Hiking clothing is a must for the outdoors. You want breathable shorts that are comfy, stretchy, and most of all, you need shorts that won't chafe. A good pair of shorts for the backcountry will make you wonder why you haven't invested in apparel for one of your favorite hobbies earlier: after all, not all shorts are made the same. For instance, your workout shorts might not be lightweight enough or offer UV protection. You'll also need to make sure your shorts are sweat-wicking and easy to move in. In addition to that, there are hiking shorts with fabric that will wick away sweat -- and you may even need ones that are water-resistant or water-repellent. Any of these options will help you stay dry and comfy. Shorts made with a percentage of elastane (Spandex) will also make them stretchy, because no one wants to hike in shorts that are hard to move in. And of course, some specs like zippered pockets or back pockets don't hurt. Having roomy pockets allows easy access to your phone, keys, or any essentials you may need when hiking.We also love shorts made of UPF fabric to keep your legs protected from the sun's rays as much as possible, even when you're in shorts. A UPF rating of 30 or higher is best. 50+ is excellent. These hiking shorts for women meet every standard for hiking. See which pair (or two) you'll wear for your next outdoor adventure.
1. Our Top Pick
Like the rest of their apparel, Columbia puts comfort first in their women's hiking shorts. These mid-rise women's hiking shorts offer UPF 50 sun protection and have a looser fit without being baggy, plus the 5-inch inseam is long enough to be comfortable. They can withstand light moisture and stains, making them a great pick for brisk mornings on the trail, and they have pockets, so you'll be able to store a few essentials that are too much of a hassle to reach for in your hiking backpack. They're available in tan and dark colors so it'll be super easy to match plenty of your hiking shirts with these shorts. These shorts are super casual and have a fit that makes them ideal for wearing to parks, lunch, or running errands as well. They're available in sizes 2 to 18.
2. Our Runner-up
Prana's shorts have a moisture-wicking finish, which is exactly what you should be looking for in hiking shorts. The mid-rise fit is perfect, especially if you aren't a fan of high-rise shorts. They're made of 97% nylon and 3% Spandex, so you know they'll be quite stretchy for casual hikes. These shorts have top-ratings across the board for comfort, quality, and style. One customer said she was hiking in these shorts when a thunderstorm came in and they repelled water and kept her cool all summer long. Choose between camo and smoky blue.
3. The Best Option With a Longer Inseam
Eddie Bauer's Guide Pro Shorts are stylish, lightweight, and have a 7-inch inseam for those who aren't a fan of shorter options. They're made of Spandex and nylon and feature UPF 50+ sun protection to keep your skin safe from harmful sun rays. They're lightweight, don't restrict mobility, and even better, come in regular, petite, tall, and plus sizes. Many reviewers say that fit comfortably at the waist and are very happy with their new shorts. Eddie Bauer ensures safe and sustainable production to keep harmful chemicals out of the air, ocean, and their products. Choose from a number of colors.
For $21, we think these active shorts can't be beat. They're made of 80% nylon and 20% Spandex for comfort, but don't have any water-repellent treatment, so consider these for dry weather. We don't recommend these for long treks or climbing, especially in climates where rain can be spontaneous. However, you'll stay cool in them as they are moisture-wicking, lightweight, and breathable. Keep them in your drawer as go-to short for short walks around a neighborhood park or to pick up coffee. They come in over 20 different colors and have nearly 7,000 perfect five-star ratings. Get them in an XS-3X.
5. Best for Trail Running
A run through a hiking trail is one tough (but super fun) workout. We picked out a pair of shorts that's going to be comfy for walking and running all afternoon. BALEAF's shorts are made of 74% nylon and 26% Spandex, making them stretchy and they won't chafe. Not only do they not rub, but they also don't make noise! Enjoy the sounds of nature instead of your shorts rubbing together. Take advantage of the three pockets -- two side zipper pockets and one back pocket zipper for your phone, keys, or small essentials. The lightweight shorts offer UPF sun protection, keeping your thighs safe from harmful UV rays.
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