Overall Winner – Best Hiking Leggings
Everbrand Sweatflow Leggings
The Everbrand Sweatflow leggings provide some clue to one of their best qualities in the name with the use of Sweatflow fabric that provides better breathability than many other options. This material allows these hiking leggings to be used as a first layer or top layer, wicking moisture away from your body.
That said, the Everbrand Sweatflow understands that wicking moisture away is great but does little to combat the smell of sweat. That is why Everbrand also embeds the base Wearagain layer of its fabric with silver, which provides an antimicrobial effect.
When combined, these two qualities permit you to wear the 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 these hiking leggings are such a great value.
Bottom Line: The Everbrand Sweatflow leggings provide not only a great value but one of the best constructions for longer hikes and camping trips, making them our choice for the best hiking leggings.
The Best Hiking Tights of 2020
As you plan your next hike, your first thoughts probably go to what hiking gear you need, like a backpack, navigation tools, and sleeping equipment. Of course, your list heavily depends on the kind of hike you plan with longer trips requiring different gear than day-trips.
The clothing you choose, whether for day hikes or trekking the AT will play an important role in you safety and enjoyment of your trip. While traditionally, many hikers opt for hiking pants, it’s becoming more common to see hikers donning a pair of hiking tights. Modern trekking leggings for women have great moisture wicking abilities, and several models incorporate weather resistance features into the fabric, thus, 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 cotton leggings. 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 one 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 a bit similar on the surface, hiking pants and a pair of hiking leggings tend to serve different purposes. While you can use both as a single layer for specific situations, their versatility differentiates them.
- 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 resistance 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 of your hiking leggings bunching or pinching at the wrong places. Not only does this increase the leggings’ mobility, but it helps prevent the seams from wearing out as quickly too.
Flat Sewn Seams
Flat sewn seams, also known as flatlock seams, provide a couple of different benefits to hiking leggings. For pure comfort, this kind of stitching removes additional fabric on the inside layer of the leggings that might otherwise rub and cause irritation. This type of seam design also has the benefit of being more durable and resisting, both cold and water better.
Articulated knees, sometimes referred to as reinforced knees, involves using a separate piece of fabric for the knees specifically. This provides the hiking leggings more mobility around the knees and improves their fit, which is especially helpful for climbing. Like with the other comfort features reviewed, reinforced knees also improve a pair of hiking leggings’ durability as well.
This might be one of the more important qualities for hiking leggings due to the demands on both of their common uses. Keep in mind; leggings were traditionally used as a first layer over which one or more layers would be added.
This approach means that leggings are not only positioned directly on the skin but have further insulation to consider too. As such, wicking moisture away from the body and through additional layers of clothing becomes more important.
On the other hand, people commonly wear hiking leggings as a single layer for hiking or even just casually. While potentially not as structurally vital in this context, breathability still helps keep you fresh when wearing leggings alone in hot weather.
Water Resistance and Wind Protection
Water and wind resistance are essential in general for hiking clothes, but these features tend to matter more to hiking leggings depending on how you wear them. If you wear leggings as a single layer, the water and wind resistance climbs the list of features to look for.
That said, even if you wear hiking leggings as the first layer with additional clothing that has their water or wind resistance on top, you still should consider this. Heavy water and wind can cut through multiple layers of hiking clothing, so it never hurts to have more protection.
Finally, don’t forget that sun exposure can be just as dangerous to a hikers health. Most products (including the products reviewed) will include good sun protection – look for SPF50+ materials.
Because hiking leggings sit directly on the skin, their fit can be a bit more critical than with other hiking clothes. Like with water and wind resistance, this factor rises higher if you wear hiking leggings as a single layer.
While fit technically refers to how tightly the leggings conform to your body, the length of the leggings should also be considered. On top of that, the waistband is another part to look at with a higher waistband that includes an elastic cinch fitting better than those without.
Extra Design Features
Pockets are pretty much always one of the more coveted extra features for hiking clothes as they allow you to carry more gear on your person as opposed to having to put it in your pack. That said, pockets are just as useful for hikers on a day-trip since they allow you to keep your hands free.
Zippers are more critical, depending on the hiking conditions or the kind of hike you go on. For example, going on a hike that involves rock climbing or any other situation that might test your mobility helps 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
Everbrand Sweatflow Leggings
Best Hiking Leggings
When we found the Everbrand Sweatflow leggings, we were surprised by the sheer value that this entry offers when you consider some of its features that are not found on other options we reviewed. A prime example of this comes from these hiking legging’s Wearagain technology, which allows you to wear these leggings for 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, the Everbrand Sweatflow leggings 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, these leggings go 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 moisture wicking products we found and great for hotter climates and summer hiking.
On top of these two incredible features, the sweatflow leggings were the most comfortable fit on our list to wear, with a high waist band and external flat lock seam construction. The fit was so sweet, you could barely feel like they were there.
That said, this heat wicking quality does not work as well to insulate, though these 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: The Everbrand Sweatflow leggings jump off of our list for a first layer thanks to technologies that allow you to wear it multiple days in a row without issue.
Fjallraven – Women’s Abisko Trekking Tights
Best Hiking Leggings for Durability
The Fjallraven Abisko trekking tights have some of the best performing features for a wide range of uses and settings that we found, but their best quality comes down to their durability. A big part of what makes these hiking leggings so durable is the material construction, which uses common materials like elastane and polyester but also reinforces those with more robust materials like polyamide and aramid.
