Most women agree that shopping for hiking clothes can be a real bummer. Tops are too short, shoes are too loose, and pants… well pants have a dozen issues. I personally have never quite found a pair of hiking pants that fit just right. They’re either too long, too short, super low cut, too tight on the thighs or bum, and I haven’t even talked about zip off pants.
With zip offs, I can typically feel the zipper and they’re not as versatile as you would think. I have to carefully line up the zipper to put them on which I can’t do under five minutes while I’m wearing the shorts portion. I am always paranoid about losing the leg portions and find the shorts an awkward length.
It wasn’t until I was planning to hike the John Muir Trail that I discovered hiking skirts. I wanted an insulated skirt for winter hiking for a while but hadn’t invested in one. I decided that a skirt would be perfect for a thru hike. It was so great that I haven’t looked back since!
Five Reasons I Hike in a Skirt
As I mentioned above, hiking pants and even convertible pants aren’t very versatile in the field. With a skirt I can wear it by itself or pair it with some leggings for some added warmth. On the JMT I typically kept my leggings I slept in on and rolled them up. You bet I looked good on the trail! In all seriousness, this combination was much better than dealing with zippers or even cold, damp pants when it rained. I actually don’t use rain pants or a rain skirt. I keep my upper body (my core) dry but let me lower half get wet. Once the sun comes out I dry very quick and because I continue to hike, I’m not cold when it’s raining.
For many modesty goes out the window on the trail, but if it’s a concern, a skirt is actually a great option. If you ever went to overnight camp, I bet you know how to get dressed without exposing yourself while in a towel. It’s kind of the same concept with a skirt. You can change your underwear and even add or remove shorts or leggings without showing the world your hooha.
3) Bathroom Breaks Are a Cinch
You can bet that every time you use the “facilitree” (see what I did there?) someone will be coming up the trail. With a hiking skirt you won’t be caught with your pants around your ankles. If you get real good, you can even pee standing up. I’ve found skirts to be extremely beneficial for using the bathroom in winter. I may have an irrational fear of getting caught in a spruce trap, mid pee. Now with a skirt if I do sink into the snow in a dreaded spruce trap, I won’t be showing every hiker my goods.
The best thing you can do for your lady bits on a long distance trail is give it some air (and wipe front to back). No easier way to do that than with a skirt.
5) To Be Stylin’
I would totally be lying if I didn’t like how a skirt looks. It is nice to feel feminine even when you haven’t had a proper shower in over a week.
Are you thinking of making the switch? Here are my tips for skirt shopping:
Buy a quality skirt made of synthetic material or wool.
Try different options and check out different styles. Make sure it has a waistband that won’t ride up on you
Avoid buying a skort. With built in shorts you won’t have as much versatility as you would with a full on skirt. You can always add bike shorts to the mix
Invest in Bodyglide. If you experience thigh chafe, you may need some glide. Others find bike shorts to fix the problem as well. It’s all a preference and some gals don’t have this issue at all.
All Season Skirts:
Insulated Winter Skirts:
If you’d like to incorporate a hiking skirt into your gear list, check out what I pack for various types of hikes and adventures.
Last modified: October 11, 2015