Best Hiking Clothes for Women (Hiking Outfit Ideas)

It wasn’t long ago I struggled to find the perfect hiking clothes for women. However, after years on the trail and plenty of brands making athletic apparel, I find it easy to nail the perfect hiking outfit for women. Almost every serious outdoor brand is getting serious about their women’s hiking clothes as more of us tackle trail and mountain sports.

Some badass women are out there pushing the envelope and challenging the guys. While I may not be one of them, I still get out on the trail plenty and know something about dressing for the great outdoors.

It has a lot to do with the needs of women with backpacking and hiking gear. We’re not the same as men. Our bodies move differently, require different hygienic demands, and we run colder. That’s not even factoring in the very different shapes of our bodies! I’ve tested a lot of women’s hiking gear and am happy to share what works for me!

In this post, I want to highlight some of my favorites and the best hiking clothes for women.

The Best Hiking Clothes For Women

My Ideal Women’s Hiking Outfit Quick Links

  • Icebreaker Siren Hiking Underwear
  • Arc’teryx Cerium Down Jacket
  • Arc’teryx Beta Shell
  • Handful Hiking Leggings
  • Echo T-Shirt
  • Darn Tough Merino Wool Socks
  • Handful Sports Bra
  • Salomon Trail Runners or Moab Hiking Boots

What Makes a Great Hiking Outfit for Women?

hiking in the faroe islands
Hiking in the Faroe Islands

A great hiking outfit for women is about what keeps you comfortable in the great outdoors. My favorite hiking clothes are practical, lightweight, and durable, which make the difference between a great day out and an okay day out.

Here are the staples of a women’s hiking outfit:

  • Hiking Underwear
  • Sports Bra
  • Hiking Shirt
  • Hiking Pants or Leggings
  • Hiking Shorts
  • Hiking Jacket
  • Hard or Softshell Jacket
  • Down Jacket
  • Hiking Socks
  • Trail Runners or Hiking Boots
  • Sunglasses
  • Hiking Hat

Women’s Hiking Underwear

Icebreaker Siren Bikini Underwear

Natasha In Berg Lake Wearing Icebreaker Siren Thong Underwear

To prevent bacterial infections, avoid wearing cotton undies as they hold moisture. Instead, stay dry with the right material, like wool or polyester. Both are excellent for their moisture management and antimicrobial properties.

However, wool is better against odor resistance and is more comfortable. I’ve tried many versions, and the Icebreaker Siren Line is my favorite. Smartwool makes a closer runner-up, but Icebreaker delivers a better fit and quality. I have holes in my Smartwool underwear.

You can choose between a thong or a bikini, depending on your style or preference. I own both, but the bikini offers more protection/comfort. In the photo, I jumped in the lake after a 25km hike, and my underwear was dry 30 minutes later – that’s staying dry!

Shop Icebreaker Siren Underwear

Women’s Hiking Hygiene

Saalt Menstrual Cup

Natasha Hiking Kloof Corner In Cape Town

I understand if you are on your period and don’t want to use a tampon on the trail! This is especially important for backcountry adventures where you must pack your trash. No one wants to carry around used tampons in their bag.

Due to my birth control, my periods are very light, so it’s not an issue. However, plenty of friends swear by the Saalt Menstrual Cup. It’s an eco-friendly product I always recommend for dealing with your flow! Not to mention it’s great for adventure travel when you can’t always find tampons.

Shop For Saalt Menstrual Cup

Women’s Hiking Bras

Handful Sports Bra

Natasha In Handful Sports Bra On East End of Rundle Hike

I prefer a sports bra with ample support on day hikes and trail runs. However, it must still be lightweight, flexible, and moisture-wicking for hiking. It doesn’t hurt if it’s durable enough to handle multiple sports and repeated washing.

I’ve tried a lot of sports bras, but Handful makes some of my favorite sports bras. They are made out of quality material that is chafe-free, quick-drying, and flexible. It’s a blend of recycled polyester and spandex.

