View Full Version : Hiking pant question
I am considering taking my rail rider hiking pants in lieu of rain plans for this years hike. I was looking for a little advise to see if hiking pants could substitute for wind/rain paints. I am planning to carry a pile jacker but not pile pants. Is this a good decision.
Peter ...I'm not familiar with Rail Rider pants but I will tell you that it comes in handy, at least during the early months, to have a pair of water/wind-proof pants. They function as both protection from the rain as well as being another layer on those cold nights. Once the weather warms up most hikers will wear a ran jacket but don't wear rain pants any more.
I've heard of Rail Rider's before, what are they?
Almost any nylon pant will work for wind protection. The issue, it seem to me, would be what to do about the rain.
During the late spring and summer, it's warm enough so that you don't need protection on your legs from the rain. However, during the early spring, and up North (White Mountains), I'd suggest something waterproof for your legs. Now, you could swap out your pants, or possibly wear a rain coat instead of a jacket.
Rail Riders are a company which makes adventure clothing; I guess some of the adventure racers wear some of the stuff.
From what I am hearing I should take my Cammour rain pants and leave the hiking pants home at least for the March and April; by doing this I can save a few ounces. I just thought that the hiking pants would give me a good mult-purpose pant which could be used by on the Trail and Town.
I often carry rain pants in my pack for emergency use, however, I don't use them very often. If I am hiking in the spring I like to use underwear bottoms under hiking shorts.
Peter - I guess the first question I'd ask is how cold of a hiker are you? Even though I live in VT, I tend to get cold easily. I have a pair of lightweight, long pants that I used in 2001 and I'll also use in 2003 to start the trail. Makes a nice, toasty hike on those cold mornings. I STRONGLY recommend taking rain pants. You're almost assured of hitting some bad weather. In 2001, we hit two bad snow storms in March. I wore them through both to keep the legs warm. I saw reports from hikers in 2002 of temps in March in the single digits. I know some hikers say they don't carry them. IMHO, not a wise idea.
Noticed your comment about wearing polypro under shorts. Unless you're carrying two pair, I would not recommend it. You'll want a warm, dry polypro for when you pull into camp at night. Most everyone sleeps in polypro for the first month or so. If you're wearing them and they are wet, you may regret it once you get into camp. Unless it's REALLY cold, you'll stay warm while hiking. If it does get cold, throw on the rain pants. Save the polypro for camp.
Peter, here's how I outfit myself in the pants department, YMMV.
My primary hiking pants are Ex Officio convertable travel pants, very lightweight nylon. In the winter/early spring, I keep silkweight and midweight or exp. weight (depending on temp) cap. long drawers with me as well, for layers when needed. Year round I also have my Marmot rain pants. In the late Spring/summer I leave the mid/exp weights at home. It's a tad overkill, but I'm a firm believer in having something DRY left to put on at camp, especially in colder temps.
To make a long story short, I'd recommend keeping your rain pants.
FWIW, I am a COLD hiker. I took a 5 mile walk this morning. Temperature was 30 degrees, wind calm, and cloudy (no sun). I wore nylon zip-off pants with midweight capilene under them on bottom, and midweight capilene, a coolmax t-shirt, 200 polarguard fleece top with a nylon shirt over that on top, and a fleece hat with pulldown face mask.
I was just comfortable.
I am planning to replace the zip-off pants and nylon shirt with Marmot rain jacket and pants on the trail.
To stay comfortable in my 20 degree sleeping bag in 20 degree temperatures, I have to wear fleece pants and top in my sleeping bag. And insulated socks!
I gather that this is very unusual as most people are a lot warmer.
Hey Sharonat03 ...you ever consider a liner for your sleeping bag ?? A lot lighter and less hassle than all the extra clothing. They make silk liners that weigh under 5oz and add around 10 degrees to you bag rating. Just a thought.
Footslogger, I had read that some people used them, but hadn't thought much about it. A set of fleece weighs 20 ounces! I might want something a little warmer than silk, but at least I will start looking at liners now.
Hey Footslogger, I've been considering a bag liner myself. I use a Cat's Meow (20 deg synthetic) as my winter/early Spring bag, which combined with layers of clothing keeps me toasty down to around 15 degrees. Anything below that, and I start to stay fairly uncomfortable. Any recommendations on good bag liners?
Silk is a lot warmer than many people realize. A basic silk liner will add roughly (depending on everything) 10 degrees of warmth to your bag. With any liner, look for one without a slit in it. That is, a liner that is just a sack: No zippers, slits, or anything else. During the dead of summer, outside of NH and Maine, I'd carry just the liner and forgoe a sleeping bag all together.
Sharon, I'd keep the zip off pants AND the rain pants. The zip offs gives you a lot of flexibility. If it's warm or cold you've got an option for it. The rain pants give you the safety margin you need if it gets really cold or cold AND wet.
Moose, I like that advice.
I have been obsessing about pack weight to the point I was trying to cut things I REALLY want to take. If I am cold and miserable too long, it would probably end my hike.
A pound of clothes might make the difference in my staying on the trail or leaving it.