Hiking Pants for Women: What to Wear for Every Weather


Hiking Pants for Women

It should come as no surprise that hiking will require certain types of gear and clothing, and people usually only think of hiking boots. Another piece of clothing that often gets overlooked for hiking is the pants, especially when it comes to women’s hiking pants. Now, it may seem like a small factor, but hiking pants can really affect your hiking performance and experience.

In this article, we’re going to explain those features and factors you should evaluate in order to help you choose the best set of women’s hiking pants that work for you.

 

Table of Contents

 

The Different Factors for Women’s Hiking Pants

There’s essentially no real difference between men’s and women’s hiking pants. In reality, the only differences are the subtle changes in size to accustom the generic form factor of the corresponding sex. Oftentimes, women can actually wear men’s hiking pants and they would work just the same.

The main different factors when it comes to hiking pants are:

  • Pants type
  • Pants design features
  • Pants materials

Outside of those direct factors, you should also take into account your own personal preferences and situation. We’re going to be talking about the design of the pants and what kind of situations they should be used in. Later on, we’ll list out specific models of women’s hiking pants that you can find on Amazon to help you get a good idea of what to look for.

But first, we should go into detail about the main factors you have to evaluate. As we said earlier, there can actually be a lot of different features that can play a role for certain people, so it’s important that you know the wide set of features and uses that hiking pants can provide. Let’s first talk about the main basic types.

 

Types of Women’s Hiking Pants

Whenever you think of hiking pants, you usually imagine the generic cargo pants that are pretty baggy. It’s a reasonable assumption, and in a lot of cases, those are the type of pants that are used. However, there are other types of hiking pants that are used that can work great for certain situations.

Although there are other variations, the main types of hiking pants are:

  • Traditional, standard pants
  • Convertible pants
  • Rollup pants

The last two sort of overlap into one category, but they all still have their own unique situations to be used in. Depending on your own personal preferences and how you plan to hike, these types of pants will function very differently, so let’s dive further into how each style of pants works and when is best to use them.

 

Traditional Hiking Pants

This style of pants may be the most basic, but it’s also the most used, and that’s for good reason. The fact that the style is so simple makes it appealing to a lot of people, and its basic design also makes it very comfortable to wear and use during a hike. In essence, traditional hiking pants embody the idea of less is more.

It has a much simpler design which often makes it look more aesthetically pleasing, and people will easily be able to tell how to wear and use it because it’s just a normal set of pants. Some traditional pants even have some small zippers on the end in order to help you put on hiking boots easier.

The comfortability can also be enhanced by the material, but we’ll discuss that more later.

 

Why Use Traditional Hiking Pants?

So, when should you use this style of pants when compared to the other styles?

Basically, it’s recommended that you wear them in casual hiking situations. The great thing about this style of pants is that it’s very versatile, and it can be used in a lot of situations. Some people even say that this type of hiking pants can even be worn in non-hiking situations, which just shows its versatility.

But on the negative side, it doesn’t really excel in any one area, and it simply can’t function as well as the other styles of pants in certain major areas. For long or extreme periods of hiking, it may be beneficial for you to look into the other styles, but it’ll never be a bad decision for you to use the traditional style of pants.

 

Convertible Hiking Pants

Convertible hiking pants are the ones where there is a zipper that separates the bottom and upper parts of the pants so that you can take off the bottom part when you need to. Now you should see how this style can be very appealing to a number of people especially when you compare it to the previous style.

This style is also very versatile, but in a different way than the traditional hiking pants. Traditional hiking pants are versatile in the sense that their one design can function in many situations to varying degrees of effectiveness. Convertible hiking pants are versatile in the sense that their design can inherently adapt to different situations to operate in the best way.

 

Why Use Convertible Hiking Pants?

Because of their ability to adapt to your hiking situation, convertible hiking pants are generally more recommended for actual hiking, especially if the hiking is going to be demanding or lengthy. They work best for when the climate or environment is going to change during your hike, which again would most likely happen if you plan on hiking for a while.

Convertible hiking pants are probably still the best option when it comes to serious hiking, and the issues with its design and comfort shouldn’t be that big of a problem because you’re not going to be using this style of hiking pants in casual situations. The next style of hiking pants are very similar to this one with one key difference.

