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Backpacking Pants

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Backpacking Pants

Postby thepreciselife » Mon Jun 09, 2014 12:54 pm

What kind of pants should I be wearing?
I read online that some track pants would be ok, they just lack pockets
and Ill have some long jonhs with me if it gets cold at night.

Also, is it suggested I wear pants? Since I will be going in July, I figured itd
be warm enough to hike in shorts?
Last edited by thepreciselife on Mon Jun 09, 2014 1:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 3 day / 2 night Backpacking for beginners.

Postby rlown » Mon Jun 09, 2014 1:02 pm

some of that depends on how many skeeters are around and what you want to slather on your legs.

If the skeets are still out, you'll get bit. If the sun is out :D you'll have to add sunscreen.

I found long pants refreshing not having to put that stuff on.

It's really a personal choice and a learning experience. The pants have to be skeet proof though. It's a strange year.
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Re: 3 day / 2 night Backpacking for beginners.

Postby maverick » Mon Jun 09, 2014 1:23 pm

Did you read the "Avoidance Techniques" thread posted earlier in this thread?
Nylon convertible pants, REI for example, work great. The allow you to partially
unzip allowing heat to escape, and the mosquitoes cannot penetrate thru them.
If you wear shorts, you will have to put sun screen on first, wait, then apply bug
juice. I personally do not like putting neither on and wear the long pants. If no
bug are around I can easily zip off the bottom halves.
http://www.outdoorgearlab.com/Hiking-Pa ... re#compare
http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin ... post=72145

PS Topic moved since it was getting away from the originally reason it was started.
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Re: Backpacking Pants

Postby thepreciselife » Mon Jun 09, 2014 1:50 pm

Awesome, so its all basically a matter of preference from experience?
I just never hike in pants, I dislike it, and the hair on my legs causes enough warmth as it is. haha

I guess ill just look into the weather that week and ill determine if its cool enough to wear pants
or just stick with shorts.
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Re: Backpacking Pants

Postby macchiolives » Thu Jun 12, 2014 6:05 pm

I feel that "backpacking pants" and convertible pants are all made WAY too big and WAY too wide for people with slimmer torsos. I own a pair of Patagonia convertible pants that I'm not too fond of. Bought them online on sale when I guess I should've bought them at a brick and mortar store to try them on first. The short inseams are WAY too long and I would've preferred a cut above the knee. The pants are WAY too baggy and I feel that I'm wearing parachute pants. Since that purchase, each pair of convertible pants I've tried on, ranging on a variety of brands, ALL HAVE THE SAME FIT! I'm 6' 150 lbs and pretty thin I guess, but I do wish that convertible pants had a slimmer fit with a shorter inseam when zipped off in shorts mode. I've since just hiked in ll bean swim trunks and tapered work out pants (soccer pants seam to have the best taper) instead. I prefer shorts that have inseams above the knee as it frees my movement tremendously.
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Re: Backpacking Pants

Postby oldranger » Thu Jun 12, 2014 8:24 pm

I wear shorts mostly when hiking but around camp and if fishing from shore I wear lightweight synthetic pants. If it is relatively cool and mostly downhill hiking or really brushy I'll wear my long pants when hiking. So for me it is a matter of what is appropriate. Wearing long sleeve shirts, long pants, and lightweight gloves (cheap cotton gardening or painters gloves work great) cut down on both the amount of deet and sunscreen you need to apply to your body, too. I don't like convertable pants because if they get wet you don't have a backup.

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Re: Backpacking Pants

Postby lensman137 » Wed Jul 09, 2014 1:25 pm

I've been using a pair of Rail Riders "Bushwhacker Weather Pants" for almost five years, and they're still going strong. They're light weight, and rugged to the extreme. And the skeets don't seem to be able to get though them. Not cheap, though. BTW, their "Jammin' shorts are also da bomb.
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Re: Backpacking Pants

Postby EpicSteve » Sun Jul 13, 2014 12:58 am

I used to wear shorts all the time, but I got sick of going broke on sunscreen and getting sunburned all the time anyway. Now I wear a pair of RailRiders Eco-Mesh pants and I love them! 123 hiking days so far and still going strong. Very lightweight, very slow to absorb water and they dry extremely quickly. They're SPF 30+ and I've never been sunburned in them, even above 12,000'.

They have side zippers that are nearly full length. When opened, the zipper reveals a mesh-lined baffle. Every step I take, I can feel my walking motion pumping air through the mesh (if I'm paying attention - it's subtle, but there's definitely some air circulation). Unlike convertible pants, a zipper failure wouldn't be catastrophic, as the strength of the pants doesn't rely on them nearly as much.

