Skip to main content

Best women’s hiking pants: freedom of movement and warmth in the wild

best women's hiking pants: woman walking in the wild
The best women’s hiking pants deliver and protection without restricting your movement (Image credit: Getty)

The best women's hiking pants are crucial pieces of kit when it comes to wild walks and epic hikes this summer. Gone are the biting winds and snowy adventures of winter, replaced by longer days on (hopefully) sun-drenched trails. It can admittedly be tempting to forgo pants in favour of shorts and there will be days when such a choice is wise.

However, depending on where you take to the trails, the backcountry can still be a cruel mistress to uncovered legs. Prickly vegetation, sharp rocks, blood-sucking insects and brisk evenings can all be a nuisance for uncovered limbs. When it comes to protecting your legs from all of this, the best women's hiking pants really come into their own.

A woman hiking a trail in Arches National Park on a sunny day

The best women's hiking pants now come in a wide range of styles and specifications to suit your needs, from supportive leggings ideal for casual woodland walks to waterproof, insulated technical trekking trousers for alpine adventures (Image credit: Jordan Siemens)

While the best hiking boots provide a shield your feet, the best women's hiking pants are the guard for your legs. How heavy-duty this protection is will be up to you, depending on your adventure style. These days, pants come in a wide range of styles and specifications to suit your needs, from supportive leggings ideal for casual woodland walks to waterproof, insulated technical trekking trousers for alpine adventures.

What all of the best women's hiking pants provide is freedom of movement, allowing you to take on scrambles, climbs and fastpacking missions without too much restriction. When combined with one of the best women's waterproof jackets, you've got a duo that will enable awesome adventures in the majority of conditions. We kick things off with the best hiking pants for spring and fall, before moving on to lighter options for summer and then winter pants for the colder seasons.

Best women’s hiking pants for spring and fall conditions

Black Diamond Alpine Softshell pants

These hiking pants combine lightweight breathability with four way stretch and just enough weather protection for variable spring and fall days on the trail or crag (Image credit: Black Diamond)
These hiking pants combine lightweight breathability with four way stretch and just enough weather protection for variable spring and fall days on the trail or crag

Specifications

RRP: $72 (US) / £99 (UK)
Style: Softshell
Sizes: Men’s and Women’s XS-XL (XS women’s only)
Weight: 12.3 oz 350g
Material: Four way stretch with DWR finish nylon (88%), Elastane (12%)
Color: Smoke, Granite, Sergeant, Red Oxide
Compatability: Hiking, camping, climbing

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight
+
Breathable
+
Four way stretch
+
DWR finish and fast drying
+
Adjustable belt and ankle hems
+
Four zipped pockets

Reasons to avoid

-
Not waterproof
-
Not insulated
-
No zipped vents

These hiking pants boast do-it-all functionality with impressive light weight material, breathability for warm days, DWR finish for blustery weather and four way stretch for scrambling and climbing. Featuring a slim, drainpipe fit, the built-in adjustable belt and adjustable hems means you can adapt them to your body, while the extra stretch ensures they won’t rub or get in the way when you meet a steep slope.

Two concealed zip hand pockets, one exposed zip rear pocket and one exposed zip right thigh pocket offer plenty of storage for keys and cards, though none is really big enough for a map. These pants are ideal when you’re working up a sweat with superior breathability, and the water repellent finish holds up in light rain. Besides, they’re extremely quick drying so they make for a valid option in wet weather and easily keep a cold wind at bay.

