Best Petite Hiking Pants For Women 2022

The Best Petite Hiking Pants

Hiking pants that fit, wear well, and don’t “grow” as you wear them can make your hike a pleasant experience or an exercise in frustration. It takes time to find the right pants for your body.

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Want to skip to the end? Here’s a quick rundown of our votes for the Best Hiking Pants for Petite Hikers.

Top Petite Hiking Pants
prAna Halle Pant IIRetail = $95
Outdoor Research Ferrosi PantRetail = $89
Columbia Saturday Trail PantRetail = $65
The North Face Aphrodite 2.0Retail = $69
Honorable Mentions
REI Sahara Convertible PantRetail = $70
Kuhl KlashTM PantRetail = $139

If you’re a petite hiker, it can be even harder to find that elusive perfect fit. As someone that stands 5’3″, I understand the struggle.

There are two measurements you need to keep in mind when you look for pants.

The first measurement is the inseam. This is taken from the bottom of the pant leg to the middle of the crotch where the four seams come together. It’s a measurement of the length of the pant leg.

The second measurement is the rise. This is taken from the top of the waist to the middle of the crotch. It will give you an idea of where the waist will fall on your body.

Compiling the List of the Top 4 Petite Hiking Pants

I asked other petite hikers to give me their two cents and compiled the list below of the top 4 hiking pants for petite hikers.

Surprisingly, there was a lot of commonality in the replies. I personally own and regularly wear all of the top 4 pants.

Since we’re all unique, two honorable mentions are added to provide more variety.

The Best Hiking Pants for Petites

Without further ado, here are the top 4 hiking pants for petite hikers.

prAna Halle II

Materials: 97% Recycled Nylon/5% Elastane

Weight: 13.4 ounces

Retail: $95

Convertible Option: No

Features: DWR finish, hidden zip stash pocket, roll up legs, articulated knees

Pros: Consistent sizing, sturdy hiking pants

Cons: Stretch as you wear them, fit not as flattering as the older version

Prana is one of my go-to brands and, it turns out, a lot of fellow petite hikers also love them. They have a lower rise keeps great for those with a shorter torso and backpackers who like their waistband to sit lower than their pack.

Changes since 2020 and 2021: The inseam was raised and the thighs have more room. The pants are now made with 3% elastane for stretch rather than 2% spandex. The UPF protection is no longer built into the fabric. The pockets are larger, but the fabric is thinner and has more give making it difficult to store a bulky item like a phone comfortably.

If you hated the original because the waist was too low, give them a try. For a slimmer fit, there’s a straight version available.

The front fly features two buttons and a zipper for a polished look, but with a drawstring to help you keep them up where they belong.

All hikers said they fit true to size. I’ve also found the sizing to be consistent across different models and from year to year. The fabric is soft and will stretch as you wear it so if you’re between sizes, consider going down.

One source of frustration is the lack of deep pockets. There’s no pocket large enough for newer phone models and the overall placement of the pockets isn’t great. I’d love a cargo pocket on at least one leg.

While comfortable, the fabric stretches out over time and begins to thin and pill.

Where to Purchase

Outdoor Research Ferrosi

Materials: 86% Nylon (46% Recylced), 14% spandex, 90D Stretch Woven Ripstop

Weight: 8.95 ounces

Retail: $89

Convertible Option: Yes

Features: Water-resistant, UPF 50, hidden zip stash pocket, roll-up leg, lightweight

Pros: Consistent sizing, sturdy hiking pants

Cons: Small pockets, stretch as you wear them

I had heard all the rave reviews about the Ferrosi pants and had to try them. They’re one of the lightest-weight pants you can get, which is important for backpacking.

Changes since 2020 and 2021: The cut is completely different and the pants fit much tighter now. Most reviewers (and myself) recommend going up a size if you have an older pair you love. My current size was so tight in the thighs that it felt like I would rip the fabric walking up the stairs. Sizing up caused the waist to be too high and fit oddly from the inseam to the waist. Needless to say, I hope they bring back the original fit. Several reviewers love the new fit and they have great features, so it’s worth a try.

Lightweight, barely-there material that moves with you and generous pockets make these an easy favorite. The pockets are so deep you could lose an iPhone 13 in them.

Outdoor Research seems to produce a limited stock of their clothing, especially the women’s. This makes it difficult to find the color and size combo you want when you need it.

They also seem to tweak the design every launch so be aware of small differences.

I’ve worn my pair from 2020 extensively and they’ve held up well.

