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choosing Pants for both humid & cold conditions

2:30 p.m. on May 31, 2013 (EDT)
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Hi all

I am planning a trip to a rugged terrain in China's Yunnan Province. Basically it will involve a hike up from a valley at about 2000 meters (about 6500 feet) up to a mountain pass at 4500 meters (15000 feet) in 3-4 days and the other way down. The temperatures will range from humid in the low valleys to alpine sub zero at the pass. I should expect rain every day, with snow or hail possible at the top.

I have thermal underwear and waterproof outer pants both which are tested on former trips and are quite good. But  I am curious as of what pants should I take for this trip. Would any polyester pants from a reputable company would do or should I go for something specific? I have very little knowledge of fabrics, design , brands etc. and I would really appreciate your advice in the matter!

Thank you


3:22 p.m. on May 31, 2013 (EDT)
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where will you be doing your shopping?

8:01 a.m. on June 1, 2013 (EDT)
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Hi Trailjester, I will be doing my shopping in Hong Kong. Plenty of well-equipped shops over here. 

8:52 a.m. on June 1, 2013 (EDT)
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I am assuming you mean humid cold conditions? and not humid hot conditions, correct?

In winter here in the NE USA i really like wearing military BDU pants which are a 50/50 poly cotton blend. I find them to be just right warmth wise when actively hiking, they block the wind fairly well, dry fairly quickly, and are very durable. I find i prefer a more durable pant in winter like conditions for several reasons; resist sparks from the camp fire much better, can tolerate accidental snags from my snowshoes or crampons etc, resist abraison from rocks and ice much better.

In warmer conditions i usually wear a pair of light weight convertible pants mainly for their fast drying capabilities, but they are far less durable.

My go to winter clothing system for my legs are: (layered as needed based on conditions) capaline 2 long johns, down long johns, military BDU pants, military ECWCS goretex pants. 99% of the time when actively hiking i am wearing either just the BDU pants, or the capaline 2 long johns and goretex pants if its raining or a really wet snow. Only on rare occassions do i wear the bdu pants and the goretex pants together because unless its REALLY cold this combo is too warm for me when actively hiking. the down long johns are typically reserved for camp/sleep.

I live in Connecticut, and the winters here are what i would classify as a humid cold, not a dry cold.

We may be able to give you a little better help and advice if you can post up temperatures you expect to encounter.

2:21 p.m. on June 1, 2013 (EDT)
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Hi Rambler, thank you for the answer. I expect the weather to be about 8-15 degrees Celsius (45-60 Fahrenheit) for 5-6 days and about 0-8degrees Celsius  (32-46 F) on the other 2-3 days. Only at the summit it should go below freezing point, so maybe a few hour in one day.

7:25 p.m. on June 1, 2013 (EDT)
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I would just wear something that is comfortable for you, and of a lightweight material that will dry quickly. You will want to avoid anything more than a 50% cotton blend, the less cotton the better. The temps you mentioned are pretty mild for the most part. On the cold days just wear your long johns/thermal underwear if your cold. While your actively moving you will probably be comfortable without them.

If it were me I would wear my lightweight convertible nylon pants, or the kilt I just purchased. On cold days or summit day I would wear my long johns and or my goretex rain/ shell pants. I typically wear shorts until the temps are below 45 or so. In camp I just put on y long johns and or shell pants.

So in essence what I am saying is it really doesn't matter. As long as the material will dry somewhat quickly; that is the most important thing.

8:27 p.m. on June 1, 2013 (EDT)
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yes, definitely stay away from cotton and other water absorbing fabrics. the BDU pants are a good choice for that kind of weather. they're durable too. just add longjohns when it gets down to freezing.

12:54 p.m. on June 2, 2013 (EDT)
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Light wool or wax impregnated canvas.

3:14 a.m. on June 5, 2013 (EDT)
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I have a pair of fleece pants that are an inexpensive and simple pullover design and you should be able to find something like that in Hong Kong.I can wear mine under my rain pants or by themselves and they will be warm even if a bit wet.

1:19 p.m. on June 5, 2013 (EDT)
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Military surplus wool dress trousers. They are closely woven wool and a bit heavier than ordinary dress pants. I used a pair for canoeing in Canada and in all day rain they were still comfortable. Very tough material.

 But for the BEST wool pants get Filson pants in the ighter weight. Usually they come in forest green color and look very sharp. They have small cargo pockets.

Alternatively you could use "softshell" syunthetic pants, which dry faster.

Either of these materials will not feel clammy against your skin in humid but cool to cold weather.

In any case do not get cotton or part cotton pants.

1:50 p.m. on June 5, 2013 (EDT)
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the current ACU pant is a nylon / polyester blend. these should do fine. look at military surplus stores.

9:48 a.m. on June 6, 2013 (EDT)
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