I like their Adjustable Bra as they’re easy to tailor the fit and can be worn in multiple ways. Use code TWP15 for 15% off. See my other favorite hiking sports bras here!

Shop For Handful Sports Bra

Icebreaker Siren Bralette

best hiking clothes for women

I love a wool hiking bralette on longer, multi-day hikes when a tight sports bra becomes uncomfortable. Like my underwear, I’ve found Icebreaker nails it with their undergarment material. It’s comfortable and has excellent performance.

The Icebreaker Siren Bralette is best suited for low-impact activities. This makes it great on a backcountry adventure, but I wouldn’t wear it on a trail run or mountain biking. Granted, that all depends on your cup size and needs. However, I find it super comfy for daily life when you’re not running around.

Shop For Icebreaker Siren Bralette

Women’s Hiking Shirts

Outdoor Research Shirt Echo Series

I rotate several Outdoor Research Echo hiking shirts on my hikes. They are the most comfortable synthetic hiking shirts I’ve worn. I’d go so far as to say it feels like I’m not even wearing a shirt. Plus, they come in many versions, from tank to long-sleeve hoodies.

They are lightweight, moisture-wicking, and offer UPF sun protection. The result is a long sleeve shirt I feel comfortable wearing in the summer months.

My only complaint is they tend to rip rather than wear down, but they last longer and do not pill from a backpack. I love the long sleeve hoody for water activities when I want sun protection in hot weather.

Shop For Outdoor Research Echo Shirt

Smartwool Classic Shirt

The Smartwool Classic All-Season Shirt is a great all-rounder that works in many situations. I love wool shirts, even though synthetic shirts are slightly more versatile.

I’ve tried several other wool shirts, but the Smartwool Classic Shirts feel the most durable. Since wool tends to fall apart faster, they utilize a fabric that wraps wool around a nylon core to weave the shirt. The downside is it is a petrochemical.

However, you still get all the performance of wool with the durability of synthetics. Fit is a nice blend between casual and athletic, so it works with many body types. It also comes in a long sleeve version for hiking in cold temperatures. I’ve never regretted wearing this shirt while hiking!

Shop For Smartwool Classic Shirt

Best Hiking Pants for Women

Patagonia Pack Out Tights

Hiking In Zermatt Natasha

I prefer the comfort and mobility of leggings over traditional pants. Not to mention I think they look better in photographs. I’ve tried a lot of hiking leggings, and there are a bunch that do an excellent job.

I love my leggings from Handful and Lululemon and have gone on many hikes with them. However, I like the Pack Out Tights from Patagonia if I’m on a bigger hike or backcountry adventure. They offer better storage than most leggings and have reinforced knees.

The wide waistband ensures the leggings remain comfortable on the trail. Of course, they’re exceptionally comfortable and can remain fresh even after a few days on the trail.

Shop For Patagonia Pack Out Tights

Fjallraven’s Keb Trousers

Hiking Tent Ridge In Fjallraven Keb Trousers

When I wear pants, it’s for a rough adventure. I love the Fjallraven Keb Trousers because the canvas pants are super comfortable and tough. They use structured panels to make pants that move flawlessly with your body.

The standout feature here is its heavy canvas blend that is both eco-friendly and rugged. They also have a bunch of pockets and awesome rugged good looks. Plus, they have four handy zippered vents to dump heat when you get warm.

These pants shine with rough travel where branches and rocks are features of the trail—in other words, bushwacking. Yet, they remain some of the most comfortable hiking pants I’ve ever worn. They look pretty cool too!

Shop For Fjallraven Keb Pant

Arc’teryx Gamma Pants

Hiking In The Faroe Islands

There are better lightweight hiking pants, but I prefer the protection of the Arc’teryx Gamma Pants. If the weather is good or even cool, you’d be hard-pressed to find me in a pair of pants. I wear soft-shell pants when the weather looks mixed or cold. Cold to me is around freezing.

