Gear Review: Purple Rain Adventure Skirt

Disclosure: This item was donated for the purpose of review.

Introduction

Why Hike in a Skirt?

I’d seen running skirts and hiking kilts on trail before, but I’d always thought they were a little silly. I’d always assumed they were some bizarre fashion statement, and I prided myself on being fast, light and efficient.

My views changed when Anish decimated the AT record in September 2015. After a little research, I discovered that former Women’s Unsupported Record holder Liz Thomas also hikes in a skirt. This intrigued me.

Enter the Purple Rain Adventure Skirt. I discovered Purple Rain because pretty much every photo of Liz Thomas features a different color of Adventure Skirt. As I was reviewing the skirt, Anish published a steller review of Purple Rain’s skirts on her blog. Purple Rain Adventure Skirts are clearly making waves in the backpacking world among the industry’s best. Many thanks to Purple Rain for sending me one!

Specs

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The Martha Stewart Kitchen Scale of Truth Says: 4.5 Ounces

Size: Small

Color: Black with Grey Waist

Fabric: 95% Polyester 5% Spandex with DWR Finish

Weight: 4.5 Ounces

Price: $60

Best Feature: Double cargo pockets that add up to four full pockets per skirt. Two outside pockets with velcro flaps for added safety for things like keys and phone. The inside two pockets have no top allowing for easy access to snack items.

Worst Feature: Limited Sizing

Circumstances of Review

I wore this skirt during the cold days of winter and the early days of spring in Western North Carolina. Temperature ranged from the low to mid thirties all the way into the upper sixties (degrees Fahrenheit). My daily mileage ranged anywhere from five to twenty five miles per day. Conditions were generally dry with the exception of a few snowy days. Elevation ranged from 2500 to 6000 feet above sea level.

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It was a little chilly at times.

Construction:

The Purple Rain Adventure Skirt was born on the AT. It was conceived during founder Mandy “Purple Rain” Bland’s 2012 thru hike of the Appalachian Trail, trying to find a better skirt to hike in. The Adventure Skirt’s features are tailor made for a hike, and even better for a long hike.

Fabric

The Adventure Skirt is your standard polyester/spandex blend (95% Polyester/5% Spandex) but with a DWR finish that allows water to bead before absorbing into the skirt. The wide waistband feels more like a comfy yoga pant waistband with a higher spandex blend (83%Poly/17% Spandex) and an anti-microbial finish.

Construction:

The skirt itself has two wide front panels and two side panels. The skirt has a decided flare from the waistband to the hemline, about nine inches from the waist to the hemline by my measurement.

Features:

Waistband: The wide, flat, stretchy waistband allows the skirt to fit seamlessly under a waistbelt while hiking without any of the awkward chafing that narrow, less stretchy pant waists can provide.

Pockets: The pockets on this skirt are great. In total there are four pockets. Two that are easily accessible from the sides and two more with flaps over them. These pockets are not only sizable, they are versatile.

During gear testing, I developed my pocket preferences. In the two pockets closest to the skirt I put snacks for easy access. I can fit one peanut butter and jelly sandwich and two bars in one pocket. In the two forward pockets with velcro flaps over them I put items I don’t want to fall out! My favorite item to stash is my phone and my keys in one velcro covered pocket and I use the other velcro covered pocket for a trash pocket (because nobody likes to see Snickers bar wrappers left on the trail).

I find these pockets more easily accessible than pockets on hiking or athletic pants because of their placement. While pockets on pants may be harder to access while wearing a hip belt, the Adventure Skirt’s mid thigh placement allow free access to a lot of items (snacks) without taking off your pack.

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Behold the Double Pockets – my hand is in the free access pocket and the outside pocket is filled with snacks.

Performance:

I wore this skirt through a wide swing of temperatures in the six thousand foot peaks of North Carolina.

In colder temperatures, the Adventure Skirt performed exceedingly well. It provided me with a truly effective wind block for my legs. I was surprised at the amount of warmth the Adventure Skirt provided. I didn’t feel the need to layer up into leggings, even in freezing temperatures.

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In warmer temperatures, the Adventure Skirt felt too hot. In temperatures above sixty degrees, the long length of Adventure Skirt did not allow enough breathability to cool the wearer. However, I did choose the skirt in black, and the skirt is especially long on my petite frame.

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Fit:

The Adventure Skirt is available in sizes small to extra large. I am petite, at just over five feet and one hundred pounds. I usually wear a size extra small in athletic wear, but I figured the stretch fabric would allow for some range in sizing.

Although the waistband served its purpose while hiking, I found it slipping down around my waist when trail running. Although the too large waist was a small headache which will only effect a small number of wearers, I am concerned about the length of the skirt for shorter wearers.

The fit and especially the flare are designed to allow the hiker to stretch out their full stride. The ten inch flare is more then enough for me to hit full stride in the skirt. But the skirt hits just above my knees, which interferes when making action movie style jumps over logs (which happens fairly often).

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Full Stride in the Adventure Skirt

Post-review I intend to adjust the skirt to my height. But if you’re a shorter (or taller!) skirt-wearer without access to a sewing machine, don’t fret! Purple Rain offers custom order skirts for $70 dollars.

Style:

The Adventure Skirt is high on style points. I have worn this skirt directly from the trail to work more times than I can count. It layers nicely with leggings both on and off trail, and the flat waistband looks smooth under “town clothes”.

