Let’s explore hiking clothes for women and hiking gear for the same.
As we have pointed out in another article, men’s and women’s needs are very different when it comes to outdoor clothing.
It’s not only about style, though this is arguably important for most women – it’s also about materials, comfort, and weight.
Check our guide for hiking clothes for women below, with lots of tips and advice.
Hiking Clothes for Women – The Essentials
Hiking clothes for women are tailor-made for women’s needs.
Apart from keeping you dry and comfortable, they are also designed to make you look good!
You can find women’s tops in bright, cheerful colors, while choices for women’s hiking pants are generally more limited.
Depending on the time of year when you are going hiking, you will need different types and combinations of clothes.
Whatever hiking clothes you choose, make sure the fabric is lightweight, breathable, and quick-drying (moisture-wicking), abrasion-resistant, and sun protective.
You may also want to consider using UV-protective clothing. For summertime, it is imperative to have such hiking clothes.
Also, read our extended hiking for beginners guide.
Hiking Clothes for Women: The Underwear
This piece of gear is often neglected, but it can make a huge difference, especially if you are, well, voluptuous.
Always use a well-fitting sports bra with no metal or plastic parts that could irritate the skin, especially if you are carrying a heavy backpack.
As for your panties or briefs, make sure they are well-fitting and flexible and avoid thongs – you don’t want any chafing in your private parts while hiking.
When hiking, you will generally need two or three layers of clothes.
The first one is typically a T-shirt.
You can choose a short-sleeved or a long-sleeved shirt, depending on the time of year and your personal preferences.
If you are carrying a heavy backpack avoid tank tops, as your backpack straps could hurt your bare shoulders.
There are different types of outdoors jackets that you can choose from.
In general, you want your jacket to protect you from the cold, wind and rain.
That could mean carrying more than one jacket with you, for example, a fleece jacket to keep you warm and a rain or windproof jacket on top.
In winter, you will need more specialized gear.
We recommend wearing hiking pants whenever you go for a hike, as they can protect you from the sun, the cold, thorny bushes, and insects.
Women’s pants are cut differently from men’s pants, as they have a smaller waist.
Choose the length that fits you most – if you are mostly hiking in spring or summer, capri pants might be a good option.
Since pants cover around 50% of your body, you understand that it is essential to know which hiking pants to choose. To gain that knowledge, we need to get deeper into the technical details that will help you with such a choice.
Here we go then.
Materials of Pants
In case you don’t know, by checking the label on pants, you will find out that they are made mostly from nylon (around 97%).
So, regarding the materials part, there are few things to tell.
To be more comfortable when walking better to choose pants that are of the elastic type. They fit well on your body and allow a better range of motion.
If your trip engages climbing or striding, you will be far more comfortable.
Prefer pants that are lightweight but also offer protection from the wind and rain, while they “breath,” so you sweat less.
As you look around in outdoors stores, you will also see hiking trousers that have less nylon but more cotton (which is rare).
These pants are often advised to be treated with beeswax. Yet, why to get into so much trouble?
Better avoid the rain hiking pants that are labeled as absolutely waterproof. They are indeed, but you will find yourself sweating a lot when you walk.
Number, Style, and Variety of Pants Pockets
Most people avoid filling their pockets with many things, as this adds extra weight to your feet and makes walking less comfortable.
Most hiking trousers usually have the cargo type of pockets. Some pockets even have smaller compartments so to fit in specific things per pocket.
Keep in mind that whatever protrudes, quickly gets entangled at branches and low planation.
Shaped Knees & Crotch
Have you seen these pants where when you hold them up straight, they make a curve in the knee area? That is what we are talking about. These pants try to imitate how a person naturally stands and walks.
That is why the knee area is not straight but curved on purpose.
Others even have an extra cloth (some times elastic) in the crotch area at the inner thighs. That gives a broader range of motion but -yet- not so wide as the stretchy pants offer.
Many people who wear such pants say that they provide extra comfort. Such hiking pants were popular among climbers (who needed that additional range of motion).
Water Resistance Efficiency
If you hike in summertime, no hiking pant will be waterproof, unless you want to sweat heavily. Most hiking pants react pretty well to light rain. To make sure that they do, check for an indication labeled as DWR (Durable Water Repellent) before buying them. On such pants, water usually makes small beads and rolls down.
The more nylon in the fabric, the better the water resistance is. So if your pants are primarily made of cotton, it won’t help.
However, the good news is that even when such pants soak, they dry relatively fast, mostly due to how they are weaved.
