Best Travel Pants for Women
Best Travel Pants for Women

When packing for vacation, a business trip, or to see family, there is a better-than-average chance that you’ll be packing a pair of pants. Even if you’re the type of woman who really likes skirts, it’s good to have a great pair of travel pants in case it gets chilly or you plan to be more active and adventurous than your skirt or dress may allow. Perhaps you’ll be hiking and don’t want pesky critters or poisonous plants irritating your skin. Pants. Maybe your friends believe in setting the air-conditioning at one freezing temperature every day of your trip. Pants. Or you might just want to sprawl on the floor to watch TV and hang out. The answer is still pants.

Trying on Pants
11 Best Travel Pants for Women | If the pants fit

But when searching for the best travel pants for women, what’s on your list? Do you prioritize pockets and elastic waistbands? Are you looking for something dressier for a business meeting or lunch? Or would you like something you can easily dress up or down so you only have to bring one pair? Those are all great qualities, and while not all travel pants can be everything for every woman, we’re looking for pairs that check multiple boxes for every type of female traveler.

Why You Should Trust Us

First of all, we’ll give you a second to check the author of this guide. Back? Good. So, you've seen that a woman has had her hand in every aspect of this guide, from product selection to writing and editing. A woman tested all of the products we’re recommending. After tons of research to find dozens of options, she wore all these pants to narrow the list to those comfortable to travel in and explore a new place, yet not so cozy that they looked like pajamas. Hey, if you want to travel in fuzzy fleece pants, we’re not here to stop you, but we’re looking for travel pants that are slightly more aesthetically pleasing, functional, and durable than that.

Pants on bed
11 Best Travel Pants for Women | Lots of options to consider

The best travel pants for women are comfortable to wear on a plane, while exploring a new city, or in the great outdoors, and also look good enough to stop for a bite at the local cafe. Some of the pants on this list can be dressed up for more formal occasions, and some are best taken on the trail; we’ll be sure to let you know which is which.

How We Tested It

Test 1: Our tester wore all the pants on this list for a day, sometimes two or three, to see how they felt. She sat at a desk, gardened, walked the dog, and visited family. That helped us to figure out how comfortable they would be when sitting in an airplane seat for 13 hours or walking miles through New York City. We wanted to know if the waistband would dig in uncomfortably after a meal or if the thighs would start to pinch, as well as if your phone would drag the pockets down or anything would chafe if you wanted to explore the local hillside or museum.

Test 2: Next up, the squat test. Whether you drop your keys or need to take a photo of a cute caterpillar on a hike, you need travel pants that won't pinch your thighs or ride up on your calves as you move around.

Pants in washing machine
11 Best Travel Pants for Women | Time for a wash

Test 3: Finally, we did laundry. The best travel pants for women can take a tumble in the washing machine on a normal cycle. If you’re unfamiliar with the local language, it may be hard to distinguish the cycles from each other to find delicate or gentle. We hope the normal cycle will be pretty clear, though, so we tossed everything in and hoped for the best. We hung the pants to dry, though, because clothes dryers aren’t available everywhere in the world. Luckily, everything came out looking as well as they did going in (better, in some cases, where the pants had gotten dirty on a hike), so you can rest assured that no pair on this list needs special care.

1. Vuori Performance Joggers
Vuori Performance Joggers

After a day spent shopping Rodeo Drive or the Magnificent Mile with your girlfriends wearing a super cute outfit and high heels, you may want to slip into something more comfortable. The Performance Joggers are made with a mix of recycled polyester, polyester, and elastane that Vuori calls DreamKnit, and we have to say, it sure feels like a dream. These are seriously the softest pants our tester has ever worn, rivaling her extra fleecy pajama bottoms that never leave home. What makes these the best women’s travel pants is their breathability and style, including a tapered fit. We wouldn’t feel out of place running to the local market or traveling in these pants, especially if you get them in the Black colorway.

They pass the squat test with flying colors because the cuffs don’t even move on your leg as you bend down since the pant fabric stretches to accommodate the movement and then returns back into place as you move. However, the 25-inch (63.5 cm) inseam will make these shorter pants for taller women, though the waistband includes a drawstring to find the perfect fit. It doesn’t dig in after hours of binge-watching “Friends,” and our tester’s phone stayed nicely in the front pocket for a 30-minute walk. You will see its outline, though, in case that bothers you. While some knits end up pilling in the wash, these came out as smooth as they went in.

