In this post we preview the best hiking pants for women of 2018. Hiking pants are a flexible and versatile addition to any wardrobe, perfect for days on the trail, but can often be used for general casual use too.
We of course are interested in hiking here, so with that in mind, we have laid out the best hiking pants options for women.
They are listed in our order of preference, however, please do keep in mind that something further down the list may be a better choice to meet your needs.
For example, if you predominantly hike in hot and sunny conditions, a pair of hiking pants further down the list which are convertible, with UPF capability, etc. may be better suited to meet your needs.
If you don’t have time to read through the article, our number one hiking pants for women choice is the prAna Halle pants.
Our Top 3 Picks Quick Summary Comparison
|Pros||*Very comfortable and lightweight fit
*Good sizing options available
*Suitable for year round hiking
*Flexible fabric construction allows
|*Very durable 90D ripstop fabric
*Very breathable and quick drying
*Lightweight offering a sleek and good fit
*Perfect for hiking Spring through Fall
and lighter Winter conditions
|*Comfortable and stylish, design and fit
*Will perform well in most hiking conditions
*Year round hiking pants
*Excellent stretch in the fabric
|Cons||*Pockets are a bit shallow
*Can run large / small
|*Pocket size could be bigger
*Watch the sizing when purchasing
|*Again, watch sizing, may run small
*Some reports of material fraying after
a few washes
|Buy On Amazon Now!||Buy On Amazon Now!
||Buy On Amazon Now!|
#1 The prAna Halle Pants
- Very comfortable and lightweight pants, with a roll-up leg option that help turn the pants into capri style pants / long shorts, without having to remove your hiking boots
- Good sizing options that will work for both taller and smaller ladies, so you should be able to find a good fit
- Perfect for all types of hiking year round
- Comes with storage bag, baskets and detachable feet
- Fabric construction is flexible enabling good movement, and also features quick drying capability
- The pockets, especially the front ones, are shallow and could be a bit more roomy
- Although there are good sizing options available, be careful with the sizing to be sure you get a good fit
prAna Halle Pants Features Summary:
Best Uses: Hiking, backpacking, camping, travel, light biking, general outdoor use, general day-to-day use
The prAna Halle pants are our top women’s hiking pants recommendation. Good for trail hiking all year round, they offer a lot of comfort without sacrificing functional capability.
The prAna Halle pants are constructed using the prAna Strech Zion fabric, which is a 97% Nylon / 3% Spandex material make-up.
This combination of materials, enables a lot of flexible movement. We’re a fan of this combination, as it is both functional and flexible, an important requirement for hiking over varying terrain.
So whether you’re walking on friendly easy trails, or negotiating a tricky arête, these pants are flexible enough to allow you to move freely and comfortably.
The Stretch Zion fabric also features a DWR (durable water repellent) finish which offers some protection from the elements as well.
For heavier rain, we always suggest that you utilize rain pants over your hiking pants, and this would be the same for the prAna Halle hiking pants.
Continuing on with more feature capability of the fabric construction, it’s wicking capability allows heat to get out from your legs and so keeps your skin dry.
The material enables quick drying, so should you get caught in a bit of a downpour, in the right conditions, the pants will dry out quickly.
The pants can also be rolled up and leg snaps utilized to convert into a kind of pair of shorts / Capri pants, that run to just below the knee.
Useful if a further ventilation option is needed on a hot day, or if you have to walk through some ankle deep water and want to keep your pants dry in the process.
The Halle pants are styled like trousers so they provide a sleek and relaxed look. The pants are secured using a button fly which secures and functions well, but they do not come with a belt, however there are belt tabs should you wish to use one.
The pants feature two hand pockets and two back pockets, as well as a hidden zip stash pocket on the upper right leg, great for any small items you want to be sure not to lose.
Overall, some decent options for easy storage of small bits and pieces while you’re out on your adventures on the trail.
The pants are available in several color options, e.g. Dark Khaki, Moon Rock, Black, etc. All of the color options are dark / autumnal in a trouser pant style. I counted seven different color options available so there should be something in there to suit most folks!
The prAna Halle pants retail for under $100, depending on specific options chosen. We think it’s good value for money, for a very durable and comfortable pair of hiking pants, which you will get plenty of enjoyment and use from.
Overall, the prAna Halle pants are a very smart and stylish pair of hiking pants, which will cover most hikers needs, all across the year.
They are also a very versatile set of pants that will work great for day-to-day casual use, travel, and even nights out on the town.
