Feb 21, 2023
One of my joys in life is going on hikes with my kids and right now that means two toddlers and a baby. Many people ask if hiking pants for toddlers is a thing. When I started I didn't think so, their normal clothes worked just fine, but now I love toddler hiking pants.
Toddler hiking pants have many benefits over normal clothes. For one thing they keep my kids normal clothes from getting destroyed too quickly. Hiking pants are made for the tough nature play and abuse they get. And the best part is a decent pair lasts, no longer need for many!
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase. Rest assured all products I suggest are products I have bought or would buy based on personal experience or through my network of other mommas.
Yes and no. Is it required to hike? No. Does it have some benefits? Absolutely.
If you hike with toddlers often hiking pants are a good investment. They provide foliage and UV protection, are made to get muddy and wet and, most importantly, your toddlers' everyday clothes do not get ruined.
I identified two different types of hiking pants based on purpose and weather.
The first type of hiking pants is for colder months and/or wet conditions. When it is cold outside you want to layer your toddler for warmth.
For hiking with a toddler the outer pants layer is a great protection against nature. You want rain proof, mud resistant, durable hiking pants. The hiking pants will keep your toddler’s under layer dry and clean so at the end of the hike you can take them off and have a clean toddler for the drive home!
This type of toddler hiking pants will open up play for your toddler. You will not have to worry about them jumping in the mud pile, sitting in the dirt or brushing up against twigs or poison ivy because the hiking pants will protect them.
The second type of hikings pants is for summer weather. You want summer hiking pants to be very lightweight, dry quickly and protect your toddler from poison ivy and shrubbery.
Summer hiking pants should be able to get wet and dry quickly as you continue to hike. Your toddler can wade in the water or jump in the puddle without worrying that the pants will weigh them down.
A summer hiking pants has benefits over shorts. It provides UV protection and protection against abrasion and rashes from foliage. It is never fun to realize your toddler has rubbed poison ivy over their legs!
If you know toddlers you know they like to sit right in the middle of the mud or amongst the plants. You want hiking pants that will protect them from the plants and the dirt.
Hiking pants should be comfortable and not hold on to moisture. If your toddler gets them wet they should be able to start drying out as you continue to hike.
No mom wants to spend her extra time scrubbing stains out. Hiking pants should be quick to clean, either able to put in the washer or easily wiped clean.
Hiking pants need to withstand contact with twigs and foliage. They need to not wear through the knees or have the seam come undone. You need a hiking pant that is made to last, because toddlers are rough.
You never know when your toddler will find poison ivy or other plants that may give them rashes. Covering your toddler's legs prevents plants from brushing up against them.
The best sun protection is to cover their skin. In summer you can either put sunscreen on, make sure you stay out of the sun or protect their legs with UV protective clothing.
Having durable hiking pants means you aren’t ruining your toddlers' normal day clothes. It is no lie that toddlers are rough on clothes and especially so when out on hikes. It will be easy for your toddler to get holes in their normal pants or to get grass stains on them.
Toddlers love to imitate their parents, that is how they learn. If they see you wearing specific pants they will get a kick out of owning their own pair!
Columbia Girls Hiking Pants are great for warm weather hiking. They are made of ripstop nylon material that is nice and light. The pants are UVA and UVB protected so no need to suncream their legs.
The hiking pants are Omni-Wick which means when they get wet they will dry quickly, especially on a nice sunny day. They even have a pocket to keep a treasure you find on the hike.
These hiking pants for girls are reinforced at the knee and crafted for action. Your girl should be able to jump, twist or lunge easily in the pants. They also come in several color options and are tapered around the ankles.
Columbia Boy Silver Ridge Pull-on pants are similar to the girl hiking pants except they do not taper around the ankles; they fall straight. It is perfect summer weather hiking pants for toddlers.
My 4 Year Old in his Columbia Hiking Pants (Just like Momma's)
The boys hiking pants are designed to be cargo style with the pocket on the thigh. The same benefits apply as above, omni-wicking, reinforced knees, made for action and sunblocking.
Oakiwear Trail and Rain Toddler Pants are great for muddy or wet hikes. These pants are made big to fit over normal pants. Slip them on at the start of the hike and have no worries!
Your toddler can jump in the mud pile, sit in the mud pile or brush up against the leaves and nothing bad will happen. The pants will protect the clothes underneath.
The ankles have velcro so you can close the pants around rain boots. This will ensure that even if walking in puddles no water will find its way in. Even the socks will remain dry.
My toddlers both have a pair of these trail pants and we wear them on most of our hikes. They mess around in all the mud and get wet and we simply take them off before getting in the car. At home I just wipe the dirt away.
Do you live in an area where you do lots of snow hikes with toddlers? Well Jan & Jul Snow Pants make great winter hiking pants. The material on the outside keeps the snow and dirt off your child while the inner is made with fleece for warmth.
The pants feature a pocket, elasticized ankles and are waterproof and windproof. They fold very small to fit into a backpack and are machine washable.
If your looking for a great way to recap all your awesome hiking with your toddler. Check out this Momma and Toddler Hiking Journal. It was made by me to be able to interactive with my toddlers and a place for both of us to record, dream and relive our hikes together.
How To Dress Your Baby/Toddler For Hiking: A guide from head to toe for hiking little ones.
Best Hiking Shoes, Sandals and Boots for Toddlers: Curious if you need hiking shoes for your toddlers, check out my thoughts.
Toddler Hiking Gear: A complete guide of all the gear you need or want to hike with toddlers.
15 Tips To Get Your Toddler To Enjoy Hiking: For those of us needing some inspiration!
Best Hiking Books for Toddlers: Books are a great way to introduce the idea of hiking and build excitement.