Whether you’re rock scrambling up craggy cliffs, hiking up lava-seared volcanic rock, trekking through verdant foothills, ascending icefalls, or just going for a jog in your neighborhood, you need practical performance pants as tough as you are. Adventure aficionados are spoiled for choice when it comes to activewear but, unfortunately for women, there’s often one critical feature missing: pockets. In fact, in-depth research into the gender pocket gap suggests that women’s pockets, when they exist, are 48 percent shorter and 6.5 percent narrower than men’s pockets. While all men’s pockets can hold an iPhone X, for example, only 40 percent of women’s pockets can. After all, only 10 percent of women’s pockets have room for their own hands—let alone their adventure necessities. That’s why we’ve gone ahead and rounded up six of the most functional performance pants for women that actually boast pockets—useable pockets.
Mountain Hardware Dynama Ankle Pant, $70 at Mountain Hardware: The Dynama ankle pant is Mountain Hardware’s best-selling pair thanks in large part to its lightweight, low profile. The stretch nylon-spandex pants feature a feminine fit, while still offering deep front pockets, a zippered security pocket on the left leg and a covered right-side back pocket that all lay flat (i.e. no extra bulk). So you can carry your energy bar to the summit or your wallet to run errands.
The North Face Moeser Joggers, $75 at The North Face: These relaxed-fit Moeser joggers are made of soft cotton with elasticated cuffs to marry coziness and flexibility. But make no mistake: The North Face didn’t sacrifice function for comfort. These pants have wraparound hand pockets, a secure-zip hidden pocket on the right side and two back pockets (the right side features Velcro closure).
Patagonia Wind Shield Soft Shell Pants, $159 at Patagonia: High-aerobic, cold-weather adventures call for activewear like Patagonia’s Wind Shield Soft Shell pants that allow heat and moisture to escape through strategically placed breathable panels, while still keeping you warm. The pants’ water-repellent finish will protect you from the wet stuff outside, and the HeiQ Fresh durable odor control will protect your pants from smelling of your own wet sweat. Beyond that, of course, the zippered side pockets are sufficient enough to hold your phone, trail maps, flashlight or other gear.
Outdoor Research Cirque Pants, $105 at Backcountry: Outdoor Research’s award-winning Cirque pants are built for high-energy climbing, mountaineering, and ice climbing. They’re wind- and weather-resistant and stretchy with gusseted ankle zippers, a gusseted crotch, articulated knees and a harness-compatible waist for maximum functionality. Meanwhile, zippered hand pockets and a zippered thigh pocket on the right leg will keep your phone and energy snacks safe while you scale some cliff sides.
REI Co-op Savanna Trails Pants, $27 at REI: REI’s Co-op Savanna Trail pants are built from a stretch, nylon-spandex fabric with double-layered articulated knees, an elastic waistband and bungee drawcords at the cuffs for maximum mobility on the trails. The material is also meant to protect you from the elements: It’s UPF 50+ to keep you safe from the sun and water-resistant to keep you and your belongings dry. Those belongings can be stored in your deep cargo pockets. There’s even a hidden zippered stash pocket in the right pocket, as well as secure zippered back pockets.
Duluth Flexpedition Slim Leg Pants, $80 at Duluth Trading: Duluth’s lightweight yet durable, four-way stretch Flexpedition pants will take you from the office to the trailhead. They’re extra comfortable thanks to the water-repellent exterior and peached interior fabrics that will keep you dry without overheating you. And they’ll keep you safe at night or in the dark with a hidden reflective trim revealed when the cuffs are rolled. Best of all, however, are the six total pockets, including two oversized and zippered cargo pockets, two front pockets, and two back patch pockets.
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