Montane INeo Pro Pants

This streamlined style of these legging-style hiking pants offers total freedom of movement without sacrificing protection and durability (Image credit: Montane)
There are the perfect hiking pants for anyone who loves the stretchy freedom of legging but is seeking something more robust, with water and wind protection

Specifications

RRP: RRP: £80 (UK) / $100 (US)
Style: Legging-inspired
Sizes: UK 8-16, US XS-XL
Weight: 225g / 7.9 oz
Material: Mala stretch polyester (85%), Elastane (15%)
Color: Black, Saskatoon Berry, Astroblue
Compatability: Hiking

Reasons to buy

+
Super stretchy
+
Water and wind resistance
+
Abrasion resistant
+
Soft elastic waistband for comfort
+
Slim fitting and stylish

Reasons to avoid

-
No thigh pockets big enough for a map
-
Not waterproof
-
Not insulated

The Montane Women’s Ineo Pro hiking pants have captured all the reasons that you love to hike in leggings – freedom of movement, style and comfort – and combined those with the durability and protection you want from the best women's hiking pants. These stretchy, figure hugging pants are flattering and functional, giving you all the range of motion you need for steep ascents and sitting down for lunch. The Mala Stretch fabric is wind resistant to keep you warmer on the cold days and water resistant for light showers, plus it’s abrasion resistant and holds up better against more adventurous scrambles than your typical leggings.

Two zipped hand pockets can be used to stash small items or keep your hands warm while an internal waist drawcord adjusts these to your body. These lightweight pants won’t slow you down on the trail and come in at a fair price, too.

Best women's hiking pants for warm summer days

Keela Trail trousers

With a slim flattering fit, The Keela Trail Trousers are designed for fair weather hiking, comfortable traveling and hanging out around town (Image credit: Keela)
Lightweight, stretchy hiking trousers that provide superior comfort whether you’re striding out on the hill or hanging out at camp

Specifications

RRP: £59.95 (UK)
Style: Slim active fit
Sizes: UK 8 - 20
Weight: 365g / 12.8oz
Materials: Nylon (96%), Spandex (4%)
Colors: Sand, Black
Compatibility: Three-season hiking, camping and travel

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight 
+
Moisture-wicking and quick drying
+
Articulated knees and stretchy fabric for ease of movement 
+
Budget-friendly

Reasons to avoid

-
Not insulated
-
Not waterproof

These hiking pants are impressively lightweight and soft. With a slim flattering fit, The Keela Trail Trousers are designed for fair weather hiking, comfortable traveling and hanging out around town. The material is ultra stretchy and the knees are articulated which allows for unrestricted freedom of movement when you’re clambering up a rocky face. Two zipped hip pockets provide ample storage for gear you want to close to hand, and hidden inner pockets are great for stashing keys and credit cards. They also feature belt loops and come in three different leg lengths so it’s nearly impossible to find a pair of these that won’t work for your body. Treated with ViralOff, the antibacterial protection keeps them fresher longer.

While they’re not waterproof or insulated, they offer UV protection and are quick drying so they’ll work well on warm or damp days on the trail and for travel, but aren’t intended for extreme cold weather conditions. These are so comfortable and flattering that chances are, once you put them on you’ll be wearing them for days.

Best women's hiking pants for cold weather touring

best women's hiking pants: Alpkit Nautilus Waterproof Trousers

Alpkit have delivered with their Nautilus pants –  an active-wear, three-layer, waterproof trouser that boasts technical credentials that really stand up to the test. (Image credit: Alpkit)
Reliable, durable, three-layer waterproof trousers that’ll cope with the howling weather

Specifications

RRP: $180 (US) / £125 (UK) / €150 (EU)
Style: Waterproof pants
Sizes: Short (29 inch) / Regular (31 inch) / Long (33inch)
Weight: 420g / 15oz
Materials: 70D 47% Nylon 6,6 / 53% nylon stretch / PU membrane
Colors: Black
Compatibility: Outdoor use on trails, hillsides and crags

Reasons to buy

+
Reinforced hem and leg patches 
+
Good hydrostatic head rating
+
Waterproofing kept rain out

Reasons to avoid

-
Not as packable as others
-
No belt / Velcro adjustment at waistband
-
Limited color options

Women’s hiking pants that are midweight, comfortable, close fitted, reinforced in high stress areas, yet still breathable and waterproof when it mattered…surely too good to be true? Alpkit have delivered with their Nautilus pants –  an active-wear, three-layer, waterproof trouser that boasts technical credentials that really stand up to the test. Wet, windy conditions are seemingly tamed, thanks to the highly waterproof and breathable performance (the Nautilus have a 20,000mm hydrostatic head, and 20,000 MVTR rating). 

