All of your saved places can be found here in My Trips. When this sweat accumulates in our clothing, it's at the very least annoying, and also potentially dangerous. This keeps the fabric from pilling and wearing away in areas like the knees, inner thigh, and seat.
Whether you're gearing up for a long thru-hike or shorter day trips, we have some great options for you! We keep trying to find a pair of hiking pants that we like as much for the backcountry as the Marmot Lobo's Convertible , but year after year the competition comes up "short," and the Lobo's take home our Editors' Choice award. Comfortable, breathable, water resistant - they are the full package! They have a feminine fit and colorful details to add a little style to an otherwise fairly plain clothing line, and the stretchy material moves with you.
They dry fast, which is key on long backpacking trips, and they convert easily to Bermuda-length shorts. They are a go-to pair for both day hikes with a solid weather forecast and long trips in variable conditions.
The mid-rise waist has a fleece-lined band for extra comfort, and it felt comfortable under a backpack with a hip belt. We did feel like the convertible zipper was irritating our thighs at times, but we've yet to find a convertible pair that doesn't. If your thighs are significantly larger than your waist size, you may not find these so comfortable.
When we did convert them to a short, the Bermuda-length was a little on the long side, and we would have preferred an inch or two shorter. We understand that the "convertible" style is not for everyone, but it is practical on extended trips into the backcountry when you only want to bring one pair of bottoms but might encounter a range of temperatures.
The Lobo's are functional, versatile, and can be used for a variety of applications, from water sports to travel. Marmot Lobo's Convertible Pant - Women's. Our experts loved the comfortable material and flattering, tapered fit, as well as the articulated knees, which gave us good mobility. These pants are breathable and will resist a light rain. We did find the front hand pockets to be on the small side; if you like to hike with your hand in your pockets, this is probably not a good option for you.
The soft material pills more than a ripstop Nylon material, so they do show wear more than some other models. While this is a "pants-only" option, Columbia also makes a convertible version, the Saturday II , which convert to shorts with a inch inseam.
Columbia Saturday Trail Stretch - Women's. The Arc'teryx Gamma LT was the most impressive pair that we tested from a weather resistance perspective. The softshell material is highly water resistant and quick to dry, and it works almost as well as a dedicated pair of rain pants. The pants are light enough for spring and summer weather and can handle cooler temps if you can fit a base layer underneath them they have a trim cut even after we sized up in them.
We loved in the integrated belt and the deep, zippered hand pockets also. Even though the Gamma is light for a softshell pant, it is still heavier and thicker than the lightest hiking pants that we tested. They don't convert to shorts or roll up well to a cropped length and are better for cold and damp weather than blazing summer temps. They are also expensive, costing twice as much as most of the other options in this review. But if you need a highly technical pair for Alpine conditions or cooler weather hiking, they are worth every penny.
Arc'teryx Gamma LT - Women's. Looking for a cozy pair of technical pants that you can hike a trail in, scramble up a boulder, stretch out on a yoga mat, and still look put together enough to stop by the grocery store on the way home?
The Mountain Hardwear Dynama is the pair for you! The material on the Dynama is buttery soft and very stretchy, and we loved doing just about everything in them.
They are breathable as well, thanks to the thin material, but that also makes them more of a warm weather pant than a cool weather one. They tend to stretch out a bit over the day and have no internal drawstring or belt loops, so this is one we'd recommend sizing on the tight side so that it doesn't end up by your knees midday.
The soft material is also prone to pilling. It didn't happen right away, but after about six months of regular wear, they weren't looking so nice anymore. Even then though, they were still comfortable. Mountain Hardwear makes a whole line of clothing in this soft fabric, including short and capris, a skirt, and an ankle pant.
If you hate stiff and "swishy" pants and want something soft for all-day wear, the Dynama is hard to beat. We liked the new Progressor slightly less than the old version, which we'll explain below, but we still think it's a good option for those who don't like wearing full pants on the trails. Maybe you like to run part of your hikes, maybe you can't stand the swish-swish of nylon rubbing against nylon, or maybe you like the compression that tights give you.
