Should I Wear Pants or Shorts While Hiking in the Summer?

What do you wear while hiking in the summer? Some people like the freedom and comfort of a pair of shorts, while others prefer the security of a pair of technical hiking pants. So is it better to wear pants or shorts while hiking in the summer? The short answer is that it’s up to you, but here are some things to consider that can help you make your decision.

Why wear shorts while hiking in the summer?

Shorts offer more breathability than a pair of pants. This means that you stay cooler and feel better in a pair of shorts than a pair of pants.

Another advantage of shorts is that they dry much quicker than pants, even a pair of technical hiking pants. Shorts are the ideal choice for river crossings, or for impromptu dips in a mountain stream.

Why wear pants while hiking in the summer?

Hiking pants simply cannot match the comfort of a pair of shorts, but what they lack in comfort, they make up for in protection. Pants keep your legs safe from brambles, poison ivy, chiggers, ticks, and UV radiation. Wearing pants can also offer an extra bit of security from snakes.

Hiking in soggy britches is a pain, though, and once you get your pants wet it will take a while for them to completely dry out.

Which one is better?

So should you wear pants or shorts while hiking in the summer? Ultimately, it boils down to a matter of comfort vs. protection. Some people prefer comfort while others prefer protection.

You could argue, though, that the temporary discomfort of a day of hiking with hot and sweaty legs outweighs the discomfort of brush scratches, poison ivy rashes, and bug bites. Plus, there’s a big mental aspect to comfort, and knowing that you’re safe in a pair of pants can go a long way.

Whether you choose pants or shorts for hiking, look for lightweight, breathable, and wicking materials. Don’t wear blue jeans. In other words, look for technical outdoor materials.

Also, keep in mind that you don’t have to put yourself in a box. You don’t have to choose between long pants and Daisy Dukes. Consider convertible hiking pants – pants with detachable legs that you can turn into shorts – or consider a shorts with a high socks combo. Or go bold and rock a pair of capris.

Looking for hiking pants, hiking shorts, and hiking apparel in Northwest Arkansas? Visit us at Uncle Sam’s Safari Outfitters for any of your outdoor gear needs!

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