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Anyone use leg/arm warmers?
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David Lewis
(davidlewis) - MLife

Locale: Nova Scotia, Canada
Anyone use leg/arm warmers? on 10/10/2005 19:49:25 MDT Print View

I've been thinking for a while that the leg / arm warmers commonly used by cyclists paired with shorts and a short sleeve shirt would be a great solution for backpacking. Does anyone use these? Instead of carrying a full pair of tights for instance, one could just carry a pair of cycling leg warmers. They would be half the weight of full tights and much easier to use... i.e... if you're hiking in shorts... you could easily pull them on or off without having to do any undressing. Good for chilly mornings on the trail and chilly evenings in camp. My shorts have shock cord loops in the hem too... so I could cinch them up to keep out the cold. Just an idea. Thoughts?

As a side note, Glen's XUL gear list (at lists a pair of 1.7 oz tights. What the hey?!?! I've been looking at tights and nothing even comes close to that weight. I mean... silk long johns weight about 4-5 oz! How do you get a pair of tights for 1.7 oz? That's like the weight of a pair of socks. Maybe pantyhose would come in at 1.7 oz... LOL... but not tights?! I'd love to know what they are and how much warmth they actually offer. 1.7 oz. seems impossible.

Edited by davidlewis on 10/10/2005 19:52:23 MDT.

Daniel Goldenberg
(DanG) - M
Re: Anyone use leg/arm warmers? on 10/10/2005 20:30:38 MDT Print View

Arm warmers might work OK but leg warmers tend to slide down, especially when walking.

Speaking of Glen's (and Mike's) XUL gear lists here is a question:

There is something obviously missing from the gearlist that was taken on the trip. The photos are a clue.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Footless Ultralight Tights on 10/10/2005 20:51:41 MDT Print View

These are available from for men - "Footless Ultralight Tights" item number 71303 at $12.50 each or if you buy 3 of any size they are $9.50 each. In stock at this time. Small, med, large, and X large. When I got mine all they had was XL and they weigh 1.6oz. The fit is fine even though I only weighed 170 pounds.

Ryan also had these on his first Yellowstone hike a few weeks ago I think.

David Lewis
(davidlewis) - MLife

Locale: Nova Scotia, Canada
Re: Footless Ultralight Tights on 10/11/2005 11:15:38 MDT Print View

Thanks so much for the info Bill. I was wondering where the heck one would get such light tights. However... looking at the photo on the website... they just look like a pair of black pantyhose with the feet cut off. They certainly don't look like they would offer much warmth. Also, I was thinking of pairing tights with shorts... so I have to admit... I would not be too keen on hiking around wearing what appear to be pantyhose. I guess they are meant more as underwear than as athletic tights. Have you tried them?

Edited by davidlewis on 10/11/2005 11:20:46 MDT.

Adam McFarren
(amcfarre) - F
Re: Re: Footless Ultralight Tights on 10/11/2005 11:20:51 MDT Print View

They do look like pantyhose, but they are warm. I can't compare them to regular pantyhose, but they feel about as warm as silkweight capilene.

I've only worn them in the privacy of my own bivy.


David Lewis
(davidlewis) - MLife

Locale: Nova Scotia, Canada
Re: Re: Anyone use leg/arm warmers? on 10/11/2005 11:25:49 MDT Print View

Daniel... the camera is missing :) Right.

Good point about the warmers falling when walking. I guess this is not an issue when biking. I guess the lightest solution (maybe under an ounce!) would be to take a pair of those ultralight tights that look like pantyhose... cut the legs off, discard the rest and then use a garter belt to keep your sexy new leg warmers up... LOL :P

Edited by davidlewis on 10/11/2005 11:27:04 MDT.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Ultra-light Tights on 10/11/2005 12:07:01 MDT Print View

First, when hiking I don't really care what I am wearing looks like if it does the job and it isn't like they are pink. I wear my silk weight and light weight Patagonia Capaline bottoms under hiking shorts all the time. Yesterday it was rainy and a little cool here and I had them on all day. I have worn these ultra-light tights the same way. They are really good on a cool rainy day. Just warm enough to feel good but not so warm that I can't wear them while hiking. I can't wear the silk weight Capaline bottoms hiking very long unless it is a lot cooler/cold as they make my legs way to hot very fast. The Ultra-Light Tights are also nice to sleep in when you want your legs just a little warmer.

