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The best leggings for hiking

The best leggings for hiking

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Knowing what to wear for hiking can be difficult and it’s can be a case of trial and error. Some people swear against wearing leggings for hiking, but I’m all for it. I’ll occasionally wear some hiking pants (these ones) but the majority of the time I’m in leggings when hiking. They’re comfortable, keep me warm and, if you get the right types of women’s hiking leggings, they’re good for exercising in!

If you’re looking to get some leggings for hiking for your hikes this season, then check out the list of my top picks below.

hiking leggings
Hiking in a cheap Old Navy pair of leggings

The Best Leggings for Hiking List

Fjallraven
(Abisko Trail Tights)
Patagonia
(Pack Out Tights)
Arc’teryx
(Oriel Leggings)
Eddie Bauer
(Women’s Trail Tights)
The North Face
(Hybrid Hiker Tights)
Price: US$120Price: US$89Price: US$110Price: US$90Price: US$80
Fit: High-Rise, 7/8 leggings lengthFit: 29″ in-seam,
mid-rise waist
Fit: Full-length, 28″ inseamFit: High-rise, available in tall, petit, plus. 28″ inseamFit: mid-rise, 28″ inseam
Details: Contains recycled materials,
2 side pockets
Details: Made from recycled materials, leg pocketsDetails: Thigh pockets, moisture-wickingDetails: Loads of colours, 3 pockets, odour & SPF protectionDetails: FlashDry XD moisture management, quick-drying,
abrasion & snag resistance
Why we like them: Technical gear in nice colors & more affordable than some optionsWhy we like them: Patagonia has great sustainability credentials and they’re my usual go-to for gearWhy we like them: Durable and great for movementWhy we like them: Loads of colours, good price (especially when on sale!)Why we like them: Good price and great features useful for hiking

Leggings for Hiking in Cold Weather

Under Armor Leggings
(Amazon Leggings)
Lululemon
(Fast & Free – brushed Nulux)
Price: US$55Price: US$128
Fit: High-rise, compression leggings for hikingFit: High-rise, multiple lengths
Details: HeatGear for added warm, pocketDetails: Lightweight, sweat-wicking, fast-drying, pockets, waistband drawstring
Why: Cheapest on the list, will keep you warm if wearing hiking leggings in winterWhy: Good quality, great for standard workouts as well as hiking, lots of colour options

In addition, Costco sells some pretty good fleece-lined leggings in winter that I’ve used the past few years as leggings for winter hiking and x-country skiing. They’re actually the warmest leggings for hiking I’ve found so far.

More information on Hiking Leggings for Women

Below you’ll find further details on all of the hiking and walking leggings and tights listed above.

Fjallraven – Abisko Trail Tights for Hiking

The Fjallraven Abisko Trekking Tights (womens) are amongst the popular women’s hiking leggings with pockets available.

They’re well known to be comfortable, durable good for mobility, and have some big pockets for your phone (or more importantly, snacks!). The reinforced knees and butt area make them great for hikes as these areas tend to be the first to rip if you’re scrambling and hiking past bushes and branches.

These are almost the most expensive on the list but they’re cheaper than most hiking pants they can easily be $200+. They’re not waterproof but they do have some DWR (durable water repellency) making them the most waterproof walking leggings on this list.

If you need more resistance while hiking in the rain, you can chuck some waterproof pants over the top of them.

The material on these is quite thick which makes them warm leggings for hiking, so they’re better as leggings for hiking in winter.

Patagonia – Pack Out Tights

Patagonia is one of my favourite outdoors brands. I like the way they fit me and their sustainability commitments are one of the best in the outdoors sector.

The Patagonia Pack Out Tights are versatile and super durable as well as comfortable. Whether you’re looking for leggings for hiking, rock climbing, or scrambling, these hiking leggings will see you through.

If you live in a hot climate, these tights might not be for you as they don’t have a whole lot of breathability. However, if you live in the PNW or somewhere else with a similar climate, then they’ll work great on dry days. Rainy days will need some extra waterproofing clothes.

There is a side pocket on each leg and a small zippered pocket along the hip and they come in several color options.

Arc’teryx – Oriel Leggings

Arc’teryx is expensive, there’s no getting around that, but they’re generally quite durable. These leggings in particular are extremely durable when it comes to hiking leggings since they’re designed for rock climbing and standing up to abrasion on rock walls. Given that, they should easily be able to stand up to small brushes past rocks and branches while out hiking!

Again, there’s not a lot of water resistance to these. They are moisture-wicking for sweat, but won’t offer any protection against rain.

Eddie Bauer – Women’s Trail Tights

I always thought Eddie Bauer was for older men but I was wrong (or they’ve just got a lot better in recent years!). Eddie Bauer’s women’s trail tights are one of the best leggings for hiking year-round thanks to their moisture-wicking, odour control and sun protection qualities. These also rank as one of the best leggings for hiking year-round.

These leggings for hiking also have some pockets, including a side one and are supportive. They stay in place even if you’re backpacking and, as with all leggings, allow for mobility which can be key on steeper hikes!