Why We Like It
  • The waistband stays in place even when walking with gear in the pockets
  • While you can’t dress them up, per se, they feel like loungewear but look much cuter
What You Should Know
  • There are only two pockets, and neither zip
  • You can see the functional drawstring on the outside of the waistband
See Details & Buying Options
2. Cozy Earth Bamboo Wide Leg Patch Pocket Pant
Cozy Earth Bamboo Wide Leg Patch Pocket Pant

Sometimes you just want a pair of super comfortable pants when you’re going to be on a plane for a long time, and if so, the Bamboo Wide Leg Patch Pocket Pants from Cozy Earth fit the bill. The wide leg gives the pants a bit of style so you don’t look like you just rolled out of bed and ran to catch a flight, yet the super soft bamboo material feels like you could do just that. It’s mixed with spandex and acrylic for stretch and shine, and the high elastic waist is comfortable when you're sitting for hours. Plus, it includes a drawstring that actually works if you need to cinch them up, which helps hold them at your waist on a walk, which we’ve noticed can be difficult to find in pants of this style. They have a 29 in (73 cm) inseam, and the wide leg passed our squat test with flying colors. We like that the patch pockets are large enough to hold your phone and keys if you run out of room in your sling, though you can see the outline of what’s inside the pocket.

However, they look just as good with sneakers as with flats or sandals, and you can slightly dress them up or down depending on the occasion, so we think these are the best travel pants for women looking for comfortable versatility and who need something to make it through travel days and lounging nights.

Why We Like It
  • These are the best pants for air travel and relaxing after a long day of adventures
  • Bamboo is a sustainable material that’s also super soft
What You Should Know
  • They’re a little long on shorter users
  • Your phone may fall out of your pockets when sitting with your legs straight out
See Details & Buying Options
3. Gap 365 High Rise Linen-Cotton Trousers
Gap 365 High Rise Linen-Cotton Trousers

When packing for vacation, you may want to bring along something for nicer dinners. After all, you’re not going to wear your bathing suit everywhere (even if you do the other 10 hours of every day at the resort!). The 365 High Rise Linen-Cotton Trousers from the Gap will help you feel easy, breezy, and beautiful without the discomfort of snug-fitting pants. The high waist fastens with a zipper, a button, and a tab in front, and has an elastic back and belt loops if you need a more custom fit or like that style. Pleats below the waistband create a super-flowy, wide-leg fit that looks great on most body types and is also super comfortable to sit for hours and squat in. Plus, they’re not as wrinkly as other linen pants we’ve tried, so they will be easier to pack for a trip, although we think they could use a touch of ironing after the wash.

These aren’t as functional as some other pants, yet they still have deep front pockets that can hold a phone without dragging down the waist. We’re digging the pinstripe pattern, though you can get them in solid colorways, as well, and you can also order petite, regular, or tall sizes to get the right fit, with inseams ranging from 29 in (73 cm) to 35.5 in (90 cm). You might want to size down if you’re on the shorter side of average, as our 5-foot 5-inch (1.6 m) tester found the regular’s 31.5 in (80 cm) inseam to be too long.

Why We Like It
  • You can get them in a variety of colors and patterns to form the basis of your travel capsule wardrobe
  • The fabric is lightweight and soft for warmer weather
What You Should Know
  • You may need to size down, even if you take Gap’s quiz. Our tester ended up with a size 4 even though the quiz pegged her as a 6
  • The back pockets are stitched shut, so you’ll need a seam ripper if you want to use them
See Details & Buying Options
4. Libin Cargo Joggers
Libin Cargo Joggers

While the Libin Cargo Joggers are definitely utility pants, what with their many pockets, comfortable waistband, and elastic cuffs, the sheen of the water-resistant material gives them a little more polished look we like. Libin says they’re waterproof, but while moisture beads off and dries fast, it can seep through in a prolonged downpour. Our tester finds the wide elastic waistband to be quite comfortable. It hits right at the waist and includes a functional drawstring to ensure it stays in place, yet it doesn’t dig in uncomfortably after sitting for hours as you may in the plane, train, or car on the way to your destination. And if it starts to, loosen the drawstring. The legs extend right to the ankles of our tester with a 29-inch inseam. You can’t choose your own length, though, as it ranges with the size of the pants you order, from 27 in (68.5 cm) for size X-Small to 29.5 in (75 cm) for 3X-Large. When our tester squatted to the ground, she found the cuffs to have plenty of stretch to slide nicely over your calves without getting stuck. They slide down as soon as you start walking again.

