Best Hiking Pants??

12:56 a.m. on August 15, 2012 (EDT)
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Hey,

I'm in the process of trimming down my stuff so that it will fit into one carry-on bag. But I'm also getting ready for a lot of serious hiking across south america.

I'm looking for a GREAT pair of hiking pants (I'm talking award winning if possible). My two main criteria are waterproof and breathable. I was also hoping to get something that zips off at the bottom and converts into shorts so that I can ditch one of my pairs of shorts (ala one carry-on bag). So I was thinking maybe a good pair of GoreTex convertible hiking pants (if possible).

Do you have any suggestions?

Is GoreTex really needed?

I MIGHT be convinced to get non-zip off pants and a pair of running shorts for hiking use instead of the zip off combo. But it would need to be pretty convincing since I'm dedicated to trimming down my gear and traveling with just one carry-on bag.

Thanks,

Ben

6:14 a.m. on August 15, 2012 (EDT)
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I love my columbia titanium series pants. They arent really waterproof more like water resistant but they breath really well. The legs do zip off and the actually zip on and off easily. Ive had other pants where it was a battle to get the legs off and on. They are cargo pants too, which is a big plus in my opinion. Im sure there are more expensive and actual waterproof pants on the market but I havent found a pair that breath as well as these. I have several pairs of waterproof rain pants but above fifty degrees they are like a portable sauna. I would rather be wet from rain than sweat, atleast with rain you will dry when it stops.

6:22 a.m. on August 15, 2012 (EDT)
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Wearing goretex all the time sounds like a miserable time for the man bits. Get some non-waterproof shorts. Also I find the leg zipper on convertible pants irritating when hot and sweaty. Ed

9:01 a.m. on August 15, 2012 (EDT)
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whomeworry said:

Also I find the leg zipper on convertible pants irritating when hot and sweaty. Ed

I have 2 pair of TNF's Horizon peak(or Horizon something) convertible pants that I use for late spring through early fall. They are a thinner material for warmer weather use. 

The zippers for the legs are different colors(very small YKK) so ya know what  legs go where. 

I haven't had a problem with the zippers being "irratable."

They are actually quite comfortable. They have taken a pounding and held up well. I would buy another pair(or more) if I had to do it all over again. 

9:14 a.m. on August 15, 2012 (EDT)
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Like Ed said, do not hike all day in goretex (or its relatives) if you can help it.  For times when it ISNT pouring down rain pick a pair of pants with zip off legs.

I wear OR lightweight WPB pants in the rain with full side zips.  The full side zips are important for getting them on and off over boots.  They pack down and stuff in their own pocket.  Leave the legs unzipped and they are faster to put on when you need them. 

10:32 a.m. on August 15, 2012 (EDT)
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I like the zip-off pants/shorts for all weather hiking, but I don't go with waterproof. Nylon pants dry fast and I wear long johns underneath if its cooler weather. Need to get a new pair or find some used ones at Goodwill :). I wear 90% used clothing, socks and my boxers are the only things I buy new when needed.

11:15 a.m. on August 15, 2012 (EDT)
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I have 3 pair that I use for different reasons. Summer a pair of Lands End convertibles. They have a inside seam around an inch long around the zippered leg. The zipper never touches me. A built in belt, and many pockets. A very light weight pair of O'Neill, They dry in seconds. And in the winter months a pair of Proppers. They are standard issue cop pants reinforced in the knees, and butt area. Many pockets, and side adjustments for the waist. They would be to heavy for what you are looking for.

If I was to go on your journey I would take the O'Neills. They are the lightest. Non water proof. But even wet they feel good. And they will dry in minutes. 

4:12 p.m. on August 15, 2012 (EDT)
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I've got a pair of TNF Horizon pants that are awesome!  Comfortable, they wear well, have a built in belt and some useful zippered pockets and they are pretty water resistant.  On the last trip I took I also noticed that they cleaned up very easily.  The pants were dirty around the pockets from me sticking my hands in them but when I took a swim and let the shorts dry (very quickly) most of the dirt was gone.

6:13 p.m. on August 15, 2012 (EDT)
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There are so many makes of convertible pants that I suppose it comes down to the little things. I love my Kuhl "Liberators." They're made with a 2-layer system...nylon next to the skin and cotton on the outside. Lots of pockets, zips at the bottom for slipping over boots, and the extra "flap" of material that keeps the convertible zippers from touching your leg. FWIW, they picked up Backpacker Magazine's 2012 Editor's Choice Award.

9:01 p.m. on August 15, 2012 (EDT)
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Hiking in Gore-tex pants in hot weather you are going to experience a whole new level of discomfort.

I have a pair of OR (Outdoor Research) Equinox convertibles that I really love. Fit well, give just enough, durable, dry fast and they shed water really well until it starts coming down seriously hard. Just wore them through the rain forest in Puerto Rico in April, zipped off the legs and swam in a waterfall pool on the trail, got out put my socks/boots back on and kept hiking. They were dry in no time flat. Only thing I don't like about them is the legs don't zip all the way open on the sides, I have to sit and take off my boots to get them off. But I'm not a shorts guy, I'll only zip the legs off when I can't shed heat any other way.

