The best hiking leggings for cold weather, on the market, have some things in common. Not only are they comfortable, but they are also versatile and “stretchy.” If you are hiking, you don’t want clothes that will hamper your movement.
Leggings are ideal because they resist abrasion and offer great protection against the sun and other hazards such as sticks, grass, and twigs along the trail.
If you live in a cold climate, then you know what it’s like to battle the elements as much as you do. Cold weather can be brutal, and it doesn’t take long for your clothes to start feeling it either. Leggings are probably the most commonly worn piece of outerwear by women hikers in cooler climates, and that’s because they easily protect you from the elements without hindering your mobility at all.
That being said, not every pair of leggings is created equal. Even though there are some great options out there, certain styles aren’t especially effective as hiking leggings due to their design. This article will highlight some of the best cold weather hiking leggings available on the market today
The Best Hiking Leggings on the Market
When it comes to hiking leggings, there are several different categories. Let’s take a look at a few of them in this review.
1. Best Overall: BALEAF Women’s Lightweight Hiking Leggings
- Fabric Type: Nylon and spandex
- Pockets: Two side and two cargo pockets
Even though these BALEAF Women’s Lightweight Hiking Leggings are technically marketed as summer hiking leggings, the fact that they are made out of nylon and spandex gives them the unique ability to protect you from any kind of precipitation. Furthermore, the material is stretchy and breathable, so you won’t have to worry about your lower body getting sweaty.
They are a little roomy, which means you will need to have a base layer on when it’s really cold, but that’s perfect for hiking the trails during fall or early winter. You need something that protects you from the elements and gives you the freedom to layer as needed.
These leggings come with a high elastic waistband and adjustable drawstrings that allow for a custom fit regardless of the base layer. It also has stretchy ankle cuffs that keep these BALEAF Women’s Lightweight Hiking Leggings at full leg length and ensure they are easy to tuck into your hiking boots.
- Made out of quick-drying material
- The nylon and spandex mix makes it weather-proof
- Comfortable fit
- Casual look
- Has lots of pockets
- You may need a base layer for really cold days
2. Best Hiking Leggings for Women: Patagonia Pack Out Tights
- Fabric Type: Nylon blend
- Pockets: Zippered pocket on the side
Some brands are synonymous with outdoor activities. Patagonia is one such brand. These Patagonia Pack Out Tights are made of a nylon blend that is stretchy and quite comfortable. These women’s leggings are durable and ideal for hardcore hiking that involves activities like rock climbing and scrambling. You can even use them for your yoga sessions.
While these leggings are comfortable and durable, they can get hot during summer. The material used to make them was focused on durability and offering you ultimate protection. Unfortunately, the tradeoff was breathability.
- Made out of stretchy material
- Zippered pocket on the side
- Not quick-drying
- Not breathable
3. Best Leggings for Cold Weather: Smartwool Merino Sport Fleece Wind Tights
- Fabric Type: Wool
- Pockets: Zippered and side pocket
These Smartwool Merino Sport fleece lined leggings make for the perfect mid-layer outfit. These are some of the best leggings for winter hiking because they are warm, comfortable, and durable. They are just as effective against the cold as ski pants but less clunky.
Furthermore, these warm leggings are weather-resistant, making them ideal for hiking even when it’s snowing. You might, however, need to put on a suitable base layer on those super cold days.
- Functional pockets
- Excellent for cold weather
4. Best Legging for Trail Running: The North Face Movmynt Tights
- Fabric Type: Recycled polyester
- Pockets: Side and back pockets
If you are the kind of hiker who believes in testing your mettle by doing a bit of running when you are on the trail, then these The North Face Movmynt Tights are the ideal choice. Not only are they super comfortable, but they are stretchy and lightweight pants.
Made using UPF 40 fabric designed to shield your skin against harmful UV rays, these North Face Movmynt Tights are quick-drying thanks to the FlashDry™ fabric, which wicks away moisture from your skin, keeping you dry and comfortable.
Featuring a high waistband with an internal drawcord, a center-back pocket with a reverse-coil zipper and a patch pocket on the right thigh, you can stash your valuables and even carry a snack or two as you make your way through the most challenging and exciting trails.
Finally, it has a reflective logo on the left thigh and bars on the knees and back to ensure that you are highly visible even when hiking in low-light conditions.
- Quick-drying fabric
- Lots of pockets for your valuables
- Reflective logo and bars
- UPF 40 fabric
- Comfortable waistband
- It doesn’t come in many color varieties
5. Best Winter Hiking Leggings for Men: Under Armour Men’s ColdGear Compression Leggings
- Fabric Type: Polyester and Elastane
- Pockets: No pockets
These Under Armour Men’s ColdGear Compression Leggings have a dual-layer construction designed to keep the insides quite warm while keeping the outsides smooth and sleek, making them some of the most comfortable leggings for winter hiking for men.
