Pants and shorts

Gear Review: Cotopaxi Mariposa Leggings and Vamos Shorts

Summer can be a confusing time as far as weather in the mountains. One day you’re sweating on a front range hike, and the next you’re hiking at 13,000 feet and shivering at just the thought of hiking in shorts and a T-shirt.

This season, I was lucky enough to try out the Cotopaxi Vamos Shorts and Mariposa Leggings, and between the two, have felt like I had my bases covered on summer hikes so far this year. When the temperature drops, the Mariposa Leggings have been there to keep me warm at high elevations, and the Vamos shorts have been a staple for desert and lower elevation hikes this season.

I tested both pieces of gear while hiking and backpacking in the Colorado Rockies and Pennsylvania Appalachians this past spring and summer. I also spent a considerable amount of time using them on daily quarantine walks around Denver.

Mariposa Leggings

Price: $90
Weight: 6.1oz
Material: 79{a38ddb2ded6b05e28c8ae73a8db0e271c21f7193684bd9e4e28acae292f81d99} recycled polyester + 21{a38ddb2ded6b05e28c8ae73a8db0e271c21f7193684bd9e4e28acae292f81d99} spandex

I hike in leggings a majority of the time, so was more than happy to give the Mariposa Leggings a solid test on my summer hikes. Over the last few months, they have seen a lot of use, and I can confidently say that they are durable enough to withstand the wear-and-tear of backpacking. They clean off easily when hiking through muddy or exceptionally dirt filled areas, and have held up well over multiple rock scrambles, and a few minor falls.

The durability comes from their thick layer of recycled polyester and spandex; however, this is the same reason why these leggings run on the warmer side. I’m always cold and, especially when hiking at high elevation, prefer to have warmer clothing. However, I even found these to be on the warmer side for the majority of summer hikes. For the hottest days of the year, or hikes in warmer lower elevations, I would leave these at home and opt for the Vamos shorts below.


I also had issues with the Mariposa Leggings ever so slightly starting to slip down after a lot of activity. I’ve had leggings before that I feel like I’m pulling back up every five minutes, and to be clear, these are not on that level. However, I would say a few times each hike I felt the need to stop and pull up my pants, which isn’t super ideal.

Finally, although function is greater than fashion in the backcountry, I thought these leggings were so cute. I loved the color blocking on the legs, and the unique finishes at the bottom make them the perfect pair of leggings to go from the trailhead to the bar in.


Vamos Shorts

Price: $65
Weight: 4.3oz
Material: 85{a38ddb2ded6b05e28c8ae73a8db0e271c21f7193684bd9e4e28acae292f81d99} nylon + 15{a38ddb2ded6b05e28c8ae73a8db0e271c21f7193684bd9e4e28acae292f81d99} Spandex

The Vamos shorts hit the nail on the head with the perfect mix between durability and minimal weight. These shorts are comfortable and functional enough to wear all day, and have been my go-to on hot afternoons.

The nylon material that makes up the shorts is flowy and leaves enough room for air circulation on warmer days. Meanwhile, the spandex used on the hips is stretchy enough to comfortably keep the pants in place, without making you feel restricted or confined. It’s evident that Cotopaxi made these shorts with badass women hikers in mind–they’re long enough to not feel like your rear end is exposed, yet flowy and light enough to offer some relief from hot summer temperatures. I never found myself having to adjust or pull down my shorts throughout hikes, which is a rarity in most athletic shorts.

Literally the only negative I can say about them is that I wish they were more flattering. With that being said, I tend to choose function over fashion while hiking so that’s a minimal con in my book.

Cotopaxi truly has your bases covered when it comes to hiking pants and shorts to take along on adventures this summer. Whether you’re eyeing up a high-altitude summit, or planning to adventure around the desert, there is a functional and comfortable option for you to take along on your hike. I’m looking forward to packing these items up for a few more summer adventures this season, and am optimistic that they will each be in my hiking wardrobe rotation for a few years to come.

These items were donated for purpose of review.

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