common hiking pant questions, answered

Common Hiking Pants Questions (Answered)

Among the many items that hikers take on their adventure, hiking pants are often overlooked but can make a significant difference in overall comfort and mobility on the trail.

Beginner hikers, often have no idea where to start when it comes to legwear for hiking and can find themselves uncomfortable, cold or damp when they make the wrong choice. If you’re a regular hiker, you know that choosing the right gear is essential for a comfortable and safe experience.

So, whether you are a beginner or a sun-tanned hiking pro. We’ve put together this blog post to answer some of the most common questions about hiking pants. Helping you to make the best choices when it comes to this essential piece of gear.

So pull on your pants and let’s dive in!

What Are Hiking Pants?

Hiking pants are a type of outdoor clothing designed specifically for hiking and other outdoor activities. They are typically made from lightweight, quick-drying, and breathable materials such as nylon, polyester, or spandex blends. Hiking pants are designed to provide comfort, mobility, and protection against the elements, as well as to resist wear and tear from rugged terrain.

Hiking pants come in various styles, including:

  • Full-length pants
  • Convertible pants that can be converted into shorts
  • Capris (cut off above ankle)

Some hiking pants also feature additional pockets and ventilation to help keep hikers comfortable and prepared on the trail.

Overall, hiking pants are an essential piece of gear for any hiker, as they provide necessary protection, comfort, and mobility in a variety of outdoor environments.

What Makes Hiking Pants Different From Other Pants?

Hiking pants have a number of features that make them ideal for hiking. They are usually made from materials that wick away moisture and dry quickly, which helps to keep you comfortable and dry. They also often have reinforced knees and other areas that are prone to wear and tear, which increases their durability. Hiking pants may also have zip-off legs, which can convert them into shorts when the weather is warmer.

What´s The Point Of Hiking Pants?

The point of hiking pants is to provide hikers with comfortable, durable, and protective clothing for outdoor activities. Hiking pants are designed to offer several benefits to hikers, including:

  • Protection: Hiking pants are made from materials that provide protection against the elements, such as wind, rain, and sun. They also offer protection against scratches, scrapes, and insect bites when hiking through rough terrain.
  • Comfort: Hiking pants are designed to be comfortable and provide hikers with a full range of motion. They are typically made from lightweight and breathable materials that wick moisture away from the skin, helping to keep hikers dry and comfortable.
  • Durability: Hiking pants are made from durable materials that can withstand the wear and tear of hiking in rugged terrain. They are designed to be super tough and last for years, even decades, making them a good investment for outdoor enthusiasts.
  • Functionality: Hiking pants often feature pockets and other functional features, such as zippers and adjustable waistbands, to help hikers carry essentials like snacks, water, and maps.

Overall, the point of hiking pants is to provide hikers with the clothing they need to stay comfortable, protected, and prepared while enjoying the outdoors.

What Should I Look For In A Pair Of Hiking Pants?

When shopping for a pair of hiking pants, there are a few key features to consider. Here are some things to look for:

  1. Material: Look for pants made of lightweight, quick-drying, and breathable fabrics such as nylon, polyester, or spandex. Avoid cotton, as it retains moisture and takes a long time to dry.
  2. Fit: Look for a comfortable fit that allows for a full range of motion. Make sure the pants are not too tight or too loose, as either can restrict your movement or cause chafing.
  3. Durability: Choose pants made with high-quality materials and reinforced seams to ensure they can withstand the wear and tear of hiking.
  4. Pockets: Look for pants with plenty of pockets to store your essentials such as a map, compass, snacks, and phone.
  5. Convertibility: Consider getting pants that can convert to shorts or have zip-off legs for added versatility in changing weather conditions.
  6. Weather Protection: Look for pants with water-resistant or waterproof coatings or fabrics, as well as pants with features like ankle zippers or gaiters to keep out rain or snow. Additionally, consider pants with insulation for colder weather or ventilation for hotter weather.

By considering these features, you can find a pair of hiking pants that will keep you comfortable, protected, and prepared for any outdoor adventure.

common hiking pant questions

Why Are Hiking Pants Better Than Jeans?

Hiking pants are generally considered better than jeans for hiking for several reasons:

  • Material: Hiking pants are made from lightweight, quick-drying, and breathable materials that provide protection from the elements, wick moisture away from the skin, and dry quickly if wet. Jeans, on the other hand, are typically made from heavy denim that can be uncomfortable, hot, and slow to dry.
  • Mobility: Hiking pants are designed to provide hikers with a full range of motion, allowing for comfortable and unrestricted movement on the trail. Jeans, on the other hand, can be restrictive, especially when wet, making it difficult to move freely.
  • Comfort: Hiking pants are made with features like adjustable waistbands, ventilation, and stretchy fabric to maximize comfort on the trail. Jeans can be tight, scratchy, and uncomfortable, especially when wet or dirty.
  • Functionality: Hiking pants often have additional pockets and features such as zippers, loops, and gussets that make them more functional for hiking than jeans.

