Searching for the best hiking gear for women? You’ve come to the right place! Here we will cover the best hiking clothes for women, gear you can’t live without, and tips on extras that are worthy of a spot in your day pack. Let’s dive in!
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Hiking is such a great way to get outside, breathe the fresh air, and get some exercise all at the same time. If you are like me, you like a nice trail in a beautiful setting and with great views!
But, hiking can also be tough. Sometimes the trail might be strenuous. Sometimes the weather might be less than ideal. Or, sometimes the setting can be rugged.
When on the trail, I say you should be as comfortable as possible. And that all starts with the right clothing, my friend.
After many years of testing out various hiking brands and items, I now have my go-to best hiking gear down to a science. This guide on the best hiking clothes for women will set you up – without all of the trial and error of using less-than-stellar items. And who doesn’t like saving time and money?
So let’s dive in on the best, high quality and comfortable hiking clothes for women now!
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The Best Hiking Clothes for Women
In general, I recommend wearing athletic and comfortable clothes that are sweat-wicking and have some stretch. This allows you to move freely as you hike across any kind of terrain.
Always wear layers when hiking, even in the summer. Weather changes and elevation changes might make a (lightweight) array of clothing a necessity.
The perfect hiking outfit for women consists of: a comfortable sports bra, a sweat-wicking shirt, a jacket geared toward the climate you are in, the “right” shorts or leggings, and a great pair of trekking sandals or hiking boots, depending on the terrain.
Here is the absolute best hiking clothes for women, from head to toe.
1. The Best Hiking Jackets for Women
I am certainly not all about throwing money away on name brands. But, I must admit that investing in high quality clothing that stand the test of time is a money saver in the long run.
I’ve fallen in love with the hiking clothing below and it is specifically because they are top quality. These three jackets are all superb, and your choice should reflect what environment you find yourself hiking in.
Columbia Women’s Omni Heat Hooded Jacket Puffer
I am one-billion percent in love with my Columbia Omniheat jacket! In fact, I own it in more than one color because it is that good.
This jacket rolls down super small, so it is excellent for packing in a suitcase. It’s incredibly light-weight but very warm due to the shiny Omniheat magic you see on the inside. Buy it here.
THE NORTH FACE Women’s Osito Full Zip Fleece Jacket
This Osito Full Zip Fleece will keep you so incredibly warm! You can wear it by itself or even under the puffer jacket above for the coldest of climates.
I prefer the full zip over the pullover because it is much easier to put on and take off on the trail if the temps change. Get it here!
33,000ft Packable Rain Jacket
This lightweight packable rain jacket folds up into a tiny softball sized pouch for easy carrying in your bag.
While I’ve had cheaper rain shell jackets, this one is a winner for me because it is more durable and has more usable features. Check out the multiple pockets and hood adjusters, to name a few. Get it here!
2. Moisture Wicking Top Layers
On any hike, it is ideal to wear a shirt that wicks up sweat and moisture to keep your body cool and dry. Luckily, these types of shirts are fairly easy to find. Lades – add one to your hiking gear list, stat!
Under Armour Women’s Tank Top
This super soft Under Armour tank wicks sweat and dries fast! It is perfect for hot or humid sunny climates.
Its lightweight and has a lot of stretch to allow for a full range of motion. Get it here!
Columbia Women’s Sun Trek Tee
This lightweight moisture-wicking top also comes with built-in UPF 50 sun protection. It is perfect for sunny days and higher elevations, where the sun is stronger!
Bonus, it comes in a range of fun and bright colors. So you will be looking good while preventing sunburn and skin damage. Get it here!
Under Armour Women’s Long-Sleeve T-Shirt
Need something a bit warmer? Try this Under Armour long sleeve tee. It is moisture-wicking and quick-drying, and has 4-way stretch!
The pinhole mesh delivers superior breathability without being see through. Get it here.
3. The Best Hiking Bra
it’s true that you can wear any old sports bra for a hike. But investing in even just one top quality bra will potentially change your life. Or, at least your hike! So, I can’t create this list of the best hiking gear for women without including a high quality bra.
