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Backpacking Tights - Part 2
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(mountainwalker) - MLife

Locale: SF Bay Area & New England
Thanks; Sizing over merino base layer; Where to find? on 09/23/2013 11:35:45 MDT Print View

Thanks Damien for the excellent overview. Do you find you need to size up the Craft PR Thermal Tight one size to leave room for your light merino base layer?

Also which online retailers tend to carry them aside from Craft?

(mountainwalker) - MLife

Locale: SF Bay Area & New England
PXC/Storm Tight for cold; All around wind-resistant pants for very cold windy conditions on 09/23/2013 11:43:16 MDT Print View

The Craft PXC Storm Tight looks like a slightly more stylized (just a bit more reflective piping) version of Craft’s Storm tight, a very warm tight that has a windproof front which my wife and I have been using for years. Got introduced to Craft through Cross Country Skiing. Have you tried the Storm Tight? Is the PXC any warmer? I find ours to be very well made and have a fit that isn’t tight, leaving room for a light or medium weight pair of merino long johns.

I like the windproof front/breathable back combo for very active pursuits like cross country skiing, snowshoeing and trail running in cold weather, but for very cold and windy conditions I prefer pants that are highly wind resistant front and back, and use a merino base layer with Gamma MX Pants which are very lightly insulated, highly wind resistant, stretch in all directions and weigh about 18-19 oz a pair. Pants with breathable back material just let in too much wind in very cold windy conditions (though I guess you could throw wind pants over them).

Damien Tougas
(dtougas) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Gaspé Peninsula
Craft Tights on 09/23/2013 20:27:13 MDT Print View

Hey EJ,

- When I wear the Craft PR Thermal tight, I don't usually have a base layer under it. They are pretty stretchy though, so I don't think you would have much problem fitting a light base layer underneath.

- You can get them in a few places, it looks like Backcountry, and Amazon carry them in addition to the Craft site. They are probably also available at some online bike retailers as well, as Craft is a more known brand in cycling circles.

- I have never tried the Storm tight vs the PXC Storm tight, so I can't really say if they are any different from each other.

I find windproofness to be a tricky thing, it is a tight line to walk between being too hot when you are moving to too cold when you are stopped. I will often bring a pair of windproof puffy pants for extended rest stops in really cold weather though.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Tights on 09/23/2013 21:36:55 MDT Print View

I'm curious why all the tights are the skin-tight versions. Why none of the tights that are looser, with air space between the skin and the legs, like those worn by runners or that were popular during the 70's and 80's? I find that when wearing skin-tight tights they are much more prone to temperature changes and can feel too hot or cold, or vary quickly with winds. When tights are slightly loose the trapped air tends to keep the temperature more even inside and I feel less hot on hot days and less cold on cold days.

The best tights I ever wore were cheap Field-Sensor (polyester fabric) training tights made for high school students here in Japan. The fabric was a tight, mesh-like, 3-D structure polyester (like a thin version of the 3-D mesh used on backpack straps and back panels) that breathed exceptionally well, dried immediately, but also kept my legs warm no matter how cold or wet they tights were. I can still find similar tights around, but for some reason the Field-Sensor fabric seems to have disappeared. The looseness of the cut and the 3-D nature or the fabric are part of what helped the tights keep me warm. Every time I've tried some of the newer, skin-tight tights these days, I always felt the cold or heat much more easily.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Re: Tights on 09/23/2013 22:30:42 MDT Print View

I mainly use tights for wet weather stuff (really nice for walking through cold rivers). I can tell you that tights are very warm while wet, but only when absolutely skin tight. This is because your skin is in direct contact with the fabric and warming it up. I have some tights that are loose around the cuffs and there are always extra cold around the ankles when wet. If you've ever worn wet baggy nylon pants and had freezing cold fabric touch your skin when you changed positions, then you know what I mean.
I don't disagree about looser tights being a little warmer.

This is me wading through the Little Sur River in winter wearing the golite fleece lined tights. They seemed to really keep the chill down temporarily (I wasn't anxious to get out the water like I would have been in shorts) while crossing and they instantly warmed up when I exited the water. The best thing short of neoprene.
The air temperature was somewhere around 40 degrees when this was taken.

Edited by justin_baker on 09/23/2013 22:38:58 MDT.