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Do I really need pants for the JMT???

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Do I really need pants for the JMT???

Postby tyler675108 » Mon Feb 29, 2016 5:26 pm

I am going to be thru-hiking the JMT from late June to mid July (2016) and am unsure on whether or not I will need to bring pants. I almost always wear running shorts when I hike and really do not want to spend the money (and weight) to buy a new pair of pants, even if they are convertible. I know I could buy a pair of zip off pants and then have shorts and hiking pants; however, I strongly prefer running shorts over "hiking" shorts. I was wondering what are the average temperature ranges for this time of year on the JMT. I can usually do with shorts down to freezing, but below that I usually get uncomfortable. I know many PCT thru-hikers do not bring pants for most of the trip and basically am wondering if I can do the same for the JMT.



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Re: Do I really need pants for the JMT???

Postby RoguePhotonic » Mon Feb 29, 2016 5:34 pm

You really only need pants for bugs and sun protection. If you are fine there then it shouldn't be a problem. Weather wise you never know what could happen. July 3rd last year I was in a white out snow storm. But that doesn't really mean you wouldn't be fine in shorts.
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Re: Do I really need pants for the JMT???

Postby Cross Country » Mon Feb 29, 2016 7:52 pm

One reason I always took pants is after my bath I wanted to go to bed clean.
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Re: Do I really need pants for the JMT???

Postby Wandering Daisy » Mon Feb 29, 2016 8:03 pm

You could go very "old school" and bring light long johns to wear under your running shorts if it ever got cold. This used to be the standard hiking look in the 1960's-70's. Remember that old fishnet underwear? :D That was the rage for a few years. I do not think you would get cold hiking, but if evenings and mornings are very cold you may be forced to get into your sleeping bag earlier than ideal. Personally, I spend enough time in the tent sleeping I do not want to have to go in early. I am also not fond of sleeping in my bag bare skinned. Never have liked that feel of nylon.

Not that a man would want to do this, but my last trip I tried winter-weight footless polyester fashion leggings instead of long johns. The leggings weighed much less and cost $6. It worked quite well.
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Re: Do I really need pants for the JMT???

Postby maverick » Mon Feb 29, 2016 8:06 pm

I prefer convertibles, don't like putting sunscreen or deet on my skin.
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Re: Do I really need pants for the JMT???

Postby rlown » Mon Feb 29, 2016 8:16 pm

look into marine surplus pants. double seat. double knee. wind-proof and skeeter proof. I too do not like the deet or sunscreen anymore.

I used to do the long johns under shorts and tried to find a photo, but it wouldn't be very becoming. :o
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Re: Do I really need pants for the JMT???

Postby LMBSGV » Mon Feb 29, 2016 9:09 pm

Here's my experience and then take it as you wish.

I've hiked the Sierra in running or hiking shorts since the 1970s. I've always taken long pants, originally jeans, then cotton sweatpants (lots of fun when they got wet) then polartec sweatpants. I put the polartec pants on over my shorts in the evening when the temperature dictates and in the morning at dawn when I get up. I've experienced temperatures in the low 20's from May through October in the Sierra. One never knows what it's going to be like and preparing for the worst scenario is always the best way to go, especially on a longer hike like the JMT when there will no reliable weather forecast. (Soliciting weather news from any and all those you pass on the trail will get you several, often contradictory responses, some rather humorous.)

One other suggestion: You'll have more solitude (if that's what you want) if you camp anywhere from 1/4 to a half mile or more off the JMT. The traffic on the JMT can be quite heavy and sometimes the tops of passes can feel like a mini-convention. I've found if you get a little off the highway you can sit in solitude even if a 1/4 mile away there are hordes moving on the trail. Also, if you have the time, plan a side trip or two to places such as Upper Basin, the Upper Kern, Wright Lakes, and the Wallace Lake area. Off-trail travel in all those areas is class 1.
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Re: Do I really need pants for the JMT???

Postby edhyatt » Mon Feb 29, 2016 10:34 pm

I go three-quarter 'capri' style shorts and then take leggings in case of additional need for warmth and to sleep in to keep the bag clean as possible.

Generally use Arc Phacs SL (102g in L) or Rohan Ultra Silver (a little lighter).
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Re: Do I really need pants for the JMT???

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Feb 29, 2016 10:40 pm

A guy I hiked with who brought only shorts had to be hiked off the trail a day early, when he took a chill and ended up in his sleeping bag during the middle of the day. It was snowing. End of July, early August. He did not even bring a base layer. If all you have is a sleeping bag to cover the legs, it's bad. Once you are chilled it's hard to get you warmed up again. Since he would not allow us to put someone in with him, out we went.
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Re: Do I really need pants for the JMT???

Postby John Harper » Tue Mar 01, 2016 9:12 am

I usually have a pair of polypropylene thermals that I put on under my shorts, aka: old skool. The poly thermals dry quickly if they get wet too. I wear shorts most the time as well.

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Re: Do I really need pants for the JMT???

Postby Wandering Daisy » Tue Mar 01, 2016 9:22 am

Oh, just took another look at the OP. late June to mid-July. MOSQUITOES!!! I would never hike in shorts at peak mosquito season. Mosquitoes can also bite through thin leggings. Loose light-weight "bug-off" treated hiking pants or zip-offs is what I would use. I do not mind slathering sunscreen on my legs, but not insect repellant. I favor the "cover up" method this time of year.
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Re: Do I really need pants for the JMT???

Postby edhyatt » Wed Mar 02, 2016 9:52 am

You guys need to embrace the joys of Wilmas Nordic Summer http://www.woodland-ways.co.uk/buy-online-wilmas-nordic-summer-insect-repellent-113.html repellant...it appeared to confuse the Sierra mosquito....

But covering up is better.
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