The side pockets have large flaps fastened with hook-and-loop closures to hold your phone, wallet, or cash, as well as zippered hand pockets that are nearly as large. Did we mention that there are also zippers on the rear pockets? The SBS zippers have cords woven through the metal pulls that end in plastic tabs with textured grips, so they’re easy to find and grab without jingling as you walk. We must warn you that the joggers have a bit of an odd odor when you pull them out of the bag, but it dissipates quickly and is likely a result of the waterproof coating on the material.

Why We Like It
  • There are gussets on the side pockets to hide the outline of what’s inside better than on the front ones
  • You can get them in a ton of different colors
What You Should Know
  • The zippers don’t lay flat, so you can see them sticking out
  • It can be a little difficult to open the flap on the side pockets as the hook-and-loop fastener is very tight
See Details & Buying Options
5. REI Co-op Trailsmith Jogger Pants
REI Co-op Trailsmith Jogger Pants

For days you’ll be hiking through the woods or around town, you want travel pants that can keep up without worrying about them ripping or catching on stray branches. The Trailsmith Jogger Pants from REI are designed for those travel days. First and foremost, they’re super comfortable, with nice stretch and a comfortable waistband that zips and buttons, yet also has an internal drawstring to help you get the right fit. Our tester had no issue sitting in them all day, so you won’t be uncomfortable on the plane or a long road trip. They’re available in regular or petite, with a 2.5 in (6.3 cm) shorter inseam, though our 5-foot 5-inch (1.6 m) tester had no issue wearing the regular. The deep pockets are great for holding your phone without having it dig into your waist or fall out when you sit down, and a lower pocket on the left side zips up to hold your minimalist wallet. There’s added articulation around the knees so you can crouch down and take a photo of that adorable fuzzy caterpillar, and the ankles are cinched with elastic to keep creepy crawlies from climbing up your leg. However, each ankle also has a zipper that you can undo to go over your hiking boots if you need to, and while they didn’t catch on our tester’s calves during the squat test, that zipper also comes in clutch if you have wider legs. We have to say, the cotton material (with a touch of spandex for stretch) gets a bit warm, so these are best used on the shoulder seasons of spring and fall when the weather is still a bit cool or to hang out around the campfire after the sun goes down.

Why We Like It
  • The pockets are so deep you don’t feel your phone pressing into your waist when you sit down
  • They’re great for hiking and more adventurous activities
What You Should Know
  • Some of the zippers are rather jangly
  • Although the articulated knees allow for greater flexibility, it looks like you should be able to zip off the bottom of your pants to create shorts
See Details & Buying Options
6. wayre Cruiser Pant
wayre Cruiser Pant

Despite their name, wayre’s Cruiser Pants are also good for trips that don’t involve a boat. They have a casual yet good-looking aesthetic that’s perfect for travel when you want to be comfortable and look nice at the same time. Lunch at a local cafe? Check. Hanging out with friends at the Airbnb? Check. Checking out local religious sites (that allow women to wear pants)? Check. The Like-silk fabric is made with post-consumer plastic bottles and recycled spandex. It’s flowy, and our tester reports that it feels as soft as silk, so we have no issue dressing it up or down, depending on the occasion. These pants were pretty wrinkled from the packing process when they arrived, and while some of them hung out, other stubborn ones remained even after a wash. Meanwhile, wayre says you don’t have to iron these pants and says nothing about whether you should use a hot or cool touch, so we’re hoping they work their way out with use. The wide elastic waistband sits high but doesn’t dig in, even after sitting for hours on end, and there’s a drawstring to keep it in place. Nothing bunches or pinches when we squat down, either. However, they only come in one 26.5-in (67 cm) length.

These travel pants for women also include plenty of large pockets—which you cannot say about every pair you buy—and we like their hidden outline because it keeps them looking more sleek and polished. The functional drawstring keeps the pants in place, even when walking with your phone and wallet in the pockets.