Whatever the reason, if you do like to hike in tights but don't want to trash another pair of yoga pants, the Progressor Hybrid Tight are a great choice. They have abrasion-resistant panels that give them better long-term durability than your standard yoga tight, and they at moisture-wicking and breathable.
These new panels that weren't on the previous version are a great idea, but end up feeling a little weird. The panels stretch differently than the main material so that with every step you can feel part of the tight stretching and part of it resisting your movement.
The panels sit on the rear and front of the tights, which is great from a durability perspective but it also ends up making them harder to put on.
While they are breathable, they're still a little warm for a hot summer day. But for colder days, trail runs, or anytime where you feel like wearing leggings instead of pants, the Progressor is an excellent choice. The North Face Progressor Hybrid. While zip-off pants are more versatile, the pesky leg zipper can impede mobility and feel uncomfortable.
Enter the Women's Prana Halle. Our Top Pick for Mobility matches your every move, no matter the terrain or sport. Designed with climbers in mind, they climb and hike well, and they are stylish enough for casual wear.
The relaxed fit and articulated knees allow for a wide range of movement, and the mid-rise waistline relieves the worry of revealing your backside when bending over or climbing. Prana Halle - Women's. The options for outdoor gear continue to multiply, and hiking pants are no exception. You can find pants that convert to shorts, or roll-up to capris, or both! And there are ones that repel water, or are highly breathable, or provide ultraviolet ray protection. Selecting the right pair for you will depend on a variety of factors, from the main environment you plan to hike in, to your personal preferences over pant length and style.
If you live in the Pacific Northwest, then a pant with great weather resistance should be your main criteria. Conversely, if your main hiking destination is the desert Southwest, then something with great breathability is preferred.
We explore all these considerations and more in our Buying Advice article, and you can also check out our Dream Backpacking Gear List if you need to get fully kitted up for a big trip. You might also like our Introduction to Layered Clothing Systems article for more information on the other layers you'll need to consider when heading out into the backcountry. Keep reading below to see how we scored the different models for each of our testing metrics, and why we consider these different criteria important for a hiking pant.
We always want to be sure that we are getting a good value for what we pay for when we spend our hard-earned money on new outdoor gear. Spending a little bit extra might get you more features, like zip-off legs, or a more water resistant material. The chart below shows the overall scores of each model graphed according to their retail price.
As you can see, the Gamma is almost off the chart, but the other models are similarly priced. The best value options lie on the right side of the chart but not too high, like the Columbia Saturday Trail Stretch and the Mountain Hardwear Dynama. When it comes to hiking pants, we think that their comfort and mobility is one of the most important purchasing criteria.
When wearing something for days on end, if it pinches, pulls, or impedes your movement in any way, it could impact your enjoyment of your trip. We go to great lengths to make backpacking "comfortable," with inflatable sleeping pads, padded backpacks, and appropriate footwear, and the clothes you put on your body should receive just as much attention to detail and comfort. Whether you are hiking or running in your pants, or sitting in a canoe, rock climbing, or traveling to a remote location, you'll want something that accommodates your moving body and is not constricting.
That can be a tall order to fill! These hiking pants' comfort and mobility ratings were often influenced by fit, fabric, and construction details.
While it is hard to evaluate for fit, as people have different proportions or shapes, we tried our best by putting the various models on several women in the same size range to see if we experienced similar issues, say with legs being too tight.
For example, the Outdoor Research Ferrosi pants are cut with a narrower leg , and the convertible zipper lies very tight around the leg just above the knee. This impedes the Ferrosi's mobility both with and without the legs attached and was a noticeable issue for everyone that tried them on.