The Gamma is an exceptional softshell pant that is comfortable and offers reliable protection from the elements. I wear them in the rainy shoulder seasons and when we travel to destinations like Iceland, Patagonia, or the Faroe Islands.

I love the material in these pants as it offers the perfect amount of breathability, mobility, and water resistance. Unless it’s a torrential downpour, they offer all the protection I need from the elements. They’re even excellent winter pants capable of mountaineering with just enough room for a layer of thermals comfortably.

Shop For Arc’teryx Gamma Pants

Best Hiking Shorts for Women

Lululemon Hotty Hot Shorts

Backpacking Checklist - shorts

I love all my outdoor gear brands, but sometimes I only need a pair of running shorts for a hike. Lululemon is a behemoth for athleisure, but its products stand out from their competition.

I love their Hotty Hot Shorts for trail runs and summer hikes. They have a couple of different options with lining and length. I prefer the lined 2.5″ as I have shorter legs. Also, I’m a big fan of shorts with a liner, as they reduce the chances of chafing and keep you super cool.

I’ve tried more affordable products from the “bigger” athletic brand names and felt disappointed by them on the trail. They all worked when wearing them for an hour or two at the gym, but hiking for ten-plus hours brings out product defects. That’s why we generally stick to outdoor brands.

Shop For Lululemon Hotty Hot Shorts

Best Women’s Hiking Jackets

Arc’teryx Beta LT Jacket

best hiking clothes for women

I always throw a hard-shell jacket in my bag for hikes in the backcountry. It’s an essential protection from the elements and can save your life. They’re lightweight and easy to pack, so there isn’t any excuse to go without one.

My hiking jacket is the trusty lifeline that’s saved me from several wet days. We’ve been fortunate enough to test out a lot of jackets over the years. My absolute favorite is the Arc’teryx Beta LT, as it’s bomb-proof.

It features 3L GORE-TEX® that is light and keeps me dry and comfortable no matter the weather. My second favorite jacket is the Helly Hansen Odin 3L because it is gorgeous blue and has excellent performance.

Shop For The Arc’teryx Beta Jacket

Arc’teryx Cerium Down Jacket

Down jackets are easy to compress and super light but supply plenty of warmth. It’s no surprise that they’re staples for hikers. It depends on the hike, but it’s a frequent piece of clothing in my backpack.

It’s particularly important in high-alpine environments. My favorite down jacket is the Arc’teryx Cerium Hoody, as it has a nice athletic fit that looks super sharp. It doesn’t hurt that it has the technical cred of a lightweight down jacket with plenty of warmth.

The only problem is it’s pretty expensive. My first down jacket, Patagonia Down Sweater, offers much more value and is still awesome.

Shop For A Down Jacket

Arc’teryx Cerium
Patagonia Down

Best Hiking Thermals for Women

Helly Hansen Thermals

Yak Wool

If you’re camping on your hike, you may want some thermals to keep warm at night. Helly Hansen makes great camping clothes for women.

We’ve tried a few different brands, but recently settled on HH as our favorite pair of thermals. It may be best for us as we need something technical when we snowboard or climb mountains to wick away moisture from our bodies.

HH makes high-performance technical clothing out that has lasted us years. Their technical abilities have far outpassed any synthetic materials we’ve used.

Check Prices on Thermals for Women

(Other Favorite Thermals)

Best Hiking Socks for Women

Darn Tough Merino Socks

Best Womens Hiking Socks

Yes, the best hiking clothes for women involve socks. We’ve learned to love our feet with a good pair of merino wool hiking socks. You will want to keep your feet dry while walking around. Most importantly, wool socks stay fresh for several days as they have natural antimicrobial properties.

We travel with a few Darn Tough Merino socks, and our feet have never felt cold or wet. As a bonus, they’re produced in Vermont! See our other favorite hiking socks here!

