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Hiking Pants: What do you Wear and why?
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Eli .
(Feileung) - F
Hiking Pants: What do you Wear and why? on 08/01/2011 10:09:47 MDT Print View

I've never bought pants specifically for hiking. I was browsing REI yesterday and I didn't really like any of the pure "for hiking" options. I was considering a pair of lightweight running pants w/longjohns underneath for fall hiking if necessary. The problem w/these is that they don't have many pockets and the ones they do have are small.

I usually just go out in jeans, but, I'm sick of that. Too dirty. Too long to dry. Too heavy. Too.....cotton.

What are your favorites?

Edited by Feileung on 08/01/2011 10:10:25 MDT.

Javan Dempsey

Locale: The-Stateless-Society
Re: Hiking Pants: What do you Wear and why? on 08/01/2011 10:19:57 MDT Print View

Patagonia Traverse for any situation where I expect weather or abrasion. Stretchy, very water resistant, and highly durable, but I prefer to just wear 3/4 merino tights or IO Bio Contact Loose tight.

Hk Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Re: Hiking Pants: What do you Wear and why? on 08/01/2011 10:20:31 MDT Print View

Patagonia Rock Climbers. Tired of using zip-offs, so these roll up to shorts and stay rolled up. Comfortable but slim fit so order accordingly. Synthetic but the fabric breathes very well in warm/humid conditions. That said, I will need to try them in cool/windy conditions dayhiking this fall since the breathability effect may not be desirable in cooler conditions.

Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Hiking Pants: What do you Wear and why? on 08/01/2011 10:35:33 MDT Print View

Arc'Teryx Ramparts most of the time.

I also carry Ibex wool tights to sleep in and/or add warmth.

A cuben rain wrap for rain.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Hiking Pants: What do you Wear and why? on 08/01/2011 10:59:53 MDT Print View

I make my own with Supplex

Just two pockets on the front, bug enough to hold camera, GPS,...

I'm good down to below freezing.

If it rains, they get wet which is uncomfortable, but it doesn't absorb a lot of water sp dries out quickly

Very baggy so I can wear it in warm weather for sun and bug protection

Edited by retiredjerry on 08/01/2011 11:00:36 MDT.

James Castleberry
Hiking Pants: What do you Wear and why on 08/01/2011 11:04:31 MDT Print View

REI Sahara Convertible. I wear the pants when hiking (never zip off bottoms). At home, I zip off the bottoms and wear the shorts all the time in summer. Very comfortable, lightweight, lots of strategically placed pockets. Almost indestructable. And includes a belt.

Brian Lindahl
(lindahlb) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Hiking Pants: What do you Wear and why? on 08/01/2011 11:05:02 MDT Print View

Depends on temperatures. Most of my trips are 4 days or less.


Running shorts (w/liner - no underwear) and I carry rainpants if the lows are around 40-50 degrees.

When lows get below 40 degrees, I wear running shorts (w/liner) as underwear, and a pair of very lightweight softshell pants (OR Ferrosi). I can slip them off over my shoes, so they're faster to switch into shorts than zip-offs. But, I rarely need to do this, as they have ankle cinch cords and can be rolled up into a pair of shorts w/o coming unrolled. Similar pants would be Patagonia Simple Guides, and Arc'Teryx Gamma LT pants. I'm pretty sure both are slightly warmer, and they also don't quite have the features, fit, or color that I wanted. YMMV. In really rainy weather, I still bring rain pants, but since Colorado rarely has sustained rain, they usually stay home. I'm going to experiment with using a rain skirt this year, instead of rain pants for sustained rainy weather.

In even colder conditions, I switch out the running shorts for long johns, but now we're talking about winter-like conditions.


running shorts with liner: underwear is unnecessary and extra weight, running shorts are lightweight, great for hot weather, and double as shorts/underwear when wearing long pants

rain pants: I need them for camp warmth when only bringing shorts. While others may not need extra warmth in the morning, I like morning sunrise and early light photography. They also are nice to have if we get some cold rain.

softshell pants: I used to use nylon supplex zip-off pants (REI Saharas) and I find softshells to be a huge improvement in several ways: 1) Athletic fitting so it doesn't billow in wind, but stretchy so it's not restrictive. 2) Warmer in wind and rain, does a great job at repelling our short rainstorms, and just as cool in hot weather. 3) More durable and protective when off trail in willows and scrambling on rock and talus.

rain skirt: for ~1oz, these should replace rain pants when I need rain protection over my softshells to keep my thighs warm in sustained cold rain.

Edited by lindahlb on 08/01/2011 14:43:31 MDT.

Christopher Yi
(TRAUMAhead) - F

Locale: Cen Cal
Re: Hiking Pants: What do you Wear and why? on 08/01/2011 11:33:22 MDT Print View

Just ordered 2 pairs of these a couple days ago. For the price, couldn't pass trying them.