The LULULEMON Energy Bra
While I don’t think you need to spends hundreds on a variety of bras, having at least one really great bra for hiking is a must. Enter, LULULEMON’s Energy Bra.
It has great support and is specifically designed for athletics – and it shows! Get it here!
4. The Best Hiking Pants or Shorts
I am personally not a fan of hiking pants with zippers, like khakis or those convertible zipper pants (barf.) For me, a nice stretchy – but thick – pair of leggings is my ideal. I simply prefer the mobility of them.
Alternately, sometimes you may prefer shorts is the weather and conditions allow it. Here are my top choices.
THE GYM PEOPLE Workout Leggings
These workout and hiking leggings are nice and thick, and thankfully won’t break the bank!
They’ve got a handy pocket, perfect for your phone or mp3 player. And did I mention that they are not see through? These thick and stretchy pants are some of my go-to leggings. Get them here.
Lightweight Hiking Athletic Shorts
If you are in warmer climates, you might prefer to wear shorts on your hike. In that case, I suggest these comfy drawstring waist hiking shorts. You’ve got several pockets for carrying phones, maps and snacks if needed!
One quick note, I do not recommend these for heavily forested or desert trails, because exposed legs could mean scratches and thorns. Get them here!
5. Excellent Hiking Shoes
I have three main pieces of footwear that I choose between for just about any hike on the planet. I also have a fourth for the rare times I am hiking in snowy conditions. And, I can confidently say that these shoes are some of the best out there.
Keen Closed Toe Trekking Sandal
These Keen trekking sandals are my absolute favorite hiking shoes of all time! I have raved about them over and over, and it still holds true. They’ve been to 6 continents with me and are still going strong.
the closed toes protect your feel and the are perfect for waterfall and wet hikes as they are amphibious shoes. I could not recommend them more. Get them here!
Columbia Mid Length Hiking Boot
When it is colder out or I need full-foot coverage, this is my next best option. These Columbia hiking shoes provide protection that’s waterproof and breathable, no matter the conditions.
They are lightweight and durable and designed for the trail. Get them here!
Sorel Women’s Waterproof Boot
I choose these boots when the weather is wet and I’m on a flat or paved trail. I don’t think I would recommend these for uphill rainy hikes on a dirt trail. They are more suited for easier routes when you need your feet to stay dry and warm.
Bonus, these are also the boots I bring for walking around cities in rainy weather. So when I need a boot with dual function, this is the one I pack. Get them here!
Columbia Omniheat Boots
Though I don’t live in a snowy climate, these Columbia winter boots are my go to pair when traveling. They have survived glacier hikes in Iceland and snow hikes on the east coast. Highly recommend!
You’ll get waterproof construction with a furry, insulated interior so our feet stay warm and dry. Get them here!
6. Breathable and Warm Socks
I always go Smartwool when I am getting dressed for hiking. No matter which brand of socks you choose, make sure they are merino wool. This is not only the most sweat-wicking but are the most comfortable, too.
Smartwool Women’s Performance Hike Socks
These Smartwool socks keep you warm and dry in any climate. They are stretchy and comfortable, too.
Another nice feature? They are fitted enough that you don’t need to worry about them slipping off of your heel and down your boot. Win! Get them here.
Women’s Thick Knit Merino Wool Socks
If you need a few pairs on hand, this thick wool multi-pack is a good option. You can choose between two or three and in a few different color combinations.
Merin wool is your best bet, especially on winter hikes! Get them here.
7. A Hat for Sun or Snow
The last item in the clothing section of the best hiking gear for women goes to my favorite hats for the trail. Here is my top summer hat and top winter hat recommendation.
Wide Brim Packable Hat
This wide brim hat is my go to piece for everything from hikes to beach days to city walks!
It provides shade in any conditions, and is adjustable in size. Simply tie and velcro inside the brim for a perfect fit. Love this hat! Get it here.
Fleece Lined Cable Knit Beanie
There is nothing like a fleece-lined hat for snowy winter hikes. It keeps your ears and head insulated and super warm so you can make it to the end of the trail.