Check Price on Darn Tough Merino Socks

Best Hiking Dress for Women

REI Training Dress

If I’m being honest I rarely hike in a hiking dress, as it’s not a usual hiking outfit womens staple for me. I have very muscular quads and definitely do not have a thigh gap, meaning that I chafe a lot if there is not some sort of fabric in between my legs. However I know that some women really like getting out in a hiking dress, and I can’t deny that they look great in mountain photos.

REI makes the best hiking dresses that I have been able to find. They also make stylish skorts so that you look like you’re in a skirt but have a sneaky pair of shorts underneath!

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Best Women’s Hiking Shoes and Boots

Hiking Boots

Best Hiking Clothes for Women

These are my favorite hiking boots, not only because they provide ankle support but because they are so darn cute for photos. The only problem is they are expensive, but I expect them to last for years! (They have already lasted me three years of SOLID use) I love wearing them around the Canadian Rockies.

These are great if you’re on long multi-day hikes and need strong hiking boots to carry your backpacking load. Just keep in mind they are heavy, so not ideal for long day hikes climbing tall mountains, but if you’re looking for cute hiking outfits, these really make the cut. See all the best lightweight hiking boots.

Merrell Moab Hiking Shoes

best hiking clothes for women

After trying on close to 30 pairs of different shoes, the Moab Ventilator shoe is what I wanted as a hiking and walking shoe.

These shoes are tough, built to last, and generally good women’s hiking boots. I have probably put over 500 miles, and they got me through a year of bushwalking in Africa – I still haven’t thrown them out. They are well-padded, extremely comfortable, and for about $20, you can get the Gortex version (waterproof).

I also have wide feet and many other foot problems, and I can easily walk all day in these shoes through all different terrains. Seriously Moab Ventilator, you are some of the best women’s walking shoes for ladies that love the outdoors. They come in high- and low-ankle versions and require little to no break-in time. My last hiking trip with them was 70 km, and they were so comfortable!

Check Price for Merrell Moab 2

Salomon Trail Runners

womens trail runners

Honestly, I wear trail runners on about 85% of my hikes, and they are a staple of my women’s hiking outfit. I like how lightweight they are and that I can start running on a trail. Of all the trail runners I’ve tried, the Salomons are my favorite.

Often voted one of the top trail running shoes on the market, these are built with only the rocky trail in mind. Salomon has strong name recognition and has a good reason for that.

These shoes support me through every trail hike, from their waterproof but breathable design down to their grippy and rugged bottom soles. The reason the Ultra 3 stands out in the line-up is their Advanced Chassis surrounded by foam that will have your feet forgetting you’re walking in the wilderness at all!

Salomon Trail Runners

Women’s Hiking Sandals

Best Hiking Clothes for Women

Hiking sandals can be so incredibly nice for freeing your feet. Whether it’s an easy hike or you’re just walking around camp it’s great to walk around in a pair of Teva’s or Chacos.

They can also complete any cute camping outfits! There’s nothing better than getting to camp, popping off the hiking boots, and switching to a pair of sandals!

Hiking Gear and Accessories for Women

Hiking Belt

Best Hiking Clothes for Women

Unless I am hiking in leggings, I need a belt to secure my pants. The newest one I just got is a Jelt Belt. Jelt is a women-owned social enterprise that produces belts made from 100% recycled plastic bottles with an innovative patented flat buckle that won’t show a bump under tops or tees.

Check Price on Jelt Belt

Hiking Gloves

Best Hiking Clothes for Women

I have a pair of gloves in my hiking pack at all times. They are great for when you are scrambling, and I always end up using them at some point in the Rocky Mountains when I am on jagged terrain. I never want to come back with bloody hands, and they protect against that.

Though I know not everywhere is like the Rockies, and you’ll have to access if you think you’ll be using your hands a lot while hiking where you are at, or alternatively, if it gets cold enough for gloves.

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Baseball Cap

Okay, not exactly the best hiking clothes for women, but still very important for a hiking outfit womens. I always have a baseball cap in my bag if the sun gets too intense; it’s one of the most underrated pieces of hiking gear for women.

