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How many leg layers?

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How many leg layers?

Postby BrendanM » Thu Jun 05, 2014 3:25 pm

Hi everyone,

I'm doing the Sierra High Route from June 26-July 19 and am trying to decide what layers to pack for my lower half. I'll obviously have a pair of hiking pants but beyond that am not sure whether to pack long underwear pants, rain pants or both. Having all three seems like overkill -- it'll never be so cold and wet that I need to wear all three simultaneously (if conditions got that bad we'd have the tent out). I'm leaning toward rain pants and no long underwear, because the rain pants can provide that extra warmth at night.

What lower-half layers do you all pack for long summer trips in the high sierra?

Brendan



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Re: How many leg layers?

Postby ucangler » Thu Jun 05, 2014 3:45 pm

I bring 1 thin wool, 1 thick wool, snow board pants (for rain and cold (45 below), and my convertible pants.

If it all of a sudden starts to blizzard, I would put all the layers on.

In July, it can still get 30 degrees and below depending on elevation. Trail pants and rain pants alone in the Sierra's, I would not recommend.

And never say never, you're in the Sierras. In all of m trips during the summer, I haven't had 1 trip without rain or hail or snow.
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Re: How many leg layers?

Postby rlown » Thu Jun 05, 2014 3:59 pm

um, it's a hard choice.

For years i got away with shorts, long underwear and rain pants. I've moved on to 1 pair of long pants, no shorts, no long underwear. swapped them out for fleece pants.

It all depends on the season and the weather expected.

I only take the rain pants if there might be a storm or if i have to bust brush (rain pants are great for that). I wear military surplus pants because I don't have to worry about skeeters or sunburn and slathering crap on my legs.

As you stated, if it get's bad the tent is out. I like the fleece pants as they also provide me a nice pillow at night. And the fleece pants don't easily absorb water.

All comes back to what makes you comfortable. Given your timeframe and the current drought/heat, I'd be more worried about sun and skeets..
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Re: How many leg layers?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Thu Jun 05, 2014 5:22 pm

I did the High Route with 200-wt fleece long johns (7 oz) and very light rain pants (REI kids - 8 oz). If the weather report is less than 50% chance rain, I leave the rain pants. I use light weight nylon hiking pants (11 oz). Both pants and rain pants are ArcTerex - expensive but really good gear. I always use gaiters (short if no snow, knee high if snow) so that my socks stay cleaner. When you are out a long time, keeping socks cleaner is nice. This gear is good to below freezing. I have a 10-degree sleeping bag so really do not need the long johns for warmth while sleeping.

Depends on your hiking style. I sleep in long johns because I do not want to wear dirty hiking pants in my expensive sleeping bag and I do not like the feel of bare skin against nylon sleeping. I also have some very light Capaline pants that go down to knees only for mid-summer. I like to get up at dawn so the long johns are nice on cool mornings. If you get up later, and hike all day, and then get inside the sleeping bag, you probably could do without the long johns all together.

Point is that if you get wet in the Sierra, most likely you can dry things out the next morning. Rarely do you get days upon days of rain. Lately I am leaving the rain pants home more often.

I also have Smart-wool long johns that I use in the Wind Rivers, where it is stormy nearly every day. In the old days, in the Wind Rivers, I did 30 days at a time, once 20 days straight with snow, with only army surplus wool pants, no long johns! No rain pants, because we had rain ponchos that went to our knees. And we used knee high gaiters.
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Re: How many leg layers?

Postby maverick » Thu Jun 05, 2014 5:31 pm

WD wrote:
I sleep in long johns because I do not want to wear dirty hiking pants in my expensive
sleeping bag and I do not like the feel of bare skin against nylon sleeping.


Ditto
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Re: How many leg layers?

Postby AlmostThere » Thu Jun 05, 2014 5:39 pm

If I know it's likely to be cold, rainy or both, I take rain pants, the pants I hike in, and the bottoms to either midweight or light weight base layer (I take the top too!)

If it's a longer trip 5+ days I'll take them too. Long trips increase the chances that the forecast will be off and the mountains ignore your wishes. :\

If it's a short trip, not supposed to be cold (below freezing) and no rain likely I'll take the pants I'm wearing and leave the rest at home.
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Re: How many leg layers?

