We all recognize the word leggings for activities like yoga, going to the gym, or lounging, and usually, it’s in the context of women. Well, we’re here to tell you that leggings have found their way into the hiking world for both women and men. Hiking leggings have joined the chat. You might be thinking, “leggings aren’t pants,” but our extensive list of the 18 best hiking leggings will change your mind.
When you switch to hiking leggings, you’ll notice several benefits. There’s always a trade-off, though, and we’ll explain more below. Hiking tights offer comfort and versatility you won’t get from a pair of hiking pants. The options below will look great on and off the trail. You get maximum mobility for climbing over obstacles since tights are form-fitting. And many of the tights listed have pockets—ladies, rejoice!—for easy access to your phone to take a picture or check your 10Adventures free route guide that you downloaded before your hike.
What You Should Look For in Hiking Leggings
Comfort and Mobility
Why should you consider switching from hiking pants to leggings? Several reasons in this article may convince you, but it boils down to comfort. Hiking pants are generally made with tougher materials that don’t stretch or move with your body, restraining your strides. Most hiking leggings have flattering high-rise waistbands to prevent slippage when you’re trekking for hours on end with a pack. Hiking tights form-fit to your legs and move with you as you hike, scramble, and trek through the Great Outdoors.
Most hiking tights incorporate material technology to ensure breathability. Mountain weather, as you know, is unpredictable—it could be chilly to start, then suddenly the sun pops out as you’re starting to break a sweat and now you’re overheating. Look for breathability and moisture-wicking properties if you know you’ll be working up a sweat in your outerwear.
The list of advantages to hiking leggings grows when you consider how easy they are to pack. A lightweight pair of tights will be your perfect mate for backpacking trips to keep weight down. You’ll also be able to move more freely and confidently without lifting extra pant weight with each step—it’s not much, but every ounce makes a difference on challenging trails.
Adventurers already know the qualms of waiting for your gear to dry, especially if you’re outside for a few rainy days without a window of sunshine. You certainly don’t want your hiking tights to be one of these ever-wet items. If you’re heading out into wet conditions, search for tights made from fabric with moisture-wicking and quick-dry features like polyester and spandex. (Remember, adventurers: cotton is not your friend in the Great Outdoors!)
Investing in a pair of hiking tights can be a two-for-one with the right pair. Most will look stylish, whether you’re on the trail or not! And, you always want a comfy pair of pants to wear at your campsite on a backpacking trip, right? Well, if you have an awesome pair of tights, you don’t have to pack anything else—you’re already dressed for comfort! If you want to change because you’ve been sweating all day, we understand. Just pack a second lightweight pair to use as your comfy pants and your hiking pants for the following day. Sticking with one pair helps keep your pack weight down, but they’re so lightweight anyway, shoving another set in your bag for clean comfort won’t be too much hassle.
Some regular tights would not withstand the weather at high altitudes; if you’ve worn basic leggings before, you know that wind and cold can pass right through the fabric onto your legs. The hiking leggings we’ve listed incorporate wind- and cold-resistant fabrics, and they’re made for rugged conditions. You want to look for durable materials so that you don’t end up with ice-cold thighs! Are you already thinking they might not be warm enough for winter? Check out the section on the best leggings for winter weather.
Important! Take Care Of Your Hiking Leggings
Hiking leggings made from quality materials are an investment, we admit. Certain fabrics need to be washed carefully to maintain their technical structure. If you’re someone who tends to throw everything in the laundry bin, then into the washer and dryer without separating anything, try to get out of that habit. When you return from the mountains with dirty pants, wash them immediately to prevent bacteria from festering. As a general rule to protect the hiking leggings properly, you should use cold water with a mild detergent and hang them to dry, but always check the tags for proper care instructions.
The Overall Best Women’s Hiking Leggings
Our top picks for women’s hiking tights deliver on oh-so-many levels: super comfortable, breathable, versatile, lightweight, and stylish. Here are the winners!
Patagonia Pack Out Tights
The Patagonia Pack Out Tights are one of our favourite options for hiking leggings. They are form-fitting but not too tight, and the tapered legs fit easily under socks and into your boots. The fabric made from a polyester-spandex jersey knit is so soft. We especially love their versatility: wear these in the mountains, in the city, or on the plane.