I’ve been out too many times without one, and my forehead gets too toasty for my liking – even with sunscreen. A hiking hat protects against that, and I highly recommend having one in your bag.

Hiking Sunglasses

Hiking Sunglasses

Make sure to protect your eyes from the sun since you’ll likely spend a lot of time hiking in the sun at elevation. There are a lot of options for sunglasses, and everyone should own at least a pair. It’s best to make sure they do have UV protection for the health of your eyes. Sunglasses are essential if you plan to visit any glaciers or high alpine passes as sun reflection from the snow damages your eyes.

We made our first investment in quality polarized sunglasses with a pair of SMITH Optics Lowdown 2 and now rarely leave the house without them. See my favorite hiking sunglasses.

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Backpacking packing list

I bring a Buff on every trip if my ears get cold, or I want to have one to cover my face, which happens more often than you may think. We have a collection of buff headbands and bring them everywhere. They’re great for many reasons, such as sun/wind protection, a scarf, headband, or an ear warmer.

We always have one in our suitcase or backpack no matter the destination and consider it one top travel and hiking accessory. I imagine most people have one or two of these by now, but if you don’t, it’s time to invest in at least one good one.

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Hiking Daypack

Best Hiking Clothes for Women

If you’re not on a long hike, a large multiple-day hiking backpack may not be necessary. Expect still to carry several pounds of gear on your pack, so it’s important to have a backpack that sits well on your back with good suspension. However, you don’t need a 50L+ backpack. Instead, opt for a size around 20-30L that should be enough to carry all of your necessities for the day.

We personally like to use a 20L pack from Camelbak for most day hikes in the mountains as it allows us to carry everything we could need. Plus, we carry cameras, but you may not need this large pack, so make sure to pick what’s best for you. Our other favorite hiking backpack brand is Osprey!

Hiking Poles

Backpacking Checklist

If you have plans to take part in a long day or multi-day hikes, a pair of hiking poles are a great way to save your knees and prevent injuries. If you’re on a full day of hiking in the mountains, you’ll gain and descend a lot of elevation. So, it’s easy for your legs to get tired, and a pair of hiking poles will pay off.

Although I don’t always need hiking poles, they are always in my pack. I almost ALWAYS end up using it at least once while I’m descending a mountain.

I personally use the Black Diamond FLZ Hiking Poles. “Z” poles are fantastic as they’re lightweight and can be stashed inside a backpack should you not need them.

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Hiking Snacks


Pack some high-calorie snacks for your hike on the trail. Popular options are energy gels, bars, balls, jerky, nuts, or even Snickers. Hiking at elevation can burn a lot of calories so it’s important to maintain your glucose levels.

It’s advised to eat as much as 200-300 calories per hour of exercise. If it’s a long day on the mountain you can always bring a packed lunch with a sandwich and high calories like dried fruits. (I’m pretty much a kid and still love a peanut butter and jelly sandwich).


Norway in Winter

You shouldn’t hike without a headlamp, even on a day hike. We rarely do sunrise hikes, but a headlamp is always in our bag just in case we get caught on the mountain after dark. They are small and light so there is no reason not to have one in your pack. This is another hiking accessory that could save your life.

We have several headlamps, but one of our new favorites is the Biolite. It took several recommendations online before settling on this one because of its affordable price and durability. It delivers 200 lumens, costs $50, and will likely last a decade or longer sweet deal if you like to spend time outdoors.

Check Price for Biolite Headlamp

Water Bladder

Egypt Lake

While I like having a water bottle on my hikes, I like having a water bladder even more. A bladder keeps me regularly drinking since I never have to stop hiking and take out my bottle. It’s always readily available for when you need it.

You should consume at least two liters of water a day while hiking in the mountains; often this means you either carry two bottles of water. The better option for carrying that much water on your treks is to carry a water bladder.

