When packing light is absolutely essential, nothing’ll drop your bag’s weight better than replacing your regular jeans or khakis with a pair of one of the best travel pants for women.
You may already be asking yourself: What kind of a snaky marketing ploy is this? Pants are pants, aren’t they?
Well, not exactly. And soon you’ll see just why.
Throughly confused and bewildered? Let this guide to the top women’s travel pants of 2021 help clarify it all for you…
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Best women’s travel pants of 2021: The top 8 reviews
Since I’m sure the question’s already burning in your mind, let’s just get straight to it: What exactly are travel pants?
As airlines continue to tighten up their baggage policies, shrinking weight allowances and charging hefty fees for overages, there’s never been a better time to adopt one of the central tenets of minimalist travel: packing light.
When you’re packing your bags, you’ll notice that one of the heaviest clothing items is your pants. As much as we all love to wear that perfect pair of jeans while travelling, sometimes packing that extra pair is enough to tip your baggage weight limit over the edge.
There’s an easy solution: swap out your jeans (and other heavy cotton legwear) with travel pants.
Travel pants are designed specifically for, well, travellers! They use lightweight materials, not just to lighten your load, but to be comfortable, breathable, moisture-wicking, and quick-drying. All of these features offer huge benefits in the ever-moving traveller’s universe.
Let’s take a look at a few of the top picks, shall we?
In a rush? Here are the best women’s travel pants of 2021 compared…
The North Face Aphrodite 2.0
Fabric: 95% nylon / 5% elastane
Best Uses: Travel, casual
If you are looking for a pair of pants that can be used for travelling, hiking, or just as casual wear, you’ll be pleased to hear that The North Face Aphrodite 2.0 Pants can do it all.
Rated as one of the best travel pants for women, Aphrodite 2.0 are lightweight, weighing only about 220 g (8 oz).
One of the biggest advantages of these pants is its FlashDry-XD technology, helping to accelerate evaporative drying and the removal of moisture from the skin.
In a nutshell, this technology will allow you to stay dry, comfortable, and go out in a wide range of weather conditions.
In addition, the FlashDry’s triple-needle stitching also provides increased abrasion and snag resistance, making the Aphrodite 2.0 extremely durable.
However, be aware that these pants snag easily when worn on the trail, resulting in pulled threads. Extreme backwoods adventurers will need to look elsewhere.
On the bright side, there is one more thing that makes many ladies fall in love with these pants: the standard straight fit.
Many hiking pants are either comfortable or flattering. However, The North Face Aphrodite 2.0 are actually a combination of both.
They are adjustable, stretchy, and they make you look good. If all that’s not enough, you’ll be pumped to know that they also come with a lifetime guarantee.
- FlashDry-XD technology for quick-drying
- Excellent fit
- Lifetime guarantee
- Snag easily in backwoods
Fabric: 97% nylon / 3% spandex
Best Uses: Travel, casual
The prAna Halle are mid-rise pants featuring a very relaxed fit. These pants will not only look good on the trail, but they are also flattering enough to wear around town.
Made out of a stretchy material, prAna Halle Pants tick all the required boxes in terms of functionality. You can wear these pants when travelling, cycling, or even rock climbing.
The pants are very durable and you won’t have to worry about tears or scratches.
In addition, the Halle pants weigh only 340 grams (12 ounces) and they are suitable for use most of the year round. However, they might be slightly too heavy for hiking in hot weather.
Another thing that makes the prAna Halle pants perfect for travelling is that they come with plenty of pockets.
The most functional one is the vertical zippered pocket. This pocket is perfect for the items that you want to keep secure, such as your phone or boarding pass.
One downside to these pants is that they are not very water resistant even though they do have a DWR coating. Since the pants are made out of quick-drying nylon, however, they will dry off quickly if you ever get caught in a rain blast.
- Comfortable and stylish
- Good security features
- Not very water-resistant
- Too warm to wear in hot weather
REI Co-op Taereen
Fabric: 94% nylon / 6% spandex
Best Uses: Travel, Hiking
Every woman needs a pair of travel pants that are light, stretchy, and designed to keep you cool and comfortable during a long flight or even a tropical hike. And that is precisely what REI Co-op Taereen Pants offer.
These pants are made out of nylon & spandex fabric that’s cool and stretchy. The pants also have a durable water repellent finish and provide UPF 50 sun protection.
