If you ever plan on going hiking, then the very first thing you have to do is get the proper gear and equipment. You have to start by choosing a high-quality hiking pants that will protect you from the environment and give you the adventure that you truly desire.
First things first, before we discuss choosing what pants can fit you. Let’s consider choosing one first. So the first thing we need to ask is…
Where do you plan to hike? This is the primary factor in choosing the type of hiking pants you should bring. If you plan to go in warm climates like deserts then you’d probably want lightweight hiking pants that can be converted into shorts. If you plan to climb mountains then you’d want a stretchable pair of hiking pants with decent weather and temperature protection.
What to look for in hiking pants and how should hiking pants fit?
Before we go testing out hiking pants to wear, we must first check out a few terms found on hiking pants descriptions.
- Gusseted Crotch – This means that the pants have extra fabric in the crotch area to prevent it from splitting. They are usually baggy or saggy but in high-quality pants, they are barely noticeable.
- Articulated Knees – The knee area is cut allowing for a full range of motion.
- DWR coating – DWR stands for Durable Water Repellant. If you find this label on the pants it is likely waterproof.
- There are more terms but the ones mentioned above appear constantly. So now that it is out of the way, here are the factors to consider in buying hiking pants:
- Material – Good materials for hiking pants are mostly synthetic like nylon or polyester. Make sure that the materials are flexible and sturdy enough for your journey.
- Breathability – You need to breathe if you plan on walking long distances, make sure that you can breathe easily when wearing the pants of your choice.
- UPF – UPF stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor. Make sure to consider buying pants with good UV protection when going to hot sunny areas like the desert.
- Water Resistance – If you plan on going to rainy regions or areas with heavy snow then consider buying waterproof pants or pants that offer some form of weather protection.
- Weight and thickness – It is advisable to bring lightweight hiking pants in warm areas because their fabric is a lot thinner allowing heat to escape your body. Whereas in cold areas it is more favorable to bring bulkier but heavier pants.
A general rule of thumb is that lighter pants are usually good for heat while heavier pants are usually bulky and good for cold but they weigh more.
Mobility – Another factor in choosing the right hiking pants is its mobility. Getting a pair of pants that are too tight will hinder mobility, whereas getting pants that are too baggy or loose will result in extra fabric flopping around which may get caught on rocks or branches.
It is also a good idea to get pants with articulated knees, since they allow full ease of movement in the knee area.
Fit – Make sure that the pants are the right fit. Your comfort and ease of movement in the hiking pants will determine the quality of your hiking experience.
Also make sure you have a gusseted crotch if you plan on doing extreme outdoor activities like mountain climbing or activities which might require a lot of stress for the pants. Trust me, you wouldn’t want a gaping hole between your legs now, would you?
How to choose the best fit for you
Now with that out of the way, let’s discuss how to choose the best fitting hiking pants. Ease of movement and comfort are the number one priorities in determining that the pants are a good fit.
Walking five or more miles with uncomfortable or stiff pants is something that you would like to avoid at all costs.
The steps are labeled below.
- Check for defects – After selecting the pants of your choice with the guide above, double check for any tears or damage in the pants.
- Wear the pants – After wearing the pants check for any signs of discomfort or problems in walking.
- Sit Down – While wearing the pants sit down and check if there are any signs of discomfort or uneasiness. If you feel any signs of tightness then find another pair.
- Flex and check your knees – Bend and flex your knees to check for any restrictions that hinder movement. To check them properly, try raising your knees as close to your chest one at a time. If you feel any signs of hindrances to your movement then find a much larger or more flexible pants.
- Squat Down – Just like with sitting down and flexing your knees, squat down and check for any signs of discomfort or difficulty in movement. If you notice any then find another pair of pants. Also as a friendly reminder make sure that when you squat, the pants cover your entire butt. If any part of your butt is exposed, then it is a clear sign of being too tight for you.
- Running and other movements – Lastly try running around and perform other movements that you might think is necessary. As above check for discomfort or mobility problems.
Hiking is such an enjoyable pastime. It would be a shame if you were to bring the wrong pants at the right time of your adventure.
Most of the things to learn on how to choose the best fit hiking pants are stated above, but as a general rule of thumb just pick the pants that are the most comfortable and easy to move in. Other factors such as materials, weather protection and breathability come second to this. Happy Hiking!