Ask any woman or non-binary human for their favorite pair of outdoor pants and you know what they’ll say? Leggings. I know that because I’ve asked them, over and over—in interviews, on Instagram polls, and IRL on the trail. Those who haven’t resigned themselves to stretchy pants usually admit to simply settling for whatever pants sort of fit or have pockets or were in stock at REI at the time.
I’ve landed on what most of us probably already know: there are no magical Sisterhood-of-the-Traveling-Pants pants. Hip-to-thigh ratio, pocket depth, weather conditions—there are just too many variables. That said, some styles seem to come up again and again whenever I ask for recommendations. So, to narrow it down—and do our best to combat the futile and entirely subjective effort that is identifying “the best”—we made sure every option on the following list of best women’s pants for hiking, camping, and generally just enjoying the outdoors offers durability, versatility, and thoughtful design tweaks that elevate them above full GORP-status.
So, below are our top picks for the 11 outdoor pants for women that might not be everyone’s “best,” but come pretty damn close (leggings included).
11 Best Hiking Pants for Women
If you’re Team Tights but need something much burlier than those Lululemon standards, these Trekking Tights are the all-terrain option. Thick reinforced panels on the butt and knees make these the toughest leggings we’ve found. Period. (For a proper trouser option from the famed Swedish outfitter, check out this modern take oncamo pants.)
We’ve already raved about these hemp do-it-all pants from designer Jeein Shin, but we have no issue doubling down. Comfortable, functional, stylish, and made with thoughtful but not overtly technical details—such as a back belt loop for attaching your chalk bag and double-layered fabric where it matters—these pants look great on all body types and work great for all types of outdoor activities. The high-waisted design plays nice with rock climbing harnesses, but they wear much less technical, like a comfy pair of joggers.
It was a tough call between these and Topo’s drawcord-waisted Dirt Pants. Both are comfortable and up for casual outdoor adventures in an earthy yet colorful palette. Ultimately, it was the drawstring-adjustable hem and zippered back pocket on the Boulder Pant that put this design on top. The four-way stretch nylon/spandex fabric is super comfy and comes with DWR-backed weather-resistance, too.
Speaking from personal experience, this pair of pants will last a lifetime. Designed with a rugged polyester fabric with impressive stretch, these lightweight, moisture-wicking, quick-drying, UPF 50+ sun protected mid-rise pants are a go-to for any adventure, big or small.
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The women I talked to for this list showed up in overwhelming numbers for these stretchy softshell pants. What convinced me were the soft brushed drawstring waistband, classic colors, and pockets large enough to stash an iPhone in. They'll do the trick for day hikes to backcountry backpacking and even up to rock climbing, providing sun protection, wind resistance and breathability in a straight-leg fit.
While their tapered hiking pants may be more practical, we’re suckers for the more of-the-moment wide-leg/high-waist fit of these casual Nordic stunners. They're designed by women, and you can tell: there’s ample zippered pocket space. The Swedish fabric they're made from is abrasion- and water-resistant, quick-drying, and breathable. If you’re going to invest in pants at a higher price point, you may as well be able to pair them with a sports bra or a cashmere cardigan in addition to your dirty hiking shoes.
This fresh-on-the-scene female-founded brand is new to the scene, but they’re already hitting all the right marks for hikers: they're quick-drying, high-waisted, have large zippered thigh pockets for accessibility, and use a stretchy material that won’t sag. A DWR treatment makes them water-repellent, and their fabric is abrasion-resistant and has good breathability, too. We love the lace-up leg both for adjustability and because it’s—no shame—just really cute. Bonus points for such stunning brand imagery.
The 4-Way Stretch Darts Fit Pants Pant from OG climbing apparel brand Gramicci are the perfect pants if you want to transition from a hike straight to everyday life in town. The fit is close but the freedom to move is high thanks to stretchy fabric, and there's two zippered front pockets and one rear one for stashing your everyday things. Gramicci hits the mark once again, combining outdoor function with modern style.
The Open-Air Pant is a simple pull-on travel option from a buzzy new female-led brand, but 172 five-star reviews are telling: people love these pants and they accommodate a solid size range that includes plus sizes (XS-6X) beautifully. Hand pockets and zippered pockets on the butt and mid-thigh give these high-rise pants places to stash small items, and a loop provides a handy perch for a carabiner. From one reviewer: “I have an XL and they initially fit tighter like leggings, but after some wear and a tiny amount of weight loss they fit more like trousers. Either way, I never want to take them off!”
The days of constantly having to adjust your hiking pants are over. Prana’s Summit Pants incorporate an ultra comfy compression waistband that ensures that these stay in place throughout your adventure, and their recycled nylon/polyester/elastane fabric is stretchy, moisture-wicking, and quick drying. Simple and effective, these check all the boxes for a closet staple women’s hiking pant.
Because everything lame becomes cool again, it's no surprise that zip-off cargo pants have officially become cool (again?). Known for colorful bra-and-legging sets and essentially defining "athleisure," Instagram darling OV has added not one but two sets of zippers to adjust these convertible pants from full-length to capris to shorts, making the Rectrek Zip-Off Pant unbeatable for, well, #DoingThings. We especially love the carabiner loops, ample pocket space, and cinchable bottoms.