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Women's climbing pants: love 'em or hate 'em


Tori Cade · · Boise, ID · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 41

I really like the Prana Halle pants! They're not high-waisted, but sit at a comfortable level. They're stretchy and I like the fact that they have a pocket that sits on my thigh below where my harness sits, with a zipper to close. 

Tim Stich · · Colorado Springs, Colorado · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 1,476
Jess Arnold wrote:

Hey friends. 

I would like to hear what you have to say in regards to women's pants- specifically pants marketed for climbing and heavy-duty outdoor excursions. 

 What do you want in your ideal pair?

Speaking for my friend who just messed up her knee skiing, put some actual fucking deep pockets on them. Yes, I do believe she would say it that way.

Meredith E. · · Bainbridge Island, WA · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 0
DRusso wrote:

I love these, and the knickers as well.  I also like REI's generic brand soft shell pants. I find both stretchy for easy movement and very comfortable to wear.  Both the Ferrosi and the softshel's held out through an expedition to the Pickett range here in WA and are still going strong (every single shirt I wore on the other hand is now full of holes...).

Kailey Cox · · San Luis Obispo, CA · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 5

Women's climbing pants are definitely a nightmare... I've tried a few different brands/styles, here are my two cents.

My #1 pick for climbing pants, I own three pairs: PrAna Men's Zogger pant. These have the stretch Zion material, sit high waisted, VERY stretchy, don't snag, just overall super comfortable. The waist belt is excellent, and the pockets are DEEP. I also love the cinch at the ankles; wide leg pants really bother me when climbing on slab and smearing.

PrAna Halle Pants W: I really wanted to love these, but the rise is too low and I don't like the straight/almost wide leg. The tie on the waist is essentially useless. These always ride too low under my harness.

Patagonia Venga Rock Pants W: too thick (mostly cotton?), not too stretchy, and not moisture-wicking. The style is nice, and I'll wear them casually, but not to climb.

Patagonia Simul Alpine Pants W: I think I should have picked a larger size, but I've worn these in the snow for xc skiing and snowshoeing. I don't think they'd be stretchy enough for rock climbing, and a bit too thick. Might be good for alpine.

La Sportiva TX Pant W: These are a nice light, pretty stretchy pant that I will wear mostly on mountaineering-style ascents rather than pure rock climbing. I sized up slightly to be able to fit baselayers underneath. I LOVE the elastic inner waist that keeps the rise high and comfy. I wore these for Mt Adams.

My dream pants are the ArcTeryx Sabria Pant... just saving up for those or waiting for them to go on sale. A friend of mine that worked at a local retailer said these are high quality, stretchy, well-fitting pants for climbing, bouldering, hiking, you name it. Hopefully I can give those a try. In the meantime, I still deeply love my PrAna Zoggers!

Old lady H · · Boise, ID · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 773

@ Kailey, are you long and skinny? Short and curvy? That sort of info would be great, thanks!

@ Tori, I see you're in Boise! Are you buying stuff in town? If so, where? And, same question as above, thanks!

Anyone, WTF is the difference, between leggings, tights (like for running), base layers, yoga pants... ????? There seems to be zero consistency on any of this, which makes it hard if ordering online, or even what stores to prowl if I actually decide to buy new. And, once I find a used piece I like, I don't know what it is, specifically, to order another. Sheesh. It's intimidating enough, for me, to even wear this stuff with all you hotties...  :-(

Best, OLH

anna.gutwin · · Burlington, VT · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 75

I currently climb in Prana Kara jeans, E9 pants and my new favorite, the Notion Pant from Black Diamond. The Notion Pant is sooooo comfortable and easy to move around in. If it's cold out I can easily layer a pair of base layers underneath. 

While I don't hate the style of Mens pants, I definitely appreciate having a women's specific style and fit. I also HATE tights (yes, with an unreasonable passion).