I don't think about them as tights, I think about them as a very light weight set of bottoms.

Edited by bfornshell on 10/11/2005 12:10:05 MDT.

David Lewis
(davidlewis) - MLife

Locale: Nova Scotia, Canada
Re: Ultra-light Tights on 10/11/2005 13:07:33 MDT Print View

Bill wrote:
"First, when hiking I don't really care what I am wearing looks like if it does the job"

Hey Bill. Most times, I would agree with you... fully... but everyone has their limits I suppose :) "Pantyhose" are mine. Sorry... please don't take it personally (not sure if you were or not)... I'm totally just joking around by calling them pantyhose! You're right, if it works, it works, and who cares... and good for you for just doing your own thing... rock on :) But in this particular case... eeee... I'm just not sure I could do it. I have no problem wearing tights or silk long johns under shorts and have done so in the past... it's the sheer nature of the ultralight tights that gives me pause I suppose :)

In any case, thanks so much for the info. I really do appreciate it very much... especially the link. I did some searching on google to try and find these mythical 1.7 oz. tights and came up empty. So I really appreciate the info. Also, it does have me thinking about different ideas... like for instance maybe using these in place of heavier silk long johns for sleeping and/or under convertible pants. By pairing them with convertibles, I gain a bit of weight from the pant legs but overall I would lose weight by not having to bring medium weight lycra running tights. And if I were to try that... I'm seriously wondering how these ultralight tights differ from pantyhose. Could one save money by just buying a pair of heavy pantyhose and cutting the feet off??? I'm not joking this time... it's a serious question.

Edited by davidlewis on 10/11/2005 13:15:30 MDT.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Ultra-light Tights on 10/11/2005 13:37:51 MDT Print View

Before they came up with dude-specific versions, NFL players would wear panty hose with the feet cut out, although it's hard to imagine a lineman named Bubba ever fitting in a pair. Certainly no reason a manly hiker-type couldn't do likewise, although as my spouse will point out, they're not going to last long slogging past brush.

There are so many fine options sold to runners and cyclists I'd imagine finding a lightweight and long-lasting pair should be simple. I know I'd never be able to cycle in winter without them!

Re: Anyone use leg/arm warmers? on 10/11/2005 13:42:03 MDT Print View

To answer your original question, I use both arm warmers and leg warmers in the backcountry. Due to their low volume, it's rare when my pack is without them whether backpacking, peak bagging, or backcountry skiing. Since I tend to overheat fairly quickly, I prefer to wear short sleeve shirts and shorts wherever practical. I find the leg/arm warmers tend to compliment this system fairly well.

The leg warmers do tend to fall down. So, I normally only wear the leg warmers when in camp, when I have to belay, etc. Basically, anytime when I stop moving and need a quick and easy layer to add to stay warm.

The arm warmers I wear whether moving or stationary as conditions warrant.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Ultra-light Tights on 10/11/2005 13:54:09 MDT Print View

You might get by with cutting the feet off of pantyhose. I don't know how much they cost or if you can buy them for men. When I ordered mine all they had left (this was April 2004) were XL. I asked about women's sizes and was told I didn't want to go there that they were made very tight in the crouch area and were not recommended for men.

These are said to be:
"Made from a smooth, moisture-wicking blend of polpropylene/nylon/Lycra spandex, they stay comfortable without sagging! Seamless construction won't chafe or bind."

The tage with mine lists them as 60% Poly..., 35% Nylon, 5% Lycra. Hand wash. Do not bleach. Drip dry.

I found out about this product from Ryan's "Lost Coast" trip report last year.

