10 Best Hiking Pants for Women 2024

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A waist-down photo of a female hiker wearing The North Face Aphrodite 2.0 hiking pants with the tuft columns of Smith Rock in the distance
The North Face Aphrodite 2.0 – Photo credit: Heather Eldridge (CleverHiker.com)

A good pair of hiking pants needs to be durable, functional, comfortable, and easy to move in – and it certainly doesn’t hurt if they have a stylish look and flattering fit.

Our female gear testers have hiked in over 25 pairs of hiking pants through rain, sun, and snow over thousands of miles to determine our favorites. Our expert advice in this guide will take the guesswork out of finding the best women’s hiking pants for you (and if you’re looking for the best men’s hiking pants, we’ve got those too).

If pants don’t do it for you, no problem. We have you covered with our review of our favorite leggings and hiking shorts. You can also complete your outdoor ‘fit with a pick from our list of rigorously tested sun shirts.

Quick Picks for Women’s Hiking Pants

Check out this quick list of the best hiking pants for women if you’re in a hurry, or continue scrolling to see our full list of favorites with in-depth reviews.

Best women’s hiking pants overall: The North Face Aphrodite 2.0 ($80)

Best budget hiking pants for women: REI Trailmade ($70)

Best roll-up hiking pants for women: KUHL Freeflex Roll-up ($99)

Best ultralight hiking pants for women: Mountain Hardwear Dynama/2 Ankle ($85)

Best convertible hiking pants for women: REI Sahara Convertible ($80)

Lightweight, stretchy & breathable hiking pants: Outdoor Research Ferrosi ($99)

Best jogger pants for hiking: Athleta Headlands Hybrid Jogger ($108)

Most durable leggings for hiking: Fjallraven Abisko Trekking Tights Pro ($150)

Affordable hiking pants for warm weather: Columbia Saturday Trail Stretch ($70)

What’s new

We’ve been hiking the extra miles to test new pairs of hiking pants to see how they stack up against our longtime favorites:

  • The KUHL Freeflex Roll-up pants really impress us and earn the number three spot on our list. These are our favorite roll-up style pants.

Women’s The North Face Aphrodite 2.0

Best women’s hiking pants overall

Price: $80

Weight: 8.6 oz.

Fit: Straight-leg

Fabric: 95% nylon, 5% elastane

Pros

  • Above-average comfort
  • Less expensive
  • Easy to adjust length with ankle cinch
  • Highly breathable
  • Stretchy fabric is easy to move in
  • Lightweight
  • Fit is flattering on many body types
  • Inclusive sizing

Cons

  • Minimal pockets
  • Not as durable
  • No water-repellant treatment

The North Face Aphrodite 2.0s are some of the most comfortable hiking pants we’ve tested, and the standard straight-leg fit is flattering on many body types. These pants are a great choice for everything from day hikes, to travel, to going out for brunch. 

The Aphrodites are made with a soft, breathable nylon, so they’re an excellent choice for warm-weather hikes. These pants also dry quickly, so they readily bounce back from summer showers and sweaty ascents. CleverHiker Gear Analyst, Heather Eldridge, used them for a tough day hike up Misery Ridge in Central Oregon’s Smith Rock State Park and found that the fabric provided plenty of ventilation for active days on trail. The wide, stretchy waistband doesn’t pinch at your hips, and the standard fit makes these pants extra comfy and easy to move in.

Our favorite feature on the Aphrodites is the drawcord on the ankle cuffs that allows you to choose what length to wear them at. This adaptability means you can stay protected in buggy areas, catch a breeze on hot days, and match your personal style when wearing them around town. 

Though the pockets aren’t ideal for hikers who like to keep large convenience items stashed there, we really like the simplicity. Two hand pockets and a concealed zipper pocket on the right hip keep the profile of these pants sleek while providing enough storage for small essentials like a wallet or map. 

The construction of the Aphrodites favors comfort over hard-wearing performance, so we wouldn’t recommend these pants for hikers who are keen on scrambly routes or off-trail travel. The softer fabric has a tendency to pill and can show signs of wear after repeated abrasion, but they excel for day hikes on maintained paths and backpacking trips on established trails.

Best of all, the Aphrodites are some of the most affordable hiking pants on our list. So if you’re searching for the perfect blend of cost, comfort, and style for more casual pursuits – the Aphrodites are our top choice.

Women’s REI Trailmade

Best budget hiking pants

Price: $70

Weight: 7.8 oz.

Fit: Straight-leg

Fabric: 94% nylon, 6% Spandex

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Stylish
  • Easy to adjust length with ankle cinch
  • Articulated knees make them easy to move in
  • Lightweight
  • Highly breathable
  • Inclusive sizing

Cons

  • Waistband isn’t very stretchy
  • Trades some durability for low weight

It was instant love the very first time we put on the REI Trailmade pants. These affordable hiking pants are surprisingly flattering for technical clothing, but not at the expense of functionality. 

