Jeans, the durable pants made of denim, are common in today’s fashion and are known for the ruggedness and reliability. Many tradesmen, like carpenters and plumbers, rely on their jeans to hold up after hours of hard work. They come in a variety of styles with different levels of comfort that often can comprise their overall strength. Jeans make excellent casual wear. They are perfect for turning wrenches and swinging hammers.
However, are jeans the right choice for hiking? Honestly, they just aren’t the outerwear to get the job done. They aren’t waterproof, can steal heat from your body, they are restricting, and can even irritate your skin. An alternative clothing that would work best would be some pants with moisture wicking fabric.
Why jeans aren’t the best for hiking?
For all the great things jeans do bring to the table when it comes to hiking up a mountain, there are just too many ways they fall short.
Jeans are manufactured with cotton, which is unfortunately not waterproof. This may cause problems if you plan to trek in any cold or rainy climates as the material will soak up all of the moisture and freeze if the temperature drops enough.
This, along with the fact they are not insulated, will fail to help you retain any body heat. This can be dangerous, or even fatal, as you could get pneumonia, cold fatigue, or several other complications as a result. Even if the weather doesn’t drop below freezing, the moisture inside the cotton will continue to steal valuable body heat from you.
Another drawback of wearing jeans to hike is the low level of comfort they provide. Jeans could be considered acceptable attire for shorter trips or nature walks where the risk is low.
However, with better alternatives that are made of synthetic materials that are waterproof and still manage to breathe, I would recommend leaving them at home. Jeans can be stiff and be restricting, stopping you from having a full range of motion. Also, if you are hiking in a warmer climate, denim can cause chaffing and irritation to your skin.
They could make the experience unenjoyable as you become more occupied with your discomfort rather than basking in the beauty of the nature around you. No one wants that!
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What are the best alternatives to jeans for hiking?
Jeans aren’t the optimal choice. So what would be the best pants choice for hiking? The type of climate you are choosing to explore will greatly impact what type of clothing you should bring. Ideally, anything that is moisture-wicking is an excellent choice for cold weather.
This type of material may save your life out on a hike. It is highly recommended to use anything with spandex or nylon as it will dry fast and if it insulated it will help you keep you warm.
In the summer or in areas where it is hot, shorts are usually a good idea. In these situations, jean shorts would be acceptable, but synthetic blends would still provide better comfort and would get heavy from soaking up your sweat.
If you are on a budget, you don’t need top-of-the-line gear to hike. Most of the normal nylon shorts you have in your closet will do the job just fine!
In the end, you should wear what you enjoy. Honestly, on shorter hikes, jeans shouldn’t cause you any issues, and are actually what I wear many times.
However once you start getting into the more difficult hikes, jeans just won’t cut it, as they can even be dangerous when you are counting on everything keeping you alive on lengthy trips where you may not have any help nearby.