The 2021 Fall Guide to Perfect Women's Hiking Pants

By KÜHL Editor on September 27, 2023
9 min read

Fall is, arguably, the best season of the year for hiking, and we were patient all summer long.

There’s a pleasant lack of bugs (and other people, for that matter), an abundance of beautiful foliage, and a comfortable chill in the air that makes autumnal hiking pure bliss. So, whether you’re gearing up for the ultimate fall color hike in New Hampshire or just traversing your neighborhood trail this weekend, you’ll need the right clothes for the job.

Complete every thru-hike, out-and-bike, and scramble with aplomb this Fall! We’ve made a guide on selecting the right women’s hiking pants to give you a leg-up before you’re off to that fall-inspired weekend getaway.

Let's Talk General

Before we begin, let’s address a few things about scoring the perfect pair of durable pants for hiking.

Know What You Need From Your Hiking Pants

This seems obvious, but take a moment to seriously consider what you intend to do in your hiking pant.

Will you be wearing them all day long? Will you bend, twist, squat, or lunge in them? Do you expect to encounter water, dense bushes, desert terrain? Do you need storage space? What about the weather conditions?

Having questions like these in mind will help you select a style to wear and point out all the additional superpowers you’re going to need on your women's hiking pants, like vents and zip-off legs, improved durability, water-resistance, sun protection…

How To Measure Yourself For Hiking Pants

Knowing your measurements will help with determining the exact fit you’ll get from each different style. When shopping online, compare your measurements to the size guide on every product page to make sure you’re buying the right size.

If you’ve never measured yourself for hiking pants before, check out the guide below:

Getting the right measures is half of the work.

Choose Style AND Comfort

While shopping for the trip in an outdoorsy apparel store, you find the best hiking pants that look amazing on you. The next minute, you’re already halfway to the checkout, thinking: “That’ll do.” Familiar?

Remember to perform this quick test: imagine hiking four miles, uphill, in the cold rain in that women's pants. Still comfortable? Great! But if not, it’s time to pick another pair. Because once you’re on the trail, you’ll never regret those extra 20 minutes looking for the right pair. You’ll only regret the opposite, feeling bad over your soaked, cold, sad legs. And wet weather could really make your hiking experience a total disaster if you're wearing casual pants or jeans without a durable water repellent finish or any weather resistance.

That, of course, doesn’t mean you need to look like a walking square in the women's hiking pants with oversized cargo pockets, heavy water-resistant material, and depressing colors! You can enjoy nature while looking good and feeling even better in breathable hiking pants that have all the advanced features, skinny fit, and bright colors.

Some of the best women's hiking pants are made to be stylish and versatile, so you can have the performance and comfort of a hiking pant while running errands or putting in long hours at the office. Best hiking leggings or hiking tights like Weekendr™ Tight are cut from lightweight fabric but made to be especially abrasion-resistant. When hiking, running, or climbing, they provide a full range of movement, while keeping you dry with features like wicking mesh panels and durable water repellent finish.

So, the options are many, but how do you choose the best women's hiking pants for Fall?

Which Hiking Pants Are Best For The Fall Season?

Hiking pants for women are designed to perform in a similar way as athletic clothes. They don’t retain moisture, they’re comfortable to move in, and they’re dependable and strong in action.

Due to cold weather and rainy days in the mountains, the best hiking pants for women for the Fall season should be:

  • very good at regulating body temperature
  • quick-drying, moisture-wicking, and even water-resistant
  • able to provide unrestricted freedom of movement

The Fabrics

KÜHL has developed fabric blends that combine and optimize the natural features of individual fabrics so you get maximum utility from your durable pants.

REFLEX™ fabric of the Hörizn™ Skinny Pant is a great example. This super-soft fabric with a four-way stretch provides the ultimate comfort and follows your body’s movements. Strong, ripstop fabric adds to the durability and protects your skin from rugged terrain. These pants are wicking and quick-drying while also featuring a DWR finish. That makes the Hörizn Series perfect for higher elevations, high-humidity areas, and wading through wet vegetation.

woman sitting on a rock next to the lake
Pick comfy pants that wick moisture to keep your body dry. Product shown: Hörizn™ Skinny.

Fabric Weight

As an experienced hiker, you already know how important it is to be able to cover most weather and terrain conditions on the trip with the least amount of gear on your back.

Especially in Fall, when weather can be unstable, it’s of the utmost importance to bring hiking apparel that provides protection from the elements, but at the same time lets your body breathe and move freely. Also, for some hiking trips, you’ll have a very limited packing space, so you’ll want to bring versatile clothing that isn’t bulky but still provides warmth, comfort, and protection.

That’s where fabric weight becomes a prominent factor. Hiking pants can be lightweight, midweight, and heavyweight, depending mostly on their material. You should be able to find fabric weight on each product page, measured in GSM (grams per meter) or in oz (ounces per yard). A thicker pant doesn't always mean more durable as well - it’s possible to find tough and durable pants that offer optimal performance in a light, bulk-free form.

