Hiking has immense benefits like reducing your fat, heart disease, stroke, depression, and some types of cancer. It is also a great way to enjoy nature. Unfortunately, you cannot expect nature to hug you with warmth and comfort all the time!
You need to prepare well to face all the hurdles during the hike. Otherwise, you will return home pretty quickly. Proper clothing during hiking helps you withstanding all types of weather, keeps you cool and comfortable, and lets you walk longer.
Are you wondering what clothes you should wear for hiking? If you have decided to wear your yoga pants for hiking, it is not at all a bad decision.
People think yoga pants are good only for yoga classes, gymming, or attending conference calls at home. But you can also hike in yoga pants. But to do so, you need to know how to hike in yoga pants. This article will let you in on the secret behind the most comfortable yoga pants for your next hike!
Types Of Hiking
What kind of yoga pants you should wear depends on the type of hike you are going on. There are two types:
#1. Casual Day Hiking
For short trails or casual day hikes, you can choose yoga pants made with moisture-wicking materials such as nylon or spandex. These fabrics can draw the moisture from your skin and shunt it out, leaving your skin dry and free from that uncomfortable feeling.
Don’t opt for cotton yoga pants, even though they are so soft and comfortable. Cotton is not a great material to absorb sweat. Your sweat will take a lot of time to dry if you wear your cotton yoga pants.
Secondly, if it rains suddenly, your cotton yoga pants will become extremely uncomfortable. In brief, cotton pants are just not good for hiking. Leave them at home and use them only for your yoga classes.
#2. Technical Hiking
If you are new to hiking, I suggest you look up the technical difficulty scale for hiking known as Yosemite Decimal System. Technical hikes are difficult hikes that require a certain level of skill, the ability to carry weight, and harsh terrains. They are usually the ones that are rated above four on the YDS system.
Now, for technical hikes, you need to choose sturdier material than yoga pants. But you don’t want to give up on the comfort that yoga pants provide! Fortunately, there is a perfect product on the market, that’s essentially yoga pants meant for physical activity – the good ol’ legging.
Leggings are yoga pants but have additional features like a pocket to keep your cell phone or keys, water resistance to handle a light rain, and windproofing to tolerate the cold air. Apart from that, leggings are:
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Types Of Leggings
Leggings are available in different colors, lengths, and materials. You need to according to your preferences.
- Nylon leggings are lightweight and do not produce any ridge when you fold or press them.
- Polyester leggings have a good moisture-wicking capability. That’s why they dry quickly, and you feel comfortable even if you sweat profusely during hiking.
- Spandex is quite stretchable leggings. If you prefer to wear pants that should be stretchy and cozy, then you can choose spandex leggings.
- Wool leggings are reserved for extremely low-temperature areas.
What Should I Look For In Yoga Pants For Hiking?
Normal yoga pants are soft and suitable for indoor use in your gyms and yoga classes. But most yoga pants cannot handle abrasions and can quickly pill. You know you don’t want pilled clothing on a hike! No, you need pants that are durable and can withstand all the vagaries of your trek. So instead, you should be looking for leggings that have the following properties:
Resistance to abrasions: You should choose pants that are denser and consist of woven fabric. Woven fabrics will not pill when you sit on a rocky surface while eating or climbing on hills or trees. In short, the pants you choose for hiking should be durable or should consist of abrasion-resistant fabric.
Reinforced Paneling: Some hike pants strengthen those areas which are used maximum during hiking or climbing on mountains. The areas are mainly thighs, seats, and knees, which have high chances of pilling.
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#2. Resistant To Weather Conditions
Normal yoga pants are not designed to handle extreme weather conditions. But some exceptional companies try to design yoga pants keeping hiking in mind.
Quick Dry: These are pants that consist of fabrics that dry very quickly. Even if your pants get wet while hiking in the rain, they are designed so that the water quickly evaporates so that pants are ready by the following day.
Water Repellant: Secondly, the pants you choose for hiking should be water repellent, i.e., when you hike in yoga pants in humid conditions or the rain, the fabric will not soak the water so that you can happily walk around here and there.
Most leggings are made with polyester and nylon, which have both the above features, i.e., water repellent and the ability to dry fast. This makes leggings the perfect choice for hiking.
#3. Functional Features
Whenever you hike for long hours, you need to choose pants with functional features such as:
Protection from UV Rays: The pants you wear should protect your legs from harmful ultraviolet sun rays, which may cause severe skin problems.
Insect repellant: Some pants have insect repellant properties due to the nature of fabric, which can be very useful during hikes in summer.
Zippered pockets: The pants should also have pockets to keep essential things like mobile phones or wallets during hiking.
Zipped Gusset: A zipped gusset at the bottom is a great option because you can open it where your legging meets the boots so that the legging does not dig into your ankle.
Crotch Gusset: A crotch gusset is again a useful thing to have because it helps prevent the accumulation of moisture near your crouch which can cause bacterial and other microbial infections
Flatlock Seams: Flatlock seams ensure that your skin will not get chafing and abrasions while walking
Stretchable waistband: For a comfortable hike, look for leggings with a highly stretchable waistband. This will keep your stomach area free of pressure, thus preventing the accumulation of gas.
Most hikers look for a wide variety of designs with different colors. Hiking leggings usually have numerous designs to cater to your needs.
