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Winter/All Around hiking/backpacking pants?
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Ryan Lynn
(rmlynn) - F
Winter/All Around hiking/backpacking pants? on 12/09/2011 23:26:49 MST Print View

I do a lot of all around hiking... Being a college student on a budget it is hard to choose one pair of pants for what I am looking to do. I would say I'm cold weather backpacking from november-april (a longer winter). I would like to have a zip off pair too for when I'm sweating in warmer weather. But then I want something breathable too, and waterproof/windproof! Ahh... I just want everything, and I don't know what to do... HELP!

Thanks! =)

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Winter/All Around hiking/backpacking pants? on 12/10/2011 00:30:13 MST Print View

You might want to describe where you operate in the outdoors. Winter in Alaska is a little different from winter in Arizona. I don't think that Alaska has very much of a summer. The military expects troops to operate in lots of different climates, but troops are issued rather different clothing for each area. With that in mind, sometimes military surplus clothing can be very affordable.


Brian Austin
(footeab) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Winter/All Around hiking/backpacking pants? on 12/10/2011 00:33:03 MST Print View

You my friend are SOL.

Best I can offer are cheap polyester leggings. Tights. Fleece. And cheap water proof non breathable zip on off "warm-up" pants. Notice all the layers? This is what you ultimately want anyways.

All told looking $30-$20 long underwear. Tights = $50 or so. Fleece pants = $50 Depending on weight WP pants = about $30-$100. No, they aren't name brand.

Good luck on the full leg seam unzipping or buttons. This is next to impossible to find cheaply. I would say, buy yourself an EXTRA LARGE size, a button kit and slice said monster pants up the side, add said buttons and call it good. By adding the buttons said monster pants just shrunk in size. Its what I did for when I worked in a greenhouse. Oh yea they breath that way as well. WPB pants as far as I am concerned are a waste of money unless you have too much and don't know what to do with it. Proper openings work far better.

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Winter/All Around hiking/backpacking pants? on 12/10/2011 00:37:44 MST Print View

Make your own pants. Tyvek 1443 fabric for waterproof, windproof, breathable, and inexpensive. Ecomesh style side vents with waterproof zippers to make it more breathable yet still waterproof. Convertible bottoms, also with waterproof zippers.

Ike Jutkowitz
(Ike) - M

Locale: Central Michigan
Breathable, waterproof, windproof on 12/10/2011 04:40:15 MST Print View

For winter hiking, I find that I don't really have to mess with my lower layers much (ie at all). My lower body doesn't seem to contribute much to overheating, doesn't get sweaty, and doesn't get cold easily either. For me, the simplest solution has just been a hand-me-down pair of stretchwoven pants I acquired from my in-laws a few years ago. Mine are Obermeyer, but I'd guess the pata simple guides would be pretty similar. I wear a baselayer underneath, and am pretty comfortable hiking or asleep. Not exactly what you were asking for but your New England weather should be pretty similar to what we see here so it might would work for you.

spelt with a t
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
Goodwill on 12/10/2011 09:23:35 MST Print View

Scored two pair of stretchy fleece pants/tights for $5 a piece last week.

Gerry Volpe

Locale: Vermont
pants on 12/10/2011 10:50:07 MST Print View

I've had to economize on clothing as well and as already said there is no one piece for colder times of year. My winter travel is in the Northeast mountains. You can't get the best and most ultralight on the cheap but you can do alright and be light. Both systems assume synthetic or wool boxer briefs($10 wal mart synth). I've accumulated some decent layers at clearance prices over the years but I have also put thought into cheap off the shelf clothing as I work for a non-profit outdoor therapeutic program with a very limited budget. I need full side zips for skis/breathability but if you are able to do without you can save some.

Shoulder seasons:

EMS Zip offs ($30 sale)

Dri ducks ($20 for the set)

Mid weight long underwear (mine are merino and were a gift but you can get poly for $20 at Campmor)

(I am contemplating going back to light shorts and wind pants instead of the zip offs which take longer to dry but have the pockets I love, if you buy at a big box store and cut out the lining you can probably get both for $30 maybe even lighter than zip offs)

$70(reg price if you go with cheap shorts and windpants)


Thin EMS stretch woven pants ($25 clearance as said earlier many tights will perform somewhat similarly for around $50 off the shelf or go with the windpants and a light poly base layer $40 off the shelf walmart/campmor)

EMS full side zip coated WP/B ($30 clearance or $35 regular price from campmor) for rest stops and our highly variable weather

MT Hardwear full side zip puffy pants ($60 Sierra trading post. Harder to find puffy pants cheap off the shelf campmor has fleece pants (full side zip no longer available) $30 that might be ok) camp wear/sleep system

$105(off the shelf)

$155 combined off the shelf

Luke Khuu
shop thirfty on 12/11/2011 01:20:06 MST Print View

Go to the thirft store. I've found rei baseware, patagonia fleece, etc. I currently use a cloud soft shell pants that I got for five bucks and interchange it with a rei or patagonia synth. Depending on the temp. All cost under 20.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
".511" brand nylon pants on 12/11/2011 15:30:54 MST Print View

My nylon heavier .511 double knee pants (W/inner pockets in the knees for neoprene pads) do very well in winter.

I wash them in NikWax DWR and, after drying them, spray with Revivex. They are then very water resistant, wind resistant and tough.

BTW, I would never use zip-off lag pants for winter - ever. If a leg zipper failed you'd be in serious trouble.

Edited by Danepacker on 12/11/2011 15:33:46 MST.