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Equinox Full Moon Chaps REVIEW

Silnylon rain chaps that are freakishly light but limited in application and best paired with a poncho or cagoule.

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by Will Rietveld | 2005-10-25 03:00:00-06

Equinox Full Moon Chaps REVIEW

Introduction

Wearing rain chaps instead of rain pants is a good way to save some weight. The Equinox Full Moon Chaps are made of silnylon, are seriously lightweight (as little as 2.6 ounces per pair), and work well in combination with a poncho. I wonder why they decided to call them the “Full Moon” Chaps?

What's Good

  • Waterproof
  • Very lightweight
  • Adjustable length
  • Can be pulled on over boots
  • Cuff functions as a gaiter
  • Durable

What's Not So Good

  • Not breathable, so they have a limited comfort range
  • Butt is exposed, so they don’t work well with a rain jacket
  • Cuff cordlocks tend to drag in the mud

Specifications

Year, Model 2005 Equinox Full Moon Chaps
Weight 3.3 oz (94 g) measured weight (one size), manufacturer’s specification 3.2 oz (91 g); elastic waist cord 0.3 oz (8.5 g), silnylon stuff sack 0.2 oz (5.7 g)
Shell Fabric Silicone-impregnated ripstop Cordura nylon (silnylon), 1.3 oz/yd2 (44 g/m2) after treatment
Features Adjustable length, elastic waist cord, slit ankle cuff with elastic drawcord and cordlock
MSRP $30

Performance

This review combines the experiences of three Backpacking Light editors testing the Equinox Full Moon Chaps in the Pacific Northwest, Southern Rockies, and Southwest. We took them on a total of 12 backpacking trips over two seasons and wore them in several different rainwear systems: with different rain jackets (short and long), with a poncho/tarp, by themselves, and even with a cagoule. Testing included wearing them in the rain while carrying a pack on a good trail, hiking in the rain off-trail, hiking through wet vegetation, and wearing them as an outer shell layer in camp.

The Full Moon Chaps come in one size. The length has 4.5 inches of adjustment by selecting one of four belt loops at the top of the chaps (see photo below). Simply choose the loop that gives the correct height and thread your belt through it. Don’t have a belt? No problem, Equinox supplies an elastic waist cord with cordlock to use in place of a belt.

This arrangement allows them to be adjusted between 42-46.5 inches long (bottom of cuff to top of belt). After trying them different ways (including modifying them by adding Velcro strips to attach them to belt loops on my pants), I settled on the simple arrangement of tying the extension of the chaps (the part with the belt loops) onto a belt loop on my pants (see photo below). That simple solution worked great, and I used them that way the majority of the time. Using a safety pin is another alternative.

A really nice feature of the Full Moon Chaps is that they easily pull on over boots, even my size 11.5 EEEE full-height boots. The leg cut is just right; they fit loose but are not baggy. The cuff opening is 11 inches wide and there is a 6-inch slit at the cuff on the inside. An elastic drawcord with cordlock on the cuff hem allows you to snug them up as much as you want, or you can roll them up and turn them into knickers or shorts for some added ventilation.

We tested the chaps with different rain jackets and ponchos in the rain, and found that they work best with a poncho. A poncho provides plenty of overlap, so there is no leakage. We used the Full Moon Chaps with a poncho/tarp, giving us a SuperUltraLight shelter system plus rainwear (including pack cover) for a total of about 12 ounces.

Very few jackets are long enough to fully cover the top of the chaps, so a wet butt and/or front are the frequent result with that arrangement. A cagoule works well with the chaps, but there are very few (if any) lightweight cagoules around.

For me (32 inch inseam), the chaps were long enough to cover the tops of my boots, so they also functioned well as a gaiter. The chaps also work great by themselves for walking through wet vegetation.



Each chap has four belt loops at the top (top left), so their length can be adjusted within a 4.5-inch range. I simply tied the tops of the chaps to belt loops (top right). The cuffs have a slit to help them pull over boots (middle, left). The cuff hem has an elastic cord and cordlock to snug them at the ankles (middle right). A longer rain jacket will (barely) cover the top of the chaps in back (bottom left), but the front is exposed (bottom right).

The Full Moon Chaps are made of silnylon, so they are completely waterproof and do not breathe at all. However, they fit loosely around the legs, so there is a decent amount of air circulation and some air pumping while walking. We found that the chaps are comfortable as long as the weather is overcast, cool, breezy, or rainy. They quickly get too warm in fluctuating weather conditions - when the sun comes out, the chaps have to come off.

My wife and I did some tinkering to minimize the weight of the Full Moon Chaps. By using a thinner elastic cord in the cuff hem, no cordlocks, and eliminating the waist drawcord, we were able to bring their weight down to 2.56 ounces per pair and avoid having cord locks that drag in the mud. Way cool! The weight could be reduced a smidgen more by eliminating the cuff elastic cord entirely.

What's Unique

The Full Moon Chaps work exceptionally well with a poncho or poncho/tarp, and weigh only 2.9 ounces without the elastic waist cord. That’s about 2 ounces less than the lightest rain pants out there (e.g. Dri-Ducks, GoLite Reed Pants).

Recommendations for Improvement

Offer chaps made of lightweight eVENT fabric. Anyone listening out there?


Citation

"Equinox Full Moon Chaps REVIEW," by Will Rietveld. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/equinox_full_moon_chaps_review.html, 2005-10-25 03:00:00-06.

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