How to Make Hiking Pants

How to Make Hiking PantsHiking pants need to be sturdy, practical and easy to clean. They should also be comfortable while providing storage space that helps you keep important items and supplies handy. Making your own hiking pants gives you the opportunity to customize them to fit your needs. You can choose from a variety of fabrics. Each has different features that let you personalize these utilitarian garments.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Sewing machine
  • Tape measure
  • Heavy duty thread
  • Fabric
  • Scissors/pinking shears
  • Pins
  • Zipper
  • Buttons or snaps
  • Seam binding (optional)
Step 1
Take your waist, inseam and crotch measurements so that you can match them to the available sewing pattern sizes. Buy a hiking pants pattern from a specialty outdoor gear supplier like Rain Shed, or find a pattern for cargo pants that has most of the features that you need. You can modify standard patterns to make them more suitable for hiking.
Step 2
Use the pattern specifications and your measurements to determine how much fabric you will need. The unisex Healy Mountain Pass pants from Rain Shed require 1 2/3 yards of 60-inch fabric for extra small sizes (38-inch waist) or 2 1/3 yards for size extra large (44-inch waist). Allow for some overage so that you can add pockets or extra belt loops to customize your pants.
Step 3
Buy fabric that fits the hiking situations that you are most likely to encounter. The most important consideration is the moisture wicking capacity of your fabric. Nylon is a lightweight, durable fabric that helps you dry keep even while you are perspiring. Denver Fabrics recommends Supplex and synthetic microfibers for wind and water resistance with breathability. You can find most of these fabrics in large fabric shops or online. Remember to buy the notions that your pattern requires.
Step 4
Lay your fabric and pattern out on a cutting board. Denver Fabrics suggests that you use weights instead of pins, if you've selected a waterproof fabric. You should take special care to keep oil from your hands off the fabric while you are cutting and sewing. Use pins sparingly, if the fabric is slippery.
Step 5
Cut out all the pattern pieces. Sew the pants, according to the pattern maker's directions. Customize your pants, if desired while you are constructing them. Add 7-inch ankle zippers, before you close the outer leg seams, if your pattern does not provide them. This makes it much easier to remove or put your pants on over your boots or shoes. Add Velcro or zippers to the pockets.
Step 6
Finish your seams with a serger machine or seam binding to keep synthetic fabrics from raveling. This will also strengthen the seams and help your pants keep their original shape under the stress of your outdoor activities.

Tips & Warnings

Applying seam seal on any places that you removed stitching while constructing your pants will help to keep them water resistant.
Keep fabrics that contain nylon away from the sewing machine light; it can get hot enough to damage some outdoor gear fabrics.

Article Written By Carol Luther

Carol Luther has more than 25 years of business and technical writing experience and 10 years of experience in international health project management, which includes child survival, youth AIDS and health systems information technology. Luther's work has appeared in "Diamond" magazine and online at Global Progress, Mahalo, Trazzler and Wcities. She has a master's degree in public and international affairs from the University of Pittsburgh.

Don't Miss a Thing!

All our latest outdoor content delivered to your inbox once a week.



We promise to keep your email address safe and secure.