The only significant drawback for this style of pants is that the design is usually less attractive because it has the zippers sticking out, or it has extra material to conceal the zipper. Also, the overall comfortability may be dampened until you convert them into shorts due to the nature of the zippered design. Keep in mind that you need to store the pant legs when you take them off.

 

Roll-Up Hiking Pants

The Roll-Up hiking pants and convertible pants are basically the same styles in concept: they are pants that can be shortened in length in order to accommodate the situation.

With convertible pants, there’s a zipper that attaches the part, so you just unzip to shorten them. But with Roll-Up hiking pants, they are obviously meant to be rolled up to be shortened. This seemingly small difference can actually have considerable effects.

For one thing, it helps make the design of the pants more comfortable and attractive because there are no zippers poking out anywhere, and the design is technically one leg instead of two smaller legs. Also, you don’t need to worry about carrying or storing the bottom part of the pants once you shorten them.

However, once you roll the pants up, they’ll probably be less comfortable than shortened convertible pants, because they’re basically shorts at that point. You’re going to have excess material wherever you roll your pants up to, and there’s always the potential that they fall back down if you don’t roll them up properly.

So, the idea is that roll-up hiking pants are more convenient to roll up and they’re more comfortable in normal form, but they can be less comfortable once they’ve been rolled when compared to unzipped convertible pants. Which one you choose will again depend on your own situations and level of comfort with these two styles.

 

Why Use Roll-Up Hiking Pants?

For a general recommendation, if your hiking experience is more on the casual side, it might be fine for you to use roll-up hiking pants. Their function comes from their convenience, and if you’re willing to sacrifice the hiking ability for that level of convenience then this can be a great option.

The following video takes another look at the different types of women’s hiking pants:

 

Material for Women’s Hiking Pants

The next important factor that you have to consider is the material of the pants themselves. We mentioned in the styles section that the inherent design of the pants will play a huge role in their comfort, and their comfort will be further affected by the material they’re made out of. The material will also determine how well the pants can actually withstand hiking.

When it comes to the material, there are three main things you need to account for:

  • The weight
  • The breathability
  • The ability to withstand the environment

Similar to how you should choose what kind of pants style to use, the way you evaluate what kind of material you want to use will be heavily based on your own preferences and hiking needs. The first two factors will play a role in the pant comfort while the last factor will have a bigger impact on the actual hiking.

Women’s hiking pants are usually made of one of two materials: polyester and nylon. Polyester is definitely more popular, but it’s not uncommon to see nylon used as well. In some rare cases, you can even see cotton hiking pants. Each material has their own advantages and intended uses.

 

Nylon

Nylon is light and quick drying, which makes it great for hiking outdoors in warm climates and for long periods of time. It also has the ability to withstand some rain and water because it will dry very quickly.

 

Polyester

Polyester is similar in that it does not hold water or moisture, so you can be dry while you’re hiking. Polyester material is also very breathable, so it shares the ability to be used in certain weather and for extended periods of hiking.

 

Cotton

Cotton is not used as much because it’s generally heavier, which can lead to discomfort. But, it does have extra strength and ability to keep you warm if needed, while also sharing the breathable trait. It’s also hypoallergenic, which can be critical for some people.

 

Material Weight

For some, the weight of the material will be the most important factor for selection. The idea should be intuitive: the heavier the material is, the more uncomfortable it would be. That’s true, but in some cases, you might want a heavier material depending on the climate. So really, what kind of weight you should choose will come down to your hiking itinerary.

The basic recommendation is that you choose lighter material for warmer climates and vice-versa. However, you also have to take into account how long you plan to hike. For example, you might be more willing to wear heavier hiking pants if you’re only going to hike for a short period of time.

Again, it all just comes down to personal preferences, and if you ever feel confused about what kind of weight you should choose, just try to pick something that naturally feels comfortable for you. You can then use that as a basis to judge other kinds of weights, or you can use that for various situations if you need to do so.

 

Material Breathability

The principles behind evaluating material breathability are very similar to material weight, which makes sense since they primarily influence comfort over function. As such, the recommendation is also very similar; you would want more breathable material if you’re going to hike in either a warm climate or for a long period of time.

