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There’s no denying that when warm weather strikes, it’s time to trade in your beloved hiking pants for a good pair of hiking shorts. However, finding the best hiking shorts for women is no easy task. The ideal pair will be super functional, incredibly comfortable, and sport a flattering fit at just the right length. Where do you find such a perfect pair of hiking shorts?

That’s where we come in. Here at The Adventure Junkies, we take the guesswork out of the equation by making it our mission to help you find the best option for you. We’ll tell you precisely what to look for in a good pair of women’s hiking shorts along with our top 10 recommendations.

For more of our top hiking gear recommendations, check out the Best Hiking Shorts

hiking gift guide
Hiking Gift Guide

 

Quick Answer - The Best Hiking Shorts for Women

  1. The North Face Aphrodite 2.0
  2. The North Face Class V
  3. Patagonia Barely Baggies
  4. Mountain Hardwear AP
  5. prAna Ravenna Knickers
  6. prAna Olivia
  7. Columbia Pilsner Peak Cargo
  8. Mountain Hardwear Dynama Bermuda
  9. Columbia Silver Ridge
  10. Patagonia Quandary

 

 

Comparison Table - The Best Women's Hiking Shorts

PictureNameMaterialStyleInseamPriceRating
The North Face Aphrodite 2.0Nylon/ElastanePull-onShort (4 in.)$4.7
The North Face Class VNylonPull-onShort (4 in.)$5.0
-Patagonia Barely BaggiesRecycled NylonPull-onSuper Short (2.5 in.)$$4.6
Mountain Hardwear APCotton/Elastane/NylonTrouserShort (5 in.)$$5.0
prAna Ravenna KnickersNylon/SpandexCapri PantsLong (16 in.)$$$4.7
prAna OliviaNylon/SpandexTrouserShort (5 in.)$$5.0
Columbia Pilsner Peak CargoPolyester/NylonPull-OnShort (6 in.)$5.0
Mountain Hardwear Dynama BermudaNylon/ElastanePull-OnMedium (9 in.)$$5.0
Columbia Silver RidgeNylonPull-OnShort (4 in.)$4.5
Patagonia QuandaryNylon/SpandexTrouserShort (5 in.)$$4.3
PictureNameMaterialStyleInseamPriceRating

MULTI-DAY HIKING PACKING LIST

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Want to learn more about a technical term? Check out our Features Explained section below.

Need buying advice? Take a look at these Things to Consider.

Reviews - Best Hiking Shorts for Women

The North Face Aphrodite 2.0

Specs
  • Inseam: Short (4 in.)
  • Material: Nylon/Elastane
  • Style: Pull-on
Features
  • Nice Length (not too long and not too short)
  • Super Comfy (with hidden drawcord inside for easy size adjustment)
  • Wicks Away Sweat
  • Small Front Zipper Pocket

BEST FOR: HIKERS WHO WANT A BALANCED LENGTH

Not too short and not too long, The North Face Aphrodite 2.0 strikes a nice length. Combined with stretchy material and a solid waistband, these shorts will keep you so comfy that you’ll be excited about tackling a strenuous incline.

Speaking of incline, as you’re working up a sweat these shorts will work hard to wick away moisture and keep you dry throughout your hike. If you’re a woman who values comfort, yet isn’t into bootie shorts and doesn’t dig mom pants, these shorts are the perfect pair for you.

The North Face Class V

Specs
  • Inseam: Short (4 in.)
  • Material: Nylon
  • Style: Pull-on
Features
  • Hands And Small Zip Pocket (for storing valuables)
  • High Sun Protection Rating (50 UPF)
  • Quick-drying

BEST FOR: HIKERS WHO LIKE SPORTY SHORTS

Love the freedom of running shorts? The North Face Class V Hike 2.0 features that same feeling of freedom. These shorts are designed with a short length sporty fit matched by trail performance to gear you up for a day of trekking.

This doesn’t mean you’re totally without sun protection. These shorts have the highest rating when it comes to sun protection so you don’t have to worry about burning your pasty white thighs on your first trip out this summer. The novelty belt is also a nice touch as it offers more support to secure your shorts, preventing them from riding up or falling down.

Patagonia Barely Baggies

Specs
  • Inseam: Super Short (2.5 in.)
  • Material: Recycled Nylon
  • Style: Pull-on
Features
  • Water-resistant And Quick Drying
  • Attractive Fit
  • Adjustable Waistband

BEST FOR: HIKING AROUND WATER

Patagonia Barely Baggies aren’t your average hiking shorts. Mixing an attractive modern design with a durable fabric, these shorts are made for romping around all summer long in a stylish fit.

