There are so many options for women’s hiking clothes out there that sorting through it all to find something you’ll actually be comfortable (and reasonably stylish…) in can be a challenge. As an avid hiker and backpacker, I’ve spent years trying different pieces of women’s hiking clothes and I think I’m close to perfecting my layers! In this article, I’ll break down all the best hiking clothes for women based on personal experience. From head to toe, I’ve got you covered! I will only recommend women’s hiking clothes that I personally own and love after many many hours of wearing them, so you can rest assured that this list is genuine (I’m not picking random clothes in an attempt to sell you something expensive…)!
My story (why should you take my advice)
Hi there! I’m Sarah, and I’m an avid hiker, backpacker, trail runner and all-around outdoor enthusiast. Since 2020, I’ve been traveling around the United States full time, making a new place my home from month to month to seek out new adventure and hiking opportunities. This means three things:
- I spend 99% of my weekends hiking or backpacking! Because I spend so much time on the trails, my hiking clothes are very important to me.
- I’m selective about what I purchase! Everything I own (along with everything my partner owns and a disproportionate amount of stuff for my cat, Fitzgerald) has to fit in my mid-sized Subaru Forester. I am particular about what I buy, do tons of research beforehand, and have only the essentials for hiking. This means my recommendations are well-thought-out and include only truly essential women’s hiking clothes.
- I’ve lived everywhere from the middle of the desert in southern Utah to the snowy mountains of Idaho. I have hiking clothes that work perfectly for all climates.
In this article, I will lay out what I feel are the best hiking clothes for women, along with the honest pros and cons about each, and tell you what type of weather and activity each clothing item is most suitable for.
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Best Hiking Clothes for Women
This list of the best hiking clothes for women will be broken down from head to toe (literally!) I’ll start with tops and outerwear and work my way down to boots.
I’ll tell you what type of weather condition each women’s hiking clothes are best for, give you all the details on the good and the bad about each item and help you decide which pieces are best for you.
- Best hiking tops for women
- Best women’s hiking outerwear
- Best hiking shorts and pants
- Best women’s hiking footwear
- Best women’s hiking accessories
Without further ado, let’s get into the details!
Best Hiking Clothes for Women: Tops
Let’s kick this list of the best women’s hiking clothes off by talking about tops. Here I’ll cover all the best hiking tops for women, including a fleece, quarter zip, long sleeve base layer, and tank tops.
Best Fleece Hiking Jacket for Women
Patagonia R1 Air-Zip Pullover | Quick Stats
- Typical Price | Around $120
- Weight | 8.9 ounces
- Fabric | Recycled polyester jacquard fleece
- Best for weather | Moderate-cold weather
I love a cozy fleece, but had never been one for hiking in them because I’d always found them to be bulky and uncomfortable to layer. Furthermore, I felt that they take up way too much space in my backpack after I inevitably get hot a few minutes into the hike.
That is, until I discovered the Patagonia R1 Air-Zip! This fleece comes in either a pullover or a full zip-up hoodie.
The Patagonia R1 is the perfect extra layer of warmth for both hiking and backpacking. The fabric is thin and the style is form-fitting, making it super easy and comfortable to layer underneath a heavier jacket. But don’t be fooled by the thin material – this fleece is warm! It’ll keep you cozy at the summit or while taking a snack break even on those chillier days.
Additionally, because it’s lightweight and packs down reasonably small (for a fleece), it’s also awesome for backpacking. It’s great to have to throw on at camp and keep you warmer sleeping in the backcountry.
- Great as an extra layer for added warmth.
- Thin material and fitted style makes it perfect for layering. Surprisingly warm given how thin it is!
- Lightweight and packs down reasonably small.
- Runs a bit on the slim side, so you may want to size up.
- It’s so popular that the best colors are often out of stock.
Best Hiking Quarter Zip
Classic Thermal Merino 1/4-Zip Baselayer Smartwool | Quick Stats
- Typical Price | Around $115
- Weight | 8.3 ounces
- Fabric | 100% Merino wool
- Best for weather | Moderate-cold weather
Buy it on Backcountry: Smartwool Classic Thermal Merino 1/4-Zip Baselayer
The Smartwool Classic Thermal Merino is one of those items I’d usually see the price tag and say no way! My mom had always insisted that 100% Merino wool was worth the price tag, and I’d always roll my eyes and ignore her. Until she bought me one for Christmas one year and finally I understood what the hype was all about…
Now I have two Smartwool Classic Thermal Merinos and I wear one on practically every hike or backpacking trip.