The extra-tough 70D nylon 6,6 outer fabric, combined with the reinforced hem and ankle patches that protect against crampon and boot scuffs, means the trousers feel strong enough to be able to survive heavy use. In terms of fit, we found them okay, but people who prefer a waterproof trouser with a bit more ‘give’ might prefer to size up. Movement was relatively easy in the Alpkit Nautilus, thanks to a semi elasticated waistband, articulated knees, a diamond-shape gusset and an element of stretch. They don’t pack down as small as some superlight waterproofs, but they do resemble proper trousers in their construction, which makes them feel luxurious rather than uncool.

best women's hiking pants: Berghaus women’s Tirrios soft-shell pant

The Berghaus Tirrios are specifically designed for women, with a trim fit and made with stretchy soft-shell material, with darted knees for freedom of movement. (Image credit: Berghaus)
Comfortable and neat-fitting cold weather walking trousers for women

Specifications

RRP: £90 (UK) / €110 (EU)
Style: Softshell
Sizes (UK): 8 / 10 / 12 / 14 / 16 / 18 / 20
Weight: 305g/10.8oz
Materials: Berghaus performance-fit stretchy softshell with 50% recycled Madekind fabric
Colors: Black
Compatibility: Perfect for hiking hills and mountainsides in cooler weather

Reasons to buy

+
Great fit (for many women)
+
Stretchy
+
Warm
+
Eco credentials

Reasons to avoid

-
Shape won’t suit everyone 
-
Too warm for year-round wear
-
One colour

The Berghaus Tirrios are specifically designed for women, with a trim fit and made with stretchy soft-shell material, with darted knees for freedom of movement. The brushed back makes them greater for colder temperatures.

The fabric blend includes Berghaus’ ‘Madekind’, which is 50% recycled. In addition, the company use PFC Free DWR (Durable Water Repellent), for additional environmental ticks. Features include a belt, two zippered hand pockets and zipped ankles, so you can more easily pull them on and off.

Rab Women's Sawtooth pants

The Rab Women's Sawtooth pants appear to be everything you want from a pair of softshell pants. (Image credit: Rab)
Lightweight softshell pants that offer superior freedom of movement for your mountain adventures

Specifications

RRP: $125 (US) / £90 (UK)
Style: Active fit softshell pants
Sizes (women's): US XS - XL / UK 8 -16
Weight: 365g / 12.8oz
Materials: Nylon (88%), elastane double weave with DWR 182 g/m2 (12%)
Colors: Beluga, Blazen, Sagano green, Deep heather
Compatibility: Hiking, ski touring and general mountain across all seasons

Reasons to buy

+
Stretchy for unrestricted movement
+
Highly breathable
+
Highly durable
+
Extremely lightweight

Reasons to avoid

-
Not waterproof
-
Not insulated

The Rab Women's Sawtooth pants appear to be everything you want from a pair of softshell pants. They are feather light and very stretchy, meaning that while you’d probably wear them for hiking, you could do a proper heel hook while rock climbing in them, or even a little yoga on the trail.

They are highly breathable and designed for summer hiking however they work across all seasons even for ski touring with good wind protection and even some water repellency. They boast four deep zipped pockets for storage, tethered drawcord hems, a fleece-lined waistband, belt loops and 30+ UPF. All in all, these are everything you want from a softshell pant all wrapped up in a stylish fit.

