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Pants or no pants for those who run HOT
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Curtis B.
(rutilate) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Pants or no pants for those who run HOT on 07/06/2013 17:51:32 MDT Print View

I hate hiking in pants--I perspire heavily and really struggle with having my legs constricted by damp, inflexible pants, especially when climbing up steeper steps. And yet, on some overgrown trails in Yellowstone and here in New England I've scraped up my legs quite a bit and my shins tend to shine with numerous old scars! And I'm beginning to dislike having my legs stick together at night from leftover sunscreen/DEET when it is too hot to wear thermals to bed. I'm hiking the 100 Mile Wilderness in Maine and for the first time am re-considering my no pants policy.

What are the options to allow ventilation but protect from brush/rocks?

Pants (zipoff zippers irritate my skin and I invariably end up kneeling on a zipper!)
Lightweight, tall gaiters
Durable rain pants for bushwacking (no more DriDucks!)

What solutions have you found?

Edited by rutilate on 07/06/2013 17:52:03 MDT.

michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
re on 07/06/2013 18:01:33 MDT Print View

Shorts and tall socks works for me.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Tights on 07/06/2013 18:10:24 MDT Print View

Definitely use ankle gaiters in Maine.

My solution has been those slippery Under Armour heatgear tights and some running shorts. Not too hot, sun and brush protection, and dries fast.


Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Pants or no pants for those who run HOT on 07/06/2013 18:15:00 MDT Print View

Fairly baggy, lightweight nylon pants work for me, I sweat regardless of wearing pants or shorts. I prefer to stay cleaner and not so scraped up. Articulated knees are a welcomed feature. I'm hairy also. So I don't want to deal with sunscreen and the like either.

I also moved West to get away from that awful East Coast weather. Like going around with a hot, wet towel on. You could be naked and still be a sweaty mess.

Curtis B.
(rutilate) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Tights on 07/06/2013 18:16:33 MDT Print View

Tights are an option I'd not considered. I don't mind wearing tights, but I have resisted out of consideration for those around me. I'm not nearly as svelte as I was about 60 lbs ago! Maybe by February I'll be ready to show off my new bod! :-)

<q>I also moved West to get away from that awful East Coast weather. Like going around with a hot, wet towel on. You could be naked and still be a sweaty mess.</q>
Isn't that the truth! Hiking is very different there vs. here.

I might just have to break down and find some lightweight pants. I've been reading up on people's recommendations in other posts.

Edited by rutilate on 07/06/2013 18:19:49 MDT.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Other option on 07/06/2013 20:49:12 MDT Print View

FWIW, I also love my Mountain Hardwear Mesa pants.

But yeah, I hear you on the tights. Part of me puts them on and thinks "Look at all the cycling I've been doing, ladies..." They're definitely showy.

Edited by mdilthey on 07/06/2013 20:49:58 MDT.

Karen Kennedy
(karenk) - MLife

Locale: NE NSW - Australian subtropics
Sweaty on 07/06/2013 21:52:25 MDT Print View

Not so keen on bush bashing myself, but I deal with the sweaty nighttime thing by washing before bed, or having a "bird bath" i.e. a wipe with a PackTowl or a wet wipe or similar if water is short. Then my night attire if washing has been less than thorough is a pair of Skins capri tights - very breathable and comfortable fabric to wear. In our mild climate they double as my extra longs, spare undies, wash day pants, and post walk/ride/paddle attire.

Very light silk long johns (e.g. Terramar) are also very nice for sleeping.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Re: Tights on 07/06/2013 22:02:06 MDT Print View

Tights for brush protection? Are you being serious here? Summer weight tights will rip instantly. No protection at all.
I do hike in running tights often though. Thin tights are borderline obscene. Thicker winter weight "running" tights just look like tight pants and don't show off your every muscle.

I too have been looking for a better option for hot weather buswacking stuff. On some trips I will carry a pair of pants in my pack. It's a heavy option but on these trips pants are totally necessary and I only use them for a short time. There is no point in wearing pants if they don't serve a purpose, go ahead and throw them in your pack.

