Published on: 07/08/2023
Climbing pants are truly a world unto themselves. While they may not appear to be drastically different from regular athletic pants, rock climbing trousers are typically far more durable and come kitted out with many features to make them much more suitable for the sport. Not only that, specialized climbing pants for women can differ dramatically from men’s models.
In fact, finding a new pair of women’s climbing pants can be somewhat daunting in this day and age; there’s an enormous range to choose from, and many of them seem to have more in common than what sets them apart. So, in this guide, we’ll break down some of our favorite climbing pants for women in 2024. We’ll also be offering some advice for choosing the perfect model.
To compile this list, we utilized a mixed-method style of research that considered our own experience with the products covered and user feedback and reviews from a wide range of sources.
By conducting a wide-reaching meta-analysis of product ratings from various publications and stores, we’ve compiled an accurate list of the best rock-climbing pants for women on the market right now. We’ve endeavored only to include widely available products to ensure that this list is relevant and useful to as many climbers as possible.
Why Trust Us?
Simply put – we know what we’re talking about. Our writing team is made up of passionate climbing enthusiasts who’ve put in countless hours at their local crags and gyms. We care about quality climbing gear, and we won’t recommend anything less than the best.
Our aim here is to give you quality, unbiased advice to help you make an informed decision about which model of climbing pants is best for you.
Our Selection of the Best Women’s Climbing Pants of 2024
|62% organic cotton, 36% nylon, 2% elastane
|88% nylon, 12% spandex
|Pant legs: 93% organic cotton, 7% spandex
Waistband: 85% recycled polyester, 15% spandex jersey
|Outdoor Research Ad-Vantage
|74% nylon, 26% lycra spandex
|Climbing in leggings
|Topo Designs Boulder Pants
|90% nylon, 10% spandex
|Backcountry Destination Pant
|50% recycled polyester, 50% polyester
|Patagonia Quandary Convertible Pant
|94% nylon, 6% spandex
|Hot weather & sun protection
|Patagonia Women’s Altvia Alpine Pants
|86% recycled polyester, 14% spandex
|Fjallraven Abisko Lite
|G-1000® Lite (65% polyester, 35% cotton)
88% polyamide, 12% elastane
|Luxury climbing pants
1. prAna Kanab: Best Overall Climbing Pants
The prAna Kanab pants are some of the most beloved women’s climbing pants out there on the market today, and it’s not hard to see why. These sleek, minimal trousers combine fashion with outstanding functionality, giving you the best of both worlds whether you’re out on the rock face or curled up on the couch at home.
Using a blend of organic cotton and synthetic fabrics, the Kanabs offer nearly unrestricted movement thanks to their relaxed, loose fit. They’re also surprisingly durable and can handle plenty of exposure to sharp limestone and rugged terrain before starting to show any real wear and tear.
This hardiness is enhanced by the extra fabric the Kanabs boast at their articulated knees; this abrasion resistant added layer not only improves their durability, but also protects your knees from taking a beating, which is a massive help for crack climbing in particular.
Thanks to their lightweight fabric, the Kanabs are an especially good choice for warm-weather climbing, though they can certainly keep you warm enough on cooler evenings, too. What’s more, the Kanabs are kitted out with additional zippered pockets on the left leg, giving you ample packing space for those longer days spent out on the rock wall.
We can confidently recommend the Kanabs to most female climbers – in our view, these are the overall best women’s climbing pants on the market today.
2. Coalatree Trailhead: Best Climbing Pants for Bigger Thighs
Exceptionally comfortable and offering plenty of stretch, the Coalatree Trailheads should pretty much be a no-brainer for any climbers with a less conventional build or body shape. Their highly breathable fabric keeps you cool for both indoor and outdoor climbing, and the elastic waistband makes pulling these pants on and off a total breeze.
The added stretch offered by the Trailheads’ synthetic fabric blend affords them maximum movement, allowing them to truly move with your body, rather than against it. With their straight leg profile and gusseted crotch, the Trailheads offer plenty of room along the thigh, while the adjustable cuffs allow you to get a truly custom fit.
Something else we loved about the Trailheads was just how practical they are. The fabric they use is antimicrobial, meaning they don’t need to be washed as regularly as standing climbing trousers, and they also pack down incredibly small. This makes the Trailheads a fantastic choice for anyone who climbs abroad or in more remote locations (or anyone who simply wants to maximize their storage space, for that matter).
Boasting excellent build quality and materials, it’s clear the Trailheads are made to last. In our view, their only potential downside is their higher price point… but, you get what you pay for. All in all, these lightweight pants are a fantastic choice for climbers with bigger thighs, but they’re also very much suitable for anybody looking to prioritize comfort and the best possible fit while they’re on the crags.