With hand pockets that are actually deep enough to serve a purpose, two smaller pockets on the bum, and a zippered cargo pocket on the right thigh, the Trailmades will keep you organized without leaving you feeling weighed down. You can fit a large smartphone (we tried these with the Google Pixel 8 Pro) in the hand pockets and the thigh pocket without impeding movement – an all-too-rare feature for women’s pants.

While the lightweight fabric may not be cut out for trails with a ton of bushwhacking, it’s breathable, comfortable, and dries quickly. It’s also treated with a DWR coating and has a UPF rating of 50, so the Trailmades repel light rain and protect your skin from the sun’s rays. Senior Gear Analyst, Casey Handley, wore these pants for her Strawberry Mountain Wilderness Loop hike where the breathability and UV protection really came in handy for sun-exposed ascents over the trail’s ridges. She also loves that these pants have a decent amount of stretch, so the fit hugs body curvature nicely but doesn’t get in the way of scrambling.

The Trailmades have quickly become one of our favorite pairs of hiking pants, and we really view them as more of a tie for the number one spot with the Aphrodites than a number two on this list.

Stock image of KUHL Freeflex Roll-up

KÜHL Freeflex Roll-up

Best roll-up hiking pants

Price: $99

Weight: 11.9 oz.

Fit: Relaxed

Fabric: Polyester

Pros

  • Exceptionally durable
  • Soft fabric is very comfortable
  • Plethora of pockets
  • Roll up is at a good height
  • Articulated knees make them easy to move in
  • Highly breathable
  • Stylish
  • Inclusive sizing

Cons

  • A bit expensive
  • Metal button can dig in under a tight hipbelt
  • We wish the pockets were deeper

The Kuhl Freeflex Roll-ups fill a nice performance-meets-style niche, and they’ve become a go-to for us for on- and off-trail pursuits. The utilitarian design blends seamlessly into their refined fit making them our favorites out of the plethora of roll-up options on the market.

When rolled up, the Freeflex pants hit our ideal length of just below mid-calf. This height keeps them out of the way for water crossings and allows for a cool breeze, but doesn’t leave bulky cuffs sitting up so high that they rub together. 

Because we prefer hiking pants that transition well from town to trail, we opted for the short inseam which is 30 inches (regular is 32 inches). Unless you’re really tall, we think this length pairs nicer with hiking boots and doesn’t leave a wrinkled bunch of fabric at the ankle. We usually find that hiking pants with a relaxed fit tend to look baggy, but the cut of the Freeflex flows well with body curvature and the soft fabric drapes nicely.

We absolutely love these pants, but they’re not without their flaws. The most glaring of these is that none of the many pockets fit a smartphone. Not a dealbreaker for us since we prefer to keep our phone handy in a shoulder pocket or fanny pack, but it’s a bit surprising for the cargo-pant-leaning design of the Freeflex. The other issue we ran into is that the metal backing for the button closure has a tendency to dig into your belly if you wear your hipbelt tight. Senior Gear Analyst, Casey Handley, took the Freeflex pants for a test hike in Idaho’s Lost River Range and noticed the discomfort when she needed to tighten her hipbelt for more scrambly sections of trail. We appreciate the added durability of the metal button, but we’d prefer to see this switched to a low-profile button or snap closure on future iterations.

Still, if you’re in the market for a pair of hiking pants that hits the best balance between form and function – the Freeflex Roll-ups are hard to beat. Their durability and breathable, stretchy fabric will have you moving confidently through the mountains, while their superb fit will transition seamlessly to post-summit celebratory drinks.

Women’s Mountain Hardwear Dynama/2 Ankle

Best ultralight hiking pants for women

Price: $85

Weight: 6.6 oz.

Fit: Tapered, ankle cut

Fabric: 94% nylon, 6% elastane

Pros

  • Exceptionally comfortable
  • Less expensive
  • Stylish
  • Ultralight
  • Highly breathable
  • Stretchy fabric is easy to move in
  • Very durable for the weight
  • Inclusive sizing

Cons

  • Ankle height isn’t as protective as full-length pants
  • Minimal pockets

The Mountain Hardwear Dynama/2 Ankle Pants are the lightest hiking pants on our list, and their minimal design keeps them airy and easy to move in. CleverHiker Senior Gear Analyst, Casey Handley, has worn them for a ton of big hikes across the country including Vermont’s Long Trail, the John Muir Trail, and the Three Sisters Loop in Oregon. The Dynamas are her absolute favorite hiking pants for their low weight, simple design, and flattering fit. 

The features of the Dynamas are simple, yet highly functional. The stretchy, breathable fabric is treated with Durable Water Repellent (DWR) so it sheds light rain. It also has a UPF rating of 50 for keeping harmful UV rays at bay. And rounding out the features are two hand pockets, a single covered back pocket, and a zippered thigh pocket. While most smartphones will fit in the thigh pocket, none of the options are a great place to secure a phone. Not a big deal to us since we prefer to keep our smartphone handy in a shoulder pocket or fanny pack while hiking anyway.

