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Hiking Kilts for Men

No matter the season, a kilt will keep you cool and dry.
No matter the season, a kilt will keep you cool and dry.

I’ve met a few hikers who prefer wearing kilts instead of hiking pants. Hiking kilts are a practical hiking garment for men and it’s surprising that more hikers and backpackers don’t use them. They’re great way to avoid moisture build-up and chafing in those sensitive areas. Plus, wearing a conversation starter, especially in mixed company.

When purchasing a kilt, look for models that have pockets and close with a zipper or button so you don’t lose items stashed in them. Kilts made of nylon are best because they dry very fast and don’t get as funky as hiking pants. A built-in belt is also important, especially since you’re likely to lose some weight on your hike.

Mountain Hardwear Elkommando Kilt - Men's
Mountain Hardwear Elkommando Kilt – Men’s

Needless to say, it’s important to wear some form of underwear when wearing a kilt, even though you may tempted to go a natural. Bikini briefs or short leg compression shorts are best, to protect your package and for the sake of modesty when you sit down in company.

Mountain Hardware manufactures a kilt called the Elkommando which retails for $75 that has side pockets. This kilt is very popular with long distance hikers, but only comes in one color.

Have you tried hiking in a kilt? Would you?


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14 comments

  1. Excellent, nogods, and I completely agree with your post. It was the summer of 2015 when I was inspired to buymy first kilt (Elkommando) and loved it so much I watched eBay and kilt forums to — over time — aquire UT Kilts, Utilikilts, and traditional tartan wool kilts. I much prefer the latter but in warmer temps, the Elkommando and UT Kilts work the best. If I’m ever worried about damaging the wool kilts, I wear any of the machine-washable options (Elk., UT, Utili.). Here in western Massachusetts, I’ve been hiking in tall socks, hiking boots, and wool kilts down to 17F. Below that, I need to wear wool leggings but still kilted. Love it.

  2. My two cents on men in hiking kilts: It’s hot and a chick magnet, because it shows a grown-up men who his over his “this is to girly”-issues. Go for it! :-)

  3. A big thanks to all the kilters here for your comments. It encouraged me to take the plunge and order one from Sport Kilts. While they did not have my own clan’s tartan, still I got a good design that looks quite authentic.

    The air circulation and comfort when hiking are phenomenal. I even had it out on a sub 40F degree morning a few weeks ago and it did fine. No problems with rain under my poncho, either.

    Only issue I have had so far is that of scrunching into my sleeping quilt so it actually covers my bottom and does not ride up and expose my buttocks to the pad. That will take a bit of practice I think.

    So far, I have had no real comments on the trail from people about it, but then it’s Portland (the Oregon one), so men in kilts is not an unusual site.

  4. Wishing Mountain Hardware would make one in a traditional Scottish plaid, but same style as their Elkamando. Public would perceive that more as a kilt and not a skirt, not that it should matter…

    • I completely concur with you. I have bought three different kilts and prefer a “stealth” skirt. I have a denim skirt that looks like cut off jeans. There is a seam front and rear and makes it look like pants. I have never been discovered wearing a skirt. I also have a camouflage one and a khaki one. They are great for driving for the same reason; comfort and ventilation. I had the skirts shortened to above the knees and the only problem is when I am sitting. I solved it by sitting on a tee shirt while driving and bringing it with me inside a restaurant or other place I will be sitting. I put it on my lap like a napkin and don’t worry about it. I have been in convenience stores, gas stations, grocery stores, and of course, hiking. I like wildlife photography and set out game cameras. No male could believe how comfortable they are and unrestricted stride. I have spoken with women about skirts and they are very supportive. I have never been noticed or no one has stared or commented. I really wish more people wore them and more would accept them. Men began wearing pants when they started riding horses. I don’t have a horse. I consider my skirts to be shorts with only one leg hole.

  5. I thonk the pros of pants, at least in the northeast, are worth considering. Protection from abrasions, dirt, and most importantly ticks. Kilts amd shorts both fail in these regards.

    • Jonathan Kennedy

      That’s true, but I’ve been wearing kilts since summer of 2015 full-on and as long as I check myself (or my wife checks me … out!) after every outing, I’ve yet to have a tick stuck in me. Yes, we find them but they’re hard to avoid out here in the western New England forests. It’s also a good habit: checking everyone after every hike. Damn ticks!

  6. Yay Kilts! I’ve always loved the idea but only recently got one when I happened across an elkomando in my size at 60% off. I’ve only taken it on one hot 7 mile hike to test it out and it was Fantastic. And to my surprise far dryer than my usual merino wool boxers. I went no underwear and loved every second. Pockets are in just the right spot too. August first my girlfriend and I start the CO trail and it will definitely be my daily wear. If anyone’s curious go for it!

  7. As “Medieval” explained to me on the AT this year, if you wear underwear, then it’s a dress. FWIW.

  8. To keep insects off of your legs. Get some knee high nylon stockings. The heavier the better. I wear “Kushy Foot” knee highs and buy them at Rite Aid Pharmacy.

    If you like going commando I suggest buying a short half slip, 14″ – 16″ for hygiene and less friction on sensitive parts.

    I prefer nylon or cotton stretch briefs for support; no friction, more comfort, and possible wardrobe malfunction. (panties). Very comfortable. (No one needs to know).

  9. I wear kilts hiking, around the yard, driving, almost everywhere for the past few years. I use a good bug spray with DDT to keep the bugs off. In PA there is an issue with ticks. Knee highs are good protection against shorter brush. There’s so much freedom in a kilt.

  10. I recently started hiking in kilts and what a pleasure! I have timed myself and for what it’s worth move about 5% faster with the same energy. There’s less rubbing of fabric and pockets against the thighs and hips.

    Modesty doesn’t seem to be an issue. The wind has lifted my top apron a bit but there is a second one.

    Colder weather is not a serious issue. At 40 degrees I wear light mitts and a jacket. My legs, with long socks on, are fine — and there’s actually some heat around my genitalia.

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