With a price tag of $115, this quarter-zip is certainly not cheap. However, I feel it’s worth the investment for a few reasons. First, the 100% Merino wool really does make a huge difference in keeping you warm. I’m the type of person that really hates being cold, so finding a base layer that actually keeps me warm was a game-changer.
With the slim fit of this quarter zip, it makes a perfect base layer that keeps you warm on those cold mountain mornings without adding bulk.
Second, the quality lives up to the price tag. I’ve been wearing my Smartwool quarter zips for years now and they still look like they could be brand new.
- 100% Merino wool keeps you extra warm (and controls odor).
- Slim-fit style makes a great baselayer without adding bulk.
- Great quality will last for years.
- A bit pricey.
- Slim fit can feel tight/restrictive.
- You’ll want to be careful not to put it in the dryer, as the wool can shrink.
Best Long Sleeve Baselayer
Woolx Layla V-Neck Top | Quick Stats
- Typical Price | Around $100
- Weight | Lightweight
- Fabric | 85% Australian Merino Wool, 12% Nylon, 3% Spandex
- Best for weather | Great as a lightweight pullover on cool mornings, or layered for colder conditions.
Buy it on Woolx: Woolx Layla V-Neck Top
Underneath my Smartwool Quarterzip, I typically wear a Woolx Layla V-Neck top. This long-sleeve is light and stretchy, making it super comfortable to layer for a day of hiking. Made from 85% Merino wool, the material is moisture-wicking and quick to dry, keeping your body dry and warm.
When you think of wool, you may immediately think scratchy and heavy. But the Woolx Layla long-sleeve is quite the opposite. It’s soft, light stretchy and incredibly comfortable.
Woolx’s Layla V-Neck top is certainly one of the best pieces of hiking clothing for women. That being said, it’s also cute enough to double for everyday wear.
- Moisture-wicking, quick-drying material makes it great as a baselayer.
- Stretchy, soft and super comfortable.
- A bit pricey.
- The sleeves are long, which I personally love, but some may find annoying.
Tip | My go-to base layering system is a tank top with Layla long-sleeve. If you prefer short sleeves, Woolx also makes the Mia V-Neck, which is a short sleeve version of the Layla.
Best Tank Top for Hiking
Patagonia Capilene Cool Trail Tank Top | Quick Stats
- Typical Price | Around $40
- Weight | 3.3 ounces
- Fabric | 100% recycled polyester
- Best for weather | Warm/hot weather or as a baselayer
Buy it on Backcountry: Patagonia Capilene Cool Trail Tank Top
Patagonia’s Capilene Cool Trail Tank is perfect for… well, keeping you cool on the trail! The soft, lightweight material is quick to dry and does not smell when you sweat.
My favorite feature of this tank is the design of the bottom. It fits perfectly around the hips and does not ride up when you exercise. It’s one of my favorite pieces of women’s hiking clothes – my go-to for a hot summer hike!
The only downside I can think of with this tank is that the armpits can fit a little loose and pucker out depending on your body size. I always wear a sports bra under this tank so I haven’t found it to be an issue.
- Soft, comfortable material.
- Lightweight and moisture-wicking.
- Designed not to ride up during activity.
- Can fit a little large through the chest and armpits.
Best Cropped Tank Top for Hiking
Vuori Mudra Plyo Tank | Quick Stats
- Typical Price | Around $65
- Weight | lightweight
- Fabric | 87% modal rayon/13% elastane
- Best for weather | Warm/hot weather or as a base layer/sports bra in one.
Buy it on Backcountry: Vuori Mudra Plyo Tank
On hiking days that start chilly, but end hot, I prefer to wear the Vuori Mudra Plyo Tank layered with a long-sleeve base layer. The Mudra Plyo Tank is slightly cropped, so it’s really great for layering without bunching around the waist (especially helpful if you’re also wearing a backpack). That said, it’s not too cropped as to feel exposing while hiking.
The best part about this tank is that it includes a built-in sports bra: two in one makes it super convenient to pack for camping or backpacking trips. The sports bra provides just enough support without feeling suffocating.
