What Are Hiking Pants Made Of

What Are Hiking Pants Made Of

Heading out for a hike? Are you sure your hiking pants are durable and strong enough to endure the rigors of all kinds of terrain? If not, then you should continue reading this article. When gearing for a hike, one of the things that you should know is what are hiking pants made of, specifically the ones that you will be wearing.

This way, you will know in advance whether or not you will be comfortable and protected along the way. In this article, you will learn about different fabrics used for making pants and what makes them the best and the worst materials for hiking.

What Are Hiking Pants Made Of? One answer: Nylon

Most of the time, nylon synthetics are what are hiking pants made of. Many hiking gear manufacturers use this fabric for several reasons. One of them is that nylon works better for outdoor adventures compared to a traditional fabric used for everyday clothing.


In terms of durability, nylon takes the upper hand. It seems like all of its varieties are strong enough to handle abrasion, general wear, and rigorous washing. Of course, the durability of the hiking pants depends on the percentage of nylon weaved into the fabric. Unlike other types of fabrics, nylon does not shrink in the washing machine, allowing you to wear it for a longer period of time.

Thermal insulation and moisture management

The ability of nylon to preserve heat is important during hiking because the weather in the mountains can be unpredictably cold. It does manage moisture greatly to make you feel warmer during the colder season by keeping you drier. Nylon hiking pants also work great during the warmer season because it evaporates the sweat more quickly.

In other words, it dries faster than any other type of fabric, thereby keeping you cool under the scorching heat of the sun. Again, these abilities are influenced by the weight and weave of the nylon. So, you should always check the percentage of nylon in the fabric when buying hiking pants.

Comfort and pack ability

Another reason why manufacturers like using nylon is because it is lightweight. Therefore, it can maximize mobility as you trek and conquer the obstacles along the terrain. Should you need to hike for days, this kind of hiking pants is sure to make your baggage more bearable since they do not add too much weight, nor require too much space.

Other benefits

People who have a love for nature love wearing nylon-made hiking pants because this material can come from recycled plastic sources. This only proves that nylon is not only a great fabric for outdoor gear, but also an environment-friendly one.

The worst: Cotton

Cotton is one of the most preferred fabrics people wear every day. Sometimes it is called denim, duck, and other times it is called flannel. While it is widely popular, it is not safe to wear when you are in the great outdoors for any extended period of time.

In fact, it can actually be the cause of a hiker’s death. Many outdoor organizations are also against wearing clothes made of cotton when backpacking or hiking. Why is it the worst hiking pants to use? Here are the reasons:

Thermal insulation and moisture management

The most common issue with cotton is its thermal properties or ability to insulate heat. It is true that cotton is a great insulator when it is dry, but once it gets soaked, it loses more than 90% of its thermal properties. Just imagine wearing cotton during a winter’s hike—for sure your pants will never help you stay warm but freeze your legs instead.


When your body temperature falls below 95 degrees, you are experiencing hypothermia which could lead to death. Hikers can say that this condition is only possible when going out during the winter season but reports show that many hikers became hypothermic even during wet and windy weather; it is possible for your body temperature to drop even during the summer.

If you are a backpacker, make sure to always check the material of your hiking pants as well as the other layers of clothing before venturing on your journey.

Wearing cotton won’t necessarily kill you when you get wet wearing it. If you cannot find any alternative for this, you may opt to add additional layers of clothing or bring clothes to change into when needed.

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