Yes, we all know that sweatpants are really comfy and most people basically live in them whenever they feel like it. However, hiking in sweatpants is an entirely different idea to think about. When someone asks if you can hike in sweatpants, most people would answer that they are an acceptable form of clothing. But, they are not really ideal in warm or wet outdoor conditions. In the end, hiking in sweatpants depends on the hike and is not always a good idea.
For overnight backpacking trips, it would be better to leave them home unless you plan to wear them just to sleep or do camping activities. For shorter hikes, they work fine and are usually comfortable to move around in. A problem with sweatpants or joggers for hiking is that they might not always be resistant to water. Moreover, if you encounter rivers’ crossings, rains, or excessive sweating, then wearing sweatpants made from cotton or other fabric that holds water is not a good idea. Polyester and nylon can be a better idea if you are looking for something to stay dry in.
Additionally, sweatpants are made for warmth in cooler weather and even cold winters. However, they can get too warm if you are wearing them for hiking on hot days. Furthermore, they get dirty really fast outdoors on trails especially if you are wearing light colors. As for their durability factor, any type of bushwacking can snag them on roots, rocks, and thorns and tear them more easily.
Can You Wear Joggers To Hike?
Generally, any athletic shorts can work well as pants for hiking. Moreover, even regular shorts made of sturdy fabric and pockets can work well on short hikes. But, it is important to note that booty shorts do not have a place in hiking. They just mean a lot of chafing and if you still prefer them then some sort of anti-chafing balm is highly recommended. For cooler weather, pants with the ability to stretch and enough pockets are great to use.
Nonetheless, if you are more comfortable in jeans you could go for them. When they get wet, they take time to dry out, but they are still a good option for hiking. Furthermore, even if your pants/shorts do not have pockets, you can opt for a jacket, a backpack, or anything with pockets to put your important stuff.
Joggers VS Sweatpants
It is easy to mistake joggers and sweatpants as one and the same at first glance. They are both loungewear pieces with similar appearances and designed for comfort. You can notice both whether you are at a gym working out or hanging out around the house or taking a stroll in a public place. Nevertheless, both joggers and sweatpants offer their own unique features despite their similarities.
None of them are restricted to being used as pajamas or for athletics. In addition, each of them has unique styling options to make them perfect to wear all day, every day, or even as smart casual wear. Furthermore, the difference between joggers and sweatpants is that the former is more lightweight, multipurpose, fashionable, and flexible. Whereas the latter tends to be heavier, designed for cold weather, and induces sweat a lot during warm/hot weather.
Both are great options for people wanting to maintain an active lifestyle as the weather starts to cool down. Joggers, also known as jogger pants are pants made for athletics offering excellent mobility. Furthermore, they are designed to cool you down rather than keep you warm because of their lightweight and breathable design. Also, their appearance tends to get slimmer as they approach the feet ending with cuffed ankles. Along with that, they are more sporty and stylish than sweats making them great for morning jogs, casual night out, and strenuous outdoor physical activities.
Thick, comfortable, and loose-fitting, sweatpant bottoms are commonly used for both exercising in cold weather and lounging. Unlike joggers, these retain heat and sweat as opposed to leg cooling and often have a bootcut, which is wider around the ankles. Moreover, sweats are more commonly used as pajamas than joggers as they are more comfortable to sleep in. Higher quality sweats are usually made entirely of cotton, but they are also made of cotton/polyester hybrids or more unique fabrics like wool or fleece.
Why You Should Wear Sweatpants For Hiking?
- Comfy, easier to go out for a walk or short hike while wearing it
- Some weathers, sweatpants are the most comfortable pants you can ever wear
- Popular during the fall and winter – keeps you warm on hikes
- Great for flatlands or rocky places, but not so much for uphills and downhills
- Affordable does not need as much money as hiking pants, you may already own a pair
- Available everywhere, do not have to go to a specialized or outdoor gear store
- Elasticated waist and enough space for freedom and a lot of movement
Why You Should Not Wear Sweatpants For Hiking?
- Retains moisture (rain, water, sweat) as they are mostly made of cotton or polyester
- Gets wet and soaks through quickly in wet weather weighing you down
- Does not dry out thoroughly or effectively and may remain wet till the end
- Not designed to withstand rigors, wears, tears of trails during hiking
- Bulky if you are carrying them in your backpacks and take a lot of space
- Become too warm, chafes and even overheat during summer or hottest time of the day
What Should You Look For In The Best Hiking Sweatpants?
In a broad sense, there are two types of sweatpants suitable for hiking – soft/comfy cotton and breathable athletic. In addition, there are some features to look out for while buying sweatpants for hiking:
- Of course, this is something you already know – proper fit
- Should be freeing and comfortable, but not too loose
- Flapping in the wind can be irritating, but also liable to getting stuck somewhere
(B) Quick-drying and moisture-wicking
- This feature is something that sweats are unlikely to win against hiking pants
- Try to find a pair that dries as quickly as possible and wick moisture a little
- The best material for hiking is usually polyester – wicks moisture more than cotton
- Polyester is not as breathable, depending on the density of the weave
(C) Wind-blocking or breathable
- Choose one between wind-resistant or breathability
- Warm weather – breathable pants to stop you from cooling down
- Most sweats are not the most breathable, but there are some better than others
(D) Warm or lightweight
- Depends on when and where you plan on going hiking
- For cold weather – warm sweatpants
- For warm weather – ventilated, lightweight option
(E) Drawstring waist or belt loops
- Can be difficult to keep pants up without drawstrings or belts
- Sweatpants are usually light, but if they get damp or have full pockets they can slide down as you walk
- Drawstring waistbands or belt loops can be helpful in this situation to keep them tied up
(F) Reinforced patches
- Sweats wear out far quicker than hiking trousers
- Reinforced knees, or butts, can give a much better chance of surviving your hiking trip
- Pockets for things you want to carry with you on the trail
- Stuff that needs to be closer at hand than being stashed in your backpack
- Pockets with zippers can keep your items safe and secure
- Lower the risk of your phone and other important items falling out
(H) Diamond-cut crotch
- A diamond-cut crotch gives you a far greater range of movement than a straight seam
- A lot of high-end sweatpants have diamond-cut crotch
- Many sweatpant companies put these on almost all of their pants
- Useful for climbing up large steps gives extra strength and movement
To conclude, most veteran/experienced hikers opt for robust, waterproof, weather-resistant, multi-layered cargo pants with lots of pockets. They opt for such bottoms for safety, security, durability, flexibility, and to get quick access to items in the compartments. Not just them, a lot of people choose this over style and fashion. But, with sweatpants and joggers, you can gain partial advantages and the best of both worlds. Although sweats and joggers lose the battle of durability, they can still provide some benefits.
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Hey, I am the founder of Outside Origin! I love hiking in my spare time and have gone to various different hikes. You can check out our about us section to learn more about what our team and I do over at Outside Origin.