The Columbia Explorer II is a good all-around women’s hiking pant, and has a very stylish design to boot! Like everything I wear hiking, these pants are wicking, and will dry very quickly if you’re caught perspiring on a hot day, splashed from a stream crossing, or drenched in a rain storm.
These pants are convertible to capris, have zippered front pockets so your chapstick doesn’t fall out when you’re inverted on a class 5.12 rock climb :), velcro back pockets where you can stash more necessities, and articulated knees so you can move more freely up boulders when you venture off the trail.
The best feature is that they are UPF 50, so these pants offer the essential sun protection we all need when spending hours in the outdoors. (When I told my new dermatologist that I often hike all day long, literally from dawn till dusk and sometimes longer, she made me agree to always lather on lots of sunscreen but also wear UPF clothing. The tighter weave keeps out a lot more harmful UVA and UVB rays).
The only drawback to these pants is their stylish low rise design, which is great for being fashionable around town, on day hikes, and trekking adventures, but tends to bother me on long backpacking trips. I don’t like having my backpack hip belt rest right on the waistband of pants. Regular rise pants avoid this issue.
Tips: When buying these hiking pants, order a size larger than normal because they run small and are very form fitting.
- UPF 50 Omni Shade
- Convertible to capris
- Exterior adjustable waistband
- Zippered front pockets
- Snap closure cargo pockets on thighs
- Velcro closure back pockets
To find a deal on these pants or other hiking pants, check out the Hiking Lady page: How to Find Deals on Hiking Gear.