Best women’s hiking pants for technical terrain 

Fjällräven Keb Trousers

These tough trekking trousers are built to last and expertly designed to hold up under challenging mountain conditions (Image credit: Fjällräven)
These tough technical trekking trousers come at a premium price because they’re built to last and expertly designed to move and breathe with you on the mountain, even in challenging conditions

Specifications

RRP: $225 (US) / £200 (UK)
Style: Active fit cargo
Sizes: EU 32 - 46, UK 4 - 20, US 24" - 37"
Weight: 540g / 19 oz
Materials: Polyester (65%), cotton (35%), polyamide (63%), polyester (26%), elastane (11%)
Colors: Stone grey, Uncle blue, Laurel green, Black, Mineral blue, Acorn, Purple, Plum Chestnut
Compatibility: Hiking, trekking, climbing, scrambling, camping

Reasons to buy

+
Tough and durable
+
Stretch panels for good movement and comfort
+
Water and wind resistant
+
Generous ventilation zips and openings for knee pads

Reasons to avoid

-
Not insulated
-
Not waterproof
-
Expensive

These tough Fjallraven Keb trekking trousers are built to last and expertly designed to hold up under challenging mountain conditions. These medium weight pants are tailored to a flattering fit, with stretchy fabric panels providing excellent range of motion. With water and wind resistance, you can wear these in most conditions and seasons, however they’re ideal for spring, fall and dry winter days.

They boast generous ventilation zippers from hip to knee and down the calves, ample deep pockets with flaps for gear, phones, wallets and keys and openings for knee pads if you plan on scrambling and bouldering in them. They feature belt loops and attachments for suspenders with reinforced knees, rear and pockets for scrambles, seats and stumbles on the trail.

These trousers are not insulated, but they do repel non-extreme weather and they’re just roomy enough to be worn with long underwear underneath on colder days. These are well-fitting and ultra durable trousers that run at the high end of the price range, but the good news is they should last you a lifetime.

Best women's hiking pants for wet weather

Salomon Wayfarer hiking pant

The Salomon Wayfarer pants are featherlight and well suited to hiking in cold to warm temperatures and even some wet weather hikes (Image credit: Salomon)
These featherlight versatile hiking pants are made for movement, however steep the slope

Specifications

RRP: $110 (US) / £90 (UK)
Style: Softshell
Sizes: US 2 - 14, UK 6 - 18
Weight : 332 g / 11.7 oz
Materials: Polyamide (86%), Elastane (14%)
Colors: Black, Wrought iron
Compatibility: Hiking, trekking, winter sports

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight, soft and breathable
+
Stretchy for complete freedom of movement
+
Water resistant and windproof
+
Versatile with three leg lengths, belt loops, ankle adjustments

Reasons to avoid

-
Not waterproof

The Salomon Wayfarer pants are featherlight and well suited to hiking in cold to warm temperatures and even some wet weather hikes. The active fit is unencumbered with bells and whistles, so they take on a sleek, classic look.

Their biggest boast is the stretchy yet durable fabric, so they won’t restrict your movement no matter how steep the slope, but they’ll last a long time if you put them to that test. Because they are windproof, they’re warm on cold days but with ultra breathability they work for for milder days too.

They come in three leg lengths and the addition of belt loops and ankle adjustments make them extra versatile, plus they feature four pockets, two with zips, to stash your keys and credit cards.

Columbia Firwood Core Trousers

The Columbia Women's Firwood Core Trousers are super lightweight and have a utilitarian appeal, great for those looking for function over fashion on the trail (Image credit: Columbia)
A lightweight, utilitarian hiking pant that staves off light rain and strong sun for walking in mild conditions

Specifications

RRP: $60 (US) / £65 (UK)
Style: Utility trousers
Sizes: US 2 - 16 / UK 6 - 18
Weight: 332 g / 11.7 oz
Materials: Nylon (94%), elastane (6%)
Colors (women): Black, Stone green, Dark nocturnal
Compatibility: Hiking

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight
+
Water repellent and sun protection
+
Stretchy and comfortable
+
Affordable

Reasons to avoid

-
Not insulated
-
Not windproof
-
Not very breathable

The Columbia Firwood Core Trousers are super lightweight and have a utilitarian appeal, great for those looking for function over fashion on the trail. The fabric is soft and extra stretchy for comfort and freedom in movement. They boast advanced water repellency and UPF sun protection so they can be worn in light rain, over pants or long underwear on cool days, or on their own on dry, bright days. 

