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A Guide To Buying Women's Waterproof Trousers

Finding the right pair of waterproof trousers can be a challenging task. With so many options on the market, it can be difficult to know where to start and what features to look out for. In this comprehensive guide, we'll help you find the ideal waterproof trousers, outlining the key factors to consider when shopping for women's waterproof trousers, from waterproof ratings and breathability to fit and features. 


The guide will provide a detailed overview of the best waterproof trousers for women currently available from top outdoor brands, along with pros, cons and sizing information. We’ll give advice on choosing the right type of waterproof trousers based on different outdoor activities and weather conditions. Plus, get tips on finding the right fit and how to care for your waterproof trousers to maximise performance and longevity. 


This guide will equip you with all the knowledge you need to shop confidently for women's waterproof trousers, ticking all the boxes for comfort, weather protection and versatility. Whether you're a hardcore hiker or simply need a reliable pair for walking the dog, this guide has you covered.  



What Are Waterproof Trousers?

Before delving into the key factors when buying waterproof trousers for women, it's important to understand exactly what waterproof trousers are and why they are an essential piece of outdoor clothing. 


Waterproof trousers are trousers designed using fabrics with waterproof and breathable membranes and seam tape technology to prevent rain, snow and moisture from penetrating the material. This enables you to stay dry in wet weather conditions when participating in activities like hiking, mountaineering, skiing and walking.


Unlike regular trousers which absorb moisture and become soggy when wet, waterproof trousers protect your legs and lower body by allowing perspiration to escape while blocking external moisture from seeping through. This makes them far more comfortable, practical and high performing for outdoor adventures than normal trousers or jeans.


Waterproof trousers are available in a range of styles, from overtrousers that fit over your regular trousers to combat wet weather, through to more slim-fitting hiking trousers designed for active pursuits like hiking, climbing and mountaineering. Most are made from coated nylon or polyester with a waterproof membrane like Gore-Tex.


Their key benefits include keeping you dry in rain, snow and splashes; enabling you to stay active in poor weather; preventing wind chill on your legs; maintaining warmth by blocking moisture; protecting your lower half from abrasions and scratches; and allowing perspiration to escape so you don't get clammy. 


In short, waterproof trousers are a wardrobe essential for women who regularly walk, hike or take part in other outdoor activities. They provide an invaluable layer of weather protection and comfort.


Factors To Consider When Choosing Women's Waterproof Trousers

With an understanding of what waterproof trousers are, let's now explore the key factors to consider when shopping for women's waterproof trousers so you can select the right pair for your needs.


Waterproof Rating

The primary function of waterproof trousers is keeping you dry, so the waterproof rating is the most important factor to check. Waterproof clothing uses a hydrostatic head measurement which indicates the column of water they can withstand before leaking. 


Look for trousers with a hydrostatic head rating of at least 5000mm for reliable waterproofing in moderate rain and outdoor conditions. 10,000mm+ is ideal for wetter conditions and heavy rain. 15,000-20,000mm ratings provide the ultimate waterproofing for stormy mountain conditions.



Although waterproofing is crucial, breathability is also vital for comfort. Waterproof membranes like Gore-Tex allow perspiration vapour to escape outward while blocking external moisture.


The higher the breathability rating, measured in grams/square meter over a 24-hour period, the more sweat and condensation can escape so you don't get clammy inside. For women's waterproof trousers, look for breathability ratings of at least 5000 g/m2/24hrs.



There are two main styles of waterproof trousers for women: overtrousers and hiking trousers. Overtrousers are designed to be worn over your regular trousers for quick and convenient wet weather protection. They tend to have a looser fit with added length and width. Overtrousers pack away into a pocket or bag.


Hiking/outdoor trousers are slimmer-leg trousers designed to be worn as a standalone outer layer for active pursuits like hiking, climbing and mountaineering. They may have added features like knee pads and leg vents.


