Aug 20, 2013 at 5:27 pm #1306760
@maiaLocale: Rocky Mountains
Companion forum thread to:Aug 20, 2013 at 6:27 pm #2017043
why doesnt one go to a discount store and buy some of those cheap synthetic long johns/sport tights ???
MEC sells the T-series long johns starting from 32$ … i use the old T2/T3 myself and they are as durable as the cap4/R1 tops
you can probably find even cheaper stuff at yr outlet discounts or targets champion brand …
;)Aug 20, 2013 at 11:36 pm #2017192
Lars Laird IversenParticipant
My local running store has a thing for Sporthills material SP3 and claim its the best thing since toast. I'm an impressionable guy, so I'm considering buying a pair of tights from there. But since this article came up, and lots of people here know just about all there is to know, I thought I'd learn some more first. Any takers?
EDIT: to add link.Aug 21, 2013 at 11:52 am #2017337
Real men wear tights without shorts!
That being said, I'll give it a try. I'm a trail runner so I'm not a stranger to wearing tights. I haven't wore them backpacking. The only downside I see is mosquitoes and biting flies. I think that most tights won't deflect them.Aug 21, 2013 at 3:07 pm #2017380
@gklottLocale: Texas Hill Country
Hind invented the unisex lyrca/nylon sport tight in the 1980's. The Hind product has been gradually improved, and it is available at multiple retailers in a variety of colors – not just the drab gray or black. It is considered a team sport item. There are various lengths and fabric weights. Have used them for years hiking, biking, speed walking, etc. Can recommend for anyone considering tights. Hind also has a unique tight called the Dry-lete that is also available, but not in the color variety.
Excellent article. I commend you for bring up tights as backcountry clothing.Aug 21, 2013 at 6:44 pm #2017443
thanks for the article, wasn't familiar w/ any of the tights you've highlighted
for winter (some shoulder season) conditions I've found the OR Radiant Hybrid tights to work very well- they are a tighter, thicker fleece front w/ a very good DWR, the rear is a much more breathable fleece, they fit a looser than most tights, but enough spandex they definitely are tights- they have zipped pockets and zipped ankles as well
my other "tights" that see a lot of action are my R1 "pants", again a little looser than most tights, but still enough spandex that they fit like tightsAug 21, 2013 at 6:56 pm #2017447
Mike, those OR tights you describe sound similar in design to the Craft PXC Storm Tight, although the Storm Tight is really warm, I would never consider wearing them in anything but winter. For really cold conditions though, the design of a windproof front with a breathable back is really nice.Aug 21, 2013 at 7:19 pm #2017450
@justin_bakerLocale: Santa Rosa, CA
I posted this in the other thread, but to anyone looking for tights with abrasion resistance, try some baseball pants.Aug 21, 2013 at 7:40 pm #2017456
Although I have never tried them, I wonder if equestrian tights would also be more abrasion resistant as well?Aug 21, 2013 at 7:44 pm #2017459
"I posted this in the other thread, but to anyone looking for tights with abrasion resistance, try some baseball pants."
Oh, the fashion potential for this one…Aug 22, 2013 at 3:09 pm #2017716
I find most of the tights especially the Golite to have a very short inseam to waist length. they don't feel like they naturally sit on your waist but instead ride on your hips or just above, giving the feeling they are always falling down or worse putting too much pressure where it shouldn't be lower down! I found that the standard REI version of their fleece tights are the best fit and come in different fabric weights, I would like to try more RAB and Montane products as they seem to have the features down for backpackers/hikers, but access to those products is limited in the US, at least in my area of the country.Aug 23, 2013 at 10:10 am #2017938
I have a short inseam and long torso and have found that there are very few tights that fit me.
The one I end up wearing most often is this http://www.backcountry.com/icebreaker-skin200-legless-pant-mens (no longer on the icebreaker site. Probably because it's winter gear.)
