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Sierra Trading Post Tip: Hiking pants come in a variety of materials, some that act as three layer systems all in one. Hiking pants are sometimes called "outdoor pants," as well. Most of these pants are made of nylon or composite materials that create a waterproof layer and a light insulation layer. Some hiking pants also come with optional zipper, that allow you to convert them to shorts for warm weather hiking. Many of these hiking pants can be used for three seasons hiking.
For cold weather hiking, pants should be heavier and the three layer system should include warm thermal underwear, or you should choose heavy-weight mountaineering hiking pants that can stand up to the worst conditions. Be sure your pants are waterproof hiking pants, you never know when weather conditions can change when you're on a hike!