Overall, hiking pants are a better choice for hiking than jeans because they are designed specifically for the demands of outdoor activities, providing comfort, protection, and mobility that jeans can’t match.

Can You Wear Hiking Pants Casually?

Yes, you can wear hiking pants casually! Hiking pants are often designed to look and feel like regular pants. This makes them versatile and easy to wear on and off the trail. In many mountain towns and even cities, hiking pants from brands such as Patagonia and The North Face have become highly fashionable! Personally, we wouldn’t go on a holiday or adventure without them!

Here are some tips for styling hiking pants casually:

  1. Choose the right style: Look for hiking pants that are more tailored and less baggy to avoid looking like you’re wearing athletic gear. Convertible pants that can be converted into shorts are also a great option for versatility.
  2. Pair with casual tops: Hiking pants can be easily dressed up or down depending on what you wear them with. For a more casual look, pair them with a t-shirt or a casual button-down shirt.
  3. Accessorize: Adding accessories like a belt or a stylish hat can help dress up your hiking pants and make them look more stylish.
  4. Choose the right footwear: Pair your hiking pants with casual sneakers or loafers to complete the casual look.

Overall, hiking pants can be a great addition to your casual wardrobe, providing comfort, versatility, and style.

Is It Better To Hike In Pants Or Shorts?

Whether it’s better to hike in pants or shorts depends on a variety of factors, and the type of activity you’ll be doing. Here are some things to consider:


In hot weather, shorts can provide better ventilation and keep you cooler, while pants can provide better protection from the sun and insects. In cooler weather or when hiking in areas with high brush, pants can provide better warmth and protection from scratches and scrapes.


When hiking through rough or rocky terrain, pants can provide better protection for your legs, while shorts can leave you vulnerable to scratches and scrapes.

Personal preference

Some hikers prefer the freedom of movement that shorts provide, while others prefer the extra protection and comfort of pants.

Activity type

For activities like rock climbing or scrambling, pants can provide extra protection for your legs, while shorts can provide better mobility.

Insect and vegetation protection

If you’re hiking in an area with a lot of insects or vegetation that can sting or graze your skin, pants can provide better protection. This is especially important if you are susceptible to an allergic reaction to such bites or stings.

Stones and other debris in your boots

Pants will help to prevent sand, small stones and puddle splashes from entering your hiking boots which can cause discomfort and blisters further down the trail.

Overall, the decision to wear pants or shorts while hiking depends on your personal preferences and the conditions you’ll be hiking in. If you’re unsure, it’s always a good idea to bring both options and switch between them as needed.

Why choose when you can have both!…Zip offs have entered the chat

Zip-off pants are a popular type of hiking pants that offer versatility and convenience. They are designed with detachable legs, which can be zipped off to turn the pants into shorts. Here are some benefits of wearing zip-off pants while hiking:


With zip-off pants, you can easily adjust your clothing to match the changing weather and temperature. When it’s hot, you can convert your pants into shorts to stay cool, and when it’s cooler, you can zip the legs back on to stay warm.


Zip-off pants can be a great space-saving option for backpackers or hikers who have limited packing space. Instead of bringing separate pants and shorts, you can bring one pair of zip-off pants that can serve both purposes.


Zip-off pants are often made with lightweight, breathable materials, making them comfortable to wear in a variety of weather conditions. The ability to convert them into shorts can also provide additional comfort and freedom of movement.

Overall, zip-off pants can be a versatile and practical option for hikers and backpackers who want the flexibility to adapt to changing weather and temperature conditions while maintaining comfort and protection.

common hiking pants questions

Should Hiking Pants Be Tight Or Loose?

When it comes to hiking pants, the fit can make all the difference in your comfort level while on the trail. But the age-old question remains: should hiking pants be tight or loose? Well, the answer is not so straightforward, as it depends on personal preference, the type of hiking you plan to do and of course, what looks great on social media. Let’s go deeper…

Tight hiking pants

Alright, let’s talk about the merits of tight hiking pants. Now, some people might argue that a tighter fit is not ideal for hiking, but hear me out. There are definitely some benefits to wearing tighter hiking pants on the trail.