Where to Purchase

Columbia Saturday Trail

Materials: 96% nylon/4% elastane

Weight: 11.2 ounces

Retail: $65

Convertible Option: Yes

Features: Water repellent, UPF 50, hidden zip stash pocket, roll-up leg, articulated knees

Pros: Consistent sizing, sturdy hiking pants

Cons: Small pockets, no drawstring

I’ve had my pair of Columbia Saturday Trail pants for years. Flattering with a bit of stretch and great coverage, they’re perfect for hiking year-round in North Carolina.

The rise is slightly higher and there isn’t a drawstring at the waist which is why I usually don’t wear them backpacking.

The inside of the waistband is lined in a soft material to add comfort and prevent chafing. The overall cut of the pant is larger than most of the other brands.

Several other hikers mentioned the flattering cut, but I feel they’re a bit boxy.

Columbia is eerily consistent with sizing across different models and from year to year.

They don’t change their winning models frequently which means there’s a good chance you can resupply when you need them.

My Saturday Trail pants have held up well with moderate use.

Where to Purchase

The North Face Aphrodite 2.0

Materials: 95% Nylon, 5% Elastane

Weight: 8 ounces

Retail: $69

Convertible Option: No

Features: 2-inch wide rib-knit waistband, UPF 50, FlashDryTM technology to wick moisture, DWR finish, lifetime warranty

Pros: Flattering, comfortable, good size pockets

Cons: Difficult to hem due to drawcords at the ankle, some reports of pilling in the fabric

I’ve owned my pair of Aphrodite pants for over 5 years and they’ve held up well. The fabric doesn’t tend to stretch out as you wear them which is a plus for me.

While you may initially cringe at the words “elastic waistband”, this is the exception. The North Face engineered it to be comfortable and flattering with a 2X2 rib-knit. It won’t roll or bunch on you regardless of the activity. And it’s actually flattering.

These are some of the most flattering hiking pants you can buy. They go from trail to downtown seamlessly. As a bonus, they also make a capri which may just be my favorite summer hiking pant.

A few things to note, since nothing is perfect. The ankle drawcords allow you to adjust the length somewhat, but if they’re too long then you’ll need to walk away. It’s difficult and expensive to hem a pair of pants like this. You would lose the ability to pull them in at the ankle.

The online weight claims 8 ounces, but mine feel heavier and my luggage scale says 12 ounces. The material is also not very breathable so I wouldn’t recommend these on hot, muggy, days.

Another note is that many reviewers mentioned the fabric pills, especially on the gray pants. I have not noticed this with mine. There is a lifetime warranty against defects, but it’s difficult to say if it would apply to the pilling.

Where to Purchase

Honorable Mentions

REI Sahara Convertible: The Sahara gets rave reviews online and from other hikers I know. They lowered the waist on the 2022 model and I’ve now purchased a pair of these. They’re actually one of the better-fitting pants if you need a lower waist. While not perfect, they’re decent. I also appreciate the lightness of the fabric. What was once a bulky pair of pants is now on par with some of the lighter ones out there.

Pros: Consistent cut, consistent availability, zippers from the knee to the ankle, colored zippers to identify right and left legs

Cons: They have elastic at the back of the waist. While some people love this, it can become uncomfortable under a backpacking waist belt. The pants are also a bit short. That’s perfect for some Petites, but not everyone is going to like the length.

You can check out the REI Sahara Convertible pants here.

Kuhl KlashTM Pant: I have Kuhl pants and love them. The company tends to change the lineup frequently so when you find a pair, grab two. They also seem to sometimes lean towards outdoor “fashion” rather than function. You need to catch them on a good season for your needs.

For 2022, Kuhl has the lowest rise on women’s hiking pants I’ve found and they almost always have a drawstring at the waist. Kuhl likes to cut their pants with a slim design, but the fabrics tend to have give and move with you.

Pros: Consistent sizing, water repellent finish, Ultrasuede waistband for comfort, reverse coil zippers that prevent water from entering pockets

Cons: Pants change every season, small pockets, bottom zipper at the ankle which makes hemming difficult

You can check out the Kuhl KlashTM pants here.

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5 Responses

  • The North Face Aphrodite 2.0 are my favourite of the bunch, the waistband actually looks good. Plus I’m so into olive colours lately!

    • I do love those pants:) I find them a little hot on muggy days, but they’re perfect for fall here in NC.

      • My go to hiking is the REI Sahara petite as I can count on it being the correct size no matter when I buy a pair. The price is fair and love the colored zips to fasten on the right side. A big plus when one is in a hurry and going from being warm to being suddenly cold. Also they no longer have a built in belt just a pull type bucket in the front. But belt loops if you want to add one.

        • I know a lot of people that love the Saharas. The waist is just a little too high for me, otherwise I’d give them a try. REI does do a good job with consistent sizing. Also love that they don’t mess much with a winning style.

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