Who hasn’t have had a hard time finding the right fitting pants? I personally always struggled, it’s not that I have an especially hard-to-find size, standard length fits most of the time. The shape is the problem: on the thighs too tight, too loose at the hips or vice versa. The waistband is sitting too high or too low, the gusset is pinching and the pockets are visually bulky.
I have these issues even in my “normal” life. I have many pants but only a few fit well. For life on the trail, however, or even for a day hike with a backpack on for several hours, a few other factors have to be considered.
For hiking or trekking, the fabric of pants should be light and soft in order to reduce friction. However, the pants should also be durable, so we don’t end up half-naked after a trip through some thorny bushes. It should also be breathable and quick-drying so sweat doesn’t have a chance to collect and cause chafe. Stretchy materials come in handy to offer freedom of movement.
Made to fit
Stretchy material is one possibility, a loose cut the other. Maybe both together. Whatever provides the most ventilation around and between the legs is best, but does that still look good? Yet there is still the problem with all the different shapes and sizes of the female body. Too tight, too loose, too long, too short, and the main manufacturers only focus on a standard-fit. Most pants come with extra belts or elastic insets along the hips to make it a little bit more adjustable. That though does not really sound comfortable in combination with a backpack hip belt.
Through thick and thin – durability
A thru-hike of a long distance trail requires strength and endurance by the hiker and their gear and garments. A lot of hikers also lose a lot of weight but increase their muscle volume, especially in the legs. No matter what, your body will change throughout a longer hike, pants, unfortunately, don’t adjust to that. At least the hiking pants nowadays adjust to the weather, you would say, by zipping off the legs. Zippers do break though, especially when put through the extreme conditions on a long-distance hike.
Yep, I did think about this topic a lot. Not only did I experience the body change myself during my PCT thru-hike in 2016 and a broken zipper on my hip-pocket (I used some running shorts with a zipped pocket on the outside thighs). I had to get new pants as the pocket was used to hold my phone and therefore was much needed at the time.
Note: Most running shorts have a small key pocket above the butt, right where the backpack sits on the hips – a lot of friction potential right there.
During a brief episode as a salesperson in an outdoor shop, I also experienced a lot of female customers having issues finding the right fitting pants for their specific shape. Even if the pants did fit, the style was often not satisfying and let’s be honest, most outdoor pants look kinda boring or dorky.
So is there a way to bring style, functionality, and comfort together? Purple Rain Adventure Skirts has the answer to that question. More and more skirts are seen on the big trails in the US and it’s time to spread that skirt love even more and here are some reasons why you girls out there might give it a try too.
5 Reasons for more skirts on the trail
- Maximum ventilation: For hot desert hikes or muggy summer hikes, there is nothing more airy than a skirt (unless you hike naked of course).
- Freedom of movement: The Purple Rain Adventure Skirts are made out of a Polyester/Spandex mix and have a slight A-shape. No elastic pant-gusset will give you that much freedom to climb up the rock-scrambles on the AT.
- Coverage: No tent-yoga needed to change your underwear or put on leggings for extra warmth.
- Peeing: With or without underwear (many long-distance hikers prefer going “commando” / without underwear) squatting to pee with a skirt couldn’t be easier and the skirt covers your butt while doing so. There is no hassle with undoing zippers and buttons and reverse. Going commando you can pee even standing up, duh.
- Style and versatility: The skirt brings some style change on the trail, but it’s also extremely practical for traveling in general. It can be combined with tights for extra warmth and style. Extra pockets are super convenient and save you an extra purse for little around the town excursions.
What to consider when buying an outdoor/trekking skirt
- Length: Depends on your own preference of course. The longer the skirt the more coverage you get.
- Waistband and materials: Wide elastic waistbands don`t cut into the hips even with a backpack and hip belt. The fabric, in general, should be stretchy, quick-drying, and durable.
- Features: Lack of buttons and zippers makes the skirt lighter and more durable. Pockets for keys or smartphone make things even more practical and versatile.
Note: A skort is a skirt with sewn-in shorts (mix of Short and Skirt). I personally like a skirt more, as it`s obviously possible to take off the underwear and wash it without washing the whole skirt. That’s especially important on a long-distance trail.
My go-to skirt currently comes from Purple Rain Adventure Skirts. For a year now I wore this skirt almost every single day, I hiked about 1700 miles or 2735 kilometers in it and even sat on a cactus with it – just for testing purposes of course. And it’s still perfectly holding up.
The skirts from Purple Rain Adventure Skirts meet all the criteria a savvy hiker gal could think of. The founder of this family business and manufacturer herself hiked the Appalachian Trail so she knows exactly what she is doing and what a proper hiking skirt should offer.
The site is definitely worth a look: http://www.purplerainskirts.com/
Check out her Instagram too, https://www.instagram.com/purplerainskirts/. Not only is it a good place to see a lot of other hiking girls in action with their skirts, it’s also a really nice platform to get inspired for the upcoming hiking season.
Have you had the chance to try out hiking skirts? What’s your opinion on it? Guys, how do think about kilts? Let me know, leave me a comment.
Disclaimer: This article is not sponsored or supported and is based solely on my own experience.