Can You Go Hiking In Jeans

Jeans are one of the most versatile pieces of apparel; practically everyone owns a pair of denim jeans that they can rely on.

Seen as a casual classic, you often wonder why does everyone wear jeans?

Blue jeans are a versatile piece of apparel that may be worn for a variety of situations and activities. Denim jeans were initially designed as robust pants for miners and ranch workers since denim is a durable and comfortable material. Jeans are also widely worn on construction sites, demonstrating their utility as a clothing item.

You might imagine that because they’re popular among outdoor professionals, you’ll be able to hike wearing jeans with no problems.

Hike in Jeans Or Shorts

They have all the same attributes as any other outdoor wear, including durability and comfort, but there are reasons they shouldn’t be used for hiking on your next camping trip.

In our guide, you can learn all you need to know about hiking jeans, why they can be a good option, and most importantly, why they shouldn’t. (Find the Best Knee Brace For Hiking)

By the end, you can see what we recommend wearing when you wear pants for hiking, along with other clothing that is better suited to your hiking trip.

Is It Better To Hike in Jeans Or Shorts?

Hiking in jeans is possible, and many people do it on day hikes. Jeans are sturdy and durable, providing extra protection, but many people prefer to wear lightweight pants to save weight and boost comfort as they experience hiking in various conditions.

According to data, 20% of hikers wear jeans while 69 percent do not. Much of the issue with jeans for hiking comes from the fact they are fair-weather clothes, and you should avoid hiking in jeans if you have a river crossing or face wet weather.

Here you can find what you need from your hiking clothes.

Moisture-wicking hiking clothes are an essential aspect of your base layer. The fabric near your skin should drain away sweat and moisture to dry.

The moisture from hiking can cause cold, clammy, and uncomfortable feelings if it cannot dry.

Hiking requires insulating materials to trap body heat and keep you warm. In cold temperatures, good insulation keeps heat in instead of letting it escape.

Hiking outerwear must be waterproof and windproof. Otherwise, you can find up hiking in wet clothes or getting a wind chill. No matter what you wear, you will need to check the weather forecast as this can change the hiking clothing you will wear, venturing off into the great outdoors. (Read Best Hiking In Kentucky)

Hiking in Jeans

Benefits to Wearing Jeans

Now that you know what to look for in hiking attire, let’s talk about wearing denim jeans.

Jeans are made of denim fabric, thick cotton blends with many valuable properties. Cotton is breathable and soft, making it a comfortable choice. Cotton is also hypoallergenic, making it perfectly fine for sensitive skin.

Denim is a tough cloth with a dense weave that resists abrasion. Denim jeans are popular among construction workers because they can withstand a lot of abuse.

Downsides of Jeans for Hiking

Are jeans good for hiking is often asked, and the answers can be the same for many clothing items made from similar materials. Cotton, while fantastic for clothing, makes it a poor choice for hiking or camping. First, cotton is highly absorbent, able to keep a lot of moisture, and takes ages to dry.

Sweat, puddles, or rain will saturate your jeans for the rest of your journey. Hiking in wet clothes is not only inconvenient but also dangerous. While the cotton fabric is breathable, denim is thicker, stiffer, and warmer than thin cotton t-shirts. This makes hiking in denim jeans unbearably hot and sweaty.

Sweating increases moisture absorption in your pants; as they stay wet longer, it makes them less breathable and causes blisters and chafing.

With cold temperatures and bad weather conditions, hiking in wet jeans might cause hypothermia and thus a bad idea. Wet jeans take a long time to dry.

Wet clothing conducts heat 25 times faster than completely dry clothing, and you’ll find hypothermia can be experienced by novice hikers who continue hiking while wet and unprepared for cold weather. Hypothermia can require professional medical advice if severe.

Modern hiking garments an Alternatives to Hiking in Jeans

Alternatives to Hiking in Jeans

Wool is an old-fashioned, scratchy fabric. Modern hiking garments utilize wool, especially merino wool, to remarkable effect. It’s soft, breathable, moisture-wicking, and quick-drying, making it excellent for hiking.

