Mar 15, 2012 at 10:33 pm #1287210
So I've seen my fair share of gear lists and a wind shirt is almost always a staple items to have. But what about wind pants? They generally weigh very little as well and pack down very small. So why don't I see many of them on lists?
I ask because I love my wind shirt and I thought that I may love the pants too. Generally I only wear shorts but I'm wondering if I'm missing something by not having the pants too to wear at night or in the evening.
Thoughts?Mar 15, 2012 at 10:48 pm #1854563
a light softshell tends to be more durable and possibly breathes better …
but dont let a name fool you … something like my dead bird ramparts/pallisades are basically wind pants even though they dont call em such … as well as a lot of other nylon pants …. including running ones like nike/adidas/target/etc which many people use outdoors but is too lowly for some BPLers ;)
the reality is that wind pants are very widely used, but since some arent made specifically for backpacking or by certain "recognized" manufacturers, we dont call em suchMar 15, 2012 at 11:19 pm #1854573
John Abela wore Montbel Dynamo wind pants on two trips that I was along for and they proved to be incredibly durable considering their weight. I am uncertain how the fabric is treated but we were amazed to see John stand within inches of a camp fire and have multiple embers fly onto and then roll off the pants without leaving a mark. Really crazy to see that with synthetic fabric. They also resisted trail walking, etc. extremely well and were quite reasonably priced for the low weight and wind resistance.Mar 16, 2012 at 12:01 am #1854578
I don't need a wind layer's "insulation" for my legs.Mar 16, 2012 at 3:51 am #1854590
Inaki Diaz de EturaParticipant
@inaki-1Locale: Iberia highlands
The legs are far more forgiving than the torso in all aspects: they don't need a wind barrier as badly when the conditions might demand one but also they tolerate well a wind barrier when it's not strictly needed. Many hiking pants are inherently quite windproof so a wind pant would be redundant.
The soft-shell concept (the real one) works very well for the legs. Unlike the torso, it's actually possible to find a do-it-all item and spare the layering.Mar 16, 2012 at 6:32 am #1854626
^ agreed, I can be comfortable in shorts above freezing (as long as my upper torso is sufficiently insulated)
I have some nice, light windpants (Montbell), but find I seldom pack themMar 16, 2012 at 9:50 am #1854714
In normal three-season hiking, your legs are the hardest working part of your body. All that effort is generating heat – lots of heat! It's not often you really need to trap that heat to keep your legs warm, unless conditions are bad.Mar 16, 2012 at 10:09 am #1854726
Even riding my bike in below-zero temps I often don't wear more than tights. Sometimes leg warmers. The hard part is keeping your feet warm.Mar 16, 2012 at 10:19 am #1854731
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
Almost any pants form a shell of some sort, varying in breathability and water resistance. I see several classes of pants used for hiking:
Ultralight wind pants: 3-4 ounces
Unlined track and running pants: 6 ounces
Rain pants: 7-12 ounces
Light nylon hiking pants with or without zip-off legs: 10-12 ounces
Light soft shell pants: 10-2 ounces
Mid-weight shot shell pants: 14-16 ounces
Winter weight soft-shell pants: 16+ ounces
Of course there are many variations and much overlap in these categories.
When I think of wind pants, I am looking at ultralight pants to be worn with something like running shorts, just as I would add a windshirt to a light base layer top. I'm sure some are more durable than others, but I doubt that any would survive rough conditions in the way that slightly heavier pants would. My experiments with wind pants found me paying a lot of attention to brush and stickers and sharp limbs, and great care in sliding over boulders or straddling blow-downs. Windshirts need a lot of caution too, but I'm not sitting or sliding on them and the trail is more open at shoulder level than at calf level.
By the time you add the weight of wind pants to light running shorts, you are within a couple ounces of a pair of typical zip-off pants. The only times I would find the shorts/wind pants combo to be effective is in hot summer weather or more desert-like conditions: great for the Grand Canyon, but not as versatile in the Pacific Northwest.
Also, if I were hiking in light shorts, I would be looking to my rain pants for more protection. In my local climate, if it is cold during summer hiking, it is probably raining anyway. The next step would be to add light base-layer long johns under my rain pants. Soft shell pants work better in the shoulder seasons.
As with windshirts, I would go for lighter colors so you can take maximum advantage of bug and sun protection as well as wind and cold.Mar 16, 2012 at 10:21 am #1854733
Cold feet is practically the only reason to cover the legs.
