The Best Hiking Leggings for Women in 2023: Thermal, Pockets and More

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See the best hiking leggings for women from top brands like Fjallraven Abikso trekking tights to thermal leggings,  ones with pockets, lightweight, and plus size.  We’ve made it easy for you to find the perfect hiking tights.

Hiking clothing has changed substantially, especially for women.  No longer do we have to wear ill-fitting traditional hiking pants, which seem to be designed only to fit one body type, we can also now choose comfy hiking leggings.

Not only can they be super soft, warm and even water-resistant, but they can also be durable. And they can show off your hard-earned shapely hiking legs, or you can choose a fabric that gently compresses to give a figure-flattering fit.

I’ll admit that I didn’t easily warm to the idea of hiking leggings. Although I’ve been hiking for over 20 years, I mainly wore hiking pants.

I always assumed that leggings were for running, the gym, or for lighter exercise. I didn’t think they were suitable to wear hiking since I thought they’d tear easily, fall down, weren’t waterproof, and would take forever to dry if I was doing a multi-day hike

It was only a few years ago that I reluctantly tried hiking in leggings and was pleasantly surprised. Now I alternate between hiking pants and hiking leggings. I love how comfortable they are, and the right pair can be surprisingly versatile, i.e, water-resistant or warm for hiking in winter if you choose a pair of fleece-lined ones. 

 

How I Choose Which Hiking Leggings To Include

hiking and mountain art

Most leggings are made for yoga, running, going to the gym, or everyday casual wear. While you may find that other leggings are suitable for hiking, I’ve only included leggings that were designed specifically for hiking or outdoor adventures.   

All the leggings included here wick moisture away to keep you cool, are made of durable fabric so that you won’t poke a hole in them or tear them, and are designed to stay in place. 

I’ve hiked in a regular pair of comfy leggings that I had to keep pulling up – not fun! 

Below, you’ll find leggings according to the following categories:

  • Best Overall Hiking Leggings
  • Best Thermal Leggings for Hiking in Winter
  • Most Durable Leggings Suitable for Rugged Terrain
  • Year Round Trekking Tights
  • Best Lightweight Leggings for Hiking in Summer
  • Best Plus Size Leggings for Additional Support
best women's leggings for hiking - including thermal leggins, leggings with pockets and more

Recommended Reading: Day Hiking Packing List: The Essentials to Bring on Every Hike

Our Top 3 Women’s Hiking Leggings

Related Reading: Alta Via 1 Hiking Tour in Dolomites Italy Entire, North or South Route

Top 3 Women's Hiking Leggings
Fjallraven – Women’s Abisko Trekking Tights, Glacier Green, Medium
  • Technical and hardwearing trekking tights made from a dense, high-performance stretch fabric that is durable and wicks away moisture.
  • Reinforcements at knees and rear for extra protection in rough terrain and when sitting down on damp ground.
  • Comfortable, wide waistband that can be adjusted with a drawcord on the inside.
  • Map pocket on right leg, smaller zippered pocket on left leg, security pocket in the waistband, and clip-on loop at the hip for attaching gear or a light jacket.
  • Gusset at the crotch and low-profile flatlock seams minimize the risk of chafing.
Pros:
  • UPF 50 fabrication
  • Aramid-blend panels for abrasion-resistant
Buy on Amazon

Related Reading: The Best Women’s Clothes for Hiking: A Guide to Everything you Need

Best Thermal Leggings To Keep You Warm When Hiking in Winter or Cold Weather

When looking for thermal hiking leggings, check to see if they’re meant to be worn as a base layer. If so, check that your base layer leggings aren’t see-through before you leave the house – some are, some aren’t.

I found out the hard way with my colorful underwear showing through my hiking leggings which were intended as a base layer.  You’re welcome ;). 

If you’re wanting to wear thermal hiking leggings on their own, check that they’re meant to be worn as stand-alone. Many of the ones that are, are lined with fleece, or an additional layer for warmth and are water-resistant.

