Actually, i don't use the zippers very much. As i mentioned i feel that these pants are too warm for me to hike in (perhaps if the terrain had fewer hills with lower exertion levels they would do fine??). I don't do a lot of winter backpacking (you could count on the fingers of one hand the number of times i'm out in a winter), but when i do the temps are not lower than the twenties and upper-teens, though they can rarely be as low as single digits or just below zero at night. These cold temps are rare for me though. I wear them in the camp and often in my sleeping bag.
I've worn them over heavy weight synth. long johns shoveling snow as low as the low teens and once in the teens with the wind really kicking up. Kept me plenty warm both times. This would be the extent of the active use i've gotten from them. But i find them very warm around the rare winter camp and in the sleeping bag as i've already stated.
I don't find that my legs get that cold. I do like warm feet, a warm head and a warm torso and arms.
Sorry i can't be more help.
As far as the "rank", certainly numbers don't tell the whole story. I agree with you that it's very strange that Dr. J's number would be a bit lower than my own. Who wouldn't agree with me that Dr. J's posts are far more authoritative and informative than my own. I rarely miss reading one of his posts and the posts of several other BPL Staffer's (RD, DJ, etc.), UL Cottage Industry folks (Ron Bell, Ron Moak, DO, Brian Frankle, Henry Shires, GVP, etc) and other Forum Regulars like KD, KH, GR, BF, MV, FD, MA, BT, RC, and a bunch of others (i hesitated mentioning any in case i leave anyone out & those that i did are in no particular order). If some of these individuals didn't have such high numbers, i would have thought that lower numbers were better since mine was so high!!
[NOTE: forgot RN as a Forum Regular. How could i forget RN? I've learned so much from his informative posts on insulation and heat transfer. Sorry, Richard, my apologies.]
I wonder how other Forum participants' interactions with a Post affects one's ranking. More responses to a Post might increase rank??? The current rank of those other Posters who interact? Starting Threads or first Reader Reviews of a piece of gear? Number of posts? Length of Posts? There are a number of other possible parameters that run through my mind also. Oh well, too much time on my hands if this is all i can wonder about.
It's good that BPL isn't revealing the algorithm involved in ranking. Hope they never reveal it.