The Best Women’s Hiking Apparel of 2022
Technical layers for any occasion
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Hiking clothes for women can be harder to judge than you’d expect. Yes, most shorts are nothing more than nylon, mesh, and elastic. But will that breathable “micropore” fabric split the moment you sit on a log? Does antimicrobial treatment really keep you from stinking? To take the overwhelming guesswork out of shopping, we spent eight months testing more than 120 pieces from over 50 brands. We hiked through the jungles of Panama, the mountains of British Columbia, and every region in the U.S. to narrow the list down to seven standout pieces.
Fieldsheer Mobile Cooling Hoodie ($50)
On cloudless alpine days between 60 and 80 degrees, this UPF 50-plus top was the ticket. Mesh back and underarm panels vented heat, while wicking, sweat-activated fibers in the recycled-polyester fabric provided additional cooling. One weakness: stitches popped at the cuffs after five days in the jungle crawling over fallen trees. 6.3 oz (XS–XL)
Ultimate Direction Nimbus Tee ($70)
This was the only garment in our kit that dried in under an hour on a humid, 80-degree trek in Panama. Microscopic perforations in the recycled Polartec Delta material move moisture and circulate air, while a Polygiene antimicrobial treatment squashes stink. Caveat: the wide neckline offered no protection from rubbing backpack straps. 3.1 oz (XS–XL)
Branwyn Essential Bralette ($42)
This merino bralette is so flexible that wearing it almost feels like going braless, but the two-inch-wide bottom band offers just enough support for intense hiking. The spaghetti straps crisscross in back for extra lift and are adjustable (the metal sliders don’t dig in). The wool-nylon-spandex blend wicked away sweat on an 80-degree hike near Sedona, Arizona, and double-layered fabric across the chest kept us from nipping out on a 50-degree trail run in Kansas. 4 oz (XS–XXL)
Vibram FiveFingers KSO ECO ($115)
This minimalist everyday shoe feels great on your foot and is made with eco-conscious construction. Featuring a grippy, flexible and durable Vibram N-Oil sole made with more than 90% natural ingredients. Slip in and see how you Move Freely.
Mammut Runbold Pants ($139)
The Runbold is this season’s most comfortable pair of pants, thanks to a wide, high-rise waistband that doesn’t rub, bunch, or slide down. Lightweight and durable polyamide-elastane fabric with UPF 50 protection blocked wind and mist (not heavy rain). It also dried fast and breathed in temps around 90 during an eight-day hike of the Evolution Loop in California’s eastern Sierra. 10 oz (2–16)
Ortovox Pala Hooded Jacket ($260)
An abrasion-resistant polyamide exterior and wool lining make the Pala jacket ideal for shoulder seasons: it kept us dry and warm at camp on a drizzly and breezy 50-degree morning on the Olympic Peninsula. Thoughtful details include a soft merino patch at the nape of the neck, a no-fuss stretch hood, and two spacious hand pockets. “I fit my phone, battery pack, and headlamp and still had space left for my hands,” said one tester. 13.8 oz (XS–XL)
Prana Halle Short II Trail Shorts ($69)
Most trail shorts are too technical and dorky to wear around town, but not the Halle Short. A slim fit and flat-lying, jeans-style front pockets (plus two flap snap pockets in back) give them style points, while the wide waistband with its button closure helped them stay put on a 10-mile hike in Sedona, Arizona. The lightweight ReZion material, a recycled nylon-elastane blend with UPF 50-plus protection, was stretchy enough for deep steps and dried in under an hour after a heavy misting. 7.2 oz (0–14 / plus size 18–22)
REI Active Hipster Underwear ($19)
If it were socially acceptable to bring only one pair of underwear for a long trip, we’d pack these. The super-lightweight polyester and spandex mesh blend dried before our tester’s leggings after a waist-deep river crossing in Panama. The antimicrobial treatment kept us feeling fresh, even after five days, while flat seams and a high-coverage seat prevented wedgies. 0.6 oz (XS–XL)