I also love that this tank has a high neck. I tend to get sunburn on my chest first (even with many layers of sunscreen), so the Mudra Plyo Tank adds a little extra sun protection. If you’re wearing a backpack, the high neckline also protects your skin from rubbing against the chest strap.
Vuori makes the softest fabrics and the Mudra Plyo Tank is no exception! The tank comes in a ribbed or smooth version (I have both and can’t decide which I love more!).
- Built-in sports bra is comfortable and convenient.
- Full coverage on the chest (helps avoid sunburn!)
- Perfect for layering without bunching at the hit.
- Cropped but not too short.
- Price tag.
- Because it’s a cropped tank, it can ride up when you move.
- Built-in sports bra offers light support that may not be enough if you’re larger-chested.
Best Hiking Clothes for Women: Outerwear
Next up, let’s get into the best outerwear for women’s hiking clothes, including best cold-weather down jacket and best rain jacket.
Note | We’ll keep this section pretty high level. For a deeper dive into the best women’s hiking jackets, I’ve compiled a list of 7 of my favorites, complete with reviews of each. Check it out below:
Best warm weather hiking jacket
Arc’tyrx Cerium LT Hoodie | Quick Stats
- Typical Price | Around $380
- Weight | 9.8 ounces
- Fabric | Nylon
- Best for weather | Cold temperatures, I would say best for below freezing temperatures (this thing is seriously warm!).
Buy it on REI: Arc’tyrx Cerium LT Hoodie
I am the type of person who is always cold, whether it’s a chilly morning in the backcountry or sitting inside with air conditioning on a summer day. So I take my warmth while hiking and backpacking very seriously.
I debated for weeks on whether to purchase this jacket. Was it really worth the high price tag? Would the ultralight-weight materials hold up? But then I checked the weather on an upcoming backpacking trip I had planned. Lows in the 20’s. Decision made!
I bought my Arc’tyrx Cerium LT Hoodie and it quickly became my all-time favorite jacket! With 850-fill down (most down jackets range between 600 and 750), this hiking jacket is so incredibly warm. In fact, it’s so warm that I usually end up stripping it off only a few minutes into a hike, even if temperatures are freezing. On that note, this jacket is great for hiking in very cold weather and for chilly nights camping or backpacking.
Better yet, the jacket weighs less than 10 ounces and packs down to about the size of a water bottle. The small pack size, low weight, and unbeatable warmth that this jacket provides make it perfect for backpacking trips!
- Very warm – great for cold weather!
- Lightweight and packs down small – perfect for backpacking!
- Long length doesn’t ride up during activity
- Hood for extra warmth
- It’s not cheap!
- Can be too warm for moderate temperatures
- Outer fabric is thin (this is how it’s so lightweight) and can snag
Best women’s rain jacket/hard shell
Patagonia Torrentshell | Quick Stats
- Typical Price | Around $100 – $150
- Weight | 12.5 ounces
- Fabric | Nylon
- Best for weather | Rain and wind, or layered with a down jacket for snow
Buy it on REI: Patagonia Torrentshell 3L Jacket
The adjustable hood helps keep the jacket in place and ensures you stay dry, even while on the move. It also works great as a hard shell, to be worn over a warmer down jacket in cold and/or snowy weather. Lastly, this jacket also serves as a windbreaker to keep you warmer in windy conditions!
The Patagonia Torrentshell jacket is comfortable and roomy enough to layer for hiking in colder temperatures. Although the jacket can feel a little heavy hiking in warmer weather, the zippered armpit vents make it more breathable and give you some extra airflow.
- Waterproof and windproof
- Dependable and durable materials
- Packs down small
- Armpit zippers allow for breathability in warm weather
- No insulation (needs to be layered for colder weather)
- Can feel heavy/hot in warmer temperatures
- Slightly heavy (12.5 ounces) for a rain jacket
Best Hiking Clothes for Women: Bottoms
Moving right along through my favorite hiking clothes for women, let’s get into bottoms! Here I’ll cover my favorite women’s hiking shorts, pants, and underwear.
Best women’s hiking pants
Athleta Headland Hybrid Cargo Tights | Quick Stats
- Typical Price | Around $120
- Weight | 9.8 ounces
- Fabric | 91% recycled nylon, 9% spandex
- Best for weather | Cool to cold
Buy it on REI: Athleta Headland Hybrid Cargo Tights
The Athleta Headland Hybrid Cargo Tights are somewhere between hiking leggings and traditional hiking pants. I’ve always found hiking leggings comfortable, but too thin and not durable enough to hold up on the trail. On the other hand, many hiking pants are durable but restrictive and uncomfortable.
