Hiking Gear Guide
Hiking Pants

Hiking Pants

Hiking Pants Country - The Iceberg Lake Trail in Glacier Park
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Blue Jeans are great, aren't they? They can be worn just about anywhere. Until they get wet. Or until you need to take them off due to high temperatures only to discover, sadly, you have nothing else to wear (although in Montana hiking in underwear is not frowned upon). And, gee, the weight of blue jeans - who wants to wear them on a 15 mile hike?

Happily, if you are a hiker, you can now leave the blue jeans at home or back at camp - as hiking pants have come to the rescue of any hiker who needs a versatile, comfortable and highly functional set of pants for hiking and backpacking.

A Typical Hiking Pant - Lighweight, Versatile and Comfortable

Hiking pants are really one of the neatest inventions in recent years. Hiking pants, for those of you not familiar with them, are very lightweight pants that have been specifically designed for hiking. As such, hiking pants are light, have many pockets, dry quickly, and, best of all, many varieties convert to shorts - something that is always handy on hot days.

As I spend much time hiking, I thought it would be helpful to prepare a short guide about these wonderful types of pants. If you enjoy hiking, give serious consideration to getting one or more of these pants. To put it simply, once you start hiking in hiking pants, you'll never go back to using blue jeans again out on the trail.

See Some Recommended Pants

Advantages of Hiking Pants

Hiking pants provide many benefits for a hiker, in comparison to blue jeans or shorts. Some of these benefits include :

Lightweight : Hiking pants are exceptionally light, as they are made of a tough, but lightweight, nylon. While the weight of the pants when hiking is not a huge issue, the lighter weight of hiking pants still makes you more comfortable when out on the trail.

Quiet : Hiking pants, although made of nylon, are made of a specialized type of nylon that is "quiet". What this means is that the pants hardly make a sound at all when you are hiking. This not only gets rid of an irritation to your ears, but also allows you to better sneak up on wildlife if that is what you want to do.

Quick Drying : Hiking pants, as they are made out of nylon, dry incredibly quickly. If the pants get wet, they will dry out often times within minutes - even while wearing them. Thus, unlike blue jeans or other cotton fabrics, the pants do not hold and absorb water. For this reason, hiking pants are the pants of choice you should wear if you are worried about getting wet on your hiking trip. This is especially important in mountain areas, where rain is usually accompanied by cold weather. If you are stuck in wet blue jeans in the mountains in cold weather, well, let's just say you won't have a real fun trip.

Pockets : Hiking pants generally have a ton of roomy pockets on them. The numerous pockets on hiking pants always come in handy, allowing you to store maps, sunscreen, lip balm, munchies and other things that you like to have "on person" instead of buried in your daypack.

Comfort : Hiking pants are probably the most comfortable pant ever made. First, as mentioned, hiking pants are light. While the lighter weight is always nice, what makes hiking pants great is that they are also roomy. With a hiking pant, you'll never have to worry about being crimped up by your pants (like what happens with blue jeans). A hiking pant essentially allows for unlimited flexibility. Anyone who journeys off trail or scrambles on rocks will come to enjoy this benefit immensely. Secondly, hiking pants generally have elastic waistbands. While not exactly stylish, elastic waist bands are extremely comfortable - as they give and take with the motions of your body.

Convertible Shorts : Most hiking pants convert easily to shorts. You see, hiking pants generally have zippers on them about 1/3 of the way down the pant. Just unzip the lower part of the pant on each leg and, presto, you now have a very nice pair of hiking shorts. You don't even have to take off your boots to convert them to shorts, either, as most hiking pants have zippers on the end of the pants leg allowing you to pull the pants right over the boot.

Cool Protection : A final benefit that hiking pants provide is protecting your legs from the sun and other hazards on the trail (such as twigs, prickers, etc..) while at the same time keeping your legs cool. The lightweight of the nylon, combined with its breathability, keeps your legs "shaded" while still providing protection from the sun and other elements. You'll appreciate this feature the first time you go off trail on a hot day.

See Some Recommended Pants

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