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Rain Pants State of the Market Report
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Maia Jordan
(maia) - MLife

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Rain Pants State of the Market Report on 05/29/2012 21:34:51 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Rain Pants State of the Market Report

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Rain Pants State of the Market Report on 05/29/2012 22:23:49 MDT Print View

I've never particularly felt the need for breathable rain pants. I've used non-breathable ones for years and never have sweat in them, even when I had to remove the jacket because I was sweating like a pig!

I did pick up a pair of GoLite Reeds just before they disappeared from the market. They are very nice, but I really can't tell the difference between them and my silnylon rain pants, except that the Reeds are warmer in winter.

Interesting report, though, and I'll keep it in mind for future reference!

Edited by hikinggranny on 05/29/2012 22:25:51 MDT.

John Whynot

Locale: Southeast Texas
Re: Rain Pants State of the Market Report on 05/30/2012 06:40:04 MDT Print View

Good report -- I just picked up a pair of Marmot Essence rain pants to replace my GoLite Reeds (I lost weight, so the Reeds no longer fit).

I find that I need rain pants far less often than I need a rain jacket, so I am OK with trading durability for less weight...

christopher smead
(hamsterfish) - MLife

Locale: hamsterfish
Great report! on 05/30/2012 10:52:32 MDT Print View

I have the MB versalite pants and so far love them. I did however find out that Montbell is recalling all of them due to an issue with the welding of the seams, so I'm not sure I could trust them for a long rainy trip.
MB is offering full refunds including shipping, so it's at least good that they are trying to make things right.

Randy Cain
(bagboy) - MLife

Locale: Palmdale, CA
Where to buy Montbell VersaLite??? on 05/30/2012 11:04:11 MDT Print View

I found one site selling the large Montbell VersaLites, but that's it. I need a medium. Can't find anyplace to buy them:((((((((

Ahhhhhhhh, I just saw the post above mine indicating a recall on all of them, which would explain why they don't even have the pants listed on their website.

Edited by bagboy on 05/30/2012 11:09:57 MDT.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Deep Frreze
Big Feet on 05/30/2012 12:13:48 MDT Print View

Great article.

I would love the weight savings of having rain trousers with 1/4 zips but with size 13 feet means they are a pain to get on so use 3/4 zippers.

Jouni Mäkinen
Missing items on 05/30/2012 12:21:38 MDT Print View

You've missed imo the two top contenders for light rain pants: The Montane Minimus pants (125g) and Rab Kinetic pants (180g). Both made of Pertex shield plus so at least on paper they should be more than twice as breathable as the Atomic pants.

Greg Letts
(gletts) - F - M

Locale: Northern California
Golite on 05/30/2012 13:08:40 MDT Print View

"I remember selling GoLite backpacks back in the mid ‘90’s..." Hmmm, the co was founded in 1999, with no significant retailer deliveries until 2000.

Jeffrey List
(jlist) - M

Locale: Cape Cod
rain pants that fit the long-legged and thin? on 05/30/2012 14:30:45 MDT Print View

"This brings up a general fit consideration for rain pants in general. Manufacturers tend to produce rain pants with an inseam of roughly 32 inches (81+ cm)"

Very true. Even when you buy "x-large."

My question is, are there any lightweight rain pants sold that would fit someone with 36 inch inseam and 32 inch waist (like me)? I've found nothing.

(robertaagard) - F
Montbell Thunderhead on 05/30/2012 14:42:55 MDT Print View

Have the Thunderhead jacket and thought the Paclite/Proshell distribution was weird as well. Talked to Montbell and they stated the rational being that the paclite has some inherent stretch so they placed that in articulated areas to facilitate movement, ie knees, shoulders/elbows, but if it were me, I would have done just the opposite as you suggest.

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: rain pants that fit the long-legged and thin? on 05/30/2012 14:52:36 MDT Print View


Edited by annapurna on 05/30/2012 14:58:12 MDT.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Deep Frreze
Re: rain pants that fit the long-legged and thin? on 05/30/2012 16:42:58 MDT Print View

Hi Jeffrey,

I am the same measurements as you and my Large Rab Event Bergens fit me perfectly, they are a bit heavier than the trousers in the article due to the 3 layer construction and 3/4 side zip.



Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
responses on 05/30/2012 20:26:47 MDT Print View

Hi, all-

Man, I hadn't heard anything about a recall on the Versalite. Super bummer, awesome pant, and I've had no problems with mine!