Consider when and how you plan to use your waterproof trousers to decide which style suits your needs. Overtrousers offer versatile protection for dog walking, commuting and general outdoor use whereas hiking trousers are optimised for comfort and freedom of movement on trails and treks.



Getting the right fit is key for comfort and protection. Waterproof trousers come in both men's and women's specific cuts. Women's styles are shaped for a female figure with a tapered leg and articulated knees. 


Consider your usual trouser size and check sizing charts to ensure you choose a pair offering a comfortable close fit but with enough room to add base layers or thicker walking trousers underneath if needed. Adjustable waists and ankles help get the ideal fit.


Try trousers on and test mobility by crouching and lunging. They shouldn't restrict your range of motion. Also check they are long enough to avoid exposing your ankles and calves.


Fabric And Lining

Nylon and polyester coated with a waterproof treatment like polyurethane are the most common waterproof trouser fabrics. They balance waterproofing, breathability and abrasion resistance.


Some models also feature a soft brushed fleece lining for extra insulation and comfort against the skin. This helps retain warmth but reduces breathability. Check if the lining is full or partial length.


Look for fabric reinforcements in high abrasion areas like the knees, seat and hems for added durability. And ensure any lining won't impede rolling up or packing trousers away when not needed.



Premium hiking focussed women's waterproof trousers offer a range of features to enhance comfort, protection and convenience. Knee pads provide cushioning when kneeling on hard or rough terrain. Ventilation zips allow you to open trouser legs for increased air flow and cooling.  


Belt loops allow you to use a belt for adjustable waist tightening. A zip fly makes pulling trousers on and off easier, especially over boots. A zipped lower leg offers adjustable fit and easy pull on and removal without removing boots. A roll away hood is an integrated hood that can be rolled and sealed away until needed.


Consider the features which would be most beneficial for your intended use. But also bear in mind unnecessary features add bulk and weight.


Weight And Packability

The weight and pack size are important if you need trousers that are easy to carry in your backpack or travel luggage. Heavier gauge fabrics provide greater durability but increased weight.


Look for women's waterproof trousers weighing 500g or less in size medium or with a lightweight rating of less than 350g. And check if they come with their own stuff sack or pocket to pack them down small.


The most packable waterproof trousers for women can fold up tight and small enough to fit in the palm of your hand — perfect for hiking adventures or taking on trips as emergency wet weather protection.


Price And Budget

Women's waterproof trousers range from around £40 for basic models from reliable outdoor brands up to £200+ for high-end trekking trousers packed with technical features and innovation.


In general, the more you spend, the higher the waterproofing and breathability levels, durability and amount of features. Set your budget then look for the best performing trousers you can get at that price point. 


Even at lower price points, decent entry-level waterproof trousers for women offer good rain protection and comfort for less frequent outdoor use. Paying a little more gives better technical performance and resilience for regular adventures.



Best Waterproof Trousers For Women

Now you know how to assess waterproof trousers for women, let's look at some of the top recommended options currently available from leading outdoor clothing brands.


Berghaus Paclite Overtrousers

The Paclite Overtrousers from Berghaus are a versatile women's waterproof trouser designed to wear over your regular trousers in wet weather. They provide gold-standard waterproofing thanks to the two-layer Gore-Tex fabric construction.  


The close feminine fit acts like a second skin while allowing complete freedom of movement. They pack down small into their own pocket making them an easy go-everywhere companion on hikes, dog walks and daily outdoor adventures.


Mountain Equipment Rainfall Pants

Designed for trekking and mountaineering, the Mountain Equipment Rainfall Pants offer heavyweight wet weather protection with a premium three-layer Gore-Tex Pro construction. 


The athletic fit is tailored to the female form and styled for freedom of movement on trails. A host of features add comfort and ventilation on active pursuits. The top of the range waterproof fabric provides uncompromising storm protection.


Rab Downpour Plus 2.0 Pants 

The Rab Downpour Plus 2.0 Pants provide exceptional waterproof performance coupled with impressive durability and breathability. The flattering regular fit works well for layering and allows unrestricted movement.


