It wasn’t until the summer of 2020 that I discovered hiking skorts and skirts. Nick and I planned to go up to McNeil Point. My mom offered me her hiking skort and at first, I was hesitant. Aren’t hiking skirts for like women who hiked in the 1800s? Not anymore.
- The most challenging part about them was overcoming my self-consciousness in one.
When I got out of the car (first time wearing the skirt) at the trailhead I felt overdressed. Normally I’m in hiking pants and a breathable athletic shirt.
However, for the first time, I absolutely loved my hiking outfit. And I felt like a badass for climbing to 7,000’ in it! Concerns about other hikers’ opinion on my outfit and uneasiness were taken away by the wind. At the end of the summer, I had 3 hiking skorts/skirts in my dresser and summited Loowit* in one… and I look forward to adding more to my hiking wardrobe!
*Loowit is the Cowlitz Tribe’s name for Mount St. Helens. Loowit is a nickname of Lawetlat’la.
In this blog post you’ll find…
- 4 reasons I love hiking in skorts & skirts
- Skirts vs. Skorts
- Skirt & Skort Weights
- Skirt & Skort Features
- Where to buy a skirt or skort
- The skirts & skorts I own – weblink included
Reasons I Love Hiking In Skorts & Skirts
1 – Easy
It’s easy to put on and take off leggings when needed. You don’t need to find privacy because you don’t have to take your skirt off in order to slip them on or off. I usually start with leggings in the morning and take them off when we get to the top of the trail. Keep in mind if you are wearing a skort, you will have to take the entire skirt off when changing in/out of leggings.
I also find it easier to climb over and scale down rocks in a skirt than shorts. I’ve heard some reviews of the skirt/skort riding up on the waist, but I don’t have that issue with any of mine.
2 – Breezy
The wind on your legs is a relief during the summer season. Skirts and skorts offer more ventilation than shorts.
3 – Beautiful
First and foremost – It doesn’t matter what you look like on the trail. That doesn’t have anything to do with your hiking skills or love for the outdoors. Sometimes though, it’s nice to feel like you look good out there! Personal example: My high school basketball team. We put on makeup before every game… and we also won the Washington State 2A Championship. Wearing makeup didn’t make us any less talented.
4 – Cover
Hiking in a skirt makes it easy to go to the bathroom. No need to pull your pants down when you wear them. Going to the bathroom in a skort however, can require some skill if you choose to pull the shorts to the side.
Skirts Vs Skorts
I do not have a preference when it comes to wearing a skirt or skort. As you just read, there are pros and cons to both. They both work for me, so I get whatever is most comfortable and affordable.
You know, what you wore back in 90’s… but now more durable. Some hikers like them, some don’t. I’m one of the hikers that likes them. Especially when they come with pockets, yay! Some skorts have long enough shorts so you don’t need to worry about chaffing. Yet other skorts have shorts that are short enough for your legs to chaff – something to keep in mind.
Works just like a skort, minus the built-in spandex shorts. Most hikers I know wear spandex/biker shorts underneath these anyways – it helps with chaffing. Since I’m not a fan of biker shorts and prefer spandex, I have Bodyglide for women and love it.
Another option are dresses. In fact, many of the women I talked tried hiking in a dress before trying a skirt or skort! They say it’s super flowy, has all the advantages of a skirt and skort, and is smooth between their pack and back/shoulders. I’ll definitely have to try out a dress this summer.
- Rain Wrap Skirt
I don’t own one of these, but I’ve seen them around. A rain wrap skirt is a no frill, waterproof “kilt.” When it starts to rain, slide it over your legs, button up and trek on. Think of it as a rain poncho for your legs. These wraps mostly come in a tube shape, so don’t expect to put on a Vogue fashion show on the trail. If rain wrap skirts aren’t your thing, ponchos work great!
