Are Fatigues Good For Hiking

it's important to choose good hiking shoes

Moving freely while having comfortable and secure outerwear for hiking is essential. If you’re new to hiking activity you should know that you can’t go on a hike with just any clothes on you. You will need to make sure you have suitable clothing for your adventure. Whether you are a long-time hiker or a newbie, you may wonder, are fatigues good for hiking?

Some hikers love wearing fatigues during hiking activities because the pants are breathable and lightweight. However, bear in mind there could be some federal and moral issues when it comes to wearing any military clothes, especially if you didn’t serve.

So, today’s topic will cover more details about appropriate hiking pants. That way you might have an easier time choosing the right ones for your next or maybe a first hike.

Table of Contents

What Are Fatigues?

Fatigues, or military fatigues are combat uniforms of US forces. You can often recognize them by their camouflage pattern, but sometimes they may have different designs, varying from branch and mission.

These pants are usually resistant to flame, have good durability, and plenty of pockets. When it comes to their name, the “fatigues” phrase originates from the US.

But, there were some debates around the term “fatigue”. However, most scholars say the term got its name because of the fatigue soldiers often felt while wearing these pants.

Can You Use Fatigues For Hiking?

When it comes to wearing any military clothes, there could be two issues.

  1. Federal. From a federal law point, you could wear military clothes but you must not accept any rewards, discounts that are meant for actual soldiers. So, if you’re wearing some military piece of clothing and someone assumes you served, you should politely explain that you didn’t serve and wear it just as a civilian. Using military clothes for any personal rewards or gains may put you in prison and you will be fined.
  2. Moral. Many people find it disrespectful to wear military clothes if you didn’t serve. So, it’s up to you to decide your opinion about that.

When it comes to the fatigues’ fabric, it’s durable and lightweight. That’s why some people think about wearing them during hiking.

But, considering the above-mentioned issues, you may want to check out some official pants for hiking. For example, many hikers have a pair of Duluth fire hose pants in their closet.

Types of Hiking Pants

There are two most common hiking pants types. They are similar, but as well come with some differences. So, take a look at them and see if they suit you.

Convertible Hiking Pants

If you love two-in-one options, you will probably like convertible pants. You can easily turn them into shorts by pulling a zipper and removing one part of the pants.

These pants can be useful especially if you hike in easily changeable climates. That way you could set a desired pants’ length depending on the temperature.

The downside of these pants can be that they are a bit heavier than standard ones, as they need extra zippers and fabric.

Standard Hiking Pants

Standard pants are lightweight and often come with zippers on the lower part.

That way you can have an easier time removing pants without removing the boots first. Quite handy, right?

These pants often look sleeker, as they don’t have zippers on half of them like convertible ones. Some people even wear them as regular pants.

Note: Both convertible and standard pants are good choices and are very similar. It’s just a matter of environment and personal choices.

Hiking Pants Benefits

There are numerous benefits of wearing actual hiking pants. That’s always the easiest option, as they are specifically made for hiking needs. So, check out some of the benefits.


One of the most popular characteristics of hiking pants is their lightweight material.

You would be surprised how light are these pants, they are even lighter than cotton shorts.

This is very important when going on longer hikes as you will need a lot of energy. And when it comes to hiking, every pound counts, no matter how small it is.

No “Nylon Rubbing”

Do you know that familiar nylon rubbing sound? One that not just itches your legs but your ears too. Well, with some quality hiking pants, you shouldn’t have that kind of problem.

They are made from special nylon so they stay quiet. This is not just good for your ears, you can get a chance to see wildlife better, as animals won’t run away immediately as you walk.

Note: However, don’t ever approach wildlife and always keep a safe distance.

They Dry Quickly

Going on a hike often requires contact with water. If you don’t come across some streams, you can step in the puddle for sure. Hiking pants have nylon compounds and that enables them to dry very fast.

They could be dry within a few minutes, and you won’t need to take them off. That’s why you should avoid any cotton fabrics when hiking, as they need much more time to dry out.

So, with a good pair of hiking pants, you should not worry if you cross the stream or need to walk during the rain. Especially if you hike in some mountain areas, you need to stay dry because of low temperatures.

Note: Always have extra pairs of hiking pants, so you can change if you’re soaking.

Lots of Pockets

During your hike, you will need a lot of pockets and places to put your belongings. It’s good to know that hiking pants have plenty of them.

You can place any small gadget close to you and use them whenever you need it. That’s always a better option than storing small things you use a lot in a backpack.

They Are Comfortable

If you love comfy clothes then hiking ones are for you. They are so light that they are almost weightless. They shouldn’t itch you and will give you much-needed flexibility.

You will have an easier time climbing. One more thing to add to the comfort list, hiking pants have an elastic waist. This is a handy feature as it allows you to move freely.


As mentioned earlier, you can make shorts out of your pants. That’s a very handy option, especially when you don’t have time to change.

You can just unzip the lower part of the pants and continue your hike in shorts. Amazing!


One of the main advantages of breathable pants is less sweating. Hiking pants will keep your legs cool, but will still protect you from environmental hazards.

This is especially important for people who love to do some off-trail hiking.

hiking pants should be breathable and lightweight

What to Look For in Hiking Pants

You need to be aware that choosing hiking pants is not a time for fashion experiments.

Just like you would prepare your body for hiking, you need to prepare the gear.

So, pay attention to details that are essential for your hiking, not your style, and take a look at some important things every hiking pants should have.

Flexible Waistband

The majority of hiking pants have elastic waistbands, but some models don’t. So, if you want this feature, be sure to check when buying pants.

The pants’ flexibility is a good thing as it enables you to move more easily. Therefore, you will feel more comfortable in elastic pants.

However, some people don’t like the flexibility thing.

A Good-Quality Pants

You don’t buy hiking pants every day, so, if you have the chance, opt for some that are nice quality. Pants should provide you with comfort and protect you from harsh surroundings.

Low-quality hiking pants can be prone to rips, so their durability is questionable. One more important thing is the pants’ fabric.

Higher-quality pants are made from special nylon. They are soft to touch and don’t make a bad scratchy sound.

Overall, quality pants will last longer and you won’t have to deal with possible issues that may come with lower-quality ones.


Hiking pants that are water-resilient are made from gore-tex fabric that prevents them from absorbing water. Walking through nature often can be wet and followed by some rain.

So, it’s good to have waterproof pants for those conditions. However, waterproof hiking pants are more pricey than regular ones. Some people that hike in dry climates skip the waterproof part.

Whatever you choose, have in mind that rain is sometimes unpredictable, plus you may come across some water sources on your hike.

So, having waterproof pants adds extra protection.

The Bottom Line

Having good hiking pants is mandatory, as you will spend most of your hiking in them. Luckily, there are various pants options on the market.

However, some people love to use other pants, like fatigues, for their hiking journeys. As you had a chance to see, that comes with a few downsides.

That’s why the best option is to choose pants that are specifically made for hiking activities. By doing this, you can be sure you have the right equipment that’s meant for hiking. Therefore, you don’t risk anything regarding your hiking pants.

All that’s left are miles to go and new places to explore, and, of course, enjoy your pants.

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