Why We Like It
  • There is a large zipper pocket hiding behind the right-hand pocket and a hidden pocket inside the left leg where you can stash a passport
  • The recycled materials help us to feel good about buying and wearing these pants
What You Should Know
  • It wrinkles easily when packed
  • A couple of the pockets are pretty hard to find
See Details & Buying Options
7. Ministry of Supply Velocity Tapered Pant
Ministry of Supply Velocity ReviewTapered Pant

We included the Ministry of Supply Women’s Velocity Tapered Pant in an early iteration of our Digital Nomad Packing List because they’re comfortable enough to wear on the plane while looking good for a business meeting. The mix of polyester, viscose, and elastane look like traditional trousers but are much more comfortable than the pair that came with your first power suit. Our tester wore them on two four-hour plane rides and reported that the elastic waist (with a hidden drawstring) and flexible material feel more like wearing thick leggings.

However, the Velocity pants have a traditional fly with a bar and hook closure to look more polished and hidden zippered pockets, though you can see the outline of whatever you put inside, like your phone. They’re comfortable to squat in, but the ankle stuck around our tester's calves when she did, so she had to pull them back down again when she stood up. The inseam varies with the size you buy, from 27.5 in (69 cm) for size 0-0 to 29 in (73 cm) for size 16. However, their polished aesthetic makes them the best travel pants for women who have to look good the second they land.

Why We Like It
  • The stretchy waistband is comfortable, even after days of use
  • Business pants aren’t always machine washable, but these are
What You Should Know
  • They have tapered legs, which can bunch when you sit or squat
  • You can see the outline of the zippered pockets
See Details & Buying Options
8. DUER Fireside Denim Mid Rise Slim Straight
DUER Fireside Denim Mid Rise Slim Straight

When heading out on an Alaskan cruise or to the ski lodge, you’ll want to pack a pair of cozy pants for chilly days. We like DUER because the company prioritizes using plant-based fibers that are better for the environment, like the cotton that makes up 81 percent of these jeans. The Fireside Denim jeans also include polyester, nylon, and elastane for stretch and the fleece lining, which is super soft and provides a little more warmth for cold-weather trips without feeling too bulky or weighing you down. Plus, they’re water resistant, so moisture beads up on the surface, which may be useful when trekking through the snow or if your luck runs out while leaf-peeping and it starts to drizzle. However, they're still jeans, and they'll take longer to dry than pants made of something like a polyester blend, so seek shelter when it starts to pour.

Our tester says the stretch makes them very comfortable to wear while sitting and squatting, although the dark indigo can heat up pretty quickly in the sun. Of course, that also makes them the best travel jeans for cold weather. We dig the deep color of these pants. You'll want to wash them separately from any of your lighter travel pants, but we had no issues with color transfer. It’s easy to find the right fit with the company’s granular sizing system, which lets you choose the right waist for your body, though they only come in one length.

Why We Like It
  • They’re super warm for cold-weather trips
  • These are the best women’s travel pants when you want to enjoy the great outdoors on a chilly day
What You Should Know
  • While they only come in one 32 in (81 cm) length at the time of this review, they look cute cuffed
  • You may need to wash them a few times for the indigo to stop bleeding right off the bat
See Details & Buying Options
9. Levi's Classic Straight Fit Jeans
Levi's Classic Straight Fit Jeans

Some think the best travel pants for women are great jeans because they go anywhere and with anything. Whether going out for a drink or walking through the city, you can dress them up or down depending on the top you pair with it. While we don’t condone it, we even know people who wear them to the theater and weddings. So, if you’re going to pack a pair of jeans on your next trip, we like the heritage styling of the Levi's Classic Straight Fit Jeans. You can get them in various washes and colors, from Dark Horse to the lighter Indigo Deconstructed and Simply White. We also like that each size is available in short (28 in or 71 cm), medium (30 in or 76 cm), and long (32 in or 81 cm), so you can pick the length that works for you.

Nothing pinched or got hung up through our squat test, with the stretch of the cotton, polyester, and LYCRA material moving along with our tester as she bent and stretched. They’re also comfortable enough to sit in for hours, although the waist is not elastic, so you sometimes feel it press in. Unlike some all-cotton jeans, however, they come out of the wash soft, so you don’t have to break them in again.

