Purple Rain Adventure Skirt Review
Several years ago, I read an article in Backpacker Magazine about Anish setting her first speed record on the PCT. It was an incredible feat but what stuck with me the most was that she wore a dress for her thru-hike. By this point, I was already tired of poorly fitted hiking pants and shorts created by designers who seemed to care more about how sexy I looked in them than how functional they were. I wanted the coverage and freedom of movement provided by a hiking skirt.
Unfortunately, the skirts and dresses I wore weren’t exactly designed for hiking. Waistbands bunched up beneath my hipbelt, pockets were inaccessible, too small or non-existent, and fabrics were too thin or not stretchy enough. I also wasn’t a fan of skorts — having built-in shorts defeated the purpose. Thankfully someone with better resources was on the case — Mandy Bland of Purple Rain Adventure Skirts.
Purple Rain Adventure Skirt At-a-Glance
Size Range: XS-XXL
Material: Recycled Polyester/Spandex blend with a DWR finish
Weight: approx. 6 ounces
Circumstances of Review
I bought my first Purple Rain Adventure Skirt in 2021. I wore it around town and for day hikes. Then, in the winter of 2023, I wore my Purple Rain skirt every day for over two months while traveling in New Zealand and thru-hiking part of Te Araroa. I continue to wear it for backpacking trips and day hikes throughout the year. I weigh about 130 lbs, am 5’5”, and wear a size XS.
The Adventure Skirt is designed for daily use on a long-distance hike and is stylish enough to wear in the city or even to work. Sizing for the skirt is based on women’s dimensions but it can be worn by all genders.
Purple Rain Adventure Skirt Features
Pockets: There are a total of 4 pockets — one large pocket on each side of the skirt with a hidden inner pocket built-in. The pockets are streamlined and can be easily accessed while wearing a hipbelt.
Lightweight and stretchy fabric: Purple Rain skirts are made of polyester fabric blended with about 10% spandex for strength and stretchiness. The fabric is also treated with a DWR finish, so it takes a long time to wet through and dries quickly when wet.
Wide elastic waistband: The waistband of the skirt has a comfortable amount of stretch while never feeling constraining. It has no additional closures on it and is wide enough to sit comfortably beneath the hipbelt of a backpack.
Purple Rain Adventure Skirt Pros
The Adventure Skirt is really comfortable. The A-line structure combined with a slightly stretchy material allows for long strides and wide stances. Furthermore, my skirt will stay in place when I twist, bend, and squat. The hem falls just above knee height providing a good amount of coverage, and the fabric is the perfect thickness to give structure to the skirt without feeling heavy.
Regarding the ever-important waistband, it’s soft and smooth while laying perfectly flat under my hipbelt. This stretchy material is also moisture-wicking, which helps reduce the amount of sweat hanging around my lower back. Finally, the elasticity is just enough to keep the skirt in place while never feeling too tight during even a full day of wear.
Makes life easier
Wearing a skirt makes it really easy to layer. I often leave my leggings on in the morning and then can easily strip them off once warmed up. I’ve also recently added a rain skirt to my kit to replace my rain pants so I can keep my skirt on no matter the weather.
It’s also worth noting that the Adventure Skirt makes backcountry bathroom breaks a breeze. No buttons or zips to worry about, and no hobbled ankles when squatting.
The pockets on the Purple Rain Adventure Skirt are both a smart design feature and high up on my list of positives for this product. They are perfectly placed a few inches below the waistband of the skirt — a comfortable height for slipping my hand in and out. Even better, I can easily access the pockets even when wearing a wide hipbelt.
Thanks to the amazing pockets I rarely wear a fanny pack. My phone easily fits inside the main pocket, with room to spare, and has never fallen out. The main pockets are also great for carrying bars and snacks. The hidden pockets are on the outside of the main pocket and are covered by a flap of fabric. Almost as large as the main pockets, they’re great for carrying keys, ID, bank cards, lip balm, and any other small items that I don’t want to risk losing.
I wore my first Purple Rain Adventure Skirt for over 60 days in a row, washing it only once every week or two. While hiking through thick brush, rushing rivers, and over downed logs and sharp rocks, I was surprised at how well the skirt protected me from the branches, brambles, and jags. Compared with wearing shorts, I endured far fewer scrapes.
After all of that, my skirt only had one small pull in the fabric. There weren’t any tears, thin spots on the fabric, or significant stains. The only notable change was some sun-fading, but that’s really common in New Zealand due to the intense sunlight.
Purple Rain Adventure Skirt Cons
Purple Rain Adventure Skirts is a small company, and all their products are handmade in Oregon. As such there is a more limited selection of colors and sometimes not all sizes are available. Mandy’s trying to source more sustainable fabrics and some stock is low while the company transitions to 100% recycled materials.
Thigh chafe is perhaps the biggest concern for folks new to hiking in a skirt, and it is more likely to occur on hot days with high humidity. Some wearers use an anti-chafe stick like BodyGlide or thigh bands. I wear a pair of women’s boxers under my skirt which helps prevent chaffing and also provides a touch more modesty.
Purple Rain Adventure Skirts also sells a unisex hiking kilt, which is a bit longer than the skirt and has extra fabric wrapping around the front. The elastic waistband also has a drawstring to help keep the kilt in place, and the kilt features snaps on the flaps to convert them to shorts for more modesty.
Wearing a skirt while thru-hiking feels like the ultimate freedom, and the Purple Rain Adventure Skirt gives me all the features I need to be comfortable while putting in long days on the trail. With the excellent construction and a purpose-built design, it’s no surprise to see other long-distance hikers wearing the Purple Rain Adventure Skirts during long adventures of their own.
Comparable Hiking Skirts
Royal Robbins Bergen Skirt
Smartwool Active Lined Skirt
Disclaimer: This product was donated for the purpose of review.
This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!
To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.