One of my favorite activities is climbing volcanoes. My love for it started a year and a half ago when I went on a tour of Acatenango Volcano in Guatemala. I thought it was a good idea to wear jeans. What a huge mistake, but it also led me on a chase to find the perfect hiking pants for me. That’s how I found the Bugsaway Ziwa Convertible Pant by Exofficio.

hiking pants

Photo credit: Marina K. Villatoro /Gringa TravelingMom

My favorite activities are trail running, hiking along nature trails and climbing volcanoes. I love how doing that allows me to get close to nature, challenging myself while having fun and meeting tons of interesting people. My first experience at a volcano was Acatenango Volcano in Guatemala.

I live in Antigua, Guatemala, and have always admired the three volcanoes that surround it. About six months after I started running I finally decided that I was strong enough to climb one of them. So I booked the tour and off I went.

I had no idea of what I was getting myself into. No one told me about the drastic climate changes that can occur up there so I decided I’d be safe and comfortable in a pair of jeans. I was so wrong!

That day we experienced crazy weather. The first half of the walk was extremely hot and sunny. As we got higher it changed to dark, windy and even rainy at moments. But the worst part was the wind. It was so strong and you couldn’t see more than a couple of meters in front of you! I got soaked just by standing directly where the wind hits.

Plus that particular volcano doesn’t have trees near the crater, so at at 3,976 meters above sea level there was nothing to protect us. My jeans got so heavy because of all the water they absorbed! I thought they were going to fall down with every step. I was also freezing!

Finding the Perfect Hiking Pants

The very next day after I got home and had some time to sleep, my first task was to start searching for a good pair of hiking pants. A year and a half went by. I kept visiting volcanoes around Central America and had the chance to try hiking pants from a couple of different brands. So far my favorite have been the Bugsaway Ziwa Convertible Pant by Exofficio.

Photo credit: Marina K. Villatoro /Gringa TravelingMom

Photo credit: Marina K. Villatoro /Gringa TravelingMom

What the Bugsaway Ziwa Convertible Hiking Pants offer:

• Insect Shield technology – This was what ended up making me buy this. I’m the kind of person who attracts bugs, no matter how much bug repellent I put on.
• Converts to a 10″ short
• Exterior partial-elastic waistband
• One security zip pocket on right leg
• Drop-in gadget pocket on left leg – I love carrying my Swiss knife in it. It is so practical!
• Two jean style hand pockets
• Zippers on bottom hem of each leg
• Floating pocket loop in right hand pocket

I used these for the first time for climbing yet another volcano, this time it was Tacana at 4,060 meters above sea level. My second favorite of all the ones I have visited, only Acatenango beats it.

I really enjoyed wearing them. They felt so comfortable and kept me fresh throughout the hike. That day we experienced a hot, dry and sunny weather for most of the trip.

But then it started to rain. To my surprise I saw how at first, when it was just light rain, the fabric wasn’t absorbing the water. Eventually they did, but after an hour of walking in the rain, when they got soaked I didn’t get that heavy feeling at all.

But the best moment I experienced with these was when I got home and took them off. As I got ready for my shower I noticed that there were no bug bites at all! I’m not sure how they do that but it was amazing!

One thing that I never saw in the description they have on the website but that was very noticeable after my hike was the fact that it is not easy to get these hiking pants dirty. Before the rain, the terrain was so dusty that we had to use buffs to protect our noses. Tons of dust adhered to the pants! But when we stopped for lunch I simply shook them and most of it came off right away.

The only negative thing that I have to say about it is that they are not true to size, I got a size 4 in the petite version and it still fit quite loose around the waist and hips.