Pros Of Wearing Tight Hiking Pants

  • A tighter fit can provide a more streamlined silhouette, which can minimize snagging and allow for more freedom of movement.
  • They are more packable and usually lighter than loose pants
  • Compression from tight hiking pants can improve circulation and prevent muscle fatigue.This makes them a great choice for long hikes or strenuous climbs.
  • Tight hiking pants come in a variety of styles and materials, so you can find a pair that suits your personal style and preference.

Cons Of Wearing Tight Hiking Pants

  • Tight hiking pants can be less breathable than looser styles, which can make them uncomfortable in hot weather.
  • Lack of space for pockets and vents can leave you hungry and hot… Not very fun
  • A tight fit can sometimes result in fabric rubbing against your skin, which can lead to chafing or irritation.
  • Some people simply find tight pants uncomfortable or unflattering, so they may not be the best choice for everyone.

Loose-Fitting Hiking Pants

Let’s take a look at some of the arguments for wearing loose-fitting hiking pants on your next adventure.

Pros Of Wearing Loose-Fitting Hiking Pants

  • Loose-fitting hiking pants are generally more breathable than tight-fitting styles, which can help keep you cool and comfortable in hot weather.
  • The extra room in loose-fitting pants can allow for a wider range of motion, which can be helpful for more technical hikes or scrambling over rocks and obstacles.
  • Loose-fitting pants can be more forgiving in terms of sizing and shape, making them a great choice for hikers who may have difficulty finding a good fit with tighter styles.

Cons Of Wearing Loose-Fitting Hiking Pants

  • Excess fabric in loose-fitting pants can sometimes snag on brush or other obstacles, which can be a hindrance on the trail.
  • Loose-fitting pants can sometimes feel bulky or cumbersome, particularly in wet or windy conditions.
  • Depending on the material, loose-fitting pants may not provide as much compression or support as tighter styles. This should be a consideration for longer hikes or more challenging terrain.

Are Black Hiking Pants Too Hot?

Whether black hiking pants are too hot or not is a question that often comes up among hikers. There are a few different factors that can influence how hot or cool black hiking pants feel when you’re out on the trail.

Firstly, it’s worth noting that darker colors do tend to absorb more heat from the sun than lighter colors, which can make them feel warmer. However, this is not necessarily the case with all-black hiking pants, as the specific material, weave, and design of the pants can also play a role in how hot they feel.

For example, if you opt for a pair of black hiking pants that are made from lightweight, breathable materials like nylon or polyester, they may actually feel cooler than a heavier, thicker pair of light-colored pants. Additionally, some black hiking pants are designed with ventilation or moisture-wicking features, which can help keep you cool and dry even in warm weather.

Another important factor to consider is the climate and environment in which you’ll be hiking. If you’re hiking in a cooler climate or in cloudy conditions, you may not feel as much heat from your pants regardless of the color. On the other hand, if you’re hiking in a hot and sunny environment. Black hiking pants may not be the best choice if you’re particularly sensitive to heat.

Ultimately, the decision of whether black hiking pants are too hot for you will depend on your individual preferences, as well as the specific pants you choose and the conditions in which you’ll be hiking. If you’re unsure, it can be helpful to try on a few different pairs of hiking pants in different colors and materials to see what feels most comfortable for you.

What Is The Difference Between Climbing Pants And Hiking Pants?

While climbing and hiking share some similarities, there are some key differences between the two, and the clothing and gear that are typically used for each. As a result, climbing pants and hiking pants are designed with different features and functions in mind.

Climbing pants are specifically designed to meet the demands of rock climbing. This requires a high degree of flexibility, durability, and range of motion. As a result, climbing pants are typically made from stretchy, lightweight materials like spandex or nylon. Allowing for a full range of motion and freedom of movement. They also often feature reinforced knees and seat areas, as well as extra pockets for storing climbing gear.

Hiking pants, on the other hand, are designed to be comfortable and durable for long days on the trail. They do not require the same degree of flexibility or specialized features as climbing pants. Hiking pants are typically made from breathable, moisture-wicking materials like nylon or polyester, and may include features like reinforced cuffs or pockets for storing small items.

Overall, the main difference between climbing pants and hiking pants is the specific activities they are designed for, and the features that are most important for each. If you’re planning to do both hiking and climbing. You may want to consider investing in a versatile pair of pants that can meet the needs of both activities or choose separate pairs of pants that are tailored specifically to each activity.

Are Hiking Pants Good For Rain?

While general hiking pants are not specifically designed for rain, there are special “rain pants” available for hiking in wet weather. Before buying, it is worth checking to see if the model you are looking at is waterproof.

