Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
pants vs shorts vs convertibles
Display Avatars Sort By:
Chad Webster
(blaktee) - F

Locale: Targhee National Forest
pants vs shorts vs convertibles on 07/08/2012 13:48:59 MDT Print View

I am wondering what you use for backpacking. do you prefer pants or shorts or convertibles. Please include why and what brand you use.

I have seen people in basketball shorts as well, what are your thoughts on these?

pants on 07/08/2012 13:54:23 MDT Print View

convertibles in cold weather where I will most likely leave bottoms on during day. The convertible part is for taking bottoms off on stream crossings

Shorts in warm weather , otherwise pant bottoms are just 1/4 lb of dead wt in pack.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: pants vs shorts vs convertibles on 07/08/2012 13:57:32 MDT Print View

Almost always pants. Cleaner, less sunscreen, insect and brush protection. Too hot for pants=too hot for hiking for me. Up here anyway.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: pants vs shorts vs convertibles on 07/08/2012 13:59:41 MDT Print View

I wear shorts except when it gets below about 30 or 40 F to minimize sweating. Or if there are bugs. If I'm hiking in a lot of sun I might wear pants.

I make my own - Supplex - similar to Roger's article and I have an article in the works.

I don't know if anyone sells Supplex pants, although I have worn some from Ex Officio that are similar enough - nylon, tight weave, kind of a cottony feel.

I would never wear convertibles. I prefer more simple - lighter - drapes better. And I always take one pair of shorts and one pair of pants anyway. If something happened to one I have the other as a backup.

I've worn a swimsuit before. That worked okay, but I prefer the Supplex fabric.

Jason Byers
(JasonB) - F

Locale: Western NC
Re on 07/08/2012 14:00:55 MDT Print View

Haha I was just searching BPL an hour ago for this question and didn't find much. I'm going on a trip in a couple of weeks and I'm considering wearing pants this time to fight bugs. My last trip was a section AT hike in NC and the trail was pretty grown up with grass and I danced around poison ivy a good bit. I was pretty ate up with chiggers and I think it was from the grass brushing my legs. A buddy hikes in basketball shorts in the summer and swears by them. I like the lighter fabric of hiking shorts though.

Stephan Doyle
Re: pants vs shorts vs convertibles on 07/08/2012 14:18:13 MDT Print View

Pants for most of my activities.

Shorts are fine for groomed trails and fair weather.

Daniel Cox
(COHiker) - F

Locale: San Isabel NF
Re: pants vs shorts vs convertibles on 07/08/2012 14:42:54 MDT Print View

Always convertibles. Oddly enough, I can't ever actually remember unzipping them into shorts, but I wear them every time.

I'd much rather carry 4 oz of legs than risk sunburn, my legs are really hairy so sunscreen is a no go. That's gross.

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Convertibles on 07/08/2012 15:14:46 MDT Print View

The bottom of the pants comes off just before I start to hike, and go on in the evening as things cool off.

James McDaniel
pants vs shorts vs convertibles on 07/08/2012 16:48:27 MDT Print View

I'm with Ken.

Years ago, shorts all the time but I've grown to not want to deal with bugs and ticks.

Convertibles are just not comfortable. Especially going uphill.

High quality/performance hiking pants with Permethrin is the way to go.

William Wang
(billwang) - M

Locale: SF Bay Area
Summertime in the sierras - pants on 07/08/2012 16:58:02 MDT Print View

I have switched from convertibles to full time long pants in the sierra during summer. Up there full pants block the sun (which I think makes me cooler) during the day, are warmer at night and protect during bushwacking. Pants are also slightly lighter than convertibles. If I'm swimming a lot, depending no the company, I'll bring some light swim trunks.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Pants and shorts on 07/08/2012 17:02:59 MDT Print View

Never convertibles. Shorts if it's hot and not the desert, long pants the remainder. I view convertibles as a poor compromise. The combination of very light weight running shorts and regular pants weighs about the same as convertibles but there are other advantages. You can wash the pants while wearing the shorts or vice versa, no annoying zippers especially if you sleep in them and overall comfort.

