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The best travel pants combine fashion with function to ensure that you’re as comfortable as possible on the plane — but still look great when you land. Because suitcase space is often limited, they should also be lightweight and able to serve a number of different purposes, from withstanding adventurous activities to fitting in at pubs and restaurants. Features to look out for include stretchy, quick-drying fabric, zippered pockets, and the ability to resist wear and tear. You also need to consider which cut and/or color suits you. Below, our favorite picks.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: prAna Women’s Halle Pants
Made from a light, breathable Stretch Zion fabric (97% nylon, 3% Spandex) the prAna Halle Pants make for an exceptionally comfortable travel companion — especially on long plane journeys. A water-repellent DWR coating means they also dry quickly and four-way stretch and articulated knees give you the flexibility you need for adventurous activities like hiking and climbing. Additionally, UPF 50+ protection prevents you from getting burned during sun-heavy outings.
Just as importantly, the pants look as good as they feel and can easily be worn out to dinner with friends. They feature trouser styling with a button front fly, a bootcut leg, and mid-rise height. The relaxed fit suits most body types and you can even customize your look using the roll-up leg feature. Keep your valuables safe in the right leg’s hidden, zippered stash pocket. The pants are available in sizes 00 to 18 with a short, regular or tall inseam. Colors range from Equinox Blue to Green Jasper.
Best Budget: Nonwe Women’s Outdoor Cargo Pants
At just under $30, the Nonwe Women’s Outdoor Cargo Pants are amongst the cheapest and most well-regarded travel pants out there. Despite their low price, they offer many of the same benefits as the name-brand pants on this list. They're made of 88% nylon and 12% Spandex and are lightweight, breathable, quick-drying, and comfortably stretchy. Articulated knees also add to your freedom of movement and. In terms of style, the pants are relatively basic; they have a straight-leg cut with a zip fly and button closure, two rear pockets, and one close-fitting side pocket that’s big enough for a cell phone or passport. There are five colors to choose from: black, khaki, green, blue, and gray.
Best Active: Black Diamond Alpine Light Women’s Pants
Made by specialist mountaineering brand Black Diamond, the Alpine Light Women’s Pants are purpose-built for scaling cliff faces and tackling challenging hiking trails. The single-weave, four-way stretch fabric combines 85% nylon with 15% elastane for maximum flexibility and lightness — properties that come in handy on cross-country bus, train, and plane trips as well. Great breathability keeps you from overheating and DWR coating protects you from light precipitation. Use the adjustable cuffs to increase the pants’ ventilation or to keep the elements out.
Other useful features include a built-in ladder lock belt with loops for attaching spare carabiners or water bottles. Reviewers particularly like that the rear drop pockets are deep enough to fit your wallet or cellphone — a rarity for women’s pants. There’s also a zippered pocket on the thigh for securing your credit card or climbing permit. Slate, black or ink blue color choices are designed to go well with everything and look great off-mountain, too. The only downside to these pants is that they are only available in one 32-inch inseam length.
Best Skinny Fit: prAna Women’s Briann Pants
Ladies who like the slim silhouette of skinny jeans will love prAna’s Briann Pants. Their fitted design looks just as great with heels and a smart top as it does with hiking boots and a waterproof jacket, giving you the freedom to go from backcountry to bar with a simple change of accessories. The pants are mid-rise, with traditional five-pocket styling. Thanks to the brand’s unique Stretch Zion fabric they don’t feel restrictive despite their snug fit. You’ll still have all the flexibility you need to jump in and out of safari jeeps or run through the airport terminal as you make flight connections.
The fabric is also water and abrasion resistant and won’t wrinkle, which means you can wear the pants straight out of your suitcase. If you get caught in a downpour they’ll dry in minutes and a UPF 50+ rating protects you from the sun’s damaging UV rays. To ensure a good fit prAna offers three different inseam lengths: short, regular, and tall. Color options are nature-inspired and include thistle, moonrock, wedge wood, and cargo green.
