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Who better to describe the perfect pair of womens petite hiking pants than a petite woman hiker who has been hiking for decades?
But let's define "petite" first.
A petite woman hiker is shorter than "average", when "average" is defined as 5'4" (162 cm) and above.
Just for the record, the term "petite" doesn't mean that a female hiker has to be teeny tiny like these women.
No Tinker Belle Syndrome for most of us women hikers, thanks anyway.
Being called petite might sound cute, but it boils down to this:
Short rant/bad pun:
Okay, rant over...
Which brings us to the first problem for petite hikers:
I think we agree that petite is just another way to say short.
According to our friend Wikipedia, 40% of American women are 5'3" or shorter.
That's a lot of petite women!!
If you're a short hiker and you try on "regular" length hiking pants, you will trip over the excess pant leg material.
Thus, your desire to locate pants of the appropriate length is a safety issue as well as a style concern.
You want hiking pants that are long enough, but not too long.
This brings us to the importance of inseam measurements on the best womens petite hiking pants.
This measurement is exactly what it sounds like, and you can measure it by following these steps (including a video).
If you're lucky enough to already have a pair of womens petite hiking pants that fit well, simply measure the inside seam.
So picking a brand and staying loyal to it is one winning strategy for wearing the best womens petite hiking pants.
If you are under five feet tall, the inseam problem is even more complicated because you are in the category of "extra short" petite women (I am not making this up!).
And if you don't fit into the "accepted" weight categories for petite sizing, you're a "plus" petite.
Which brings us to the next problem in womens petite hiking pants...
Finding the best brand(s) for your hiking pants, regardless of your height (or, as "they" would say, your lack thereof) and weight, can turn into an epic quest.
I say this based on extensive experience with petite hiking pants quests.
I know, I know, these zip off hiking pants can fall into the "dorky" (unfashionable) category.
Their saving grace?
No pockets on the outside!
Less pockets = more able to blend in with "real" pants!
And please look at these features and tell me you won't use them while hiking:
Note: These run a bit small, so don't be offended if you have to order up a size or two. It all depends on your waist size and inseam length, so experiment a bit.
I find small sizing to be true in general with Columbia gear.
On the plus side, they are one of the few outdoor clothing companies to provide extended sizes for women.
Rain pants can be tricky to find in shorter lengths, but these are my go-to pair: REI Rhyolite pants
Finding rain pants that fit over my regular hiking pants but didn't trip me up was a nightmare until I found this pair.
What I love:
Recently I did this review of a different pair of REI rain pants, available in both petite and regular lengths.
Spoiler alert: loved 'em!
REI offers petite convertible pants like these.
I've been a fan of their type of convertible pants for over twenty years.
Tip: These pants have a more relaxed fit than the Columbia pants above, with a customizable "button" waistband.
That's good for hikes with lots of elevation gain and loss because you'll be able to move easily both before AND after lunch ;)
Recently I tried a pair of My Trail Company lightweight nylon pants with a regular length inseam, and was pleasantly surprised that they weren't too long for me.
They aren't convertible, so may appeal more to your preferred trail style.
Want to peruse even more options from a reputable hiking clothing store with great return policies?
Enjoy the hunt for the perfect petite hiking pants.
It's worth the investment of time.
Send me any questions you have, using this CONTACT link.
Womens Petite Hiking Pants
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