3. Patagonia Caliza: The Most Versatile Climbing Pants
The Patagonia Calizas are famous among female climbers for their top-range comfort and insane versatility. You’ll be just as comfortable wearing these for everyday life as you are climbing; now that’s saying something!
Climbers with a vested interest in sustainability will love the Calizas, too, as they’re made using organic cotton and recycled materials. With flat seams and a tapered fit, the Calizas are incredibly soft, ensuring that can wear them all day and night without complaint.
Part of the Calizas’ versatility is the comfortable, unrestrictive fit they offer climbers. Their wide waistband has plenty of give without feeling saggy or loose, and sits very neatly under climbing harnesses; you won’t even notice it’s there. While perhaps best suited to mild weather conditions, the Calizas are robust enough to provide a good degree of weather resistance, provided it’s not too wet when you’re out climbing.
If having ample packing space is important to you, then the Calizas won’t disappoint; featuring both front and read drop-in pockets, you’ll have plenty of storage space for personal effects and climbing gear alike. Users report that they fit true to size, so, if you’re buying these online, you shouldn’t need to worry about purchasing a few pairs to see which ones fit best.
All in all, the Calizas are highly versatile and exceptionally well made, and, in our opinion, they’re absolutely worth the extra cost, given how much use you’ll be able to get out of them.
4. Outdoor Research Ad-Vantage: The Best Leggings for Rock Climbing
Ok, it’s true that, as a rule, leggings are generally not the best choice for rock climbing. However, there’s an exception to every rule; in this case, the Ad-Vantages by Outdoor Research certainly fit the bill. Made using highly stretchy material, these ultra-lightweight climbing leggings have been designed to offer the greatest possible durability and packing space without being excessively bulky or cumbersome.
The Ad-Vantages feature a DuraPrint overlay across the knees and hip pockets to protect them (and you, too) against rough terrain. Their nylon and lycra blend has been designed to wick moisture away as you climb, keeping you cool even in the baking sun. What’s more, they boast an ultraviolet protection factor of 30, making them a fantastic choice for climbers concerned about protecting their skin as much as possible in the great outdoors.
Featuring a crotch gusset and supportive, wide elastic waistband, the Ad-Vantages work with just about any body type and shape. With a waistband pocket and drop-in thigh pockets, they pack a surprising amount of storage space, too, making them an excellent choice for climbers who like to carry as much of their gear as possible with them while they’re on the wall.
While climbing in leggings might not be for everyone, if you’re looking for ultra-lightweight, durable pants for climbing, you might just want to give the Ad-Vantages a try.
5. Topo Designs Boulder Pants: The Best Bouldering Pants
The Topo Designs Boulder Pants are our favorite offering for – you guessed it – women’s bouldering pants, though they are a fantastic choice for climbing indoors, too. Made using a synthetic blend of fabrics, the Topo Designs are comfortable and rugged, meaning that they can withstand plenty of wear and tear before you’ll need to worry about replacing them.
While not entirely water-repellent, the Topo Designs do boast a highly water-resistant finish, which allows them to dry remarkably quickly once wet. Their nylon and spandex blend is breathable and durable, as well as being wind resistant to a degree.
Boasting multiple back pockets, the Topo Designs have plenty of packing space, should you need it. Thanks to their relaxed fit and crotch gusset, these pants offer an exceptional level of mobility, which is especially helpful when pulling off more technical bouldering maneuvers.
So, while the Topo Designs may not be quite as versatile as some of the other offerings on this list, there’s little doubt that they’re easily one of the best womens climbing pants for bouldering on the market today. The only climbers we would dissuade from investing in a pair of Topo Designs would be anyone especially passionate about organic materials, as the Topos are made using a synthetic blend.
6. Backcountry Destination Pant: The Best Budget Climbing Pants
The Backcountry Destination Pant, while originally designed for hiking, works exceptionally well as a climbing pant for the majority of applications. Its low chemical finish limits its environmental impact and does a great job of moisture management, keeping you dry even in drab, drizzly conditions.
With a low profile waistband that offers plenty of stretch, the Destination Pant can be worn seamlessly under pretty much any climbing harness. It’s also incredibly breathable, so you won’t have to worry about overheating even if you’re climbing in the heat. And, with both zippered hand pockets and waistband pockets, you’ll have ample packing space climbing in the Destination Pant.
With that being said, while the Backcountry Destination is far from being a poorly-made pant, there are obvious differences in terms of build quality between it and some of the higher-end offerings on this list. So, while it’s an excellent choice for climbers on a budget, you’ll likely find it considerably less durable than a pricier model.
7. Patagonia Quandary Convertible Pant: The Best Pants for Hot Weather & Sun Protection
Convertible pants are becoming an increasingly common sight in the great outdoors nowadays, and for good reason. Essentially a pair of shorts, capris, and pants rolled into one, the Patagonia Quandaries are a fantastic option for climbers who want the greatest possible versatility in terms of weather protection out of their climbing pants.
