View Full Version : No pants?

03-12-2013, 18:01
Hi everyone! I am starting my NOBO hike mid-April at Springer and going to Harper's Ferry and I wondered what the weather is like that time of year? Specifically, if it is the range of being warm enough to hike in shorts or capris the entire way to WV? I don't want to bother bringing pants if I'll be too warm while hiking to wear them! :eek:

03-12-2013, 18:46
Leave them home... wear your shorts. I've made many sections hike that time of the year and I always wear shorts; actually, I pack bathing shorts... they look like hiking shorts and act like hiking shorts.. they can even have a brand logo. that way I don't wear no skivies... they dry out fast. Why don't more guys wear these hybrid bathing suits?

03-12-2013, 19:01
I wouldn't bother. There will ALWAYS be people on WhiteBlaze telling you to wear long pants for a hundred different cautious reasons, but that's a very small minority of real-life hikers. Starting NOBO in mid-April, 90% of the days I would be suffocating in long pants. 8% of the days I might want them but could get by with shorts, and 2% of the days they would be truly desirable--but I could always wear long johns or rain pants to survive. Just have a backup plan for those two or three days of cold/wet weather that you might get.

03-12-2013, 19:41
I'm one of those who has a 100 reasons to wear long pants. I always wear long pants. Every time I decide its too hot to hike in long pants I end up walking through a patch of stinging nettles or infected with chiggers or scratched up by brush.

03-12-2013, 20:01
Just bring convertible pants best of both worlds. I like my pants on in the morning because I am usually the first one on the trail and spider webs on my legs annoy me.

Papa D
03-12-2013, 20:49
I'd suggest rain pants (for rain) and regular weight patagonia long johns for sleeping and evening lounge wear - for actual hiking, shorts should be just fine.

03-12-2013, 21:04
I would suggest a mid weight thermal baselayer. You can wear it under your shorts if you need to, if you don't it will be nice at night, in higher elevations etc. Other than that go for it dude. I left March 1st and did most of my hike in UDTs, after the smokies. If/when you head to NH and ME, revaluate, weird stuff goes in the Whites

Sandy of PA
03-12-2013, 21:38
I always hike in long Insect Sheild pants. Both of by grandsons picked up Lyme disease on the AT. I do not wish to get it. On days they were picking ticks off I had none on me.

03-12-2013, 21:55
What do you usually wear to hike in during April?

I wear shorts 3 seasons on the AT unless it is raining and cold then I wear rain paints. Sometimes in the winter I even wear shorts, I used to have a couple pair of fleece ones. (Have to replace these.) I generally stay warm while hiking and when I stop, I throw on a vest or a jacket, maybe a hat and or gloves if needed.

Prime Time
03-12-2013, 23:38
I bring long pants for the occasional day when I want them for hiking (cold, raw day or a wind swept cold ridge or bald, or when mosquitos are ravenous) I also like to wear them around camp especially if it's muddy and miserable to protect my base layer for wearing inside my bag. I never liked the convertibles. The zippers bug me and they take forever to get on when you really want to do a quick change and your hands are freezing.

03-13-2013, 11:17
Just bring convertible pants best of both worlds. I like my pants on in the morning because I am usually the first one on the trail and spider webs on my legs annoy me.

Agreed. I hike with convertible pants through all seasons.

03-13-2013, 12:26
Agreed. I hike with convertible pants through all seasons.


The Snowman
03-13-2013, 17:07
zip-off pants all year long. add long underwear in winter and your set.

03-13-2013, 23:33
I always wear long pants unless it's really hot and humid. I did a bunch of day hikes in the middle east in the summer where it was over 95 degrees but dry and I still wore long pants. I just like having the extra protection.

That being said, I do get zip offs so I have the flexibility. I make sure my zip-offs have zippers on the bottoms so that they're easy to take off with shoes/boots on. They're also great for ventilation.

03-13-2013, 23:56
I always wear long pants unless it's really hot and humid. I did a bunch of day hikes in the middle east in the summer where it was over 95 degrees but dry and I still wore long pants. I just like having the extra protection.

