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Want to scale that hill in cut-off jeans? Possible, but be warned: You may have chafing to deal with later! We are all used to being hot and sweaty and thinking about sun cream and hydration to prepare for a long day's hike in the sun. Sometimes what gets overlooked are details like the functionality of our hiking gear and more particularly our hiking kit.

Now of course you don't NEED special hiking shorts, shirts or underwear. It is possible to scale that hill in cut-off jeans. But trust me, you will feel the difference if you get caught in an unexpected shower or need to wade through a river and you are forced to hike for miles with heavy wet shorts. The chafing alone is worth reading this!  So keeping going. You did well to land on this page.

How We Uncover The Best For You

When we were asked to write about hiking shorts we were happy to throw ourselves into researching the best hiking shorts for women we could recommend. We were careful to put functionality at the top of our list of must-haves.

We enjoy immersing ourselves in the world of hiking to find the best for you so you don't have to do all that research yourself. You want to be out there climbing or trekking, don't you? So read on to see what we have found for you:  

Best Lightweight Flexible Hiking Shorts

SANTINY Hiking Cargo Shorts

A Cracking Choice For Hiking Shorts Of Light Flexible Fabric


We Chose This Because

  • Lightweight Cool Style
  • Storage
  • Flexible Fabric

Things We Love

The Santiny Hiking Cargo Shorts are the perfect choice for your next hike! Made of a lightweight and breathable fabric, they are flexible and easy to wear. The elastic waistband ensures a comfortable and secure fit, while the drawstring allows you to adjust the hiking shorts to your desired fit.

The cargo pockets provide ample storage space for all your hiking essentials. Durable and stylish, the Santiny Hiking Cargo Shorts are a must-have for any hike!

Things To Know

Looking for a versatile pair of women's hiking shorts that you can wear on any adventure? Made of quick-drying nylon and spandex fabric, these Bermuda shorts will keep you comfortable no matter what activity you're doing.

They're also water repellent and offer 50+ UPF sun protection, so you can enjoy your time outdoors without worry.

Plus, the four zipper pockets are perfect for storing all your essentials. Whether you're hot weather hiking, camping, or just spending time in the backyard, the Santiny cargo hiking shorts are a great choice.

Best Sporty Shorts For Hiking

Willit Hiking Shorts

A Cracking Choice For A Sporty Look


We Chose This Because

  • Durable
  • Functional Storage Pockets
  • Quick Drying

Things We Love

Looking for a sporty yet stylish pair of women's hiking shorts? Willit Hiking Shorts are the perfect choice for active or casual wear. They have a comfy soft, thick material that is very durable.

The stretchable material on these sporty hiking shorts ensures a perfect fit. The elastic waistband with drawstrings lets you tighten the shorts if required.

There are also two deep pockets which are perfect for carrying your essentials. Whether you're hitting the trail or just relaxing at home, Willit Hiking Shorts will keep you comfortable all day long.

Things To Know

Made from a breathable, moisture-wicking fabric, these hiking shorts are designed to keep you cool and comfortable on even the longest hikes.  The lightweight and quick-drying design make them ideal for active adventures. No longer do you have to worry about damp shorts and chafing. So whether you're hitting the trails or just watching the sunset with your hiking partner, Willit Hiking Shorts are a great choice.

Best Value Budget Hiking Shorts

Columbia Sandy River Shorts

A Cracking Choice For Hikers On A Budget


We Chose This Because

  • Affordability
  • Flexible Fabric
  • Adjustable

Things We Love

Columbia Sandy River Shorts are great for anyone who wants comfort and functionality without breaking the bank. The stretchy material is perfect for activity, as it provides a great range of motion, but it's also loose fitting so you won't feel restricted.

The zippable pockets are perfect for storing your essentials, and the adjustable belt with belt loops ensures a great fit. Whether you're hitting the trails or just running errands, these affordable hiking shorts are the best budget hiking shorts. At such a great value, you can't go wrong.

Things To Know

Looking for a pair of lightweight hiking shorts for women that will keep you cool and comfortable all day long? Made from 100% polyester, these shorts are quick-drying and breathable, making them perfect for hot summer days.

They also offer 30+ UPF sun protection, so you can enjoy your time outdoors without worrying about harmful UV rays.

The Sandy River Shorts are durable and lasting, meaning you'll be able to wear them for seasons to come. So whether you're headed to the mountains or just trekking along the river, make sure you pack a pair of Columbia Sandy River Shorts with your other outdoor gear.

Best For Shorter Length

Columbia Saturday Trail Shorts

A Cracking Choice For Shorter Shorts


We Chose This Because

  • Short Design
  • Flexible Fabric
  • Sun Protection

Things We Love

The Columbia Saturday Trail Short is a versatile piece that can be used for both active and casual wear. Made from a soft nylon and elastane fabric, it is lightweight and extremely comfortable to wear.

The stretchable material also allows for a full range of movement, while the wicking properties help to keep you dry by drawing sweat away from the body.

