10 Best Hiking Skirts for Thru-hiking in 2022

We tested the best hiking skirts in 2022 and this is how they performed.

Updated on December 2nd, 2022
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Hiking skirts and dresses have come a long way from the full-length versions of the 1880s. They're now lightweight, breathable, waterproof, and easy to walk in.

We tested the best hiking skirts on the market for 2022. Read on to see how they performed, which is best for you, and get some valuable buying advice.

Best Hiking Skirts

The best hiking skirts are:

MODEL Weight Skirt Length Design Pockets PRICE SCORE
1. Mountain Hardwear Dynama/2 Skirt 4.1 oz 18.5 in A-Line Yes $65 9/10
2. Lightheart Gear Backpacking Dress 8.9 oz 37 in Princess Cut No $60 9/10
3. Lady Hike Ready, Set, Go! Skirt 10 oz (size M) 15-18 in A-Line Yes $55 9/10
4. Purple Rain Adventure Skirt 6 oz 16 in A-Line Yes $71.99 9/10
5. Lightheart Gear Skirt with Pockets 7.8 oz (size M) 20 in A-Line Yes $98 8/10
6. ExOfficio Kizmet Skort 8.7 oz 35.6 in Slim-fit / A-Line No $65 8/10
7. Montbell Superior Down Skirt 4.1 oz (size M) 18.9 in A-Line Yes $79 7/10
8. Enlightened Equipment Rain Wrap Skirt 1.9 oz (size M) 27 in Tube No $50 7/10
9. Skirt Sports Happy Girl Skirt 16 oz (size M) 16.5-17.5 in A-Line Yes $104.95 7/10

Best Overall Hiking Skirt:

MOUNTAIN HARDWEAR DYNAMA/2 SKIRT

Price: $65

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Mountain Hardwear Dynama/2 Skirt

PROS:

✅ Comfortable

✅ Durable

✅ Affordable

CONS:

❌ Only 2 medium-sized pockets

KEY SPECS

  • Weight: 4.1 ounces (0.26 lbs)
  • Skirt Length: 18.5 inches back
  • Design: A-Line
  • Pockets: Yes
  • Material: 96% nylon and 4% elastane

Well-rounded and affordable, the Mountain Hardware Dynama 2 is our choice for best overall hiking skirt. We love that this skirt has a minimal number of seams along the hips ensuring that it won't feel uncomfortable after a long day of wearing a hip belt.

This skirt comes made of nylon ensuring that it will dry quickly and stand up to the elements. We appreciate the durable water-repellent (DWR) finish, but we wish that it had bigger pockets. However, the economical price tag makes up for this deficit in our books making this skirt a great addition to any hiker’s wardrobe.


Most Comfortable Hiking Skirt:

LIGHTHEART GEAR BACKPACKING DRESS

Price: $60

See on LIGHTHEART GEAR
Lightheart Gear Backpacking Dress

PROS:

✅ Comfortable

✅ Durable

✅ Stylish

CONS:

❌ Not as versatile

KEY SPECS

  • Weight: 8-11 ounces for a non-pocket dress (0.5-0.69 lbs)
  • Dress Length: 36.75 to 37.5 inches
  • Design: Princess Cut
  • Pockets: No
  • Material: 95% Polyester and 5% Lycra

Those looking to hike in ultimate comfort will appreciate Lightheart Gear’s Backpacking Dress. We found that minimizing the number of seams around the waist area increases overall comfort while hiking, and this dress checks that box. Additionally, we liked the wide array of fun patterns this dress comes in.

In thick brush and wet conditions, this dress has the advantage of nylon material to dry quickly and hold up to harsh terrain. There are two dress options available: a sleeveless dress without pockets and a short sleeve option with pockets. Between a modest price tag and the ability to add spandex, we think this dress is a great option.


Best Budget Hiking Skirt:

LADY HIKE READY, SET, GO! SKIRT

Price: $65

See on LADY HIKE
Lady Hike Skirt

PROS:

✅ Price

✅ Value

✅ Material

CONS:

❌ Heavy

KEY SPECS

  • Weight: 10 ounces (medium) (0.63 lbs)
  • Skirt Length: 15-18 inches
  • Design: A-Line
  • Pockets: Yes
  • Material: Stretchable, breathable, lightweight, water-resistant material

Coming in as our most economical option in our tests, this skirt from Lady Hike offers a lot of bang for your buck. We are fans of this skirt’s four large pockets and DWR finish which helps to repel water from the skirt.

The wide, stretchy waistband means hikers should be comfortable wearing this skirt all day long. We were a bit surprised at how heavy it was, but with the small price tag, this skirt is a great option for those looking to give hiking in skirts a try.