Functionally, these hiking tights have drop-in pockets on each thigh’s sides and a zippered pocket on the hip—and we all know how excited women get when there are pockets! (Guilty!) The wide, high-waist band fits your tummy snugly, making it easy and comfy to buckle your hip strap. You may need to layer up in winter with these, but you can’t go wrong with these hiking leggings for the rest of the year.
Arc’teryx Oriel Leggings
Don’t compromise on durability with the Arc’teryx Oriel Leggings. They’re super light, but they’re super tough, too. Because they’re designed for rock climbing, the durable nylon knit withstands potential snags. If you’re a climber, these leggings are a no-brainer, but we think they are an excellent choice for lightweight hiking tights. Talk about versatility!
Stretchy and flattering, you can wear these on trails full of obstacles and head straight to the brewery afterward. You’ll be happy to know that these tights have two cargo pockets to slip your belongings in and access easily even with a backpack on. Arc’teryx has done it again! Take these on three-season adventures, but check out the Best Winter Hiking Leggings for more appropriate cold weather choices.
Fjallraven Abisko Women’s Trekking Tights
If it’s in your budget, the Fjallraven Abisko Trekking Tights are the top choice for rugged trails and protection from all the elements. Designed to move with you with four-way stretch fabric, these will go with you everywhere. Obstacles on the path? No problem. The nylon-elastane material will resist tears from bushwhacking and move with you easily. The reinforced knee and seat patches repel water, and the rest of the leggings are quick-dry.
These fit wonderfully with a high waistband with an adjustable drawstring, gusseted crotch, and articulated knees. And these leggings wouldn’t make the cut if they didn’t have pockets! Two pockets keep your small belongings secure on the trails. Our only complaint (and it’s hardly a complaint) is that these hiking leggings look very technical with the knee and rear panels. Pack a pair of city pants if you’re transitioning without going home first! These are also available for men. Overall, these are an excellent choice for year-round trekking adventures.
The Overall Best Men’s Hiking Leggings
You may not be able to imagine hiking tights for men, but these well-designed options have gusted crotch features and flattering styles. Give them a try—we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the comfort!
Patagonia Crosstrek Bottoms
Comfort and style combine in these ergonomic and cozy form-fitting fleece pants. Wear these in colder weather, and you’ll appreciate the insulation of Crosstrek Bottom’s fleece fabric. You still get a bit of space, unlike skin-tight leggings, but the ankles in these taper for a snug fit you can easily tuck into socks and boots.
Get some versatility with these bad boys. The Crosstrek Bottoms are wearable on their own, or as a base layer under your ski pants. If you need to check your GPS, your phone won’t be far in the media-compatible pocket. And did we mention they’re comfortable? The wide waistband lies flat on your body, they will feel like sweatpants but have the technical function of hiking pants.
Salomon Agile Warm Tights
Salomon delivers when it comes to running gear, and this brand is one of our top choices. The Agile Warm Tights are designed for trail running but transition easily into mountain adventures, especially in cooler weather. They have everything you need in a hiking legging and will move with you year-round.
The articulated knees and elastic waistband are high-performing functions that won’t hold you back—move freely in these form-fitting and secure tights. Salomon uses panel construction on these leggings with reinforced, thicker fabric in cold-prone spots, but lighter material in the lower legs for ventilation. Breathable and warm, plus year-round comfort. It’s safe to say these earned a place in the top five hiking leggings for men.
Adidas Response Climawarm Tights
If you want a skin-tight fit and full functionality, these are the hiking leggings for you. Made from durable polyester and cozy elastane fleece, the insulated Response Climawarm Tights will block chilly weather and protect you from the elements. They’re soft and breathable, too, so don’t worry about breaking a sweat.
The details on these hiking tights scream function: the sweat-guard zip pocket will keep your small items moisture free, ankle zips make them easy to pull on and off, and reflective details indicate your location in low light. Chilly days don’t stand a chance with these tights—but you might want to leave some urban pants in your car if you plan on grabbing a beer after your backpacking trip.