Jess Arnold · · Minneapolis, MN · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 302
Old lady H wrote:


Anyone, WTF is the difference, between leggings, tights (like for running), base layers, yoga pants... ????? There seems to be zero consistency on any of this, which makes it hard if ordering online, or even what stores to prowl if I actually decide to buy new. And, once I find a used piece I like, I don't know what it is, specifically, to order another. 

I don't think there's much difference when it comes down to the actual material itself... most pants marketed towards running/yoga etc. seem to be made of the same schtuff, sometimes it's just a matter of whose expensive logo is slapped on. When it comes to "base layers", however, is when things get a little more technical. Patagonia Capilene comes to mind- a performance baselayer made of polyester w/ a specific grid pattern to increase breathability, among other features. Some of it is even UPF rated. Is that necessary though? Eh. Not to climb. Some of my best gear items, if not the best gear items, that I use on the daily are the ones not actually marketed for climbing at all... as I'm sure many of us here can relate to! 

Tera Milligan · · Golden, CO · Joined Mar 2013 · Points: 180

Honestly, I am sick and tired of looking like a f*cking skittle when I go climbing.  My shoes are salmon colored pink, my pants are yellow, my R1 is purple, and my backpack is blue (love this) with hot pink trim (hate this). Now, you could say that it is just me picking out these colors .... but it's false.  The approach shoes I wanted only came in this color, the R1 was sold out in any other color in my size, and the pants I found for a deal I couldn't pass up.  But why?? Why can't MOST of our clothes come in a more standard taste palatte with pastel options as a side note?

Anddddd I apologize for saying this, but my favorite climbing pants I've ever owned I bought from a craftsman down in Colombia who just happened to CRUSH pant-making. I can't find them anywhere on the internet.  They are called Lasso's and are god's gift to women climbers. They are stretchy, incredibly durable, just perfectly loose fitting, having SO MANY AMAZING POCKETS. ALL THE POCKETS <3 <3. I can fit a cellphone, wallet, and probably a #4 in one pocket alone. They are soooo deeeeeep. 

Otherwise, I have a terrible time finding pants that fit well. I am 5'1, 110 lbs, muscular, curvy. AKA NOTHING FITS.

Kailey Cox · · San Luis Obispo, CA · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 5
Tera Milligan wrote:

Honestly, I am sick and tired of looking like a f*cking skittle when I go climbing. 


The skittle part made me laugh! I totally agree,  that one perk of having bright colors is if you need to be rescued, you’ll stick out on a sea of brown and grey stone. Otherwise, you’re a rainbow at the crag! It is pretty silly, how most things are neon. 


In response to sizing above, I’m a pretty standard size, I think. Not super tall and average weight. I’m a little under 5’8, 140 lbs. My waist is between 27 and 28”, my hips are 38”, inseam 30”. I bought the following sizes from my above post: 

PrAna Men's Zogger: size 28 (unfortunately this is the smallest size, and I don't consider myself to be really tiny or petite at all. But I don't cinch in the waist at all, and it could be tightened at least 3-4 inches)
PrAna Halle Pant: Size 4
Patagonia Venga Rock Pants: Size 6
Patagonia Simul Alpine Pants: Size 4, but they are a bit tight. I don't want to buy them again, but I would prefer a size 6.
La Sportiva TX Pant: Size Medium, fit great.
I've tried on ArcTeryx pants and I would purchase a size 6 in the future.

I hope that helps! 

Lena chita · · OH · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 746
Tera Milligan wrote:

Honestly, I am sick and tired of looking like a f*cking skittle when I go climbing.  My shoes are salmon colored pink, my pants are yellow, my R1 is purple, and my backpack is blue (love this) with hot pink trim (hate this). Now, you could say that it is just me picking out these colors .... but it's false.  The approach shoes I wanted only came in this color, the R1 was sold out in any other color in my size, and the pants I found for a deal I couldn't pass up.  But why?? Why can't MOST of our clothes come in a more standard taste palatte with pastel options as a side note?