Why We Like It
  • They’re lighter and easier to pack than other jeans
  • Classic straight-leg jeans are always in style
What You Should Know
  • Jeans with built-in stretch can lose shape over time
  • The waist is a bit stiff but not uncomfortable
See Details & Buying Options
10. The North Face Aphrodite 2.0 Capris
The North Face Aphrodite 2.0 Capris

If you’re looking for the best travel capri pants for women, just stop here. Like the goddess these pants are named for, they’re pretty perfect. Our tester finds that the elastic waistband is comfortably stretchy and comfortable to sit in for hours, yet includes a drawstring for the perfect fit. The FlashDry XD fabric—mostly nylon with a bit of elastane added in—is soft and cool enough to hike in 80-degree weather. On the other hand, these capri pants are longer than shorts to protect you from sunburn or brushes from passing poisonous plants, and the fabric has a nicer aesthetic so we don’t mind wearing them to the pub down the street later the same night.

They’re only available in regular length, so where they hit on your calves will depend on your height, but the jogger-style elastic at the bottom isn’t too tight, so it doesn’t dig into your calves or get stuck on your legs when squatting. Plus, there’s a hidden zipper pocket to hold your phone. It’s seriously so hidden that it took our tester a few hours even to notice it was there, but she was happy once she did. The two other pockets are also usually deep enough to hold gear, though you risk things falling out depending on how adventurous you get. As for the wash test, all the dirt and sunscreen our tester got on them during a springtime hike came out with no issue, so these are the best women’s travel pants for those who plan to get off the beaten trail.

Why We Like It
  • Dirt brushes easily off the material while you’re on a hike
  • These capris are light enough for summer hikes while protecting you from the sun and some bug bites
What You Should Know
  • They have a casual, functional look that won’t work in all situations
  • The hidden zipper pocket may be hard to find, but it’s a good fit for your phone
See Details & Buying Options
11. Duluth Trading Company Flexpedition Slim Leg Pants
Duluth Trading Company Flexpedition Slim Leg Pants

The Flexpedition pants are beloved by travelers who want durable gear that doesn’t look like it only belongs on the trail. Even with all the functionality that comes from side pockets, zip pockets, hand pockets, back pockets, and reinforced knees, these pants don’t scream cargo, and they’re not joggers, so we find they blend in more places than other options. You can choose the length that works for you, whether that’s a 29-in (73 cm), 31-in (78 cm), or 33-in (83.8 cm) inseam. Our tester wore a size 6 with the 29-in length and said they fit true to size. The waistband fits perfectly without digging in, and there is no back gap even for those with wider hips, although the slim legs are a bit tight if you have larger thighs.

Meanwhile, the nylon and spandex material is super smooth. It repels water if you get caught in the rain while hiking or splashed when gardening, yet you can go from adventure to a casual restaurant without changing your pants. Our tester appreciated the Flexpedition’s flexibility, finding it just as comfortable to crouch near the ground to plant spring flowers, curl up on the couch and read, and then go out to see family for dinner, all in the same pair of pants.

Why We Like It
  • There are so many pockets
  • Dirt brushes off easily, and they dry quickly, too
What You Should Know
  • You may feel the seams inside when you first put them on, but it goes away quickly
  • They may be a little warm because of the lining, but they’re quite breathable
See Details & Buying Options

Others We Considered

While we wanted to love everything, some of these travel pants just didn’t make the cut.

The Kuhl Weekendr Tight is good for those who like the feel of leggings but want something more durable. Yet it has extremely tight ankles, the zipper pockets are too small for a phone, and the legs are so tight that you may have to peel them off at the end of the day. However, we dig the interesting texture of the material and the breathable mesh panels, and our tester found them comfortable to wear for a day—once she got them on.

The Athleta Studio Wide Leg Pants are great for lounging around, just like the pants from Cozy Earth. However, the waistband is very loose, and putting anything in the pockets drags it down.

If we hadn’t found other hiking pants we like better, the Mountain Hardwear Dynama/2 Pant may have made the list. They’re made with a durable yet soft material and are as comfortable as joggers but without the ankle cuff. They’re also a bit short-waisted, and we struggled to figure out what to put in the zipper pocket on the left leg since it was too small for a phone.

As for the BALEAF Women’s Hiking Pants, we found the nylon and spandex material too flimsy and thin, and we found other joggers to be a much better fit for the list at the same price point.

So whether you’re getting ready to explore a new city, hike a new trail, or just want to lay around and relax, we think you’ll find the perfect women’s travel pants among the options on this list. And depending on your plans, you may want to pick up a few. Bon voyage!

June 18, 2024

Pack Hacker