Technically these are thermals for skiing and are designed to end at the shin – the ski sock taking up the insulation slack. They work really well under shorts in the backcountry. There is a heavier version too that is more suited for colder weather.Aug 24, 2013 at 10:53 am #2018215
Damien – Where in your spectrum would a pair of Polarstretch tights fit?Aug 24, 2013 at 2:58 pm #2018251
Thats's a tough question, I don't know that all Power Stretch fabrics are the same. Probably somewhere between mid to heavy depending on how thick the pile is. Some of the Power Stretch fabrics I have seen don't seem particularly abrasion resistant though, which also means they won't resist much wind either – but again there may be versions with more tightly woven face fabrics.Aug 24, 2013 at 3:14 pm #2018252
What I have – and all the powerstretch I am familar with – is around the weight of 100 weight fleece or of expedition weight long johns. Smooth nylon knit face, and as you say not likely to be very abrasion resistant – it pills fairly easily. Not very wind resistant, but will shed some wind.
I'm just curious as a point of reference since this is what I have. I use them as long johns for downhill skiing, and as sleepwear or campwear. I find them too warm to wear on the move except in cold/wet situations.
I do use long underwear as tights for backcountry ski trips. Shorts, long johns, windpants for most days; when it warms up just the longs with the shorts over, and if really warm just the longs. I get them in white so that I don't fry in the high altitude sun and reflection off the snow. This combo is good for me down into the 20's on the move.Aug 25, 2013 at 7:10 pm #2018588
The heavier weight tights were probably close to the equivalent of 100 weight fleece, but with a tighter knit on the face. The mid-weight tights in this test were basically a lycra (like a cylcing short), but with a brushed back, so not realy fleece but insulated lycra.Aug 26, 2013 at 4:02 pm #2018797
Thanks, Damien. Definitely clarifies things for me.Aug 28, 2013 at 9:46 am #2019455
just Justin WhitsonMember
I'm surprised that no one has mentioned polypropylene baselayer pants/tights yet. Except for the real crappy abrasion resistance (lack thereof), it would be great material for this purpose. Super hydrophobic, high thermal resistance, and relatively low cost.
Another downside is stink buildup, but if one wears some merino or linen underwear beneath, should be much less of an issue.
I haven't tried them yet myself, but i theoretically like the idea of leg warmers more than full on tights. I once had a chronic jock itch infection that was very hard to get rid of and am a bit paranoid about ever having that develop again, so i like to keep that area as cool and dry as possible. Leg warmers would be much better in that regard.
Anyways, i've done the tights thing and most often with my tyvek rain kilt. Looks probably pretty funny and "un-masculine" but found it works good. It has to be fairly cold and/or cold wet for me to go that route though. Tried silk weight powerdry and RAB Meco stuff. Have yet to try the polypro pants i picked up in AK.Sep 23, 2013 at 2:46 am #2027220
@rlmckayLocale: Auckland NZ
Damien – A great article – In NZ we always wear tights with shorts over the top.
We use these in wet and cold conditions – beats the hell out of long waterproof(?) pants.
I note you tested Icebreaker. Most of use would use these in 150gram weight (hey they are NZ made from our own merino sheep!) but you have opened up my eyes to other options.
One important thing I didn't capture was the "no-stink" option. This is the big reason I stick to merino. OK it may not dry as fast but at least I can live with myself:-)Sep 23, 2013 at 8:30 am #2027277
just Justin WhitsonMember
There is always Rab MeCo material. I think it almost offers the best of both worlds for natural and synthetic. Well, at least it dries faster than pure Merino stuff but still great at odor reduction.
I have some baselayer pants made of it, the 165 stuff. For cold wet conditions, i'm going to try the polypro leg warmers i bought recently, to go over the Rab stuff and then a rain kilt (tyvek homewrap or sil-nylon). Allows me to mix and max according to need and still keeps the stink low, as the Rab MeCo baselayer will act as bit of a filter for the oils, dead skin, etc that would normally smell up the polypro fast.Sep 23, 2013 at 10:35 am #2027312
@mountainwalkerLocale: SF Bay Area & New England
Thanks Damien for the excellent overview. Do you find you need to size up the Craft PR Thermal Tight one size to leave room for your light merino base layer?
Also which online retailers tend to carry them aside from Craft?Sep 23, 2013 at 10:43 am #2027318
@mountainwalkerLocale: SF Bay Area & New England
The Craft PXC Storm Tight looks like a slightly more stylized (just a bit more reflective piping) version of Craft’s Storm tight, a very warm tight that has a windproof front which my wife and I have been using for years. Got introduced to Craft through Cross Country Skiing. Have you tried the Storm Tight? Is the PXC any warmer? I find ours to be very well made and have a fit that isn’t tight, leaving room for a light or medium weight pair of merino long johns.
I like the windproof front/breathable back combo for very active pursuits like cross country skiing, snowshoeing and trail running in cold weather, but for very cold and windy conditions I prefer pants that are highly wind resistant front and back, and use a merino base layer with Gamma MX Pants which are very lightly insulated, highly wind resistant, stretch in all directions and weigh about 18-19 oz a pair. Pants with breathable back material just let in too much wind in very cold windy conditions (though I guess you could throw wind pants over them).Sep 23, 2013 at 7:27 pm #2027526
– When I wear the Craft PR Thermal tight, I don't usually have a base layer under it. They are pretty stretchy though, so I don't think you would have much problem fitting a light base layer underneath.
– You can get them in a few places, it looks like Backcountry, and Amazon carry them in addition to the Craft site. They are probably also available at some online bike retailers as well, as Craft is a more known brand in cycling circles.
– I have never tried the Storm tight vs the PXC Storm tight, so I can't really say if they are any different from each other.
I find windproofness to be a tricky thing, it is a tight line to walk between being too hot when you are moving to too cold when you are stopped. I will often bring a pair of windproof puffy pants for extended rest stops in really cold weather though.Sep 23, 2013 at 8:36 pm #2027550
@butukiLocale: Kanto Plain, Japan
I'm curious why all the tights are the skin-tight versions. Why none of the tights that are looser, with air space between the skin and the legs, like those worn by runners or that were popular during the 70's and 80's? I find that when wearing skin-tight tights they are much more prone to temperature changes and can feel too hot or cold, or vary quickly with winds. When tights are slightly loose the trapped air tends to keep the temperature more even inside and I feel less hot on hot days and less cold on cold days.
The best tights I ever wore were cheap Field-Sensor (polyester fabric) training tights made for high school students here in Japan. The fabric was a tight, mesh-like, 3-D structure polyester (like a thin version of the 3-D mesh used on backpack straps and back panels) that breathed exceptionally well, dried immediately, but also kept my legs warm no matter how cold or wet they tights were. I can still find similar tights around, but for some reason the Field-Sensor fabric seems to have disappeared. The looseness of the cut and the 3-D nature or the fabric are part of what helped the tights keep me warm. Every time I've tried some of the newer, skin-tight tights these days, I always felt the cold or heat much more easily.Sep 23, 2013 at 9:30 pm #2027567
@justin_bakerLocale: Santa Rosa, CA
I mainly use tights for wet weather stuff (really nice for walking through cold rivers). I can tell you that tights are very warm while wet, but only when absolutely skin tight. This is because your skin is in direct contact with the fabric and warming it up. I have some tights that are loose around the cuffs and there are always extra cold around the ankles when wet. If you've ever worn wet baggy nylon pants and had freezing cold fabric touch your skin when you changed positions, then you know what I mean.
I don't disagree about looser tights being a little warmer.
This is me wading through the Little Sur River in winter wearing the golite fleece lined tights. They seemed to really keep the chill down temporarily (I wasn't anxious to get out the water like I would have been in shorts) while crossing and they instantly warmed up when I exited the water. The best thing short of neoprene.
The air temperature was somewhere around 40 degrees when this was taken.
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