Most Versatile Hiking Skirt:

LIGHTHEART GEAR SKIRT WITH POCKETS

Price: $98

See on LIGHTHEART GEAR
Lightheart Gear Skirt with Pockets

PROS:

✅ Multiple large pockets

✅ Front zipper

✅ Custom hem length available

CONS:

❌ Expensive

KEY SPECS

  • Weight: 7.8 ounces (medium) (0.49 lbs)
  • Skirt Length: 20 inches
  • Design: A-Line
  • Pockets: Yes
  • Material: 100% Nylon Suplex

Lightheart Gear’s Skirt with Pockets is the perfect choice for the hiker that loves keeping everything on them. We love that this skirt has six pockets with four of them being big enough to hold a map. Belt loops provide the ability to use a belt and we found that the slight flare makes it easier to maneuver while wearing this skirt.

Unfortunately, some of the features that make it versatile also impact the overall comfort rating and price of this skirt. However, if you are someone that likes all of the bells and whistles, we think this skirt could be a great choice for you!


Best Cold Weather Hiking Skirt:

MONTBELL SUPERIOR DOWN SKIRT

Price: $79

See on MONTBELL
Montbell Superior Down Skirt

PROS:

✅ Warm

✅ Comfortable

CONS:

❌ Durability

❌ Not very versatile

KEY SPECS

  • Weight: 4.1 ounces (0.26 lbs)
  • Skirt Length: 18.9 inches
  • Design: A-Line
  • Pockets: Yes
  • Material: 20D Rip-Stop Nylon with stretchy fleece side panels and 20D Nylon Taffeta lining

While we love the versatility many of these skirts offer to be paired with leggings, but sometimes that isn’t enough. That’s where the Montbell Superior Down Skirt comes in. Made of nylon and down with fleece side panels, this skirt will provide that extra bit of warmth.

An 800-fill power rating means that you won’t have to sacrifice warmth for weight. Of course, just like with a puffy jacket, we wouldn’t recommend running through the brush in this skirt without some sort of liner or cover.


Best Rain Hiking Skirt:

ENLIGHTENED EQUIPMENT RAIN WRAP SKIRT

Price: $50

See on ENLIGHTENED EQUIPMENT See on GARAGE GROWN GEAR
Enlightened Equipment Rain Wrap Skirt

PROS:

✅ Weight

✅ Price

✅ Multi-functional

CONS:

❌ Breathability

KEY SPECS

  • Weight: 1.9 ounces (0.12 lbs)
  • Skirt Length: Mid-calf length (25 to 29-inches)
  • Design: Tube
  • Pockets: No
  • Material: Waterproof 15D Silnylon

DWR finishes and quick drying material are great, but sometimes a bit more protection is needed. Enlightened Equipment offers up the perfect solution with their silnylon Rain Wrap. We like that this wrap is easier to put on and offers more breathability than traditional rain pants.

The Rain Wrap is also super lightweight and cheap, making this an easy option to pack for emergencies. We like the multi-functional design of this skirt as it can be used as a groundsheet or emergency tarp.


The Other Noteworthy Models

Purple Rain Adventure Skirt

Price: $71.99

See on GARAGE GROWN GEAR
Purple Rain Adventure Skirt

PROS:

✅ Large pockets

✅ Bright colors

✅ Moisture wicking waistband

CONS:

KEY SPECS

  • Weight: 6 ounces (0.38 lbs)
  • Skirt Length: 16 inches
  • Design: A-Line
  • Pockets: Yes
  • Material: 88% Polyester,12% Spandex blend, and DWR finish

Made by a thru-hiker for thru-hikers, we love the well-thought-out design of the Purple Rain Adventure Skirt. This skirt sports a waistband made of different material from the rest of the skirt specifically to aid in wicking moisture.

We think the UV protection offered by this skirt is another great feature for out on the trail and love the various bright colors that this skirt is available in. This particular skirt has two dual outer pockets where each pocket offers one area of secure storage plus an easier-to-access slot behind.


ExOfficio Kizmet Skort

Price: $65

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ExOfficio Kizmet Skort

PROS:

✅ UV Protection

CONS:

❌ Pocket Size

KEY SPECS

  • Weight: 8.7 ounces (0.54 lbs)
  • Skirt Length: 35.6 inches
  • Design: Slim-Fit / A-Line
  • Pockets: No
  • Material: 86% Polyester and 14% Elastane

If your interest in hiking in a skirt is a little less utilitarian and a little more fashion-oriented, the Kizmet skort may be the way to go. We like that it looks just like a wrap skirt but has shorts underneath the front flap, eliminating the need to worry about thigh rub or showing more than you’d like to someone hiking uphill behind you.

We found that the soft and silky material performs well in heat and humidity. On the downside, this skort (or any skort) does not offer the main benefits of a skirt: added ventilation, and not needing to pull your bottoms all the way down when nature calls.

