“Sleeping Pants” Alpha Direct Pants Experience. Other options for UL?
Aug 3, 2023 at 9:21 am #3786150
Hi all, I’m taking on a thru-hike of the Northville Placid Trail in early October of this year (Adirondack Mountains, NY). Conditions will definitely be wet and could be quite cold. I’m trying to determine a very light sleeping pants for the trip, as I will definitely have wet pants at the end of each day. Traditionally, I’ve used merino wool leggings, but they’re fairly heavy. I’ve noticed alpha direct pants are becoming a thing. Does anyone have experience with them? What are people’s go-to UL sleeping pant/legging?Aug 3, 2023 at 11:19 am #3786160Mark VerberBPL Member
@verberLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
No experience with AD for legs. Properly used I think it would work well. Remember that they have almost zero warmth if wind isn’t blocked and easily snag on things. I have used a piece of AD 120gsm fabric as a blanket in warmer weather to sleep. Worked quite nicely and doubled as a poor man’s poncho liner.
AD 90gsm hoody made a very nice sleep shirt when it was cold as well as being an insulation piece with a shell over it.Aug 3, 2023 at 11:29 am #3786161
Several years ago I grabbed a pair of Patagonia Capilene Thermal weight (then called expedition weight) bottoms on sale and I’ve been very happy with them. Great sleep insulation, ~5 oz. and very warm. Also work well under my hiking pants when hanging out around camp, but much too warm to hike in. I would buy them again if on sale, but if I had to buy at retail I would probably go with the Timmermade AD 4004 pants. $10 more and save less than an ounce over the Capilene. I have the 4004 hoody and am very impressed with it. Both fabrics offer very little insulation unless worn under a wind break layer.
So, prices equal I’d opt for AD. Can’t beat the Capilene if you can find them for 40%-50% off.Aug 3, 2023 at 11:57 am #3786165
Thanks, these would be for around camp and sleeping, essentially, so the wind wouldn’t be an issue. I’d throw rainpants over them if I was cold in camp. I noticed Timmermade, as well as Farpointe have AD pants. Both are not in stock. Looks like Senchi does have some in stock, so I may go that route. For 3.1 oz seems like a really versatile piece of kit for late fall.Aug 3, 2023 at 2:07 pm #3786168David HartleyBPL Member
@dhartleyLocale: Western NY
I have no Alpha-Direct experience – but definitely another thumbs up for the Patagonia Thermal Weights for these kind of conditions – pretty warm, synthetic, and minimal weight. If it is going to be consistently below 30 at night I switch to the Patagonia Thermal weights. Great sleeping clothes – won’t really help around camp though unless you wear something over it.
I see from your profile that you are from Western NY (I am near Rochester) so are likely up to speed on the Adirondacks weather. Hard to tell this far out if you will need extra warmth around camp – I have experienced quite a range in September and October. However, I have only experienced one trip where I would have liked extra leg insulation around camp – 3 years ago on an NPT thru-hike in mid September. We had one night at Wakely dam where it went down into the mid-teens and froze our water bottles solid. The solution was to get into sleeping bags pretty much immediately as the sun started to go down.Aug 3, 2023 at 3:28 pm #3786177
Just want to remind that Timmermade clothing is made to order and to your specific measurements. A good close fit is especially valuable for insulating layers. For instance, you can specify longer sleeves/legs to avoid riding up.Aug 4, 2023 at 1:08 am #3786197PineyBPL Member
Alpha Direct 60 or 90 is the perfect material for sleep pants in my opinion. I have a pair of custom Vado Alpha 60 that I love. They are soft and comfy, very warm inside a quilt, and lighter than any other currently available fabric. The trouble with Alpha leggings is that they are hard to buy. Fortunately for you, Senchi has a run of Alpha 90 live on their website right now.Aug 4, 2023 at 10:16 am #3786204John BBPL Member
@jnb0216Locale: western Colorado
you might just consider silk underwear (long bottoms and tops)–I got some from REI and love them. Weight is about 6.7oz (both combined) and they are quite warmAug 4, 2023 at 11:27 am #3786206
Thanks for everyone’s thoughts. Much appreciated! I went with the Senchi AD 90 leggings. The size L is 3.6 oz, and I’m guessing has the potential to be way warmer in a pinch than wool or synthetic leggings when combined with a rain pant. This seems like an awesome application for AD fabric. I’ll keep you all updated on the performance. I like how Senchi binds the hems of their AD products when comparing them to others.Aug 4, 2023 at 3:50 pm #3786236Paul McLaughlinBPL Member
I made a pair of AD pants using some of the 4008. They are great, very warm under my regular pants around camp or in the sleeping bag, and comfy next to skin. Liked them so much I made another pair out of some lighter AD – the 4028. First pair is 5.5 oz, lighter version is 2.75 oz.Aug 4, 2023 at 4:03 pm #3786237DWR DBPL Member
Tell me please, does Alpha Direct fabric stretch? 2 directions? And how much (very stretchy, moderate, or barely… or better yet… how many inches does a 6 inch piece stretch?)?Aug 4, 2023 at 7:53 pm #3786251AndrewBPL Member
I have the Fairpointe camp pants in 60gsm and I’m a fan. Only use them as sleep pants and around camp before swapping into my joggers to hike. I’ve winter camped at elevation in the Smokies with them and find them warm for the weight. I substituted out merino long underwear for them and dropped another 6-7 oz from my kit with the switch.Aug 5, 2023 at 6:57 pm #3786280AK GranolaBPL Member
Leggings vs tights vs baselayer. I have to admit, I don’t really know the difference except for fashion. Maybe there’s a fabric difference? All I ever use to sleep in is my baselayer (or shorts if it’s hot). It’s whatever baselayer I have on the specific trip, for the expected nighttime temperature. Wet and cold (??) would have me in my Icebreaker wool baselayer.Aug 7, 2023 at 3:59 pm #3786339Paul McLaughlinBPL Member
DWR D – the various different weights of AD seem to have different stretch characteristics as well, from the two versions I have both stretch much more in one direction than the other. in ondirection it is minimal, in the other significant. I am guessing a 6 inch peice wouod stretch maybe 1 1/2 to 2 inches in the direction with more stretch, and only slightly the other way. but for more specifics, see here:Aug 7, 2023 at 5:08 pm #3786347DWR DBPL Member
Thanks Paul… good, thorough answer about stretch… was wondering if I would get an answer… I prefer fabrics with more stretch… more freedom of movement… especially with a fabric that seems like it will have more friction against other layers than most…Sep 13, 2023 at 9:22 pm #3788925Tjaard BreeuwerBPL Member
@tjaardLocale: Minnesota, USA
For ‘camp/sleep’ wear, I think Alpha direct is far and away the best choice:
criteria for that are:
- comfy agains skin and quiet
- lightweight (in an absolute sense)
- Reasonable warmth: weight ratio (if I need a lot of warth, I will exchange/add a high loft layer)
- good at dealing with moisture
Alpha is super soft and snuggly, very light, and dries super fast.