Another fantastic feature of the Quandaries is that they offer a high level of sun protection, which is incorporated into the fabric that they use. This makes them an absolutely elite choice for climbing in hot climates; if you want to prioritize protecting your skin, then you can wear the Quandaries at their full length. On the other hand, if you want to cool off, you can roll them up in no time at all.
Made using a blend of spandex and nylon, the Quandaries offer a decent amount of stretch and flexibility. Their zippered cargo pocket offers that bit of extra packing space, which is a huge help for longer days spent out climbing.
It’s worth noting, however, that some climbers have commented that the Quandaries’ regular fit can make them awkward to wear if you have bigger thighs or a wider waist. So, if this is the case for you, you’ll likely want to consider another of the models on this list.
For anyone else, however, the Quandaries are definitely worth a try! For the price they’re sold at, they’re pretty much a steal.
8. Patagonia Women’s Altvia Alpine Pants: The Best Technical Pants for Alpine Climbing
If you’re planning on climbing in cold or wet weather anytime soon, then you’ll want to look into getting a pair of Patagonia’s fantastic Altvia Alpine Pants. Suitable for everything from mountaineering to ice climbing, the Altvias are exceptionally hard-wearing and well-made, offering great water and weather resistance. Simply put, they won’t let you down.
Boasting an integrated belt, wearing the Altvias with a climbing harness honestly feels like second nature. They’re a fantastic choice for climbers with a passion for ethics and sustainability, too; not only are they Fair Trade sewn, but the bulk of these pants is made using recycled materials, minimizing the environmental impact of their production.
One downside of the Altvias is that they’re certainly on the costlier side; it’s also worth mentioning that their snug fit may make them unsuitable for climbers with wider hips or bigger thighs. However, if you’re in the market for some elite-level technical pants and don’t mind the higher cost of the Altvias, then you’ll definitely want to check them out.
9. Fjallraven Abisko Lite: The Best Luxury Climbing Pants
Is there such a thing as luxury climbing pants, I hear you ask? There is, and the Fjallraven Abiskos are proof! These are pound-for-pound some of the best-made climbing pants on the market right now, and their performance truly speaks for itself.
While the Abiskos’ fabric blend is on the heavier side, the pants boast some handy ventilation slits along their lengths to help you cool off when you need to. With that being said, the Abiskos are probably still best suited to climbing in cooler weather; climbers based in hotter climates will want to look elsewhere.
The Abiskos come fitted with roomy hip pockets and back loops to help you pack as much gear as you need to, and their water and weather resistance is, frankly, next level. Their price point is going to be a deterrent for some, and fair enough; however, if you’ve got money to burn and are on the hunt for some durable, water-repellent pants that boast a range of helpful, clever features, then you can’t go wrong with the Abiskos.
How to Find the Perfect Climbing Pants for Women
Should You Wear Dedicated Pants for Climbing?
Newer climbers often wonder whether or not they really need dedicated pants for the sport. After all, climbing trousers can be something of an investment, and, on paper, they’re, well, pants.
Ultimately, whether or not you should pick up your own pair of climbing pants depends to a large extent on your priorities, budget, and how much you want to get out of the sport. It’s certainly not a necessity to wear dedicated climbing trousers while out on the crags. With that being said, the benefits they offer, especially for longer climbing sessions, are undeniable.
Wearing Fitness Pants vs Rock Climbing Pants
At first blush, fitness pants can seem like a good alternative to rock climbing pants. After all, they’re generally quick drying, offer great breathability, are reasonably roomy, and are comfortable.
You can certainly get away with wearing regular workout pants when rock climbing, at least occasionally. However, if you’re someone who climbs multiple times a week, then investing in a pair of dedicated rock climbing pants will be worth it in the long run.
This is because climbing pants boast a range of features to make them more appropriate for the sport. For instance, they’ll generally use hard-wearing fabric, so that you can wear them in all kinds of weather without issue. Additionally, most climbing pants will boast various features that make them more practical than normal fitness pants for bouldering, trad climbing, and so on.
Climbing Pants vs Leggings
If you already own a pair of workout leggings, you might be wondering if they could serve as a good substitute for dedicated climbing pants. After all, leggings are usually highly comfortable, have plenty of give thanks to their stretchy fabric, and are designed to keep you cool even in higher temperatures.
While leggings can certainly work in a pinch, you’ll probably still want to consider investing in a pair of climbing pants if you’re on the wall with any real frequency. While comfortable and usually breathable, even durable leggings tend to be far less hard-wearing than actual climbing pants. This can result in the soft fabric leggings use wearing out much, much faster than a pair of climbing trousers would, especially if you’re an outdoor climber.
