Hereafter Sweatflow Leggings
Hereafter Sweatflow tops the list of our best hiking leggings due to the enhanced breathability of its Sweatflow fabric beating out the competition. This material allows these hiking leggings to be used as a base layer, wicking moisture away from your body, and can also be used as a top layer.
Everbrand Sweatflow is great for moisture wicking and combined with an integrated base Wearagain layer embedded with silver, which provides an antimicrobial effect, this product also combats the smell of sweat too!
These two qualities permit you to wear Everbrand Sweatflow leggings five times before you need to wash them– perfect for extended hikes. Throw a thigh pocket large enough to store your smartphone into the mix, and it is easy to see why they are such great value.
Bottom Line: Everbrand Sweatflow provide not only great value but have one of the best constructions for longer hikes and camping trips.
The Best Hiking Tights Of 2021
Looking to replace your hiking pants with leggings?
You’re in the right place! In this guide, we will be covering the following:
- Identify what is important in a pair of womens hiking leggings
- Reviews of six of the best hiking leggings for women
- Our unbiased #1 pick for the best leggings for hiking
The clothing you choose, whether for day hikes or for trekking the Appalachian Trail, will play an important role in the safety and enjoyment of your trip. In the past hikers have often opted for traditional hiking pants, however it is becoming more common to see hikers donning a pair of hiking tights. Modern trekking leggings have great moisture wicking abilities, and several models have weather resistant features incorporated into the fabric, making them a great lightweight solution for the trail.
While you may run to your closet to grab a pair of yoga pants, we’d recommend you make sure they aren’t made of cotton. Cotton makes for a poor material choice for hiking, and can be downright dangerous in wet and cold weather.
We’ve put together a list of the six best hiking leggings for women, highlighting what each does best. We also provide a helpful buyer’s guide so you can figure out which womens walking leggings are best suited for your next hike.
Hiking Pants Vs. Hiking Leggings
While they seem similar on the surface, hiking pants and hiking leggings tend to serve different purposes. While you can use both as a single layer for specific situations, there are notable differences between the two.
- Better used as a mid or top layer
- More durable
- Insulates against the rain, wind, and cold
- Typically a base layer
- More mobile
- Wicks out heat and moisture
While typically a base layer, there are models of women’s hiking leggings that have incorporated weather resistant features to make them suitable for wet and cold weather conditions without the need for a mid/shell layer.
What To Look For In A Great Pair Of Hiking Leggings
Comfort & Fit
A gusseted crotch allows you to move more freely without the fabric bunching or pinching in the wrong places. Not only does this increase freedom of movement, it also helps prevent the seams from wearing out as quickly too.
Flat Sewn Seams
Flat sewn seams, also known as flatlock seams, provide several benefits. This kind of stitching removes additional fabric on the inside layer that might otherwise rub and cause irritation. This type of seam design also has the benefit of being more durable, helping the fabric be more water resistant, as well as better keeping out the cold.
Sometimes referred to as reinforced knees, this involves using a separate piece of fabric specifically for the knees. This provides more mobility around the knees and makes them more form fitting, especially helpful for climbing. Like with the other comfort features reviewed, reinforced knees also improve durability.
This might be one of the more important qualities for comfort given that leggings for hiking are traditionally used as a first layer over which one or more layers can be added.
Since leggings are worn directly on the skin, and then may be further insulated with additional layers on top, moisture wicking away from the body and then potentially through additional layers of clothing becomes very important.
Water Resistance and Wind Protection
Weather resistance is essential for any hiking clothes, and if you wear leggings as a single layer, water and wind resistance will climb to the top of your list of features to look for.
That said, even if you wear leggings for hiking as your base layer, with additional water or wind resistant clothing on top, you should still consider the weather resistance of your underlayer. Heavy water and wind can cut through multiple layers of clothing, so it never hurts to have more protection.
Finally, don’t forget that sun exposure can be just as dangerous to a hiker’s health. Most products (including the products we reviewed) will include good sun protection – look for SPF50+ materials.
Because leggings sit directly on the skin, their fit can be more critical than with other hiking clothes. Like with water and wind resistance, this factor rises higher if you wear them as a single layer.
While fit technically refers to how tightly leggings conform to your body, length should also be considered. On top of that, the waistband is another part to look at with a high waist that includes an elastic cinch fitting better than those without.