Postby Tom_H » Thu Jun 05, 2014 7:57 pm

As others have said, depends upon the time of year and place.

For Sierra summers, I usually take lightweight convertible pants, super thin silk long johns, and lighter weight black nylon long athletic pants for nippy mornings or hiking through manzanita, no rain pants. I sleep in my boxers, cotton T-shirt, and thin wool liner socks (a small amount of foot powder really keeps feet warmer), add silk long johns if necessary. I already carry too much built in insulation built up from eating too much chocolate. :(

As a guide in Uncompaghre CO, I took Sportif shorts, wool long johns, the old 3/4 length heavy wool military mountaineering knickers, knee high expedition wool socks (tall enough to go under the knickers), and tall gaiters. No rain pants as the huge Paul Petzoldt Wilderness Equipment parkas we used were big enough to pull our legs and knees under when the almost daily afternoon storms came up.

Guiding in the Appalachians, it was just the Sportif shorts and really thin jeans if we got into patches of stinging nettle or poison oak, ivy, or sumac.

WInter, of course is another matter entirely: 1-piece cross country suit with zip from neck around to tailbone, medium and heavy synthetic high wick long johns, down parka and powder pants, gaiters.
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Re: How many leg layers?

Postby BrendanM » Thu Jun 05, 2014 10:53 pm

Thanks guys. Always such good advice when I put the question out there to all of you. Here are my highlights:

1) I hadn't thought of bringing fleece pants, which would be wonderfully comfortable. In lieu of those I'll bring smartwool-style long-johns which has the nice soft feel and the warmth, which I'll be able to wear under the shorts or hiking pants.

2) As for the rain shell, I think I'll probably bring it. I'll be out there too long (3 weeks) to expect no storms. Plus, they can double as leg protection if/when we encounter snow fields. The one exception would be if I could get my hands on a really light, cheap and long rain parka that will cover most of my legs. Doubled with knee-high gators and I should be pretty well protected.

Thanks again everyone for your perspective!

Brendan
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Re: How many leg layers?

Postby RoguePhotonic » Thu Jun 05, 2014 11:35 pm

I have packed rain pants more than once and have never used them in the Sierra. I'm not saying that they couldn't be very useful at times but any time it began to rain I couldn't be bothered to put them on.

As for anything warm I don't consider it useful to carry any long underwear until late September.
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Re: How many leg layers?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Fri Jun 06, 2014 7:26 am

If you hike in any significant rain for much more than an hour, you are going to get wet, rain pants or not. I think of rain pants more to use in camp - like cooking in the rain or a bit added warmth on chilly mornings. If I were to choose between very light long johns or rain pants I would ditch the rain pants. I hate to walk in the rain anyway. If a storm is brewing, I set up camp and then make up the miles later when the storm passes.

I suspect you will have more problem with over heating than rain! The zip off leg pants are great for the Sierra. Just choose pants that will dry very quickly. I usually test my new pants by soaking them, hand wringing and check the drying time at home. A side note- I always line dry my backpack clothes when I wash them at home. Using a dryer really wears out clothes fast, particularly fleece. All that fuzz you pick out of your dryer filter is insulation that should stay in your fleece!
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Re: How many leg layers?

Postby ucangler » Fri Jun 06, 2014 1:12 pm

BrendanM wrote:Thanks guys. Always such good advice when I put the question out there to all of you. Here are my highlights:

1) In lieu of those I'll bring smartwool-style long-johns which has the nice soft feel and the warmth, which I'll be able to wear under the shorts or hiking pants.

2) As for the rain shell, I think I'll probably bring it.
Thanks again everyone for your perspective!

Brendan


Brendan, I think your good to go now!
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Re: How many leg layers?

Postby sparky » Fri Jun 06, 2014 2:19 pm

Sometimes if temps are warm, i dont bring long johns and instead bring a pair of thin gym shorts. Works pretty good. I dont bring long johns or shorts on many trips because i wear a pair of wool trousers, which are warm enough down to 40. Add gym shorts andon im comfortablein to 35, and under that iyou start withto long johns. I do run hot though so that might not work for most.
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