Starting the Process of Choosing Hiking Pants
For a successful and enjoyable day out on the trail, there is no doubting the fact that you need a comfortable pair of hiking pants.
Your hiking pants are nearly always the only barrier between your legs and the elements outside, so you want something functional but of course, comfortable.
Overall, you need a comfortable pair of pants that provide good mobility that are constructed sensibly, using the appropriate materials. These materials can fulfill a host of other functions e.g. an element of protection from the rain, protection from the sun, etc.
The golden rule for choosing any piece of hiking gear is basic enough, but often overlooked. You first need to establish what you need your hiking pants for. For hiking of course, but I mean to really take a look at some of the fundamental elements of when you will typically use your hiking pants.
Hopefully that gives you a good example of what I mean. When you know the type of conditions, etc. that you need your hiking pants for, it’s much easier to single out a preference that will best meet your needs.
If you’re a year round hiker who likes to hike in the cold and chill of winter, as well as in the warmer temperatures in summer, we recommend that investing in a couple of pairs of hiking pants is the way to go.
The first pair should be lighter and oriented towards hiking in hotter weather, and the second pair should be more durable and of a sturdier construction that will keep you that bit warmer in the cooler times of year.
So, that is the short and sweet version of our buying guidance for hiking pants. If buying hiking pants is totally new to you, we strongly recommend that you read the hiking pants buying guide first, before buying a pair.
It goes into much more detail with regards to helping you identify your needs, and what some of the many feature and construction options available to you are.
So, with the quick buying advice interlude complete, let’s crack on with the best hiking pants for women of 2018.
#2 Outdoor Research Ferrosi Pants
- Very durable and flexible 90D ripstop fabric construction means these pants are great for all types of hiking, as well as a host of other outdoor activities
- Breathablilty works well for use on hot days, and the material construction is quick drying should they get wet
- Lightweight pants that offer a comfortable and sleek fit, with a stylish design and look
- Perfect for hiking Spring through to Fall, and in lighter winter conditions
- Although there is a good selection of pockets, we think the pocket size could be a bit better
- This is nearly always the case with all hiking pants, but worth mentioning again, watch the sizing when choosing a pair
Outdoor Research Ferrosi Pants Features Summary:
Best Uses: Hiking, backpacking, climbing, camping, travel, general outdoor use, general day-to-day use
The Ferrosi pants from Outdoor Research, are a soft shell pair of hiking pants constructed using a material make-up of 86% ripstop and 14% spandex 90D stretch woven ripstop.
Rip-stop fabrics are fabrics that are woven using a reinforcing technique which makes them resistant to tearing. Typically, thick reinforcement threads are interwoven which give the material its very tough and durable performance.
Right off the bat, the 90D ripstop fabric gives a very tough and sturdy pair of hiking pants, which are also very flexible.
The material is also water and wind resistant to protect your legs from the tougher elements that nature can throw at you from the outside.
As mentioned, these pants are flexible, with the 14% spandex element helping that capability. So these pants are great for when you have to stretch, over any challenging terrain on the trail.
The pants are breathable and that element of the material construction also enables quick drying, should they get wet if you get caught in a heavy shower. Even though the pants are tough, they are lightweight too and feel supple on the skin.
The pants have a Brushed Tricot-lined waistband. This free hanging waistband enables you to secure the pants for a comfortable fit. The pants also feature belt loops should you wish to utilize a belt with them.
The waistband is also of a low enough profile as to not interfere with a harness should you need to use one.
The pants feature 5 multi-purpose pockets, 2 slash hand pockets, 2 zippered back pockets and 1 zippered thigh pocket. I am a fan of plenty of pockets, and the Ferrosi pants offer a good selection, which are functional and useful.
The pants feature a dual snap zipper fly which, in conjunction with the Tricot-lined waistband, offers a secure and comfortable fit. The Ferrosi pants also offer protection from the sun to the level UPF 50+ protection, so a high level of protection.
The pants are available in up to 9 different color options, e.g. Fatigue, Mushroom, Pewter, to name three of them.
All of the color options are dark and autumnal with an earthy look and feel to them. There should be a color choice in there to suit most people’s tastes.
The Outdoor Research Ferrosi pants retail in and around $80.00, depending on specific options chosen. They sit at the higher end of the scale for a pair of hiking pants, but they do offer good value for money, considering all you can get out of them.