As if the strong materials were not enough, the Fjallraven Abisko trekking tights also employ various design principles to reinforce the fabric strength, like articulated knees. Taking these design principles a step further, these hiking leggings also use a gusseted crotch, which not only increases the durability but, along with the articulated knees, also improves mobility.
Beyond structural integrity, the Fjallraven Abisko trekking 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, 2 for your hands, a large map pocket, and a small compass pocket.
On the other hand, all of these features do not provide the same kind of value that some of the other options we reviewed do. Also, the durable materials and construction lead to the Fjallraven Abisko trekking tights being some of the more substantial leggings on our list too.
- Has good water-resistance
- Has a gusseted crotch
- Has zippered pockets
- Has articulated knees
- Is more expensive
- Is heavier leggings
Bottom Line: The Fjallraven Abisko trekking tights use a broad combination of different materials to offer the most durable options we reviewed that still has everything else you need.
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 leggings easily offer the best all-around value pair of tights that we found thanks to its numerous features. For example, these are the lightest hiking leggings that we came across at only 155 g, which is especially important if you plan to use these as a first layer and need to keep your gear weight as low as possible.
On top of that, the Arc’teryx Oriel leggings also feature a mix of nylon and interwoven elastane that provides better abrasion-resistance than many other products we reviewed. These hiking leggings further reinforce the material strength with sturdy threads and narrow seams
Even better, the Arc’teryx Oriel leggings also offer two harness-friendly cargo pockets on the side of the thigh that are large enough for a smartphone. That said, the pockets are open, which can leave the contents exposed to wet weather and potentially allows the contents to fall out while climbing if otherwise unsecured.
For the most part, these hiking leggings are pretty comfortable with a gusseted crotch and wide, Powernet Stretch Mesh waistband that helps reduce moisture. Unfortunately, the waistband sits a bit low and can sag, especially once you wear the leggings for a while, or it absorbs sweat.
- Is lightweight leggings
- Has abrasion-resistant construction
- Has two cargo pockets
- Is less expensive
- Has a low waist
- Iffy for rock climbing
Bottom Line: When you look at the durability, extra features, and longevity of the Arc’teryx Oriel leggings, it comes as no surprise that it is one of the best all-around values available.
Columbia Titanium Peak
Most Breathable Hiking Leggings
The Columbia Titanium Peak comes from a company that focuses on allowing their outdooring clothes to be worn casually as well, and these hiking leggings accomplish that thanks to their high level of breathability. Compared to many of the other options on our list, the Columbia Titanium Peak’s use of Omni-Wick fabric allows the leggings to wick moisture even in reasonably hot temperatures.
On top of that, these hiking leggings also make it a point to offer additional durability with the inclusion of abrasion-resistant fiber weaves and gusseted details and reinforced knees. It just so happens that these last two qualities also enhance the mobility of the Columbia Titanium Peak leggings while the first also incorporates a 4-way comfort stretch design.
While not providing the most pockets, the Columbia Titanium Peak still 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, the Columbia Titanium Peak tends to run a bit large compared to most of the products we reviewed, though that might make it a better option for casual wear.
- 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 Titanium Peak uses its patented Omni-Wick fabric and robust construction to provide the most breathable leggings with a few extras too.
Smartwool Women’s PhD Wind Tight
Best Hiking Tights for Cold Weather
While not all-encompassing, Smartwool, as the company’s name implies, makes it a point to use wool in many, if not most, of its products, including the PhD Tights. The inclusion of Merino wool for the materials enables the Smartwool leggings to insulate you better than most of the other products we saw and is part of the reason they are our warmest hiking leggings.
Another reason they impress, is that they protect you from the cold better than most comes from the windproof front panels on the thighs of the leg, which provide better wind resistance than you tend to find on leggings. That said, the use of Merino wool does much more than help insulate you from the cold as it also makes the Smartwool PhD Wind Tights more comfortable than many options just using synthetic fibers.
Even better, they come with several extra features, including reflective strips, which help keep you safe whether you use these leggings at night or get lost during the day. On top of that, the Smartwool PhD Wind Tights also offers two pockets, one of the left side and one in the back with a semi-auto locking zipper pull.
It is worth noting that the insulating ability of the Merino wool imposes a bit more weight than synthetic materials weighing in at 247 g.
- Made of Merino Wool
- Is more 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
Most Durable Hiking Leggings
The Icebreaker Comet Tights offer plenty of benefits for you, the end-user. Still, the company also makes it a point to be one of the more sustainable and ethical manufacturers that we saw. This begins with strict regulations for both the shepherds that harvest the Merino wool used as well as the employees and companies within their supply chain for both environmental and labor practices.
While these aspects of Icebreaker might make you feel good about supporting the company, it also allows the company to provide high-end garments 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 hiking leggings we encountered as well.
The inclusion of spandex woven with the polyester and gusseted details provide the Icebreaker Comet Tights a surprising amount of mobility considering how durable they are too. Of course, the gusseted details play a role in the durability, but they employ a tighter weave than many of their competitors, which resists abrasions.
Still, like many other pairs of leggings using natural fibers, the Icebreaker Comet Tights come in a bit heavy compared to some of the alternatives at 255 g.
- Incredible Warm for winter hikes
- Very sustainable
- Great durable
- Has great mobility
- Is more expensive
Bottom Line: The design and construction of the Icebreaker Comet tights checks all of the boxes you look for from durability to mobility to warmth
Last update on 2020-10-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API