A guide to the best women’s travel pants with pockets

by Sep 21, 2023Gear

Therese Iknoian enjoying Talkeetna Lake view in a pair of women's travel pants with pockets.

Women’s pants with pockets are mandatory for travel. Who wants to always carry a purse or pack? Unfortunately, great women’s travel pants with pockets aren’t easy to find – I know because I’ve tried dozens of pants in my ongoing search. Here are some of my current favorite brands.

My husband can hear me ranting from across the store: Why don’t these women’s travel pants have pockets like the men’s do? I get outraged that designers somehow think a practical woman traveler is going to care more about the sleekness of her thighs. Me, I want pants with pockets so I can securely stash everything from smartphones to metro tickets to a camera lens cap.

We recently ran across a couple from Slovakia on a hike in the Italian Dolomites – and the woman (also a photographer) was wearing the same hiking pants I was! I mentioned all the pockets in it I loved, and she immediately got as passionate as I am about that endless search for women’s travel pants with pockets, also fuming about those without practical pockets.

I feel her pain. She felt my pain. So, what’s with the designers out there? Don’t they feel our pain?

Therese Iknoian Shooting Portraits At Inn At Newport Ranch

Since I am always on the lookout for great women’s travel pants with pockets, here is my short list of a few brands I have found myself turning to for pants with pockets. One must, in most cases, look beyond brands that specialize in travel and turn to those that cater to professionals where the work requires pockets. You’ll see what I mean below with the brands I love.

Therese Iknoian Among Tulips

There are lots of brands, such as Prana, that have a pant or two with pockets, especially many outdoor brands with pants that do well for travel. I have my share of these, too. It’s just that finding the right model of women’s pants with pockets requires a lot of digging through websites and shelves. These on my list are brands that are all-pockets-all-the-time (or most of the time).

Brands that specialize in pockets:

5.11 Tactical Wear – I have warned many a woman I’ve referred to 5.11 that merchandising is not the company’s strength. These are pants sold to military personnel, firefighters, and police who really aren’t all that interested slick merchandising. Look through all the various styles and you’ll find quite a few that don’t make you look like a security officer. And pockets? Everywhere!!! I am so in love with these, especially for photography adventures. I particularly adore how deep and secure the pockets are, from in-seam rear pockets that truly work to cargo and front-slash pockets that do the job. There are so many pockets that you may lose your stuff in one or the other.

Therese In Maine wearing a favorite pair of women's travel pants with pockets - 5.11

Therese gets ready for a night shooting at Acadia National Park in her trusted 5.11 pants. Photo ©Klaus-Peter Statz

Figs – You’ll need to go with me on this brand choice: Figs makes scrubs for hospital and medical workers. But they have some style! OK, so you may not want to choose the “scrubs white” color, but I have some black ones that look like regular pants – and I get compliments all the time. My obsession with scrubs came from watching medical office staff access gear in pockets. I have had nurses twisting to look at a pant tag to tell me what the brand was. I have stuck with Figs due to its quality – granted, you won’t be sliding down rocks on your butt, but for airplane flights and around town wear, nobody will be the wiser. You may want to check out other popular scrub brands, too.

F23 Toad&Co KeyBrandImages 8.5inx11in 29

Clothing Arts – I initially discovered Clothing Arts more than a decade ago when it was a tiny brand with its founder pushing his concept of “pick-pocket-proof” pants all by himself at a trade show. He has since gone on to grow the brand and expand from one pair of pants to several styles, all specializing in secure pockets. These are not the lightest, with all the fabric layers for the added security, but I have worn them on a hot day in Santiago, Chile, when I was venturing into a market well-known for pick pockets. I felt supremely secure with my stuff double-zipped and velcro’ed inside various pockets. Sleek? No. Practical? Totally! One great pair of women’s travel pants with pockets … and they are made the same as the men’s styles!

Therese Iknoian At The Classic Car Museum In Modesto

Carhartt – Known as workwear, Carhartt may not be the best for airplane travel due to the fabric weight, but for car travel or outdoor adventures, this brand knows its pockets. And they don’t slight women’s styles since the workers who wear them, from carpenters to sailors, simply must have pockets. Take a look at this brand for practical pants with pockets.

Therese Iknoian Kuhl Travel Pants With Pockets

Kuhl – This has been a go-to travel brand for me for several years now – in part due to the durability and lightness of the fabrics — and the company does make great travel pants! However, one caveat: Check the style you are interested in very carefully as some of the women’s pants feature pockets I don’t feel are as secure as they need to be – such as pockets not deep enough for today’s smartphones, or too loose without a proper closure. Still, whenever I am packing I find myself turning to Kuhl pants pretty regularly since they travel so well.

Me, I will continue my endless, often frustrating search for That One Great Pair of travel pants with pockets. If you have a brand you love, please let me and our audience know!

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