Anddddd I apologize for saying this, but my favorite climbing pants I've ever owned I bought from a craftsman down in Colombia who just happened to CRUSH pant-making. I can't find them anywhere on the internet.  They are called Lasso's and are god's gift to women climbers. They are stretchy, incredibly durable, just perfectly loose fitting, having SO MANY AMAZING POCKETS. ALL THE POCKETS <3 <3. I can fit a cellphone, wallet, and probably a #4 in one pocket alone. They are soooo deeeeeep. 

Otherwise, I have a terrible time finding pants that fit well. I am 5'1, 110 lbs, muscular, curvy. AKA NOTHING FITS.

Hahaha! I have to admit, being friends with a photographer, I have been indoctrinated into thinking that looking like a skittle is actually a positive thing for great climbing photos. Those muted earth tones do not come out well in pictures at all. My friend always rants about how frustrating it is to try and take pictures of the American GUYS. The Euros are all sporting bright colors, while the US male climbers are generally in shades of grey, khaki, brown, black, and muted forest greens. He always carries a bunch of T-shirts with him, if he wants to take photos that actually sell, and makes people wear those T-shirts.

But I can definitely relate. I have several pink tank tops, and it's not because the pink is my favorite color. Rather, they were only available in that color. And I might have the same purple R1 as you do. (won it in a comp, no choice of colors). I often look wistfully at the colors of male clothes. But at my size, there is no chance at all that i could wear men's clothes. Except for maybe a really puffy down jacket.

Carla R · · San Jose, CA · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 110

I tried on several pants from Prana and Patagonia but either the rise was too low, tight in the wrong places, or I didn't find any of the fabric to be stretchy enough. I ended up making my own pants that cost about $15 a pair after fabric and the design is very similar to the BD Notion and the Arcteryx Sabria pants.. I've also made some leggings for climbing out of several different fabric types, including a thin base layer. 

Honestly if any of ya'll have access to a sewing machine I would seriously consider exploring this route. 4-way stretch fabric that is also durable is surprisingly easy to find, or really most any kind of fabric you could ever want. You can also design the fit how you want, add extra features, choose your color, etc etc. 

Tori Cade · · Boise, ID · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 41
Old lady H wrote:

@ Kailey, are you long and skinny? Short and curvy? That sort of info would be great, thanks!

@ Tori, I see you're in Boise! Are you buying stuff in town? If so, where? And, same question as above, thanks!

Anyone, WTF is the difference, between leggings, tights (like for running), base layers, yoga pants... ????? There seems to be zero consistency on any of this, which makes it hard if ordering online, or even what stores to prowl if I actually decide to buy new. And, once I find a used piece I like, I don't know what it is, specifically, to order another. Sheesh. It's intimidating enough, for me, to even wear this stuff with all you hotties...  :-(

Best, OLH

My husband works at Backcountry Pursuit, soon to be Boise Gear Co, and so we pick up things from there, or we also have pro-deals. You can always order through Prana's website, I find that the Halle pants are pretty true to the sizes I wear elsewhere. I would describe myself as tall and curvy, I definitely have a booty. I wear a 10 regular in the Halle pants. 

Old lady H · · Boise, ID · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 773
Tori Cade wrote:

My husband works at Backcountry Pursuit, soon to be Boise Gear Co, and so we pick up things from there, or we also have pro-deals. You can always order through Prana's website, I find that the Halle pants are pretty true to the sizes I wear elsewhere. I would describe myself as tall and curvy, I definitely have a booty. I wear a 10 regular in the Halle pants. 

Lol! I'm literally across the street, at the Library!. 

Yeah, I'll get over there and keep after it, especially once the store gets expanded. That's really exciting! I don't know exactly which of the awesome guys is your husband, but he's a great guy! (They are all great, and have been super helpful to me)

Thanks! We've probably crossed paths, too.