I have not tried Alpha Direct pants yet, simply because I couldn’t get a hold of any.
I just got some, and am looking forward to using them.
I have used my AD hoody several times as sleepwear, and love it.Sep 19, 2023 at 6:15 am #3789285Haakon RBPL Member
I sleep in thin merino wool underwear all year round. The warm to weight ratio isn’t amazing, but I consider it a dual use item; sleeping bag liner and backup underwear, so that way the weight penalty is split in half and is easier to justify.
I would be happy to try AD pants, to see if they could replace wool for winter use. My reservations as compared to wool (except price and availability in Norway) are odor development with extended use, durability and actual insulating benefit (as I expect AD will compress more easily from body weight and from the sleeping bag resting on top of it).Sep 19, 2023 at 4:36 pm #3789376nunatakBPL Member
In a recent thread about AD tops I mentioned an AD insulated wind shell I made.
Well, I also made AD pants with a 20d windproof shell and 12″ ankle zips at 6.5 ounces total. On a recent cold/snowy 10 day trip I slipped these on once at camp and my wet pants dried underneath pretty quick without really making the AD pants damp.
Once going in the bag I took my day pants off and slept with the AD shell pants. Very warm – very comfy.
Same in the morning: I wore them over everything until ready to go.
On this trip I also used the AD insulated hoody as an outer layer, a lot for walking in drizzle and hail/wind, but def also for camp use. Again it left me dry, cozy and not clammy.
Shelled AD is an underrated layering segment we might see more of in the future.Sep 20, 2023 at 5:07 am #3789433
Shelled AD is an underrated layering segment we might see more of in the future.
Hmm…almost as though that is what AD was designed for :)Sep 20, 2023 at 5:27 am #3789436Terran TerranBPL Member
When I warm up, I don’t like taking off my pants to remove a base layer. Personally, I’d opt for a shelled version.Sep 20, 2023 at 6:13 pm #3789484Piotr PawlowskiBPL Member
@ppawlowskiLocale: Garden State
Long time ago I made pants from 2.5 oz Climashield lined on the inside with thin silk fabric – 5.7 oz total. I wore rain pants over it in camp. Insulation is a little clingy and still going strong, but liner is falling apart. I need to make another pair with UL nylon liner, maybe with matching pair of wind pants as a dual use outside liner.
Putting them on and off is a hassle, I wish they could be made tear away.Sep 21, 2023 at 1:25 am #3789502Haakon RBPL Member
Exactly what I was thinking reading through these replies.
AD or even shelled Alpha is a rarity around here, so while I’ve been interested to try it, availability has held me back. Needless to say, my thoughts around this topic are very hypothetical atm.
For most use cases I can imagine, I think I’d prefer AD over the Alpha variant, even if I intend to use it with a shell. I just seems more flexible and more weight effective to select you preferred shell according to current activity and weather conditions rather than have a permanently attached shell.
There’s one interesting use case for regular Alpha that I hadn’t thought about before reading this thread, and that’s pants with side zips. While I would’t use shelled Alpha for the sleeping pants purpose discussed here, I could see a lot of other potential use for such pants.
Well, as I type this I realize I’ve actually thought about this before, but not in the context of Alpha. In preparation for the winter season last fall, it hit me that fleece lined wind pants with side zips would be a useful addition to my wardrobe. Both Rab and Mountain Equipment have a line of garments with a type of highly breathable, fleece lined softshell material (I belive Rab call theirs Vapor-rise or something to that extent), but none of them were available with side zips. Alpha would be even more interesting, but before I learn how to sew, neither seem to be realistic offerings atm.Sep 21, 2023 at 9:46 am #3789512William ChiltonBPL Member
“Both Rab and Mountain Equipment have a line of garments with a type of highly breathable, fleece lined softshell material (I belive Rab call theirs Vapor-rise or something to that extent), but none of them were available with side zips.”
If you mean side zips for ventilation (rather than full leg zips for removing the trousers), Rab has the Torque Vapour-Rise Pants.
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
Our Community Posts are Moderated
Backpacking Light community posts are moderated and here to foster helpful and positive discussions about lightweight backpacking. Please be mindful of our values and boundaries and review our Community Guidelines prior to posting.