• We would like to welcome American Trench as an official Affiliate Vendor. American Trench is a Philadelphia based outerwear, apparel, and accessories brand, making all of its products in the United States at (mostly) family owned factories. . Please visit the American Trench thread and welcome them to the forum.

  • STYLE. COMMUNITY. GREAT CLOTHING.

    Bored of counting likes on social networks? At Styleforum, you’ll find rousing discussions that go beyond strings of emojis.

    Click Here to join Styleforum's thousands of style enthusiasts today!

Hiking Clothing in Our Brave New World

GeneralEmployer

Distinguished Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2020
Messages
1,573
Reaction score
1,119
I'm looking for decent clothing that I can wear hiking, but that still looks alright in an urban-casual environment. I paid a visit to REI last weekend, and it appears a lot of their clothing is now made with low-quality, recycled materials but still sold at a premium.

For instance, Prana Stretch Zion pants appear to be now shoddily constructed and made of cheap stuff: no more metal buttons for one (the cuts are also overly slim or baggy for active wear too). The North Face stuff appears OK, but its also appears to be made of cheap materials. Also doesn't help that most stock is online and store selection is limited even at flagships. So I can't try stuff like the slimmer Kuhl pants, shirts, etc, without ordering online to try stuff on.

If this how it is, I'm thinking of wearing a garbage bag out on the trail.

What is everybody wearing nowadays?
 

mhip

Distinguished Member
Joined
Apr 8, 2020
Messages
5,064
Reaction score
5,155
I've purchased a few things from Kelly Slater's brand, Outerknown.
I quickly became a fan. It's a little pricey but comfort and build quality is excellent.
I just received an email that they have a new "active" line...

Edit: if you're looking for pants, try goruck.com.
 

breakaway01

Distinguished Member
Joined
Aug 29, 2013
Messages
3,410
Reaction score
3,212
For “real” hiking/backpacking I think that Arc’teryx and Patagonia (if you avoid the urban casual items) make durable, well-made gear with excellent warranties. I like Patagonia’s emphasis on sustainability.

Outdoor Research, Mountain Hardwear, and Rab are IMO a notch below but many pieces are good.
 

mak1277

Distinguished Member
Joined
Sep 25, 2019
Messages
2,847
Reaction score
4,126
I’ve generally decided that stuff I want to wear when I’m actually doing outdoor stuff like hiking or fishing is mainly going to be just for that, and I accept that it isn’t something I’d be excited to wear for it’s fit or styling.

when I hike I wear prana Zion pants or nylon shorts that used to belong to convertible pants. Up top I wear a generic synthetic t-shirt or Patagonia/Exofficio button-up fishing shirts. I also have a couple LS merino blend T’s from bonobos that are pretty good for cooler weather. And I have a ten year old arctetrx fleece that has been everywhere and is still hanging in there.

If I am going out after hiking I’m probably going to be sweaty and/or dirty so I don’t really care if my fit is great.
 

cb200

Distinguished Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2010
Messages
1,232
Reaction score
1,702
@GeneralEmployer Material wise I'm not sure what you're looking at but quick drying, light weight, and somewhat durable is what I'm looking for. There's some nice fabrics from Schoeller but their prices seem to get them out of brands that rack at places like REI. I commute by bike and Lululemon's pants work for my ride to work and at work. Not my favourite pant but no blowouts and quick drying and can wear casually at work. Hiked in them plenty of times without any downsides. Not really fashion leaning but middle of the road basic.
 

LA Guy

Opposite Santa
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Mar 8, 2002
Messages
52,232
Reaction score
30,155
I wear mostly North Face’s summit line, Outdoor Research, though their best pants are distressingly long, and Arcteryx. Marmot also is pretty decent, at least ime. North Face probably makes the most stuff that fits into a non hiking environment, imo. If you really want an hybrid, try pants from Mission Workshop.
 

rjc149

Senior Member
Joined
May 8, 2016
Messages
524
Reaction score
329
I've done much of my summer hiking in mesh gym shorts and, if a day hike in high temperatures, a simple cotton t-shirt which I prefer because it stays wet and keeps me cooler. On an overnight I'll wear a quick-drying polyester shirt on the trail, and a cotton t-shirt for camp and sleep.