We love that there are no zippers, buttons, or drawstrings to deal with at the waist because it makes the wide waistband of the Dynamas sit nice and flat for comfort under a hipbelt when backpacking. That said, hikers who prefer an adjustable waist should check out the Dynama Pull-On Ankle Pants. This version has an internal drawcord at the waist to help get the right fit, and the ankle cuffs have cinch cords so the length can be adjusted to suit the conditions and your style preference. 

The stylish cut of the Dynama pants makes them useful beyond the trail. We love them for day-to-day wear in the city, and we’ve gotten several compliments on them while out on the town. It’s never a bad thing when your performance outdoor clothing can pull double-duty for urban adventures.

We absolutely love the way we look and feel in the Dynamas, but their best asset is their durability for the weight. We’ve put about 900 miles on a single pair of these pants – including some granite butt-scooching on The Long Trail – without a single rip, hole, or fray. We’re not saying the Dynamas are the best choice for the most rugged trails on your bucket list, but they can certainly take a surprising amount of wear for how lightweight they are. 

There’s no better option out there for hikers wanting a lightweight, flattering, and functional pair of hiking pants than the Mountain Hardwear Dynama/2s.

Women’s REI Sahara Convertible

Best convertible hiking pants for women

Price: $80

Weight: 9.6 oz.

Fit: Relaxed

Fabric: 96% nylon, 4% Spandex

Pros

  • Less expensive
  • Highly versatile
  • Breathable
  • Many useful pockets
  • Easily converts to shorts
  • Inclusive sizing

Cons

  • Top & bottom can show uneven signs of wear
  • Somewhat unflattering as pants & as shorts

The REI Sahara Convertibles are designed with a plethora of useful features and pockets for utilitarian hikers. These pants have zip-off legs and can convert into cargo shorts on hot days. This makes the affordable price even more appealing since you’re getting a pair of pants and a pair of shorts all rolled into one. 

When CleverHiker Senior Gear Analyst, Casey Handley, set off for her thru-hike on the Appalachian Trail, that versatility was what made the Saharas her top choice. But even if you’re not planning to walk 2,000 miles across the country, weather is unpredictable in the backcountry. Having the functionality of shorts and pants to stay comfortable in a variety of conditions without the weight penalty of bringing both types of bottoms is a real game-changer.

The zippers that run up the side of the leg allow you to make the pants-to-shorts transition without taking off your shoes, and the color-coded conversion zippers make for an effortless switch back to pants. The drawstring at the waist helps dial in the fit of these pants, but there are also belt loops if you prefer to use a belt.

We can’t lie, we’re not the biggest fans of the convertible/cargo pant look because they’re a bit busy and baggier than our preferred style. That said – you’re wearing these on a trail, not a runway at fashion week. And you’d be hard-pressed to find any fault in the functionality of the Sahara Pants.

Women’s Outdoor Research Ferrosi

Lightweight, stretchy & breathable hiking pants

Price: $99

Weight: 9 oz.

Fit: Straight-leg

Fabric: 86% ripstop nylon, 14% Spandex

Pros

  • Exceptionally comfortable
  • Articulated knees & stretchy fabric easy to move in
  • Highly breathable
  • More weather-resistant than many others
  • Lightweight
  • Length is adjustable with ankle cinch
  • Inclusive sizing

Cons

  • A bit expensive
  • Ankle cinch isn’t very durable

The Outdoor Research Ferrosi pants are a well-rounded pair of hiking pants that shed inclement weather better than most. These pants are made with a stretchy spandex and ripstop nylon blend that’s wind, abrasion, and water-resistant making them feel more like wearing a soft shell than a typical hiking pant.

The stretchy fabric allows you to easily tackle rock scrambles and fallen trees on the trail without impeding your movement, so the Ferrosi pants are great for challenging hikes. The fabric is also highly breathable, but if you start to get a little warm while hoofing it uphill – you can use the cinches at the ankle to convert these pants into capris to catch a breeze.

While we love the drawcords at the ankle for adjusting the height, they’re not as secure or durable as the snaps found on many other roll-up pants. One of the ankle cinches actually broke during our first test hike with our first pair of Ferrosis. Our second testing pair has fared much better, but we’ve learned to treat the cinch with care to avoid mishaps.

That said, there are plenty of other small details to love. The thoughtful pocket layout provides plenty of storage options without feeling busy – one back pocket and the thigh pocket even have low-profile zippers for keeping small items secure. The side of the waistband that sits against your skin is extra soft, and there are multiple ways to dial in the right fit at the waist including a button closure, a drawstring, and belt loops.

Overall we really like the Ferrosi pants, and recommend them for hikers  looking for a lightweight option that’s more technical than others in their weight class. Though they’re a bit more expensive, they’re worth the cost for hikers embarking on multi-day adventures where weather can be unpredictable.