Skirt Sports Happy Girl Skirt

Price: $68

See on AMAZON
Skirt Sports Happy Girl Skort

PROS:

✅ Many fun patterns available

CONS:

❌ Not suitable for backpacking

KEY SPECS

  • Weight: 16 ounces (1 lb)
  • Skirt Length: 16.5 inches front, 17.5 inches back, 7-inch inseam short
  • Design: A-Line
  • Pockets: Yes
  • Material: Polyester/Spandex skirt with Semi Compression Mesh (poly/spandex) shorts

This skort (which is actually called the Happy Girl skirt on the website, so don’t get confused) comes in quite a few fun patterns but also in classic black. We discovered that the inner compression shorts can run quite small, although we do love the 7” inseam.

It features 3 pockets, but one of them is in the back, up by the waistband, and is inaccessible when wearing a fully loaded pack. Overall we found that this skort seems to be a better fit for light hiking, running, tennis, etc, rather than anything involving a fully loaded backpack.


Key Factors To Consider When Choosing

COMFORT

Staying comfortable on the trail is an important factor in enjoying a hike, as such, it's a key area to consider when buying a skirt to wear. Material bunching up under the hip belt can create an annoyance over the course of a hike. Buttons, drawstrings, and seams all have the potential to rub underneath the hip belt if the skirt isn’t positioned correctly. In addition to how the skirt fits around the waist, the cut of the skirt can impact how easy it is to move particularly over more difficult terrain.

Best Skirts for Comfort:

MATERIAL & DURABILITY

You'll want a stretchy form-fitting nylon or synthetic fabric for a summer hiking skirt. These synthetic fabrics are lightweight, dry quickly, and stretch to move when you are climbing. Stay away from cotton skirts as they dry slowly and don't have as comfortable of a stretch. Some synthetic skirts also offer UV protection and a DWR finish that repels rain.

Best Skirts for Material & Durability:

VERSATILITY

Some hiking skirts include built-in spandex which can help significantly with chafing and skirt placement. However, this also limits the wearer when it comes to the ability to add thicker leggings or additional pockets. Consider choosing a skirt without built-ins and add your own instead. Another aspect of versatility to watch for is the number and size of pockets. There are a variety of pocket styles available, but not every pocket on the market may be big enough to hold your gear.

Best Skirts for Versatility:


Other Things to Consider

Features

  • Flare: Most hiking skirts have a slight flare at the bottom to allow for unrestricted movement when walking. Other skirts fall straight from the hip, providing a slim fit some people prefer.
flare
  • Pockets: Another essential element to consider when shopping for a skirt is storage. Not only should you pay attention to how many pockets the skirt comes with, but you should also make sure those pockets are deep enough to be useful to you.
pockets
  • Adjustable Size: If you are a hard-to-fit size, you may want to search for a skirt that has an adjustable velcro waist or drawstrings.
  • Snap Closure:Some skirts also include snap closures for comfort.
  • Length: How far down the leg a skirt falls impacts ease of motion while hiking. Fabric stretching below the knees can make it more difficult to walk.
rain wrap
Enlightened Equipment's Rain Wrap Skirt has a drawstring and snap closure.

Style

  • Skorts or "Built-Ins": Not every hiking skirt is an open skirt; some come with built-in shorts (called skorts). Not only do these built-ins save you from facing an awkward Marilyn Monroe moment (no underwear anyone?), but they also protect your inner thighs from chafing
happy girl skort
The Happy Girl Skort from Skirt Sports' built-in short
  • Dresses: Hiking dresses have all the advantages of a skirt along with the added benefit of being seamless. Unlike a skirt that has a waistband, a dress fits smoothly against your back and hips. As a result, wearing a dress allows you to do away with the pressure points and irritating rubbing that could be caused by your backpack's hip belt.
backpacking dress
Lightheart Gear's Backpacking Dress is not your everyday cocktail dress; it was designed for hiking.
  • Kilts: A kilt is a wrap-around, knee-length skirt made out of pleated tartan cloth that's known to be thick and warm. Hiking kilts are common on the trails for both men and women and offer the same benefits as a skirt. Men rave about the ventilation and the unrestricted movement they experience when they swap their shorts for a kilt.
kilts
The Lightheart Gear Skirt with Pocket's kilt style makes it popular with both men and women.