They also offer enough versatility to be able to use them as casual pants, for days and nights out on the town … after a hard day hiking in the hills of course 🙂
#3 Columbia Saturday Trail Pants
- Sleek and comfortable fit which looks great, but also means you don’t make much noise while hiking in these pants, as can be the case in baggier options
- Pants are versatile enough to be used on the trail in warm weather, but should perform well under most hiking conditions
- Perfect for trail hiking most of the year round
- Lightweight with excellent stretch in the fabric, so great for all types of hiking and many other outdoor activities
- Check sizing, may need to order a size up to get a good fit
- Some users reported fraying of the material after only several washes, but this seems to be an exception in some cases
Columbia Saturday Trail Pants Features Summary:
Best Uses: Hiking, camping, general outdoor activity use, travel, general day-to-day use
I think every hiker is more than likely familiar with the Columbia brand name. They’re a company that are well known for creating quality gear for the outdoors, at a good price, and the Columbia Saturday Trail pants for women are no exception to that.
In terms of material, the pants are constructed using a combination of Omni-Shield™ Summiteer Lite: 96% nylon and 4% elastane. This material lends itself to a very comfortable feel on the skin as well as good flexibility, in terms of movement.
These pants feature Columbia’s OMNI-SHIELD® and OMNI-SHADE® technologies. Looking at the OMNI-SHIELD® element first, this technology enables water and stain repellency, so whether it’s water or dirt, the pants construction will help repel it away.
The pants also feature, as referenced above, OMNI-SHADE® which offers sun protection at a rating of UPF 50, a high level of protection that will meet most hiker’s requirements.
While the Saturday trail pants are not convertible, into shorts, they can be rolled up into capri style pants.
A simple and nice option to have if you’re getting a bit hot inside and need to let your legs breathe that little bit more, or to keep your ankles dry, say if you need to walk through a shallow river. Note: there is a Saturday Trail Convertible Pants for women option available too.
The waist of the pants have belt loops, and although no belt comes with the pants, they are large enough to accommodate most sizes of suitable belts. The pants are secured at the front using the snap closure buttons.
The pants feature decent functional pocket options, with two slash hand pockets and two back, entailing a zippered closure security pocket, handy to have to put something away that you really need to keep safe e.g. your car key.
The pants are lightweight and durable, and the built-in sun protection as well as the capability to adjust them into Capri style pants, make them an excellent choice for active days in warm weather.
However, they will hold their own in cooler conditions too, so they’re a nice all round pair of pants that should suit most hikers needs across most of the year.
The Saturday Trail pants retail in at a fair price for a good solid pair of hiking pants, that you should get a lot of enjoyable use from. Click on any of the inks above to get a live price on Amazon.
Overall, the Columbia Saturday Trail hiking pants for women, are a really excellent pair of hiking pants for the trail. They offer a sleek and comfortable fit, while also providing excellent functionality.
As a final note, they are available in up to 4 different autumnal color options, so you’ve got a decent color selection to choose from too!
#4 prAna Sage Convertible Pants For Women
- Lightweight with a very relaxed fit and the fabric is not loud and swishy while moving
- Durable and tough hiking pants which are good for most types of hiking, all year round, so they offer good value for money
- Very versatile with the 3-in-1 option i.e. pants, convertible into shorts and roll up into Capri style pants
- Draw string is not elastic, so can come undone
- Watch the sizing as some users reported the pants being too big i.e. some found them too long and tight
prAna Sage Convertible Pants Features Summary:
Best Uses: Hiking, camping, general outdoor activity use, general day-to-day use
The prAna Sage pants for women, are the second offering, on our best hiking pants for women, from prAna, and our top pick for best convertible hiking pants for women.
They are a versatile and practical pair of pants for the trail, so whether you’re hiking through a forest wilderness, or on craggy ridges, these pants will cover your hiking needs well.
As indicated in the name of the pants, they are convertible, so they are easily converted into shorts via the zip-off legs. Always nice to have the conversion into shorts option for those hotter days out on the trail.
The pants are constructed using shell: 95% nylon, 5% spandex, and trim: 100% polyester. This material is stretch performance variegated ripstop, so tough, and it also features a durable water repellent finish, to help bead water away.
All in all, the material make-up also provides and enables a comfortable fit and good stretching capability. The lower legs are also quite loose, so they should easily hang over any pair of hiking or backpacking boots.
These trail pants have a zip fly front with a two button closure. The waist, in keeping with the material, has elasticity to help secure a comfortable fit. The pants have belt loops, and although a belt does not come with the pants, a string tie is available.
