This just in: There’s a time and a place for yoga pants. Sure, they’re super comfortable and great for downward dogging, but release them into the wild and they are about as resilient as a plastic poncho during a three-day deluge. Problem is, not every hiking outing calls for your uber-durable, Gore-Tex-enforced trekking pants either. Say you’re hiking with a toddler (or a grandmother), going on an impromptu vacation hike, or commuting from pavement to trail to office – situations that require some performance and protection but not necessarily a force shield. In these cases consider one of these other bottom options, specifically made for ladies.
Patgonia Solimar Shorts
If the testament to a great pair of shorts is that they can be scrunched up into a tiny, wrinkly ball and then, WITHOUT the aid of an iron or any physical effort by the wearer, be wrinkle free within 10 minutes of putting them on, than the Patagonia Solimar Shorts are a great pair of shorts (and made for travel). Our tester wore them off & on for days in the blazing Salt Lake City & Boulder summer heat and every time they emerged from their ball in the corner wrinkle and odor free thanks to the lightweight stretch nylon fabric (which also happens to be coated with DWR). Small slits in the hems and the option to roll the mid-knee length up above the knee (and secure with one button) make them flexible enough for hiking & casual biking (although the slippery fabric slides a bit on the saddle). Bummer: Although there are three pockets (all on the front; 2 jeans style and one shallow vertical pocket on the right leg), none of them can be securely closed. The fit is slim & straight, but not skinny per se. $65; 4.2 oz. (6); sizes 2-14; colors: earthenware (mint green) and black; patagonia.com