For an activity that’s supposed to be soothing and get us closer to nature, hiking comes with its share of bumps, scrapes, and stumbles. Only the best hiking leggings—ones that feature the versatility and stretchiness we associate with regular workout leggings, as well as the abrasion resistance we expect from outdoor gear—will get us through our outdoor adventures without snagging or chafing.
While we love a good pair of hiking pants, a pair of leggings might be preferable if you know you’ll want greater freedom of movement (say, if you have to bend and high-step through rocky terrain). They’re also easier to tuck into hiking boots to keep bugs out, and can offer plenty in the way of sun protection and breathability. Plus, you can use a pair of leggings as a baselayer under your go-to softshell or rain pants during cold weather hikes.
Of course, the best leggings for hikers borrow some of the technical features that we love about hiking and rock climbing pants, including some degree of weather resistance, tough fabrics that won’t rip against rocks or trees, and, for extra points, reinforced panels to prevent wear and tear. They also need to be comfy, but that should go without saying.
While it may sound challenging for a pair of bottoms to strike the fine balance between stretchy and tough, there are quite a few hiking tights out there that do just that. Here, we’ve highlighted some of the best hiking leggings from top-rated outdoor brands and retailers like Arc’Teryx, The North Face, Patagonia, and more. Read on to find your faves and gear up for the fall hiking and backpacking season.
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