Let’s face it. Hiking in the summer is miserable without the right pair of hiking shorts. In fact, finding the best hiking shorts for women is no menial task.

Summer hikes mean your legs sticking together, getting a mean sunburn and discovering dirt in crevices you didn’t know your legs had. Before you know it, you’re knee deep in a vat of sunblock trying to keep it together to salvage the rest of the afternoon. But those days are over. Hiking shorts come in a variety of lengths, all intended to save you from the sun, the heat and yourself.

Our goal here at The Adventure Junkies is to make the search process easy for you. We’ll walk you through what to look for in a pair of hiking shorts, and show you our selection of the 10 best hiking shorts for women.

 

 

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THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FIND THE BEST HIKING SHORTS FOR WOMEN

PICTURE
HIKING SHORTS FOR WOMEN​
BEST USE
WEIGHT
INSEAM
PRICE
RATING
PICTURE
HIKING SHORTS FOR WOMEN​
BEST USE
WEIGHT
INSEAM
PRICE
RATING
Columbia Saturday Trail
Overall
8 oz
5 in
$
4.8
Outdoor Research Ferrosi
Overall
7 oz
13 in
$
5.0
Columbia East Ridge
Comfort
7 oz
10 in
$$
3.9
Prana Hazel
Comfort
5 oz
7 in
$$
4.6
Royal Robbins Backcountry
Pockets
4 oz
5 in
$
4.2
REI Sahara
Pockets
6 oz
10 in
$
4.6
Columbia Anytime
Lightweight
3 oz
5 in
$
4.7
White Sierra Crystal Cove
Lightweight
4 oz
5 in
$
3.8
Columbia Sandy River
Budget
7 oz
4 in
$
4.8
Craghoppers Kiwi Pro
Budget
9 oz
8 in
$
5.0

 

 

HIKING SHORTS FOR WOMEN 101

 

5 THINGS TO CONSIDER TO FIND THE BEST HIKING SHORTS FOR WOMEN

 

1. MATERIAL

Most hiking shorts are made with technical material. These kinds of materials are great for hiking apparel as they’re made to withstand the outdoors. The material should be comfortable, breathable and quick drying.

A good material lets you move freely while leaping around boulders. It also protects you from sharp edges while you’re bushwhacking in the woods.
Nylon is the most popular material used for hiking shorts. It’s great because it has all the qualities that make hiking shorts functional. It’s breathable, water resistant, and quick drying.

It’s often combined with materials like spandex or elastane, to produce a comfortable stretch. Even better for those hot days when body parts seem to stick together for no reason.

 

2. FIT

Different women prefer different lengths of inseams. The most common length for hiking shorts is 5.” Most shorts come in a slim or relaxed fit. If they’re too slim, they may be too constricting.

If they’re too loose, they may catch on stray branches. So, something in the middle is just right. Most hiking shorts have some stretch since most of them have elastane or spandex in them.

Most women prefer a higher waist, but not everyone. It’s important to find shorts with a waist that doesn’t rub against the hip belt of your pack. The most important thing is to find a fit that works for you.

 

3. SUN PROTECTION

It’s important to protect your legs from sun damage. Since you’re probably slathering the bottom half with sunblock, you want to make sure your hiking shorts protect the top half of your legs.
The sun protection rating for hiking shorts is akin to sunscreen. But it’s called Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) instead of Sun Protection Factor (SPF). Aim for a pair with at least 30 UPF. UPF is determined by the material, treatments, design, and newness.

Most good hiking shorts have a rating of 50+ UPF. A UPF of 50 only allows 2 percent of solar radiation through. Not bad.

 

4. POCKETS

One of the most important features of any hiking shorts are the pockets. How many pockets are there, and where are they? Women’s casual shorts often don’t have front pockets. Or if they do, the pockets aren’t functional. Hiking shorts usually have many functional pockets. So use them.

