Best pants for the Amazon?

10:16 p.m. on May 26, 2007 (EDT)

I am a woman heading to the Amazon in 2 weeks. Where I live there aren't many choices for outdoor gear, so I have to buy online. I am looking for the lightest weight pant that isn't a scratchy nylon. I don't really need a convertible pant because everyone I talk to says they never use the shorts and the zipper kind of rubs on the legs. Any suggestions? I need a woman's large and a small for my teen daughter. Thanks!

10:40 p.m. on May 26, 2007 (EDT)
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1,902 forum posts

I used to live in South America-not in the Amazon, but I have been there. It will be hot and humid. Lightweight cotton would be good and I would take shorts as well. Anyone who says you don't wear shorts in that kind of a climate probably hasn't been there.

10:16 a.m. on May 27, 2007 (EDT)

I am a big fan of natural fibers and I said I wanted to bring cotton (and rayon). But I was told by the lodge (and others on forums) to bring nylon pants (but to bring many pairs of old cotton socks). They say that cotton doesn't quicky-dry in the jungle, mosquitos can bite through it, and vines and thorns will poke through. However, even a lightweight nylon won't allow those "bad things" to happen.

Folks suggested Columbia, Ex Officio, REI, and The North Face as a few suppliers of decent lightweight hiking pants. But I don't have anywhere to actually feel the fabrics. So I was hoping for some feedback on what the lightest unlined nylon product is.

1:36 p.m. on May 27, 2007 (EDT)
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1,902 forum posts

I agree that cotton won't dry quickly-that's why you should usually not wear it backpacking, except in warm or hot temperatures. I have a cheap pair of Nike running pants-totally useless if it rains, but okay as windpants and very light. If you can't get to an REI or similar store, I'd suggest looking in any well stocked running store.

1:47 p.m. on May 27, 2007 (EDT)

Thanks, Tom. We do have running stores here and worst case scenario, I can alwsy buy a pair of cheap nylon running pants and tear out the lining, if need be. So I'll give it a look. And ditto for the shorts, I'll just pick up a cheap men's pair.

4:53 p.m. on May 27, 2007 (EDT)
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1,902 forum posts

Mine don't have a lining-they are just lightweight wind pants. You can wear them over most anything. Very simple design. They have short zips on the legs so you can pull them over shoes without taking the shoes off.

5:28 p.m. on May 27, 2007 (EDT)
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3,897 forum posts

Hi Kim,

It would be helpful to know how you plan to use the pants now as well as later (will you be doing lots of hiking/backpacking in the Amazon or more travel with some walking; are they a one-time need or for long-term use?).

With convertible pants, some people like them, some don't. The style/brand of pants can determine whether the zipper is annoying or not. They are more versatile (especially if space and weight is limited, like in backpacking), but if you mainly need pants and packing space isn't an issue, I'd suggest getting non-convertible pants first. I haven't been to the Amazon, but I'd probably also go with Tom's suggestion of bringing along shorts too.

All of the brands you mentioned above make hiking/travel pants of various weights and styles. Tom has also given you some good suggestions, including looking at wind pants, especially if that’s the only way you can try on pants. It's always better to try pants on first so you get a proper fit.

I just bought some Patagonia Inter-Continental Pants ( that are lightweight hiking/travel pants. They're a little dressier looking than many hiking pants, which is why I got them, so I could use them as double-duty around town too. But I've hiked in them and they're not heavy at all and would dry quickly. I haven't had them long enough to vouch for their durability, but I expect that being from Patagonia they'll be fine.

You can find good deals on closeout items at online outlets (look under Closeouts and Bargains here for some: You can also read reviews and product descriptions of hiking/travel pants here:

I hope that helps some. Feel free to give us more details on your specific usage and needs and you might get some additional feedback.

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