A pair of comfortable, durable, and well-fitting hunting pants will make your next hunt more enjoyable
For years, I found little to no women’s hunting pants available in any useful camouflage patterns. Then there was the “pink it and shrink it” era where sporting goods stores had a rack of camo consisting of men’s sizes made smaller. It was also often pink, which made it impractical for most actual hunting situations.
But companies have since stepped up, and options now abound. Few companies outside of women specific brands make as many selections for women as they do for men, but there are still a good amount of options for varying scenarios in the woods.
The downside is that with so many options, it requires some trial and error to pick what is best for you. Fortunately, I have tested a lot of hunting apparel and came up with a list of the best women’s hunting pants for wherever you may find yourself.
Why It Made the Cut
If you only have the money and desire to buy one pair of hunting pants, this is the pair. They’re versatile, comfortable, and durable.
For most hunts in classic fall weather, the KUIU Attack are the best women’s hunting pants. They fit over hips and thighs with no awkward back gap. They are wide enough at the bottom to keep bugs off of you, but narrow enough to fit around your boot and not make noise as you walk. These are perfect for any hunt in cool, morning hours or a chilly afternoon. Pockets on the legs are ideal for keeping a phone, GPS, or smaller calls handy. Side vents open to let some air in if you start to overheat on stalks but can be closed for a sit. The front pockets are too small for anything large but would work well for a license or two. If you’re only going to have one pair of hunting pants, these would be a good one to buy.
Why It Made the Cut
These pants are soft, comfortable, and surprisingly durable. They’re great for long hunts with plenty of hiking as well as lounging in camp. They also make you feel good about the environment.
When the prAna Halle II ReZion arrived in the mail, I didn’t have a lot of hope for them. They seemed thin and not terribly sturdy, but I figured they could be good for some easy hiking and for sitting around camp. Then I wore them for four days in a row pulling sheep fence, rolling barbed wire, and yanking poles out of the ground. No thread pulled or pilled until I caught them pretty seriously on a piece of barbed wire. It was also between 95 and 100 degrees most days and they were surprisingly cool. The fabric is comfortable and tougher than I imagined. I also liked that they’re made from a recycled nylon blend, which means they’re better for the environment. I would not wear them on a hunt where I planned on crawling through cactus or walking through thick, thorny bushes, but I would wear them if I knew I was going to cover a lot of miles on a warm day.
Why It Made the Cut
The DSG Kylie 4.0 are soft, warm, comfortable, and, most importantly, provide an easy way to relieve yourself in the woods without stripping off all your layers.
If you’re planning on spending any amount of time sitting on the edge of a nearly frozen pond or river as the sun comes up waiting for ducks and geese to land, these are your bibs.
The DSG Kylie 4.0 are incredibly warm, soft, and comfortable. They’re also clearly made by women for women. The sides unzip and back folds down creating the perfect access when nature calls, preventing you from having to strip all of your coats and top layers off in order to tuck behind a bush.
These are not your early fall hunting bibs. You will sweat until you pass out if you wear these on a warm day. But for those mornings when temperatures hover around freezing or plunge well below, put on a pair of long underwear underneath and you’ll be thankful you brought these.
Why It Made the Cut
If you want a good pair of camo rain pants, these may be the best ones out there. They fit a woman’s body, unzip from top to bottom, and are lightweight enough to stuff in a pack or throw on any underlayer.
I wore these rain pants on a 35-mile backpacking trip into the Wind River Range in central Wyoming to fish. It was hot and also rained intermittently for days including a full-day pack out in thick fog and drizzle. The KUIU Chugach TR Rain Pants were surprisingly quiet walking through the woods and were cooler than I would have expected worn over hiking pants on an otherwise hot, muggy day. The zipper from the bottom to the waist is handy for taking them on and off over muddy boots. They were lightweight and packed small to tuck away when I didn’t need them. Water also sloughed off to make putting them away after a stop less messy than other rain pants. The reinforced cuffs prevent holes. Although it would be nice if they had pockets, the dual zipper means you can also unzip from the top for easy access to the pockets of whatever you’re wearing underneath. They’re big enough to slide over layers and have a comfortable belt and buckle system to fit and stay wherever you want. Most importantly, I stayed dry.
Why It Made the Cut
If you plan on sitting in a tree blind all day, these aren’t your pants. But if you’ll be walking through wet trees and bushes, sitting to call, and kneeling and getting back up again, these are for you.