Extra Design Features
Pockets are coveted extra features for any hiking clothes since they allow more gear to be carried on your person and to be easily accessed, as opposed to having to stop and start to put things in and out of your pack.
The type of hike you go on will determine how critical zips are for you. For example, going on a hike that involves rock climbing or any other situation that tests your mobility, zippers will definitely help keep the contents in your pockets safe. Similarly, zippers also help protect the contents of your pockets from environmental risks like water or sand.
Looking To Expand Your Outdoors Wardrobe?
- Stop your fingers getting frostbitten this winter with the best hiking gloves and heated gloves.
- Don’t leave your toes to freeze either, with a great pair of battery heated socks.
- Long days on the trail require the best hiking underwear available to remain comfortable and chafe-free.
Best Hiking Leggings: The Results
Hereafter Sweatflow Leggings
Best Leggings for Hiking
What surprised us most about Everbrand Sweatflow hiking leggings, was the sheer value on offer when you consider some of its features are not found on other options we reviewed. A prime example of this comes from the Wearagain technology of these hiking leggings, which allows you to wear them up to 5 times without having to wash them.
The Wearagain technology accomplishes this by embedding the base layer of fabric with silver particles that act as a natural antimicrobial, fighting bacteria, mold, and mildew. Even better, Everbrand Sweatflow are bluesign approved and will not lose or leech the silver particles through washing or wear.
While this fairly uncommon feature is great on its own, Everbrand goes further with its patented Sweatflow fabric that embeds separate particles on the surface layer of fabric to draw out heat and moisture. This construction makes the Everbrand Sweatflow one of the best moisture wicking products we found and great for hotter climates and summer hiking.
Furthermore, these were the most comfortable fit on our list to wear, with a high, wide waistband and external flatlock seam construction. The fit was so sweet, you barely felt like they were there.
That said, this heat wicking quality does not work so well to insulate, though these hiking leggings are not noted for performing poorly in cool environments– they just might not be the best for the coldest weather.
- Made of Sweatflow fabric
- Has Wearagain technology
- Has a large stash pocket
- Is less expensive
- Prone to abrasions
- Not the warmest
Bottom-Line: Everbrand Sweatflow tops our list for a bottom layer hiking legging due to the specialised fabric that allows you to wear it multiple days in a row without issue.
Fjallraven – Women’s Abisko Trekking Tights
Most Durable Outdoor Leggings
Fjallraven Abisko hiking tights have some of the best performing features for a wide range of uses and settings, but their best quality is their durability. What makes this design so durable is the material choice, using common materials like elastane and polyester, reinforced with more robust materials like polyamide and aramid.
Fjallraven Abisko also employs various design principles to reinforce the already robust fabric strength, such as integrating a gusseted crotch. Furthermore, the design also incorporates articulated knees, which not only further increases durability, but along with the gusseted crotch, improves mobility.
Beyond structural integrity, Fjallraven Abisko hiking tights also help protect you from the elements with a PFC-free DWR layer that provides better water-resistance than most of its competition. As an added cherry on top, these hiking leggings come with four zippered pockets; two for your hands, one for a large map, and a small compass pocket.
With all these features the Fjallraven Abisko hiking tights do not provide the same kind of value for money that some of the other options we reviewed have done. Also, the durability of the materials combined with the construction design, lead to less mobility and comfort than some of the other options in this list.
- Has good water-resistance
- Has a gusseted crotch
- Has zippered pockets
- Has articulated knees
- Is more expensive
- Heavier leggings
Bottom-Line: The Fjallraven Abisko trekking tights offer everything you might need in a hiking legging and use a broad combination of different materials to offer the greatest durability of the options that we reviewed.
Arc’teryx Oriel Legging
Best All-Around Value Hiking Leggings
Arc’teryx is known for producing high-end outdooring gear for every niche, and the Arc’teryx Oriel easily offers the best all-round value pair of leggings on this list thanks to its numerous features. Firstly, these have the lightest design we came across at only 155 g, especially important if you plan to use these as a base layer and need to keep your gear weight as low as possible.
Additionally, the Arc’teryx Oriel also features a mix of nylon and interwoven elastane that provides better abrasion-resistance than many other products we reviewed. The material strength is further reinforced with sturdy threads and narrow seams.
Even better, Arc’teryx Oriel also offers two harness-friendly cargo pockets on the outside of the thigh, large enough for a smartphone. That said, the pockets are open, which can leave the contents exposed to wet weather and potentially allows otherwise unsecured contents to fall out if climbing.
