by Diane Spicer
Did anyone ask me to write this REI Sahara hiking pants review?
Did REI Co-op send me a pair to review?
But as an avid female hiker who puts a lot of mileage on her
boots pants every season, I'm always on the lookout for great hiking clothing.
So the only disclosure I need to make in this review is the fact that I'm proud to be affiliated with REI Co-op, for so many reasons.
If you make an REI purchase through the links on this website, Hiking For Her receives a small percentage of your price but you pay nothing extra.
Now let's get to the detailed review of these women's hiking pants, because they have a lot of features I think you're going to like when you hit certain types of trails.
Okay, let's get this big important fact right out into the open.
These Sahara women's convertible hiking pants are available in petite, regular and tall lengths, and in a range of sizes including XXS - XL to 22W.
Hurrah!! Hiking women love options, especially when they come with all of the features these pants offer.
So here's a closer look at some of those must-have features in a pair of women's hiking pants you need to know about.
And more importantly for your trail comfort, why you need them.
One pair of pants, two ways to wear them: full length UV and tick protective legs, or shorts when you're hot and sweaty.
This versatility in pants becomes important when you're on a hiking trip where space and weight are limiting constraints on your clothing checklist.
The converting zippers for removing the lower pant legs are color coded, meaning that it only takes a second or two to get the right leg matched with the right zipper or left with left.
And the long zipper up to the knee means you don't have to hop around with one boot off, one boot on, while you convert from shorts to pants.
You have a unique shape, and a waistline is a perfect example of where the folks designing a pair of women's hiking pants have to pay attention to customization.
The REI Sahara hiking pants have two things I really like:
Note the external belt loops, providing even more versatility.
Don't have a hiking belt yet?
The roomy thigh cargo pockets have secure zippers, so they're the perfect place to store anything you need to keep track of: camera SD cards, car keys, driver's license, that necklace you forgot to leave at home.
Use the two pockets at the waistline for storing anything you will need soon, like a snack or lip balm. Or store stuff that you're going to dispose of properly when you get to your destination, like food wrappers.
There are two pockets on the back of the pants, which are secured only with a flap of fabric, so don't put anything super valuable back there - or anything squishable!
Don't wear a pair of women's hiking pants that don't move with you on a hike.
These pants do, both uphill and down.
This current version of the Sahara pants features a slimmer cut than the previous version, but still provides plenty of room for knees and thighs to do their important work on the trail.
The fabric has a bit of a "give" to it, too, although it won't bag out and get saggy on you.
The pants were worn on a 10 mile, 2000 foot elevation gain hike in 70 degree humid weather.
The pants did a good job of wicking moisture away from my legs and waist, although no fabric is perfect and I did feel damp around my waist beneath my backpack waist belt.
The reinforced fabric panel on the back ankle area is a nice touch, to keep abrasive surfaces and sharp pokey objects from piercing you through the fabric.
As for sizing, these pants run true to size. Order up a size if you like a looser fit, as the legs are a trimmer fit style than older versions of the Sahara.
REI Co-op makes purchasing great hiking clothing so very easy, and rewards you for doing so!
If you're not already a co-op member, please check out these 14 reasons to join.
Here's the short version on member rewards:
Their return policy is top notch, and they stand behind their product line so you can always rely on them to make it right if you have a concern.
They give you a 10% rebate annually on your qualifying purchases.
And they're the go to place for fun events and classes.
If you hike on lots of different types of trails (and sometimes go off trail), and you're out there hitting it hard in all four seasons, you already know that one pair of hiking pants is not going to keep you covered (literally).
In the Hiking For Her universe, these pants are rated for mild weather, established trail hiking.
They're thin material, and while they have DWR (durable water repellent) finish for light drizzle or brushing up against wet trail vegetation, they're not going to keep you dry when it begins to pour.
Because of the thin fabric, I don't recommend them for epic sessions of scooting over abrasive rocks, or any aggressive bush whacking where the chance of falling into holes or getting hung up on sharp branches is high.
If you're a fan of waist snaps for a solid closure experience, the button might strike you as a bit fiddly.
There are two flat seams in the crotch, put there to give you a better articulation experience, meaning the crotch won't tear out when you're stepping over big logs.
However, there are 2 seams, so the chance of chafing is increased. It's going to depend upon your individual fit, so this is something to keep in mind if you're going to rely on these pants for days on end during a backpacking trip.
If you're searching for a lightweight, comfortable and versatile pair of hiking pants for day hiking or backpacking, give these Sahara pants a close look.
A petite female hiker will rejoice at the shorter inseam on these hiking pants.
Her tall trail buddy will love the extended length.
While zip off hiking pants won't win any fashion awards, these are a pair that don't look all that frumpy, at least IMHO.
And when you buy from REI, you'll have the option of returning the pants if they don't work out for you.
Hope this review has pointed you to the hiking pants you've been searching for!
They've earned a place in my hiking wardrobe, that's for sure.
REI Co-op Women's Sahara Hiking Pants Review
About the author
Diane is the founder of Hiking For Her.
She’s been on a hiking trail somewhere in the world for nearly five decades & loves to share her best hiking tips right here.
All rights reserved.
Photo credits: All photos on this website were taken by David Midkiff or Diane Spicer except where noted.
As an Amazon Associate, Hiking For Her earns from qualifying purchases.