Quick-drying with a water-resistant coating, these shorts are ready to tackle all your wet and wild adventures. While you’re on your way to hidden swimming holes or crystal blue alpine lakes, your legs will have plenty of room to breathe with the short 2.5 inch inseam length. Go ahead and jump in, your short shorts will be dry in no time.

Mountain Hardwear AP

Specs
  • Inseam: Short (5 in.)
  • Material: Cotton/Elastane/Nylon
  • Style: Trouser
Features
  • Sun Protection
  • Secure Pocket
  • Harness Compatible For Climbers

BEST FOR: SHORTER DAY HIKES OR CLIMBERS

Even if you’re just headed out for a short jaunt, or a quick approach to a climbing crag, you’ll want to throw on something comfy and cozy like the Mountain Hardwear AP Shorts. With their cotton and nylon blend, you’ll have a nice balance of soft, breathable material with some durability mixed in. Plus, they’re long enough in the legs and high enough around the waist that wearing a climbing harness with these shorts won’t cause any issues at all, keeping you cool and comfortable from trail to crag and on up the wall.

Adding to your comfort level, the AP Shorts are designed with a bit of leg flare to leave you chafe-free. Meanwhile, the gusseted construction allows for extra stretch so you don’t have to worry about feeling constricted. Slip these on for a mile or two and see how you feel. You may just find yourself wanting to go a little further.

prAna Ravenna Knickers

Specs
  • Inseam: Long (16 in.)
  • Material: Nylon/Spandex
  • Style: Capri Pants
Features
  • High Sun Protection Rating (50 UPF)
  • Lightweight
  • Durable And Stretchy Material

BEST FOR: SUN PROTECTION

Don’t want to run the risk of winding up with red thighs? The Prana Revenna Knickers have you covered. These shorts, or knickers rather, only rise knee high and offer UPF 50+ which is the best rating you can get when it comes to sun protection in clothing.

Sporting a lightweight material and relaxed fit, you’ll have plenty of stretch to maneuver around  exposed rocky terrain. You won’t have to worry about tears in these shorts, either. The narrow legs mean less material to snag on branches or rocks, so all you need to worry about is how to scramble up.

prAna Olivia

Specs
  • Inseam: Short (5 in.)
  • Material: Nylon/Spandex
  • Style: Trouser
Features
  • Stylish
  • Comfy With A Relaxed Fit (a button-front fly keeps these shorts comfortable and secure)
  • Moisture-wicking Finish (to prevent the shorts from getting soaked in the rain)

BEST FOR: HIKING OR TOWN

Looking to go from trail to town? Throw on a pair of Prana Olivia Shorts and get going. These shorts mix style and function, performing well on the trail and looking great off it in town as well.

The Olivia Shorts have a flattering trouser style cut with a mid-length rise. Made from a stretchy, moisture-wicking material, you’ll keep cool and comfortable with the relaxed fit no matter the difficulty rating of your hike. Just don’t forget to grab a change of shoes for your outdoor trek.

Columbia Pilsner Peak Cargo

Specs
  • Inseam: Short (6 in.)
  • Material: Polyester/Nylon
  • Style: Pull-On
Features
  • Plenty of Pockets
  • High Sun Protection Rating (50 UPF)
  • Pull-on Style For Easy Dressing

BEST FOR: HIKERS WHO LOVE POCKETS

The last thing you need on your hike is to be loaded down by a pair of thick, heavy cargo shorts. Do yourself a favor and upgrade to a lighter, more breathable summer version like the Columbia Pilsner Peak Pull-On Cargo.

These cargo style shorts come with an excellent sun protection rating and all the pockets you can dream of. And better yet, they’re comfortable and functional. Sporting an adjustable drawcord waist, you can slip them on without fussing around with tight buttons. These shorts are terrific for the woman who loves utility mixed with comfortability.

Mountain Hardwear Dynama Bermuda

Specs
  • Inseam: Medium (9 in.)
  • Material: Nylon/Elastane
  • Style: Pull-On
Features
  • Roomy Legs
  • Comfy Waistband
  • Secure Zip Pocket For Small Items

BEST FOR: WOMEN WITH CURVY HIPS

If comfort and coverage are your two top priorities in hiking shorts, you’ll dig the Mountain Hardwear Dynama Bermuda Shorts. With a roomy fit and stretchy waistline, knee-length shorts don’t get any cozier than this.

These shorts have a clean appearance, streamlining their design and performance. Without the need for buttons, bulky zippers, or purely novelty features, you’ll enjoy the ultimate free range of motion when hiking around. That doesn’t mean these shorts are completely without useful features. You’ll find the deep hand pockets and a side secure zip pocket are just the right touch.