These Athleta Headlands combine the best of hiking leggings and hiking pants to create the perfect hybrid pair of stretchy, comfortable pants that will hold up to rock scrambling, bushwacking, dirt, water, wipe-outs… whatever you may put them through out there hiking!
And did I mention the pockets?! With 6 large zippered pockets, you’ll have no trouble safely storing everything you want within arms reach on the trail. Phone, chapstick, car keys, snacks, you name it! Plus I think all the pockets give them a kind of badass-hiker look.
While these pants are perfect for hiking, they’re also stylish enough for everyday wear – I seriously wear them everywhere.
- So many pockets!
- Stretchy and comfortable.
- Durable material will hold up to scrambling and bushwacking.
- High waisted elastic waistband.
- A little too heavy for hot weather.
Best women’s hiking shorts
Athleta Trekkie North Shorts | Quick Stats
- Typical Price | Around $60
- Weight | light to mid-weight
- Fabric | 69% Recycled Nylon, 26% Nylon, 5% Spandex
- Best for weather | warm and hot weather
Buy it on REI: Athleta Trekkie North Shorts
Athleta makes some of the best hiking clothes for women, including my favorite pair of hiking shorts. Lightweight and airy, the Athleta Trekkie North Shorts are perfect for a hot summer day’s hike.
The material is ultra-breathable and these shorts dry super quick to keep you comfortable when hiking in the heat. The high-waisted elastic waistband is incredibly comfortable (and looks great with a cropped tank like the Vuori Mudra Plyo), and the 3.5-inch inseam helps prevent chaffing.
My one qualm with the Trekkie North shorts is that the elastic waistband can get stretched out, especially if you wear them multiple times without washing, causing the shorts the ride up. I’d also recommend sizing down, as they tend to run a little on the large side.
- Comfortable and very breathable for warm weather.
- Moisture wicking and quick to dry.
- Zippered pockets are great to store your phone while hiking.
- Stretchy elastic waistband.
- 3.5-inch inseam is good for preventing chaffing.
- Elastic waistband can get stretched out with multiple wears, causing the shorts to ride up.
- Tend to run a little large.
Best women’s hiking underwear
Sweaty Betty Barely There Pant | Quick Stats
- Typical Price | Around $14
- Weight | ultra-lightweight
- Fabric | 43% Polyamide, 57% Elastane
- Best for weather | any
Buy it on REI: Sweaty Betty Barely There Pant
Often overlooked when discussing the best hiking clothes for women, good underwear is one of the most important items for staying comfortable on the trail. You can wear the most comfortable hiking shorts or pants, but with the wrong underwear, they won’t do you much good.
The Sweaty Betty Barely there pants have become my go-to underwear for hiking. The soft, seamless, and ultra-lightweight material means no chaffing and is quick to dry!
Unfortunately, these underwear are a little pricey, at about $14 per pair if you buy the 3-pack, but I’ve personally found them to be worth it.
Because of the ultra-light seamless design, they can also fit a bit loosely around the hips and legs. I’ve found it to be a fair tradeoff for the comfort and lack of chaffing they provide on the trail.
- Seamless design prevents chaffing.
- Ultra-lightweight and quick to dry.
- Soft, silky no-show material.
- A little on the expensive side.
- Fit a little loose around the waist and leg.
Best Hiking Clothes for Women: Footwear
Last, but not least, is the best footwear for women, including hiking boots and socks!
Best women’s hiking boots
Danner Mountain 600 Full Grain Hiking Boot | Quick Stats
- Typical Price | Around $210
- Weight | 1 pound 14 ounces
- Fabric | Full grain leather
- Best for weather | any (including wet conditions)
Buy it on REI: Danner Mountain 600 Full Grain Boot
Hiking boots are perhaps the most important piece of hiking gear, and your body will thank you for investing in a solid pair. I’ve tried many pairs of hiking boots, and the Danner Mountain 600s are hands down my favorite!