I went on a multi-day fishing and hunting trip into the Boundary Waters with a friend a couple years ago who wore these for the duration. She talked about their comfort on rocky shores and ease carrying packs and canoes on multiple portages. After her experience, I was eager to give them a try. They didn’t disappoint. While these pants are definitely too heavy for an early-season hunt, they are perfect for colder weather. One of their best features is the kneepads—they work great when you have to kneel down or stalk crouched on the ground—but they’re also bulky for extensive walking. Fortunately, they’re removable if you don’t think you’d need them. The waterproof seat is also a great bonus for anyone hunting in wet climates or during the spring. Bottom line: They’re tough and do what they say.
Why It Made the Cut
Wear these lightweight hunting pants on your next upland hunt where you’ll be putting in miles and not busting through too many thorns.
Upland hunting doesn’t require camo, and most of us would rather not traipse through another couple months in the camo we’ve already been wearing big-game hunting. But we also want to wear pants that will hold up to the rigors of upland climbs: Enter the Orvis Pro LT Hunting Pants. They’re lightweight, breathable, and have an attractive fit. The double-weave, Cordura fabric keeps you protected through run-of-the-mill bushes, twigs, and grasses. They aren’t necessarily a match for half-inch-long thorns like those on greasewood. I walked through fields of it as a test and have scratches on my legs to show for it. The pants didn’t, however, tear or catch on any of them. The Pro LTs include an extra pocket behind one of the back pockets intended for a cell phone with a strap to eject it from your pocket. Whether or not that’s useful may be a personal decision. Wear these afield and you won’t feel like you just came back from a hunt when you end up at the grocery store or running errands in town.
Why It Made the Cut
These might not look like standard hunting pants, but if you don’t need to be in head-to-toe camo and just need a comfortable, study, affordable pair of pants, these won’t let you down.
If we’re honest, many hunting situations don’t actually need optimal camouflage patterns. Rifle hunting for elk, mule deer, or antelope already require you to wear a certain amount of blaze orange, so matching your pants to the trees is a little irrelevant. If you don’t have $150 to drop on a pair of specialty hunting pants, consider buying these Carhartt work pants. They’re durable, tough, and $60. They aren’t the most breathable or lightweight pant, but they will stand up to thorns and branches and crawling along on the ground.
What kind of hunt will you be going on?
Are you going to be bushwhacking through willows and sage brush or racking up miles on an upland hunt? Are you going to be sitting in a duck blind in January, on an archery elk hunt in September, or mule deer hunting during the rut in November? Your location and timing will determine the weight and durability of the pants you wear.
Do you run hotter or colder when you’re active?
You probably think about this when you’re buying clothes no matter what, but especially with hunting pants, consider how warm you tend to be when you’re hiking quite a bit and if your hunt will be a lot of sitting or mostly walking. I lean toward a lighter pant because I tend to overheat when I start hiking and I don’t want to be sweaty and uncomfortable when I sit down. Breathability should also be a factor if you tend to warm up quickly when walking.
What pattern are you looking for?
Depending on where you’ll be, either in the whitetail woods of the Midwest, the upland prairie of Montana, or the temperate rainforest of Washington, you’ll want to think about the pattern that you wear. You may realize you don’t need a pattern at all and all you really need is a sturdy pair of pants.
It really depends on who you ask. The more you blend in, the more likely you are to have success depending on the species, but you will hear plenty of people tell you it doesn’t matter at all. I figure you may as well have every advantage you can, so find a pattern that best matches the environment you’ll be in, and know you’ll be setting yourself up for success. That being said, what matters most is your skill and knowledge of the animal you’re pursuing.
Probably, yes. Pants like Sitka and KUIU have a reputation for being more expensive but also have a reputation for fitting better, breathing better, and holding up better. If you have the money, you can spend twice as much on a pair of pants that you’ll be able to wear for twice as long. I have a pair of cotton camo pants I bought for cheap that I wore for close to a decade, and while they work just fine, they have holes all over and I have to wear a belt to keep them cinched. More expensive pants are frankly just more comfortable.
You could ask this question about any pants, and the answer is always yes. Can you wear pants for men? Certainly. Are women’s pants more comfortable and will you have a more enjoyable hunt in them? Absolutely. It’s worth taking the time to find the right pair for you.
These pants were put through the wringer. I hiked and backpacked for weeks in the mountains of Wyoming and worked on a ranch pulling fence and digging ditches.
Invest in your hunting pants the same way you would invest in clothes for your other favorite activities. Think about how much time you spend hunting and how much time your body will be in those pants and then consider how much it’s worth it to you to buy the best women’s hunting pants for your body shape and hunting environment. You’ll thank yourself after you’ve made the investment.
Christine Peterson is a freelance writer based in southeast Wyoming covering hunting, fishing, outdoor recreation, wildlife and the environment for Outdoor Life, High Country News, National Geographic and others.
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