Columbia Silver Ridge

Specs
  • Inseam: Short (4 in.)
  • Material: Nylon
  • Style: Pull-On
Features
  • Side Cargo And Security Pocket
  • Adjustable Waist (hidden drawcord inside for easy size adjustment)
  • Comfortable Fit

BEST FOR: HIKING IN SUMMER

Add a little pep in your step with the patterned Columbia Silver Ridge Printed Shorts. These shorts have everything you could want in a quality pair of hiking shorts and they look fun too! Toss a pair on and get ready to explore around. The athletic style design along with the elastic waistband is as comfy as they come. Did we also mention they wick away moisture so they’ll keep you dry? Brighten up the trail and find your favorite printed pair today!

Patagonia Quandary

Specs
  • Inseam: Short (5 in.)
  • Material: Nylon/Spandex
  • Style: Trouser
Features
  • Plenty Of Pockets
  • Secure Waistline
  • Repels Light Moisture (to keep you cool and dry while you sweat)
  • Trouser Style (with button, zip fly, and hidden drawcord inside for maximum adjustability)

BEST FOR: WOMEN WITH NARROW FIGURES

Lightweight and water-repellent, the slim fitting Patagonia Quandary Shorts are ready to help you put in some miles. The thin material aids in keeping your legs cool while the snap button and drawcord waistline doubles up in keeping them secure.

Don’t be fooled by the slim fit – these pants have plenty of stretch to move with your body so your legs won’t feel restricted while in motion. There’s also two front pockets and two rear pockets so you can stash small items without having to dig into your daypack.

 

Hiking Gear Course
Hiking Gear Course

 

 

THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING HIKING SHORTS FOR WOMEN

MATERIAL

A good pair of hiking shorts will be made out of a material that’s breathable and comfortable. Ideally, the material is also quick-drying and moisture wicking so you can stay dry while keeping cool at the same time.

The most popular material you’ll find in a quality pair of hiking shorts is usually nylon. Nylon offers all these features we just mentioned, plus it’s durable. That means you won’t have to worry about tackling rugged terrain or worry about tears when getting snagged by a branch.

Nylon is also usually paired with some form of stretching material, like elastane or spandex, to increase mobility and comfortability.

 

WEIGHT

Along with the material, you’ll find hiking shorts with a lighter weight offer better mobility. Luckily, most hiking shorts weigh only a few ounces. Needless to say, find a pair that lets you move around comfortably without any extra weight added to slow you down.

 

FIT

Are you a low-rise kind of gal or do you prefer your pants to hug your waist? Do you like to wear short shorts or are knee-length shorts up more your style? What about a loose fit versus tight? You’ll be the most comfortable if your hiking shorts match the style of shorts you typically wear off the trail, so look for a fit that is a close match.

 

STYLE

Let’s face it, style matters – at least to an extent. Hiking shorts come in a wide range of styles with everything from “I wouldn’t be caught dead in that” to “who cares, I’m out in the middle of nowhere.” You’ll want to find a style that suits your tastes best because if you don’t like it, odds are you won’t be wearing it.

 

POCKETS

Ladies, we do love our pockets, don’t we? Pockets are an excellent feature to have in a pair of hiking shorts. They let you stash a map, compass, energy bar, and other small items all without the need to dig into your pack. Be sure the hiking shorts you choose have ample space to stash anything you want to keep accessible while on the trail.

 

 

FEATURES EXPLAINED

SECURITY POCKETS

These are small zipper pockets that keep tiny items safe. They’re great for stashing things like your car keys or your ID.

SUN PROTECTION RATING (UPF)

Like your sunscreen, the clothing you wear has a sun protection rating called the UPF. The UPF rating will tell you how much or how little your clothes block out harmful UV sun rays. A UPF 50+ is considered the best as it’s the highest rating you will find. Meanwhile, a UPF 20 or UPF 15 is considered to be good.

We should note that if a manufacturer doesn’t mention a specific rating it’s probably so low on the scale it barely blocks out any rays at all. So when in doubt, lather up on the sunscreen!

GUSSETED CONSTRUCTION

When you move, your motion can put a strain on your hiking shorts. This can cause seams to weaken with wear over time. What a gusseted construction does is help eliminate that strain by sewing in an additional piece of material to strengthen the seam.

This way, you can bend, stretch, climb, and hike all you want on the trail without worrying about your motion tearing a hole in your shorts.

MOISTURE WICKING

In a nutshell, when you sweat, a moisture wicking material will pull that sweat towards the surface of the material while speeding up evaporation. This helps keep you dry and your clothes from looking like you swam with your shirt on. If you’re hiking in the heat or plan on working up a sweat, you’ll definitely want moisture wicking shorts on your side.

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