Many hiking pants that are on the lower edge of the midweight category, such as Splash™ Roll-Up (176 GSM) or Trekr™ Pant (169 GSM) provide everything you need for hiking in the Fall season in a lightweight, flexible style. With quick-drying and sun protection features, you can rely on them to keep up with your active lifestyle, delivering comfort and protection. If you expect warm weather, check out lightweight pants like W's Freeflex™ Move.

On the other hand, if you’re expecting colder weather, W's Fröst Soft Shell Pant are a perfect choice for staying toasty warm without overheating. They’re an example of heavyweight softshell pants made from technical fabrics and packed with features. You can wear them all day, from snowshoeing to the afternoon cabin lunch.

Depending on where and when you’re going, and the activities you intend to do, the best hiking pants will be those that give you the best value for your trip, with the least amount of weight and bulk.

The Technologies

Let’s mention some of the most important technologies that the best women’s hiking pants for fall should have.

Moisture-wicking technology is a special fabric feature that draws water and sweat away from your skin. That leaves both your body and hiking pants dry to the touch. This way, you can regulate your body temperature much more efficiently than if you were soaked through. You'll also keep yourself from feeling sticky or chilled when you sweat.

Hiking pants that have been integrated with stretch capabilities give you all the flexibility you need, minus the sagging and loss of structure that usually accompanies stretchy fabric. The woven, resilient fibers used for this technology keep you looking sharp and feeling comfortable for miles without compromising your flexibility and range of motion.

And forget ripped or uncomfortable seams: KÜHL uses saddle stitching to provide durability on the trails, minus all the unnecessary bulk. This reinforced stitch style, coupled with ultra-strong Nylon thread, gives the hiking pants distinctive durability without compromising comfort. 

The Features

Protecting your skin while you’re out on the trail is a must, no matter the season. In addition to applying sunscreen, wearing ultraviolet-protective clothing offers you a suitable UPF rating in the heat of the day. Similarly, draw cords in the waistband and ankles allow you to adapt to unpredictable weather and rough terrain without breaking your stride.

During the Fall season, hiking in the rain can be miserable without the right, weather-resistant apparel. Best hiking pants feature water-repellent fabrics and a DWR or wax coating that help you to stay dry and cozy while you’re traversing the trails.

a woman zipping her pocket in the outdoors
A pocket in the right place is a game-changer for the hiking pants. Product shown: Innovair™ Skinny.

Most stylish pants with a flattering fit have impractical pockets that can’t hold more than a tube of lip balm. When selecting a pair of hiking pants, check out the pockets in addition to the adjustments to see if they can get the job done. With options like water-repellent reverse-coil zippers, lightweight mesh pocket bags, lots of zippered pockets, and an additional hidden zippered security pocket for your valuables, you’ll be prepared for anything. Hiking pants with a zippered thigh pocket allow you to easily reach for your phone and never worry if it's going to fall out along the way.

The features don’t stop there. Elastic waistband for comfort, gusseted crotch, and articulated knees for extra mobility, double front pants with an amazing level of utility, and quick-dry fabric that drives the dampness away give top-notch women’s hiking pants their signature edge.

Type & Fit

When you’re choosing the best hiking pants, consider the styles and types that are available. Beyond all the pockets and features, look for a hiking pant that is both flattering and functional. 

  • Roll-Up Pants. These versatile hiking pants can be rolled up and buttoned or snapped in place with a strap to prevent them from falling back down.  The roll-up feature is great for cooling off, staying dry, or just lacing up your boots.
  • Convertible Pants. Fall weather is unpredictable, but convertible hiking pants are just as adaptable as you are. Convenient zippers allow you to easily convert your pants into shorts and vice-versa, making you ready for any seasonal challenge.
  • Hiking leggings. The top-notch hiking leggings that fit like a dream! They’re not only for summertime - Wintr Traverse™ Leggings are lined with fleece for added warmth and softness during cold weather hiking.
  • Capri. Not short enough to be shorts, but long enough to protect your skin from rough terrain, all while keeping you cool. Capri pants give you a wider range of mobility with a slight breeze to boot. Check out the lightweight hiking pants for women Cabo™ Kapri with UPF sun protection.
  • Cargo. Yes, there are cargo pants for women, and they sure look good! Top performance combined with deep, zippered pockets for anything you might want to bring along is the definition of a good pant.

When it comes to the fit, we’ve got your six.

  • If you’re looking for a tailored style that flows seamlessly between the office and the trails, get a skinny fit.
  • Some ladies find the skinny fit uncomfortable and like their pant legs a bit looser. If you’re in this group, go for the straight fit pants.
  • And if you love to be free all the way, the relaxed fit is just right for you.
Skinny, Straight, and Relaxed Fit. Products shown: Kontour™ Skinny, Trekr™ Pant, Splash™ Roll-Up Pant.

Start Adventuring With KÜHL

Here at KÜHL, we march to the beat of our own drum, just like you do. We believe that every adventure is epic; our outdoor gear is designed with you and your journey at the forefront of the development process. No matter where you go this fall, pick good hiking pants for women and get the most out of every step!

KÜHL Editor
KÜHL Editor


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