The polyester and elastane fabric composition give these Under Armour Men’s ColdGear Compression Leggings a cozy feel. It also goes a long way to ensure you don’t smell like musty sweat as you normally would when wearing polyester. This is mostly thanks to the odor-preventive technology used in its construction.
These Under Armour Men’s ColdGear Compression Leggings can be used as a base layer or as a single layer depending on the prevailing weather on the day.
- Quick drying
- It features odor-preventive technology
Best Hiking Leggings for Cold Weather-Buyer’s Guide
Every hiker is different, meaning that they have different needs, which are often determined by a number of factors, including:
- The prevailing weather when they like to hike
- Their style of hiking
- The stylistic preference
There’s hardly ever a one-size-fits-all hiking legging for cold weather. However, there are some common factors that you need to consider when buying the best winter leggings. Here are some of the most important parameters to take into consideration.
Comfort should be a key factor when buying the best cold weather hiking leggings for your needs. This is particularly true if you are going to be hiking for miles and miles on the same day.
If womens hiking leggings aren’t comfortable, not only will the hiking experience be generally miserable, but you might not even end up doing as many miles as you planned because of it.
When it comes to comfort, there are some things you need to consider:
- Fit: The leggings need to be comfortably fitted. Not too tight and not too loose. They should give you enough stretch to extend your stride as much as you deem fit while keeping debris out of the openings at the bottom of the pant legs.
- Waistband: The waistband needs to be wide and comfortable enough to hold the leggings up but not too tight to cut off circulation or become an irritation at the waist.
If you intend to exert yourself during the hike, there’s a good chance you will get sweaty. When this happens, and you are wearing clothes made of material that doesn’t wick away sweat, you will end up with a damp pair of leggings clinging to your legs and putting you at risk of hypothermia.
You need leggings made of breathable material that can wick away sweat easily. Materials such as polyester and other synthetics are good options. The biggest issue with them is that they tend to retain odor, making you sweaty and musty.
However, some leggings, such as the Under Armour Men’s ColdGear Compression Leggings, have odor-preventing technology.
There’s a bit of a debate about whether or not your hiking leggings should have pockets. It’s true that, in many cases, you will probably carry a daypack when hiking. You can put most of what you need in this pack, so you won’t need them.
However, if you need to use your phone as a GPS or take lots of pictures while on your hike, you might want to wear hiking leggings with pockets, these tend to be convenient and easy. Some warm leggings have a hidden pocket.
When looking for comfortable clothing and hiking gear, leggings should be right up there with your most preferred options. They are comfortable, sporty, multi-purpose and weather-proof, depending on which one you buy. Furthermore, they are lightweight enough and don’t hamper your hiking prowess like other hiking pant options.
While everyone has a different style, the simple truth is that most people want to wear something that flatters them regardless of the activity. Hiking isn’t an exception to this rule. However, it’s important to find the right balance when purchasing the best hiking pants.
Going for something that makes you look dashing while being impractical might not be the best of options. You need to find a balance. Find the best leggings that compliment your figure while doing what they are supposed to do in terms of protecting you against the elements and any other potential hazards on the trail.
A gusseted crotch is also a great design for winter leggings because it can help increase your mobility and comfort level. However, not many manufacturers include a gusseted crotch for women’s hiking pants.
Of course, there are other factors to consider, such as pricing and brand loyalty, but those are highly subjective. Although, when it comes to pricing, the price is almost always directly associated with the quality and durability of the leggings.
Are leggings warm enough for hiking in cold weather?
Yes, most leggings are warm enough for hiking in cold weather. Many of the options on the market today are designed for outdoor activities like yoga, hiking, and jogging. However, if you intend to go hiking in cold weather specifically, it’s best to have leggings designed with that in mind. These tend to have a close fit and are made of warm materials such as wool.
Are leggings better than shorts for hiking?
The hiking outfit you choose should depend on the prevailing weather and your style preference. On hot days, shorts are often best because they let your legs breathe more freely. On cold days, however, leggings are best. They protect more of your skin from the elements.
Are fleece-lined leggings great for cold weather hiking?
Yes, fleece lined leggings are perfect for cold weather hiking. They are warm, comfortable, and often sweat wicking, and eliminate excess moisture while hiking. They might be slightly more expensive than your regular leggings, but if you can afford them, go for them.
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Last update on 2022-09-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API