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Hiking in yoga pants: everything you need to know

Hiking in yoga pants blends the two trail trends – comfort and style. They are perfect for a light day hike or an easy overnighter.

So, are they as good of hiking gear as the more popular choice – hiking leggings? Maybe even better! Let’s find out all about hiking in yoga pants.

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Yoga in nature
Read on to learn more about the best yoga pants for hiking

Can you hike in yoga pants- Quick answer

The quick answer is yes.

Depending on the intensity of your hiking trail, yoga pants can be appropriate apparel.

However, there are dos and don’ts about choosing the right hiking yoga pants.

We will talk about the dos and don’t further in this post.

Now you know you can hike in yoga pants, let’s dive more into this topic by answering some more questions you may have.

What is the difference between yoga pants and leggings?

Talk about the hiking gear trends, and two questions pop into the mind:

  • Are yoga pants and leggings the same?
  • Are yoga pants good for hiking?

Let us start with – are yoga pants and leggings the same.

No, they are not. We get it – both look the same style, design, and even build – but yet, they are different.

Just what are the differences between yoga pants and leggings?


Compared to yoga pants, leggings are thinner and less opaque.

Originally designed to be used as a base layer in winters, they are now the street-style quotient to wear with baggy sweaters and long T-shirts.

Yoga pants are more athleisure. They are thinner, more flexible, snugger, and perfect for the gym, running, yoga, Pilates, and other similar activities.


Leggings are skin-tight and often go all the way to the ankles.

Yoga pants come in various styles that range from flares to bootcut, skinny, or even leggings.


Yoga pants are made of a durable and stretchable material like bamboo blends, nylon, spandex, or polyester, while leggings mostly use cotton or mixed fabric as their main material.

Leggings purposely made for hiking are designed with special material considerations for trail uses.


You will find foldable, thick, stretchable, and anti-slip waistbands in yoga pants that are absent in leggings.


Seaming in leggings is mostly overlocked or plain.

Yoga pants, on the other hand, boast flat-fell seaming. It makes them more chafe-free, tear-resistant, and resilient.


It is no wonder that yoga pants are longer living than leggings – they are designed to be durable.

However, while they are better than regular leggings, they are inferior to hiking leggings, which can survive tougher trails.

Hiking leggings > yoga pants > regular leggings

But does being better than leggings make yoga pants a good choice for hiking? Ah! A million-dollar question.

Yoga during sunset
Complete zen, but are yoga pants any good for hiking?

Are yoga pants good for hiking?

Without a doubt, yoga pants are the comfiest clothing ever designed. They are soft, form-fitting, breathable, and flexible.

But are yoga pants good for hiking? Yes, depending on the intensity of your hiking trail, yoga pants can be appropriate apparel.

However, there are dos and don’ts about choosing the right hiking yoga pants.

Dos of wearing hiking yoga pants

Hiking yoga pants make the best pick on the days you are taking a light, one-day hike and when the weather is dry and sunny.

You can wear them on trails that are not very tough, fairly easy, and not too rigorous. 

Don’ts of wearing hiking yoga pants

Choose a pair made of low or no cotton

The most important point would be to always pick the pair that is made with a low to no percentage of cotton.

Although the material is strong and breathable, it is water-absorbing.

If you stepped in a puddle or were caught in the rain, the cotton hiking yoga pants will soak and take enough drying time to cause problems like hypothermia.

Less suitable when it’s cold

Secondly, while yoga pants are thick and opaque, they are not sufficiently warm for the cold weather.

Instead, they make great base layers under more technical hiking pants.

Less suited on a strenuous hike

Lastly, whether you can wear yoga pants on a hike also depends on trail conditions.

If it includes jumping multiple boulders, crossing rough patches, and climbing precarious paths – the answer would be no.

Despite being designed for exercising and workouts, hiking yoga pants can take only so much, once in the outdoors.

Hiking Pants v/s Yoga Pants

The most at-a-glance difference between hiking pants and hiking yoga pants is that the former is purposely built to be trail-ready.

On the other hand, the latter is more suited for light hiking.

The yoga pants use fabric with a low-to-no cotton percentage and are flexible, breathable, thick, and chafe-resistant.

But hiking pants have a technical build – think moisture-wicking, UV-protective, and anti-microbial. They are truly meant for the trail and all the elements that it might throw at you.