Thanks to the internal reinforcements and reinforced cuffs, REI Co-op Taereen was designed to endure a wide variety of travel adventures.
Just like the prAna Halle, the REI Co-op Taereen Travel Pants come with plenty of pockets. Two hand pockets and two zippered rear pockets will keep all your belongings secure.
These pants come in two colors (black and peppercorn) and they could have easily become the best travel pants for women, had there not been two slight disadvantages.
The front pockets are cut at steep angles, making it very easy for your items to fall out. In addition, the largest size available is XL.
- Comfortable & stretchy fit
- UV and weather protection
- Zippered pockets for security
- Limited color & size selection
- Shallow side pockets
Aviator Travel Jeans
Fabric: 49% Tencel / 42% cotton / 6% elasterell / 3% spandex
Best Uses: Travel
If you’re looking to pack a little more style into your travel pant collection, look no further than Aviator Travel Jeans.
Proudly made in the USA, these premium travel jeans are designed to both look and feel great.
Thanks to a unique blend of environmentally-friendly Tencel and cotton, as well as elasterell and spandex, these travel pants hold their shape and offer a stretchy comfortable fit that’s a must for long journeys.
(They’re about as close as you’ll get to the feel of yoga pants in a jean!)
One of the biggest bonuses for travellers is that Aviator Travel Jean feature two hidden zippered pockets in the rear that are perfect for carrying your valuables without worrying about pick-pockets nicking your stuff.
Our only gripe with these travel pant is the high-rise fit. While this fit works perfectly fine for most, smaller women may find that these jeans may ride too high at times.
There are also more lightweight option for truly minimalist travellers looking to cut down the bulk in their luggage.
- Comfortable & stretchy fit
- Zippered pockets for security
- Rides too high at times
- Not as lightweight as other options
Fabric: 92% polyamide / 8% elastane
Best Uses: Travel, casual
For a dash of style on your travels, you simply need to pack a pair of Anatomie Skyler Pants.
Featuring a stretchy polyamide and elastane fabric blend, these top-rated travel pants are built to be both comfortable, breathable, AND flattering.
They feature a mid-rise cut, fitted hips, and streamlined side panels for a noticeable slimming effect. They’re also wrinkle-resistant so they’ll look great right out of the suitcase.
Although these travel pants rank as the most stylish in the bunch, they aren’t necessarily the best choice for every travel situation.
Unlike other options, Anatomie Skyler Pant don’t have built-in zippered security pockets to protect your valuables while navigating large crowds.
The slim-fit straight-cut sizing of these pants also means that they aren’t as curve-friendly as other recommendations in our list.
- Comfortable & slimming fit
- Stylish good looks
- No security pockets
- Runs small at times
Black Diamond Notion
Fabric: 98% organically-grown cotton / 2% elastane
Best Uses: Travel, hiking
All the ladies who are looking for a touch of stretch and loose-fitting pants will definitely love the Black Diamond Notion.
These pants are made out of organic cotton and they are perfect for almost any event whether its unwinding on the couch, going to the gym, or even spending time in the boulders on a cool day.
The Black Diamond Notion feature an elastic waistband that ensures a perfect fit, as well as stretch cuffs that prevent the pants from getting in the way of your footwork. The cuffs also give the pants a trendy cut so you can wear them around town.
The gusset on these pants enhances mobility and the reinforced knees add to their durability. The pants also come with two hand pockets and two rear pockets that are perfect for keeping small essentials handy.
One downside is that these pants are, overall, not the most robust of our picks, fraying relatively easily in tougher conditions. Luckily, Black Diamond offers a lifetime satisfaction guarantee on their apparel, making it possible to repair, replace, or refund the pants free of charge.
- Comfortable fit
- Versatile style
- Not as robust as other pants
Columbia Saturday Trail Stretch
Fabric: 96% nylon / 4% elastane
Best Uses: Hiking, outdoor activities
When your travels whisk you off to the trails, packing a pair of Columbia Saturday Trail Stretch Pants is a must.
These top-notch hiking pants sit among of the best technical picks in the bunch, throwing together a barrage of features that both hikers and more casual travellers will love.
Thanks to its Omni-Shade UPF 50 sun protection and Omni-Shield water-repellant layer, the Columbia Saturday Trail is a superb companion on the hiking trail. Neither a drizzle nor the sun beating down is enough to power through these pants.