Stock image of Athleta Headlands Hybrid Jogger

Athleta Headlands Hybrid Jogger

Best jogger pants for hiking

Price: $108

Weight: 12.9 oz.

Fit: Semi-fitted

Fabric: Nylon, Spandex

Pros

  • Exceptionally comfortable
  • Stretchy fabric is easy to move in
  • Breathable
  • Stylish
  • Above-average durability
  • Inclusive sizing

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Minimal pockets

Jogger pants have become the unofficial office uniform for many members of the CleverHiker team since they hit the perfect balance of comfort and style. The Athleta Headlands Hybrid Jogger goes a step further by adding performance fabric and secure pockets to make these the ultimate town-to-trail option for outdoorsy urbanites.

These joggers are a good middle-ground between hiking pants and leggings. They’ve got plenty of stretch and follow body curves beautifully, and the performance fabric breathes nicely, blocks harmful UV rays, sheds light rain, and resists abrasion and tears. 

The two hand pockets on the Headlands Jogger are big enough to accommodate a smartphone and still zip closed. But – despite the ample amount of stretch in the pocket material – larger smartphones in the pockets can impede movement slightly and make sitting uncomfortable. This is because the mid-rise waist puts pocket contents right at the hip joint – we’d like to see future iterations add a large zippered pocket on the thigh for better phone storage.

Small gripes aside, the Headlands Jogger frequently finds its way into our weekly pants rotation, and it should be among the top contenders for hikers wanting performance features in a stylish package. 

We also tested Athleta’s popular Trekkie North Jogger which is a lighter and more breathable option for hikers in hot climates. While both are solid options, we prefer the softer fabric of the Headlands Jogger versus the ripstop nylon of the Trekkie North, and we think the wrap-around ankle cuff on the Headlands looks better than the half cuff on the Trekkie.

Women’s Fjallraven Abisko Trekking Tights Pro

Most durable leggings for hiking

Price: $150

Weight: 8.6 oz.

Fit: Next to skin, high waist

Fabric: 71% polyester, 29% elastane, Cordura in reinforced areas

Pros

  • Exceptionally durable
  • Stretchy fabric is easy to move in
  • Lightweight
  • Very comfortable
  • Useful pockets

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Ankle height isn’t as protective as full-length pants
  • A bit warm for hot summer conditions

The Fjallraven Abisko Trekking Tights Pro have a strange way of making you feel ready for anything when you put them on. The compression is supportive without being constricting, and the high elastane content makes technical maneuvers easy to accomplish.

These tights are expensive, so they’re best for those who are sure they’ll put them to hard use. The Abiskos are ready for serious mountain adventures and should last you for a very long time thanks to the reinforced Cordura panels on the seat and knees. 

We often find that the pockets on leggings tend to be a little lackluster compared to those on hiking pants, but the Abiskos have great storage options – actually better than many women’s hiking pants. There are two deep, stretchy pockets – an open one on the left leg for easy access, and a pocket with a flap over the top on the right leg for securing items. Large smartphones will fit in the leg pockets without impeding movement, and the compression keeps items from looking or feeling bulky in the pockets.

The thick, durable fabric on the Abiskos can be a bit hot, so we tend to reserve these for spring and fall hikes or treks at high altitude where we won’t have to worry about overheating. That said, the fabric wicks moisture well and a quick trail break every now and then will help keep you at a comfortable temperature in these leggings. One of our gear testers took the Abiskos on a fall backpacking trip through Washington’s Goat Rocks Wilderness, and she really appreciated the extra warmth while taking in the sights at the frozen alpine lakes.

While the Abiskos aren’t exactly pants, we felt they deserved a prominent spot on this list because they offer more durability than many of the lighter-weight hiking pants featured. If you’re a fan of leggings, you might also want to check out our full list of the Best Hiking Leggings.

Women’s Patagonia Happy Hike

Exceptionally comfortable hiking pants with a flattering fit

Price: $99

Weight: 8.9 oz.

Fit: Tapered, ankle cut

Fabric: 89% polyester, 11% Spandex

Pros

  • Exceptionally comfortable
  • Stretchy fabric is easy to move in
  • Breathable
  • Stylish
  • Made in a Fair Trade Certified factory

Cons

  • A bit expensive
  • Ankle height isn’t as protective as full-length pants
  • No waist adjustments
  • Pockets aren't as practical

The Patagonia Happy Hikes are some of the comfiest hiking pants we’ve ever worn thanks to their breathable fabric, soft waistband, and four-way stretch. These pants feel like a performance jogger with their flattering ankle-length cut and roomy fit that follows curves without restricting movement. 

The waistband on the Happy Hikes is wide to eliminate pinch points and flat to sit comfortably under a hipbelt. It doesn’t have a drawstring, but we find the stretchy fabric and tapered cut to be plenty secure enough without any sort of adjustment. 