So, does that mean yoga pants are not good for hiking? Not really! When talking about hiking leggings, hiking pants, and yoga pants, the right question to ask isn’t what pants to wear while hiking, instead of when you wear them. 

There is no hiking gear that will work on all trails, all-weather. You want to keep all kinds in your closet to reach out whenever they feel the right pick.

For example, let’s talk about hiking pants and yoga pants.

A hike in the forest
Always pick the right pair of pants for your hike.

When to wear hiking pants?

When you are out for a multi-day hike and need something more versatile than a pair of flexible tights, hiking pants is the way to go.

Thanks to the evolution of hiking gear, today, you can find pants with pockets, a high waist, leg protection, eye-catching looks, and flared as well as tight comfort.

There are several blogs and discussions going around hiking shorts too.

If you want to try hiking in shorts but do not want to commit to the idea without trying, you can buy convertible hiking pants.

They can turn shorts with the help of a zipper.

Hiking pants are also an excellent, more tear-resistant option when you go on a tough-to-precarious trail.

They are the gear to pick when the weather turns wet and windy.

Hiking pants come in all sorts of versions. If you are looking for comfortable high-waisted hiking pants, click here.

When to wear yoga pants?

Yoga pants are best to wear on light, less-risky trails.

They are perfect to hike well-maintained trails and jump across the occasional log.

As long as there are no intense actions involved on the hike, the yoga pants should cover all your on-hike needs.

If you are going to wear them on a trail with lots of plants and rocks, the pants can quickly get snagged and ripped.

As we said before, consider the weather too.

Yoga pants are the to-go athleisure when the weather is neither too hot nor wet.

You don’t want yourself stuck in a downpour or lots of sweating with soak-y yoga pants.

What should you definitely not wear on a hike?

Let’s end this post by summing up what you absolutely do not want to wear while hiking.

Jeans (or denim in general)

We know how tempting those blue jeans might feel – they are thick to protect against the elements, have deep pockets to keep your belongings, and are fashionable too.

But we suggest you never wear jeans, or in fact, anything denim to hiking. The reason is that it is thick material loaded with cotton.

It absorbs a lot of moisture – sweat or rain – and takes hours to dry.

It can be dangerous considering the weather on your trail.

Hiking in jeans
Jeans are no good for hiking


We talked about this throughout this guide, but it is worth reiterating because cotton is among the worst material you could pick to wear when off for a hike.

It is super-absorbent and does not dry very fast.

In hot weather, it will leave you feeling sweaty and uncomfortable.

When we say avoid cotton, we also mean avoid cotton bras and socks.

Flimsy shoes

A no-brainer, indeed, but worth mentioning. A pair of shoes can make or break your hiking experience.

No one wants to walk miles with blisters and toe pain.

Footwear that is not hardwearing might even let in elements like sand, soil, and pebbles. You want a pair that is strong and has plenty of treads on the sole, so you do not slip or skid.

It is also vital to wear shoes that provide ample ankle and arch support.

Post-hiking soreness and strains never feel like a badge of honor.

If you are going on easy hikes, you could also consider wearing sneakers. Here is an overview of the best sneakers you can wear during your hikes.

Cat hiking boots
Make sure you wear proper hiking shoes or boots

Bulky clothing

Hiking means you will be climbing, and you do not want the extra weight of jackets or heavy pants to drag (or wear) you down.

Note that bulky is different from flowy. You can wear harem or flared bootleg bottoms.

Only make sure they are lightweight and give the naked feeling where it is too comfortable, you forget you are even wearing anything.

But then, of course, do not let the flared bottoms lug around when you are hiking.

Thin ( transparent ) fabric

We all love our leggings for being form-fitting and soft.

This entire article guides you to wear the perfect hiking yoga pants and hiking leggings.

But make sure the one you pick is thick and opaque. It should be squat-proof, which means a pair that does not run too thin as to become transparent.


Hiking is a sweat-inducing, satisfying experience that not only energizes your body and muscles but also feels refreshing to the mind.

When it comes to such an almost-spiritual exercise, you want it to feel just right.

Perfecting your hiking gear can ensure such a fulfilling hiking experience.

However, with so many options and expert articles around, it is hard to pick the right apparel. Is it yoga pants, hiking leggings, or hiking pants? Cloudy!

Can you go hiking in running leggings?

This article focuses on all these questions and answers them in detail.

After this 10-minutes read, you will be able to decide your entire hiking closet – we promise.