Go on, stuff those sunglasses right in. Most shorts will have front pockets, back pockets, and sometimes even cargo pockets. Fancy!

 

5. WEIGHT

Most hiking shorts are pretty lightweight, and they should be. No more than a few ounces. You should be able to move around in them without being weighed down.

Being made with lightweight material allows them to dry faster, pick up fewer odors, and breathe better. All important qualities for hiking in hot weather.

Some shorts are treated with DWR (Durable Water Repellent). This makes them water resistant, so it just beads right off your shorts instead of soaking through.

Useful for occasions when you might be in the mountains facing a summer monsoon. Shorts that are water or stain resistant might be a little bit heavier, but when it comes to shorts the difference is minor.

 

hiking shorts for women to wear

Photo by istockphoto.com/portfolio/kasto80

 

HIKING SHORTS FOR WOMEN REVIEWS

 

1. COLUMBIA SATURDAY TRAIL

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Hikers who want shorts they can wear to lunch

INSEAM: 5 inches

MATERIAL: Nylon, Elastane

PROS: Comfortable, breathable, lightweight, stain and water resistant, UPF 50

CONS: Sizing can be off for some people

 

 

 

2. OUTDOOR RESEARCH FERROSI

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Hikers who love to climb

INSEAM: 13 inches

MATERIAL: Nylon, Spandex

PROS: Stretchy, comfortable, breathable, water and stain resistant, low profile waist

CONS: Pockets are smaller than some other shorts

 

 

 

 

3. COLUMBIA EAST RIDGE

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Cooler summer days

INSEAM: 10 inches

MATERIAL: Nylon

PROS: Comfortable, durable, versatile, several pockets

CONS: Not as breathable as some other options, sizing can be off for some people

 

 

 

4. PRANA HAZEL

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Hikers who need more mobility

INSEAM: 7 inches

MATERIAL: Nylon, Spandex

PROS: Comfortable, several pockets, breathable, stretchy, water resistant

CONS: Can be noisy while walking

 

 

 

 

5. ROYAL ROBBINS BACKCOUNTRY

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Hikers who carry many gadgets

INSEAM: 5 inches

MATERIAL: Supplex Nylon

PROS: Comfortable, breathable, lightweight, UPF 50+,

CONS: Sizing can be off for some people

 

 

 

6. REI SAHARA

Check out the latest price on:
REI

BEST FOR: Long hikes or weekend trips

INSEAM: 10 inches

MATERIAL: Nylon

PROS: Lightweight, versatile, comfortable, UPF 50+, water and stain resistant, durable

CONS: Aren’t the most flattering fit

 

 

 

 

7. COLUMBIA ANYTIME

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: The casual hiker

INSEAM: 5 inches

MATERIAL: Nylon, Elastane

PROS: Comfortable, breathable, water and stain resistant, UPF 50, stretchy

CONS: Some shorts start pilling

 

 

 

8. WHITE SIERRA CRYSTAL COVE

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Hikers who want loose shorts to stay cool

INSEAM: 5 inches

MATERIAL: Nylon

PROS: Lightweight, breathable, several pockets, water resistant, durable

CONS: Sizing can be off for some people, the fit is too relaxed for smaller frames

 

 

 

 

9. COLUMBIA SANDY RIVER

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Hiking through or near water

INSEAM: 4 inches

MATERIAL: Nylon

PROS: Comfortable, lightweight, breathable, quick drying

CONS: The sizing can be off for some

 

 

 

10. CRAGHOPPERS KIWI PRO

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Beginner hikers looking for a deal

INSEAM: 8 inches

MATERIAL: Polyamide, Elastane

PROS: Comfortable, durable, stretchy, water and stain resistant, roomy pockets

CONS: Zipper can be faulty

Best Hiking Shorts for Women - Hiking Clothes for Summer, Winter, Fall and Spring – Hiking Outfits for Women, Men and Kids – Backpacking Gear For Beginners
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