Are Jeans Good For Hiking?

No. using jeans as hiking pant is not advisable. First, the material used to produce jeans is cotton, a fabric reputed for its stubbornness in absorbing moisture instead of wicking it away. Secondly, jeans are made of heavy material, when it gets wet, it will increase the weight and slow you down. Try imagining a scenario where you are hiking in wet jeans and figure out the feeling. 

Jeans might be popular in our wardrobes, and they are durable and stylish, but wearing them to a hiking trail will only embarrass you. If the jeans get wet by bad luck, either as a result of your sweat or from the trails, you will be in big trouble. Your jeans will not dry faster like other recommended hiking pants; hence you will have to bear its wet weight.

Most hiking clubs single out the danger of hiking with jeans, so they discourage their members from hiking with them. Some clubs don’t allow you on the hiking paths if you are wearing jeans.

Some proponents argue that hiking with jeans is okay since it was such a sensation in the 1970s and 1980s, but they are wrong. Back then, hikers had no luxury of synthetic hiking clothing that we have nowadays. 

It is said across hiking circles that “cotton kills.” The saying is due to the tendency of cotton to absorb moisture and stay with it for a long time. If by bad luck your jeans are wet and the weather is colder, cotton is notorious for freezing; thus, it will start siphoning your body heat, which may lead to hyperthermia.

The History Jeans

The History Jeans

The origin of the denim fabric dates back many centuries to France and Italy. Back then, the jeans were favored by factory workers who embraced their durable material. Later on, Levi Strauss & co Introduced blue denim to the United States of America. By then, it had undergone several alterations, but it was still favored by factory workers joined by farmers, ranchers, and miners.

The blue denim was the sturdiest trouser available, thus the preference from the professionals mentioned above who valued sturdy clothing. Points of high stress, such as hip pockets, were reinforced with rivets to enhance durability.

Later on, the jeans got embraced as a stylish and comfortable outfit, but the bottom line is that it is still made of cotton.

Back in the 1970s and 1980s, denim blue jeans became popular hiking pants. Hikers readily embraced them because jeans were believed to be suitable for outdoor activities due to their durability and sturdiness. Even back then, they were better for hiking in drier climates and dry trails. In those days, we dint have moisture-wicking pants made of quality materials such as polyester, wool, spandex, nylon, and polypropylene.

A few individuals are hiking with jeans today, but they are mostly old folk who used them back in the ’70s and 80s; thus, they hike with them out of habit. Another group outside the old folk is still hiking with jeans out of ignorance. 

Why Jeans Are Not Good For Hiking

Why Jeans Are Not Good For Hiking

Since the jeans were introduced to-date, it has undergone several changes. However, their manufacturing fabric is cotton-like before. Generally, cotton fabrics lack both water-repelling and breathability capabilities. The denim jeans absorb moisture and take a long time to dry.

Wearing wet clothing is likely to result in skin chaffing and blistering. A blistered skin in a wet environment is a bacteria breeding ground that is likely to cause infections. 

Another danger posed by hiking with wet jeans is the likelihood of contracting hypothermia. If you are hiking and rain catches you amid the trail with no shelter, then be sure that you will freeze in your hiking jeans. The freezing happens because a wet jean is known to steal heat away from your body at a higher rate.

Alternative Fabric For Hiking

The alternative fabric suitable for hiking comes in numerous options. They range from wool, spandex, nylon, polyester, polypropylene to cotton blends.

These fabrics have better breathability and moisture-wicking abilities, qualities that ensure your skin is protected when hiking.

Things To Consider When Selecting Hiking Pants

1. Typical Climate

Even when hiking in a desert, hiking experts applaud the use of long, lightweight hiking pants to prevent sunburn. You are at liberty to wear shorts if you understand the trail and are sure of the vegetation you are following. However, it would help if you went in convertible hiking pants. Deserts are known to get chilly at sundown, and in such a situation, you will zip back your pant legs to cushion yourself from the cold.

2. Particular Weather Condition

If your hiking area is prone to rains, ensure you bring along a pair of long-lasting rain pants. In other words, be prepared for the prevailing weather conditions of your area of interest.

3. Body Tendency

Understand your body well before settling on the hiking pants suitable for you. If your body tends to sweat when walking, consider wearing moisture-wicking pants, and supplement them with moisture-wicking underwear to minimize discomfort.

 Clothes lacking moisture-wicking abilities need to be avoided at all costs. They may end up picking moisture from your sweat, and the friction of wet clothes could result in skin chaffing.

4. Hiking Duration

The duration of your hike will inform the number of pants you require. When settling on the suitable pants, you will wear, consider their weight to determine whether they conform with your hiking desires.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Jeans Ideal For Casual Hiking?

If you are sure that your hike is a short one, your jeans are less likely to pose any significant problems to you. So, yes, your jeans will serve you better in short casual hikes.


Jeans are not good for hiking. Whenever you desire to hike, select appropriate pants designed for the purpose. Good hiking pants will save you from unnecessary side effects.

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