The pants feature 2 front slash pockets, 2 front cargo pockets and 2 back pockets. The pants also come in three color options, namely cargo green, dark khaki and coal.
In terms of price, they retail in and around the same price range as other pants listed here. So again, in about the high end of the standard price range for a good pair of hiking pants, that should see you good for plenty of use.
The prAna Sage convertible pants for women are another great option, and with so much versatility, 3 in 1 pants, they will meet a lot of your hiking needs be it a hot sunny summer’s day out in the hills, or a cooler stroll in the autumn.
#5 The Marmot Lobos Convertible Pants
- Durable and rugged pants that are great for hiking in most conditions, a year round pair of hiking pants
- Comfortable 3-in-1 pants with a good fit that provides versatility for movement on the trail
- DWR finish repels rain well and the pants offer strong UPF protection
- Run a little big so keep an eye on the sizing when purchasing
Marmot Lobos Convertible Pants Features Summary:
Best Uses: All types of hiking, backpacking, camping, general outdoor activity use, general day-to-day use
The Marmot Lobos Convertible Pants are constructed using 94% nylon and 6% elastane peached plain weave 3.8 oz/yd.
This nylon stretch performance fabric provides excellent durability and good abrasion resistance, while also enabling good mobility. The fabric is also Bluesign® approved, which is always nice to know as a consumer making a purchase.
Bluesign® is a mark given as a standard for ‘environmentally responsible production’. As a big fan of the outdoors, it’s always good to see big name manufacturers taking on responsibility in this area, to help support the responsible use of the environment and the planets resources.
While the fabric is durable, it is also lightweight and provides a DWR finish to provide some protection from the rain, etc.
The mainly nylon based fabric is also quick drying, should it get wet, this also makes the fabric very breathable, letting hot air out from around the legs, keeping your skin dry on the inside.
The pants are designed specifically for the mountains, so hiking, backpacking, etc. are the order of the day. They provide a UPF to a level of 50+, so if the sun is too much on a day, they will help protect your skin from the worst of the sun’s rays.
The pants are a 3-in-1 deal again, so you have full on pants, shorts, which can be used by removing the legs of the pants, and finally roll up cuffs which enable you to have a Capri style pair of pants.
The crotch is gusseted, a piece of fabric inserted into the seam to reduce stress on tight clothing, which enables better mobility and range of movement.
This adds breadth and reduces stress in the fabric, and so provides more comfort to the wearer. The pants feature 5 pockets, 2 front pockets, 2 back pockets and a zippered cargo pocket, so there are lots of storage options.
The pants do not have a belt but do have interior waist adjusters, as well as utilizing a DriClime® Interior Waistband to help add more Comfort. The pants are secured using a zip fly with a snap button closure.
In terms of price, you’re looking into the higher end of the price range with the Marmot Lobos for a pair. However, you are getting a specialized pair of pants, purpose built for your adventures on the trail, so definitely value for money.
Here we lay out some commonly asked questions in relation to hiking pants. We’ll be updating it as more questions come in.
Q1. Are hiking pants good to use as general day to day pants?
In terms of comfort and fit, they are really comfortable, so yes absolutely, there is no reason whatsoever that hiking pants can’t be used as day-to-day pants, as well as for hiking on the trail.
However, keep in mind, that some hiking pants tend to look a bit more technical than normal pants or jeans.,with air vent zips, extra pockets, etc. No problem with that, but may not be suitable for some occasions.
Q2. I often have trouble with sizing when buying pants, how can I try and avoid this?
It can be a pain when you get your nice and new hiking pants in you size, only to realize you have to return them as they run too small or big.
Two things you can do to help with this. First, read user reviews online, Amazon is great for this. If pants tend to run large or small, you will notice it popping up on a repeating basis from multiple users.
While not a total answer, it does give you some basis on what to expect. Secondly, if you can get to one, go to a store and try the pants on. If you have found a better deal online, you can try them on in the store, and then order the same pants online.
Oftentimes, if you tell the store you can get them at a cheaper price online and show them, they may be willing to give them to you at the same price. They’ll likely still get a nice markup on them.
Q3. Is it better to get convertible (into shorts) hiking pants as opposed to regular hiking pants?
Again, this very much depends on what you need your hiking pants for. If you hike in the same conditions year round, and one pair of normal hiking pants does the job fine, then yes, it is feasible to do this.