Additionally, the shorter length makes this short ideal for warm weather conditions. Whether you're hitting the trails or just running errands around town, the Columbia Saturday Trail Short is a great option.

Things To Know

The Columbia Hiking Shorts for women are the perfect style choice for your next hike! They're stylish, durable, and long-lasting. Plus, they have front and back pockets for all your essentials. With 50+ UPF sun protection, you'll stay safe from the sun's harmful rays.

And they're water and stain resistant, so you don't have to worry about getting them dirty. Plus, they're quick-drying, so you can wear them again and again. So why wait? Get yourself a pair of Columbia Saturday Trail Shorts today!

Best All Rounder

Eddie Bauer Pro Shorts

A Cracking Choice For Good Quality


We Chose This Because

  • Ergonomic Design
  • Moisture Wicking
  • Eco Friendly

Things We Love

The Eddie Bauer Pro Shorts are a great hiking shorts option, all round. They are lightweight and great for lounging, walking and sporty activities. The designer has focused on the athlete's movement requirements, which means they are perfect for hiking.

The functional pockets are great for keeping your essentials safe and the belt means you can always get the perfect fit. The moisture-wicking and quick-drying properties make them ideal for all kinds of activities. Whether you're looking for shorts to lounge in, or to take on an adventurous hike, the Eddie Bauer Pro Shorts are a great option.

Things To Know

Looking for a pair of eco-friendly women's hiking shorts that will keep you comfortable all day long? These shorts are made of 94% nylon and 6% spandex, making them both flexible and breathable.

And because they're made without harmful environmental chemicals, you can feel good knowing that you're supporting sustainable textile production.

Plus, they're treated with a water-resistant finish and UPF 50+ sun protection, making them perfect for any outdoor activity. So whether you're hiking, biking, or just enjoying a day in the sun, Eddie Bauer Pro Shorts are a great choice.

Best Hiking Shorts For You?

When you are trying to make a choice like this, it is useful to understand the criteria to take into account when making your decision. That's why we have built this Buyers Guide for you.

What Shorts Should Women Wear Hiking?

What the best women's hiking shorts are will vary depending on the person's body type and hiking needs. That said, some general tips on what to look for in a good pair of hiking shorts include:


Make sure the shorts are made from a lightweight and breathable fabric. This will help to keep you cool and comfortable on even the most strenuous hikes.

A fabric that is moisture-wicking, so that it can help keep you dry when you're active. Generally, moisture-wicking fabrics also dry quickly when wet which is perfect for hiking in wet weather.

You'll want to choose a pair with a durable fabric. This will help protect your shorts from wear and tear while hiking.

It's good to choose shorts with a built-in sunscreen or UPF rating. This will protect your skin from harmful UV rays, especially on longer hikes.


Look for shorts with plenty of pockets. This will give you a place to store essentials like snacks and a map. This will allow you to carry all of your necessary gear with you on the trail.

A length that is appropriate for the activity (shorts that are too long may get caught on things when you're hiking, while shorts that are too short makes you more susceptible to getting scratched or sunburnt).


Finally, you'll want to find a pair that fits well and is comfortable to wear - not too tight or too loose. Make sure the shorts allow for a full range of motion. This will help you stay comfortable and avoid chafing on even the longest hikes.  

The Best Hiking Shorts For Women - Your Questions Answered

Did you see how these hiking shorts are fit for the task? How cool are some of those features?! Even so, you may have some questions. I know other hikers have. So what we do is include some of the FAQs from other hikers to help you make your choice of the best women's hiking shorts with your needs in mind.

Your Answers Are Just A Short Distance Away, Keep Reading!

Is It Better To Wear Shorts Or Leggings When Hiking?

If you're hike-a-holic like me, then you know there is no "right" answer to this question. It all depends on your personal preference and the conditions of the hike.

Here are some things to consider when making your decision:

If it's hot out, shorts might be your best bet to stay cool. Leggings can sometimes be too warm – particularly if you're hiking in direct sunlight.

But if you're hiking in tall grass or brush, hiking leggings will protect your legs from scratches and ticks, whereas with shorts your legs are more exposed. Having said that, leggings are often made of a thin fabric that will not be up to the task. So if you are planning a hike and ticks are an issue, please look at purchasing pants instead of leggings.

If you are opting for hiking shorts for your hike, rather than leggings, remember to apply sun cream to your legs!

Should You Wear Pants Or Shorts When Hiking?

Some people might say that pants are the more practical choice when hiking especially when the weather is changeable or if you will be walking through long grass and there is a risk of ticks.

On extreme days in the summer months, we think shorts are the way to go! They'll keep you cool in the heat and they don't take up as much space in your backpack (always an important consideration). Plus, there's nothing quite like feeling the wind on your legs as you hike.

As for leg protection, please remember that even if you opt to buy pants for hiking, you should check your socks and legs carefully for ticks at the end of the day.

So go ahead and grab a pair of shorts for your next hike. Just make sure to apply sunscreen to your exposed skin! And if you happen to run into any bears, well, at least you'll look good :)

Is It Better To Hike In Jeans Or Leggings?