While my exact hat is no longer available, this is almost an exact replica. It comes in lots of colors, too! Get it here.
The Best Hiking Gear for Women
There are a few more items to add to the list of the best hiking gear for women that is not clothing. These are items that you should be bringing on just about every hike you take.
1. A Dual Function Day Pack
I’ve previously written about my love for Camelbak backpacks, and that is probably due to how much time I spend hiking in the heat. If you’ve never used one, it is basically a normal backpack which also holds a plastic container or “bladder” for water, and a long tube that acts like a straw that slings over the shoulder strap.
During a long hike, a Camelbak backpack can be the difference between quitting after one strenuous mile or making it the full length of your trail, hydrated and happy. Here are the top two.
CamelBak 70 oz Multisport Hydration Pack
I love my Camelbak backpack because it is perfect for both stashing gear and carrying water, hands free.
This 70 oz. option is great for most hikes, with plenty of water and space. Get it here!
CamelBak Hydration Backpack – 100oz
Prefer a larger water stash? Then the Camelbak MULE pack might be for you.
You’ll also get plenty of extra pockets and space to stash snacks and other gear. Get this pack here!
2. A Headlamp
Even if you don’t expect to be out past sundown, a headlamp is a very smart thing to have in your daypack. You never know what could happen or what could hold you up – an injury, getting lost, or just losing track of time while taking photographs. Trust me, it happens.
So definitely stash a good headlamp in your hiking pack!
Black Diamond Outdoor Head Torch
This high-powered headlamp is such a great and reasonably priced investment!
Whether you leave for your hike before sunrise or end up on the trail after sundown, longer than intended, this will save you. Get it here!
While it may be obvious to use sunscreen before you head out for your hike, you should always be prepared to reapply. Or, your skin will likely pay the price.
4. Biodegradable Body Wipes
What to do about the sweat and dirt involved in a multi-hour trek in the triple-digits and hot sun? Things can get sweaty, exhausting, and – ahem – a bit stinky.
Aloe & Tea Tree Body Wipes
These biodegradable body wipes will keep you feeling fresh, even on the sweatiest of hikes. These are perfect for hiking, camping, and outdoor workouts.
Soft and durable, these are made with aloe vera, tea tree oil and chamomile to deodorize and refresh. Get them here!
5. A First Aid Kit
Last but definitely not least on your list of the best hiking gear for omen is a compact first aid kit. Never leave for a long-haul trek without preparing for an emergency.
Compact First Aid Kit
This tiny first aid kit is filled with more than 100 useful items in case of an emergency. And, it takes up next to no room in your bag!
I definitely recommend carrying one of these, especially i you are hiking with no cell signal or planning a long trek. Get it here.
6. A Comfortable Day Pack
If you don’t go for one of the Camelbak backpacks mentioned above, then I have a few others I can recommend.
The two main scenarios I find myself in is hiking while traveling, and hiking at home. Because of this, I own a few different day packs that I would highly recommend. Here are two day pack recommendations – one that is easily packable in a suitcase and one that is more heartily constructed and comfortable.
Kailas 20L Hiking Day Pack
This hiking day pack is sturdy and tough. It has lots of different pockets for stashing snacks and gear, and I love how easily accessible they are.
This is great for just about any trail you might hike! It is very comfortable and comes in several colors Get your day pack here.
20L Lightweight Foldable Backpack (Travel Hiking Daypack)
I also have this lightweight foldable backpack for travel. It folds down to a small square, making it super easy to pack in a suitcase. It is made from thin but durable material.
While the straps and shell are super basic, it gets the job done. Because it is not as comfortable as the pack above, i don’t use it when I’m home. But it is my go to travel backpack. Get it here!
The Best Hiking Gear for Women: Extras
If you are already stocked up on the items listed above, you might consider adding on of these optional extras. While not necessary so to speak, they are nice to have to either keep you feeling fresh or to log your adventures.
And there you have it! All of the best hiking clothes for women as well as essential hiking gear that women should always have on hand on the trail.
Have fun, be safe, and stay hydrated!
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