Jul 8, 2012 at 12:48 pm #1291767
@blakteeLocale: Targhee National Forest
I am wondering what you use for backpacking. do you prefer pants or shorts or convertibles. Please include why and what brand you use.
I have seen people in basketball shorts as well, what are your thoughts on these?Jul 8, 2012 at 12:54 pm #1893083
convertibles in cold weather where I will most likely leave bottoms on during day. The convertible part is for taking bottoms off on stream crossings
Shorts in warm weather , otherwise pant bottoms are just 1/4 lb of dead wt in pack.Jul 8, 2012 at 12:57 pm #1893084
– -K.T.- –Participant
Almost always pants. Cleaner, less sunscreen, insect and brush protection. Too hot for pants=too hot for hiking for me. Up here anyway.Jul 8, 2012 at 12:59 pm #1893085
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
I wear shorts except when it gets below about 30 or 40 F to minimize sweating. Or if there are bugs. If I'm hiking in a lot of sun I might wear pants.
I make my own – Supplex – similar to Roger's article and I have an article in the works.
I don't know if anyone sells Supplex pants, although I have worn some from Ex Officio that are similar enough – nylon, tight weave, kind of a cottony feel.
I would never wear convertibles. I prefer more simple – lighter – drapes better. And I always take one pair of shorts and one pair of pants anyway. If something happened to one I have the other as a backup.
I've worn a swimsuit before. That worked okay, but I prefer the Supplex fabric.Jul 8, 2012 at 1:00 pm #1893087
@jasonbLocale: Western NC
Haha I was just searching BPL an hour ago for this question and didn't find much. I'm going on a trip in a couple of weeks and I'm considering wearing pants this time to fight bugs. My last trip was a section AT hike in NC and the trail was pretty grown up with grass and I danced around poison ivy a good bit. I was pretty ate up with chiggers and I think it was from the grass brushing my legs. A buddy hikes in basketball shorts in the summer and swears by them. I like the lighter fabric of hiking shorts though.Jul 8, 2012 at 1:18 pm #1893092
Pants for most of my activities.
Shorts are fine for groomed trails and fair weather.Jul 8, 2012 at 1:42 pm #1893096
@cohikerLocale: San Isabel NF
Always convertibles. Oddly enough, I can't ever actually remember unzipping them into shorts, but I wear them every time.
I'd much rather carry 4 oz of legs than risk sunburn, my legs are really hairy so sunscreen is a no go. That's gross.Jul 8, 2012 at 2:14 pm #1893102
The bottom of the pants comes off just before I start to hike, and go on in the evening as things cool off.Jul 8, 2012 at 3:48 pm #1893143
I'm with Ken.
Years ago, shorts all the time but I've grown to not want to deal with bugs and ticks.
Convertibles are just not comfortable. Especially going uphill.
High quality/performance hiking pants with Permethrin is the way to go.Jul 8, 2012 at 3:58 pm #1893147
@billwangLocale: SF Bay Area
I have switched from convertibles to full time long pants in the sierra during summer. Up there full pants block the sun (which I think makes me cooler) during the day, are warmer at night and protect during bushwacking. Pants are also slightly lighter than convertibles. If I'm swimming a lot, depending no the company, I'll bring some light swim trunks.Jul 8, 2012 at 4:02 pm #1893149
Never convertibles. Shorts if it's hot and not the desert, long pants the remainder. I view convertibles as a poor compromise. The combination of very light weight running shorts and regular pants weighs about the same as convertibles but there are other advantages. You can wash the pants while wearing the shorts or vice versa, no annoying zippers especially if you sleep in them and overall comfort.Jul 8, 2012 at 5:45 pm #1893172
The REI Sahara Pants. If it is hot or for water, I just roll them up to my knee. If it is really hot I just take them off and hike in the Ex Officio Boxers. I know they used to be made out of Supplex and don't know if they still are anymore but it is somme good material.Jul 8, 2012 at 5:59 pm #1893177
"The REI Sahara Pants. If it is hot or for water, I just roll them up to my knee. If it is really hot I just take them off and hike in the Ex Officio Boxers. I know they used to be made out of Supplex and don't know if they still are anymore but it is somme good material."
My pants of choice as well. Hate to say it but I've also done the boxer only gettup a couple times as well.Jul 8, 2012 at 6:30 pm #1893189
diehard shorts person (until it gets too cold-typically shoulder season)Jul 8, 2012 at 7:02 pm #1893201
@asciibaronLocale: Mid Atlantic
i'm a big fan of the REI Sahara converts, but i do not like the current style with the separate belt for back country use. i usually start my morning with the legs on and then remove them as the day warms up. in the evening i put the legs back on and keep the biting things at bay.
the newer model have a longer shorts length and that has caused me some problems since the separate belt doesn't keep them on my waistline with a load of snacks in the side pockets. the zipper drops below my knee and that has led to a near ripping of the seams a few times.