CleverHiker Senior Gear Analyst, Casey Handley, practically lives in the Happy Hikes during spring and fall because the ankle height provides an excellent balance of coverage and temperature regulation. She wore these pants for a particularly toasty hike on the Three Fingered Jack Loop and loved that the elastic ankle cuffs can be used to secure them at the calf – like capris – on really hot days. 

We’re happy to see many outdoor companies moving toward more sustainable practices and ethical business models, but Patagonia takes it a step further. The Happy Hikes are made with over 90% recycled materials in a Fair Trade Certified factory which makes the slightly higher price more palatable. In order to ensure workers are treated fairly, things need to be priced fairly according to the quality of materials and labor.

We like the Happy Hikes so much that we often wear them around the house or for running errands when we want to look put together with minimal effort. Their flattering fit will keep you feeling cool and confident on the trail, and they transition seamlessly to post-hike drinks. The stylish, do-it-all Happy Hike pants are an ideal pick for casual hikers looking for a new favorite pair of pants to live in.

Women’s Columbia Saturday Trail Stretch

Affordable hiking pants for warm weather

Price: $70

Weight: 9 oz.

Fit: Relaxed

Fabric: 96% nylon, 4% elastane

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Affordable
  • Roll up is at a good height
  • Articulated knees make them easy to move in
  • Breathable
  • Inclusive sizing

Cons

  • Small pockets
  • Not as durable
  • Some users experienced fit issues

The Columbia Saturday Trail Stretch pants are among the most affordable hiking pants on our list, and their light, breathable material makes them a good choice for summer hiking.

We wish the roll-up design of the Saturday Trails was the industry standard. We often find that roll-up pants don’t roll to a very useful height – generally hitting somewhere just above the ankle bone. But the Saturday Trails snap up just below mid-calf when rolled and the straps tuck neatly into a sewn-in hood. This gives a really clean look and keeps the pant legs out of the way when crossing streams.

The articulated knees, two-way stretch, and crotch gusset make the Saturday Trails easy to move in, which is why CleverHiker Gear Analyst, Heather Eldridge, opted for these pants when she hiked a section of the CDT through Glacier National Park. The cut also allows room for base layers underneath, so they can easily be adapted to changing mountain conditions.

Now for the not so good. Many users have reported odd and inconsistent sizing on the Saturday Trails, with a large number of hikers saying they fit small. We ordered the pants in our testers’ usual size and luckily didn’t have any fit issues, but the complaint is common enough that it bears mentioning. The hand pockets are also shallow, and the zippered leg pocket holds items at the back of your leg which can feel a bit awkward. 

Still, we think the affordable price tag and functional roll-up design are good enough to earn the Saturday Trails a spot among our favorite hiking pants. We recommend trying them on in a store before committing though, and purchase from a retailer with a good return policy in case the sizing doesn’t work out.

Women’s prAna Halle II

Durable hiking pants with a classic fit

Price: $95

Weight: 12.7 oz.

Fit: Relaxed

Fabric: 95% nylon, 5% elastane

Pros

  • Above-average durability
  • Articulated knees make them easy to move in
  • Good roll-up length
  • Inclusive sizing

Cons

  • Fit isn’t as flattering
  • A bit expensive
  • Too warm for hot weather
  • Thick fabric makes them less comfortable when rolled

The prAna Halle II pants have a classic look and a design that’s focused on performance. The fabric of the Halles is thicker than that of many other hiking pants on this list, so they’re some of the more durable pants we feature.

The Halles run a bit warm, but they still feel comfy and breathable enough for shoulder seasons. The roomy fit easily accommodates a thick base layer bottom for cold-weather excursions. And when temperatures do rise, the Halles can be rolled up all the way to the mid-calf for ventilation.

However, we find that the fabric is too thick to wear this way for long periods. The rolls look bulky and feel heavy, and they have the tendency to rub against each other while hiking. Wearing the cuffs a bit lower or taking extra time to get each roll perfectly flat will help mitigate this issue, but overall we find ourselves wearing the Halles at full length most of the time to maximize comfort.

If you’ve been a longtime lover of the Halles, you’ll be pleased to know that the pockets on the newest iteration are deeper than those on the previous model – they can now accommodate most smartphones. The latest Halle pants are also made with durable recycled nylon, so they’re better for the planet as well.

Hikers who prioritize function over form will love the practical Halle pants. These built-tough bottoms are down for the most rugged adventures on your bucket list. If you prefer a more town-to-trail look, check out the prAna Halle Straight II pants which keep all of our favorite features from the originals but in a more streamlined package.

Stock image of Fjallraven Keb Trousers

Fjallraven Keb

Most durable hiking pants for off-trail pursuits & cool weather

Price: $240

Weight: 1 lb. 4.6 oz.

