Good hiking/backpacking pants.

10:41 p.m. on January 22, 2009 (EST)
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Need a good pair of pants that breath and dry fast as well as a new pair of rain pants. What would you recommend?

1:10 a.m. on January 23, 2009 (EST)
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I don't know about the rain pants, but I have used REI's Sahara zip offs and found them to be effective. They are usually less expensive than other brands, and they have held up pretty well. I have bought mine on sale.

Good luck!

2:04 a.m. on January 23, 2009 (EST)
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For the pants I personally like military style BDU pants there comfortable and they dry pretty quickly if you get the warm weather that are mostly rip-stop nylon. They have no zippers to break you can always sew a button in the field. They have 6 pockets on most of them.

5:14 a.m. on January 23, 2009 (EST)
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If you still have an 'old' pair of waterproofs, then you could get a pair of synthetic trousers from any of the expensive companies (mountain hardware pack pants are good) with the intention of only putting your old waterproofs on when the rain gets really bad. With synthetic trousers that wick moisture away and manage to fend off most rain, I find I hardly wear full waterproof trousers, and even then I have a cheaper pair, such as marmot precips, because I am just as likely to wear them out at the inseams as a pair of *tex ones.

Look for pants that have articulated knees, or baggy knees and slightly narrower ankles (not fashion fit), that have a smooth inner surface so they can glide easily over a base layer, that have a decent waist band (not a low fashion waist band), a thin but wide belt, good back pockets, spare button sewn in, a design that doesn't put inside leg seams against each other, a gusset crotch, cord adjusted ankles maybe. A pair of trousers that zip off must be able to pull off over your hiking boots, so check that out first.

Buy dark colours, as you won't have to ruin them by washing them too much.

11:57 a.m. on January 23, 2009 (EST)
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Been looking at the MH canyon pants.. I think i'm gonna get a couple pair. Any input on these?

1:23 p.m. on January 23, 2009 (EST)
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They don't do those in the UK but I have a pair of MH lightweight pants and they are great, as well as the heavier pack pants (I think that is what they're called). I should qualify what I said above about base layers and knee drag: sometimes the lightweight trousers will work better over winter base layers simply because the fabric is lighter, regardless of the shape of the leg. So don't be surprised if you find 'summer' pants work well in winter with thermals underneath. I am about to try soft shell for the first time and see how this works.

Also, if you can't try them on locally, avoid any that look like they are intended for 'bouldering'. I tried some MH heavy gauge trousers on and they were cut all wrong, with flared legs and hipster waistband, really silly.

I don't rate Patagonia pants much - they seem to be made for lounging around in rather than trekking (haven't tried soft shell).

FWIW, here is Chris Townsend's (UK gear guru) list of the best 3 season trekking pants from July 08, in order of merit:
Mountain Equipment Stretchlite Guide Pants; Lafuma Roots Pants; Paramo Maui Cargo Trousers; Montane Terra Lite Pants; Patagonia Guide Pants; Rohan Epic Bags; Lowe Alpine Touring Pant; Millet Genesis Pant.

I see that most of those are not even US brands but there it is.

2:16 p.m. on January 23, 2009 (EST)
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I too use the REI Sahara zipoffs and have for many years. They have excellent breathing and dry very fast. You can waterproof them with the wash in stuuf (can't remember the name) I do and they are great for anything. Iwear mine year round , don't like jeans as I did in High School to cold when wet and freezing in winter. Plus with the zipoff bottoms you have instant shorts anytime!

9:49 a.m. on January 24, 2009 (EST)
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I use a combo of Patagonia Cap3's under a Seirra Designs Elevation pant. This keeps my legs warm and dry, when they're moving, down into the teens. Very light weights, and small pack volumes. The Elevation pants are waterproof/breathable, and are surprisingly durable. I've climbed over some large trees in these pants, and came away with only just noticable marks. Nothing that would affect the structural integrity though; just superficial, very minor abrasions.

10:20 a.m. on January 24, 2009 (EST)
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My favorite pants, by far, are TNF Paramount convertibles. Watch the sizes, try before you buy. But after you do, be prepared to wear these pants ALOT. As a matter of fact, I am wearing them in my profile picture!

http://www.thenorthface.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?productId=10672&storeId=207&catalogId=10201&langId=-1&from=subCat&parent_category_rn=11704&variationId=254

I bought my first pair of REI Sahara pants this past spring. Again, the sizes are a bit fickle. After wearing them for two weeks I bought 2 more pair. Really comfortable and, if you get 'em on sale, they're a good value. They dry super quick too. I've worn these well into the fall with silk weight bottoms underneath.
http://www.rei.com/product/746908

For everyday and SAR, I spend quite a bit of time in military-style TDUs and tactical pants from a company called 5:11. They're a bit on the weighty side, but wow, TOUGH PANTS!
http://www.511tactical.com/Shop

11:04 a.m. on January 24, 2009 (EST)
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6:50 p.m. on January 24, 2009 (EST)
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Thanks for the suggestions. I tried on a couple pair today at my local outfitter and left empty handed.

First up were a pair of Mountain Hardware Mesa convertible pants. They were really baggy I was limited to trying on a large as there were no mediums left but I'm willing to bet they would have been too baggy as well. Not only that but the zipper on the pant legs were irritating my kneecaps.

Next up were a pair of North Face Venture pants. The medium were too small in the thighs they seemed to restrict movement and felt like i'd rip some seams out if i were to attempt climbing any rocks. I tried on the large and they were too big.. I'm thinking their sizing isn't for me.

They had TNF paramounts but only in women's sizes. Also, had the MH canyon pants but only in large. I guess it just wasn't my day.