What’s more, leggings lack many of the features that the majority of climbing pants will offer. You’d be pretty hard-pressed to find leggings with, say, an adjustable waist belt, reinforced knees, or functional pockets. While components like these aren’t a necessity, they’re incredibly helpful to have, particularly for longer climbing sessions.
With that being said, if you’re not a hardcore climber, then, as mentioned above, leggings can certainly work as a substitute for climbing pants. They won’t restrict your mobility at all like jeans can, for instance, and they’ll generally be far more breathable, too.
Suitable Substitutes for Climbing Pants
If you’d prefer not to invest in dedicated climbing pants, then hiking trousers will probably be your best bet if you own some already. You’ll want to make sure they’re reasonably stretchy and hardy; that way, you should be able to move reasonably freely. Loose-fitting denim jeans can also work.
With that being said, if you’re planning on primarily climbing at the gym, then you’ll be able to get away with wearing a comfortable, loose pair of tracksuit pants or shorts. The main thing is that they restrict your movement as little as possible; the artificial walls and holds that you’ll find in indoor climbing gyms are far less abrasive than real rock, so durability is less of an issue.
When you’re on the hunt for the right climbing pants, having certain criteria in mind can be a massive help in assisting you in making the perfect purchase. Below, we’ve outlined some factors that you should take into consideration while you search for the ideal climbing trousers.
There’s nothing quite like heading out for a day on the rock wall in your most comfortable climbing pants. In many cases, once you’ve got your rock climbing trousers on, you’ll be wearing them all day, so we strongly suggest going for the most comfortable pair that you can find.
The amount of stretch and breathability offered by a pair of climbing pants will go a long way in determining how comfortable they are, especially during extended training sessions. Certain fabrics like cotton will be considerably more breathable than other, denser ones; however, heavier, synthetic fabrics can also be breathable and will typically be more suited to cooler temps.
Perhaps the most important factor of all when purchasing a new pair of climbing pants is how well they fit you. We all come in different shapes and sizes, so it’s not always easy to find trousers that feel like they mold themselves to your body.
Nevertheless, at the minimum, you’ll want your climbing pants to be relatively snug – but not too tight. Conversely, they should also give you some freedom of movement, but without feeling especially baggy in any one area. Ideally, climbing trousers should strike the perfect balance between these two, so that neither restrict your movement nor weigh you down excessively.
Climbers with certain body types will find it easier to find pants that offer that ideal fit than others. With that being said, if the trousers you’re interested in don’t feel right, don’t get them; it’s that simple.
Another very important factor to keep in mind when trying out new climbing pants is how weather resistant they are. Higher-end trousers will usually be made to provide wind protection, with some heavier-duty models designed to be suitable for use in alpine conditions, too.
It’s also common for newer, higher-end climbing pants to use water resistant fabric. And, for hot summer days in particular, having a pair of trousers that boast some level of added sun protection can be an absolute godsend; not only will they keep you cooler for longer, but they can also protect your skin from exposure to harmful UV rays. This is especially important in countries with higher rates of skin cancer, like Australia.
It’s simple; when investing in a new pair of climbing pants, you’ll pretty much want them to be as durable as possible. The hardier the trousers, the longer they’ll last; this is especially important if you’re a big fan of bouldering or outdoor climbing more generally.
While highly durable pants tend to cost more, we’d argue that it’s usually worth paying that bit extra to ensure that they’ll last for as long as possible. This, over time, will save you far more money, as you’ll have to replace your pants less often.
Another consideration to make is how eco-friendly a climbing brand’s manufacturing standards and processes are.
For example, some climbing gear companies manufacture their pants using various recycled materials. This is a great option if you’d like especially to support manufacturers who keep their carbon emissions as low as possible.
Vegan climbers will, naturally, want to opt for a pair of pants made without any animal products. Fortunately, climbing pants usually utilize organic and synthetic materials, making them naturally vegan. However, if animal welfare is a priority of yours, you may want to investigate a particular brand’s manufacturing methods to ensure that they source their raw materials ethically and in a manner that is vegan-friendly.
One of the best things about proper climbing pants is that they often boast a decent amount of packing space, allowing you to bring some of your gear up the crag with you without needing a separate rucksack.
How much of a priority this is will depend on you and your climbing style, for the most part. If you’re mostly into bouldering, then you’re unlikely to need much packing space in your climbing pants. However, trad climbers will generally want to opt for a pair of trousers that offers the greatest amount of storage for their gear and personal effects.
Number of Pockets
A key part of the amount of packing space a pair of pants offers is how many pockets it has. While some models will come with two pockets on the thighs, others will have additional pockets on the waist or rear. If packing space is a priority for you, then you’ll likely want to opt for a pair of trousers with more, rather than fewer, pockets.