Fit: Relaxed

Fabric: 63% polyamide, 26% polyester, 11% elastane, G-1000 in reinforced areas

Pros

  • Exceptionally durable
  • Articulated knees & stretchy material in key places make them easy to move in
  • Ventilation zips
  • Warm enough for cool weather
  • Great pockets
  • Easy to layer
  • Accommodates winter access

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Heavy
  • Too warm for hot weather
  • Fit isn’t as flattering
  • Stiff fabric isn’t as comfortable
  • Impractical for most casual hikes

Fjallraven’s Keb Trousers come with a longer list of cons than the other pants on this list, but they serve some specific purposes that no other pair of hiking pants can boast. These are the bottoms we recommend most for serious winter hiking and adventures that include a lot of bushwhacking – like remote hiking routes and hunting excursions.

First off, these things are ridiculously durable. Fjallraven’s signature G-1000 material adorns the knees, rear, and pockets to provide unrivaled abrasion and tear resistance for the areas that see the hardest use. Some smart placement of stretch fabric allows you to maintain a full range of motion at your joints, and the areas in between the G-1000 are less stiff and a bit more breathable. To combat the heat factor, the Kebs are designed with ventilation zippers at the calf and thigh for dumping excess heat. That said, the Kebs still run warm and wouldn’t be our first choice for summer adventures below the alpine zone. 

We find that these pants are best reserved for cold-weather pursuits where the ventilation zippers will provide the greatest balance with the warmth of the material. The roomy fit readily accommodates base layer bottoms for frigid conditions, and there are a number of unique features built in to make these pants pair nicely with your winter layering system.

Probably the most uncommon of these features are the knee pad pockets for adding extra protection. These would come in handy while cross-country skiing in icy conditions to lessen the impact of falls or if you want your Kebs to double as work pants for outdoor labor where you might need to kneel often. The Kebs also have boot hooks built into the hem as well as a strap that can cinch tight to keep snow and moisture out.

While the Kebs will be overkill for most hikers, outdoor adventurers who need a pair of trousers for the most rugged of treks can’t go wrong with these pants. The Kebs are by far the most expensive pants on our list, but they’re the only ones we can confidently say are a lifetime purchase.

A hiker in the prAna Halle E-Waist Jogger II hiking pants in front of a mossy waterfall
prAna Halle E-Waist Jogger II– Photo Credit: Heather Eldridge (CleverHiker.com)

Product Comparison Table

Product Price Weight Fit Fabric
The North Face Aphrodite 2.0
View at REI View at Amazon
Editor's Pick
$80 8.6 oz. Straight-leg 95% nylon, 5% elastane
REI Trailmade
View at REI
Budget Buy
$70 7.8 oz. Straight-leg 94% nylon, 6% Spandex
KÜHL Freeflex Roll-up
View at REI View at KUHL
Editor's Pick
$99 11.9 oz. Relaxed Polyester
Mountain Hardwear Dynama/2 Ankle
View at Amazon View at Mountain Hardwear
Editor's Pick
$85 6.6 oz. Tapered, ankle cut 94% nylon, 6% elastane
REI Sahara Convertible
View at REI
Editor's Pick
$80 9.6 oz. Relaxed 96% nylon, 4% Spandex
Outdoor Research Ferrosi
View at REI View at Amazon
$99 9 oz. Straight-leg 86% ripstop nylon, 14% Spandex
Athleta Headlands Hybrid Cargo II
View at REI View at Athelta
Editor's Pick
$119 9 oz. 91% recycled nylon / 9% spandex
Fjallraven Abisko Trekking Tights Pro
View at REI View at Amazon
$150 8.6 oz. Next to skin, high waist 71% polyester, 29% elastane, Cordura in reinforced areas
Patagonia Happy Hike
View at REI View at Patagonia
$99 8.9 oz. Tapered, ankle cut 89% polyester, 11% Spandex
prAna Halle II
View at REI View at Amazon
$95 12.7 oz. Relaxed 95% nylon, 5% elastane
Fjallraven Keb
View at Amazon
$240 1 lb. 4.6 oz. Relaxed 63% polyamide, 26% polyester, 11% elastane, G-1000 in reinforced areas

What’s Most Important to You in a Pair of Hiking Pants?

PRICE

We recommend spending a bit more on high-quality clothing that you plan to wear a lot. The increase in comfort and durability is worth the cost and can actually save you money in the long run since you won’t have to replace items that don’t perform well or that wear out quickly. No matter your budget, you won’t go wrong with any of our trail-tested hiking pant recommendations below.

Best budget hiking pants

Best mid-range hiking pants

WEIGHT

We tend to go for lightweight hiking pants because they’re often more breathable and easier to move in. That’s not to say pants that weigh more are bad though! Heavy-duty hiking pants are the better choice if you do a lot of off-trail hiking or if you tend to be harder on clothing.

Best ultralight hiking pants

Best lightweight hiking pants

STYLE

Some hikers like simple hiking pants that transition well from town to trail while others look for convertible pants with pockets galore. The right fit for you will depend on personal preference.

Convertible pants are very versatile and usually have a ton of pockets, but they may have a less flattering fit. Minimal hiking pants – like joggers and ankle pants – usually have a comfortable, relaxed fit and just a few handy pockets, but some hikers may find them too simple. Roll-up pants usually have a nice mix of flattering fit, useful pockets, and adjustability, so they’re often a good place to start for hikers who aren’t sure about their preference yet.