Although lightweight, these travel pants perform well in cooler temperatures thanks to Columbia’s Omni-Heat thermal reflective technology. Of course, this is a double-edged sword.
In hotter temperatures, you might find that, while relatively breathable, these pants will tend to heat up a tad more than most women would prefer.
- Comfortable fit
- Excellent sun protection & water repellency
- Not suitable to hot climates
Arc’teryx Gamma LT
Fabric: 88% nylon / 12% elastane
Best Uses: Travel, hiking in cool wet weather
Following the company’s unique naming schemes, fans of the Canadian brand will know exactly what they’re getting into when they pick up a pair of Arc’teryx Gamma LT Pants.
The Gamma hints that these softshell travel pants are weather-resistant, stretchy, breathable, and abrasion resistant while the LT, on the other hand, stands for “lightweight.”
One great thing about the softshell material of the Arc’teryx Gamma LT is that it provides better weather resistance than other materials.
When it comes to withstanding harsh weather conditions, these gals are definitely among the best. The Arc’teryx Gamma LT are particularly excellent for the wet cooler months.
Of course, with that weather protection, you can expect that these pants are a little hot to wear in warmer weather. (And, unfortunately, it is not possible to convert these pants into shorts.)
Despite this slight disadvantage, the Arc’teryx Gamma LT are a superb women’s travel pant. They’re among the most robust and comfortable of all our picks.
Most of all, the Gamma LT are hardwearing and feature female-specific design that allows exceptional freedom of movement while travelling, hiking or backpacking.
- Robust design
- Excellent fit & movement
- Good weather-proofing
- Warm to wear in hot weather
- Premium price point
How to choose the perfect women’s travel trousers: A quick buyer’s guide
Unlike other categories of travel gear, choosing the perfect travel pants isn’t so complicated. In fact, it’s not much more difficult than picking out your “everyday” pants!
Nonetheless, there are a few things to keep on the lookout for when looking for a pair of pants to bring along on your next adventure:
- Comfort: Naturally, the most important question you’ll need to ask yourself when choosing your travel trousers is: Are these pants comfortable? Each brand has their own fit and style. Some are made slimmer, others looser. On top of the sizing, you’ll want to check out the fabric. For longer journeys, you’ll find stretchable fabrics blended with materials like spandex or elastane will be prove most comfortable for extended wear.
- Weight: One of the most important reasons to swap out your regular trousers with travel pants is to save weight and space in your luggage. Generally, the more lightweight the materials, the better. Lightweight travel pants are not just more packable, but also often more comfortable to wear in warmer temperatures. The special lightweight fabrics used in many travel pants are often designed for high-performance activities like hiking and tend to be more breathable, moisture-wicking, and quick-drying compared to “regular” fabrics. (More about that in a second!)
- Wrinkle-resistant: If you’ve ever pulled clothing out of your luggage only to discover they look like they’ve thrown into a juicer, you’ll appreciate that most travel pants are wrinkle-resistant. Since I’m sure ironing clothing isn’t part of your itinerary, this is one of the most compelling reasons to pack a pair of special travel pants.
- Breathability: As much as you might love the look of denim, you have to admit that it’s not the most comfortable fabric to wear in warmer climates. Enter the travel pant. Since these trousers are designed to be lightweight, the materials also often feature excellent breathability. Some models even include extra gusseted ventilation in the knee and in-seam.
- Water-resistance: If hiking and outdoor activities are in your plans (and not-so-pleasant weather is a possibility), shop for a pair of pants that’s treated with a durable water resistant (DWR) coating. Although these treatments won’t create complete waterproofing like a rain jacket, they will repel it enough to withstand a quick drizzle without getting soaked.
- Quick-dry technology: In addition to water-resistance, many of the top models feature quick-drying technology. This is a fantastic feature for travellers. (If you’ve ever packed slightly damp clothing into your bag before a travel day, you’ll know why this is important!)
- Sun protection: Contrary to popular belief, you can actually get a sunburn through your clothing. Many of the top travel trousers feature UPF sun protection from 40 to 50 to keep your legs from turning lobster-like.
- Pockets: Aside from the materials, one of the big advantages of travel pants are the pocket configurations. In addition to regular pockets, many models feature zippered security pockets to store valuables like your passport or smartphone closer to your body.