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
Stretchy fit with articulated knees
No belt loops or way to adjust waistband
Vertical zipper on thigh pocket isn’t very secure
Not small enough for petite hikers
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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.
• 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
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.
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.
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.
Water repellent treatment works great against showers.
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.