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Columbia Women's On the Go hiking pants review: lightweight, no-fuss trail trousers

These lightweight, breathable hiking pants forego too many frills but keep you cool and dry during hot hikes

Julia Clarke in the On the Go hiking pants
(Image: © Julia Clarke )

Our Verdict

A straightforward design and a lightweight, breathable fabric make these hiking pants an easy choice for summer and mild weather, though they could benefit from an adjustable waistband and more pockets

For

  • Lightweight
  • Breathable
  • Water repellent
  • Stretchy fit with articulated knees
  • Budget-friendly

Against

  • No belt loops or way to adjust waistband
  • Vertical zipper on thigh pocket isn’t very secure
  • Not small enough for petite hikers

Columbia Women's On the Go hiking pants: first impressions

For easy summer hiking and during mild weather with the occasional downpour, look no further than Columbia’s On the Go women’s hiking pants. These women's hiking pants feature a no-frills design, but still pack in most of what you want from a pair of trail trousers. Made using extremely lightweight, breathable fabric with loads of stretch and articulated knees, you can make big strides on steep slopes without overheating, while a water repellent treatment works well against showers and spills.

Specifications

• List price: $75 (US) / £55 (UK)
• Fit: Active
• Materials: 97% nylon / 3% elastane two-way stretch ripstop
• Unisex: Women’s only
• Sizes available: 2 - 16 (US), 6 - 20 (UK)
• Colors: Safari, black, nocturnal, stone green
Compatibility: Hiking, camping

Two hip pockets can stash small pieces of gear while a thigh pocket is big enough for your phone, though you might find the vertical zipper a bit precarious. The waistband is elasticated, but doesn’t have any way to tighten it, and these trousers don’t have belt loops, so you’ll need to make sure the waist is small enough for you, but for the price, you’ll be cool and comfortable all summer long in these hiking trousers, and they're great in the milder shoulder seasons, too.

Columbia Women's On the Go hiking pants: in the field

Julia Clarke hiking in the On the Go hiking pants

For the price, you’ll be cool and comfortable all summer long in these hiking trousers (Image credit: Julia Clarke)

I had a little trouble with the fit of these hiking pants, but I definitely rate them as comfortable for walking, especially in warmer weather. They are a pretty straightforward pair of pants, but that allows them to be quite comfortable and very lightweight, both of which are high priorities for me on the trail.

I tend to find Columbia clothing runs a little big, but these are listed as running small on Columbia’s website. I usually wear a UK 8 (US 4) and I got a UK 6 in these.I  found that I really like the way they fit on my hips and legs (though I tend to prefer a baggier fit than the way most hiking pants are modeled) but the waistband is still too big. This wouldn’t be an issue if there was a way to tighten the waistband, such as a drawcord or belt loops, but there was neither. However, they stay up so I’ve had them out on a few hikes and found them very comfortable and breathable during our recent warm weather. 

Waterproof testing on the On the Go hiking pants

Water repellent treatment works great against showers (Image credit: Julia Clarke )

They have loads of stretch for easy movement, and the water repellency works great against both our regular Scottish showers and my testing which involved pouring water in my lap. I personally really like a good thigh pocket in my hiking pants because I like to keep my phone on hand for pictures, however the thigh pocket on these features a vertical zip instead of your usual horizontal zip across the top which I don’t find as functional or secure.

Other than that, these are fairly low on features but as I’ve said, perform well and are really comfortable, at a great price too.

Comfort and fit

Comfortable, active fit. The website says they run small and to size up, but I found the smallest size available was still too big around the waist. I'd say if your waist runs small, size down.

Julia Clarke hiking in the On the Go hiking pants

The thigh pocket would be more secure with a horizontal zip (Image credit: Julia Clarke )

Features and storage

Pretty low on features, but two hip pockets and a thigh pocket provide some storage for phones and keys. The thigh pocket would be more secure with a horizontal zip.

Weatherproofing

Water repellent treatment works great against showers.

Julia Clarke
Julia Clarke

Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.