Why You Don’t Choose Ski Pants For Hiking [Except Winter]

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Many people think it’s a good idea to wear ski pants for hiking. While that may not be an issue in winter, it won’t be pleasant wearing them in warmer seasons. I myself have made the mortal sin of wearing ski pants long go in summer during my inexperienced hiking days. So, to prevent you from making the mistakes I did, here I’ll be explaining more on can you hike in ski pants and when.

You could wear ski pants for hiking, but that doesn’t mean you should. Ski pants are not strong enough to handle all the bumps and scratches during a regular hike. Also, they aren’t made of suitable material for handling humidity and heat.

Now there are plenty of other reasons that make wearing ski pants for hiking a bad idea. All of which I will be talking about in this article. So, keep on reading till the end.

Why You Should Not Choose Ski Pants for Hiking

Hiking Gears focus on a few specific aspects more than other clothing. Hiking trails are not necessarily easy to traverse, there are many hiking trails with different levels of difficulty. Most hikers prefer Sunny weather for hikes.

The vast majority of the hiking trails also open during favorable weather. Hot and humid weather is the opposite of the snow-covered landscape ski pants are made for.

These were fundamentally not meant for hiking conditions. Here is a list of why It’s a bad idea to weather ski pants for hiking:

Lack of Breathability

Most hikers choose sunny weather for their trips. Sunny weather almost always comes with high levels of humidity. Conventional hiking pants always consist of breathable material.

Ski pants are meant for a snowy environment. They are designed to trap all the heat inside the material. That is a terrible quality for hiking, as most hikers would start sweating profusely by the time they are halfway into their hikes.

Ski pants will ensure that none of that sweat manages to dry in the air. In my opinion, that would be an immensely uncomfortable feeling for most people. That is why ski pants are one of the absolute worst choices for hiking, except in winter.

Hiking pants also have strategic ventilation zips on them specifically for increased airflow. All those tears you see on hiking pants are not random designs. They act as vents to increase the overall breathability.

Ski pants do not leave any breathing room for sweat. It won’t air dry naturally, and you will have to suffer through a disgusting sticky feeling throughout your hike. Ask yourself if that’s worth it or not.

They Are Bulky

Weight is an important factor for hikers. Hiking gears need to be as light as possible to ensure minimum stamina consumption. Bulky ski pants are waterproof, wind-resistant, and insulating.

These are good qualities, but they are too bulky and can lead to heat issues on warmer days.

Conventional ski pants hamper a hiker’s movement .  Hiking pants are looser, and they are much more comfortable for walking. Ski pants are for skiing not walking. So it creates a lot of drag while worn on a hiking trail.

Ski pants also make a lot of noise when you walk. You might not hear the rubbing sound in the snow, but it will be pretty annoying in a quiet forest trail. Overall, walking in ski pants is innately uncomfortable.

They Lack Durability

Ski pants lack both flexibility and durability. Hiking gears are generally more durable than regular clothing. An average hiker will walk through thorny brush, over fallen trucks, and they might have to climb on rock formations. Thinking pants need to be strong enough to face these obstacles.

Hiking gears are tear-resistant, and they can handle much more stress than ski pants. Ski pants may look bulky and strong, but they cannot scuffle against natural elements. The manufacturers mainly focus on the insulation ability of ski pants.

Hiking pants need to be bug-resistant, tear-resistant, and lightweight. No matter how good a ski pant is, it still ends up falling short in this regard.

Lacks Additional Utility

Ski pants do not come with too many utility options. Most hiking pants have utility functions that are immensely helpful in the wild. Ski pants, on the other hand, are just traditional pants with insulation. They do not have many utility features other than their insulation properties.

Convertible hiking pants are a great option for hikers venturing into deserts. The bottom of these pants comes off allowing one to adjust with a changing climate. Some hiking pants also have UV protection to shield against harsh sunlight.

There’s also the matter of pockets. Ski pants generally do not have many conspicuous pockets. No one has time to store little things with snow gloves on, so they outright ignore it. Good pockets are crucial for hiking pants. Some hiking pants have Velcro, hidden pockets and other additional features.

Takes Too Long to Dry

Ski pants are made of nylon, silk, cotton, and other waterproof insulators. These materials seem alright for hiking except the cotton, but there is another problem with ski pants that makes them unsuitable for hiking in humid conditions.

Hiking pants generally dry much quicker than other fabrics. That is to prevent wasting too much time in the camp waiting for one’s clothes to dry. Ski pants take ages to dry if you leave them outside the camp.

That could become a tremendous hassle if you are going for a relatively long trip. It is one of the main reasons why I avoid hiking in ski pants.

Are Ski Pants Viable for Winter Hiking?

I have seen many people ask this question, “can I wear ski pants for hiking in the winter?”. In this particular case, the answer is yes. You could wear ski pants for hiking during the cold seasons or cold places.

Ski pants are great for insulating against the cold. You wouldn’t need to worry about the temperature wearing a pair of these. They also provide a lot of wind resistance.

Ski pants are also a bit uncomfortable for walking. Even if you are snowshoeing, walking comfortably is a must for hiking. So, ski pants are not particularly that great for winter hikes either.

However, Ski pants are still not the absolute best choices in this case either. For winter hiking the best choices would be softshell pants and rain pants.

Softshell pants are probably the best option for winter hiking. They are tough, wind-resistant, water-resistant, and also breathable. It’s like a mix of hiking and winter gear. The breathability allows it to make walking more comfortable. It’s also much stronger than ski pants.

The Rain pants are dedicated to hiking. You could wear these over regular hiking pants to add a layer of insulation. These should be fine for winter hiking as long as you do not go anywhere too cold.


So, can you hike in ski pants? As you have learned by now, for the most part the answer is, no.  Ski pants are innately terrible for hiking. They lack the toughness and flexibility that hikers need.

Also, they are very uncomfortable outside of winter, as the heat and humidity get to you in those seasons.

Honestly, it would be better to wear a combination of rain pants and hiking pants in winter for hiking rather than ski pants. Then again, hiking is a personal experience, and it doesn’t matter what you wear as long as you feel fine in them. 

I hope this article cleared out any confusions or misconceptions that you might have had. Thanks for stopping by.

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