Although they may not be rain-specific, many hiking pants are made from materials that are water-resistant or quick-drying. Hiking pants that are made from synthetic materials like nylon or polyester are often more water-resistant than pants made from natural materials like cotton, which tend to absorb moisture and take longer to dry.

In addition, some hiking pants are treated with a durable water-repellent coating. Helping to repel water and prevent it from soaking into the fabric. However, it’s important to note that the effectiveness of coatings can wear off over time. Especially with frequent use and washing. It’s a good idea to reapply the coating periodically to maintain its effectiveness.

Should I Wear A Belt Whilst Hiking?

Wearing a belt while hiking is a personal choice, but there are a few benefits to wearing a belt whilst hiking:

  1. Keeps pants in place: A belt can help to prevent your pants from sliding down or shifting around while you’re on the move.
  2. Provides support: A belt can provide some support for your lower back and abdomen, which can be especially helpful if you’re carrying a heavy pack.
  3. Organizes gear: Many hiking belts have loops or attachment points that can be used to carry gear or accessories. Making it easier to keep essentials like water bottles or GPS devices within reach.
  4. Adjusts fit: Some hiking belts have adjustable buckles or waistbands that can be used to achieve a comfortable, customized fit.
  5. Stylish: Let’s be honest, a well-designed hiking belt can add a touch of style to your outdoor outfit!
  6. Lots of non-belt uses!: Belts can make great tourniquets, can help to lift items up a hill and can be used to fix backpack issues

Of course, there are a few drawbacks to wearing a belt whilst hiking:

  1. Discomfort: A belt that is too tight or uncomfortable can cause chafing, irritation, or discomfort. Especially if you’re sweating or hiking for long periods of time.
  2. Extra weight: A belt can add extra weight to your waist. This may not be desirable if you’re trying to travel light.
  3. Limited mobility: A belt that is too tight or rigid can restrict your range of motion and make it harder to move freely on the trail.

Ultimately, the decision to wear a belt while hiking comes down to personal preference and comfort. If you find that wearing a belt helps you stay comfortable and organized on the trail, then it may be worth considering.

can you hike in cargo pants

Are Cargo Pants Good For Hiking?

Yes, cargo pants can be great for hiking! There’s a good reason that cargos are a popular choice for commandos and hikers alike.

Cargo pants are often a popular choice for hiking because of their practical design and functionality. Here are some reasons why cargo pants are good for hiking:


Cargo pants typically have multiple pockets, including larger cargo pockets on the thighs. They provide ample storage space for gear, snacks, or other essentials. This can make it easier to access the things you need without having to dig through a backpack.


Cargo pants are often made from sturdy materials, such as ripstop nylon or canvas, which can withstand the rigors of hiking. This means they are less likely to tear or wear out quickly, making them a reliable choice for longer hikes.


Cargo pants are designed to be loose-fitting and comfortable. This can be important when you’re moving around a lot on the trail. The relaxed fit allows for a full range of motion and can help prevent chafing or discomfort.


Cargo pants are versatile and can be worn in a variety of weather conditions. They can be worn on their own in warmer weather or paired with long underwear in colder weather. They also look great whilst chilling out at the lodge or restaurant so are the perfect do-all pant.


Some cargo pants are designed to be water-resistant or quick-drying, which can be helpful in wet or damp conditions. Additionally, the pants’ loose fit can provide some added protection against sunburn and insect bites.

Are Leather Pants Good For Hiking?

Leather pants are generally not a good choice for hiking. While leather is a durable and long-lasting material, it is not ideal for outdoor activities like hiking for several reasons:

  1. Comfort: Leather pants can be heavy and stiff, which can be uncomfortable to wear for extended periods of time. They are not designed for the type of movement and flexibility required for hiking.
  2. Breathability: Leather is not a breathable material, meaning that it doesn’t allow air to circulate through the fabric. This can cause you to overheat and sweat excessively, leading to discomfort and potentially even heat exhaustion.
  3. Water-resistance: Leather is naturally water-resistant to some extent. It is not completely waterproof and will eventually soak through in heavy rain or wet conditions. Once wet, leather can take a long time to dry out, leaving you cold and uncomfortable.
  4. Weight: Leather pants can be heavy. This can be a disadvantage when you’re trying to keep your overall gear weight down. Carrying heavy pants can make you feel weighed down and tired more quickly.
  5. Cost: Leather pants can be expensive, and are not necessary for hiking. There are many other affordable and functional options available, such as synthetic materials like nylon or polyester.

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