Skirts & Skorts Weights
The point of wearing a skirt is for easy movement and staying cool. You don’t want a skirt or skort that is too heavy, you want one that’s breathable and light. Yet still somewhat durable—a thin fabric skirt may rip or not provide enough protection. The skirts and skorts I’ve found range from 2 – 16 oz, but the ones I have weigh anywhere from 4 – 8 oz. My heaviest skirt is 7.8 oz, an insulted winter skirt made of nylon, merino wool and polyester.
Skirt & Skort Features
Skorts and skirts can come with
- Drawstrings / Belt Loops / Elastic Waistband
- Flare and Cut
One of my skorts has a cute drawstring ribbon around the waist of it. This is helpful because I can loosen or tighten the skirt, depending on if I’m wearing leggings or not.
I like my hiking skorts and skirts to have a little flare. This keeps the bottom of the skirt from riding up too far when climbing or stepping over something on the trail, or just in general from my pack. Some can have too much flare, while others don’t have enough—it will take wearing one too figure out what works for you. Though sometimes I like the look of a slim (no flare) skirt or skort, so I buy it. When I do, I always make sure it’s stretchy. This way my range of motion isn’t restricted. Pockets are also a must for me because of snacks, obviously.
There are a couple different styles of cuts. A-line, straight, pleated, princess cut, tube… I know I’m missing more, but you get the point, lots of different cuts. My A-line skirt (also called mini) though is my favorite cut because it doesn’t stick to my legs! Pleated are probably my least favorite. One of my straight skorts has an opening so I don’t have an issue with movement. On the other hand, I have a straight cut skort with no opening, but it’s super stretchy.
- $35.00 – $40.00 and up buys the best quality, unless on sale!
- Avoid cotton fabrics and look for “sweat-wicking” or “moisture-wicking” (nylon/polyester/hemp)
- Merino wool skirts work wonderfully in the winter season
- Buttons + zippers add weight to a skort/skirt
- Buy a length you’re comfortable wearing
- Skorts + skirts also work well with other outdoor hobbies
- Live in the Portland-metro area and looking for a deal? Check out Sierra Trading Post!
Where To Buy A Skirt Or Skort
Honestly, if the skirt or skort is comfortable and you are able to adventure in, you can wear it on the trail.
There isn’t a list of brands I only buy from – I just buy what I find comfortable and durable for the trails. Some of my skirts and skorts are made by outdoor clothing brands and then I have one skirt that’s made by Carrie Underwood. Funny thing is, the Carrie Underwood skirt is the one I wear most. So don’t turn your nose up to skirts and skorts not made by an outdoor brand.
The big outdoor retailers like Big 5, Dicks, REI, Columbia and so on are all stores you can find hiking skirts and skorts at. Local outdoor retailers like Next Adventure in Portland are other places you can purchase skirts and skorts from. Off-price/Discount stores such as Sierra Trading Post, TJ Maxx and Marshalls are where you can find the best deals. The Sierra Trading Post is the TJ Maxx/Marshall’s of the outdoor clothing brands, and it’s my favorite. Everyday retailers like Target, Fred Meyers and Costco are also places that sell athletic skirts and skorts.
Online shopping is also an option. Skhoop (Scandinavian brand) and Amazon are some spots you can purchase skirts and skorts online. Looking at the retailer’s online stores are also good options – REI Outlet, Backcountry, MooseJaw, and Patagonia Worn Wear are some you can check out. Check back for a places to buy outdoor gear on clearance blog entry.
The Skirts & Skorts I Own
- Smartwool Smartloft 120 Skirt – on sale $90.00, regular price $120.00
- Anywhere Woven Skort, CALIA by Carrie Underwood – $50.00
- Cypress Club Women’s Skort, from Cotsco – $20.00
- Freedom Trail by Kyodan Skort, from Sierra Trading Post – on sale for $15.99
- Sierra Designs Silicone Trail Skirt, from Sierra Trading Post– $59.00
Everyone talks about the Purple Rain Adventure Skirt… I also noticed that all these induviduals were given the skirt by the company and paid to talk about it. This doesn’t mean their reviews weren’t true, but I also can’t back that up because I have yet to buy it. I’m not sure if I’d ever pay $72 for a non-winter skirt… but if I do, I’ll give you the review!