Waistband

Hiking skirt waistbands serve an extremely important function: keeping the skirt on your body. When trying on shorts or pants, the placement of the crotch dictates where the waist of the garment will sit on your body, but this is not an issue with skirts. You can wear any skirt as low, medium, or high rise, depending on what feels best to you and works the best with any gear you might be wearing (especially backpacks). Of course, this is not true for skorts, as the crotch of the inner shorts will dictate where the waistband falls. There are a few different types of waistbands:

wasitband
  • Yoga Style: this type relies entirely on the stretch to fit the wearer — no strings, buttons, or zippers.
yoga style
  • Drawstring: uses a string mechanism that can be tied tighter or looser to adjust the tightness of the waistband
drawstring
  • Fly Front: uses some combination of buttons and zippers to enlarge the waistband enough for the user to pull on the skirt. Often paired with belt loops.
down skirt

Weight

You don't want your skirt or skort or what-have-you to feel like a pair of heavy blue jeans. You want to be dancing around the woods freely in lightweight and breathable garments. Skirts range from as light as 2 ounces to 16 ounces. Aim for a skirt in the 4 to 8-ounce range that has at least one pocket. If you are worried about the cold of winter, as mentioned, add leggings for warmth.

weight

HIKING SKIRT PROS

Wearing a hiking skirt has more freedom of movement than shorts or pants. Switching to it may give you just the boost you need to accomplish great things: Heather “Anish” Anderson is well known in the thru-hiking community for trekking in a dress, and she has set a record pace on the Appalachian Trail in 2015 while wearing one. She primarily gets her dresses from thrift stores.

Heather "Anish" Anderson, when asked about the skirts/dresses she wears on trails, said they are "lighter and cheaper" than branded hiking wear. "Wearing cute dresses makes me happy!", she added. Anish started wearing them while she was working at the Glacier National Park. She shared that she got her first one, a beach cover-up, from Walmart. - Cascade Hiker Podcast

skirt and dress

1. VENTILATION

One of the main benefits of wearing a hiking skirt is ventilation. Skirts are open at the bottom and provide more ventilation than shorts or pants. Keeping good airflow in the nether regions can help prevent the build-up of moisture and heat, therefore lowering the rate of bacterial growth and helping to keep things more hygienic.

The extra ventilation can also greatly increase comfort in hot and/or humid weather (and is a primary reason many men cite for switching to a skirt).

ventilation

2. BATHROOM EASE

Peeing or pooping in the woods? It is so much more comfortable in a skirt. You don't have to bare your naked butt or worry about peeing on the clothes that are straddling your ankles - just remember to lift both the front and back of the fabric when you squat. And if you are one of those ladies who uses a female urination device (FUD), then you MUST try a skirt (you'll thank us later).

new balance skirt

3. SIMPLICITY

The simplicity of layering with a skirt comes in handy while backpacking! When it gets chilly it can be difficult to fit long pants over hiking shorts, but it’s easy to just slide leggings or pants on underneath the skirt.

Once the sun comes out again, just slide them off and toss the pants back in your pack without ever worrying about finding a place to change. It also makes changing into base layers at the end of the day a more modest affair; simply put on your base layer and then slide the skirt off.

easy to layer

 4. EASY TO LAYER

It's incredibly easy to layer with hiking skirts. The biggest problem with hiking skirts is that, similar to shorts, they leave legs exposed. When you are bushwhacking or hiking in a mosquito-infested area, your bare legs are vulnerable to being cut or eaten alive.

A quick workaround for that is to slip on a pair of leggings underneath the skirt. When you no longer need the extra protection, simply take off the leggings and toss them in your pack.

retro hiking skirts

HIKING SKIRT CONS

1. CHAFING

As with any article of hiking clothing, chafing is a possibility, but for some people, the skirt is the solution. The lack of fabric in the crotch gives many folks relief from chafing caused by pants or shorts. However, for some people, the lack of a fabric barrier between the thighs or in the groin area can open the door for more chafing. Wearing compression shorts underneath the skirt or buying a skort instead of a true skirt may solve this issue.

cons

2. SKIRT SHIFTING

It is certainly possible for a hiking skirt to shift while hiking; the waistband may ride up or down, the back or front of the skirt may bunch up causing the hem to rise, or the whole skirt may rotate in one direction or another.

shifting

For the most part, trial and error with skirt brand and waistband placement will be the only way to address these issues, as these problems are largely dependent on body shape. Skirt rotation can be fixed by wearing a dress or a skort instead of a skirt, and the hip belt of your backpack can be used to help hold the skirt in place.


📸 Some photos in this post were taken by Dana Felthauser (@danafelthauser)

Bailey Bremner photo

About Bailey Bremner

Bailey (aka "PseudoSloth") is a Colorado based thru hiker and adventurer. She has thru-hiked several thousand miles including the Continental Divide Trail, Great Divide Trail, Pinhoti Trail, and several self made routes among others.

About Greenbelly

After thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, Chris Cage created Greenbelly to provide fast, filling and balanced meals to backpackers. Chris also wrote How to Hike the Appalachian Trail.

Stoveless Backpacking Meals
  • 650-Calorie Fuel
  • No Cooking
  • No Cleaning