Best Curvy Fit: Eddie Bauer Women’s Guide Pro Pants
The Eddie Bauer Women’s Guide Pro Pants offer a slightly curvier fit that looks great on ladies with fuller hips and thighs. The mid-rise height sits just below your natural waistline and the classic cut is both flattering and relaxed for ultimate comfort. Available in sizes 0 to 18, the pants come in four different inseam lengths, ranging from petite to plus. Two-way stretch Flexion fabric blends nylon and Spandex to create a quick-drying product that’s both lightweight and easy to pack without taking up much space.
Other highlights include the pants’ durable, water-repellent finish and integrated Freeshade UPF 50+ sun protection. You can keep essentials like your keys and cards close at hand in one of two zippered cargo pockets. These pants come in six dark colors that are naturally slimming and great for hiding dirt. Options include med indigo, slate green, and Dk chinaberry (maroon). If you’re planning a trip to colder climates and need some extra insulation, the pants are stretchy enough to wear over your base layers.
Best for Cold Weather: Outdoor Ventures Women’s Sleek Fleece-Lined Pants
These fleece-lined pants from Outdoor Ventures are the ideal solution for women who are traveling somewhere cold and want to stay warm without wearing additional layers. Available in black, dark blue, purple, and purple camouflage, the polyester and Spandex outer layer is fully windproof and waterproof. This means you can venture out into the snow and ice without worrying about the cold seeping through. Even better, the inner lining is made from 100% polyester fleece for unparalleled warmth and comfort.
Although these pants are noticeably thicker than the others on this list, four-way stretch affords the flexibility you need to go snow-shoeing, skiing, or climbing. Zippered bottoms allow the pants to fit easily over your snow boots or hiking shoes; while an external waist adjustment system lets you alter the width by up to two inches. The hand pockets are zippered for extra security and have reflective pulls for low-light visibility (especially handy in countries with limited daylight hours). The pants are bootcut with a regular fit and come in sizes XXS to 2XL.
Best Convertible: Columbia Women’s Saturday Trail II Convertible Pants
The Columbia Women’s Saturday Trail II Convertible Pants are standard mid-rise, straight-leg pants. That is, until you get too hot, and zip them off at the knee to create shorts with a 10” inseam. This versatility is especially useful if you have limited packing space or if you’re traveling to a country where temperatures vary greatly throughout the day. The fabric combines 94% nylon with 4% elastane for unrestricted movement. Your flexibility is also guaranteed by articulated knees, a gusseted seat, and the pants’ overall active fit.
Use the leg hem cinches to achieve a tighter closure around the top of your boot to prevent dirt or insects from finding their way inside. The pants also benefit from water and stain-repellent technology and built-in UPF 50+ sun protection, ensuring you’re ready for all kinds of adventures at a moment’s notice. You have two Velcro-secured pockets on the back, two standard front pockets, and one zippered security pocket on the thigh. Color options include black, pond, truffle, and British tan. Plus sizes are available for curvier ladies.
Best Capris: Eddie Bauer Women’s Horizon Capris
The Eddie Bauer Women’s Horizon Capris offer a three-quarter-length design that is perfect for tropical destinations, while StormRepel DWR coating sheds water and stops humidity or light precipitation from soaking in. The pants are also equipped with FreeShade UPF 50+ sun protection. The two-way stretch Flexion fabric incorporates nylon and Spandex to deliver unrestricted movement while also keeping the Capris so light that they barely make a difference in your luggage.
Designed to be moderately curvy through the hip and thigh, the pants sit below your natural waistline and include ruched cuff details for extra style points. Cargo side pockets — which are deep enough to hold your phone or wallet — add to the overall aesthetic, and there’s a zippered back pocket for smaller items. Choose from three different inseam lengths — petite, regular, or tall — and a selection of colors that includes mallard (deep green) and Atlantic (dark navy).