As an avid hiker and skier, I’ve tested out wearing my best women’s ski pants on the trail many times. 

I’ve learned first-hand both the advantages and disadvantages of using ski pants for hiking. Read on to find out if ski pants can work for your next backpacking adventure!

Why Wear Ski Pants Hiking At All?

Ski pants have some useful features that make them seem ideal for hiking:

  • Waterproof and windproof fabric – Great for inclement weather on the trail
  • Insulation to keep you warm – Important when hiking in cold weather or climates
  • Reinforced fabric on knees and bottom – Increased durability for scrambling on trails
  • Zippered legs for ventilation – Help adapt the pants during temperature changes

With perks like these, ski pants seem like they’d perform just as well on the trail as on the slopes. However, some significant drawbacks prevent ski pants from being ideal hiking attire.

The Downsides of Using Ski Pants for Hiking

After testing ski pants on many hiking trails and backpacking trips, I found a few issues you should consider:

  • Lack of breathability – Ski pants aren’t very breathable, causing sweat build-up
  • Restricted range of motion – The insulated fabric can be restrictive and tight-fitting for scrambling over obstacles
  • Heavyweight – Carrying extra pounds while backpacking gets tiring quickly
  • Loose fit around boots – Gaping around hiking boots leaves ankles exposed to brush and debris

For short day hikes in cold weather, ski pants can work in a pinch. But the drawbacks add up quickly for longer trips. The lack of breathability, in particular, leads to some serious perspiration!

{{< vs 2 >}}

Ski Pants Hiking Pants
Not very breathable Lightweight, breathable fabric
Tight fit restricts movement Gusseted crotch allows flexibility
Can overheat legs Zip-off legs adapt to conditions
Heavyweight Minimal weight

{{< /vs >}}

As this comparison table illustrates, purpose-built hiking pants have crucial advantages over ski pants for comfort and versatility on the trail.

My Best Tips for Wearing Ski Pants Hiking

If you do decide to wear ski pants hiking, here are my top tips:

  • Stick to cold weather hiking – Ski pants overheat quickly otherwise
  • Select ski pants with full side zips for better ventilation
  • Choose a loose-fitting style for maximum range of motion
  • Consider a hybrid ski/hiking tight for better breathability than ski pants
  • Bring an extra pair of shorts/pants in case ski pants get too warm

Following these tips will help improve your experience wearing ski pants on the trail. But the constraints might still be too significant for serious hiking and backpacking.

best women's ski pants

The Bottom Line – Consider Hiking Pants Instead

After extensive first-hand testing, I only recommend ski pants for short winter hikes near ski resorts. 

For any longer or more strenuous hiking endeavors, purpose-built hiking pants are a better bet.

The lack of breathability and flexibility in ski pants makes them impractical for serious trail use. 

Save your best women’s ski pants for the slopes and slopes alone! Well-designed hiking pants can handle cold weather while giving you the freedom of movement the trail demands.

Hopefully, this inside perspective on wearing ski pants while hiking was helpful. Let me know if you have any other questions! I’m always happy to share my insights from experience.

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