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Pants dilemma
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John Witt
(johnbrown2005) - F

Locale: Portland, OR
Pants dilemma on 08/17/2005 16:04:30 MDT Print View

Woe is me, I'm paralyzed by indecision and need your help.

I'm planning a 7-day backpack in the San Juans in CO in early September, some scrambling and off trail, no technical climbing.

Cannot for the life of me decide what pants, or combination, to bring.

Here's the choices.
-15 oz. Patagonia soft shell pants.
-12 oz. coated nylon full zip Campmor rain pants.
-lightweight, or mid weight Capilene long john bottoms 6.5-7 oz.
-Could possibly buy some PreCip pants, or Patagucci pants, 10-12 oz, $90. I've ruled out the Reed as not durable enough. Had ordered some Montbell torrentflier (7.oz) off prolite, but fit is not good.


1) Do I dare leave the rain pants at home? My gut feeling is not to. Could be miserable in just the softshell in a cold windy storm. Could I mitigate that by bringing long johns? Weight=22 oz including long johns.

2) Bring rain pants and long johns, but not soft shell and use the rain pants as wind/bug pants too? Downside is they don't really breath, and my experience is that so-called waterproof/breathable doesn't really breath that well either. Weight =19 oz.

3) Bring rain pants and softshell, but not long johns. Use soft shell as wind/bug/warmth pants, leave long johns at home? Downside is weight, and sleeping in soft shell which could be muddy. Weight=27 oz.

My rain coat is a PreCip. If I had the wherewithall to sew a WP/B Cagoule w/ pit zips my problem would be solved...

Any advice? Many thanks!

Edited by johnbrown2005 on 08/17/2005 16:07:23 MDT.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Pants dilemma on 08/17/2005 22:59:10 MDT Print View

What are the conditions you expect to face, and what are the extreme you want to be me prepared for (temps, length/severity of presipitation, etc).


Alex Orgren
(big_load) - F
Re: Pants dilemma on 08/17/2005 23:36:17 MDT Print View

I vote yes for rain pants.

I've experienced extended downpours of near-freezing rain in the San Juans, even in July. I was really glad to have rain pants.

I don't know enough about your layering for long johns vs. soft shell pants. I don't wear either on the trail for temps above 25F or thereabouts, so I would take whatever is needed to stay warm at night. For me, that would be long johns.

Daniel Schmidt
(dschmidt) - F
epic pants on 08/18/2005 09:00:21 MDT Print View

Wild Thing's epic pants are 20% off right now and weigh in at 6oz. A very light and comfortable compromise between pertex and those suffocating rain pants.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: epic pants on 08/18/2005 10:12:43 MDT Print View

I'll second the motion on the Wild Things' Epic Pants. Have 'em. Like 'em. Work great.

John Witt
(johnbrown2005) - F

Locale: Portland, OR
Pants cont'd on 08/18/2005 10:42:23 MDT Print View

Thanks for the tips guys, just ordered the Epic pants, seems like a good deal. Would you trust them in a cold thunderstorm?

As to questions about layering and conditions: Could be in the 30s, wet, and windy, at worst. Layering wise, I usually hike in shorts, only putting on the pants for bugs, or when stopping in cold rain or windy drizzle.

Bob Gabbart
(bobg) - F
where are they on sale? on 08/18/2005 13:02:19 MDT Print View

Where are the epic pants 20% off?

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Pants cont'd on 08/18/2005 13:24:07 MDT Print View

sure, and even in longer duration rain than the typical thunderstorm. my only reservation with Epic is when used in a shelter for all evening-through-the-night rain. not sure if it will start to leak - at least the mfr's disclaimer makes me think that it may leak.

Richard Nelridge
(naturephoto1) - M

Locale: Eastern Pennsylvania
Wild Things Epic Pants on 08/18/2005 13:53:58 MDT Print View


The Wild Things Epic Pants are sale at:


Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Pants cont'd on 08/18/2005 22:08:20 MDT Print View

Hmm.. hard recommendation to make. First, the question about EPIC. In a light shower you can go an hour or two and stay dry. In a really hard rain you will be soaked in 20 minutes.

If I thought it was somewhat likely for lower 30s, wind, and rain for more than an hour,I would bring a hardshell.