These straight leg, mid-rise hiking pants have roll-up hems with tab holders that you can use to shorten the pants if it’s warm out, or so the ends don’t end up trailing through the mud. With five pockets, there's plenty of storage, though only two have a zipper. The waist is partially elastic and does not have belt loops. All in all these are functional, practical, comfortable hiking pants good for mild weather at a reasonable price.

 Best women’s hiking leggings 

Leggings

These comfortable, versatile leggings provide ample support for walking or running uphill and loads of stretch for recovering afterwards on your yoga mat (Image credit: Gym+coffee)
These comfortable, versatile leggings provide ample support for walking or running uphill and loads of stretch for recovering afterwards on your yoga mat

Specifications

RRP: $91 (US) / £65 (UK)
Style: Full length leggings
Sizes: XS - XL
Materials: Nylon (75%), Lycra (25%)
Colors: Black, Burnt Umber, Sangria, Petrol Blue
Compatibility: Hiking, trail running, rock climbing

Reasons to buy

+
Supportive fabric and design
+
Extra soft and stretchy
+
Breathable and designed for sweat management
+
Provide more wind protection that your average legging
+
Two thigh pockets plus hidden waistband pocket

Reasons to avoid

-
Not waterproof
-
Not windproof
-
Not insulated

Gym+Coffee definitely caters more to the indoor workout crowd with really stylish gear that focuses a bit less on weather protection. These pants are made using thicker, supportive fabric that’s also very stretchy – basically, they’re designed to be “squat proof” and on the hill, that translates into decent wind protection and all the freedom you need to climb up steep slopes, culminating in a pretty versatile pair of pants. 

Whether you’re hiking or running in them, the ultra soft fabric wicks away sweat nicely and while you’ll probably want to wash them more than your regular hiking pants owing to how tight they are, they don’t get stinky easily.  The high waist and double curve backseam makes for a comfortable and flattering fit, while two thigh pockets plus a hidden waistband pocket offer decent storage and are surprisingly functional.

Best women's hiking pants comparison table
Hiking PantPriceWeightStyleBest use
Black Diamond Alpine Softshell Pants$72 (US) / £99 (UK)350g / 12.3 ozSoftshellHiking, camping, rock climbing
Montane Women’s Ineo Pro hiking pants£80 (UK) / $100 (US)225g / 7.9 ozLegging-inspiredHiking
Keela Trail Trousers£59.95 (UK)365g / 12.8ozSlim active fitThree-season hiking, camping and travel
Alpkit Nautilus Waterproof Trousers$180 (US) / £125 (UK) / €150 (EU) 420g / 15ozThree-layer waterproof trousersHiking, mountaineering, climbing
Berghaus women’s Tirrios soft-shell pant£90 (UK) / €110 (EU)305g/10.8ozCold weather walking trousersHiking, mountaineering, climbing
Rab Sawtooth Pant$125 (US) / £90 (UK)365g / 12.8ozSoftshellHiking, ski touring and general mountain across all seasons
Fjällräven Keb Trousers Curved$225 (US) / £200 (UK) 540g / 19 ozActive fit cargoHiking, trekking, climbing, scrambling, camping
Salomon Wayfarer hiking pants$110 (US) / £90 (UK) 332 g / 11.7 ozSoftshellHiking, trekking, winter sports
Columbia Firwood Core Trousers $60 (US) / £65 (UK) 332 g / 11.7 ozUtility trousers Hiking
Gym+Coffee All-In 3.0 Full Length Leggings$91 (US) / £65 (UK)N/AFull length leggingsHiking, trail running, rock climbing

What to look for in the best women's hiking pants

Like any article of clothing in your closet, what makes for the best women's hiking pants is a very subjective experience and a lot of it comes down to personal preference. There are, however, certain factors to consider that will influence your choice, like where you'll be hiking, at what time of year and the climate. 