And again, it’s best to test out different kinds of material to see which one is most comfortable for you, and then you can begin to incorporate your hiking needs in your evaluation. In reality, you’re probably going to evaluate the material based on its weight and breathability together, so there might be an added layer of decision-making when you have to factor in both qualities.

For example, you might be fine with wearing heavier hiking pants, but you might want very breathable material in order to compensate for the weight so that you feel comfortable and cool during hikes. You can also think about other possible combinations, but the idea is that you should evaluate both factors to find your best fit.

 

Material for The Environment

Now it’s time to discuss the last factor that is the most relevant for actual hiking: its ability to withstand the environment and nature. As we discussed, the previous two factors are geared more toward user comfort, which can definitely affect your hiking experience, but you also need to find material that’s directly intended to withstand the forces that come with hiking.

The most notable environmental factor is probably water. Obviously, if you’re going to be hiking in wet weather, you want to use hiking pants that are waterproof or water-resistant. Now, most hiking pants should be able to handle water to some degree, but you want to make sure your pants can handle the type of exposure they’re going to be in.

Keep in mind that waterproof pants are going to be more expensive, so another alternative you could look into is hiking pants that are quick-drying. These pants are more prone to getting wet, but they’ll dry very quickly which can be a great option for some people.

There are more environmental factors that many people forget to think about, and it turns out there are hiking pants that help protect against them. These include:

  • Wind protection
  • Sun protection
  • Bug/insect protection

You basically just want to see what kind of weather and elements you’re going to be exposed to during your hike, and you want to find hiking pants that can accommodate those. You would be surprised to find out how much hiking pants can actually do especially for certain niches and groups. It shouldn’t be hard to find hiking pants that suit your needs.

 

Design Features for Women’s Hiking Pants

The last major section we should discuss is some of the design features that are used on women’s hiking pants that might get overlooked by some people.

The most important thing you should judge and evaluate hiking pants is their comfort and ability to withstand hiking, so in the grand scheme, some of the smaller features seem like they might not matter. That might be the case for some, but these features listed below can provide valuable convenience to a lot of people.

 

The Pockets

The most noteworthy design features for women’s hiking pants are pockets; some people may value them more than others, but there’s no denying that pockets can provide a lot of value, and most hikers say that it’s essentially mandatory that hiking pants have pockets.

Different pants will vary in the amount, size, and orientation of the pockets, so it will be up to you to find ones that work for your needs. Many hikers recommend deep pockets to securely hold your stuff, and you can even look into zippered pockets for more protection. Just don’t forget to think about pockets when you’re getting hiking pants.

 

The Fit

In addition to pockets, many hiking pants will also have some features to help you fit better into the pants. For example, many hiking pants have an elastic waistband that allows the waist to stretch so that it can help provide a better fit, or it provides flexibility for your body while you’re hiking.

Certain pants even have attached belts for extra support, but that may not work for some people.

 

The Color

Lastly, even something as menial as the color of the pants can have some effect on its use. Lighter colors will reflect sunlight while darker colors will absorb sunlight, so depending on the type of climate you’re going to be hiking in, you might want to use a certain color that will either help cool you off or warm you up.

These features may not be as critical as the style and material of the hiking pants, but they still do provide value outside of aesthetics. The overall message is that you need to incorporate and evaluate all possible factors of the pants and judge based on your own needs in order to make sure that you find the best pants possible for you.

 

Recommended Women’s Hiking Pants

Now that we’ve talked about the factors you have to consider when you choose what kind of pants you want to have, we can now bring up specific examples for you to look at to help you get a better idea of how to evaluate different kinds of hiking pants.

It’s good to see a variety of different types so you can know what’s out there, and you can start to think about which pants work best for you. Take a look below to see ten different options for women’s hiking pants.

 

Wespornow Women’s-Convertible-Zip-Off-Hiking-Pants for Camping, Travel

These women’s hiking pants are convertible hiking pants made from a durable, yet comfortable, parachute material. They have an elastic waistband for extra comfort in the fit. They have large pockets for storage, and they feature a design where it can be rolled up and converted easily. Most hiking pants have one of the two qualities.

Click here to read more reviews and compare prices.