The Marmot Lobo's Convertible Pant felt a little constricting there as well. The North Face Paramount 2. We added some "different" types of hiking wear into the mix for our updated review as well, including some tights and a pair of softshell pants. Another fit issue to consider is where the waist of the pant sits in relation to your body. While a lot of this is a personal preference high vs. Too high at the natural waist and there is too much extra material that can bunch up under a hip belt.
Too low and your hip belt is pushing your pants down over your rear. Most hiking pants that we tested in this review were cut to fit right across the hip bones, which we preferred.
The high-cut pairs in this review include TNF Paramount 2. Fabric was another significant factor in a model's comfort and mobility. Whether you're hiking, bending over to retrieve gear from a pack, high-stepping, rock climbing or doing summit yoga poses, you need something that will stretch and move with you. All of the models in this review have some stretchy fabric in the blend usually elastane or spandex.
You'll want to make sure there is some mixed in there, though, and you can test the material out yourself with a little "squat test" when trying them on. Does the material pinch or stop you in any way? Can you even get down low in them? Testing that out alone in a dressing room could help you decide. As for construction, there are small details in the way a pant is made that can improve mobility, such as a gusseted crotch or articulated knees, like on the Prana Halle.
This pair is made for rock climbing and all of the weird ways you might move your legs, such as high-stepping or drop-knee techniques. We wore the Halles on a variety of boulders and climbing routes, and never felt restricted in them. We also liked the movement we achieved on the Columbia Saturday Trail Stretch pant. While the legs on this one have a tapered fit, the seaming at the knees gives them a slightly pre-bent shape, allowing for full range of motion when hiking.
The material on this pair is also soft and stretchy. Another detail that aided in comfort was the waistband. The Marmot Lobo's have a fleece-lined waist, which was comfortable against our skin and reduced chaffing.
An internal drawstring is always nice too, like on Royal Robbins Jammer II , as it lets you tighten the pants and not have to worry about wearing a belt, which is usually not that comfortable under a backpack. Versatility is an important factor to consider when purchasing a pair of hiking pants, particularly when heading on out on multi-day backcountry trips. If you only have one pair of pants with you, they'll need to be able to handle a variety of weather conditions, from hot to cold, and sun to rain.
Even on a day hike, conditions can quickly change, from cool at the trailhead to hot on the hike, and cold again up at the summit. The versatility of a pant is determined in large part by its features.
By nature, a zip-off pair is more versatile than a roll-up model, and a roll-up will offer you more wear options than a standard pant. The materials used also determined versatility, as a pair of hiking pants with a DWR treatment that is highly water resistant can also be used for water sports, whereas a cotton-blend pair cannot.
The most versatile model in this review was our Editors' Choice winner, the Marmot Lobo's Convertible. These pants can convert into a crop and a Bermuda-length short, and the material offers excellent water resistance. We wore them out on a lake for a day in an inflatable canoe, and the constant back and forth of the paddle across our lap and the ensuing drips should have left us soaked, but the droplets just rolled right off our lap and refused to soak in.
If you like convertible pants some people just don't , then nothing beats the option to convert to shorts when the weather heats up. The Kuhls are sturdy cargo pants that are made with a cotton-blend fabric, and they absorb any and all water that falls on them.
One splash in a creek or a river crossing gone awry could make for a very unpleasant rest of your day. They are also heavy and not very breathable, so with no option to remove the legs, you'll end up pretty uncomfortable on a warm day. The Screeline is also on the heavy side, so you have to hit the perfect less than degree weather window with them; any warmer than that and you'll be sweating a lot.
Breathability is a key feature of any piece of outdoor gear. As we move through the mountains, our bodies generate heat, which in turn leads us to sweat to cool back down. When this sweat accumulates in our clothing, it's at the very least annoying, and also potentially dangerous. Temperatures can change quickly in the mountains, and cold and wet clothing can, in turn, lead to hypothermia. While we don't tend to sweat as much from the lower half of our body as the upper, good ventilation is still key to preventing discomfort and also "crotch rot," something thru-hikers are all too familiar with, both male and female.
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