For the most part, this design is pretty comfortable, with a gusseted crotch and wide Powernet Stretch Mesh waistband that helps reduce moisture. Unfortunately, the waistband sits a little low and can sag, especially once worn for a while, or when it absorbs sweat.
- Has abrasion-resistant construction
- Has two cargo pockets
- Is less expensive
- Has a low waist
- Iffy for rock climbing
Bottom-Line: When you’re looking at the durability, extra features, and longevity of the Arc’teryx Oriel option, it comes as no surprise that it has one of the best all-round values available.
Columbia Titan Peak
Most Breathable Hiking Legging
The Columbia Titan Peak comes from a company that focuses on making their outdoor clothing an option to also be worn casually. Compared to many of the other options on our list, the Columbia Titan Peak’s use of Omni-Wick fabric allows for sweat wicking at even reasonably hot temperatures and has a high level of breathability.
Additionally, the Columbia Titan Peak option offers more durability due to the incorporation of abrasion-resistant fiber weaves in a 4-way comfort stretch design with reinforced gusset and knees, which also enhances mobility.
Whilst not boasting the most pockets on this list, the Columbia Titan Peak offers a zippered pocket to keep the contents safe from light rain or falling out. Unfortunately, the pocket zipper can feel a bit uncomfortable as it was not set using the same materials as the rest of the leggings.
On top of that, we found the fit of the Columbia Titan Peak option to be looser as compared to most of the other products reviewed, though that might make it a better option for casual wear instead.
- Made of Omni-Wick fabric
- Has reinforced knees
- Zipper pocket
- Is less expensive
- Not the most comfortable
- Not the best fit
Bottom-Line: The Columbia Titan Peak uses its patented Omni-Wick fabric and robust construction to provide the most breathable hiking leggings with a few extras thrown in too.
Smartwool Women’s PhD Wind Tight
Best Hiking Tights for Cold Weather
Smartwool, as the company’s name implies, uses wool in most of its products, including in their PhD Wool Tights. The inclusion of Merino wool in the fabric enables Smartwool to insulate you better than most of the other options we reviewed and is part of the reason they top the warm leggings charts.
Another reason they protect you from the cold better than most is due to having windproof front panels integrated onto the thighs of the leg, providing enhanced wind resistance. Aside from increased insulation from the cold Merino wool also makes these Smartwool PhD Wind Tights more comfortable than many other options that use purely synthetic fibers.
Furthermore, they come with several extra features including reflective strips to help keep you safe as well as offering two pockets, one at the left side and one in the back with a semi-auto locking zipper pull.
It is worth noting that due to the insulating ability of Merino wool there is a payoff in its weight, weighing slightly more than synthetic materials, at 247 g.
- Made of Merino Wool
- Incredibly comfortable
- Has two zippered pockets
- Has reflective strips
- Is more expensive
- Heavier product
Bottom-Line: For those hiking in the coldest of climates, the Smartwool PhD Wind Tights help keep you warm with thick Merino wool and windproof front panels.
Icebreaker Merino Women’s Comet Tights
Top for Sustainability
The Icebreaker Comet Tights offer plenty of benefits whilst the company makes it a point to be one of the more sustainable and ethical manufacturers that we saw. This includes having strict regulations for both environmental and labor practices for both the shepherds that harvest the Merino wool used in their products, as well as for the employees and companies used within their supply chain.
The principles this company complies with may make you feel good about purchasing from them but rest assured you will also be receiving high quality leggings that are warmer than most thanks to the Merino wool. Not only does the Merino wool help insulate you from the cold but combined with flatlock seams, these are some of the more comfortable leggings for hiking we encountered as well.
The inclusion of polyester and spandex woven into the wool, along with gusseted details, provides the Icebreaker Comet Tights with a surprising amount of mobility considering how durable they are. Icebreaker also employs a tighter weave than many of their competitors, which resists abrasions, and combined with the gusseted detail plays a role in their increased durability.
Still, like many other pairs of leggings using natural fibers the Icebreaker Comet Tights are slightly heavier at 255 g, as compared to some of the alternatives.
- Incredibly warm for winter hiking
- Very sustainable
- Great durability
- Has great mobility
- Is more expensive
Bottom-Line: The design and construction of the Icebreaker Comet tights checks all of the boxes from durability, mobility and warmth whilst having high ethical standards as a company.
Last update on 2021-05-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API