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Lower Body Clothing System
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Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Insight on 04/12/2013 18:05:19 MDT Print View

ngatel posted earlier,

"My experience is that no single piece works in most conditions/weather."


Rick M
(rmjapan) - F

Locale: London, UK
Re: Insight on 04/12/2013 19:27:27 MDT Print View


Edited by rmjapan on 06/19/2015 12:24:27 MDT.

Bill Segraves
(sbill9000) - F - M
Re: Lower Body Clothing System on 04/12/2013 19:54:48 MDT Print View

After trying a pretty fair number of things, I was surprised to find myself gravitating back toward pretty ordinary lightweight nylon hiking pants. Any of a variety of the usual brands, based mostly on fit and what's available. In my experience, the lighter weight fabrics are fine, and these will come in at ~ 8 oz.

They provide sun and mosquito protection when needed, can handle a beating while bushwacking, scrambling, etc., are warm enough when it's cold (down to freezing or a bit lower even without leaving on the long underwear I tend to wear on really cold trips), are fast-drying, and are reasonably comfortable in most warm weather conditions.

I used to wear zip-off versions, but when I counted off the time since I'd zipped 'em off in years, I ditched 'em. YMMV. Not many of my heat or cold sensors seem to have been allocated to my legs. As long as my pants are loose-fitting, I don't tend to notice them much. I'm more picky about footwear and upper body clothing.


Bill S.

Sean Monahan
(Zvolen) - F

Locale: CA Central Valley
Re: Re: Insight on 04/15/2013 17:37:59 MDT Print View

Rick-- to be fair I wasn't looking for a consensus I knew there would be variances of opinion, which is actually what I wanted since I was so unsure. I wanted to see the pros and cons of each from different users which is why I brought it to the forum.

Unfortunately I don't have much in the 'closet' as you mentioned and don't really plan to purchase much excessive gear or even replacement gear until I do get some on the trail experience, shoot I am still using my 6.5 lbs pack for the time being. I just needed the essentials and am on a tight budget which is why I was looking for versatile gear. I knew jeans wouldn't cut it.

Anyways based off the responses the major negative towards zip offs is the added weight for the most part they perform as well and at time better than others if you are willing to carry the weight. Since currently weight is a non issue to me I think I will give the zip offs a try -- they will be used as shorts in the summer and pants in the shoulder seasons.

Its I just went out this past weekend I was able to determine which temp I might need pants and was surprised at my warm. Okay separate question now, if I am planning to use these as two pieces of clothing meaning I will carry as shorts and carry as pants would it be best to just buy separately -- meaning buy convertible type pants but arent zip offs, do they even sell those?

lower on 04/15/2013 18:12:07 MDT Print View

zip offs are definitely heavier
But they do have function.

Cargo pockets are great for carrying items you frequently need. Camera, map,guidebook pages, etc.

If you keep camera in pack or hip pocket zipped up, you will miss quick pics of wildlife.

Anything besides 1) UL shorts 2) long underwear 3) rain pants is dead weight

Wind pants are a redundant item.
You might be more comfortable hiking in them than rain pants
but they are still a redundant item you dont actually need.

Nico .
(NickB) - MLife

Locale: Los Padres National Forest
lower body clothing system on 04/15/2013 18:42:54 MDT Print View

I have way more options than I care to admit, but the set-up I use most frequently is a pair of wicking boxer briefs with a thin, light pair of running shorts (liner removed) over them. For insulation/weather protection I'll carry a thin pair of tights and a pair of wind pants.

For shorts, I like the Patagonia Nine Trails (about 5 oz) although most any light running short would work fine. I prefer to hike in shorts whenever possible as I put out a lot of heat while hiking and my legs don't get all that uncomfortable from wet or cold while I'm moving. The Nine Trails are a reasonable length inseam, have a good DWR treatment and dry fast when wet.

For insulation, I like to use a thin pair of capilene tights (usually either cap 2 or 4- about 5 oz). These are mostly worn in camp and are only very occasionally worn while hiking/biking under my shorts.

For light rain/snow protection and to add a little protection from cold wind, I carry a pair of the Montbell Dynamo wind pants (about 2.5 oz). These have proven to be reasonably durable over the last couple of years and they have zippered leg openings so I can slip then on/off over my shoes.

So in most cases, my entire lower body clothing system (worn + packed) weighs in under a pound and covers my needs for 90% of my trips.

There are times though when shorts or wind pants don't cut it...
For example, I'll switch to pants, typically a light soft shell style, for dedicated snow trips or cold weather heavy bushwhacking trips. Similarly, if I plan to be out during a sustained rainstorm, I'll switch out light rain pants or chaps for the wind pants.

Never been a big fan of the zip offs. I have a pair but they haven't been used in a couple of years. I just found them to be a hassle to zip on/off, heavy, and generally not as comfortable. YMMV.