Best minimal hiking pants

Best roll-up hiking pants

Best convertible hiking pants

DURABILITY

Any good pair of hiking pants should keep you protected from scrapes and bugs, but you may want to opt for an extra-durable pair if you’ll be hiking in particularly rugged country or traveling off trail. If durability is a top priority for you, always buy from reputable brands that use high-quality materials (like the ones on this list), look for reinforcements in high-impact places (like the seat and knees), and opt for pants that are made with thicker fabric.

Most durable hiking pants

INCLUSIVE SIZING

Having high-quality outdoor clothing that fits right and feels good can make it easier to hit the trail with confidence. The following hiking pants come in larger sizes – from tall to plus to petite – to ensure everyone can find the perfect pair for their body.

Hiking pants with inclusive sizing

Pants vs. Shorts vs. Leggings

PANTS

Hiking pants offer a lot more protection from the elements, bugs, and harmful plants than shorts or most leggings. If you’re hiking in an area where the weather can change quickly or where the threat of pests such as ticks is increased, pants are probably the better choice. Of course there are some downsides to pants – it can be harder to regulate your body temperature in pants, they’re usually heavier, and they may limit some movement when you need to do rock scrambles or climb over blow-downs. Convertible pants and roll-up pants give you more control over body temperature; we tend to prefer roll-ups because they typically have a more flattering fit and are lighter weight than convertible pants.

A hiker wearing green REI Trailmade Pants on top of a mountain - there's a distant view of more peaks and a blue sky dotted with clouds
REI Trailmade – Photo credit: Casey Handley (CleverHiker.com)
The Nike Dry Tempo Shorts are our favorites for hiking
Nike Dry Tempo Shorts – Photo credit: Dave Collins (CleverHiker.com)

SHORTS

Hiking in shorts can be a lot more comfortable than hiking in pants, and shorts are the lighter weight option. We love wearing shorts for most of our summer adventures when getting cold isn’t something we have to worry about. For colder months, shorts can be paired with a good set of base layer bottoms to keep you toasty. That said, shorts will leave you open to things like scrapes from rocks and thorns, sunburn, and mosquitoes. Shorts typically don’t have as many useful pockets for storing things you might want to access quickly like your phone or a map. We have a full list of the Best Hiking Shorts.

LEGGINGS

Hiking leggings are becoming a more common sight on trail because they’re super comfy and offer more protection than shorts. Leggings can shield you from the elements like pants do, but they don’t limit movement because they’re stretchy. Leggings typically aren’t as durable as hiking pants, and they aren’t quite as breezy as shorts. The tighter fit of leggings can cause more sweat which can sometimes lead to chafing. Some hiking leggings include a pocket for a phone, but most have no pockets beyond that. We have a full list of the Best Women’s Hiking Leggings.

Athleta Headlands Hybrid Cargo II
Athleta Headlands Hybrid Cargo II – Photo credit: Heather Eldridge (CleverHiker.com)

Critical Hiking Pants Considerations

Photo credit: Heather Eldridge (CleverHiker.com)

FABRICS MATTER

The fabrics that work best for hiking pants are synthetics that are durable and don’t absorb moisture. Stretchy fabrics like spandex/elastane that allow for easy movement are important too.

Nylon

Nylon is an exceptionally durable synthetic fabric that dries quickly. It tends to feel slightly softer on the skin than other synthetic fabrics. Because of the way nylon is made, it tends to be a bit pricier.

Polyester

Polyester is very durable (although slightly less so than nylon), and naturally hydrophobic. Polyester absorbs less water than nylon and wicks moisture to the surface more effectively where it can evaporate and dry quicker. Polyester is also less prone to pilling – pilling doesn’t affect the performance of the fabric, but can be less aesthetically pleasing.

Cotton

Cotton is soft and comfortable against the skin, but it absorbs water. Cotton dries very slowly, can stick to the skin and cause chafing when wet, and can be potentially dangerous in cold/wet climates. We generally don’t recommend cotton for any extended hiking trips.

Spandex/elastane

Good hiking pants should have some spandex/elastane content for mobility. Most pants we tested have two-way stretch, which means they only stretch one direction (typically crosswise). These pants will stretch across your thighs and knees when you have to climb over blowdowns or do boulder scrambles. Some pants have four-way stretch which means the fabric stretches crosswise and lengthwise, these pants will be overall easier to move around in and will feel less inhibiting.

FIT / STYLE

Relaxed fit

Hiking pants with a relaxed fit are generally more comfortable for all day wear. The roomy fit makes them easier to move around in, and it can be easier to stay cool in pants with a little more wiggle room.

Slim fit/ straight leg

Hiking pants with a slimmer fit tend to be more lightweight than relaxed fit pants. Slim fit pants transition really well from town to trail, because they look more like everyday pants than hiking pants. Hiking pants with a slim fit need to have some stretch so that they don’t impede movement.