Downsides: 1. The fabric isn't particularly pleasant against the skin. It's not that bad though and I got used to it pretty quickly. 2. The fabric is very thin and mosquitoes bite right through it. I've gotten pretty used to them, too. I rarely bother with repellent anymore. 3. The mesh panels get pretty fuzzy after enough bushwhacking, but that's just a cosmetic issue. It still works fine. 4. When the zippers are closed, the weight of the zippers seems to cause the pant legs to twist slightly, causing a bit of resistance to my walking motion.

Advertised weight is 9.7 oz (based on Medium size). I wear a Large and according to my digital postal scale, they weigh 11.8 oz. That includes a 0.8 oz nylon belt that comes with them. The belt has a quick release buckle, similar to Fastex.
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Re: Backpacking Pants

Postby AlmostThere » Sun Jul 13, 2014 7:47 am

That depends on what you are doing and what you need.

I went into the high granite (treeless) with someone who always ALWAYS wears shorts, and has a history of bad sunburn (level 2 burns put her in the hospital after a day at the lake, for example). She ran through all her sunscreen and started using mine. In addition to a tank top and NO HAT she had no pants. Used up most of my zinc oxide. Needless to say, I was upset - and she is now changed her tune on hats, pants and sleeves. Whereas I, having had a pre-cancerous patch removed surgically from my back in the past, made sure I was wearing breathable but durable pants (REI nylon/spandex blend, no zipoffs) and a wicking long sleeve with a high zipped neck, a Sunday Afternoon hat, and fortunately minimized my sunscreen needs that I could spare the rest to Ms. Burns.

On the way down the Elizabeth Pass trail, the folks with zipoffs were happy, as they could zip ON their legs again - it's unmaintained and white thorn bushes have encroached making the trail more of a bushwhack. Ms. Burns doubled the hurt getting her slightly burned thighs scratched.

I have a mixed agenda - some trips I know I will be thrashing around in manzanita, others are on trail - so I have light nylon pants, heavy ripstop nylon canvas pants, and some easy short day hikes I even wear those pocketless track pants. But the pants made for gym or frontcountry athletic use are not always the sturdiest or the best idea. I've found they tear easily. I never wear shorts, because I refuse to be like Ms. Burns - using more sunscreen than I need to - I burn very very easily.

To sum up - adventurers on maintained trails can wear what they want if they are not afraid of sun. Adventurers on less maintained trails or wanting to do some cross country travel face increased risk of gashes and scratches on legs - I alone came back with NO leg damage but loaned/gave out antiseptic and other first aid items - and may do better with at least the option to have pant legs. Granite and brush chew up lighter fabrics in a hurry. For a while I was getting cheap sale nylon pants on Sierra Trading Post - I blew the seats out of five pair within seven months! I now go a little heavier and have only had to patch my current (eight month old) pair one time.
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Re: Backpacking Pants

Postby RichardCullip » Sun Jul 13, 2014 9:49 pm

I wear long pants for sun protection. Specifically I like the Railriders Adventure Khaki pants. Light weight abrasion resistant nylon pants that are very quick drying. Minimal pockets help keep the weight down as does the slim cut. My medium-sized 30" inseam pair weighs 10oz. Not baggy at all. Love them for both travel and backpacking.
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Re: Backpacking Pants

Postby Ska-T » Thu Jul 17, 2014 11:53 am

RichardCullip wrote:I like the Railriders Adventure Khaki pants.

I second that recommendation. My Adventure pants are the older model (Supplex) and are slightly lighter in weight. The Adventure pants are light and thin enough to be comfortable on hot sunny days and no sunscreen is required. They are strong enough to resist abrasion, like mild bushwhacking and sitting on rocks. Mosquitoes can't or at least haven't bitten through my Adventure pants in the 15+ years that I've used them, so no greasy repellant is needed. I used to hike in shorts, then carried them but didn't use them. Now I leave the shorts at home.
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Re: Backpacking Pants

Postby giantbrookie » Thu Jul 17, 2014 12:59 pm

I wear long pants habitually owing to two reasons: 1. I go off trail a lot and having the pants greatly reduces the abuse from brush and other things that I bang my legs into into. Even when I hike via a trail, the destination, usually a lake that I want to fish, usually requires some off trail hiking. 2. I am a total mosquito magnet, so the extra cover is appreciated.

In fact I also wear a lightweight, nicely ventilated, long sleeve shirt, that protects me from the brush abrasion, sun, and bugs, in addition to keeping me cool. A hat with a very good sized brim is also part of my sun protection and keep cool strategy and I always hike with one.
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