Hiking Pants would be a better choice than either of these. However, if you were forced to choose between the two, then consider carefully the weather conditions you will be hiking in. 

Jeans will keep you warmer, but they are far less forgiving when you are trying to climb as they don't stretch the way leggings do. Mobility is an important consideration. 

Jeans will also take a very long time to dry if they get wet on your hike. this can cause chafing and you could become chilled.

Leggings are more elastic and will protect you from sunburn in the same way as jeans would. They would not however keep you warm when a cold wind is blowing.

Should Hiking Pants Be Tight?

For women, hiking pants should be comfortable and flexible enough not to inhibit movement. Some women prefer tight-fitting pants like leggings (that are elasticised) when they wear long pants. Others prefer something a bit looser. If you choose the latter be careful to take into account the effect of chafing which can happen if your shorts are too big for you. 

They should also provide a level of comfort and protection against the elements. That's why it's important to find a pair of hiking pants that are made with high-quality materials and construction. So when you're looking for your next pair of hiking pants, make sure to choose a style that fits your body type and needs.

What Should I Wear For Hiking In Summer?

The best clothes to wear for hiking in summer will vary depending on the climate and terrain you'll be hiking in. However, some general tips can help you choose the right clothes for a summer hike.

For starters, it's important to choose light and airy fabrics that will help you stay cool and comfortable in warm weather.

Cotton is a good option, but synthetic fabrics like polyester or merino wool may actually be better at wicking away sweat and keeping you cool.

You'll also want to avoid dark colors, which absorb heat, and instead opt for lighter shades that reflect sunlight.

As far as specific garments go, a pair of shorts is a must in warm weather. Choose a pair that's comfortable and breathable, with plenty of room to move.

And if you'll be hiking in areas with long grass or brush, make sure your hiking shorts are long enough to protect your legs from scratches.

A light t-shirt or tank top is another essential, along with a sun hat and sunglasses to protect your face from the sun. And don't forget to pack sunscreen!

Hiking boots should be worn whatever the weather. They protect your ankles from turning. Getting a sprained ankle out in the wilderness can be avoided by wearing a sturdy pair of boots. Replace wool socks with cotton and you are good to go!

If you want your gear near at hand you may want to consider a hip belt. Some hikers use this to hang gear such as a compact flashlight, or camping knife.

How Many Calories Do You Burn On Average When Hiking?

For women, the amount of calories burned while hiking varies depending on weight, intensity, and duration of the hike. However, on average, a woman will burn around 150- 250 calories per half hour while hiking.

What Type Of Pants Are Best For Hiking?

There is no definitive answer to this question since everyone's body type and hiking style is different. However, in general, pants that are made specifically for hiking are a good option because they are designed to be both comfortable and durable.

For some women, pants with a stretchy waistband are often a good choice because they provide a lot of flexibility and movement. Others prefer the security of a tailored, belted pair.

It's good to be able to wear a belt hiking as it can serve as a means to carry essential gear. Have a look at our article on the best belts for hiking for more info.

Additionally, it's important to choose pants that are made from a durable material but avoid cotton, which can become heavy and wet when exposed to moisture.

Always try to find a pair of hiking pants (whether short or long) that have secure pockets to keep your phone and other gear safe.

Can I Wear Bike Shorts For Hiking?

For women, bike shorts are definitely not the best option for hiking. Bike shorts are designed to be tight and fit close to the body in order to reduce wind drag while biking, which is not what you want when hiking.

Instead, opt for a pair of hiking shorts or pants that are made of lightweight, breathable fabric. Additionally, look for a style that has at least one zippered pocket in which you can store your essentials like sunscreen, lip balm, and insect repellent.

Are you suitably inspired? We were blown away by the well-thought-out designs. It's about planning ahead. For instance, when you are at the bottom of the mountain, you probably didn't even think how happy you would be that your hiking shorts are lightweight.

At the summit, every step in any heavy gear you are carrying will count. It's a little thing, but it all adds up. Again, with our focus on finding shorts for you that provided practical solutions to the rigours of the outdoors, we found lightweight shorts, shorts that facilitated movement, and shorts that dried quickly if they got wet. Let's have another look:

Our Choice Of Lightweight Flexible Hiking Shorts

SANTINY Hiking Cargo Shorts

Our Choice Of Sporty Hiking Shorts

Willit Hiking Shorts

Our Choice Of Shorter Length Shorts

Columbia Saturday Trail Shorts

Our Choice For Hikers On A Budget

Columbia Sandy River Shorts

Our Choice Of Best Quality All Round

Eddie Bauer Pro Shorts

I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it. SO many happy hiking memories made for a pleasant writing experience. We hope that by doing the research for you, and finding these awesome women's hiking shorts, you can put your mind to preparing for your hike and have more time for fun!

Keep Asking Questions And We Will Keep Finding Answers For You.

Make Your Choice A Cracking One!

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