How to Choose the Best Hiking Pants For Hot Weather

When the mercury starts climbing, your sweat glands start calling. Your clothes smell, and you don’t feel like getting dressed again just to freshen things up. You need a break from the heat, but you also need light, breathable clothing that keeps you cool and comfortable while you hike. Fortunately, there are countless brands making it easier than ever to find hiking pants that fit the bill. In this post, I’m going to show you which features to look for when shopping for the best hiking pants for hot weather.

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Choosing the Best Hiking Pants for Hot Weather

Hiking, especially in hot and humid climates, is a great way to get in shape and lose weight. This is especially true for those of us who live in a climate where the seasons are reversed, like in the Pacific Northwest. However, hiking in hot weather comes with its own set of challenges.

hiking pants protect legs from cuts and scratches

No matter where you live, hiking pants that are built for hot weather are going to help you stay hydrated, cooler, and relaxed. Unfortunately, these pants are not for everyone. For example, if you’re a novice or even a veteran, you may find hiking in hot and humid conditions challenging.

Even experienced hikers may struggle in these conditions if they don’t prepare ahead of time. With that in mind, how do you choose the best hiking pants for hot weather? I’m here to help!


The most important feature when choosing hiking pants for hot weather is breathability. This is especially true if you’re wearing hiking pants made out of synthetic material, like nylon or polyester.

These materials trap water, creating a sweaty environment that can lead to rashes and other unpleasant side effects. Luckily, there are certain measures you can take to ensure that your hiking pants are breathable.

For example, look for lightweight hiking pants that make use of a mesh lining, or look for hiking pants that are made out of fabric, like Gore-Tex, which is water-repellant. Another option is to wear hiking shorts underneath your hiking pants.

While hiking shorts are less breathable than hiking pants, you can still stay cool and hydrated, something that is particularly important for those who are new to hiking or new to hot weather.

Comfort and Stretch

Hiking pants that are comfortable and lightweight are crucial for hiking in hot weather. When it comes to hiking pants, stretch is one of the most important features to consider.

When you’re hiking for long periods of time or carrying heavy loads, your pants need to be able to stretch and accommodate these changes without breaking or causing discomfort. Lightweight hiking pants that are made out of breathable materials and have a soft, stretchy waistband are ideal.

Some hiking pants can be too stretchy and lose their shape, making them less comfortable to wear. It’s important to find hiking pants that are comfortable without being too stretchy.

Durability and Weather Resistance

When it comes to hiking pants, durability is important. While hiking shorts and T-shirts are typically more than enough for a day hike, you may need something more durable for ultralight backpacking trips.

Weather resistance is important, too, especially if you’re hiking in wet conditions. If you’re hiking in the Pacific Northwest, this is especially important, as the region is prone to heavy flooding from both the Columbia and Snake Rivers.

Fortunately, many brands offer hiking pants that are both durable and resistant to water. However, it’s important to look closely at these features before making a purchase, as not all hiking pants are built for wet weather.

Features to Consider

  • Thigh construction: There are two main types of hiking pants, those with a drawstring waist, and those with a fly.
  • Insulation: Many hiking pants come with insulation, which can help increase your staying power by blocking the cold, wind, and wetness from the environment.
  • Stretch: Stretch is important in hiking pants, especially if you’re wearing them for long periods of time or during strenuous exercise.
  • Cut: You may want to choose between boot-cut pants and straight-leg pants.
  • Pocket functionality: It’s important to choose between a pant that is made for hiking and one that has a more versatile design, like a hybrid hiking pant.
  • Stash pockets: Choose between a pant with side pockets or stashed pockets that are concealed under a flap.

Bottom line

Hiking is a great way to get outdoors and explore new places. However, hiking in hot weather can be challenging. Luckily, there are plenty of options available when it comes to finding the best hiking pants for hot weather.

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