Outdoor Research Ferrosi Pants – Photo credit: Heather Eldridge (CleverHiker.com)

Articulated knees & gussets

Pants with articulated knees have special seams sewn in that make them easier to move around in. By comparison, when you hike with pants that don’t have articulated knees, you may feel the fabric pulling on you when you take a big step up. Similarly, gussets are an extra sewn in patch of fabric, usually at the crotch of the pants, that improves the fit and mobility.

Integrated belts

Pants with integrated belts or internal drawcords at the waist give you the ability to adjust in the fit. This can be really helpful for those who are in-between sizes. We also find that integrated belts are useful for extended hiking trips where weight tends to fluctuate a little.

REI Sahara Convertible Pants – Photo credit: Casey Handley (CleverHiker.com)

POCKETS

We tend not to use most of the pockets on hiking pants because items stored in them can feel bothersome and can impede movement. We generally prefer pants with fewer pockets because they look more sleek and feel more comfortable.

Back pockets

We almost never use back pockets because they’re hard to access with a backpack on and things stored there get in the way when we want to sit down.

Front pockets

Front pockets can be useful around camp and in town, but we rarely use front pockets on the trail because it’s hard to access them with a hip belt on. When items are stored in front pockets, lifting your leg over logs and boulder scrambling can be uncomfortable.

Side pockets

We think the most useful pocket on a pair of hiking pants is one that sits on the side of your thigh and is large enough to accommodate a smartphone. We may store a map and sometimes our phone in this pocket for quick access. That said, when possible we like to leave these pockets empty as well (and use our hip belt pockets instead) for freedom of movement.

CONVERTIBLES VS. ROLL-UPS

Convertibles

We like convertible pants for the obvious reason – they’re pants and shorts. The ability to switch between the two with one article of clothing can save weight and pack space, since you don’t have to pack multiple bottoms. That said, convertible pants tend to have a very relaxed fit that can feel a little too baggy for us. If you wear your convertibles in shorts mode more often than pants mode, you will likely notice a stark difference in color between the shorts and the pant legs as well.

Roll-ups

We generally prefer roll-up pants over convertibles. Roll-ups tend to have a more flattering fit, and transition easily from town to trail. You can quickly change the length of roll-ups without having to worry about separate pieces like convertible pant legs and without having to deal with awkward color differences between the top and bottom over time. The one big drawback is that roll-up pants with thicker fabric can be uncomfortable when rolled.

prAna Halle Pants – Photo credit: Casey Handley (CleverHiker.com)
A hiker filling up water from a mountain stream wearing the Mountain Hardwear Trail Sender Pants
Mountain Hardwear Trail Senders – Photo credit: Heather Eldridge (CleverHiker.com)

Technical Fabric Care

PRETREATED FABRICS / MAINTENANCE

Some technical clothing comes pretreated with water or bug repellent. These pretreatments aren’t permanent and they cost extra money. You can easily maintain a pretreatment or add your own water or bug repellent to your pants with these products:

Water

To maintain or add water resistance to hiking pants we recommend using Nikwax TX.Direct Wash-In Water-Repellent Treatment. This treatment will maintain breathability while effectively causing water to bead and roll off the fabric. Keep in mind that this won’t make your pants completely waterproof, as most pants don’t have sealed seams and are constructed with fabrics that will absorb a small amount of water.

Bugs

To maintain or add bug repellant to your clothing we recommend Sawyer Permethrin Pump Spray. This treatment will repel and kill ticks, mosquitoes, mites, and chiggers. It lasts about 6 weeks or 6 washings before you need to reapply it.

Tears/ holes

To patch holes and tears, we recommend using the Noso Patchdazzle Gear Repair Kit. These patches don’t require any sewing or ironing, can withstand repeated machine washes, and are UV protective and waterproof.

GENERAL CARE

Technical fabrics do require some special care to keep them performing their best for years. You should always follow the washing directions on the tags carefully, but here are some general tips to follow:

Use a front loading washer

The agitator in a top loading washer can be hard on seams and can snag zippers or drawstrings. Make sure you zip all the zippers and tie the drawstrings before washing to prevent wear and tear.

Use a technical fabric wash

We recommend Nikwax Tech Wash for washing any technical fabrics.

Only wash when you really need to

A lot of technical fabrics are designed to be antimicrobial and shouldn’t hold odors. Hiking clothing doesn’t necessarily need to be washed after every trip.

Don’t use fabric softener or dryer sheets

Fabric softener and dryer sheets can deposit residue on the fabric and affect the overall performance.

Hang dry when possible

Heat and agitation in the dryer can damage technical fabrics.

A hiker wearing the Mountain Hardwear Trail Sender Hiking Pants looking out over a partially frozen lake in the mountains
Mountain Hardwear Trail Sender – Photo credit: Heather Eldridge (CleverHiker.com)