 

Libin Women’s Cargo Joggers Lightweight Quick Dry Hiking Pants Athletic Workout Lounge Casual Outdoor

These women’s hiking pants are made with a lightweight, quick-drying polyester and spandex material, so they are breathable and dry when hiking in hot, humid weather. They also have 5 pockets for convenience in carrying things. In addition, they provide great UV protection from the sunlight, and they can be worn in a variety of different situations.

Click here to read more reviews and compare prices.

 

Columbia Women’s Saturday Trail Stretch Pant

These women’s hiking pants feature a 2-way stretch fabric with articulated knees for convenience, comfort, and mobility in climbing and hiking up or down steep hills. They have roll-up legs in case the weather gets too hot. It’s mostly made of nylon, and its two side pockets have a hook and loop closure design that secures whatever items you place.

Click here to read more reviews and compare prices.

 

MOCOLY Women’s Cargo Hiking Pants Elastic Waist Quick Dry Lightweight Outdoor Water Resistant UPF 50+ Long Pants Zipper

These women’s hiking pants offer sun protection to protect your legs from getting sunburnt when hiking in hot weather. They also are a capri style so you won’t get too hot. It’s polyester design makes it very resistant and quick drying, so you can use it in a variety of climates and hiking trips.

Click here to read more reviews and compare prices.

 

Eddie Bauer Women’s Guide Pro Pants

These women’s hiking pants are recommended by professional mountain guides for their water-resistance, sun protection, and flexible fabric. And if you care about your environmental footprint, these pants were made without toxic chemicals to help perverse nature.

Click here to read more reviews and compare prices.

 

Arctix Women’s Convertible Trail Pant

These women’s hiking pants come in a wide range of colors to suit the area you’re hiking in. They also have sun protection, moisture wicking technology, and quick-dry features. These pants are convertible so you can easily turn them into shorts, and they also offer a partial elastic waistband which helps with mobility and comfort.

Click here to read more reviews and compare prices.

 

Women’s Hiking Pants Quick Dry Convertible Stretch Lightweight Outdoor UPF 40 Fishing Safari Travel Camping Capri Pants

These women’s hiking pants feature zip-up pockets so you never lose what’s inside them, and a convertible pants zip-off feature to turn them into shorts when it gets too hot. Its waistband is also adjustable, so you can customize it to whatever is most comfortable for you. You do need to keep in mind that these pants are not machine washable.

Click here to read more reviews and compare prices.

 

Columbia Women’s Storm Surge Waterproof Rain Pant

If you are hiking in a very rainy area or need to cut through streams, these women’s hiking pants are perfect. They are waterproof rain hiking pants with a mesh lining to keep you warm. What makes these pants unique is that its material design is a hybrid where the shell is all nylon while its lining is all polyester, so you can get the best of both worlds.

Click here to read more reviews and compare prices.

 

Women’s Cotton Casual Military Army Cargo Combat Work Pants with 8 Pocket

These women’s hiking pants are a bit on the heavier side for those looking to hike during the colder months. They offer 8 pockets so you can hold supplies like snacks, first aid, and more on your trip and always be prepared. This is one of the few pant models that is mainly built with cotton, but it still has 35% polyester to offer breathability.

Click here to read more reviews and compare prices.

 

The North Face Women’s Paramount Active Mid Rise Pant

These women’s hiking pants offer moisture wicking technology, water-resistance, and sun protection. They are made with a breathable fabric for unrestricted motion. It also handles the elements very well because they offer UV and water protection. On top of that, it has a secure back pocket to hold your items.

Click here to read more reviews and compare prices.

 

Final Words

Women’s hiking pants definitely have their own unique sense of style, but in terms of functionality, they don’t differ that much from men’s hiking pants. You can apply a lot of the same principles, and hopefully this article has provided you with the necessary information so that you can make your own judgment.

This blog has additional useful information on how you can prepare for the hiking activity. I would strongly suggest you read the guide on hiking clothes, it lists everything you should wear while hiking. See also a separate post on choosing the best hiking hat, an important part of your hiking wardrobe.

Hiking also requires some caution, so please be sure to read the articles on how to hike at night and how to hike solo.

Happy trails!

Alex Rejba

Alex is a seasoned survivalist, with a passion to all things related to prepping, hiking and living off the grid.

Recent Posts