I'm more open to wearing long pants when it's hot if it's also dry, like you've described, but even then I don't find it as pleasant as shorts. But the AT is "really hot and humid" almost every day in the summer. Even the not-so-humid days feel about the same as the most humid days in Oregon and California, which is the OP's part of the country. On the days when it's really bad, I have completely sweated through my shirt, shirt sleeves, and shorts before. Like, I wrung my shirt out as if I had just dunked it in a warm bathtub. My clothes, which were synthetic, never got totally dry unless they went in a dryer in town somewhere. That started about May 25 for me in 2011, in the vicinity of Pearisburg, VA. That's the time of year when long pants become unfathomable to me. Before that, I guess I can see their appeal, but I would still rather be in shorts 95% of the time if we're talking hiking in the Southeastern U.S. and starting April 15.

03-14-2013, 07:15
Hiking shorts with built-in liners. Take a pair of lightweight windpants for sleeping in and hanging around camp. :)

03-14-2013, 08:05
My opinions (not that they matter much :rolleyes:)

1) There are reasons for wearing long pants, but long pants can be hot and cause you to sweat, leading to chafing problems.

2) Rain pants absolutely SUCK (and I don't use that language on a daily basis) in hot weather for reason #1.

3) Insects (especially deer ticks which can carry Lyme Disease, and more especially early in the season the nymph stage, which are smaller than the period at the end of a sentence) can be bothersome to those wearing shorts. I started using overpants made of nylon mosquito netting around the turn of the century after having been treated for Lyme symptoms several times (diagnosis inconclusive). I tuck the pants into my socks and spray all of my clothing (except rainwear because I'm not sure how the spray will affect the eVent jacket that I use) with a permethrin-based insecticide which kills ticks (supposedly they have to crawl 8 inches to be affected by permethrin according to one article I read).

I also try to sleep off the ground in my hammock as much as possible and avoid using shelters when mice (a link in the Lyme disease chain) and their parasitic friends, Ixodes Scapularis, the Deer Tick, are most active (warmer months).

Hope this helps.

The Cleaner
03-14-2013, 08:16
On 5-9-10 it was 36* at the Overmountain shelter with wind gusts up on Hump Mtn. pushing you around.I had on thermal LJs a very lightweight pair of nylon/polyester pants and rain pants over that and was cold till I got off of the balds and into the woods.Down at 19E it was 52* and very windy still.I thought I would get hypothermia waiting on my ride.I would pack something warm till past Mt. Rogers/Grayson Highlands area...

03-14-2013, 08:20
I start on 3/24 and have been trying to make the what to wear decision also. Original plan was to wear lightweight shorts and have long johns for night and rain pants for cold days but I'm now back to taking the usual convertible pants. I normally start with pants early morning and take the legs off after about 30 minutes, unless there's a strong wind I'm normally in shorts and tee if it's over 45 degrees or so.

03-14-2013, 08:28
I also pretty much always hike in shorts. Even in the winter if wearing pants I'll be sweating in a matter of minutes once moving which can be dangerous. I bring super light rain pants which can be used to block the wind on breaks and at camp.

Steve Jennette
03-14-2013, 13:05
I turn 60 this year, and am scared shatless of Lyme or west Nile. Two people I know here in West Michigan have contracted west Nile, and both are wheel chair bound (apparently it affects older people the worst). I have done several section hikes, and agree with those above who say it is more comfortable to wear shorts. I found some extremely light weight long pants that have a mesh panel down the inside and outside of each leg for ventilation....and they are Insect Shield coated (permethrin) to fight off the ticks and skeeters. I am not packing any shorts, and I hope I can make myself wear the long pants and not buy shorts along the way. Time will tell. The pants are at RailRiders.com if anyone is interested. Insect Shield, for $10 an item, will treat anything you want to send them, and claim the treatment lasts 75 washings. Even if it only lasts 25 washes, I will be happy.