If you tend to do most of your hiking in the summer or in a milder climate, or just prefer casual woodland walks, then you might be happiest in a pair of lightweight, breathable pants (see: breathability ratings explained and what to wear hiking in hot weather). You might even want to consider a pair of the best hiking shorts instead of pants.

But if you're looking for something to hold up against hiking tough terrain in all seasons and scrambling up high peaks in cold and snow, then you're looking for technical trousers with weather protection and perhaps even insulation.

The following are some factors that are worth considering whatever style of hiking you intend to do, to ensure adequate protection and comfort.

Comfort

When you're already challenging yourself on the mountain, the last thing you want is for your clothes to be uncomfortable. There are a lot of factors that play into comfort, from the fit of your trousers to the material they're made from. Many of the best women's hiking pants are stretchy and made with gusseted crotches and articulated knees for freedom of movement. Make sure they’re going to be warm (or cool) enough for the conditions and terrain you’re planning to walk in. You wouldn't wear thick winter hiking socks in the height of summer, so don't make that mistake with trousers. Some of the best women's hiking pants will also feature vents, so you can dump some of that heat and let in some fresh air on warm days.

two hikers

Many of the best women's hiking pants are stretchy and made with gusseted crotches and articulated knees for freedom of movement (Image credit: Getty)

Stretch

If you're planning on tackling steep slopes or incorporating rock climbing and technical scrambling in your hiking adventures, it’s always good to have a bit of dynamic stretch in your pants. Even if you're just clambering over the odd stile or wall, you don't want your trousers to hold you back or slow you down. Fortunately, most of the best women's hiking pants are designed with freedom of movement in mind. Look for a percentage of elastane or spandex in the material make-up of your trousers – any mention of four-way stretch is a good sign.

Protection

Generally speaking, the thicker the material used in your hiking trousers, the more protection they will offer you from everything from the sun (check the Ultraviolet Protection Factor – UPF – rating) and sharp sticks and stones, through to biting insects and stinging or prickly plants. There is a weight penalty to pay for this protection of course. Some lightweight hiking pants are now treated to include sun protection, while others feature reinforced panels in high contact areas that will both protect you, and improve the lifespan of the trousers.

Wild weather

Many of the best women's hiking pants have been treated with a DWR (durable water repellent) coating, which means they won’t absorb water during light rain showers. Some of the best women's hiking pants aren't water repellent, but are fast drying, so consider whether you're likely to be hiking in light rain or torrential downpours, the temperature and whether you mind getting briefly damp. Some will also be windproof, which will greatly improve their capability to keep you warm.

The North Face Thermoball Eco Jacket

Many of the best women's hiking pants have been treated with a DWR (durable water repellent) coating, which means they won’t absorb water during light rain showers (Image credit: The North Face)

Pockets

Like with the best day packs and hydration packs, these days the functionality of multiple pockets is something manufacturers go for when designing hiking pants. That said, many of prefer to use our backpacks for storage and keep our hiking pants streamlined and clutter-free.

If you still like to carry a paper topographical map, then look for a pair of hiking pants with a cargo pouch big enough to stash said map (plus compass) so you can keep it to hand at all times. 

Alternatively, you might want to put a small water bottle in that space, or a GPS device, or your phone. Having at least one pocket with a zip is always a benefit, so you can securely store things you really don’t want to lose, like your car keys and credit card. 

A former brand ambassador for Merrell and current Ordnance Survey #GetOutside Champion, Jessie Leong’s lifelong outdoor odyssey began with Duke of Edinburgh’s Award walks in the Peak District. This segued into long hill hikes in the Yorkshire Dales, multi-day treks in the Lake District, scrambles in North Wales and adventures scaling alpine pinnacles. When not walking, she can be found rock climbing, wild swimming, cycling, photographing, filmmaking, writing and modelling. Jessie’s most recent claim to fame is playing a Miss World contestant in the 2020 feature film Misbehaviour.