Best Thermal Leggings To Keep You Warm in Cold Weather
Under Armour Women’s ColdGear Authentic Compression Leggings, Midnight Navy – X-Small
  • Dual-layer fabric with an ultra-warm, brushed interior & a smooth, fast-drying exterior
  • Compression: Ultra-tight, second-skin fit.”
  • Material wicks sweat & dries really fast
  • Dual-layer ColdGear construction offers a smooth fast-drying exterior with a brushed, heat-trapping interior
  • Welded seams eliminate chafing no matter how hard you work
Buy on Amazon

Related Reading: Tour du Mont Blanc: Self-Guided Hiking Tours

Related Reading: The Best Hiking Journal and 7 Reasons You Should Keep One

Best Durable Hiking Leggings

These can be a great substitute for your favourite pair of hiking pants.  Durable leggings are perfect for you if you’re an adventure junky that plans on scrambling your way up the mountain or going a bit off-trail or who occasionally bushwacks through a thorny patch. Or if you’re anything like me, has the incredible ability to get caught on barb wire when going through farmer’s fields in the Alps.

Related Reading: Coastal Hike: Costa Brava, Spain to France

Related Reading: Croatia Hiking Tour: Split to Dubrovnik

Best Durable Hiking Leggings
Fjällräven Abisko Trek Tights Black XXS

These hiking tights are the most expensive on our list, but also the most durable. The Fjallraven Abisko Trekking Tights were designed for hiking in various conditions. With its perfectly placed pockets, including a side pocket and its wide waist, you’ll feel very comfortable during long hikes in rugged conditions.

 

Fjallraven Abisko Trekking Tights protect you against vegetation, bug bites and scratches from rocks. The only downside is the lack of good weather protection.

These tights are not really water-resistant, so you’ll have to stick to dry conditions. 

Pros:
  • UPF 50 fabrication protects your skin during outdoor activity
  • Spacious map pocket
Cons:
  • Saggy bottom after a few usages
Buy on Amazon

Related Reading: The Best Hiking Tents for every Backpacker

Best Year Round Hiking Leggings

Best Year Round Hiking Leggings
Eddie Bauer Women's Trail Tight Leggings – High Rise, Dark Sable X-Small

These also rank as one of the best leggings for hiking year-round. They’re high-rise, rugged, light, and perfectly ventilated for long strenuous activities and a very durable legging. Eddie Bauer Trail Tight Leggings feature sun protection, moisture-wicking, and odour control, which makes them a good choice for long or multi-day hikes.

These also feature three functional pockets, including a side pocket so you can access what you need easily. These leggings are very supportive and remain in place even when you’re wearing a heavy backpack. They also give you mobility, even when hiking on steep trails or climbing. All these factors contribute to why we love them.

Pros:
  • UPF 50+ sun protection
  • Controls odor
Cons:
  • Tiny pockets
Buy on Amazon

Related Reading: Path of Gods from Bologna to Florence

Best Lightweight Leggings for Hiking

For hikers looking for something lighter and breathable, lightweight leggings are a good choice.  Keep in mind that these won’t be the best for rugged trails, but they will keep you cool and are much more breathable than normal leggings. These are intended for use in warmer weather, although you could also use them as a base layer in cooler, but not cold weather – since they won’t be warm enough. 

They’re also great for trail running too.

Look for lightweight leggings that are moisture-wicking since they reduce painful chafing. Again, learn from my experience – you’re welcome ;).  

Best Lightweight Leggings for Hiking
ExOfficio Women’s BugsAway Impervia Leggings, Grey Heather, Medium

If you have had bad experiences with bugs, then this is a great choice. The Exofficio Bugsaway Impervia leggings feature insect repelling technology for a mosquito-free hike.

The fabric also provides UV protection, so you won’t have to worry about sunburns.

You’ll enjoy breathability and mobility with these while also feeling very comfortable.

These leggings are perfect for warm, humid hikes, but if things get too cold, you can always layer them. In my opinion, these leggings excel in tropical conditions.

And they have a great fit too!

