best womens hiking pants

Best Women’s Hiking Pants of 2024 (Personally Tested)

Finding a pair of women’s hiking pants requires not only time but patience. Taking your shoes off, pulling up the pants to see if they are squat-proof, feeling out the fit and comfort, to find that once again something seems off. Or maybe you order online, read 50 reviews, try to guess your size, and they deliver and are way too tight or too short on the ankle.

We are going to work together as a team throughout this post to try and find the pants that you will love!

Best Women’s Hiking Pants for Athletic Body Types

I have been there and have exhausted myself with hours of research, thought I liked a pair, end on the trail pulling my pants up, and then 30 seconds they slip down again. For my ladies with an athletic body type, larger legs, and a smaller waist. This post is for you. 💚

Why You Should Trust Me:

Growing up I spent days outside on the trails, backpacking, hiking, snowboarding, you name it.

The one thing that seemed to drive me crazy was my pants. My friends with slimmer legs could wear any pants and they fit perfectly. However, I struggled with finding ones that I didn’t have to squeeze into or have a tight belt cinched around my waist.

I split pants from being too tight, I had bruises from my belt rubbing on my backpack with pants that were too big, and I wanted a snack but felt like I would bust a button if I ate. I have failed too many times, and that is why I am here to help you choose the best pant type for you.

My thick-legged, smaller waist, athletic girlies, I am here for you and I understand all your frustrations.

Top Women’s Hiking Pants (Personally Tested)

Let’s get to the “meat and potatoes” of the best women’s hiking pants!

(For reference I’m 5’7″, 145 lbs, and have a 27″/ 28″ waist)

Coalatree Trailhead Pants (Best Overall)

– Water Resistant + Stain-Proof
– Stink-Proof (Yes, stink-proof, you can wear them for like a week straight)
– Breathable
– Packable (complete packs into front pocket)
– 100% Durable Ripstop Nylon
– Deep pockets (I wish they made more pants like this)

Why I Like These Pants:

I’ve worn these pants for a week in Iceland before and stayed warm with the chilly winds hammering down. I’ve also worn these in the middle of August on a backpacking trip at camp after a long day. I swear these are the best pants I’ve ever hiked in, casually worn, and climbed in. They keep you warm when you need to be warm, and they are perfect for moderate temp hikes, or casual walks in the sunshine.

I am a sucker for high-rise pants, especially having larger thighs I feel like they typically stay up easier. The elastic waistband is perfect to keep the pants up, there are also ties if you want to make them a little tighter, without having to wear an annoying belt. There are also ties at the bottom, which I love to keep the bugs and dirt out.

Recommended Activities:
Anything and everything.

⭐ REI Trailmade Pants (Best for Warmer Weather)


– 94% Nylon & 6% Spandex
– Sun-Protective Fabric
– Quick Drying
– Mid Rise
– Straight Pant Leg Style
– Lightweight (only 7.8 ounces!)
– Durable Tear, Abrasion, and Snag-Resistant Fabric
– 1 Thigh Pocket (can hold iPhone), 2 Front Hand Pockets, & 2 Back Pockets
– Internal Drawcord on Waistband w/ Button and Zipper

Why I Like These Pants:
I have worn these pants for numerous days backpacking, in colder and warmer weather while traveling in Europe and the PNW, and I have always been very impressed.

One struggle I find with a lot of pants is that they get sort of tight in the knee area, and this typically makes them bunch up or pull the pants down. These were designed with articulated knees to give more movement without having to worry about them staying in place.

I love how lightweight and quick-drying they are if I ever spill a backpacking meal on myself and need to clean them off. They are ready to go and hit the trail.

Recommended Activities:
Hiking, rock climbing, backpacking, wear around for casual attire

Standing in front of a waterfall in iceland

Eddie Bauer Rainier Fleece-Lined Jogger Pants (Best for Colder Weather)

– 100% Nylon
– Polyester Fleece Lining
– Mid/High Rise
– Drawstring Closure
– StormRepel Sheds Moisture
– UPF 50 Sun Protection
– Secure Zip Front Pockets

Why I Like These Pants:
In my opinion these pants are made for more curvy women. They fit well in the hip-to-thigh area and don’t make you feel claustrophobic wearing pants. I don’t have to worry about trying to adjust my pants with gloves on while shoveling snow or grabbing a drink after a long day of snowshoeing.

I was hesitant about the fleece lining because I typically stay away from that material. However, I felt like my legs were little bugs in rugs (or sleeping bags) and stayed nice and warm.

Recommended Activities:
Backpacking, snow activities, camping, casual wear

⭐ KUHL Freeflex Roll-Up (Best Roll-Up Pants)

– Mid Rise/ Relaxed Fit
– Water-Resistant Finish
– Quick Drying
– UPF 50+ Protection
– Six Total Pockets
– Snap Secures for Roll-Up

Why I Like These Pants:
I will say that I had to try on a couple of different sizes to get that perfect fit, but once I did, they were super comfortable. I have done 3-4 day backpacking trips in them, summited Mt. Elbert in Colorado, and worn them casually around while car camping. They have kept me warm in the snow if I am moving around while hiking.