However, more often than not, different times of year are better suited to different options. So, in Winter, you probably want a thicker pair of pants, but with air vents, as you can still heat up in them as you hike and need to let air circulate.
In Summer, those pants may just be too much and you would be too warm in them. That’s where another pair of lighter convertible hiking pants really works well.
If you hike year round, at a minimum we think you need two pairs of hiking pants, assuming the seasonal temperatures warrant it of course. So one thicker pair for late Autumn through Winter into early Spring, and one lighter convertible pair for later Spring through Summer into early Fall.
If you wear your hiking pants on a normal day-to-day basis, you may need more than two pairs, as you will likely go through them quicker.
Q4. Is it better to have more, as opposed to less, pockets in hiking pants?
We definitely think so. We like to have deep hand warmer pockets that are comfortable accessible, one or two zip closure pockets, handy for storing important items for safe keeping. These can be on the front and / or back, but front is usually handier.
Having back pockets, and hip pockets, can be useful, although personally I don’t tend to use pockets like that much.
Q5. Are air vents necessary in hiking pants?
They are not necessary as such, but we think they are a very good idea. Hiking pants are typically made from material that it quite breathable anyway.
However, we like air vents as they are functional and practical. Typically air vents will be zipped along the sides of the legs, with a mesh material under the zip.
I use these year round when I am out hiking. Even in Winter when it’s much colder, sometimes hiking fast up a tough peak, heat and inevitable sweat, builds up inside. A quick opening of the vents, let’s air circulate.
When you stop, you can simply zip them back up to help retain heat. On a cooler day in Summer, when lighter convertible pants aren’t suitable, I will do the same thing, but likely leaving them open all the time.
Q6. Should I get waterproof hiking pants?
Protection from the rain and so on, should come in the form of rain pants, which are separate and worn over your hiking pants. It is no harm to have a bit of water resistance on your hiking pants, but I wouldn’t get too worried about this.
Any significant rain, snow or whatever, hiking pants will get wet eventually. What I would look for more is that they’re quick drying, so if you get wet in a rain burst on a hike, they dry off quickly with the heat you generate from hiking.
Q7. What materials should I look for in hiking pants?
The materials listed on this page for the products are what you want to aim for. Broadly speaking, synthetic materials like nylon and polyester blends are the way to go.
These will also have elastane, spandex element in the mix which gives your hiking pants their stretching capability, which is also something to keep an eye out for.
In general, avoid cotton, linen, Rayon, etc. Although there are always exceptions to this rule too 🙂 Synthetic materials should see you good close to 100% of the time though.
Q8. I see UPF ratings for some pants, what is this and is it a good idea to have it?
UPF stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor, which basically means how much of the suns rays are absorbed by the fabric. Hiking pants that have a UPF capability, have more ability to absorb UV, and so protect you from the sun.
The higher the rating, the more protection offered. This is a good thing to look for in good hiking pants, especially if you know the rays from the sun will be an issue for you e.g. closer to the equator, certain environments (like a desert), high altitudes, or just a hot and sunny Summers day.
Q9. Are pants that can be turned into Capri pants a good idea?
In terms of hiking, their practical use can come when crossing a shallow stream perhaps, you can roll your pants up to ensure they don’t get wet.
They also can act as another form of handy ventilation, without having to take bottoms off your pants as you would in convertible hiking pants, which also usually means you have to take your hiking boots off too.
Capri pants also look pretty nice too, so it is a fine option to have. There are hiking pants available that are both convertible into shorts, as well as having the Capri pants option.
While not absolutely necessary, it is no harm at all to have the option with all else being equal, i.e. pants perform well, they are comfortable, etc.
Further Reading and References
Forum discussion – on choosing light backpacking pants for ladies.
Technical clothing for petite ladies – some discussion and tips for petite ladies looking for suitable hiking gear.
Lightweight pants and gear for plus size ladies – some discussion and tips for plus size ladies looking for suitable gear.
So that’s it for this review of the best hiking pants for women of 2019. As you can see, we are spoiled these days with lots of great options, so plenty to choose from whatever your hiking needs are.
If you’re in the market for a new pair of trail pants, you could do a lot worse than run with one of these options.
Just to reiterate, as referenced at the start of this piece, always be sure to know your requirements clearly, before you buy a new pair of hiking pants for the trail.
With so much excellent choice, it is wise to get as specific as you can on what you need your hiking pants for, to enable you to match your needs as best as possible.
Finally, and most importantly, we hope you found this information helpful and useful, please share it around your networks if you did.