Thigh vents provide temperature control and comfort on changeable hikes while the three-layer Pertex Shield+ fabric keeps wind and rain at bay even in wintry conditions. A great year-round women's waterproof trekking trouser.



Choosing Women's Waterproof Trousers Based On Activity

The type of outdoor activity you plan to use your waterproof trousers for should play a key role in deciding on the right pair. Different activities and conditions demand specific features and performance levels.  


For hiking trails and trekking in changeable conditions, look for technical trousers with good freedom of movement, ventilation features and abrasion resistance in high wear areas. 10000mm+ waterproofing is recommended for hiking. 


If you’re a climbing enthusiast and love ski mountaineering and serious mountain pursuits, look for heavyweight three-layer waterproof trousers with a helmet compatible waist and extra reinforcement against scrapes. 20000mm+ waterproof rating is needed for mountaineering.


For globetrotting adventures, prioritise lightweight and packability along with moderate waterproofing to withstand light rain showers and spray when backpacking and travelling. Focus on 5000-10000mm rating.


Everyday dog walks and park visits require softer shell trousers or casual styles like cargo pants with light waterproofing. 5000-10000mm is adequate for showers and splashes. 


For cycling commutes and road riding, look for stretch waterproof trousers that allow freedom of movement with features to avoid billowing in the wind. 10000mm rating is recommended for cycling.


Snowsports like skiing and snowboarding call for three-layer insulated pants with 10000-20000mm waterproofing, ventilation zips and snow gaiters are ideal for sub-zero snow sessions in winter.


Consider your key needs based on how and where you plan to use your women's waterproof trousers to narrow down the ideal style, features and waterproof rating. 


Getting The Right Fit

Achieving the right fit is crucial to get the performance and comfort benefits from women's waterproof trousers. You may want to size up if you need room for extra insulation layers since waterproof trousers are designed for layering. Also, check specific dimensions like rise, inseam and leg opening to ensure a trim fit that avoids restrictions. 


Honest opinions can be extremely helpful. Read reviews for feedback on how a style fits, runs large or small and any quirks. Try before you buy by ordering a few pairs you like in various sizes to trial at home for fit. Wear suitable base layers and check trousers with your hiking socks and base layers worn under them.


Test mobility by crouching, stretching and moving to check the fit doesn't limit your flexibility and range of motion. And avoid exposed ankles by opting for regular or long sizes with extra length if needed to get the right trousers length.


Take the time to get the sizing right and your waterproof trousers should offer year after year of dry and happy adventures!



Care And Maintenance Tips

To get the longest lifespan from your waterproof trousers and maintain optimal water repellency and breathability, close all zips and Velcro fastenings before washing to avoid snagging internal fabric layers, and turn trousers inside out. Rinse with clean water after use to remove excess dirt and debris before washing. 


Wash in a dedicated waterproof detergent according to label instructions to replenish DWR treatments. Tumble dry on a low setting or hang dry away from direct heat to avoid damaging membrane layers.


Avoid using fabric softener which can impair breathability and water repellency. Spot-clean stubborn stains using a sponge and warm water rather than vigorously scrubbing the fabric. And be sure to store trousers clean, dry and loose, not compressed. Repair small leaks and tears promptly with seam sealant to prevent further water damage. 


Following these care guidelines will help your waterproof trousers keep you dry season after season. With proper maintenance, high-quality women's waterproof trousers can last for years. 


So, remember to look for key factors like waterproof and breathable fabric technologies, stylish and feminine fits that allow freedom of movement, useful features for the intended activity, and a reputable outdoor brand known for high performance and quality. 


Taking the time to assess different trousers and trying styles on for fit will help ensure you get the sizing and comfort spot on. And with proper care and maintenance, your new waterproof trousers should provide many years of reliable performance in all weathers, keeping you dry while you enjoy the great outdoors.

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