Can I Hike in Jeans?

Close up of hikers boots enjoying the sunset in the mountains with copy space

Jeans are a versatile type of pants that can be worn in many different situations. However, should you wear them when going on a hike?

Hiking in jeans is not recommended. They chafe, retain moisture, and are heavy. It is fine to hike in jeans on short and easy hikes when the weather is cool and dry; otherwise, stick with hiking pants, which are designed for hiking and tend to be better at keeping hikers comfortable.

There are pros and cons to wearing jeans when hiking. It is important for you to know all of the facts, and your other options for pants to wear when hiking.

Pros and Cons of Hiking in Jeans


Hiking in jeans is not just an all-around bad idea. There are some aspects of jeans that make them good pants to wear while hiking.

Jeans are more durable than typical hiking pants. They are tough and can take a lot of abuse. When you’re hiking, your legs will often brush up against bushes, thorns, and other jagged or sharp things. Jeans are thick enough that they are harder to rip, and they will be better at protecting your legs.

Jeans also tend to be cheaper than hiking pants. There are a lot of expensive types of jeans, but you can usually find a decent pair of jeans for less than $40. Most good-quality hiking pants tend to be $80 or more. If you intend to go hiking a lot, a pair of hiking pants may be a good investment, but if you only go hiking occasionally, it might be better to stick with jeans.

Many people find jeans comfortable and use them as their pants of choice for pretty much everything they do. A well-fitting pair of jeans can be very comfortable, and they can look really good.


However, there are also a lot of downsides to wearing jeans when hiking.

Depending on the style and size, jeans tend to weigh between 12 and 16 ounces. Hiking pants usually weigh between 8 and 14 ounces. It doesn’t seem like a lot of difference, but after a while, the extra weight of the jeans may start to bother you. Jeans are also thicker, which means that they are going to be much hotter. This is good when it’s cold during your hike, but if it is on the warmer side, they may become too hot.

Jeans are made of cotton, which means that they retain a lot of moisture, so when they get wet, they are going to stay wet for a long time. If you might get wet on a hike, you are going to want pants that dry quickly. They also absorb a lot more of the water, making them much heavier and harder to walk in. Wet jeans are also much more likely to chafe. You’ll be walking around in heavier pants for longer than you would if you wear a different kind of pants.

Jeans are made of a rougher material than hiking pants, so they are much more likely to chafe your legs. The longer you spend hiking, the more that rough material is going to rub against your legs. Having pants that chafe during a hike is absolutely miserable. It is very uncomfortable, even painful, and it only gets worse over time. It also can cause blisters, which can get infected. A good pair of hiking pants is going to be less rough than a pair of jeans, so they will chafe much less.

When Can You Hike in Jeans?

Hiker jumps across water in mountains area. Hiking concept with man

You absolutely can hike in jeans if you really want to. However, you should be careful to consider the hike you are taking, the weather, and the jeans themselves before deciding whether or not to hike in jeans.

If the hike you are planning is going to be on the shorter side, as in a hike that takes less than a day and isn’t more than seven or so miles, jeans are perfectly fine. On a longer hike, you’re going to be more likely to chafe for longer and the heavy and thick nature of the jeans will be much more noticeable after a while.

The weather is also an important thing to consider when deciding whether or not to wear jeans. You’re going to need to keep an eye on the temperature and the precipitation. Jeans are going to be much hotter, so you don’t want to wear jeans in hot or even warm weather. In fact, you may want to wear shorts instead of pants if it is going to be hot. You want to make sure you aren’t getting overheated on your hike.

Do not wear jeans if it is going to rain or snow. If your jeans get wet, it is going to make the hike miserable. If there is a chance of rain/snow or the hike you are taking involves any kind of water crossing, you should definitely wear something other than jeans. You should only wear jeans in weather that is cool and dry.

The jeans themselves are something to consider. If your jeans fit well and are comfortable, then they will probably work well to hike in. Hiking pants won’t necessarily be more comfortable; a well-fitting pair of jeans can be more comfortable than hiking pants. If you have a nice, comfortable pair of jeans, then you should wear them on your hike.

Other Options

Hiker in beautiful mountains near Mount Cook, New Zealand, South island

If you decide that hiking pants are the best option for you to wear on a hike, here are some brands for you to consider.

Kuhl Hiking Pants are well rated and considered very comfortable.

Duluth Cargo Pants are also highly rated and are often considered extremely comfortable.

LA Police Gear Pants are a cheaper option that is often recommended by avid hikers.

It might be good to find and try on hiking pants in person at a store instead of buying them online. This can help you decide whether or not the fit is how you want it and if the material seems like what you need for your hike.

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