A Civil World. Off-topic discussions on a variety of topics. > Trans-Atlantic Knowledge Exchange

jeans for walking

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Barney girl:
I used to do quite a lot of walking (not so much now as I live some way from the hillls so cycling has taken over). One of the basic rules we're always taught when walking in hilly or mountainous areas is that you mustn't wear jeans. I've even known on organised walks that those responsible for safety will refuse to accept anyone in jeans. The reason for this is that if it rains or the cloud comes down jeans get very wet and heavy and you lose a lot of body temperature drying them off.

It seems to me that the rule is different across the Atlantic. On a couple of walking holidays I've been on (in Europe) there have been Americans in the group who have preferred to wear their jeans even though we were going over high mountain passes and I also get that impression from novels and films.

Those who go walking - is this just a British (or European) rule. Do you wear jeans for walking and how do you find them in bad weather?

EngineerChick:
I think the answer is going to be, it depends.

For a lot of people in the US, they will have to drive to where they are planning on walking.  For those cases, having jeans on and getting wet wouldn't be as much of a problem.

There are also a lot of places in the US that are warmer, colder, and/or have less rainfall than the UK and Europe do, so for those cases, as long as the person is comfortable in jeans, then it shouldn't be a problem.  And if it was cold, I would definitely be more likely to pick jeans over something lighter.

There are also places that naturally have a lot of brambles, thorns, and sticker bushes, so for those cases I would likely wear jeans rather than something lighter, just to prevent skin damage.  Not to mention barbed wire fences, if you are going across someone's property (with permission).

I think part of it may be that, for a lot of outdoor uses, jeans tend to be more durable and protective of one's legs than something lighter, so that makes it the default option.  For bad weather, if you aren't going to be in the rain for long, it isn't too bad, and if you have a long enough coat/jacket, you can keep your backside dry even though your legs get wet.

Of course, if the person is hiking for days, or will be hiking in rainy areas or hot areas (Death Valley, desert in general), I would recommend wearing something other than jeans.  Jeans can chafe after wearing for a few days, and they are much heavier than most other options.

What do you wear for hiking/walking?

Redsoil:
I do a reasonable amount of hiking, in various weathers and over different types of terrain.  Unlike a lot of others who hike, I don't wear joggers and cargo pants (or other "preferred" attire).  I wear riding boots (with rubber soles and special comfort innersoles) and jeans.  For me, this is the most comfortable attire.  I've never found it to be a problem - in wet weather I have a long weatherproof jacket I wear.  The jeans are stretch ones, so they give comfortably.  I've even been known to swim in them!  Even hiking in New Zealand at Franz Josef glacier, I wore my standard gear, and it was pretty wet (they closed the paths about an hour after we got back).  I was wet, but quite comfy.  (Although wading across ice-melt streams is a bit chilly!)

Larrabee:
I've worn jeans for hill walking in the UK, I just carry waterproof trousers to put over them if it rains.

demarco:
Most of my serious  hiking and backpacking  was in the western US where rain isn't usually a problem.  I always wore jeans or corduroys but mostly jeans. 

I did some damp weather  hiking in Alaska and wore jeans. 

If I were going to do some serious overnighting in a damp area I might  investigate some quick drying pants.



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