Been using a pair of Columbia pants that are cotton/nylon. Probably gonna switch to shorts soon.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
Patagonia Traverse on 08/01/2011 11:56:06 MDT Print View

Ill wear shorts unless its pretty chilly and the sun is behind the clouds, but if pants are in order I usually wear my Patagonia Traverse pants, the only slim fitting pant I've found with no .extraneous pockets and zippers, also has an elastic waistband, simplicity defined. They're cut like a semi-fitted running pant, so you can see your footing really well and not catch yourself on branches and such along the trail and off. Comfortable from the low 60's down to below freezing in my experience, pretty versatile.

I'm looking at the Arcteryx Rampart or the Golite Yunnan hiking pant as an option for a more traditional trail pant, the former has a lot of good reviews.

John Crane
(crajoh71) - F
Columbia zip off pant/shorts on 08/01/2011 12:29:05 MDT Print View

+1 on columbia pants. Mine are light weight zip off pants. Great for cold mornings and then once you warm up, zip off and BAM! your cool and comfy in shorts.

Chris S
(csteutterman) - F

Locale: Tahoe
Re: Hiking Pants: What do you Wear and why? on 08/01/2011 12:38:16 MDT Print View

What do you wear?
Patagonia Gi II zip offs.

Light, dry fast, fit me well and they were on sale.

My previous pants were some light columbia zip offs and I did like them a lot, but they didn't fit me as well.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Patagonia Gi II on 08/01/2011 12:49:46 MDT Print View

I'm back to wearing Patagonia Gi II pants. To me, they are a good all around balance. The weight of nylon is quite durable, yet not so heavy that it's slow drying. The dry times aren't as fast as my Patagonia Sol Patrol pants, but they are still good and they seem to be a better compromise. I loved the fast dry times of the Sol Patrol, but fit wasn't as good (too tight in the thighs and too short of inseam) and just a button waist kinda sucks because you really need a belt too. The Gi II's are a good all around hiking pant at a reasonable weight.

- Very Durable
- Fairly Light (10 -11oz)
- Fairly quick dry times
- Solid construction
- Integrated belt keeps them up well

- Rear pockets (I don't need 'em)
- Waist system is a bit heavier than necessary (button + elastic + integrated belt)

Evan McCarthy
(evanrussia) - MLife

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Hiking "Pants" - What do you Wear and why? on 08/01/2011 12:50:05 MDT Print View

You could always check out the great (and not totally serious) kilt thread:

Christopher Holly
(climber72) - F

Locale: At my desk
Kilts! on 08/01/2011 12:51:23 MDT Print View

I prefer a kilt for a number of reasons:

- Zero chaffing or monkey butt (Just add a touch of Body Glide!)
- Easy to layer with minimal time spent (No need to strip to put long johns on!)
- Fast potty breaks with no chance of zipper accidents!
- Great morning shawl to help keep the warm in!
- Great pillow case (just wrap it around a suffsack with clothes in it!)
- Curious looks from passers by (All of whom are thinking about my lack of undies!)
- Very breezy on hot days!

So yeah - kilt it is for me!


(cuzzettj) - MLife

Locale: NorCal - South Bay
RE: "Hiking Pants: Exofficio are my go to. on 08/01/2011 13:00:21 MDT Print View

I have been wearing the Exofficio Amphi pants for years now. They last pretty well, you can find them in zip off or regular. They have enough pockets to do what I need including traveling through airports. I have used them on airfields from Kazakhstan to South America. I have backpacked in them in the Sierras and Montana. They are great in hot water and excellent in cold weather with long underwear. They dry more quickly than normal suplex and are much softer. They are my favorite go to pant for everything.

The price is a bit high but look for sales.

Joslyn Bloodworth
(JoslynB) - F

Locale: Southwest
Always go Columbia on 08/01/2011 14:00:54 MDT Print View

I love Columbia pants (their tops, not so much)and my favorites are their water shorts.,default,pd.html#

Reason I love them is they are meant to be worn as a water activity short so they dry super fast and have mesh for the pocket insides. Also since they are made for water if I'm doing any fording and they get wet there is little to no chaffing due to the wetness.

If it's cooler I do long john's underneath and wind pants over. I just hate how much traditional hiking pants weight and their lack of true versatility.

josh wagner
(StainlessSteel) - F
season on 08/01/2011 14:05:40 MDT Print View

summertime i wear board shorts. they are cheap, dry fast, and really durable. come in 1000 colors and varieties.

cooler temps i currently like eddie bauer's travex pants...

Bob Salcedo
(Baughb) - F

Locale: So Cal.
REI Saharas on 08/01/2011 14:16:31 MDT Print View

Last for years, on sale often, look goofy with mismatched legs.


David Passey
(davidpassey) - F

Locale: New York City
Re: Hiking Pants: What do you Wear and why? on 08/01/2011 14:51:03 MDT Print View

patagonia sol patrol--for hot hiking
patagonia rock guide--for most other hiking

Dan Briggs
(dbriggs9) - F

Locale: Southeast
hiking pants on 08/01/2011 14:59:38 MDT Print View

Outdoor Research Equinox pants. They fit well, are really light, comfortable, and I like the look.

I use the Golite Reed rain pants, for all the same reasons.