How to choose hiking pants for women? When planning to go hiking, you should take time to carefully go through everything that you need when hiking, and if you are a woman, among the items in your list should be the best hiking pants for women. This is because, there are many options on the market, but the question is, how do you narrow down to that one hiking pant that turns out to be perfect in every way?
Factors to consider when choosing the best hiking pants for women:
Where will you be hiking?
The hiking location is very important when choosing hiking pants because you have to get the right pants for the type of temperatures that you will be hiking under.
For warmer climates, you will need light hiking pants that are also well breathable, and they should convert into shorts for when it gets too warm.
Here are some hiking pants materials for warm conditions:
- Light colored hiking pants: When it’s hot, you need to stay away from any clothing that absorbs the sun’s rays. Light colors reflect the rays, thus keeping you cool. White, khaki, or tan hiking pants are a great option.
- Loose, lightweight, and breathable hiking pants: to help your body regulate the temperature under the hot weather, wear lightweight, well breathable, and loose-fitting hiking pants. For this, polyester and nylon make a great choice.
- Cotton: When it comes to hiking, most people will advise you against wearing cotton because it will absorb moisture then dry very slowly. But, this might work great for you when hiking on a hot and dry day because that moisture will give a cooling effect on your body, which even feels better as it evaporates. However, you might have to carry some clothes to change when you’re done hiking as your cotton hiking pants might still feel wet.
- Hiking pants with open vents: To improve on airflow when hiking under warm conditions, you can opt to get hiking pants with vents.
- Buy UPF-rated hiking pants: Any hiking pants with a UPF rating will block the sun’s rays better than any other pants. You can get those rated UPF15, UPF30, and UPF50+
Hiking pants to wear when hiking in cold climates- How to choose Winter Hiking Pants?
Your winter hiking pants should not only keep you warm and dry, but they should also keep you moving! So, even if you want your pants warm, they shouldn’t be heavy or too bulky as this will slow you down.
Also, depending on how cold it is, you might need to wear two pairs of pants as they will be warmer than one even if both are not too thick.
Again, your layering strategy for winter hikes should be well-thought of to ensure that whatever you wear will be keeping you warm and dry. Thus, factor in your own perspiration as well as the possible snowy and rainy weather.
As such, your base layer should include moisture wicking hiking pants such as those made from synthetic fabric and merino wool. Avoid cotton here because as we mentioned earlier, it dries very slowly.
The next layer is the insulating layer whose purpose is to trap your body heat to keep you insulated and warm. Here you can go for wool, fleece or down. But, if you will be hiking in wetter climate, avoid down as it doesn’t insulate well when damp.
And lastly, the outer layer which will either be waterproof or not. You will need a waterproof out layer when hiking in windy, snowing, wet, or rainy weather.
Finding the perfect fitting winter hiking pants
When buying your winter hiking pants, keep the layering factor in mind to ensure that they all fit comfortably. Obviously, your base layer should be your normal size to fit naturally. Then, the mid layer should be slightly larger as it will be going over the base layer. And lastly, the outer layer should be larger than the mid layer as it will be going over the underneath layers.
Remember that comfort comes first no matter the climate conditions. Uncomfortable hiking pants will make the experience unpleasant and you might be forced to cut the hike short.
What are the types of hiking pants for women?
There are two styles of hiking pants, i.e. the standard hiking pants and the convertible hiking pants.
a) Convertible hiking pants
These hiking pants have zippers, either around the knee area or slightly below, to allow you take the bottom part off and remain with shorts. This design of hiking pants comes in handy when hiking under hot conditions as it allows for more air circulation. Again, with these pants, you might not need to have different hiking pants for hot and cold weather conditions, unless when hiking in significantly cold conditions as most of the convertible hiking pants are light as they are mostly designed for use in warmer conditions.
b) Standard hiking pants
These pants are also known as the non-convertible hiking pants, and they are just that, pants. However, most standard hiking pants have zippers to enable you to take them off without taking the hiking boots off. These are for people who don’t need to hike in shorts no matter the weather condition for various reasons. Again, if you like pants with a sleeker and cleaner appearance, this style will do. And, they might be a tad lighter than the convertible hiking pants as they don’t have the extra zippers and covering fabric.
Some hiking pants for women come with a belt, so keep this in mind when shopping if you love belts. Again, the belt will either be detachable or permanently sewn in. Thus, remember to confirm this before placing your order to avoid any inconveniences.
If you want your hiking pants to have a flexible waistband, an elastic waistband is something you can consider. An elastic waistband moves and flexes as you move, and this makes the pants more comfortable.
However, some people dislike elastic waistbands totally for various personal preferences. Thus, keep the type of waistband that you prefer in mind when buying your hiking pants.
Pockets and their sizes
You will obviously have a few stuff that you need an easy access to as you hike, such as your phone and wallet. When looking at the hiking pants pockets, check where they are located and the sizes. Some pockets can be quite big and bulky, so avoid them if this is not something you want to deal with while hiking.
Hiking pants quality
Your hiking pants should be strong enough to handle all the abuse that comes with hiking. The last thing you want is to deal with while hiking is a ripped pant, or the buttons popping off. And, apart from durability, your hiking pants, there’s how they should feel, soft and silent. Most quality hiking pants for women are made of a special nylon fabric that gives them a soft feel and even when they rub against each other, they make no sound. You will hate hiking in a cheaply made hiking pant as it will not only make annoying noises as you walk, but it also feels so stiff and hard, and it also rips easily.
Waterproof hiking pants for women?
If you will be hiking in wet conditions then you will want to get waterproof hiking pants. These are pants with gore-tex layer or any other waterproof membrane that allow breathability while also protecting you from the rain. However, most waterproof hiking pants are quite expensive, but the extra cost is totally worth it.
Those who hike in fair weather might not need to get waterproof hiking pants. Just get quality pants with all the necessary features to make your hiking comfortable and the overall experience great.
This is the other important feature in hiking pants for people who will be hiking in bug prone areas. Bugs can be such a nuisance especially for people with sensitive skins or people who dislike/fear any insects. If you are in this category, consider adding bug resistant hiking pants along with a strong bug repellent. Also, do your research to know what to expect at what places as the bug types keep changing around the year.
Just like any other item, hiking pants for women come in all price ranges. However, what sets them apart is the general quality, functionality, and personal preferences. While some people go for certain brands, others will skip everything and buy a specific pant just because it has that one feature that they cannot do without. But, no matter which category you fall under, you don’t need to break a bank to get a hiking pant. You can read hiking pant reviews online to see what other buyers are saying about the various pants as you do more research on the material/fabric used to determine the overall quality, and don’t forget to check other features for functionality.
In summary, factors to consider when choosing hiking pants for women:
- Hiking pants Material/ Fabric
- Hiking pants weight
- Hiking pants sizing
- Hiking Pants breathability
- Waterproof / Water Resistance
- Sun protection (UPF)
- Bug resistance
- Pockets, the pocket sizes and location
- The hiking pants should be easy to care for.
As we come to the end of how to choose hiking pants for women, it’s important to note that you cannot have a complete hiking gear if you haven’t found the best hiking pants. And, choosing hiking pants, either for women or men should not be such a task. You first need to highlight the important features that you should put into consideration then go over the available options as you narrow down to “the one” based on how many features it has. All the best!