overall, i think convertibles offer more flexibility while on trail without having to dig into the pack to add leg protection. the legs fit into my gaiters just fine. i simply pull them out and up and ta-da, pants!Jul 8, 2012 at 8:56 pm #1893240
I wear shorts at all times, with wind pants to go over them in the evening or if it gets cold during the day. My shorts and windpants together are lighter than any convertibles I have found, plus the shorts have liners so I don't need undies with them, making them lighter still. For backcountry ski tours I wear the shorts over long johns, and wind pants over that. When it warms up the windpants come off and I still have pockets for camera and such; when it gets really warm the shorts come off and I ski in just the long johns to keep the sun off.Jul 8, 2012 at 8:57 pm #1893241
I was a long time convertible guy, but since I picked up a pair of prAna Zion Stretch pants, they are pretty much the only thing I wear. I am 100% sold on them.Jul 8, 2012 at 9:02 pm #1893242
+1 for what Paul said,that is what I do also.Jul 8, 2012 at 10:56 pm #1893260
I like having the option of unzipping the legs if I'm too hot so I usually go with convertibles (REI Sahara here too). The zips on the legs don't bother me, and I don't count worn clothing as part of my gear weight, so a couple of extra ounces for zips doesn't bother me. Having said that I plan on getting some of the Columbia bug shield trousers soon and they are not convertible… time will tell if I stick with them or not. I would just treat my Saharas with permethrin… but it does nasty things to cats in its liquid form and I don't want to risk it. I would love for REI to make a version that is already treated!Jul 9, 2012 at 12:43 am #1893266
@sgiachettiLocale: Boulder, CO
Last year I used light running shorts with 2.5 oz wind pants in the pack. Running shorts just feel fast. Wind pants came out for weather or to use as sleep pants in my quilt. Having those 4 oz MB versalites would probably be even better.
This year I've been using patagonia rock guide pants. Not sure which I like better. I like the rock guides because they are more durable off trail. They can easily be rolled up into some sort of manpri configuration if needed. They dry super fast, so no need for rain paints. I also think that my short shorts/merino ninja look might have increased my hitch hiking times last year–the rock guides are more REI/nature valley chic. I do like the simplicity of just wearing/having one pair of paints.
Every convertible pants I've owned, I either broke a zip or lost a leg. I'm also not a fan of futzing around with stuff (thus the do it all rock guides.)Jul 9, 2012 at 6:52 am #1893295
@acrosomeLocale: Back in the Front Range
I'm a fishbelly-pale white dude living in the American West. One of my major concerns is sunburn and I detest slathering greasy sunblock on myself so I have come to almost always wear pants. Better brush/bug protection, too. In hot weather I find that I like RailRiders EcoMesh pants- they vent very well so no problems with overheating. (And their EcoMesh, Equator, or Madison River vented shirts.) Bonus- you can get them pretreated with Permethrin- they call it "InsectShield(tm). IMHO, RailRiders "gets it right" in the trade off between weight and durability. Even their "heavier" Weatherpants are pretty light.
There's a reason that throughout the middle-east people have always worn full-sized flowing robes- to protect them from the sun. The sun beating on your exposed body is much more of a threat than some sort of theoretical overheating from wearing lightly-colored loose clothes that cover you adequately. I suppose in the American Southeast where the humidity is absurd one might think differently, but even then I'm not so sure.
Weight isn't really an issue- you can find some incredibly light pants. I think that the extra protection is easily worth a couple or three more ounces.
But I do occasionally wear shorts on quick dayhikes, and on the occasions were I trail-run.
I've come to not believe in convertibles- they are heavier than plain pants and the zippers are two more things to fail, then you're stuck with shorts, anyway. (And all of the ones I've used have been incredibly over-built, again adding to the weight, while simultaneously using flimsy zippers for the convertible legs.) Granted the EcoMesh pants have two extra zippers, too, but if one fails the leg doesn't fall off…
Just commit, and pick either pants or shorts. And, actually, it isn't insane to bring both and wear a set of running shorts with a liner as your underwear under the pants, and just take the pants off if you feel the need- especially if you can find some insanely light pants like the old BPL Thorofare pants. GoLite makes some decent shorts (or they did the last time I looked) that can be worn as underwear.Jul 9, 2012 at 6:56 am #1893298
I have rock guides as well, wonderful pant, but I don't use them much in the summer (save extensive off trail use)- they are used exclusively for shoulder season and winter however
I do carry Cap 4 bottoms in the pack as a insulating layer, they weigh 6.1 oz and are much warmer than any convertible pant- they get used at camp at night, as part of my sleeping system if turns really cold or in a pinch as pants in very inclement weather
disclaimer- I don't do much hitchhiking :)Jul 9, 2012 at 9:47 am #1893342
@lindahlbLocale: Colorado Rockies
I wear running shorts as underwear and really light softshell pants on top. I like the color (off-white), fit and stretch of the Ferosi pants better than the Rock Guides, but those work well, too. I roll them up into manpris also, and prefer the simpler system. I'm usually in the alpine during summer, so temperatures really don't get above 80 degrees. The extra protection from rocks, wind and rain is nice in these environments.
What do you do when afternoon weather moves in when you're above treeline? I've found shorts to be not quite adequate in warmth for those situations in Colorado, especially on ridgelines and summits. If I did almost all below-treeline trail hiking, I can see myself mostly using shorts in summer, though (and I do in these rare situations).Jul 9, 2012 at 10:45 am #1893360
I always wear convertables. I weat them during the hike to help stop bug attacks or thorns, take them off when it is hot, or leave them on when it is not. I dont bring anyghing else actually.Jul 9, 2012 at 11:20 am #1893365
@saparisorLocale: Pacific Northwest
My favorite pants are the ArcTeryx Rampart pants. The material feels thin but is durable, with flat unobtrusive pockets. I usually roll them up, like Brian, to manpris, about mid-calf. So far, I haven't really missed shorts with these. It is worth waiting for a sale, though; REI carries them and every year for the past few years, they have gone on sale (but I can't remember what time of year).
If I wear shorts, I wear running shorts with a liner. I also take wool tights, like Mike above, that often stay in the pack during the day, but are there for sleeping and an extra layer if needed.
I'd like to try a combo like Serge's running shorts/wind pant system, maybe with the Montbell Dynamo. I don't have these, though, and our summers are so short in the PNW, that it might not be worth it.
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