Can you wear hiking pants for skiing

Can You Ski In Hiking Pants? (The Pros And Cons)

You can ski in hiking pants, in fact, you can ski in any pants (or trousers if you are from the UK). The question is… Are hiking pants any good for skiing and would they be an acceptable/ practice piece of clothing to use for the sport?

Hiking pants are probably the best non-snowsports-designed pants for skiing or snowboarding provided they are waterproof and fit well.

In this article, we will look into what makes hiking pants good for skiing and also what makes them not so great… Let´s dive in

Pros Of Wearing Hiking Pants For Skiing


Waterproof hiking pants are designed to keep you dry in wet conditions. This feature is especially valuable when skiing or snowboarding as it helps prevent moisture from getting through the pants and making you wet and cold.

Wet pants whilst out on the mountain is a seriously bad idea! Wet pants leave you feeling cold and uncomfortable, weigh you down, and chafe your skin as you move. This can also be dangerous if the weather turns bad, putting you in danger of frostbite or even hypothermia!

You may think that this is only an issue if it is snowing, but whilst skiing you are in contact with moisture more than you think.

Other ways to get your pants wet whilst skiing are:

  • Snow getting kicked up during turns.
  • From falling over into the snow.
  • Sitting on wet chairlifts
  • Sitting on cold wet seats in restaurants.
  • Snowball fights


Hiking pants are windproof which is very helpful both on exposed mountain peaks and on fast descents. Windchill is one of the main reasons that skiers get cold, blocking the frozen wind from your legs is a good place to start.

Try to wear hiking pants with taped ventilation seams as this will further block wind from entering.


Hiking pants are often constructed with materials that are more durable and abrasion-resistant than regular pants. This durability can help them withstand the wear and tear of skiing and snowboarding, such as contact with ski edges and abrasive snow surfaces. They are also double stitched which means that they will not come apart when bending over or when you crash (it happens to the best of us)


If you are out skiing or snowboarding on a hot spring day or are pushing your limits, hiking pants offer lots of breathability. Letting your body release heat without building up moisure on the inside of the pants. This moisture once cooled can cause discomfort and make you cold.

Often hiking pants come with lots of vents that can be opened and closed easily, helping you to regulate your temperature throughout the day.

Cons Of Wearing Hiking Pants For Skiing


Hiking pants are designed to keep your legs nice and cool on long hot hikes. With lots of breathability and no insulation, they are likely to release a lot of your body heat through the fabric especially at altitude or when bad weather comes in.

If you choose to wear your hiking pants skiing or snowboarding, we recommend layering some thermal leggings or some tracksuit bottoms underneath. This way you will have the required thermal insulation and also the weather-resistant properties provided by the hiking pants. Just make sure they are baggy enough!

Fit And Features

Although hiking pants are designed to allow you to move freely around the mountain, they do lack some of the custom fit and features of ski pants. Such features include:

  • Larger ankle cuffs and ankle zips to accommodate ski boots. Giving skiers easy access to the buckles
  • Reinforced heels that protect the pants from tearing if they get caught under your boots whilst walking.
  • Lack of elasticated snow gaiters which stop snow coming up the anke and into your boot
  • Dungaree style fastening AKA salapettes allows freedom of movement without a tight waist. This feature also stops snow from going over your belt line and down your pants in powder.
  • Powder skirt connectivity with matching jackets. Many companies have a design that allows the jacket and pants to be zipped or buttoned together, stopping snow from entering your bants and giving you a cold butt crack (NOT Pleasant!)
  • Some ski pants come with inbuilt RECCO beacons that help snow patrol to find you if hit by an avalanche


You may or may not care about how you look on the slopes.. If you don´t then skip this section but if you like to look and feel great whilst skiing or boarding then hiking pants are not a great fashion statement. They give off big “newb” vibes.

Can You Ski In Hiking Pants?

The answer is yes. If you add some insulation and don´t care too much about being a fashion icon. A good pair of waterproof hiking pants can be used for skiing. Don´t let a lack of kit stop you from trying one of the most fun sports on the planet and enjoying the great outdoors!

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