I've worn a pair of cheap $20 Eddie Bauer hiking pants, but the elastane has worn out after a year and they are now quite baggy. Which I don't mind, as I normally also wear gaiters in cooler-weather hiking which gives me that zouave look. I also have a pair of Columbia cargo pocket convertibles, also quite baggy.

I think Kuhl hits the balance between trail wear and street wear, although I personally deem the two completely separate. Before a hike, I look like I'm clearly going hiking, not out on the town. After a hike, I look like I clearly just went hiking -- dirty, grimy, smelly, and my clothing is filthy and smelly. It's off to the shower, and a change into street clothes if I'm going out after that.
 

LA Guy

Opposite Santa
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Mar 8, 2002
Messages
52,232
Reaction score
30,155

As an all around hiking pant, that looks good, I like these best. The pants fit tts, so if you need to size up, do so. Also, for a more modern look, gget a short if you are about 6' and under, R if you are about 33-34" inseam, and a long if you have a true 35+ inseam.
 

breakaway01

Distinguished Member
Joined
Aug 29, 2013
Messages
3,410
Reaction score
3,212
am i alone in really liking jeans for hiking ?
Depends on where you hike. I live in the Midwest now so if I got caught in a rainstorm while hiking in jeans in the summer, probably nothing bad would happen. Get caught in a rainstorm in the Rockies/Sierras/Cascades, or fall into a stream in 50 degree weather, and those jeans have zero insulating value (and in fact become good at drawing heat away from your body). I would never, ever hike in jeans in subalpine/alpine terrain or in temperate rainforests like the PNW.
 

LA Guy

Opposite Santa
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Mar 8, 2002
Messages
52,232
Reaction score
30,155
show me a picture of an oregon or washington logger not wearing jeans or duck
Hiking is markedly different from logging and/or any manual labor. Wildland firefighting is different still. You cannot wear synthetics for firefighting, period. Also, you spend most of the day standing rather than walking. This is similar for logging and comparable work, durability and protection from is of utmost importance. For hiking, you want something lightweight and flexible that protects you from the elements, minor abrasions, and minimizes chafing from extended periods of walking and scrambling. If you are scrambling while you do logging, you are definitely doing something very wrong.

You wear the clothes that suit the activity. Can you hike in jeans? Sure. Is it an optimal or even good choice? Nope.
 
Last edited:

imatlas

Saucy White Boy
Joined
May 27, 2008
Messages
22,807
Reaction score
23,976
"Cotton kills", as the saying goes. My outdoor gear is either synthetic or wool.

I have a couple of pairs of REI brand hiking pants that are passable to wear as normal attire. They are excellent travel pants.
 

Peter1

Distinguished Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2010
Messages
1,298
Reaction score
892
Outdoor Research is the best price/quality brand I’ve found, but the styling is pretty conservative. I also like Millet and Patagonia. There’s a bunch of great brands here in Europe with better fit and colors than the mud tones I see at REI. Peak Performance, Houdini come to mind. Actually, come to think of it, Houdini would be perfect for you, although pricy…
 

Featured Sponsor

Where do you usually take inspiration for your style? Choose up to 3 answers

  • Styleforum & other menswear forums

  • Instagram

  • TikTok

  • Reddit

  • Fashion Magazines

  • Fashion Blogs

  • Friends & Acquaintances

  • Celebrities/influencers

  • TV Shows & Movies


Results are only viewable after voting.

Forum statistics

Threads
477,121
Messages
10,188,016
Members
214,169
Latest member
SeaHeer
Top