+1 on legs don't need anything like as much coverage as the rest of the body, often happy just letting legs getting wet too, I have to be quite cold for the legs to not become sodden from sweat even in windproofs. Also the sweat output from legs is very high and the skin temperature still can be low so waterproof pants, I own some OMM Kamleika, can be easily "leaking".
I do carry a pair of Montane Featherlite pants to blunt the chill of summer rain for example. Often is all you need for light rain over some polycotton pants.
If its summer but a longer walking trip and walking potentially for many hours in rain I'll use more substantial, less likely to tear windproofs, very comfy to wear all day, but heavy for packing.
For biking in warm rain I use Rainlegs
does all I need, which is primarily to keep damp off the upper-leg area which where chafing could otherwise be a problem, til its so cold I need more than bare legs. One does look like a total dork though, if that is a concern.Mar 16, 2012 at 10:53 am #1854751
@ewolinLocale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
I always pack wind pants unless I know it will be real warm. Unless it's cold enough that I need to hike in long pants, I don't bring long pants, just the wind pants. And if I bring long pants I bring the wind pants anyway in case it gets cold and windy.
It's true I don't wear them as often as the wind shirt, but I use them a lot.Mar 16, 2012 at 10:58 am #1854753
I think its a bit of a myth that the legs dont require insulation, in incremental weather anyways
There are major arteries running along th inside of yr thighs … In wet, cold weather i find that those get chilled quickly when the rain hits the thin nylon fabric and cools that area , this is less an issue with long boxers underneath or softshells
I can definately say that when climbing technical ground (more slowly) or on belays, long johns make a large difference around 30-40f … And if you hit 0f, belay puffy pants are da bomb ;)
If yr moving fast or hard enough, you dont need much insulation anywhere regardless
The problem with layering on the legs is that its messy to adjust … Which is why many compromise with softshell pants which provide a bit of insulationMar 16, 2012 at 1:28 pm #1854820
@dipinkLocale: Western Washington
I do pack mine, and where I have used them most is in the shoulder seasons, or muddy conditions. For example, hiking in to Enchanted Valley last summer–misty rain, some outright showers, muddy trail conditions. My wind pants are lighter than gaiters. I didn't need rain pants under the trees, but my hiking pants were really muddy from the trail. In camp, I was able to unzip my hiking pants legs and throw on the wind pants while I made camp, and wear them to bed so my hiking pants were not in my down bag. They aren't waterproof, just water resistant, so I can't sit down on wet surfaces like I can in my rain pants, but they are much more breathable and comfortable if I need just a little extra while I hike. I've gotten hypothermia on that trail before, so I'm a little cautious about keeping warmer, and I don't sweat out much in the wind pants. I used a wind shirt too, as if I got deluged on it dried off pretty quickly once the shower passed, but was more breathable than a rain jacket. If it was steady rain, I'd wear the rain jacket.Mar 16, 2012 at 2:22 pm #1854836
@justin_bakerLocale: Santa Rosa, CA
I could see them useful for chilly and windy conditions where the wind is ripping the heat out of your pants. However, your legs don't need nearly as much insulation as your chest, so I wouldn't see myself throwing them on that often for most 3 seasons conditions.Mar 16, 2012 at 3:07 pm #1854858
I'm thinking about getting this kit. The finished pants seem sound light that it can't really hurt to bring them along…. I'd like an extra layer to help protect my down puffy pants in colder weather.Mar 16, 2012 at 3:10 pm #1854861
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
I used that kit. It's good.
Think carefully about size if you intend to use them over down.
–B.G.–Mar 16, 2012 at 3:15 pm #1854866
I read hip as waist. What a waste. I used one legs as an umbrella cover.Mar 16, 2012 at 3:22 pm #1854872
winter (some shoulder season) was one of the times that I did actually use the wind pants a fair bit- they have good DWR on them and shed snow pretty well, slipped them over tights when needed snowshoeing or x-country skiing
but now I'm using a lightweight softshell pant for the majority of my winter/shoulder dutiesMar 16, 2012 at 3:51 pm #1854886
For warm weather use I sometimes take windpants instead of rainpants(if not wearing convertables) or as camp/sleep wear instead of baselayer bottoms. They are not quite as warm as most baselayers but as pointed out I don't need much insulation on my legs, they are more versatile IMO, and in many cases lighter.Mar 16, 2012 at 7:31 pm #1854996
@ken_bennettLocale: southeastern usa
+1 on Elliot, I always take my wind pants, often as my only long pants, since I wear shorts on the trail year-round. My wife made them for me from the thru-hiker kit, using a standard DWR ripstop. I might have her make another pair using Momentum.Mar 16, 2012 at 7:45 pm #1855005
I take a pair on every trip to serve as
1. pull over hiking pants to keep sleeping bag clean
2. warmth in camp
3. backup dry clothingMar 17, 2012 at 12:09 am #1855088
Interesting about the need for insulation on legs. The lower the temperature the more evenly spread over the whole body the need for insulation I find. At the coldest conditions the insulation is fairly constant over the whole body, vs warmer temps you'd more usually tune whole-body via just the torso.