Never thought I'd see the day, but just picked up a new pair of Arcteryx pants at REI at a nice discount and they could become my new favorites. Not convertibles but a really great fit, for me at least. Just a little stretchy and have awesome thigh pockets that you can hardly tell are there when they are empty. Nothing I hate more than HUGE cargo pockets on baggy pants, flapping around like mad with every step. Yet to were them in the woods but going to hit the Dacks' for a week, end of this month and put em to the test.

Go spend a day trying stuff on, get something that fits you and had the features you want. Lots of good suggestions here.

10:36 a.m. on August 16, 2012 (EDT)
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My light weight bottom apparel consists of three basic garments:  loose fitting board  or running shorts, cycling tights, and rain pants.  I always wear the shorts.  When it gets chilly, I’ll on the tights and wear the shorts over them to protect the tights from getting ripped on rocks when sitting.  Rain pants go on as it gets colder, or rains.  This set up is good for temps down to the mid 40s F sitting around camp; or the mid 20s F if under way. 

Ed

12:59 p.m. on August 16, 2012 (EDT)
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Welcome to Trailspace bennygill!

If you can provide some more details about where you're going, what weather you'd expect to encounter, what kind of hiking you're doing, etc.. we can offer a lot more specific advice.

I typically carry a pair of the cheapest nylon pants I can find, and a very light pair of coated rainpants to go over.  Together, these must weight 10 oz.  I don't bother with wp/b pants above 20 degrees or so, I just hike faster to keep warm! In most climates, I'd agree with Ed's take on GoreTex.

3:18 p.m. on August 16, 2012 (EDT)
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mountainmac said:

There are so many makes of convertible pants that I suppose it comes down to the little things. I love my Kuhl "Liberators." They're made with a 2-layer system...nylon next to the skin and cotton on the outside. Lots of pockets, zips at the bottom for slipping over boots, and the extra "flap" of material that keeps the convertible zippers from touching your leg. FWIW, they picked up Backpacker Magazine's 2012 Editor's Choice Award.

 

Excellent pants!  I have two pair.  Expensive, though.

I also like my REI Sahara convertibles.

3:50 p.m. on August 16, 2012 (EDT)
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I love my Mountain Hardwear Mesa Pants. They are light and breathable while being very water resistant. They make them in both convertible and regular. These things are tough. I work at an outdoor center for children where we have high and low rope courses, kayaking, camping, and various other outdoor activities. I kneel, climb, hike, sit, scrape, drag, and rub these pants against sand, wood, gravel, metal, plastic, mud, rock, nylon harnesses, woodchips, and branches for 6-8 hours almost every spring, summer, and fall day. The only damage I have done to them is a tiny hole I got when sticking my foot in bonfire and getting struck by a spark. 

2:05 a.m. on August 19, 2012 (EDT)
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mountainmac said:

There are so many makes of convertible pants that I suppose it comes down to the little things. I love my Kuhl "Liberators." They're made with a 2-layer system...nylon next to the skin and cotton on the outside. Lots of pockets, zips at the bottom for slipping over boots, and the extra "flap" of material that keeps the convertible zippers from touching your leg. FWIW, they picked up Backpacker Magazine's 2012 Editor's Choice Award.

 +1 Love my Kuhl Liberators as well.

For cooler wet weather...I like the Fjalraven G1000 pants with the ability to wax -in the waterproofing.

9:07 p.m. on August 20, 2012 (EDT)
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Hey Benny; welcome to Trailspace.

I, too, would say to steer clear of WP/B pants .I'd recommend a pair of the thinnest stretch-woven nylon pants you can find--aka "soft-shell lite"--like the Lowe Alpine Sierra Lite pants (which I have and heartily endorse) or Patagonia Simple Guide pants. They are highly water-resistant, breathe very well, and are comfortable enough to wear to bed, too. I rarely wear base-layer bottoms anymore; I just throw a pair of synthetic-insulated pants over the Sierra Lites when the temps drop...

2:49 a.m. on August 28, 2012 (EDT)
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I guess Fjalraven G1000 pants will be much cooler and of course the best.

lowennaspinefurniture.co.uk

7:06 p.m. on August 28, 2012 (EDT)
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REI saharas. built in belt, lots of pockets and zipoff legs. the ones I have are a few years old, don't know if they still have the belt or not. good pair to consider.

12:31 a.m. on September 4, 2012 (EDT)
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Mickey Gobes said:

I guess Fjalraven G1000 pants will be much cooler and of course the best.

lowennaspinefurniture.co.uk

 Not sure if they are "the best", but they worked for me when we were bushwhacking through thick brush in the Wind River Range last week.  The fit is superb, and although not lightweight, they are very durable, and can be vented on the sides.

12:19 p.m. on September 5, 2012 (EDT)
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No brand important, I like the zip-off pants that convert to shorts in a jiffy the best hiking pants. My current pants are North Face Stow-Away pants that easily roll up above the knee creating shorts.

October 21, 2014
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