Do I Need Hiking Pants? Why It’s Time To Get One in 2023

Are you wondering, ‘do I need hiking pants?’ 

Wearing the right clothes on your hike – from hiking pants to the moisture-wicking undergarments under your clothes can make or break your hiking experience. 

While many prefer wearing their khakis, leggings, or old blue jeans, we tell you why it’s time for you to own a pair.

If you are a hiking enthusiast, then you will need a pair of hiking pants to add to your wardrobe if you don’t already have one. 

These pants are light, comfortable, and dry quickly –  great for any outdoor adventure of your choice. 

They’re also easy to pack and clean, a perfect companion for gritty experiences in the wild. 

They offer comfort, but some are also designed to convert into shorts, making them even more functional and versatile to have. 

Moreover, the fabric is an excellent choice for hiking in any weather.


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Are Hiking Pants Worth Getting? 

Yes, hiking pants are worth getting !

They are slowly gaining popularity among the hiking community around the world.

Their advantages have proven to come in handy with many hikers and are often recommended for those beginning their hiking or backpacking journey. 

Hiking pants are lightweight and quick-drying, making them perfect for any outdoor pursuits, but are they worth getting?

Certainly! And let us tell you why. 

  • Lightweight 

Hiking pants are typically made of solid nylon, making them sturdy but lightweight.

 A pair of nylon ones can weigh even less than a pair of cotton shorts – which will come in handy when you’re hiking longer distances, and you’ll need all the comfort you can get for a fun and dry hike. 

  • Quiet

The nylon material that is used to make hiking pants are known to be both “quiet” and “soft,” which does not make the ‘rubbing” sound when they rub against each other. 

This silent quality that hiking pants have eliminates the irritation and allows for better views of wildlife in the area. 

  • Comfortable 

If you like wearing comfortable pants on your hikes or in your day-to-day life, then a pair of hiking pants is the one you need, my friend.

They are comfortable and light; you might even forget you have them on.

They are also very roomy and allow for unlimited flexibility with the addition of waistbands to ensure that the pants move with your body. 

  • Quick Drying 

Hiking pants are constructed with nylon, making them dry faster – often within minutes, even while wearing them.

Unlike denim or cotton fabrics, nylon does not absorb water.

This makes them perfect for hiking trips with streams crossing or when there’s potential for wet, stormy weather or even in cold environments.

  •  Pockets

They usually have large, spacious pockets that can come in handy for maps, small digital cameras, and other items stored “on a person” instead of a waist pack. 

  • Convertible 

Most pants convert easily into a pair of shorts. 

They are usually called “Convertible Hiking Pants” and have zippers that go about ⅓ of the way down on the pants.

You’ll have to unzip the lower part of the pants on each leg, and it will convert into a great pair of hiking shorts. 

What Are Hiking Pants Made Of? 

They are generally made of nylon, but some may have a mixture of spandex, nylon, and polyester. You’ll more likely find a combination of nylon and polyester fabric because, on their own, these two materials have their pros and cons. 

  • Nylon 

Nylon is a type of fabric with many great qualities – it is water-resistant, stain-resistant, and durable. It is also flexible and breathable, moving with your body instead of against it. 

Nylon fabric has moisture-wicking properties, and they do very well with moving sweat and water away from your body to keep you dry.

In addition to this, nylon is also naturally oil-resistant, so it’ll do a good job keeping body odor at bay during your hikes. 

  • Polyester 

Another popular fabric used for hiking pants is polyester.

This material is more water-resistant than nylon and is relatively lightweight, but it may not be as durable or breathable as nylon.

Polyester is also not resistant to oils, so body odor can get trapped in the fabric and cause it to smell when you sweat. 

Best Hiking Pants

1. The North Face Aphrodite 2.0

Fit: Relaxed

Fabric: 95% nylon, 5% elastane

The North Face Aphrodite Pants is one of the top hiking brands in the industry and are amazingly comfortable and easy to move around in, making them a great option to take with you on your hikes or travel. 

It has a relaxed but flattering fit and would look great on any body type. 

It also comes with a drawcord at each ankle cuff to wear at different lengths, making them adaptable to any activity or weather.

What we like about these hiking pants: 

  • Very comfortable 
  • Adjustable length 
  • Stretchy fabric 
  • Lightweight 
  • Affordable 
  • Inclusive sizing 

What we didn’t like: 

  • No thigh pockets

2. Columbia Saturday Trail Pants 

Fit: Relaxed

Fabric: 96% nylon, 4% elastane

If you’re looking for ladies hiking pants with a great design without breaking the bank, then the Columbia Saturday Trail Pants are for you.

 It has an excellent breathable fabric, making it a perfect choice for hikes in warm weather. 

They also roll up nicely mid-calf, and the straps can be tucked neatly into a sewn-up hood, giving it a neat, clean look.

What we like about them:

  • Flattering fit 
  • Adjustable length 
  • Easy to move in 
  • Breathable
  • Affordable 
  • Inclusive sizing 

What we didn’t like: 

  • Awkward pockets
  • The wind cuts through the fabric easily

3. Outdoor Research Ferrosi Hiking Pants 

Fit: Relaxed

Fabric: 96% nylon, 4% elastane

The Outdoor Research Fossi is a top rated hiking pants that have a fit that transitions well from town to trail, making them a perfect addition for travel or hiking.