Being active in cold is an interesting experience, the legs themselves do not feel cold but it can be impossible to get warm in your core, so actual uncontrollable shivering, as if the blood pumping through the legs comes back chilled and the core can't generate the heat to compensate. Interesting for active use, the typical protective body response of pulling blood to the core can't happen as the blood is needed to fuel the legs. Is that a typical experience?
However, at the sort of temperatures you're talking considering windpants, then yes, they are last to be added, more for just getting rid of a bit of smarting chill usually from rain, perhaps to help with rain keeping out of boots from run-off from the shins.
Lohnjohns – yes the closer the insulation to the skin the more the gain, but obviously if you overheat its a bit of an open striptease to de-layer. You can do quite a lot with cycling leg warmers, easier to add/remove, and indeed you can make a type of insulated trousers from shorts via cycling leg warmers and windpants over, this is more flexible and packs small. Challenging to get a decent fit so leg warmers don't fall down often.Mar 17, 2012 at 7:20 am #1855127
nigel …. i pesonally consider the groin and thigh area to be "core" … there a lot of heat loss through there … im surprised on one has come upon the idea of a pair of insulated long shorts … something synthetic with velcro/zips at the sides and a velcro/zip slit in the middle for a belay loop. should be fairly cheap … that way you can just put it on at belays or stops/camp in winter as youll often have gaiters and boots anyways …
basically a vest for the legs which is easy to get on/off …. maybe those down skirts sold at REI aint so yuppy after all, maybe ill wear one ;)
one of these days ill learn how to sew… oh wellMar 17, 2012 at 7:42 am #1855134
Eric, totally agree the groin area is core but I say the whole area above the leg all-round including the rear is core. When cold wind from rear the shape of a healthy outdoors person sticks out there compressing any layer.
So I own some insulated primaloft full-length over-trousers, Paramo Torres trousers which cover inactive 40F down to active 0F.
The issue with baselayer longjohns is when the body becomes too hot, mine at least, is wanting to dump heat in the legs and the arms. Self-experimentation, I've tried under-insulating the core and leaving the legs over-insulated and its just a sweating nightmare, damp below cold above, so the body wants to have the legs underinsulated when it wants to lose heat. I suspect this is common for our species and why at the higher temps we all tend to overlayer the core first. For that reason wearing baselayer on legs when its warm enough to become a possiblity is not a good layering technique. That situation is when a windproof trousers comes in, add/remove as the last layer to handle the variability. So say a 10F situation I'd have regular polycotton trousers and add/remove windproof layer for wind and overlayer for stationary. Around 0F I'd have longjohns as no matter how active, that insulation is always required.
For "proper cold" ™ absolutely, own longjohns and some 100wt synthetic trousers. Also my most recent most expensive purchase, happens to be a long 133wt synthetic jacket which the most difficult issue was getting one long enough to cover the core, as you say below groin and lower all away around, most synthetic jackets are too short and it is biologically impossible to get trousers warm enough to protect the rear due to the compression produced by the human shape when walking. I got a PHD Kappa.
This thread is about windproof trousers, yes I use them but its more a layering system either over trousers or bare legs in the 30F-60F situation, the higher temps if its raining to take the chill off bare legs.Mar 17, 2012 at 7:55 am #1855136
nigel … at that point i just use the rainpants i may be carrying if the conditions are bad enough to require overtrousers, but not enough for belay puffy pants …
i believe that rain pants are superior as they are often full zip and fully seperating …. which means you can put it on/off at stops without taking off yr boots/crampons/snowshoes, etc … and while not as breathable, they are fully ventilating with the full zip … and who knows it may rain wet slush in those conditions … that said i dont use em that often, i usually wear a heavier softshell pants or something like cap1 under my light softshells at that temp (0F-30F)
one thing i will generally do around 20-40F is wear thigh length underwear (if not wearing long johns) to prevent that area from getting too chillled, especially when raining … i also often wear soft knee brace when climbing so that adds some warmth as well
all softshell pants and many hiking pants are windproof anyways these days ….
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