As to what to bring given your list... that's hard. I would guess that your Patagonia softshell (Guide Pants?) might be a bit to warm. If they would be comfortable in the warmer temps for you, I would take them and your hardshell.

Otherwise, I would think about a light weight softshell (my first choice would most likely be Cloudveil Peak Pants). I wouldn't go for the WildThings EPIC pants because would rather something that wicks a bit. I would bring your existing hardshell or something a bit lighter. The Peak pants will stand up to a light drizzle, and could be pretty comfortable over a reasonable wide temp range.


Mike Storesund
(mikes) - F
Dress to the expected weather on 08/19/2005 10:01:33 MDT Print View

In the past, I have expereienced over 6 inches of snow the first week of September in the San Juans. I have also had beautiful fall weather as well. I would go with a hard shell pant, with long johns and some nylon convertables.
If only a drizzle, the nylon will dry quickly, if too wet, change to long johns and hard shell or just hard shell depending on temperature. My experience with EPIC would not allow for full downpour over any extended time, or sitting in camp / rest stop.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Dress to the expected weather on 08/19/2005 11:25:20 MDT Print View


I've worn my WT hoodless Epic windshirt in a couple of hrs of lt rain w/o it wetting through - it was new & clean at the time.

When the rain gets heavier, I wear a poncho over it, but have not had the forearms of the Epic windshirt wet through; neither have the pants which i don't carry that often - especially if i'm using a poncho (i wonder if it's the angle of impact of the drops on the legs?).

I wore my newer WT hooded Epic windshirt (new & clean) out from work one day to my car (nearly 1/2 mile away - it's a big factory). Torrential downpours. Not quite, but almost like being in a shower. Impact splatters of the large drops rebounding off of the ashpalt several inches or more. Asphalt covered in a thin layer of water & running off on sloped portions of the blacktop. Rain was making a racket on the horizontal surfaces of my car when I finally got there. Also, had Epic trail cargo pants on. Since I didn't check the weather forecast (T-storms w/heavy rain), I wore a very breathable pair of footwear that day. Everyone else is running to their cars and/or using umbrellas. I walked at a normal pace - more than 5min to walk to my car (prob more like 8-10min since it was nearly 1/2 mi away. I only walk ~3mph unless i'm in "high" gear - short, stubby legs) . The bill of my company logo cotton ballcap was thoroughly wet - even the underside from capillary action. Water started to wick up the front of the ballcap. All of the Epic (top & bottom) kept me dry. My feet were soaked.

Do you find this experience atypical? Could it be just that my gear was new & clean (no oils/sweat/dirt)? The mfr says that washing Epic & keeping it clean improves water resistance. Could this account for our diff experiences? It's experiences like yours and Mark's (two very experienced fellas, IMHO), & the Mfr's disclaimer that keep me from using it as a sole shelter, e.g. BD Lightsabre, w/o having a poncho-tarp handy to pitch over it.


Many thanks for the clarification. I guess experiences like yours are why people like Ron Bell of Mtn. Laurel Designs only use Epic for the top half of their bivy, choosing to use less breatheable but waterproof mat'l for the bottom half of the bivy.

Edited by pj on 08/20/2005 10:46:49 MDT.

Mike Storesund
(mikes) - F
Re:Re: Dress for the expected conditions on 08/20/2005 09:16:19 MDT Print View

My EPIC experience is with my Bibler Winter Bivy, where ground moisture absorbed through and soaked my bag. The bottom part of the bivy extended beyond the poncho tarp and the exposed top was wet on the inside as well. Some of that may have been due to wicking, but I believe some was passed through as well.
I mentioned using around camp / rest area and I was referencing sitting directly on wet ground could cause moisture to come through with the added pressure of your weight.

John Witt
(johnbrown2005) - F

Locale: Portland, OR
Thanks - Pants Dilemma on 08/23/2005 10:36:11 MDT Print View

Thanks for the detailed feedback folks! I'm taking the coated nylon and the long johns.

ong undies on 10/14/2005 19:44:32 MDT Print View

i got these running tights from MVP thinking i could run in them for a dollar at close out. they where way to tight, so now they are the best long underware ever. pair them with a pair of shorts, and you are set for cold weather