The durability of Hiking Clothes for Women
Depending on the materials, quality of the fabric, and usage, this varies. If your hiking trips happen mostly on rocky terrains or in places where you need to kneel or crawl or go through branches, then you need good fabric.
Usually, summer hiking pants are more prone to tearing and ripping, while winter ones are more durable.
Convertible Hiking Pants for Women
It is a pant, and it is shorts, it is all together! Suitable to avoid packing lots of clothing, especially in the summertime. Usually, a zipper is located around the knee area, and you can take them on and off.
Aesthetically speaking, sometimes it looks a bit baggy.
A rising trend is roll-up pants. You don’t have to zip-unzip something. You just roll up and use the attached buttons and tabs to keep them in place. Yet, they usually roll up to below the knee area, and the extra rolled cloth there may get you a bit warmer.
The overall thing is that pants need to feel good on you. You need to feel comfortable and walk around comfortably.
Many usually end up having a pair of regular pants (without shaped knees) and/or a couple of elastic ones.
We like the elastic ones since they are suitable for all kinds of terrains
We hope you enjoyed these hiking pants tips and enjoy your hiking more.
Though these are not suitable for cold weather and/or hard-core trekking, they are a great (and sexy) option for light hiking in warm weather.
Some women like skorts, as they are as comfortable as a short, but look like a shirt. Hiking skirts can also be worn over leggings – some women find that more comfortable than hiking pants.
Hiking Clothes for Women: The Shoes
First things first – the first piece of gear you will need to purchase before you set off for your mountain adventures, are women’s hiking shoes.
Your sports shoes are excellent for the gym and your CrossFit sessions, but they are not suitable for the mountain.
You will need to invest in a good quality pair of hiking shoes, which will keep your feet dry and warm, and prevent you from getting any injuries.
The type of hiking shoes you will choose depends on the kind of hiking you are planning to do, on the terrain, on the season, and (most importantly) on your personal preferences.
Though arguably hiking shoes are not the most stylish shoes, this shouldn’t matter. Just purchase the pair that fits best, even if you don’t like the color.
You can choose between the following types of hiking shoes for women:
- Hiking Boots – heavy, chunky and sturdy waterproof boots, ideal for rough terrains and rainy weather. There are several subtypes of hiking boots.
- Hiking Shoes / Trail Shoes – lighter, more flexible, and more comfortable than hiking boots, but still with a sturdy, gripping sole.
- Hiking Sandals – an option if your hike involves frequent river crossings, or walking by/on the beach, but not recommended for more extended, strenuous hikes. On a side note, some hiking sandals are adorable and can be worn with your favorite summer dresses.
For more information, you can check out our article on hiking boots.
Tip #1: When you go shopping for hiking shoes, bring with you the socks you are planning to use when hiking.
Consider using padded hiking socks – otherwise, you might get blisters after a few hours of hiking.
If you think padded socks are uncomfortable or too warm for you, use a pair of thick socks that you like.
Tip #2: Hiking shoes might feel a little uncomfortable at first.
Spend some time walking around the store, and try to step up and downstairs if you can.
Don’t hesitate to ask for a different size or a different model, as there are many differences between manufacturers.
Also, try to go shopping late in the day, when your foot is slightly larger.
Tip #3: When shopping for hiking shoes for women, go to a well-known store where the salespeople are knowledgeable about hiking shoes and will be happy to help you find the one that suits you the most.
And, most importantly, don’t skimp on the quality – after all, you only have one pair of feet.
Hiking Clothes for Women: The Backpack Case
For a short, half-day hike, you might be able to use a backpack you own already, provided that it sits comfortably around your shoulders.
You can store an extra jacket, water, snacks, a small pharmacy, and other useful things.
For longer hikes or treks, however, you will need a specialized hiking backpack for women to fit all your gear.
Women’s backpacks are made for smaller frames, and they have a slightly different shape than men’s backpacks.
Check section 10 of our previous article for more information on hiking backpacks.
More than Hiking Clothes for Women
Apart from the items mentioned above, you will need a few other items, depending on the season and your own personal needs.
A hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen are essential for summer, whereas, in winter, you will need gloves, a scarf, and a beanie or a hooded jacket – even ear muffs if it’s frigid.
Don’t judge the temperature by your male friends – men generally have a much higher tolerance for cold weather, so take as many clothes as you think you might need to enjoy your hike.
When it comes to hiking for women needs to change a bit, and gladly technology evolves as it should.