Unlike denim jeans, merino wool does not retain moisture or chafe the skin, making it ideal for hiking and preventing blisters.

Synthetic fabrics are less expensive than wool and have many advantages. Polyester fabrics and nylon hiking garments make a great moisture-wicking fabric and dry quickly in hot weather.
Synthetic materials are made from recycled materials, making them perfect for eco-friendly hikers.

Fleece is primarily composed of polyester, and its chemical qualities, mixed with its soft, thick fibers, making it ideal for winter hiking. But fleece isn’t waterproof or windproof, so you’ll need an extra layer.

Polyester or nylon waterproof jackets will keep you dry and warm on your trek. Compared to denim, polyester fleece makes a huge difference in keeping many hikers warmer and dryer.

Is It Better Hike In Jeans Or Sweatpants?

Hiking in sweatpants is acceptable depending on the hike, but not always. Short day hikes are often fine so long as you hit fair weather.

  • Waterproofing: One issue with hiking sweatpants or joggers is that they are not waterproof. Cotton holds water as they are not quick-drying fabrics. If it rains, you cross rivers, or you sweat. Polyester, nylon, and any other fabrics made of synthetic material will keep you dry from your own sweat.
  • Warmth: Sweatpants can be suitable in cooler weather and mild winter, yet they can get too warm on your next hike should temperatures rise.
  • Cleanliness: Hiking in sweatpants can get dirty quickly. Sweats easily get damp and dirty, soiled, so ensure you only sit on dry surfaces, or you’ll feel you are wearing a trash bag on your rear.
  • Durability: Sweatpants are more likely to snag on roots, pebbles, and thorns and rip as they are not very durable for that kind of activity.

When considering your hiking clothing, you need to think more about what is practical rather than what is fashionable.

Here you can find a few clothing strategies and why you should shy away from specific materials.

Use Layering: Each garment layer has a distinct function in this tried-and-true technique, and you may add or delete layers to adapt to changing conditions.

Expect Harsh Conditions: Your health and defense totally depend on what you brought, and your climate-controlled departure vehicle is many miles away. Forecasts might be incorrect, so be ready for circumstances to turn cooler, wetter, snowier, or hotter than forecast.

Think about Price to performance: Shopping for hiking gear entails a few sacrifices, so establish both your preferences and your budget before you shop. Ultralight clothing can be a terrific decision, but it will also lighten your wallet.

Use hiking boots or trail shoes: Shoes are the first big decision you’ll make on the trail, and they’re one of the most essential items you’ll wear.

Wool: Wool clothes from the past may have been irritating, but today’s wool apparel isn’t. Merino wool, for instance, comprises fine fibers that make it soft, breathable, moisture-wicking, quick-drying, and odor-resistant.

Cotton: Cotton, which is known for its inability to wick and dry sweat, excels at soaking it up, keeping you damp, and cooling you. If you don’t mind feeling damp, you could wear it in searing heat. When the weather becomes cold, though, wearing cotton next to your skin is a recipe for hypothermia, which is why experienced hikers say “cotton kills.”

Head-to-Toe Clothing

You must always bring a base layer, mid-layer, and outer shell (rain jacket and hiking pants) to be fully prepared for each trip, but what you wear while on the path could vary. Below is a summary of those outfit options:

In hot weather, a wicking short-sleeve T-shirt will suffice, while in cooler weather, a wicking long-sleeve top would suffice. Wear a long-sleeved UPF-rated shirt on a sunny day.

You can often find many options that offer flip-up collars that offer lots of neck protection.

A good outer layer doesn’t need to feel like a trash bag as newer jackets are breathable and keep you dry and warm without excessive sweating. (Read Hiking For Beginners)

Hiking clothing needs to keep you dry, easy, and light to wear and also protect you from harsh UV rays you can face when in the great outdoors.

Can You Go Hiking In Jeans

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