We're not always able to procure each and every model of an item on the market. Sometimes the manufacturer doesn't have the product available, or maybe we're already testing other pieces of gear from them, or the product availability somehow didn't jive with the beginning of testing, or or or... We focus on doing an awesome job with the materials available :P

Greg, I'd never make it as a historian! Dates are a bit vague for me. I worked in the mid/late 90s (roughly 96-98?) & roughly '03-04. Not sure of the exact date of the images in my mind of the little Golites hanging next to the Danas, but it would've been somewhere in that time. If it was the second phase, I guess the packs had been hanging around the shop, unsold, for a while. Which, er, just sorta reinforces my point ;)

Robert, I thought I felt a bit of stretch in the Paclite, and I thought that might have been what they were thinking by using it in the knee, but... really? Ever watch NCIS? Gibbs giving Tony a head slap? Just a weird use of the fabric.

In case I was unclear, I do wear rain pants in the summer... but if I do, it's pretty much only in camp, after the days hiking is done and things are cooling off.

Kelly graepel
Montane DT pant (and Minimus!) on 05/30/2012 21:19:30 MDT Print View

Legs generally have less sub-q vasculature and sweat glands than say the arms; and thus don't overheat as quickly so breathability isn't usually the issue. So I usually keep mine packed unless in really poor conditions or bushwhacking in the N.Cascades, where pants shine at keeping wet brush from soaking your under layer.

I brought a pair of Montane Atomic DTs a proposed high-orbit of Rainier. I waffled over these or a pair of ArcT with full side zips, but in the end brought the DT's. Winter conditions turned us back, but we saw some pretty hairy stuff: deep powder, snow, sleet, rain—general crap. Pertex was great; everything beaded off well.

These pants have some unique articulation seaming around the knees. Love the pant leg Velcro strips.

Montane flosses a line between fast and light and just pure fast. Though the DT's appeared to have a cut for endurance riding/running, they seemed to do the trick up high. They do have a 4(.4)oz pair - Minimus; have them but I haven't tried them yet.

My in-laws used the VersaLites on a 150-K hike in Europe - the jacket completely wetted out. Not surprised to hear about a recall.

Warren Greer
(WarrenGreer) - F

Locale: SoCal
Nice article on 05/30/2012 21:33:24 MDT Print View

I really liked the Montane Atomic DTs and would appreciate them even more if they came in at a similar weight to the Montbell VersaLite.

Rick M
(rmjapan) - F

Locale: London, UK
Versalite recall on 05/30/2012 22:23:14 MDT Print View


Edited by rmjapan on 06/19/2015 08:08:40 MDT.

William Johnsen
(sixoclocknews) - F
Re: Report on 05/31/2012 11:24:42 MDT Print View

This is the first SotMR I've read so maybe I don't really know what to expect. Was it supposed to be a test of the current models of pants or an overview of what lightweight items are available? If the latter, it seems like all you'd have to do is comb over the offerings on the web of the different companies. If it's supposed to be a test of the current models it's seems to be lacking. Despite a lengthy intro, I still didn't know what size (besides the inseam) the author was. Like what size waist or normal size he is. True medium, closer to a small/large, etc? Objective measurements of the pants would have been nice to see how they compare. I think a consolidated spreadsheet at the end w/key points would have been nice for the skimmers. Another thing that would have been nice would be to know what conditions and how long (days and miles) the pants were used for. A lack of a review of the Minimus pants was also disappointing. BPL needs to flip the market upside down and come up with an objective breathability test for WPB fabrics...

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F

Locale: NW Montana
Re: Breathability Test on 05/31/2012 16:01:40 MDT Print View

This is for jackets, but it ought to apply well.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Report on 05/31/2012 22:28:42 MDT Print View

Hi William

> BPL needs to flip the market upside down and come up with an objective breathability
> test for WPB fabrics...
What a nice idea.
Now, if someone could provide the funding for this I am sure we could do it. Say, about $50k for a start?

The market has N definitions of 'breathability', where N is a number similar to the number of gear vendors out their. Every vendor makes up a slightly different definition for themselves. Strangely, each vendor's definition seems to put their own products at the top of the ranking.

Equaly strange is that practical field experience says that ALL WP/B fabrics sweat badly when you are going uphill.

Equally, there are quite a few definitions for 'waterproof'. Same comments apply.


William Johnsen
(sixoclocknews) - F
Re: Re: Re: Report on 06/01/2012 09:44:27 MDT Print View

Hi Roger,
Just out of curiosity, what would you do with 50k toward developing an objective test?

I know the marketing department of all these companies work to hype their products, and isn't that the point of a report like this? To help decipher some of the bs? Saying the breathability all seemed about the same is okay (since the magic test hasn't been created), but were they all tested under the same conditions? If so what conditions were they? (a lot of the pictures look to be in cold, clear conditions if that's how they were tested it would be nice to know). What is the face fabric of each of the pants? How long/how many washes were done to the pants, ie was the DWR still fresh? (maybe they outperformed since they were still new).

Testing to see how waterproof something is shouldn't be as difficult.

There just seemed to be a lot of things missing, unless the motto at BPL is all WPB suck which should be stated and then calls to question why even do something like this report? It seems more like a fit guide but still with out key objective data.