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Swap those Hoka One Ones for some black flats and the boss will never know.

Although I ordered the skirt in black, it is also available in Olive Green and a beautiful Pacific Blue. It’s a refreshing change from the usual pastel palate of teals and purples gear manufacturers offer to women in the outdoors.

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The Adventure Skirt in Olive

Pacific Blue

I love this Pacific Blue

Value:

The Purple Rain Adventure Skirt retails at $60.00, which is expensive in the greater running and hiking skirt market.

However, I have tried low to mid priced running and hiking skirts and they leave a lot to be desired in function.

Although the price point in the overall market may be high, Purple Rain Adventure Skirts offers something that no other big box manufacturer does. A true hiking skirt.

Overall:

Overall, I fell in love with my Purple Rain Adventure Skirt. It is breathable, layers easily, and is incredibly versatile.

Trail Skirts are becoming more and more popular as folks embrace the function and versatility they provide. Right now the Purple Rain Adventure Skirt is one those cool niche items thru hiker’s love, but they are growing in popularity, and I am excited see where they go from here.

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Comments 17

  • Katina Daanen : Mar 8th

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE this skirt.

    Reply
    • Caet Cash : Mar 22nd

      pockets = addictive!

      Reply
  • Kait2333 : Mar 14th

    I love my skirt, but one thing your review left out is it’s potential fit on curvy gals. While you can custom order length, you can’t alter waist/hip ratios. My butt (hips) needs a medium and my waist needs a small. I originally got the medium, but the waistband was so loose that I had to exchange for the small. It definitely shows puff my booty now, but I love the
    skirt too much to it give it up.

    Reply
    • Caet Cash : Mar 22nd

      This is a great addendum to my review thank you Kaitlin! It’s always tough to try to gauge how a garment is going to fit different body types. Sounds like you love your skirt just as much as I do!

      Reply
  • Laura : Mar 14th

    When hiking do your thighs rub? That is my biggest pet peeve when wearing skirts and I usually solve this problem by pairing with spandex biker type shorts. That would defeat the purpose on trail though.

    Reply
    • Caet Cash : Mar 22nd

      For sure this is a big problem for many skirt wearers! I formerly hiked in spandex bike shorts and loved them but the lack of pockets made them impractical for longer hikes. You could definitely layer this way if it works best for you.
      If not, it sounds crazy, but I’ve heard of folks who use thigh high compression stockings under a skirt to prevent chafing. I can’t say I’ve done it, but I do know that it has been done. I hope you find a system that works for you! Good luck!

      Reply
  • Pong : Mar 15th

    Thank you for your review, Caet. I’m a real fan of hiking skirts.
    I just designed a very easy-to-sew pattern for a warm winter hiking skirt. It’s so cosy that I wear it at the office all the time :-). I think the best features are that my but stays warm when it’s cold and that I can wrap it around my hips without touching my hiking shoes.

    https://hikeminded.wordpress.com/2016/02/24/myog-warm-butt-hiking-skirt/

    Reply
  • Pong : Mar 16th

    I just designed a very easy-to-sew pattern for a cosy and warm winter hiking skirt. Since I have it, I wear it everywhere. As it is wrapped like a kilt, you don’t need to pull it over your shoes :-).

    hikeminded.wordpress.com/2016/02/24/myog-warm-butt-hiking-skirt/

    Reply
    • Caet Cash : Mar 22nd

      What an awesome design! Your sewing and design skills are on point – I’m still struggling with my Singer!

      Reply
      • Pong : Apr 5th

        Oh thank you Caet! It is really not difficult at all. The only “critical” spot is the press button which needs strengthening. If not it will be ripped off very quickly.

        Reply
  • Lee : Mar 25th

    Do you make a “kilt” for men?

    Reply
  • Mark : Apr 18th

    I think this is a great idea. There are so many women who, like you, love hiking but are so beautiful and so feminine that it would be a travesty for them to wear pants. Hence, skirts designed for trail walking are just perfect.

    Regarding the sizing, perhaps the maker could consider an above-the-knee version for enhanced mobility.

    Reply
    • Caet Cash : Apr 18th

      Interesting perspective regarding femininity!
      You’ll notice that nowhere in the article do I specify these skirts are for women. I purposely used gender neutral language to include additional genders that hike in skirts or kilts.
      Although I am sure that some people hike in skirts as a reflection of their gender expression, I like my Purple Rain skirt because it is a high performance softshell bottom – not because I hold myself to any archaic standard of beauty or femininity.

      Reply
  • Irene : Jan 13th

    What are those knee high socks that you are wearing? I was thinking about changing socks if I wear this skirt to protect against ticks but I can’t find anything lightweight for a Spring/Summer thru hike in temps around 60 degrees (warm!). Are those socks or calf sleeves that you have on in the pictures? I need a referral! Thanks

    Reply
    • Caet Cash : Jan 14th

      This is a fun one! The knee length socks I am wearing are actually Trouser Socks. I use these nylon spandex blend beauties as sock liners underneath my DarnTough wool socks. They are lightweight, breathable, easy to replace, and my favorite way to prevent blisters! Not sure about tick prevention, but for $7.00 for a pack of three they’re worth a shot!

      Reply
      • Irene : Jan 16th

        OMG! I see that now that you point it out. HA! Thanks.

        Reply

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