The Best Hiking Pants for Women

Hiking pants are an essential piece of any outdoor kit: they defend your legs against weather, UV rays, and many natural hazards. Some can even serve double duty as acceptable business-casual wear. But a good pair can be hard to find. This is especially true for women, since there are so many variables at play: leg length, hip width, thigh-muscle circumference, butt size. Whether you are short or tall, petite or plus-size, you probably have a very specific list of criteria when you look for pants.

So Outside Magazine set out to find the best hiking pants for a variety of conditions and body types. Over three months, seven women tested more than 30 pairs from 24 brands. In the process, they logged close to a thousand miles on trails spanning the globe from South America to Asia.

The testers were all avid hikers, running the gamut of body shapes and sizes—tall, petite, lean, muscular, curvy. They ranged in age from 25 to 59 years old. Among them were several gear writers, a photographer, an actor, and a couple professional guides. They weathered storms and waded through knee-deep mud puddles in Patagonia, climbed through waterfalls in the Sierra Nevada, baked under the Jordanian sun, biked and hiked their way across the Mongolian steppe, and soaked up rainforest humidity in Peru.

The pants tested are all marketed as hiking pants, but these days we expect a little more versatility from our apparel. Choosing the right pair starts with identifying how you’re going to use them. If you are planning a thru-hike, you may want pants that dry quickly and can convert into shorts on hot days. If you do a lot of traveling, climbing, or biking, you might want a pair that serves double duty.

See the results…


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