If you are heading out on a long hike, be sure to wear some form of cold-weather hiking pants. The weather can play havoc with your outdoor gear and it's best to prepare in advance. You will need the proper protection against rain, wind, snow, and icy falls. It is also helpful if your clothing is made of a breathable fabric like cotton or a blend of cotton and polyester. Polyester blends wick away moisture so it is a good choice if you plan to stay outside for long periods of time. Synthetic fabrics won't keep you warm as well, but they dry quickly and sweat won't stick to them.
Cold weather hiking pants should be durable and strong to keep you comfortable and prevent injuries. There are a few things to look for when shopping for this type of clothing. First, you want a pair that is breathable because your skin needs to breathe to maintain its temperature. A fabric that is too thick will trap moisture making you feel even colder.
Next, look for a pair with a great fit. It's not always comfortable to wear underwear with these types of pants because they dig into you making chafing and soreness the most common problem. To solve this problem, opt for a breathable material that allows your skin to breathe and release moisture. A lightweight cotton or polyester blend is a great choice for cold-weather hiking pants. The lightweight fabrics mean you get more warmth and a better fit.
Cold weather hiking pants with an adjustable elastic waistband are popular. These include some styles with a zipper or drawstring at the top. Zippers or drawstring tops are great because they allow airflow through the fabric which keeps you toasty warm. Also, an adjustable elastic waistband means you can adjust how tight you get it so you get just the right fit.
Look for a pair of winter hiking pants that have a comfortable grip. You want a pair that is comfortable to wear but that doesn't irritate your skin as so many other synthetic fibers do. A wool or cashmere blend is a great option because they are soft and provide a luxurious feel. Wool also has some medical properties which give it some benefit in treating injuries. Look for breathable fabrics, which are more comfortable, too.
In general, stay away from synthetic materials like nylon or Lycra. These materials are known for having a hard time with moisture, and they hold in heat. This makes them great for hiking on the trail, but horrible for wear in the evening when you're trying to chill out. Instead, go with a pair of breathable wool or cashmere pants.
Another feature to look for is a pair of pants that are waterproof. This will be important if you plan on doing a lot of hiking and going into the water, as this is a very common occurrence during outdoor activities. These pants will be able to keep your body nice and dry, even in conditions where the water is cold. This will help you avoid getting cold extremities or chapped skin. If you live in an area where there are a lot of lakes and streams, consider a pair of waterproof pants as this will save you a lot of trouble in the event of a leak.
Last, but not least, consider durability when shopping for a pair of new hiking pants. A good idea is to find a pair that offers a lifetime warranty. This will ensure that the manufacturer has faith in their product and won't discontinue the product if it isn't up to snuff after several months or years of use. While you might think that buying a cheap pair of imitation insulating material is better than a good quality pair, in the long run, you'll pay for the material and the lack of durability far more than you think. Investing in a great pair of hiking pants will pay off ten-fold over a short period of time.