Brett Peugh
(bpeugh) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
pants. on 07/08/2012 18:45:44 MDT Print View

The REI Sahara Pants. If it is hot or for water, I just roll them up to my knee. If it is really hot I just take them off and hike in the Ex Officio Boxers. I know they used to be made out of Supplex and don't know if they still are anymore but it is somme good material.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Re: pants. on 07/08/2012 18:59:29 MDT Print View

"The REI Sahara Pants. If it is hot or for water, I just roll them up to my knee. If it is really hot I just take them off and hike in the Ex Officio Boxers. I know they used to be made out of Supplex and don't know if they still are anymore but it is somme good material."

My pants of choice as well. Hate to say it but I've also done the boxer only gettup a couple times as well.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
shorts on 07/08/2012 19:30:46 MDT Print View

diehard shorts person (until it gets too cold-typically shoulder season)

Steven Hanlon
(asciibaron) - F

Locale: Mid Atlantic
REI Sahara... on 07/08/2012 20:02:47 MDT Print View

i'm a big fan of the REI Sahara converts, but i do not like the current style with the separate belt for back country use. i usually start my morning with the legs on and then remove them as the day warms up. in the evening i put the legs back on and keep the biting things at bay.

the newer model have a longer shorts length and that has caused me some problems since the separate belt doesn't keep them on my waistline with a load of snacks in the side pockets. the zipper drops below my knee and that has led to a near ripping of the seams a few times.

overall, i think convertibles offer more flexibility while on trail without having to dig into the pack to add leg protection. the legs fit into my gaiters just fine. i simply pull them out and up and ta-da, pants!

Edited by asciibaron on 07/08/2012 20:04:12 MDT.

Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
Shorts and pants,no convertibles for me on 07/08/2012 21:56:16 MDT Print View

I wear shorts at all times, with wind pants to go over them in the evening or if it gets cold during the day. My shorts and windpants together are lighter than any convertibles I have found, plus the shorts have liners so I don't need undies with them, making them lighter still. For backcountry ski tours I wear the shorts over long johns, and wind pants over that. When it warms up the windpants come off and I still have pockets for camera and such; when it gets really warm the shorts come off and I ski in just the long johns to keep the sun off.

Ryan Dorn
Pants on 07/08/2012 21:57:45 MDT Print View

I was a long time convertible guy, but since I picked up a pair of prAna Zion Stretch pants, they are pretty much the only thing I wear. I am 100% sold on them.

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Shorts and pants,no convertibles for me on 07/08/2012 22:02:14 MDT Print View

+1 for what Paul said,that is what I do also.

Jen Churchward
(mahgnillig) - F
convertibles on 07/08/2012 23:56:46 MDT Print View

I like having the option of unzipping the legs if I'm too hot so I usually go with convertibles (REI Sahara here too). The zips on the legs don't bother me, and I don't count worn clothing as part of my gear weight, so a couple of extra ounces for zips doesn't bother me. Having said that I plan on getting some of the Columbia bug shield trousers soon and they are not convertible... time will tell if I stick with them or not. I would just treat my Saharas with permethrin... but it does nasty things to cats in its liquid form and I don't want to risk it. I would love for REI to make a version that is already treated!

Serge Giachetti
(sgiachetti) - M

Locale: Boulder, CO
rock guides on 07/09/2012 01:43:44 MDT Print View

Last year I used light running shorts with 2.5 oz wind pants in the pack. Running shorts just feel fast. Wind pants came out for weather or to use as sleep pants in my quilt. Having those 4 oz MB versalites would probably be even better.

This year I've been using patagonia rock guide pants. Not sure which I like better. I like the rock guides because they are more durable off trail. They can easily be rolled up into some sort of manpri configuration if needed. They dry super fast, so no need for rain paints. I also think that my short shorts/merino ninja look might have increased my hitch hiking times last year--the rock guides are more REI/nature valley chic. I do like the simplicity of just wearing/having one pair of paints.

Every convertible pants I've owned, I either broke a zip or lost a leg. I'm also not a fan of futzing around with stuff (thus the do it all rock guides.)