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Hardshell pants, dual purpose, logic check
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Dan D

Locale: Boston, MA
Hardshell pants, dual purpose, logic check on 01/21/2013 09:15:22 MST Print View

Hello all,

I've been lurking on this great forum for awhile and finally ponied up so i can ask a question.

I have two gear-related issues:

1. I wish my winter hiking pants outer layer (REI Taku pants) had full zips so i could take them on and off while hiking. They have pretty good vents, but sometimes i just don't want them on. I'm in New England and my uses are as simple as easy hikes and snowshoeing and as "tough" as Mt. Washington summits.

2. I wish my snowboarding pants were waterproof so i didn't get a soaking wet butt every time i snowboarded. I also get a lot of snow up my back and down my pants, etc. I'm also getting back into skiing for the backcountry aspect and would like some more technical pants for that.

So i've been thinking that i could knock out these two problems with one purchase. Some full zip hardshell bibs. These have been on my radar for a bit and i've been looking for deals.

Yesterday at a shop i found some Rab Latok Salopettes on sale for $260.

My thinking is that these are heavy and bombproof for snowboarding, skiing, waterproof, somewhat breathable, and bibs for back protection. I don't need the side zips for snowboarding/skiing and it sacrificed waterproofness a bit, but i think it'll be ok. I don't mind weight for this purpose.

On the hiking front, they're a little on the heavy side and might be more hardcore than i need. But they are full zips so i can take them on and off easily, and if i slide down Tuckerman's ravine, at least i know my pants will outlive me.

So i guess my question is, does my logic make sense here? Are these pants a good choice or should i keep searching? Thanks all!

Edited by TXBDan on 01/21/2013 09:20:19 MST.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Good Luck on 01/21/2013 09:45:14 MST Print View

My experience was essentially the same, and I found that nothing satisfied both purposes. Snow pants are a lot like rain pants, and you don't hike in rain pants unless you have to because they don't breathe very well. Unzipping them works, but snow pants are still going to be way overkill for spring, summer, and fall hiking.

My happy medium came from getting a pair of quick-drying, highly breathable backpacking pants (I settled on the Mountain Hardwear Mesa). Then, in the winter, I wear a 4-part system. Starting skin out, I wear Under Armour, heavyweight Merino Wool, the MH Mesa pants, and then some half-zip rain pants (GoLite Paclite). With this system, I stay bone dry, I can vent, and I'm warm enough hiking at 0ยบ.

My experience was to sacrifice the snow pants for 3-season hiking stuff and then use it modularly. This was after failing to find a layer that satisfied both, truly. I hope someone here can help you find the perfect piece, but it is not a crime to have awesome, comfortable, and bombproof snowpants and then spend another 50 bucks on some summer hiking trousers. I give the MH Mesa pants 4.5/5, since they get a little static.

Edited by mdilthey on 01/21/2013 09:46:08 MST.

Dan D

Locale: Boston, MA
Follow up on 01/30/2013 14:10:38 MST Print View

So this past weekend i used the Rab bibs on a hike up Mt. Washington. Conditions were 10F at the bottom and -5F at the top with light breezes below treeline and 50-75mph winds above.

Boy do I wish i got bibs earlier. These were fantastic. Granted the conditions were pretty cold, but i had zero overheating or moisture issues in the legs. This is my first Event product so maybe all the breathability hype is true. Totally comfortable all day long and blocked all the wind at the top.

Durability wise, they are constructed with a fairly heavy duty nylon, but they felt light and not stiff or stuffy. We pushed through tight trees, glissaded down some slopes, and scrambled on some rocks. Not even a scuff.I was wearing gaiters so i can't comment on the crampon patch on the inner lower legs.

The best part, though is the bib itself. The softshell material breathed well. The two zipper pockets kept all my snacks warm and in reach. And while not specific to these bibs, the bib in general was awesome for stuffing spare gloves and hats in. And of course, no drafts or snow up the back.

I'm totally pumped about these bibs and can't wait to try them out skiing in a couple weeks.

They're now on sale for $262 at EMS:

Richard Fischel
hardshell pants are so last century (i know, bold statement) on 01/30/2013 19:36:43 MST Print View

people used hardshell pants in the past because there were no good alternative. you wanted to stay warm and dry and that's not a bad thing; but for many, if not most situations hardshell pants are overkill. nowadays, softshells or some of the well thought-out hybrid pants rule. i've tried event and the other laminant wp/b hardshell fabrics and trading breathability v. water proofness, i will take the pair of schoeller dryskin fabric softshell pants every time.

Ben Smith

Locale: Epping Forest
RE "Hardshell pants, dual purpose, logic check" on 01/31/2013 05:18:38 MST Print View

One day someone will mass produce (at a low price) a pair of soft shell pants with a totally WPB butt and knee for snowboarding. I'd love to snowboard in softshell pants but I get too wet. I'd snowshoe in hard shell pants but I'd get too wet (sweat).

I have seen that Patagonia did a soft shell pant with some waterproof parts but it was only for a single season and it was a while back.

Different horses for different courses. You wouldn't go to the park on your powder board and you wouldn't heleski with your jib board. Think you might be best off investing in some different kit for each activity.

Avery S
Two sets of pants on 01/31/2013 10:40:33 MST Print View

I'm with Ben on this one. Trying to find one pair of pants that works for too many scenarios is going to make them not as good at any one job, as well as more expensive. For the $260 price of those eVent hardshell bibs, you could buy non-technical waterproof snowboarding bibs, a pair of softshell pants, and a full-zip pair of rain pants. The softshells and rain pants together would probably weigh less than the bibs anyway for backpacking.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Try these on 01/31/2013 21:49:15 MST Print View

These have a zipper that runs the full length, for ventilation. Saw them in action, they're legit. Having the thighs wide open while snowshoeing while protecting your calves from snow is sweet.