Most hiking backpacks and even daypacks designed for hiking have a sleeve for carrying your extra water.

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Grayl Ultralight Water Bottle

Backpacking Essentials

If a water bladder is not your thing, at the very least, get a good water bottle. Don’t go hiking with a plastic water bottle! This is a waste of money and plastic.

I love the design of this water bottle! Like the Lifestraw Go, the Grayl bottle also features a filter. However, the filter design is entirely different than the Lifestraw. Most important is that this water bottle system purifies water vs. filters which removes viruses and virtually removes all threat of waterborne illnesses.

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Emergency Blanket

Best Hiking Clothes for Women

This is where preparation for spending a night out in the wilderness comes into effect. If you’re on a short loop around town, it’s probably not necessary, but any significant hike in a national park or wilderness area presents the risk of spending the night outside.

When temperatures drop at night, it presents the perilous threat of hypothermia or frostbite. An emergency blanket is a light and small item to keep in your pack.

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Women’s Hiking Backpacks

Gregory Deva

Hiking backpacks

Gregory has been building bags for a long time to know how to make a quality pack. This hiking backpack for women is a workhorse designed to be used and abused. The Deva is designed to carry a heavy load without breaking your back on the trail. It has a superior suspension system with plush padding and great organization. If you’ll be on extended thru-hike trips and don’t mind sacrificing a pound or two, this is your ideal hiking backpack.

A comfortable mesh backpack makes for excellent ventilation. It has attractive features like a built-in rain-fly, a water bottle holder that offers easy access on a hike, and hydration compatibility. It’s my favorite multi-day hiking backpack I’ve ever owned!

Check Price on Gregory Deva

(Osprey Aura – Alternative Womens Backpacks)

Multi-Day Hiking Gear for Women

MSR Hubba Hubba Tent

Best Hiking Clothes for Women

You’ll need a tent if you’re camping in the wilderness. We have our MSR Hubba Hubba backpacking 2 person tent for comfort when backpacking and doing multi day hikes.

The Hubba Hubba is a top seller for MSR. It’s ultralight and has a super-fast setup system. This tent is waterproof and ultra-durable for any mountain adventure. It’s a great size for two people, and there is even extra space to move around.

Check Price for MSR Hubba Hubba Tent

Hiking in Canada

I hope this backpacking gear and hiking guide for women was useful to you! These are my favorite women’s hiking clothes items as you can see by the photos and I stand by each and every one of them. I’m sure you will love all these products as much as I do.

Looking for more backpacking and hiking gear for women and not Just Hiking Outfit for Women Ideas? Then Check out this post!

My Favorite Hiking Brands for Women

  • Arc’teryx
  • Fjallraven
  • Outdoor Research
  • REI
  • Kuhl
  • Handful
  • Camelbak
  • Salomon

More Pictures of My Hiking Outfits Women

hiking in France
hiking in South Africa
angels landing hike
About Natasha

Natasha is the co-founder of The World Pursuit. She is an expert in travel, budgeting, and finding unique experiences. She loves to be outside, hiking in the mountains, playing in the snow on her snowboard, and biking. She has been traveling for over 10 years, across 7 continents, experiencing unique cultures, new food, and meeting fantastic people. She strives to make travel planning and traveling easier for all. Her advice about international travel, outdoor sports, and African safari has been featured on Lonely Planet, Business Insider, and Reader’s Digest.

Learn more about Natasha Alden on The World Pursuit About Us Page.

5 thoughts on “Best Hiking Clothes for Women (Hiking Outfit Ideas)”

  1. Okay – I might just be struggling here – but which hiking boots were you talking about that were around $100 and cute for photos? I can’t find the link to those. Help please 🙂

  2. Hi! I’m having the same issue as the first person who commented 😆 I can seem to find the $100 hiking boots in your Hiking Boots blog. Thanks!

  3. Great post – very helpful, thank you.
    Would you tell me what boots you are wearing in pic 4 on this page please 🙂

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