Buy on Amazon

Related Reading: The Best Lightweight Sleeping Bags, Pads and Liners for every Hiker

Related Reading: The Best Hiking Jackets for Every Season

Related Reading: Best Hiking Boots for Women

Best Plus Size Leggings for Hiking

If you struggle to find the right size for your body type in hiking leggings for your gorgeous curves, don’t fret, these plus-size leggings are what you have been looking for. Offering versatility, great fit, freedom to move and a comfortable waistband, they will support you even on the longest hikes and are more comfortable and supportive than traditional hiking pants. 

Related Reading: Best Hikes in Europe: Your Ultimate Guide to Where and When to Go

Related Reading: Best Trekking Poles for Every Budget

Best Plus Size Leggings for Hiking
Columbia Women's Back Beauty Highrise Warm Winter Pant, Black, X-Small

If you prefer polyester over cotton, these hiking leggings are the best option when looking for a comfortable plus-size legging that will both perform well and look nice on you.

They’re a looser fit, so super comfortable while still looking great. but retain a nice comfortable look.

They’re are also designed for temperate to cold weather, so perfect for cooler hikes but not if you’re planning to hike in a tropical rainforest.

These hiking tights are warm and comfortable, either on their own or as a layer. The waistband is comfortable enough for you to wear during the night while camping.

The Columbia Back Beauty is perfect for slow-paced short hikes.

Pros:
  • Water and stain repellant
  • Warm enough for cold conditions
Cons:
  • Only one pocket
Buy on Amazon

Related Reading: Cinque Terre & Beyond Hiking Tour in Italy

5 Tips to Choose the Best Leggings for Hiking

How to Choose the Best Hiking Leggings for Women

Look for Durability

Look for leggings that are durable and won’t snag easily on rocks or branches. A good choice is Fjallraven Abisko Trekking Tights. They’re expensive but long-lasting.

Choose Leggings with Pockets

And ensure that the side pocket is big enough pocket for your phone (or other valuables that you want easy access to. Check out our chart of hiking leggings to quickly see which ones have pockets.

Choose Leggings Made from Merino Wool or a Mix of Wool

Merino wool or a wool mix keeps you warm in winter and cool in summer. Ir’s also moisture-wicking and prevents odors so you can wear it several days in a row without washing it – making it a great choice for multi-day hikes. Icebreaker Comet leggings a good choice, or check out our chart on thermal leggings.

Choose Moisture-Wicking Leggings

Choose moisture-wicking leggings to keep you dry (helps to keep you cool in summer and warm in winter). You can find synthetic fabrics that do this if you don’t like Merino wool.

Look for Leggings with Special Features – Like Built-in Insect Repellent

A good choice is Exofficio Impervia.

6 Benefits of Hiking in Trekking Tights/Hiking Leggings

Note: these benefits only apply to leggings specifically designed for hiking. If you choose regular yoga leggings, you won’t get all the benefits since the intended use is quite different and they won’t be as durable. 

  1. Comfort: Hiking leggings are designed to fit well and offer support without being too tight or constricting, ensuring that you stay comfortable during your hike. This is one of the biggest benefits of wearing trekking tights vs hiking pants in my opinion. 

  2. Flexibility: Hiking leggings are made of flexible materials that allow for a full range of motion, making them perfect for hiking and other outdoor activities. I personally like them for via ferratas, where wearing a flexible material comes in handy. 

  3. Durable: Look for hiking leggings made of high-quality materials that can withstand wear and tear, which regular leggings can’t, ensuring that they last for several years at least. 

  4. Moisture-wicking: Hiking leggings are made of moisture-wicking materials that keep you dry and comfortable during your hike, even when hiking in summer. 

  5. Protection: Hiking leggings offer protection against the sun, wind, and rain, ensuring that you enjoy your hike in any weather. Some even come with built-in SPF sun protection!

  6. Versatile: Hiking leggings can be worn in different seasons and environments, making them a versatile piece of gear for women hikers. You can also wear them in the evenings and change the look just by wearing a different shirt with them – perfect if you’re hiking and travelling and trying to carry minimal gear. 

Related Reading: Day Hiking Packing List: Everything You Need to Stay Safe

Now you know the best hiking leggings for women from top brands like Fjallraven Abikso trekking tights, to thermal leggings,  to ones with pockets and plus size.  Happy hiking!

best women's hiking leggings

 

This post has been updated and republished.

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