Going for a Hike? Here’s the Best Hiking Clothes for Women

From a lack of pockets to limited choices in color and fit, the challenge of finding the right hiking clothes for women can feel harder than actually hitting the trail! It’s a fact that there simply aren’t as many options out there for women’s hiking clothing.

Do we let that stop us from getting out there? Heck no! We’ve put in the work to give you the best hiking clothes recommendations and make it easier for you to get YOUR outdoor adventure on.

What to Look for in Women’s Hiking Clothes

Everyone’s body is different, so the most important thing is to find hiking clothing that works for YOU. The best hiking clothing is comfortable, breathable, and easy for layering.

What to look for in hiking clothing:

  • Durable
  • Lightweight
  • Water wicking
  • Quick drying
  • Easy access pockets
hiking inspo

What to Avoid in Your Hiking Outfit

Remember what you wear hiking is about function over fashion, and your favorite pair of yoga pants might not function as well on the trail as they do on the town.

  • Cotton (cotton traps moisture)
  • Sports bras with clasps
  • Bunchy or bulky pants
  • Thin, single layers

Where to Get Women’s Hiking Clothes

There are a million options out there for hiking clothing. We recommend supporting local outdoor stores when possible, and sometimes thrift stores have pretty sweet deals on hiking gear. You can always buy directly from your favorite outdoor retailers like REI, Patagonia, the North Face, Arc’teryx , and LL Bean.

The REI Garage Sale is a great place to score lightly used gear for everything from hiking gloves to sun protection and hiking underwear. They have a shop for used outdoor clothing and gear on their website, too!

The Best Hiking Clothes for Women According to Explorer Chicks

hiking outfits

The right hiking apparel for your adventure will depend on your activity level, conditions, and if you’ll be out in cool weather or hot weather. We’ve got you covered when it comes to all the best hiking clothes for women!

Our expert advice comes from years of adventure experience and miles on the trails.

Best Hiking Boots

A good pair of hiking boots or trail running shoes is non-negotiable, whether you’re out for a day hike or backpacking overnight.

What to look for in boots: 

  • Durable
  • Good ankle support
  • Good traction
  • Water resistant

Explorer Chicks have found their footing with Oboz Bridger boots for comfort and value on the trail.

audrey hall


March 20, 2022

My feet and ankles crave support and stability, so my big, leather Oboz boots are my favorite for just about any weather.

Best Hiking Socks

merino wool socks

Ya gotta take care of your feet. The right socks for a long day on rocky trails makes a world of difference. Merino wool absorbs odor and is thinner and softer than regular wool.  It never hurts to have a dry pair of socks in your hiking pack.

Explorer Chick founder Nikki Bruckmann doesn’t hike without her Smartwool. Their Merino Wool Hiking Socks are the best for adventures in the great outdoors. They’re super comfy and breathable, and the full-cushioning will help you stay warm and go further on every hike.

Smartwool doesn’t just make socks either, they also make super comfy outdoor apparel like shirts and tank tops!

Best Hiking Pants

 LL bean ripstop pant

Hiking shorts are great for hot weather. But when you’re hiking in tougher conditions, you’ll want pants that are durable, don’t absorb moisture, and allow for easy movement.

“I have wider hips/butt/thighs, so the drawstring is awesome since I have a smaller waist but still have to buy bigger for my larger areas.”

Explorer Chick Erin [Harper] swears by the LL Bean Women’s Stretch Ripstop Pull-On women’s hiking pants.

Best Hiking Leggings for Women

Leggings made from moisture wicking materials are great for hitting the trail in mild weather. They tend to be stretchy, durable, and comfortable with a good range of motion. We asked other Explorer Chicks in our Facebook group and they love Athleta and Arcyterryx leggings.

For cold weather, Explorer Chick Brittany [Ray Sogge] recommends Eddie Bauer Women’s Fleece Lined Leggings. “They’re amazing for fall, winter, and spring hiking.” 

Best Women’s Hiking Shirt

northface dotknit crew

Hiking shirts made from moisture wicking fabrics are the perfect base layer to keep you warm and dry when you’re active in cold weather. They should be lightweight and dry quickly to keep from holding sweat against your body. A long sleeve shirt is great for keeping your skin out of the elements.

Aside from official Explorer Chick hiking shirts, the DotKnit Crew from the Northface is a great piece of hiking clothing . It repels moisture as you move and the underarms and sleeves are designed for mobility.

Best Women’s Hiking Fleece

rei trailsmith fleece

Even in warm weather, always carry a mid layer like a fleece that can go between your base layer and waterproof outer layers. Wind and temperatures can change quickly on a hike! For extra cold weather you might want to consider more than one of these babies.

Explorer Chick adventurers love REI’s Trailsmith Fleece Jacket for the full-zip relaxed fit, vintage vibe, and Polartec® fleece. This mid layer is even made using recycled materials!

Best Women’s Puffy Down Jacket

Down jackets with a water repellent finish or shell outer layer are essential to retain your body heat on cold weather adventures.

If you’re looking for a warm jacket that’s waterproof and wind resistant, we can’t say enough good things about the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer or Phantom Down Jacket.


Kirstie – EC Guide

March 20, 2021

All around a great jacket for insulation and high activity. Packs small (less than 10 ounces) but is convenient for everyday use!

Best Rain Jacket for Women

patagonia hiking jacket

Wet packs are one thing, but you’ll definitely want to invest in a solid rain jacket for your outdoor endeavors. Rain jackets shouldn’t fit too tightly so you can add layers underneath, and so you have a good range of motion.

The Patagonia Women’s Torrentshell 3L Jacket is sustainably made and a total favorite among Explorer Chicks. Its three layer technology makes it breathable, durable, and ultra waterproof.


Kirstie – EC Guide

March 20, 2021

The only Patagonia I own. Keeps me dry in the red storms and lightweight. I like the brim that keeps rain out of your eyes!

If you have room for rain pants, they dry quickly and make a good addition to backpacking clothes!

Ready to Get Hiking?

Does all this gear talk have you itching to hit the trails? Ready to channel your inner badass and challenge yourself on an epic hiking adventure? Join one of Explorer Chick’s hiking trips for women for the chance to share the great outdoors with adventure babes like you!

join a women's hiking trip

Meet the Writer

April Brightman

April is an adventure lover and freelance writer based in New England, with a passion for public lands, wild places, and all things outdoors. She loves camping in any form and spends as many weekends as she can hiking New Hampshire’s highest peaks, or road-tripping with her sweet dog Marley. If not in the mountains, you can find her planning her next expedition or caring for one of her far-too-many-houseplants.

Favorite outdoor adventure: National Parks Hiking and Road Trips!

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