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Backpacking Tights - Part 2
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Maia Jordan
(maia) - MLife

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Backpacking Tights - Part 2 on 08/20/2013 18:27:50 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Backpacking Tights - Part 2

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
cheap on 08/20/2013 19:27:00 MDT Print View

why doesnt one go to a discount store and buy some of those cheap synthetic long johns/sport tights ???

MEC sells the T-series long johns starting from 32$ ... i use the old T2/T3 myself and they are as durable as the cap4/R1 tops

you can probably find even cheaper stuff at yr outlet discounts or targets champion brand ...


Lars Laird Iversen
(larslaird) - M
Anyone know about Sporthill SP3? on 08/21/2013 00:36:28 MDT Print View

My local running store has a thing for Sporthills material SP3 and claim its the best thing since toast. I'm an impressionable guy, so I'm considering buying a pair of tights from there. But since this article came up, and lots of people here know just about all there is to know, I thought I'd learn some more first. Any takers?

EDIT: to add link.

Edited by larslaird on 08/22/2013 01:25:11 MDT.

Sara Marchetti
(smarchet) - MLife
Real men. on 08/21/2013 12:52:47 MDT Print View

Real men wear tights without shorts!

That being said, I'll give it a try. I'm a trail runner so I'm not a stranger to wearing tights. I haven't wore them backpacking. The only downside I see is mosquitoes and biting flies. I think that most tights won't deflect them.

GK Lott
(gklott) - MLife

Locale: Texas Hill Country
Original tights on 08/21/2013 16:07:18 MDT Print View

Hind invented the unisex lyrca/nylon sport tight in the 1980's. The Hind product has been gradually improved, and it is available at multiple retailers in a variety of colors - not just the drab gray or black. It is considered a team sport item. There are various lengths and fabric weights. Have used them for years hiking, biking, speed walking, etc. Can recommend for anyone considering tights. Hind also has a unique tight called the Dry-lete that is also available, but not in the color variety.

Excellent article. I commend you for bring up tights as backcountry clothing.

Edited by gklott on 08/22/2013 05:35:32 MDT.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
tights on 08/21/2013 19:44:19 MDT Print View

thanks for the article, wasn't familiar w/ any of the tights you've highlighted

for winter (some shoulder season) conditions I've found the OR Radiant Hybrid tights to work very well- they are a tighter, thicker fleece front w/ a very good DWR, the rear is a much more breathable fleece, they fit a looser than most tights, but enough spandex they definitely are tights- they have zipped pockets and zipped ankles as well

my other "tights" that see a lot of action are my R1 "pants", again a little looser than most tights, but still enough spandex that they fit like tights

Damien Tougas
(dtougas) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Gaspé Peninsula
Re: tights on 08/21/2013 19:56:23 MDT Print View

Mike, those OR tights you describe sound similar in design to the Craft PXC Storm Tight, although the Storm Tight is really warm, I would never consider wearing them in anything but winter. For really cold conditions though, the design of a windproof front with a breathable back is really nice.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - M

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Backpacking Tights - Part 2 on 08/21/2013 20:19:36 MDT Print View

I posted this in the other thread, but to anyone looking for tights with abrasion resistance, try some baseball pants.

Damien Tougas
(dtougas) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Gaspé Peninsula
Re: Backpacking Tights - Part 2 on 08/21/2013 20:40:36 MDT Print View

Although I have never tried them, I wonder if equestrian tights would also be more abrasion resistant as well?

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Backpacking Tights - Part 2 on 08/21/2013 20:44:57 MDT Print View

"I posted this in the other thread, but to anyone looking for tights with abrasion resistance, try some baseball pants."

Oh, the fashion potential for this one...


Craig Gulley
(cgulley) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
tights and fit on 08/22/2013 16:09:12 MDT Print View

I find most of the tights especially the Golite to have a very short inseam to waist length. they don't feel like they naturally sit on your waist but instead ride on your hips or just above, giving the feeling they are always falling down or worse putting too much pressure where it shouldn't be lower down! I found that the standard REI version of their fleece tights are the best fit and come in different fabric weights, I would like to try more RAB and Montane products as they seem to have the features down for backpackers/hikers, but access to those products is limited in the US, at least in my area of the country.

folecr r
(folecr) - M
inseam length and fit on 08/23/2013 11:10:29 MDT Print View

I have a short inseam and long torso and have found that there are very few tights that fit me.

The one I end up wearing most often is this (no longer on the icebreaker site. Probably because it's winter gear.)

Technically these are thermals for skiing and are designed to end at the shin - the ski sock taking up the insulation slack. They work really well under shorts in the backcountry. There is a heavier version too that is more suited for colder weather.

Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
Re: Backpacking Tights - Part 2 on 08/24/2013 11:53:48 MDT Print View

Damien - Where in your spectrum would a pair of Polarstretch tights fit?

Damien Tougas
(dtougas) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Gaspé Peninsula
Re: Re: Backpacking Tights - Part 2 on 08/24/2013 15:58:43 MDT Print View

Thats's a tough question, I don't know that all Power Stretch fabrics are the same. Probably somewhere between mid to heavy depending on how thick the pile is. Some of the Power Stretch fabrics I have seen don't seem particularly abrasion resistant though, which also means they won't resist much wind either - but again there may be versions with more tightly woven face fabrics.

Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: Backpacking Tights - Part 2 on 08/24/2013 16:14:05 MDT Print View

What I have - and all the powerstretch I am familar with - is around the weight of 100 weight fleece or of expedition weight long johns. Smooth nylon knit face, and as you say not likely to be very abrasion resistant - it pills fairly easily. Not very wind resistant, but will shed some wind.

I'm just curious as a point of reference since this is what I have. I use them as long johns for downhill skiing, and as sleepwear or campwear. I find them too warm to wear on the move except in cold/wet situations.

I do use long underwear as tights for backcountry ski trips. Shorts, long johns, windpants for most days; when it warms up just the longs with the shorts over, and if really warm just the longs. I get them in white so that I don't fry in the high altitude sun and reflection off the snow. This combo is good for me down into the 20's on the move.

Damien Tougas
(dtougas) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Gaspé Peninsula
Point of Reference on 08/25/2013 20:10:06 MDT Print View

The heavier weight tights were probably close to the equivalent of 100 weight fleece, but with a tighter knit on the face. The mid-weight tights in this test were basically a lycra (like a cylcing short), but with a brushed back, so not realy fleece but insulated lycra.

Edited by dtougas on 08/26/2013 17:05:22 MDT.

Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
Re: Point of Reference on 08/26/2013 17:02:12 MDT Print View

Thanks, Damien. Definitely clarifies things for me.

just Justin Whitson
Re: Backpacking Tights - Part 2 on 08/28/2013 10:46:52 MDT Print View

I'm surprised that no one has mentioned polypropylene baselayer pants/tights yet. Except for the real crappy abrasion resistance (lack thereof), it would be great material for this purpose. Super hydrophobic, high thermal resistance, and relatively low cost.

Another downside is stink buildup, but if one wears some merino or linen underwear beneath, should be much less of an issue.

I haven't tried them yet myself, but i theoretically like the idea of leg warmers more than full on tights. I once had a chronic jock itch infection that was very hard to get rid of and am a bit paranoid about ever having that develop again, so i like to keep that area as cool and dry as possible. Leg warmers would be much better in that regard.

Anyways, i've done the tights thing and most often with my tyvek rain kilt. Looks probably pretty funny and "un-masculine" but found it works good. It has to be fairly cold and/or cold wet for me to go that route though. Tried silk weight powerdry and RAB Meco stuff. Have yet to try the polypro pants i picked up in AK.

Robin McKay
(rlmckay) - M

Locale: Auckland NZ
Tights on 09/23/2013 03:46:47 MDT Print View

Damien - A great article - In NZ we always wear tights with shorts over the top.

We use these in wet and cold conditions - beats the hell out of long waterproof(?) pants.

I note you tested Icebreaker. Most of use would use these in 150gram weight (hey they are NZ made from our own merino sheep!) but you have opened up my eyes to other options.

One important thing I didn't capture was the "no-stink" option. This is the big reason I stick to merino. OK it may not dry as fast but at least I can live with myself:-)

just Justin Whitson
Re: Tights on 09/23/2013 09:30:08 MDT Print View

There is always Rab MeCo material. I think it almost offers the best of both worlds for natural and synthetic. Well, at least it dries faster than pure Merino stuff but still great at odor reduction.

I have some baselayer pants made of it, the 165 stuff. For cold wet conditions, i'm going to try the polypro leg warmers i bought recently, to go over the Rab stuff and then a rain kilt (tyvek homewrap or sil-nylon). Allows me to mix and max according to need and still keeps the stink low, as the Rab MeCo baselayer will act as bit of a filter for the oils, dead skin, etc that would normally smell up the polypro fast.