The roll-up feature of these pants is perfect for water crossings in the summer to keep your pants from getting wet with a secure button snap.

Recommended Activities:
Backpacking, hiking, rock climbing, casual wear

woman and her dog sitting down before starting a hike in Colorado

Libin Women’s Cargo Joggers (Best Lightweight Hiking Joggers)

– 92% Polyester + 8% Spandex
– Drawstring Closure w/ Elastic Waistband
– UPF 50+ Protection
– 5 Functional Pockets

Why I Like These Pants:
These were my first pair of more relaxed fit joggers where I felt like I could frolic anywhere and do anything in them. I wore them a lot casually and on walks with my dog, and then I started to travel on flights with them and was like “Dang, these are perfect!”

From there I started to wear them on more hikes and even while working out and they stay in place perfectly, have big pockets for trail snacks, and don’t make you too hot on a summer day.

Recommended Activities:
Travel, hiking, walking, workouts, casual wear

two best friends standing in front of a waterfall in iceland

⭐ Arc’teryx Gamme LT Pants (Best Splurge)

– 88% Nylon + 12% Elastane
– Mid Rise
– Straight Leg Pant Style
– Wind & Water Resisant
– Stretchy Fabric (helps w/ mobility!)
– 2 Hand Pockets + 1 Thigh Pocket (w/ zipper)

Why I Like These Pants:
Designed to fit a woman’s body shape. These pants are a great splurge if you have the money to spend or invest in top-quality pants. They do really well on rugged trails that are muddy and wet. With the durable water-repellent (DWR) finish, these pants will stay relatively clean, even in grimy conditions.

Recommended Activities:
Hiking & backpacking

Wjustforu Women’s High Waist Joggers (Favorite Amazon Hiking Pants)


– Polymide & Spandex
– Lightweight
– 4-Way Stretch Construction (obsessed w/ this design)
– High Waist w/ 2 Front Pockets

Why I Like These Pants: If you are trying to decide if you want to wear hiking pants or leggings, these are the perfect middle ground. The fabric is stretchy and the fit is really flattering. I have these in 4 different colors, and I will probably order 4 more with how often I wear them.

Recommended Activities:
Hiking, yoga, workouts, running, casual wear

These are a fun purchase because you can dress them up or down. I have worn them while hiking in the mud, walking through the city with my dog, or even on a girl’s night out with a white shirt and jean jacket.

I’m not sure about you, but I am all about the versatile clothing. 😎

Outdoor Voices RecTrek Zip-Off Pant (Best Convertible Pant)


– 90% Nylon & 10% Elastane
– Wind & Water Resistant
– 3 Ways to Wear (Pants, Capris, or Shorts)
– Relaxed, High-Rise Fit
– 4-Way Stretch
– Waistband w/ Zip Fly & Snap Closure

Why I Like These Pants:
Growing up zip-off pants were a “hot” item to have. Ladies, I am here to tell you, they STILL are a hot item to have. These pants are perfect when you may not know if it’s too hot for pants or too cold for shorts. You get the luxury of both! These pants are very practical with all the cargo pockets, and protection from water, and they stay in the same place so you don’t have to fidget with them.

Recommended Activities:
Hiking, rock climbing, snowshoeing, walking, casual wear, outdoor photography

Pants vs. Shorts vs. Leggings

Every human is different, some may be comfortable in different materials, styles, tight materials, or a looser fit.

Throughout my successes and failures in trying to find the “right” thing to wear. My biggest advice is to wear comfy clothes and always pack layers.

If you are new to hiking and debating on wearing pants, shorts, or leggings…here are a few factors to consider.

🥾 Climate: Alltrails is one of my favorite apps for tracking weather and finding new trails. Under the “Conditions” section of a trail, you can find the temperature, high/low, precipitation, and sunrise/sunset. You also can look at the weather along the trail at a certain distance and time of day to help your planning. It even tells you if there is high mosquito activity. 🦟

*Weather can be unpredictable. Mother Nature likes to give us surprises, pack smart*

🥾 Terrain: Review the trail you will be adventuring on. Things to research about the trails are heavy vegetation or water crossings. Hiking with shorts through sticker bushes has been one of my epic fails (I looked like I got attacked by a cat all over my legs).

🥾 “Freedom”: Some hikers love to wear leggings for all types of hiking because of the amount of flexibility within them. Others would argue that pants have just as much flexibility and stretch as leggings. Although pants are typically more lightweight and durable for all trail conditions. Lastly, some choose shorts for hiking throughout most of the year and layer on their top half. Every human is different.

💎BONUS REC: Patagonia Women’s Baggies Shorts (my absolute FAV Shorts)

reading on a kindle on a beach in washington with a dog


After spending miles and days on trails, these are the best women’s hiking pants that I have come across.

If you are hitting the trail hard or taking a leisurely hike with wildlife photography, these pants have got your back (and your legs!).

Happy Trails,
Mindful PNW Travels

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