Can You Tailor Hiking Pants: A Complete Guide

The selection of pants and thought that goes into it usually isn’t a big deal.

However, hiking takes this simple task to an entirely new level. Hiking pants are pants made specifically for this hobby, and finding the right variation and set for you is super important.

Many of the top outdoor apparel brands in the game have great hiking pants options. Finding the right ones for you is something that requires a bit of work but will pay off big time.

Now, the pants you pick off of the shelf will not always fit in the best way possible. This is when you have to branch out and create some alterations.

You may ask, “can you tailor hiking pants?” This is a topic we are about to dive right into!

You absolutely can tailor hiking pants! For some, the product off of the shelf may be fine, but when hiking, you want the best comfort and performance possible. This allows for you to fully enjoy the experience.

Let’s dig right into tailoring hiking pants to learn more details!

Can You Tailor Hiking Pants?

Simply put, you absolutely can tailor hiking pants. In fact, you should tailor them if that is what they need.

a man sitting next to a lake wearing hiking pants

There are a few alterations that are most common to fix and should be kept in the back of your mind for when the time comes.

The most common tailoring alteration is to fix the pant legs being too long. Long legs for this style of pants are fairly common, so there is a good chance that you will need to shorten them.

The other big alteration involves fixing the inseam to an appropriate length. Hiking pants can come fairly baggy (as most ski pants and outdoor sweatpants are), so perfecting that inseam can keep it tight enough to be comfortable.

Although there are a number of fixes that a tailor can make with hiking pants, those are the two most prevalent issues.

At the end of the day, taking the pants to a professional can put you in a great position of success!

Can You Hem Hiking Pants?

Hemming hiking pants is super common, like we hinted at above. Changing the length of the pants is super important to hike successfully and comfortably.

This is where hemming can come into play. Watch the video below that shows what I’m talking about.

Hemming is the act of finishing the raw edges of clothing while making adjustments. So, when tailoring the length of the pants, you will want to hem the bottom.

This creates a finished edge that will not fray or get caught as easily. Basically, every pair of pants out there will be hemmed, but you may need to do it yourself when altering the pants to a different length.

So, hiking pants absolutely can and should be hemmed. If the length of the pants is perfect without making any alterations, you will not have to worry about hemming at all.

If you need to shorten them up a bit, keep hemming in mind to preserve the livelihood of the pants.

Are hiking pants supposed to be tight?

The key to the perfect pair of hiking pants is comfort. When it comes to the tightness of the hiking pants, a lot comes down to personal preference.

a hiker in the mountains posing

However, there is a line to be drawn. Hiking pants are not like jeans. Jeans can be as loose or as tight as one desires. When it comes to pants that you have to be active in, there is a bit more restriction.

Hiking pants are supposed to fit well, but not necessarily be tight. If they are tight, they should definitely not be too tight.

When hiking, you have to be as mobile as possible. This includes climbing up big steps, taking on elevation changes, and walking long distances at once.

You also do not want your hiking pants to be super baggy. This could encourage chafing as well as put you in a position to get snagged and cut on things you may walk by.

The key is to find a pair that does not restrict your movement, but also does not swing in the breeze like sails. If you can comfortably run, hike and walk in them, they should be good to go.

Can A tailor make hiking pants tighter?

A pretty simple alteration for a tailor to make is to create a tighter waist.

When finding a good deal or finally discovering the perfect pair, it would be a shame to pass on them based on the waist being too large. Unfortunately, if the waist is much too tight, you may be out of luck.

However, tailors can absolutely make hiking pants tighter. This is as simple as turning that waist into one that can at least fit well with a belt.

So, finding the perfect pair will not be limited to one waist size that may be out of stock.

Tailors can also alter the legs and make those tighter. So, not only can you get the waist altered but if the legs are super baggy, those can be fixed as well.

How much does it cost to get hiking pants altered?

Although a lot of the alteration prices are subjective to the area and work being done, there are some averages to go off of to get a good idea of what it will cost to go to a tailor.

process of shortening jeans pants on a sewing machine

According to, there are a few common prices that will give you a ballpark figure for altering your hiking pants.

For example, they say that the average cost of altering the waist in 2021 is $18. Obviously, this is going to vary on a number of things, but this can be a good starting point.

They also say that tapering legs will cost $20 and hemming the legs will be $16. These figures are all for pants in general and not specifically hiking pants. But, there really should not be a huge difference in the pricing between the two.

Even if you bust a zipper, they say it will be about $18 for a replacement being installed.

As you can see, these prices are quite reasonable. Especially when dealing with high-quality hiking pants, you want to get the best performance possible.

If that performance will be strengthened by investing some time and money into a tailor, it should be well worth it.

If you are on a stricter budget, look to friends and loved ones who may have the knowledge for help.

How should hiking pants fit?

With everything we have talked about so far, it all boils down to how the pants should fit. Finding pants that fit well naturally can be a bit of a struggle.

a man walking in the mountains

This is why we have talked extensively about the alterations that can be made to hiking pants.

Hiking pants should fit comfortably while being not too tight, not too baggy, and at the perfect length.

The perfect length of hiking pants is right at the back of the boot while standing up. If they are too long, they will create problems. If they are too short, you will not be fully protected.

Your hiking pants also need to be tight but not suffocating. This keeps those pants from moving too much.

Pants that are too baggy are uncomfortable, and way too tight can be unhealthy. Finding that perfect medium is key. Using a belt is super common, so do not feel like the pants need to be naturally tight.

One of the keys to a good pair of hiking pants is the cutoff function. Although not every pair will have this, there are some really popular hiking pants that have cutoffs.

Cutoff pants have zippers halfway up the pants so you can turn long pants into shorts. If it is getting warm, you do not have to go and change, then just change back when the temperature drops.

These are super convenient, so not only should you think about how the pants fit but how the shorts fit on their own.

Try them out and see if you can still get the best mobility out of them as possible without the bottoms on.


Tailoring hiking pants has never been easier!

With affordable prices and so many tailors around the world, you can get whatever you need done fairly easily.

So, if you ask yourself, “can you tailor hiking pants?” The answer is yes! Making alterations will help you have a more comfortable fit. This will directly translate into better performance while hiking.

If you are hiking with pants that do not properly fit, there will be some issues down the road, or down the trail. Improper fitting pants can cause snagging, chafing, and a number of other issues.

Whether it be hemming, making the pants tighter, or anything else, it can all be done! All it takes is some money and someone to do it.

So, once you get your hands on some hiking pants, try them on and see how you can make them fit better!

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Asen Stoyanchev

Founder of this website, Asen is a passionate hiker and writer who is also a gear nerd. He’s been featured on many established hiking websites where he gives hiking advice & tips. When he is not trekking with his family or friends, he is writing articles and product reviews. Asen spends most of his time in Bulgaria but he constantly travels the world in seek of more unforgettable experiences. Read more about Asen here.

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