Hikers always look for those pants that provide them all types of comfort. The waistband of the pants should not be too loose or tight. Again, the shape of your body may change on backpacking trips because of a change in diet or shifting to dehydrated food. So, you can easily adjust the drawcords according to your hiking trip.
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Why Should You Choose Leggings For hiking?
Yoga leggings are yoga pants that protect you in variable weather conditions. They are skin tight and consist of thicker material.
Let’s discuss some of the benefits of wearing leggings while hiking.
#1. Retains Body Heat
Winter hiking can be challenging. Leggings help you to retain the heat inside your body. Most leggings are from a combination of spandex and polyester, and polyester has heat-retentive properties. Wearing polyester leggings makes you feel comfortable during hiking.
Apart from polyester, there are fleece lined and merino wool leggings, which are also warm and comfortable for winter hiking.
#2. Protects Your Legs
Leggings remain close to your body. So it’s difficult for grass, insects, and other small mites and leeches to get onto your body when you wear them.
#3. Provides Additional Support
Leggings can provide additional support to your muscles. Some leggings are compressive and help to improve your blood circulation. They also reduce the risk of cramps and improve balance.
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#4. Protects you from wind
During hiking, the wind may disturb you by dragging or slowing down your walking. But a good pair of leggings reduces wind resistance, and you can happily walk for longer distances.
#5. Prevents Chafing
Chafing is a problem that many hikers face during walking for longer distances. But a good pair of leggings can solve this problem. The manufacturers design the leggings in such a way that it will prevent chafing on your thighs.
Best Leggings For Hiking
#1. Baleaf Women’s Fleece Lined Legging
Baleaf Leggings are made from 87 percent polyester and 13 percent spandex. The soft fleece inner layer in these leggings traps the heat to keep you warm during hiking.
This legging is very stretchable, durable, and water-resistant. There are back zipper pockets to store essential things. It also has flat-lock seams and a gusseted crotch which prevent chafing, friction, and accumulation of sweat in areas where there is a higher likelihood of microbial infection.
#2. ODODOS Women’s Leggings
Ododos hiking leggings are also made with 87 percent polyester and 13 percent spandex. The soft fabric of these leggings provides comfort during your hike.
It has large side pockets to store any essential items. The polyester in these leggings has a moisture-wicking capability that means it will keep you dry at the time of hiking.
The wide waistband and gusseted crotch in these leggings prevent chafing and accumulation of sweat.
#3. Xtextile Men’s Compression Pants
These men’s compression pants/yoga pants/leggings have 88 percent polyester and 12 percent spandex. The 4D stitching technology used in these leggings gives high elasticity which makes them very durable against cuts and rips and retains their shape for a long time.
These leggings also have a reflective logo design that helps in improving safety whenever you hike at night. These leggings dry very quickly. You will not feel the sweat while walking.
#4. Runhit Men’s Compression Leggings
These pants are made with 88% polyester and 12% spandex, which makes them moisture-wicking and helps to keep you dry during long trail walks.
These pants offer a slight bit of compression which improves blood flow, while also having a stretchable waistband and flatlock seams that reduce skin chafing.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
#1. Can you hike in yoga pants?
Yes, you can hike in yoga pants but only for short hikes. For longer hikes, technical leggings are preferable. I am listing below the pros and cons.
- They are perfect for the base layer in cold weather climates.
- They have soft and gentle fabric, which is great for the skin.
- Non Breathable yoga pants can cause yeast infection and chafe.
- Yoga pants don’t dry quickly. So you will feel uncomfortable after walking for a few distances.
- Yoga pants may not always be water and weather resistant
#2. What to look for in a great pair of hiking pants or leggings?
- Lightweight & comfortable
- Flatlock seams to prevent chafing
- Water repellent
- Design elements (Gusset crotch, stretchable waistband etc)
#3. What is the best fabric for hiking tights?
The leggings with nylon and polyester and have the best moisture-wicking capability, enabling the pants to dry quickly. They are the best fabric for hiking tights. Nylon and polyester when mixed with spandex become stretchable and comfortable.
#4. Why choose leggings for hiking?
- Wind resistant
- Increases blood circulation
- Decreases muscle cramps
- It keeps the temperature of your legs stable.
- Some leggings may develop pills after using them for a few months.
- Some good leggings for hiking may cost you above $100.
#5. Can’t I just wear yoga pants and a T-shirt?
No, you cannot wear normal yoga pants and a t-shirt at the time of hiking. Cotton yoga pants soak up the sweat from your body and take a lot of time to dry. So you will feel uncomfortable after some time. If you choose non-cotton yoga pants, they cannot protect you from different climatic conditions.
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Hiking is an excellent form of exercise. But like all other forms of exercise, you need to wear proper clothing to keep yourself free from sweat, rashes, UV rays, and other problems.
But don’t wear cotton yoga pants while hiking because they do not absorb moisture quickly. You can use yoga pants during casual hiking.
If you are a serious hiker, you need to invest money in hiking leggings that will protect your legs and provide all sorts of comfort you require at the time of hiking.
Please do share your suggestions for this article. I would love to read your suggestions.
Here is a nice video that explains how outdoor leggings are the best outdoor wear for hiking: