Apr 30, 2010 at 9:16 am #1258377
Need some opinions as I have never had wind or rain pants.
I am an AT section hiker that goes out from 3 to 6 days in late fall and early spring. My latest spring hike had me wishing I had some more protection then just breathable trekking pants (all day hike in wind and rain with temp in the 30's).
I think besides wearing these on cold rainy days I would also wear them in camp to keep my lower half warmer. Durability might be an issue if I wear these everyday in camp too. Seems like the standard used to be GoLite Reed pants but they are no longer available.
For wind pants I am looking at: Montane Featherlite (4.0 oz)
For rain pants I am looking at: Montane Atomic DT pants (6.8 oz)
So I am looking for your thoughts on wind vs full blown rain pants and durability for either option.
ThanksMay 1, 2010 at 2:41 pm #1604686
@ken_bennettLocale: southeastern usa
I definitely bring and wear rain pants for windy rain and temps in the 30s. I have the Golite Reed pants, but I don't think they are made any more.
The rain pants are often the only long pants I bring, and work well in camp over light long john bottoms, or powerstretch tights.
For wind pants, my lovely wife made me a pair from ripstop nylon, and they weigh in at 2.9 ounces. I take them in warmer weather, again as the only pants in my pack.May 1, 2010 at 5:02 pm #1604723
Some have made the decision to try Tyvek pant this summer. At 2.5oz, they are an* SUL option.
*Edit:right?May 1, 2010 at 5:33 pm #1604735
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
I prefer water-shedding (but not waterproof) overtrousers. Staying dry is a futile exercise, but shedding the wind and *most* of the water, while allowing fast evaporation as soon as the rain stops, works for us.
GoLite Whims are what we carry, but they may not be available any more.May 1, 2010 at 5:45 pm #1604737
I prefer rain pants. Obviously they'll keep you drier than just wind pants, and I find the lower breathability to be a non-issue since my legs don't perspire much in the temps I normally hike in. When the rain is done you can just take them off so you dry out.
Eventually I think I'm going to bond myself a pair of non-breathable cuben rain pants which should weigh 1-2oz and be 100% waterproof. These should work great up to about 60F and if it's warmer that I'll be happy just wearing quick drying hiking shorts.May 1, 2010 at 6:23 pm #1604750
@jephotoLocale: New Zealand
In cold, continuous rain a combo of a soft shell pant and wind proof over trousers is worth considering.May 1, 2010 at 6:31 pm #1604752
@rob-kLocale: SF Bay Area
Water resistant "rain pants" work for me like Roger says. I typically hike with very thin brushed nylon pants, then when it starts to rain I pull on the wind/rain pants (Montane Featherlight ). Usually my hiking pants are slightly damp by the time I get my shell pants on but dry within 10-15 minutes from body heat,even while it continues to rain. I also have non-breathable rain pants but they end up feeling clammy from condensation and are wet on the inside when I take them off. The key is to get wind pants that are breathable and have a water resistant coating such as the Montane pants, but there are many others.
Unlike the shoulder or hood area of upper body shells, it seems like shell pants don't need to be waterPROOF since the rain hits them on a vertical surface and thus sheds much faster off. Really hard,prolonged wind-driven rain, however,will cause water resistant pants to wet-through. They ,and you, dry quickly after the rain stops.
If you get water resistant-pants be prepared to re-apply the DWR coating every couple of years.May 1, 2010 at 10:23 pm #1604822
@cooldripLocale: "Grand Canyon of the East"
If you can sew, or if someone can sew them for you, I would recomend Epic pants. It's a relatively easy job, and it's easy to find ready-made patterns. You can customize the size and features to precisely meet your needs. While I wouldn't recomend Epic for upper-body protection in storm conditions, it's fantastic for pants; pants don't encounter the high-pressure of falling rain like the hood, shoulders, and chest, and Epic is much more breathable than traditional WPB fabrics. Just don't sit down on something wet or it will leak through. You can buy Epic 'Malibu' at owfinc.com. 1.7 oz/yd2, other weights are available as well. You should be able to make a pair of shell pants for less than $40.May 2, 2010 at 12:07 pm #1604966
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
With my "5.11" brand nylon canvas pants I washed them using Nikwax watrproofing, dried them and then sprayed them with Revivex. The result was a VERY water resistant, non-absorbent pair of pants.
In northern Nevada in misting fog and drizzle ("frizzle") mixed with wind I was still dry. That's a pretty good testament to my "double proofing" method.
I do have GTX PacLite rain pants but didn't want the inevitable condensation inside while on a fast hike. I carried them in case of an absolute downpour.
BTW, I checked the prices of various EPIC fabrics. Ain't no cheap date!May 3, 2010 at 8:25 am #1605267
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
This is my take on wind pants and rain pants:
1. Wind pants aren't very durable. A wind shirt needs reasonable care for snagging on branches, but you sit on pants and there is abrasion from shoes, rocks, and climbing around sticks and logs on the trail. They are in the dirt and mud.
2. Wind pants coordinate well with light running shorts. I think this is the best case scenario for wind pants— a hot weather "height of summer" setup. I wear nylon zip-off hiking pants, which cut the wind in themselves, so wind pants would be redundant. The zip-offs are more durable and are part of my "items worn" list.
3. In my usual hiking climate, if it is windy or cold, it is wet too. Rain pants will cut the wind very well too.
4. As others have written, perspiration is less of an issue with pants. One trick is to get full zip rain pants which can be ventilated at will– with a weight penalty.
5. If you normally take tall gaiters and wear long inseam shorts, you don't have much exposed skin anyway. I've seen many hikers costumed with long johns, long inseam shorts and tall gaiters. Doesn't look good on an REI catalog page, but does the trick on the trail.
6. Rain chaps will work with ponchos or parka-length rain coats and will provide good wind protection— probably one of the lightest multi-purpose leg coverings available (until you sit on a wet log).
I use Golite Reed or Marmot Precip pants. Rain pants with silkweight polyester long johns make for a good cold and wet walking combo rather than trying to wear them over your hiking pants or shorts.
So, IMHO, if you are hiking in hot climates in running shorts and need some occasional protection for your legs, wind pants are worth considering. If you are hiking in wet climates and/or heavy timber, zip-offs and UL rain pants are a better choice.May 3, 2010 at 8:34 am #1605272
@jamespatsalides-comLocale: New England
So, I got a driducks suit (jacket & pants) from Sports Authority, and cut the pants down to just below knee length. No need to restitch, just use a sharp pair of scissors. Mine are XLs so I can just slip them over my hiking pants, and they shed most of the water when I am hiking. Not very elegant, but quite effective even in persistent rain. The shorter length should really help with durability of the driducks too… total weight of the cut down pants: 3.5oz.May 3, 2010 at 1:35 pm #1605404
@cooldripLocale: "Grand Canyon of the East"
Epic is available from Rockywoods in a 1.92 oz/yd2 weight for $8.99. Not a bad deal in my opinion; you could maybe make a pair of windpants from one bolt yd if you get really creative with the patterning, but two would be easier. With two yards at $8.99 plus notions, you're looking at less than $30 depending really on what you use for zippers and where. A simple drawtring waist and elastic cuffs will be around $20. That pair of pants will weigh around 4 oz and be more breathable than any off-the-shelf product on the market that I know of, at least in it's weight range.May 24, 2010 at 3:57 pm #1613297
I have a pair of montane wind pants (pertex). I don't wear long pants in normal life and use these any time I need another layer, so these get a lot of use. I've had them for something like 4 years, and they've done >2000 miles of backpacking, a few miles of X-country sking and snowshoeing, snowboarding, trail running in the snow to work for an entire winter, etc. largely on-trail, but also several days of 12-foot blackberry laden bushwhacking where they were my only protection (ouch, my poor legs). They weigh about 4 ounces. After that much mileage the only damage is a hole on the thigh where I knocked my alcohol stove over on myself while lit, and melted a bit of the pants. I can't believe they aren't shredded (I'm not easy on gear).
I sweat an insane amount, so a non-breathable rain pant simply doesn't work for me in most situations. I found I never wore them after carrying them far too many miles, that's why I switched.
Recently though I discovered why waterproof pants are useful. I went snowcaving up near Tahoe. My wind-pants were completely soaked through in 9F weather (frozen when outside the cave, wet when inside), leaving only my under-armor tights to keep my legs warm. Luckily I'm used to hiking in cold weather in shorts, and otherwise had sufficient gear, so I was okay, but I don't intend to repeat that mistake.
So, for your purpose I say you won't be sorry with a pertex wind pant. If you want to be prepared for anything though (not really needed on the AT), waterproof is a must-have.May 24, 2010 at 10:29 pm #1613454
@trailscum666Locale: pacific nw
Regular fit d ickies are kind of the best. They fit perfect, live thu anything. Fairly light, 12oz I think, but if you go any lighter you a noob.May 25, 2010 at 3:19 pm #1613736
Both have their uses. For most of the time when I don't expect alot of bad weather I carry wind pants (GoLite Whim pants at 3.7oz). I've found that they work fine for light rain and work with snow without issue. They are a great extra long pant layer when its cold in the morning or in camp at night. When they get wet, they do dry out quickly as you hike.
However, if you encounter a cold long drenching rain, they quickly saturate and the water soaks through and then they are just a cold wet thing against your leg that seem of questionable benefit. And just as you think they are starting to dry out, you go through some wet brush overgrowing the trail, and that brief contact with a wet leaf immediately saturates the fabric and your leg is cold and wet again. It's these times I really wish I had brought my slightly heavier rain pants. Afterall, whats another 3oz.May 25, 2010 at 3:24 pm #1613740
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
I agree W/ Ken Bennett when the temps dip into the 50s and below with rain. I like my Cabela's Rainy River PacLite GTX pants. And they are only $99. a pair, same as the parka.
BTW, If you go with wind pants wash them in Nikwax DWR stuff and THEN spray them with REVIVEX DWR. The combo is amazing.
When washing the pants don't use any detergent or soap. Just run them through the wash/rinse cycle on "warm" and they'll be clean enough.May 25, 2010 at 4:42 pm #1613776
I really am partial to my wind pants over any kind of "water-proof" pants. Truthfully, as you will find out (on this site and in the real world), Rain/Water-proof pants are better for cold temps as opposed to keeping "dry".
DRY IS A MYTH…
As someone who runs hot and is stocky I dont find any pants particularly enjoyable. If hiking (in nice weather) I'd rather be in shorts. I run often in 10-20 degree weather in shorts over 3/4 tights.
With that said, I've got the Featherlites and HIGHLY recommend them. Size Large is 4.2 oz and really do add warmth. They work as well as a windshirt and can keep you dry in a drizzle. Not to mention they dry very quickly too. The adjustable legs are a nice touch for trail running/biking and breathable back panel all but completely eliminates Swamp A$s.
P.S. Featherlites + Windshirt is a 7.4oz super versatile layering system.May 25, 2010 at 9:34 pm #1613896
@rrouyerLocale: deep south
I have a pair of Moss Brown gortex pants. I love them. Got them from ebay for 6 bucks. They are breathable, very rain proof, and great for cold days as well. Most of the time they are the only long pants I take. Even after getting caught in a downpour and hiking in it when we got to the shelter i was able to keep the pants on to stay warm because I was dry under them. Won't hike with out them.Jun 9, 2010 at 4:04 pm #1618414
Is there a pair of pants out there that is waterproof but also just a good all around pant I could get so that I only have to carry one pair of pants? Uninsulated, if I needed insulation, I'd carry another pair. But something breathable, probably with full zips or at least some sort of ventilation and at least one pocket would be nice.
Edit: Marmot Precip looks very nice for this.
Edit Again: But also not really durable at all. Something like this, but more durable.Jun 9, 2010 at 7:11 pm #1618481
My frustration with carrying rain pants is that I never want to wear them, so mostly I have skipped bringing them, which seems like a gamble. I won't suggest this is a perfect solution, but at least for me, now that I try to wear softshell pants I generally wear them all the time, and don't use shorts, rain paints, or wind pants anymore. And in almost all conditions, the softshell pants are way more comfortable, more durable, and more weather protective, than any other combination or alternatives.
30 degrees in the rain would be tough wearing any kind of pants, and is generally cold and miserable no matter what you do. But softshell pants, say out of schoeller dryskin, would probably shed most or all of that rain, keep you warm and comfortableish, and let you hike all day without worrying about what is on your legs (in the interests of full disclosure, I don't have dryskin pants, but would want some).Jun 10, 2010 at 12:10 pm #1618693
@servingkoLocale: Intermountain West
When I do carry wind/rain pants (about a third of my trips), I bring a pair of WildThings EPIC wind pants. 5oz and very weatherproof. Mostly I prefer to not wear anything but shorts even when the temps drop below freezing.
This past week on a 5 day trip I left the pants and had rain on 3 out of 5 days and temps in the upper thirties and lower forties and lots of wind. No problems as my legs hardly ever get cold but everyone has different comfort levels.
I find that even if I have them in my pack I typically won't stop and put them on until the snow flies, it's windy, and I have more than an hour until I can seek shelter. More often I wear them in camp if I am cold or sleep in them to extend the range of a very light bag.Jun 10, 2010 at 2:49 pm #1618746
@hikinggrannyLocale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Out here in the Northwest, even if it isn't raining, we're likely to be hiking several hours each morning in brush up to waist-high that is soggy with morning dew. Of course if it rains, that brush will be soggy for many hours after the rain has stopped. With less and less trail maintenance happening and lots of rapid plant growth on the west side of the Cascades, most of our trails, even popular ones in my "back yard," the Columbia River Gorge, are very overgrown.
That's why I wear rain pants. I may be wearing them even if I'm just wearing a wind shirt (or just a baselayer top) on my upper half! Breathability isn't a concern for me below my waist, so something light (like seam-sealed silnylon) is just fine for me.Jun 11, 2010 at 8:37 am #1618972
F. Thomas MaticaMember
@ftm1776Locale: Vancouver, WA
I wonder if chaps would do the job for most people??
Even if not breathable, say from Cuben fabric, they still are vented by the "chimney effect" and cover most of the "wetted" and windy area below the waist. The weight would have to be around one or two ounces or so.
Comments? Does anyone use chaps? They would save those precious grams! ! ! !Jan 11, 2011 at 4:16 pm #1682871
@theflyingdutchmanLocale: Spanish Mountains
I've been using a very short poncho (light weight) for a while now (similar design as Roger's silnylon Mountain poncho) combined with "ordinary" TNF Gore WPB pants (very heavy). I'm in the process of ordering some CT3.5K.18 Cuben to make a skirt and chaps, so I'm interested as well in learning about experiences with chaps.
Personally I couldn't see any reason not to use these. They're very well vented, so the cero breathability of the material shouldn't be an issue and they're SUL :).Jan 11, 2011 at 4:50 pm #1682890
I would suggest a rain skirt made out of a trash or compactor bag that has a drawstring. Keeps you dry and ventilated. Cheap also. You can also use it as a ground cover or many other things.
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