In some places gaiters are fine because the brush grows exclusively low to the ground. If you wear really long shorts they could have your entire legs protected.
What about chaps?

Edited by justin_baker on 09/16/2013 16:49:50 MDT.

Ozzy McKinney
(PorcupinePhobia) - F

Locale: PNW
just do it on 07/06/2013 22:26:00 MDT Print View

Kilt and logger socks for the win.

zip on 07/07/2013 07:14:29 MDT Print View

If you need pants, you need pants.
Nothing else provides the level of protection for bushwacking.

You dont need zipoff pants however

You can get long pants much lighter than zip offs

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Pants or no pants for those who run HOT on 07/07/2013 08:31:53 MDT Print View

I'm a fan of Railriders Bone Flats pants. And I also sweat profusely. At least the side mesh panels allow a bit of ventilation that other pants don't.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

My Experience on 07/07/2013 09:21:37 MDT Print View

I get by with the Under Armour tights while bushwhacking. They're so smooth and tightly knit, they don't catch too much, and they're like $20 bucks on sale so I don't have to baby them like I have to baby my wool.

YMMV, but anything short of briars has been fine with the Under Armour.

Jason Mahler
(jrmahler) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Rampart on 07/07/2013 10:03:07 MDT Print View

I did a hike in South Carolina in April. It was low 80s with high humidity and I am a sweaty mess. My arc'teryx ramparts did fantastic to the point that I didn't notice that I was wearing them. My patagonia 2 half zip long sleeve on the other hand wasn't great except when there was a breeze at which point it rocked. Overall, I would go light weight pants. Zip offs drive me nuts because the zipper is usually in a spot that is sliding around a bit.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Pants or no pants for those who run HOT on 07/07/2013 12:43:05 MDT Print View

I go back and forth on this exact issue. For pants: ArcTeryx Rampart (uses the same fabric as Mesa pants) are the coolest pants I have worn. I have heard good things about Rail Rider Eco Mesh pants but not used them myself.

Recently my choice has been to wear trail running shorts, and to carry a pair of BPL Thorofare pants I layer over the shorts when I need some extra protection. When the 2 pairs of Thorofare pants I own wear out I will likely switch to some reasonably durable wind pants.

Edited by verber on 07/07/2013 12:45:18 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Pants or no pants for those who run HOT on 07/07/2013 13:10:19 MDT Print View

I hike a lot in the desert. IMO, there is no worse environment than hiking in canyons choked with Cholla and Catclaw. Catclaw will shred your pants. Sturdy knee high gaiters are too hot. So you just suck it up and deal with it or hike somewhere else or stay home.

Shorts work best in hot weather for keeping you cooler. Can't argue that point.

Rail Riders Eco-Mesh pants ventilate well, but the mesh panels catch on brush easier than conventional pants. Except for winter, when I wear pants it is usually the Rail Riders. I have several pairs and have been using them for about 5 years. I had a pair of Thoroughfare pants -- hot, hot, hot. Sold them.

John Holmes

Locale: SouthEastern US
Re: Pants or no pants for those who run HOT on 07/07/2013 13:35:40 MDT Print View

+1 for super-light wicking long pants. No zip-off legs...what an abomination!

Long pants keep me from getting scratched up by brush, briars, logs, sticks, etc., or burned from too much sun (I am a pale dude). Plus I really hate all the dust and dirt collecting on my lower legs and ankles when hiking in shorts.

I have 2 pair of TNF Meridian pants that I think are 100% perfect. Just wish they were still made and am not looking forward to having to replace them. Best features are an elastic waist (perfect for expanding over extra insulation on the cold months) and a drawstring adjustment. No belts/buckles please, I don't care how low profile. Elastic/drawstrings keep it nice an smooth under the pack belt.

Have a look at ExOfficio Amphi or NeoAmphi pants. Super light, breathable, high UPF, great DWR. The have a built-in mesh brief but you can just cut them out so you can wear your Give'nGo Boxer Briefs :) Only negative is they are not Insect Shield, but you can have that added later:

I also have a pair of NeoAmphi shorts I use for kayaking and LOVE the built in brief. Light and airy.

Edited by jcholmes on 07/07/2013 13:38:21 MDT.

Curtis B.
(rutilate) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Not getting email updates... on 07/14/2013 17:46:33 MDT Print View

For some reason I'm not getting email updates for these conversations. I thought this convo had died and yet there's much more great advice here! Any thoughts as to why I'm not receiving subscribed thread notifications?

In all the threads I've read on this topic, the Arc'Teryx Rampart pants seem to be consistently recommended (perhaps by the same person?! :-) I hate paying dead bird retail prices. Anyone seen any on sale? I've heard that recently they are running undersized. Any experience with this?

Nick-great comment on the eco-mesh pants snagging. Given this limitation, do you still wear the eco-mesh or some other Rail Riders?

John-I was actually looking at the ExOfficio Amphi pants. They don't mention a 4-way stretch, like their Kukura or Trail Roam'r pants. Do they stretch much? I had no idea that you could have Insect Shield applied to your own stuff. That is way cool!

I need light, quick drying, stretch fabric, with at least one cargo pocket. So far that seems to be the Arc'Teryx Rampart, ExOfficio Kukura or Roam'r pants. Any others?

Are the eco-mesh or the amphi pants stretchy at all? I hate having wet pants stick to me and threaten to tear out when I take a knee-busting step.

To the best of my understanding, the Patagonia Tropical Flats or sol patrol, RailRiders Eco-Mesh, ExOfficio Amphi, Montane Terra are not stretch fabric.

Curtis B.
(rutilate) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Considering gaiters? on 07/14/2013 17:50:24 MDT Print View

I'm also considering a pair of eVent or PacLite gaiters similar to what MLD makes. My wife has a very simple pair of PacLite gaiters that have velcro closure and a hook loop for the toe of the boot. I wear shorts that come nearly to my knee and the gaiters might weight less than an extra pair of pants.

What are your thoughts on this option?

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Not getting email updates... on 07/14/2013 17:51:23 MDT Print View

Yes, the EcoMesh are my go to pants, but I wear shorts most of the time. I highly recommend the EcoMesh.

As to the subscription... Only Ken Thompson cares that this kind of stuff doesn't work on BPL, but he can't fix it. :(

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Not getting email updates... on 07/14/2013 17:55:02 MDT Print View

I don't get thread updates unless I don't have a browser window open to BPL when a post is made. I think it knows when you are here and doesn't bother you then.

Thanks Nick.

Edited by kthompson on 07/14/2013 17:55:43 MDT.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: Re: Pants or no pants for those who run HOT on 07/14/2013 18:00:19 MDT Print View

Ill second the arcteryx rampart pants. Love em...but they are super hard to find the women's version. The men's seem to be more available and occasionally on sale.

I am a hike-in-shorts kinda gal tho. But I love the ramparts.

(RobertM2S) - M

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Is Nick bow-legged? on 07/14/2013 18:06:41 MDT Print View

The mesh on the RailRiders runs along the inside of the legs. Nick must have Extreme Bowleggedness :) Love my Bone Flats.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Is Nick bow-legged? on 07/14/2013 18:10:39 MDT Print View

"Nick must have Extreme Bowleggedness"

Don't say that. Say that he is saddle-ready.


Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Nick's Railriders on 07/14/2013 18:12:13 MDT Print View

Eco mesh pants have the mesh on the outside. Bone Flats have on both inner and outer sides.

Curtis B.
(rutilate) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Is Nick bow-legged? on 07/14/2013 18:12:30 MDT Print View

"Nick must have Extreme Bowleggedness"

"Don't say that. Say that he is saddle-ready."

That's one of the funniest things I've ever read!

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Is Nick bow-legged? on 07/14/2013 18:24:47 MDT Print View

"The mesh on the RailRiders runs along the inside of the legs."

Really? Mine must be defective.

Eco mesh

Shawn Bearden
(ShawnB) - F - MLife

Locale: SE Idaho
+1 rampart on 07/14/2013 18:31:30 MDT Print View

+1 Rampart. I got mine on huge sale at the Seattle REI a couple of years ago. I hate dead bird prices and think its worth it on only a small amount of their technical gear. But, I would even pay full price when I need to replace these pants. They are hot and I sweat like crazy but a quick wipe up at camp and all is fresh(ish) again.

(RobertM2S) - M

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Dumb me on 07/14/2013 19:47:02 MDT Print View

I was thinking of my Bone Flat shirts. I don't THINK they have it on the outside.
I forgot about the two locations on the pants. But it was a funny visual image.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Pants or no pants for those who run HOT on 07/14/2013 19:49:09 MDT Print View

I've been landscaping my back yard wearing shorts most of the time and my shins have the battle scars to prove it, so I feel your pain!

Ex Officio makes several model pants with UL fabrics. They also offer some with permethrin treatment to battle the bugs.

Other than RailRiders, Solumbra makes (expensive) vented pants:

Columbia Silver Ridge pants have a fabric that works well for me with a very dry feel and durability has been good. Their zip-off models have no ankle zippers, so one less thing to kneel on. Giving your pant leg a tug before kneeling is one way to get more slack and clear the zipper from harm's way.

UL tall gaiters are hard to find. I think the trend is to short gaiters for UL use and more armor plated versions for with standing ski edges, snowshoes and crampons. All the coated models will be hot, so that would be one step forward and two back. It sounds like a MYOG project otherwise. Old school gaiters were often made with 60/40 cloth, but they would still be hot. Perhaps Dirty Girl could custom make a tall pair for you?

I liked the tall socks idea for skin protection with some prayer of breathability. Cheap and easy too. The Boy Scouts, British troops and kilt wearers have done it for decades if not centuries.

Over the years, a few manufacturers have made pants with buttons and loops so you could roll up your pant legs with some hope of having them stay up. It wouldn't be hard to add the same to an existing pair.

Lots of durable rain pants, but not light ones. GoLite Trinity pants are 3 layer with heavier fabric in the seat, knees and ankles and are 13.4oz in a medium size (and discontinued). I've been of a mind that cheaper rain pants like Red Ledge and Sierra Designs are basically sacrificial stuff-- use 'em, patch 'em and toss 'em. I find Kirkland brand (Costco) rain pants fairly often in thrift stores and they make a cheap sacrificial rain pant option.

Once you get to rain pants, the lighter breathable gaiters are a more practical option for lower leg protection--- assuming it is colder when wetter. Outdoor Research has lots of options:

Mark Hurd
(markhurd) - M

Locale: South Texas
Another vote for the RailRiders Eco-Mesh Pants on 07/14/2013 21:14:52 MDT Print View

The RailRiders Eco-Mesh Pants are very light (10.0 oz) with zippered mesh along outside seam of legs. Wear them all the time in humid hot south Texas. Breath well, take a beating and still look good. Have been using my present pair x about 4 years and they are in great shape. If it cools off then zip up the sides and paired with tights in the winter go into the 20's F.

Edited by markhurd on 07/14/2013 21:17:04 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Another vote for the RailRiders Eco-Mesh Pants on 07/14/2013 21:18:16 MDT Print View


In airports the side mesh panel zipper triggers the TSA security machines.

Now IF the mesh panel was on the inside,

and IF the pat-down person was a woman, it would be fun.

Michael Gillenwater
(mwgillenwater) - M

Locale: Seattle area
ExOfficio Ventr pants on 07/15/2013 05:49:15 MDT Print View

I'm surprised no one has mentioned the ExOfficio Ventr pants. Very light and similar to the Railrider boneflats. I found the latter to fit like a trash bag. Too baggy on me. But the Ventr fit good and breath well. They are now my go to summer hiking pants because I dislike getting my legs scraped up and hate putting on sunscreen.

Stephen Komae
(skomae) - MLife

Locale: northeastern US
+1 Rampart on 07/15/2013 16:25:53 MDT Print View

I love my Arc'teryx Rampart pants as well. They are comfortable under a lot of varying conditions, I just wish I hadn't gotten them in a muddy green color. I don't think I've ever worn a pair of pants that came close, although I do also like the Prana Zion Stretch (heavier, but less techy looking).