 Best, Helen

phylp · · Upland · Joined May 2015 · Points: 617

There's a lot of great info in this thread.  Maybe I'll try some of the pants recommended in the future.

I hate shopping for pants of any kind.  I have a 38" hip and 28" waist so I have NEVER bought a pair of pants off the rack that fits.  Fortunately I'm pretty good with my sewing machine so I alter them myself.  Most of my cooler weather "climbing pants" are cheap tights that end up with a bunch of patches on the butt by the time they have turned the corner to certifiable rags, or some cheap elastic waist pair of mid-calf length pants that I picked up at an outlet.  For summer, cheap elastic waist shorts with a longish length (to about 2" above the knee), also bought at an outlet.  These items all last a surprisingly long time, maybe because I always climb with a pair of elasticized knee pads.  The things I always look for ( for multipitch climbing) is a pocket big enough to stick a paper topo in, a waistline that comes to my natural waist (nothing low cut) , Zipper plus elastic waistband, enough roominess to highstep (gussets are useful), never a wider legged long pant that that flaps around in the wind (ability to see feet).  To the OP: if you're keeping count - I love all the bright colors!  No earth tones for me.

Sam North · · Walton, KY · Joined Dec 2017 · Points: 0

3RD rock is a company that makes AMAZING women's climbing pants. I have three pairs and absolutely LOVE them. Super comfortable and stretchy, pretty durable as well. relatively newer company out of the UK that was actually started by a women climber who was tired of the lack of women's climbing clothing. not to mention they actually have useable pockets. 

Kailey Cox · · San Luis Obispo, CA · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 5
phylp wrote:

I hate shopping for pants of any kind.  I have a 38" hip and 28" waist so I have NEVER bought a pair of pants off the rack that fits ... The things I always look for ( for multipitch climbing) is a pocket big enough to stick a paper topo in, a waistline that comes to my natural waist (nothing low cut) , Zipper plus elastic waistband, enough roominess to highstep (gussets are useful), never a wider legged long pant that that flaps around in the wind (ability to see feet).

Hey - we're the same measurements! I would seriously look into the men's PrAna zogger. The size 28 fits me perfectly at the natural waist, has a zipper and a stretchy waistband with a built-in elastic belt, gusseted crotch, deep regular pockets and side flap pockets, and their cinched at the ankles so you can see your feet. 

phylp · · Upland · Joined May 2015 · Points: 617

Thanks, Kailey!

sDawg · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 0

I have prana zion pants and love them. I wear the same pair for all outdoor climbing as well as hiking. They are especially ideal when you're camping and want one pair of pants to transition from day to evening. They are thin but easy to put long underwear underneath. They never hinder my movement and have great pockets. The ankles roll up and button to be out of the way. I tried the halle pants but the pockets were useless and I don't prefer such a tight fit even if the pants are stretchy. I am 5'5", 125 lbs and have 28x30, which is the smallest size available. I also recommended them to a friend who is slightly bigger than I am and she loves them too.

Meredith E. · · Bainbridge Island, WA · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 0
phylp wrote:

There's a lot of great info in this thread.  Maybe I'll try some of the pants recommended in the future.

I hate shopping for pants of any kind.  I have a 38" hip and 28" waist so I have NEVER bought a pair of pants off the rack that fits.  

I would actually love it it women's pants went the way of mens, and actually sold them using  hip/waist/inseam measurements rather than leaving me to figure out which arbitrary size I am today...  


Tori Cade · · Boise, ID · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 41
Old lady H wrote:

Lol! I'm literally across the street, at the Library!. 

Yeah, I'll get over there and keep after it, especially once the store gets expanded. That's really exciting! I don't know exactly which of the awesome guys is your husband, but he's a great guy! (They are all great, and have been super helpful to me)

Thanks! We've probably crossed paths, too.

 Best, Helen 

He'll be running the bike shop once they expand; tall, scruffy. with some wild curly hair, but they are all great guys. 

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