 The stretchy fabric allows you to tackle fallen trees and rock scrambles on the course without restricting your movements and the ankle cinch makes it easy to adapt these pants to your activities or the weather. 

What we like about these hiking pants: 

  • Flattering fit 
  • Comfortable
  • Soft waistband 
  • Breathable
  • Lightweight
  • Inclusive sizing 

What we didn’t like: 

  • Expensive
  • Ankle cinch is not very durable

4. Prana Halle Hiking Pants 

Fit: Relaxed

Fabric: 97% nylon, 3% elastane

The Prana Halle hot weather hiking pants have a classic look that would be flattering on various body types. 

The fabric is comfortable, and the roomy fit of these pants can easily accommodate a thick base layer bottom without compromising its durability. 

They also have a great roll-up length that makes them excellent for any weather or activity you want to do on your hike. 

What we like about these hiking pants: 

  • Durable
  • Comfortable
  • Good roll-up length
  • Lightweight
  • Inclusive sizing 

What we didn’t like: 

  • Expensive
  • Awkward front thigh pocket

5. Columbia Anytime Outdoor Pull-On Pant

Fit: Relaxed

Fabric: 96% nylon, 4% elastane

The Columbia Anytime Outdoor Pull-On Pants is one of the most affordable hiking pants that doesn’t compromise its function or fashion. 

They fit like a pair of comfy leggings, and they’re lovely for casual hikers that prefer going from work today hiking.

 They’re also great for more extended backpacking or hiking trips as they are waterproof, easy to move in, and breathable. 

What we like about these hiking pants: 

  • Affordable
  • Breathable
  • Lightweight
  • Inclusive sizing 
  • Easy to move in

What we didn’t like: 

  • No belt loops or drawstrings 
  • No good pockets 

Can You Hike In Jeans? 

Jeans are not ideal for hiking as they lack moisture-wicking, breathability, abrasion, and comfort, which will not do very well in the rain, cold weather, or scorching temperatures. 

These conditions would be better suited for a pair of hiking pants instead of jeans, making them a pretty bad choice for hiking. 

Jeans tend to also be heavier when it’s wet, which can be dangerous in some instances because they do not provide any insulation and accelerates the transfer of heat which can cause hypothermia

How Tight Should Hiking Pants Be? 

Your hiking pants should be loose enough not to restrict any movements but not too loose that they hang from your legs without barely touching you. It would be helpful to practice walking or jogging in them around the store before buying them to make sure you can walk and run comfortably in them. 

A key feature of a pair of well-fitting hiking pants is mobility. 

Be sure you can move around easily and not too tight that they limit your movements. It would help to try squatting down and sitting on a chair to make sure they fit you comfortably in the knees and in the back.

 A gusseted crotch is also important to avoid chafing.  

What Should I Wear If I Don’t Have Hiking Pants?

If you do not have hiking pants, a good option you can consider is to hike in fleece pants. If a severe cold is possible, fleece pants are a great mid-layer addition. On most hikes, having long underwear bottoms will be able to offer the added leg warmth you might need in cold conditions on your walk. 

Some other options you can consider wearing on your hikes instead of hiking pants are: 

  • Leggings
  • Basketball shorts 
  • Joggers 
  • Running shorts 
  • Cargo pants
  • Hunting pants 

We would also recommend that you avoid wearing cotton on your hikes as they don’t do well with moisture absorbency and may cause discomfort, especially when it rains or when it’s cold. 

Cotton retains moisture which can take a while to dry, and this can result in you feeling cold and uncomfortable when it is wet. 

Should I Wear Pants While Hiking?

Yes, you should wear pants while hiking. The safest option to wear in any condition or location for hiking is long pants, but shorts are generally more comfortable during hot weather. 

Most females prefer to wear leggings on their hikes, and most males prefer wearing long pants. Most hikers, however, agree that what you wear depends on the trail conditions and the weather. 

Do Hiking Pants Matter? 

Hiking pants matter and are worth buying because they are comfortable, dry quickly, and lightweight, perfect for any hiking trips you may have. Most hikers also prefer wearing hiking pants over any other type of pants for their hikes. 

In addition to all the perks mentioned above, some hiking pants can also be converted into shorts which is excellent for warm days. The fabric is also breathable and light, making it suitable for hiking in any weather. 

Should I Wear Short Pants For Hiking?

Ultimately, long trousers are the safest option for any hiking conditions and location, but short trousers are generally more comfortable to wear during hot weather.

Most hikers decide what to wear depending on the trails they plan to explore and the weather conditions. Female hikers tend to prefer leggings more, whereas men prefer wearing long pants instead. 


Having a pair of hiking pants may seem unnecessary, but it would be a great addition to your wardrobe if you spend a lot of your time hiking.

 They are lightweight, durable, comfortable, and quick-drying, all attributes of a great pair of pants that could take on any condition. 

They also offer reliable protection from thorny bushes and twigs and keep you warm in cold conditions, especially when it rains. 

In addition to this, the convertible types can keep you cool on hot days, so you’ll never have to worry about over-packing because, why have two pairs of pants when you can have one that does the job of both short and long pants?

We hope this article has helped you understand the uses and advantages of owning a pair of hiking pants. 

Whether it’s for hiking or traveling, we guarantee you could never go wrong with a pair of versatile outerwear that’s versatile and incredibly functional too!

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