November 20, 2015 8:16 PM MST - Subscription purchasing, account maintenance, forum profile maintenance, new account registration, and forum posting have been disabled
as we prepare our databases for the final migration to our new server next week. Stay tuned here for more details.
Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
to rain pant or not?
Display Avatars Sort By:
Brett Peugh
(bpeugh) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
to rain pant or not? on 04/25/2012 09:51:49 MDT Print View

I have a pair of rain pants but usually find myself always using a trash bag rain skirt. What do people actually use rain pants for? Snow? A second pair of pants?

Nathan Watts
(7sport) - MLife
Re: to rain pant or not? on 04/25/2012 09:58:48 MDT Print View

camp, since I hike in shorts mostly - and I'm usually too lazy to put on rain pants on the move unless it's continuous downpour. And if I'm really moving fast I don't even bother, just stick with the shorts unless it's uncomfortably cold.

Kevin Babione
(KBabione) - MLife

Locale: Pennsylvania
To Rain Pant or Not on 04/25/2012 10:16:58 MDT Print View

Here's when the guys I hike with don their rain pants:
- When it's raining and looks like it will continue for some time
- If it's recently rained and the trail is overgrown and we find ourselves walking through a lot of wet, low brush
- In camp if it's buggy and they were hiking in shorts
- As a wind blocker if it's cold and/or damp

I have a pair of the MLD Cuben Rain Chaps that I've never actually worn on the trail (even though I've hiked in the rain a bunch). I always carry them if we have rain in the forecast just in case, but I've found that my nylon hiking pants either repell enough water or dry quickly enough that I've simply not needed the chaps. At 43 grams (about 1.5 ounces) I don't mind carrying them and I'm sure I'll probably need them one of these days.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: To Rain Pant or Not on 04/25/2012 10:40:08 MDT Print View

+1 on Kevin's list, although it is usually too hot if there are bugs. I've walked brushy trails with heavy morning dew that was as soaking as any rain shower, like a waist high car wash :)

If it looks like it is going to be an all-day cold drizzle affair, then wearing rain pants with silk weight long johns makes a great combo, keeping the cold fabric off my legs and making them slippery inside for easier movement. The all-day drizzle is a Pacific NW state of being, rather than the big thunder showers you might get in the Midwest and East Coast. It can rain all day and not add up to 0.25" precip! It is more like hiking in a cold sauna and everything you brush against is dripping.

For mid-summer stuff, a poncho and tall gaiters makes a good combo, managing the mud and leaving just a small gap, if any, between the poncho and gaiter tops.

Zack Freije
(oldskool) - F

Locale: Ohio
not really on 04/25/2012 18:57:12 MDT Print View

I have a pair of lightweight rain/wind proof pants. I've worn them only once and that was in 10 degrees + snow. I regretted it. My pants underneath were soaked through by the end of the hike. I find them WAY too hot.

I use them now only for sitting around the campsite in rain or snow.

I plan to get a cuben fiber rain skirt instead. I considered the rain chaps, but again, I was worried they'd be way too hot.

Recently, I hiked all day in the rain and I wore shorts, a rain jacket and gaiters + goretex shoes. My feet were perfectly dry, my legs got wet, but dried off. Predictably, my thighs got soaked (shorts) which dried fairly quickly, but was a bit uncomfortable as the brush kept soaking them. I think the rain skirt is the key.

Colin Parkinson

Locale: Ontario Canada
Rain Pants on 04/25/2012 19:38:42 MDT Print View

I use rain pants when it is cool/cold and raining.

I rather be warm and wet than cold and wet.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: Rain Pants on 04/25/2012 19:45:38 MDT Print View

For a couple of more ounces you can get rain pants with full length zips - excellent venting in the rain. So I am warm and dry in the rain - not warm and wet.

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
to rain pant or not? on 04/26/2012 00:34:36 MDT Print View


Edited by skopeo on 09/08/2015 16:57:10 MDT.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
What Mike sez on 04/26/2012 00:49:22 MDT Print View

I agree with Mike's comments. I carry my PacLite GTX rain pants in the Sierra Nevada and especially the Rockies for protection from heavy downpours and all day rains. YEah, 15 oz. but when needed really worth it.

Nice in the rare late summer snows and I can vent them a quite bit by unzipping the lower leg zips in snow conditions or drizzle and non-windy rain.

And I ALWAYS carry my light REI Kimtah eVent parka in the mountains. It's basic survival clothing.

BTW, if this "NEVER WET" DWR treatment ever becomes commercially available wind pants would serve as excellent rain pants when treated. That stuff is truly amazing. GOOGLE it and check it out. Chocolate syrup runs right off white sneakers!

Edited by Danepacker on 04/27/2012 13:35:15 MDT.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: to rain pant or not? on 04/26/2012 00:51:45 MDT Print View

My rain pants weigh 2.45 ounces, so there is little reason to leave them behind.

I think I use them for wind/warmth more than anything else.


Angelo Radano

Locale: New England
No rain pant on 04/26/2012 08:05:17 MDT Print View

I skip the rain pants in 3 season hiking. I pack a pair of Montbell Dynamo wind pants which have a DWR treatment. They will wet through but I stay warm in them on the move and when I get to camp I change out of them.

I love these pants.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Always when its cold on 04/26/2012 08:43:35 MDT Print View

I always carry them if its cold. I know you sweet some under them but trust me that is way better than having 50 degree water running down your legs all day long in the rain. If your legs are too cold the muscles will tighten up and you'll fatigue faster. Also I rarely carr long underwear bottoms or insulated pants. If an evening is a bit colder than normal my rain pants add a lot of warmth.

Tim Drescher
(timdcy) - M

Locale: Gore Range
Re: Re: to rain pant or not? on 04/26/2012 10:50:32 MDT Print View

"My rain pants weigh 2.45 ounces, so there is little reason to leave them behind."

So, I'll ask the obvious... What kind of pants do you have?

I think I tend to use my Golite Reeds more for extra warmth and when I'm walking through wet brush, than during actual downpours.

I'll always bring mine in a wet climate.

Diplomatic Mike

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Yea or nay on 04/26/2012 12:24:21 MDT Print View

Oh to hike in a climate where leaving them behind was a choice! :)

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: to rain pant or not? on 04/26/2012 12:41:40 MDT Print View

"What kind of pants do you have?"

It came out of the Liberty Ridge wind pants kit from Thru-Hiker. The fabric is about half waterproof and about half breathable. For my legs, that is about right.


Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Deep Frreze
Re: Yea or nay on 04/26/2012 12:43:01 MDT Print View

I hear you Mike,

I was out for 5 days in Ireland last week and used mine for about 5 hours and was glad to have them :-)

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
to rain pant or not? on 04/26/2012 13:08:10 MDT Print View

Cold rain, snow, wet brush/tall grass when cold, wind with above, a combo of all. At high altitudes (Cascades, Rockies) this often happens, although the soggy brush/tall grass to waist height or higher is more characteristic of the Cascades. Even overnight dew in fair weather is enough to make them soggy!

If it's warm, I just get wet--nylon supplex and its relatives dry really fast.

I've met enough cold, wet, windy conditions in the past that I never go without my rain pants. In warmer climates, I might feel differently.

Edited by hikinggranny on 04/26/2012 13:10:40 MDT.

mik matra
(mikmik) - M

Locale: Allways on the move
hate getting wet on 04/26/2012 15:23:18 MDT Print View

I reeeeeally don't like getting wet while camping, it kind of puts a big minus through the experience for me. Water rolls off your jacket top straight onto your bottom half. No thanks :(. Plus we generally go in the cooler months so wet and cold and my trip is ruined.