Outdoor Research Radiant Hybrid Tights
Not quite ready for skin-tight hiking leggings? We get it. OR’s Radiant Hybrid Tights would be a great transition from pants to tights thanks to their looser fit. Get the durability of pants and the mobility of tights thanks to the polyester-spandex blend. And they are super comfortable.
Lightweight, quick-drying, and sweat-wicking properties make these hiking tights an excellent choice for three-season adventures. They have Polygiene® anti-odour protection, too, for the benefit of you and your hiking buddies after a long, hot day on the trails.
The Best Water-Resistant Hiking Leggings
If you often hike in wet conditions, invest in a pair of hiking tights that will keep you dry while still providing ventilation. Completely waterproof hiking leggings wouldn’t allow for much breathability, but here are a few of the best water-resistant options.
Arc’teryx Sabria Pants
The Arc’teryx Sabria Pants aren’t officially leggings, but with their tapered and tight fit, they look like loose-fitting leggings, and no one could tell you otherwise. These are designed for hiking with articulated knees for mobility and thigh pockets to access your small goods while wearing your pack.
The nylon and elastane fabric combination gives these a soft feel and strong functionality. Water, dirt, sweat—these pants are designed to protect you from them all. And if you do get wet, these will dry quickly. They fit well and hold up when caught on stray branches. And, they’re stylish enough to wear around town too!
Salomon Trail Runner Tights
Resist the elements with these soft-shell and protective tights. The Salomon Trail Runner Tights repel drizzle and resist wind, making them a superb choice for cool and unpredictable weather. The design features a high-waist that securely hugs your body. Pull them on and off easily with the ankle zips, and trek confidently in lowlight with the reflective details.
You’ll be able to stash treats or other small items in the zippered back pocket, but this becomes useless if you have a backpack. We also find that the internal drawstring creates a bump at the front, which could get uncomfortable under a backpack’s hip strap. If you want a pair of water-resistant hiking leggings for day hikes, absolutely consider there. But if you know you’ll be fastening a hip strap, these aren’t the best option.
Fjallraven Abisko Trekking Tights
We’ve already mentioned the Fjallraven Abisko Trekking Tights in the overall best women’s hiking leggings, but they deserve repeating. They are one of the best options for wet conditions. Quick-dry material prevents rain and water from getting too deep, and the panels used to reinforce the knee and seat are waterproof, so you can kneel and sit in damp conditions, no problem.
The Best Lightweight Hiking Leggings
For backpacking trips, lightweight tights are the best option for you. Or, if you’re looking to gain speed on your fellow hikers, get yourself a pair of lightweight hiking tights and leave them in the dust!
Lululemon All the Right Places Crop Leggings
Weight: approx. 150 g / 5.3 oz
These Lululemon All the Right Places Crop Leggings are my go-to for spring and end-of-summer hiking. The cropped length is ideal for ventilation, the fabric is so smooth and comfortable, and they have the coveted thigh pockets. The name says it all: the design and stitching of the All the Right Places Crop Leggings make them incredibly flattering on and off the trails. And they are featherlight—even if I know I’ll be wearing shorts during a hike, I pack these anyway, which barely increases my pack weight.
Admittedly, these are an investment, but they are versatile, and with proper care, will last a long time. Be careful about snagging them because the stretchy fabric might not hold up. That said, these are awesome for open alpine meadows and well-maintained trails. Invest in these for a pair of light, breathable, stretchy, and high-coverage hiking tights.
Arc’teryx Oriel Leggings
Weight: 155 g / 5.5 oz
The Arc’teryx Oriel Leggings hit the mark in a few sections, as described in the overall best section above. Thanks to their light weight, they are some of the best leggings for hitting the trails. Supreme comfort and ultralight, you’ll barely feel these awesome tights.
Fjallraven Abisko Trail Tights
Weight: 200 g / 7.1 oz
Much like their older sibling, the Abisko Trekking Tights, these are designed for mobility on the trails. Technically-sound and totally breathable, these lightweight tights allow easy movement when you’re hiking. They’re reinforced in the knees and seat, made with four-way stretch panels, and have two legs pockets and one small zippered pocket to keep your belongings safe.
