Convertible Hiking Pants or Simply Just Shorts: What Is The Best Choice for Summer Hiking?

Materials

The most common fabrics used in short and zip-off pants are synthetics materials (such as nylon), cotton, or a mix of them.
100%-cotton is the heaviest type and also the traditional choice of most trek pants. But wearing those cotton pants is not going to be as enjoyable as your daily tees.

Because cotton can absorb and hold water and moisture, these pants dry slowly, meaning you may need to walk with a pair of wet pants in a long time. And as wet clothes move heat from your body faster, it can result in hypothermia.

On top of that, cotton is not a water-repellent or water-resistant material like synthetic fabrics.

Weather

Most outdoor hazards come from the weather. While planning your trip, you should always understand what kind of weather you may see in that area. This is especially true in an unfamiliar area when learning weather patterns in advance will give you a clearer picture of what may happen on your trail.

Weather variability is more important than you might think, as it's a vital factor when you must choose between shorts and convertible hiking pants.

When the temperature in your hiking area usually swings a lot, picking your hiking pants requires even more effort. Convertible pants are a great choice for these trails because whenever it gets hot, you can always zip the legs off to transform them into convenient shorts. This will make your hiking more bearable.

Despite these extra zippers, convertible pants are more economical than a combination of hiking trousers and shorts.

On the other hand, it's reasonable to carry only shorts if you expect only hot days on your trails or when you don't need any protection from cold temperatures or the intense sun.

Plants and Animals

Wearing long hiking pants can protect your legs from common problems such as poison sumac, poison oak, poison ivy, and other allergenic plants. This also applies to stinging nettle.

Although rare, there are sometimes you may need to encounter wild animals unexpectedly, such as insects. They are a serious threat to your hiking, not only your physical health but also your sanity. A pair of convertible pants will provide better protection in this case than normal shorts.

So what choice do I have?

If you're only planning a short summer trail in a familiar area with no harsh conditions, shorts are enough. But when water, mosquitos, insects are likely to ruin your trip, consider a pair of convertible hiking pants like the Columbia Silver Ridge, which you can learn more about in our review.
Convertible Hiking Pants or Simply Just Shorts: What Is The Best Choice for Summer Hiking? Materials The most common fabrics used in short and zip-off pants are synthetics materials (such as nylon), cotton, or a mix of them. 100%-cotton is the heaviest type and also the traditional choice of most trek pants. But wearing those cotton pants is not going to be as enjoyable as your daily tees. Because cotton can absorb and hold water and moisture, these pants dry slowly, meaning you may need to walk with a pair of wet pants in a long time. And as wet clothes move heat from your body faster, it can result in hypothermia. On top of that, cotton is not a water-repellent or water-resistant material like synthetic fabrics. Weather Most outdoor hazards come from the weather. While planning your trip, you should always understand what kind of weather you may see in that area. This is especially true in an unfamiliar area when learning weather patterns in advance will give you a clearer picture of what may happen on your trail. Weather variability is more important than you might think, as it's a vital factor when you must choose between shorts and convertible hiking pants. When the temperature in your hiking area usually swings a lot, picking your hiking pants requires even more effort. Convertible pants are a great choice for these trails because whenever it gets hot, you can always zip the legs off to transform them into convenient shorts. This will make your hiking more bearable. Despite these extra zippers, convertible pants are more economical than a combination of hiking trousers and shorts. On the other hand, it's reasonable to carry only shorts if you expect only hot days on your trails or when you don't need any protection from cold temperatures or the intense sun. Plants and Animals Wearing long hiking pants can protect your legs from common problems such as poison sumac, poison oak, poison ivy, and other allergenic plants. This also applies to stinging nettle. Although rare, there are sometimes you may need to encounter wild animals unexpectedly, such as insects. They are a serious threat to your hiking, not only your physical health but also your sanity. A pair of convertible pants will provide better protection in this case than normal shorts. So what choice do I have? If you're only planning a short summer trail in a familiar area with no harsh conditions, shorts are enough. But when water, mosquitos, insects are likely to ruin your trip, consider a pair of convertible hiking pants like the Columbia Silver Ridge, which you can learn more about in our review.
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