. The pant comes in 30- and 32-inch inseam options, but for shorter gals, the extra length means the roll-up feature of the pants doesn't turn them into capris, but rather, high waters.

                All in all, even with those misses aside, the Freeflex is a lightweight, breathable and overall comfortable option that can be worn out on the trail or even out to dinner in a pinch.

                Jack Wolfskin Summer Walk Pants

                Best Integrated Belt

                Jack Wolfskin Summer Walk Pants


                • Sizes: 34 - 46 (XS - XL)
                • Pockets: 5
                • Waterproof: Water-resistant
                • Material: Shell - 89% poly, 11% elastane; Lining - 65% poly, 35% cotton
                • Best For: Hiking, climbing, travel

                  Looking for a lightweight and good-looking summer hiking pant that goes with anything? Jack Wolfskin has you covered. This classically-styled hiking pant reminds me of something you'd wear out on safari: no-nonsense, breathable and wind- and water-resistant.

                  jack wolfskin hiking pants
                  Hayley Helms

                  I found the pant runs large overall and the inseam runs long, so if you're 5'4" or under, you have three options: you can cuff, tuck or go for the puddle pant look (just be aware your hems will probably get dirty and scuffed pretty quick if you go with Option Three). My favorite feature of these hikers is the integrated belt: it cinches well, keeps things together and doesn't get in the way.

                  Halfdays Watson Nylon Cargo Pant

                  Most Stylish Hiking Pant

                  Halfdays Watson Nylon Cargo Pant


                  • Colorways are unique and stand out on the trail
                  • Adjustable hems and plenty of pockets pack in utility

                  • Can get clammy like a raincoat in the heat; not the most breathable pair we tested
                  • Sizes: XS - 2X
                  • Pockets: 4
                  • Waterproof: DWR water repellancy
                  • Material: 51% Recycled Nylon, 49% Nylon
                  • Best For: Fall and spring hikes

                    Halfdays traditionally stuck to the slopes as a stylish ski apparel brand — until it released its first-ever spring collection this year, which is equally style-forward as its winter-oriented clothing. The Watson Nylon Cargo Pant (and matching windbreaker) are a modern update to the matching tracksuit: the fabric is drape-y and and the silhouette is dramatic, but it still works on the trail just as well as any of the other pants on this list.

                    halfdays watson cargo hiking pants
                    Hayley Helms

                    I wouldn't call these the most breathable style on the list; if you run hot, I'd save these for spring, fall and even winter with a pair of base layers underneath. I tried the Loganberry (aka magenta) colorway and can attest that it's just as fun and bright IRL, so if you like to stand out on the trail, or believe that form doesn't have to follow function, I'd scoop a pair of these up before they sell out.

                    Mountain Hardwear Trail Sender Pant

                    Best Lightweight Hiking Pant

                    Mountain Hardwear Trail Sender Pant


                    • Extra breathable and comfortable, even on hot days
                    • Relaxed fit is easy to wear

                    • Internal drawstring is weak and doesn't cinch down very well
                    • Sizes: XS - XL
                    • Pockets: 5
                    • Waterproof: Water resistant
                    • Material: 100% ripstop polyester
                    • Best For: Backpacking, ultralight running and hiking, traveling

                      These are my runner-up for favorite hiking pants to date, right behind Hikerkind's trousers. The fit is roomy and relaxed, the ripstop fabric is ultralight and there are plenty of useful pockets.

                      My biggest gripe with these pants is the waistband/ integrated drawcord combo: the waist is oversized compared to the rest of the pant, and the drawcord's string is too thin and silky to stay tied and keep my pants up. The combo forced me to roll the top of the pant, which exposed the tag and wasn't as comfortable. I couldn't size down any further so I went for the rolling technique, but if you have a narrow waist you may find yourself in the same situation I'm in with these. If the tie were beefed up, or if there were belt loops to accommodate something a little more substantial to keep my pants in place, there's no doubt in my mind these would be a surefire winner.

                      Backcountry Wander Zip Off Pant

                      Best Zip-Off Hiking Pant

                      Backcountry Wander Zip Off Pant


                      • Zippers are smooth and it's easy to detach and reattach pant legs

                      • Length is a little long for shorter legs
                      • Sizes: XS - XL
                      • Pockets: 2
                      • Waterproof: DWR treatment
                      • Material: 90% polyester, 10% spandex
                      • Best For: 3-season hikes, camping

                        I have the original version of these pants (this is the new and updated version) and I have to say, I fell in love with them pretty hard. I had some zip-offs in my youth and while they were all the rage in the early 2000s when I wore them — as a third grader, mind you — I was a little skeptical as an adult trying them out. Let me tell you — if you have any doubts, throw them out the window and step into the comfort and convertibility of these 2-for-1 wonders.

                        The polyester fabric on these isn't the most durable, but that's fine if you're sticking on trail and not bushwhacking your way up a mountainside. The integrated belt is very nice, and I used it to great effect. The fit is regular, with no tapering and the stretch fabric comes in handy while setting up camp, taking a lunch break during a long hike or just kneeling down to pick up a cool leaf on the trail. The two hand pockets are deep and roomy, too.

                        Duluth Trading Company AKHG Trail Tech Joggers

                        Most Comfortable Hiking Joggers

                        Duluth Trading AKHG Trail Tech Joggers

                        $44.24 (51% off)

                        • Relaxed fit makes these easy to move around in — and relax post-hike

                        • Interior drawstring isn't strong enough to fully cinch down
                        • Sizes: XS - XL
                        • Pockets: 2
                        • Waterproof: No
                        • Material: 76% nylon, 24% Lycra spandex
                        • Best For: Hiking, relaxing around camp, road trips

                          I'm a firm believer that one should not wear pajamas in public, and I personally extend this to sweats as well — but I do make an exception for joggers, thanks to this pair. Credit goes to the light and flexible fabric, made with a blend of nylon and spandex. I found that it wicks moisture away no problem, even on warmer days. The front pockets have zippers, which I think is a must for any hiking pant — you don't want to lose your keys or phone on the trail. The waistband does have an interior drawstring, but I had trouble getting it tight enough — I ended up folding the waistband over on itself, which was fine for hanging around camp, but on my hikes I had to make do with a slightly-too-large waistband.

                          Overall, I'd recommend these to anyone who wants to pack lightly and needs a pant that can work from the campsite, to running errands, to long road trips. They're easy, lightweight and blend well with whatever you're wearing. They're not the most fashion-forward pair on the list, but they're dependable and affordable.

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