These boots provide a great level of support, with high ankles and cushioned insoles that will keep your feet happy even on the longest hikes. The full-grain leather is super durable and able to stand the test of time (and hundreds of miles on the trail). The grippy outer sole provides traction to help keep you safe on steep and slippery sections of the trail.
Plus, the waterproofing really works. I’m not exaggerating when I say I have walked straight through streams and come away with dry feet.
Paired with the Darn Tough Light socks, I’ve never gotten a single blister from hiking in my Danner’s, even while breaking them in.
The only downside I can think of to the Danner Mountain 600s is that they are not super lightweight, weighing in at 1 pound, 14 ounces. I’ve never found them to feel clunky, but they likely aren’t the best fit for an ultralight backpacker.
- Danner Dry Protection waterproofing keeps your feet dry.
- Full grain leather is durable in rugged terrain.
- Provide the right amount of ankle support without feeling restrictive.
- Sole provides grip and traction even on slippery surfaces.
- Not the most lightweight boots.
Best women’s hiking socks
Darn Tough Light Hiker Micro Crew | Quick Stats
- Typical Price | Around $23
- Weight | Lightweight
- Fabric | 53% nylon, 43% merino wool, 3% Lycra
- Best for weather | warm to cool weather
Buy it on REI: Darn Tough Light Hiker Micro Crew
A lot of hiking socks are thick and feel way too heavy stuffed into boots on a warm summer day. That’s why I love the Darn Tough Light Hikers! They are a bit thinner than most hiking socks I’ve tried, so they don’t feel chunky in your boots and don’t cause your feet to overheat.
Additionally, these Darn Tough socks are made from Merino wool, which helps control odors.
They are great for warm to cool temperatures, and although they do provide some warmth, they aren’t ideal for really cold weather. If you’re hiking in the cold, you may want a thicker pair of socks.
- Lightweight and thin, but still durable.
- Merino wool helps control odors.
- Padded sole provides extra foot support.
- Although they provide some warmth, they aren’t ideal for really cold weather.
Best Hiking Clothes for Women: Accessories
Wrapping up my list of the best hiking clothes for women, I’ll leave you with a few accessories that come in handy on the trail.
- Hat | I love this Patagonia beanie – it’s warm and stylish!
- Headband | I always hike with a wide headband like the prAna headband to help control fly-aways and cover sweaty hair!
- Sunglasses | I am obsessed with my Goodr sunglasses. They’re simple, cheap ($25) and non-slip, which means they don’t slide around when you start to sweat.
- Backpack | I love my Cameback Helena 20L because it’s just the right size to pack my day hike essentials and fits either a 2L or 3L bladder. Plus, all the straps are adjustable so it actually fits my body.
Where to purchase hiking clothes for women
For each of the hiking clothes for women reviewed above, I’ve provided direct links to purchase the product. In the event that any items are sold out on one of the links I provided, you can always search for them on one of these sites:
- REI (P.S. if you aren’t a member, you should be! You can yearly dividends, basically cash back, based on how much you spend each year)
- Backcountry | I’ve found that Backcountry is more likely to be sold out of things, but if you can find the product you’re looking for here, they often have great deals!
Tips for finding the best women’s hiking clothes
In this article, I’ve covered my favorite pieces of hiking clothes for women from head to toe. I truly love each item that I’ve recommended, but of course, everyone has different preferences and body styles. With that in mind, I’ll leave you with a few tips to help you find the best hiking clothes for you.
- Try buying used gear to figure out what you like. You can purchase like-new or gently used womens hiking clothes on websites like Poshmark, Mercari, or Facebook marketplace. Even REI has a “Resupply” page dedicated to used gear.
- Keep in mind the tradeoff between quality and price. Of course, you need to purchase hiking clothes that suit your budget, but remember that price often reflects the quality. Many of the clothes I’ve invested in come with slightly higher price tags, but it means that they’ve lasted me for many years and many miles on the trail.
Other useful resources
Looking for more hiking, backpacking, and camping gear recommendations? Check out the resources below!
- 7 Best Hiking Jackets for Women
- Hiking in the Rain: Essential Gear
- Day Hike Packing List: What Do You Really Need to Pack for a HIke
- Our Complete Road Trip Camping Essentials plus Checklist
- Ultimate Backpacking Gear List + Downloadable Spreadsheet
- Packing List for Road Trips
Questions about any of the hiking clothes for women on this list? Let me know in the comments below!