Pants on Hike

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Is there a halachic problem with wearing pants on a hike?

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Asked on February 19, 2020 9:16 pm
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Some halachic authorities allow for wearing modest pants in general, or take a particularly hard line against pants, and would not rule differently regarding a hike.

On the whole, though, halachic authorities prefer women’s wearing skirts to pants for reasons of modesty. (See more about the different viewpoints here.) Sometimes wearing only a skirt for a hike or other activity would actually result in immodesty, such as the skirt flipping up, or might be unsafe. In these cases, many of the authorities who otherwise prefer skirts, including Rav Ben Tziyyon Abba Shaul (quoted in Et Tzenu’im Chochma, p. 211), would require a woman to wear modest pants, under a skirt when feasible.

Others, such as Rav Elyakim Ellenson, write that a woman could wear modest pants for a hike, but perhaps should wear them as necessary only for the duration of the physical activity itself that requires them, especially if skirts are central to her identity. Rav Ellenson’s mention of identity reminds us that decisions about dress involve multiple considerations. Factors such as where the trip will be and who will be present (e.g. only family or also friends) can also play a role in a woman’s decision.

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Answered on February 19, 2020 9:18 pm