Lost Coast Picture Link

Edited by bfornshell on 10/11/2005 14:57:43 MDT.

larry savage
(pyeyo) - F

Locale: pacific northwest
Re: Re: Ultra-light Tights on 10/11/2005 16:43:57 MDT Print View

I have used cycling legwarmers hiking and have not had a problem with them sliding but I have large quads and calves. The better ones have spandex grippers to keep them in place.

Arm warmers and leg warmers can be found in various weights of poly/fleece,wool blends, and schoeller fabrics.
Ultra tights are winter weight pantyhose.
I ride bikes with a guy who carries a pair of pantyhose in his saddle bag and there have been a couple of times I wished I had some also. Now you've got me heading out to the store to see what size thigh-highs come in.

Edited by pyeyo on 10/11/2005 16:45:15 MDT.

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Re: Re: Re: Ultra-light Tights on 10/11/2005 23:19:11 MDT Print View

Those Sahalie tights are the bomb, man. Mine weight 1.9 oz size M. They are footless hip-huggin' panty hose, is all, with a catch:

Normal panty hose, which we wore as youths in scouts for long underwear, and at soccer games in Seattle winters, tend to, well, you know, catch a thread and get some awful runs in them. It's terrible, coming across another fella on the trail and you're not looking your best.

So the Sahalie's are actually a pretty durable polypropylene. I go through about a pair every two years, and they are with me on every spring and fall trip, and many winter trips: I maybe get 50-60 nights out of them.

Can't beat the price, gotta love the weight, durability:weight ratio is good, but most important, the warmth:ratio is REALLY good.

Since I wear hiking pants most of the time, the normal mode in which I use the tights are over my hiking pants at night, in my bag. I prefer the feel of my hiking pants against my skin (Cloudveil Inertia fabric) than the polypropylene, which is clammy. Adding the tights OVER the pants keeps the sleeping bag cleaner (since my pants are usually muddy in the spring/fall) and drier (by preventing direct contact of my bag w/wet lower pant legs - so the polypro layer acts as a dispersion layer to help disperse and evap the moisture rather than wick it directly into my bag).

This item may graduate to my top five list pretty soon. I've used them for years and they always sneak their way into my gear lists.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Re: Re: Re: Ultra-light Tights on 10/12/2005 02:46:06 MDT Print View

Dr. J,

good suggestion for their nighttime use. frankly, i haven't been resourceful enough to come up with something to keep the bag clean of the trail grime accumulated throughout the day. used to use some lt. wt. sweats which i could pull on, but they were too hot in the warm weather & too heavy now that i'm going UL. i'm going to adopt your approach for their use.

do you have any other "nuggets" to share?

David Lewis
(davidlewis) - MLife

Locale: Nova Scotia, Canada
Re: Re: Re: Re: Ultra-light Tights on 10/12/2005 05:09:12 MDT Print View

Thanks for the tips and info Ryan :) I'm glad to hear these are more durable than regular 'hose... which are extremely fragile. Just when I thought I'd done all the research and learned everything there is to know about ultralight... I discover pantyhose... LOL :) Thx again.

Nighttime clothing on 10/12/2005 09:25:58 MDT Print View

For overclothes to protect my sleeping bag, I wear the Montane featherlite smock and pant. It works well. Not as light or cheap as the sahalies, but not as tight and longer lasting.

Chris Harvey
(CCH) - F
Ski Socks on 12/14/2005 10:12:57 MST Print View

Hi, I'm just joining in here but along those lines I'm going to start carrying a pair of light, skiing socks - long enough to pull up to my knees. My thinking is that if it really cools down, I can put them on under my other socks (they are fairly thin) and pull them up. I wear Smartwool Boxer Briefs that come down almost to my knees. As I warm up I can just roll the socks down to allow my legs to cool. They aren't as easy to take on and off as leg warmers but offer the advantage of warming my feet a bit as well.

Channing Sze
(eeyore) - F
not bad on 12/15/2005 10:05:10 MST Print View

i use arm warmers to complement my vest. they add a few degrees, but aren't the easiest thing to put on (a cinch to take off though!).

it's very important to get the right size. they can fall off if too loose and constrict circulation if too tight.