The North Face – Hybrid Hiker Leggings

The North Face is known for some great leggings including their winter hiking leggings and this model is no different. These hybrid hiker leggings are great for hiking, backpacking, and just walking around town.

These women’s hiking tights use a woven-and-knit hybrid fabric with FlashDry XD™ technology to ensure comfort as you commune with nature. They’re quick-drying and have a wide waistband which makes them more comfortable when you’re wearing a backpack and they’re a good price too.

Best Cold Weather Hiking Leggings

These warm hiking leggings will help you stay cozy when hiking in the cold.

Under Armor HeatGear Leggings

HeatGear is Under Armor’s original performance base layer to help keep you warm as thermal walking leggings.

These thermal hiking leggings are designed to be for workouts so will be sweat-wicking when you’re out on a hike and are made to stretch too.

This particular pair has compression, anti-odour properties and is breathable too. They also get great reviews.

Lululemon Fast & Free Leggings (Brushed Nulux if looking for winter leggings)

Some people are very against the idea of using Lululemon for hiking but they’re what I hike in the most often. They’re amongst the most popular activewear leggings for women for a reason!

Sure, Lululemon Align isn’t great for hiking but other items such as Fast and Free leggings definitely can be. Let’s be honest, I pretty much live in leggings whether I hike or not, and Fast and Free is one of the pairs I own.

Fast and Free are made for running which means they’re sweat-wicking, lightweight and have a drawstring in the waistband so you can adjust them slightly to stay up.

The downside is that they’re a bit easier to rip than some of the reinforced pairs of hiking leggings on this list. I’ve not had issues with it before, and they’re a lot more durable than the Align leggings by Lululemon, but something to bear in mind.

What else to consider about hiking leggings?

joffre lakes trail pemberton winter v2 25

Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to hiking leggings. So while I can share my top picks, the best thing to do is to try some on yourself. When you’re out shopping for leggings to hike in, consider the following to make sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck!

Price of hiking leggings

Hiking leggings can be expensive but there’s no reason you need to have specific leggings for hiking. Wear whatever you’ve got and if you get to the point where you find you’re hiking a lot and your current leggings just aren’t doing what you want anymore, then you can upgrade and get something more hiking specific.

Comfort

Comfort is the number one thing for me when it comes to hiking pants. If they’re too tight, falling down or uncomfortable in some other way it’s just going to make your hiking experience miserable – and that’s no fun!

The reason lots of people opt for leggings over pants when hiking is that they’re comfortable, but some are still more comfortable than others. That’s one of the reasons I opt more for leggings meant for working out as they tend to be more stretchy and moveable than some of the others.

Pockets

Having pockets in your leggings makes things so much easier! They’re great for slipping your phone into, storing a snack bar, or keeping some lip chap in.

I use my phone a lot to take photos when hiking and being able to keep it in the pocket of my hiking tights means I’ve got super easy access without having to take my backpack off or zip/unzip things.

Durability

While hiking pants are still going to be more durable than pants, hiking leggings can also be durable.

If durability is most important to you (perhaps you’re hiking past brambles a lot or doing scrambles), then the Fjallraven Abisko or Arc’teryx tights are probably going to be the best ones for you due to the reinforcement and special materials they use.

Moveability

Leggings are great for mobility since they’re stretchy. The best ones for this are leggings high in nylon or elastane such as the Lululemon and Arc’teryx pants.

Looking for a pair with a gusset (rather than just a seam) will give you extra mobility around the leg/groin area – great for if you’re climbing steep sections.

Drying & Breathability

Breathable leggings are super important, especially when it comes to what to wear hiking in the summer or in warmer climates.

If you’ve got leggings you workout in or run in regularly, then the chances are these leggings will work well for hiking too.

Some leggings for hiking will be more breathable than others and I’ve noted where this is the case above.

Warmth

If you live or are hiking in cold temperatures then warmth is going to be an important factor to consider. I’ve had luck with fleece lined walking leggings and the nulux brushed leggings from Lululemon. They’re both good options for winter walking leggings.

However, if you’re hiking in snow regularly you’re probably still best to opt for some hiking pants that offer more weather resistance and then add a base layer underneath them.

Waistband / Fit

I always opt for high-rise but I know not everyone is a fan! If you don’t like high-rise make sure you get some mid-rise hiking leggings so that you’re more comfortable.

Can you go hiking in yoga pants?

Yes! You most definitely can and don’t let people tell you otherwise. Sure, they may get wet if you get sweaty and they might rip on brambles of rocks but you most definitely can wear them.

You don’t need super expensive gear in order to get out hiking.

I’ll still wear yoga pants for hiking as that’s what I own the most of because they’re comfortable. They dry quick enough if you hang them up in the evenings too.

Overview of the Best Hiking Leggings

These are just some of my top picks for hiking leggings and there are plenty more out there. If you find some that work for you stick to them! It’s not essential to have a name brand and some of my favourites are just a pair of thermal leggings for hiking from Costco.

If you’re wondering what else you need for hiking, check out the following posts: