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JMT Hike: Convertable Pants vs Shorts with built in liner
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Garett Pearce
(Gpearce) - M
JMT Hike: Convertable Pants vs Shorts with built in liner on 05/28/2014 06:18:19 MDT Print View

Question of the day: Hiking the JMT in late august and am contemplating replacing my north face convertible shorts/pants with a pair of shorts with a built in liner (running style shorts). In my pack I will have a pair of Dri Ducks rain paints and was wondering if I could ditch the convertible pants (save 8oz with zip off plus briefs) and simply use the running shorts, throwing on the Dri Ducks in the rain/cold.

Will this suffice or would the temperature swing low enough to want a proper pair of pants.

Another side note I also have a pair of REI "Long Johns" in my pack for sleeping that I could always throw on.

I've read several previous threads but wanted to throw one out regarding late August Sierra temps since this will be my first may thru hike

Thoughts, suggestions, haikus greatly appreciated.


Harrison Carpenter
(carpenh) - M

Locale: St. Vrain River Valley
Re: JMT Hike: Convertable Pants vs Shorts with built in liner on 05/28/2014 08:11:29 MDT Print View

I've no idea of temperature, but wearing the pants might cut down the need for sunscreen.

Valerie E
(Wildtowner) - M

Locale: Grand Canyon State
RE: JMT Hike: Convertable Pants vs Shorts with built in liner on 05/28/2014 09:21:29 MDT Print View

Ok - I can't resist the haiku challenge:

shorts require sunscreen
zip-off pants have too much weight
classic dilemma

But seriously, I would leave the zip-offs at home. I was there last year in late August, and bug season is no longer an issue, so you don't need the pants for that. You'll have the long johns for evenings/mornings in camp, and the Dri Ducks if it's particularly windy/cold and you're not moving around... Last year I had both pants and shorts, and I only wore the shorts.

Gordon Gray
(GordonG) - F

Locale: Front Range, CO
Pants for me on 05/28/2014 09:30:14 MDT Print View

I recently discovered that the pant leg from my convertibles works great for a pillow. I roll up down jacket and other soft items and slide them in like a burrito. It's actually the perfect size for me.

Don Amundson
(amrowinc) - M

Locale: Southern California
JMT Hike: Convertable Pants vs Shorts on 05/28/2014 10:13:04 MDT Print View

I've pondered the same issue numerous times before Aug-Sept Sierra hikes including to JMT thrus and have always ended up bringing both running shorts and zip-offs. Why? Some deep seated fear of needing both I suppose. In every case I could have ditched the zip-offs. I also carry wind pants that I use for those rare occasions when it's really cold in the morning or evenings. Your dri-ducks would serve the same purpose.
One of my justifying thoughts on the hiking/zip-offs has been the convienent multiple pockets to put things in. The flip side of the that is there are more pockets to loose things from. But that's part of the story of my trail name, Still Lookin'

Stu Pendious
(Beeen) - MLife

Locale: California
Re: JMT Hike: Convertable Pants vs Shorts with built in liner on 05/28/2014 12:12:38 MDT Print View

In mid May this year while on a small trip in the Sunset Lakes area of Yosemite, a friend didn't remember his pants. He wore his shorts during the day while tromping on, and through what was left of the snow. In the evenings he wore my Dri-Ducks pants (that we grabbed from my trunk). So, I'd imagine in late August that wouldn't be a horrible plan.

Although, don't skimp on the sunscreen. As couple years back in late July, a friend brought only shorts while doing the JMT. He got a really serious sunburn on the back of his legs/knees, and ended up having to wear rain pants for most the trip to protect his burn.

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: JMT Hike: Convertable Pants vs Shorts with built in liner on 05/28/2014 16:03:52 MDT Print View

You are going to have an amazing trip!

I did the JMT in 2011 in the same time frame, late August to Sept over 15 days, one of those being a zero day at VVR. (Great place, highly recommend it....they love thru hikers, unlike MTR).

Anyway, I wore REI convertible pants and had problems with the excess fold of cloth on the inside of the pants that covers the zipper and prevents it from contacting my skin.

It was rubbing my inner thigh raw after 120 miles or so.

To the point where I needed to put tape on my inner thigh to protect it.

After that trip, one of my first purchases was REI pants that were non convertible.

Plus the reality was that I never converted them to shorts for purposes of sun protection and I simply am not a shorts person.

In hind sight, I realize if I had some zinc oxide to put on the areas that were chaffing, I would have been much better off.

I now carry a small jar of zinc oxide in my med kit.

Anyway, hope this helps.

Be safe and take lots of photos on your adventure.


Charles Grier
(Rincon) - M

Locale: Desert Southwest
Shorts and shell pants? on 05/28/2014 17:20:29 MDT Print View

I use running shorts (4 oz) with a built in brief for all of my JMT type hiking. If the weather turns windy or sunburn prone, I put on a pair of ripstop nylon shell pants that weigh a bit less than 4 oz. I made mine; you can get a similar pair in an easy to make kit from Thru-Hiker and they are lighter. I also carry a light pair of long johns if it looks as though the weather could get cold. I hiked the southern half of the JMT northbound with this setup in early September 2012, encountered some "interesting" weather, and never needed the long johns. I used the shell pants a lot. Total weight of shorts, shell pants and long johns is 13.5 oz. This combo is lighter than a lot of pants and a lot more weather-flexible.

Edited by Rincon on 05/28/2014 18:46:17 MDT.

Cameron Habib
(camhabib) - F
Re: on 05/28/2014 17:37:01 MDT Print View

I only do shorter trips, so take my advice for what it's worth, but why not just go for pants instead of either convertible or shorts? The extra bit of material will give you some added protection (sun, bugs, scrapes, etc), would expand your comfort temp range, and you can always just roll them up if you want to make them into shorts (or just cut them off and ditch the leg if you decide mid-trip you want shorts instead.

BJ Clark
(bj.clark) - MLife

Locale: Colorado
Re: Shorts and shell pants? on 05/28/2014 19:30:49 MDT Print View

That is my solution for warm weather as well though I cut the liner out of the 12" golite shorts I wear. (Channel Colin Fletcher here!) Long johns, shorts, wind shell and for me raim pants can handle pretty much any weather in Co.

Garett Pearce
(Gpearce) - M
Rip Stop Nylon Pant Kit on 05/29/2014 06:02:02 MDT Print View


Looking at the Thru-Hiker website I see the Liberty Ridge Pant Kit, this it? Next question how much of a kit is this exactly aka what would I need to do to finish them up. Maybe the word kit is throwing me off but I was a bit unclear on what I would be getting myself into.

Thanks everyone on your replies, extremely helpful!

Charles Grier
(Rincon) - M

Locale: Desert Southwest
Liberty Ridge pants. on 05/29/2014 06:17:10 MDT Print View

Yep, this is the kit I was talking about. It includes everything you need to sew the pants other than thread, sewing machine and scissors. It took me about 4 hours to make up the kit pants but I have done a lot of other sewing. The pants I use now are 1.6 oz/yd ripstop and have pockets added. IIRC, the Thru Hiker LR pants weighed in at less than 3 oz; the ones I use now are just under 4 oz.

Garett, I just reread your post; my reply above didn't answer your question so here is more info. The kit you get includes the materials for the pants and a set of pattern sheets. You download the instructions from the Thru-Hiker site. First step is laying out the fabric ( I press it first to get rid of wrinkles) and then cutting out the pieces according to the pattern. From there, it is just sewing simple seams; the instructions show how to sew a French seam which is pretty easy if you practice a little on scrap first. The only fussy part of the job is sewing in the lower leg zippers: just do it one step at a time and it comes out fine. BTW, if you have a 34"-36" waist and a 30" inseam I have a pair of newly sewn Momentum Liberty Ridge pants I'd be willing to sell for the price of the kit. They are sturdily, if not elegantly, made.

Edited by Rincon on 05/29/2014 07:26:56 MDT.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Dance Polyester Pants on 05/29/2014 07:07:37 MDT Print View

I use some Mountain Hardwear running shorts with the liner cut out (3oz) and I wear Merino Wool undies for the antibacterial/wicking properties.

Then, I carry long-johns for warmth and a pair of the $20 wind pants from that Dance website Dale found a few months ago. They only weigh 4oz, so I never regret carrying them, but they block wind and bugs pretty decently.

Pete Staehling
(staehpj1) - F
Dance Polyester Pants on 05/29/2014 08:02:53 MDT Print View

They sound like they are probably the same ones I have. I like them quite a bit. They offer a lot of utility at a very light weight.

I was hoping for some water resistance and didn't find them to be at all water resistant, so I treated them with a DWR treatment. I think that made them close to perfect. I have used them backpacking and bike touring and they worked out very well.

Hk Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Re: JMT Hike: Convertable Pants vs Shorts with built in liner on 05/29/2014 08:36:25 MDT Print View

Recently returned a pair of convertible pants that had a seemingly tough-looking zipper fall apart after only a few zips. Definitely not a fan and going back to shorts or regular pants with appropriate gaiters. Just seems the zip is one more thing to go wrong.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: JMT Hike: Convertable Pants vs Shorts with built in liner on 05/29/2014 08:50:55 MDT Print View

For decades my main hiking apparel was been Patagonia Baggies with the liner cut out. Those should be fine.

I never have understood convertible trousers. In the past I received some as gifts. Donated them to my favorite charity with the tags attached.

Valerie E
(Wildtowner) - M

Locale: Grand Canyon State
Haikus on 05/29/2014 09:22:11 MDT Print View

Can't believe no one else wrote the OP a haiku... with all the super-creative, witty, and literate folks on BPL, I was really looking forward to it... [Yep, I am a NERD!]

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Haikus on 05/29/2014 09:29:07 MDT Print View

Most of us cannot spell and lack grammatical skills - remember?

Garett Pearce
(Gpearce) - M
Dance Pants on 05/29/2014 10:05:28 MDT Print View


Any chance you have a link to those pants?

Richard Reno
(scubahhh) - M

Locale: White Mountains, mostly.
Haikus on 05/29/2014 16:28:54 MDT Print View

I can barely write
How could I create haiku?
Baggy shorts are cool