The form-fit of the Abisko Trail Tights sits well on the waist and won’t slide down as you hike. Not the greatest choice for cold weather, but these perform well on hot days in various terrain. The fabric will wick sweat, protect you from abrasions, and ventilate where you need it most. Fjallraven products are pricier than other brands, which is undoubtedly a drawback if you’re on a budget.
The North Face Perfect Core High-Rise Tights
Weight: approx. 250 g / 8.8 oz
Look and feel great in the Great Outdoors with the North Face Perfect Core High-Rise Tights. These tights have a unique feature: a high-rise compression waistband that reminds you to engage your core while exercising—it’s super flattering for the female figure. The waistband won’t roll down, and there’s a hidden internal pocket.
Be wary of wearing these to the gym—they’re thicker than other leggings. But that’s okay because you’re going to be outside anyway. Ready for rugged conditions, the nylon-spandex combo resists tears, dries quickly, and allows proper ventilation. Enjoy chafe-free movement in these supremely comfortable, stylish hiking tights.
Helly Hansen Rask Tights
Weight: 280 g / 9.9 oz
The Helly Hansen Rask Tights hit the mark for a functional, lightweight piece of gear. The four-way stretch fabric is moisture-wicking to keep you cool when you break a sweat. Knees and seats are reinforced with durable water-repellent panels, so you can sit or kneel in the damp ground worry-free.
The knee panel design may look too technical for urban wear, but you won’t notice if you buy all black. Unfortunately, these are not high-waisted like the other options, so if you’re looking for more tummy coverage, these aren’t the best option.
The Best Winter Hiking Leggings
Coziness and comfort are key when adventuring in cold weather. These hiking tights deliver warmth and protection in harsh conditions.
Smartwool PhD® Tights
The fabric blend of the Smartwool PhD® Tights keeps you warm and comfy when you’re working up a sweat during winter. No need to layer-up since these are high-performing on their own. The merino wool blend naturally manages moisture and regulates temperature. The storage features are great, too, with a zipper pocket on the back and a thigh pocket to slide your goods into easily.
The fit of these leggings is adjustable with its drawstring at the waist and the fabric’s stretch. Working up a sweat won’t even make these smelly—they’re antimicrobial, but just remember to wash them properly as soon as you get home. The only downside to these is their lack of quick-dry ability. They’d be best for winter days when you know you won’t be knee-deep in snow.
Icebreaker Merino Solace Leggings
You know this company for their merino wool clothing items, and the Merino Solace Leggings are great on their own or as a first layer for even more warmth. Being so soft and comfy, you’ll love trekking in them and likely wear them around the house when you’re not in the mountains.
Because of the merino wool fabric blend, these tights are naturally breathable and odor-resistant. Although these hiking leggings don’t feature our beloved pockets, we still think they’re a suitable option for winter leggings because they are so warm and comfy. Icebreaker boasts about their no-itch comfort and they source products that are renewable and recyclable. You’ll make an environmentally-responsible purchase with these hiking tights.
Salomon Comet Warm Tights
Keep heat locked in with Salomon’s Comet Warm Tights. You won’t mind heading into cold weather when you have these on. Made with their AdvancedSkin Warm technical fabric, you will stay warm, dry, and protected from chilly wind and rain. The brushed interior nylon-elastane creates a coziness you’ll feel as soon as you pull them on.
The ergonomic design, combined with four-way stretch fabric allows for total freedom of movement. These are ideal leggings for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, or trail running during winter. They’ll hold up on their own, but feel free to get extra cozy and use them as a base layer. The only downside is that they do not have pockets. I know, right? Such a bummer. Oh well—you will most likely have more layers on top, so you can always use your jacket pockets.
Will you make the switch to hiking leggings?
Converting to hiking tights (or at least giving them a try) will open up a whole new world of comfort if you’ve mainly been hiking in pants. They are a great alternative! Move freely and comfortably without sacrificing on durability, weather-resistance, or style. Consider the hiking conditions, and look for appropriate features like moisture-wicking, water-resistance, or warmth. Some of our contributors at 10Adventures hike exclusively in hiking tights and have no reason to switch back to pants. Happy (+ comfy) hiking!