10:02 p.m. on January 26, 2009 (EST)
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Been looking at the MH canyon pants.. I think i'm gonna get a couple pair. Any input on these?

Here's a user review:
http://www.trailspace.com/gear/mountain-hardwear/canyon-pant/review/14195/

6:32 a.m. on January 27, 2009 (EST)
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Never mind, TravHale. Sounds like exactly what I go through whenever I try to find a pair of trousers. I usually have to force myself to try on different brands, even when I am not buying a pair, just so I can make a mental note of them for mail order (it is almost guaranteed they won't be in stock at the shop when I need them). Boots are just as much a nightmare.
I find the MH zip-offs are baggier than non zip-offs, probably to keep the zips away from your legs as you step; they should narrow towards the ankles though and the zips will clear your knee caps in the correct size. So maybe keep your options open on them.

By the way, I just wore a pair of soft shell trousers for the first time last week, in wet snow conditions (Marmot Scree Pants), without a baselayer, and found them to be excellent. I won't be going back to normal nylon trekking pants unless it is spring/summer, as they were perfect. The stretch in the fabric was really surprising. If it gets colder in the UK, I will definitely be thinking of some heavier soft shell trousers rather than the old baselayer-under-nylon set up.

Good luck.

10:17 a.m. on January 27, 2009 (EST)
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Mountain Hardwear Mesa Pants Hands down. I just bought a pair on Saturday, They Are perfect. They have drawstring legs atrticulated knees and are made from a "nylon canvas". Also they seem to shed water effortlessly. The price is a little steep but well worth it. Try The non zip off pants. I myself am pretty pick and they worked great IMO.

5:30 p.m. on January 27, 2009 (EST)
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Hi I'm new here, but I'll throw in my opinion. I was just thinking about doing a review for my favorite pair of pants.
My vote goes for the EMS Profile Zip-Offs.
http://www.ems.com/catalog/product_detail_square.jsp?PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=845524442594973&FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=2534374302888985

I wear them for hiking all year. (in winter with thermals) They are fantastic at shedding water and stains. Super,super tough. I've never seen them tear.
Just two days ago I slid down a 30 foot hill of ice on my butt. The ice was sharp enough to cut my hands through gloves and slice open the toe of my Asolo 520's. But my pants look good as new!!
All the usual features you look for in a hiking pant plus
plenty of pockets for my stuff, 6 different colors to choose from and they are almost always on sale.

I have had a button pop off one pair but they come with an extra button :) I do love some of the other brands mentioned but for the money these are my favorite.

5:52 p.m. on January 27, 2009 (EST)
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odyssey11. Welcome and thanks for the input!

7:36 p.m. on January 27, 2009 (EST)
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I really like MEC river pants. They are cheap, light and dry really fast. In the summer they are cool but seem to cut the wind a bit on those cool windy days!

10:45 p.m. on January 27, 2009 (EST)
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Odyssey11, thank you for the suggestion and link. I might have to try those out. The mediums actually have a 32in inseam like I need.

10:54 p.m. on January 27, 2009 (EST)
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I don't like the Paramounts because of their built-in belt and weirdly narrow beltloops, ensuring that if you cut out the built-in belt, you cannot use a belt of your own.

I prefer the TNF Meridian convertible. They're lighter, but pack down to one of their pockets and dry quickly.

10:20 a.m. on January 28, 2009 (EST)
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Well it's down to the mountain hardware canyon pants or the EMS Profile Zip-Off Pants.

Thinking i might go off the beaten path here and purchase the EMS profiles. I really think the 31" inseam is going to be too short on the Canyons and the EMS have a 32". This really shouldn't be this hard.

11:22 a.m. on January 28, 2009 (EST)
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I like the EMS pants too, but you know...Someone with GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome), like me, would just buy both - Oh, shame!

11:47 a.m. on January 28, 2009 (EST)
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Oh, I do. I just have to keep the wife happy. She did, however, give me a $100 gift card (she's great!) to moosejaw.com that I've yet to redeem.

6:52 p.m. on January 28, 2009 (EST)
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Glad I could add another choice for ya.
If you buy them tell us what you think!

4:50 p.m. on February 1, 2009 (EST)
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Mountain Hardwear Convertable pants are hard to beat but they are expensive. The chamois liner around the waste prevents your pants from sliding down if you do not have good hips like me. This comes in really handy steping up on rocks and over them. I have a pair and love them. There are two cons with the MHW pants. If you like a belt to hook a knife or a multi-plier on, you will not be able to do this with MHW because it comes with a belt. The second is the pockets. They are deep but I've notice it is easy for things to slide out of them too. It does have a small security pocket.

I also have some Columbia Titanium convertable pants. They are good and have several pockets including a security pocket. You can also use your own belt. The pair that I have comes with two security pockets that use a #5 YKK zipper that tends to scratch my hands pretty bad when I need something. The Columbia are more reasonably priced and you can find them at retail stores as well as outdoor stores.

Some observations when it comes to convertable pants. They come in thicker density and thinner density. Some of the thinner ones are great for summer and breath really well such as Columbia's PFG line. I notied the Sahara brand at REI tends to be on the thinner side.

If you do decide to go for convertable pants, be careful of the pants length. I see a lot of people on the trails who have made this mistake including me. North Face Paramount Convertables will come in three lengths: Short, Regular and Long. They will have a scale at thier website telling you the lengths. Most stores that carry the North Face Paramount Convertable pants will come in a regular length.The North Face Paramount Convertable Pants are thick and durable. I got a pair but the short was too long for me.

One of the neat things about Columbia's Titanium series is they come in pre-cut inseam lenghts such as 30", 32" & 34" like jeans, which I think is great.

3:28 p.m. on March 16, 2009 (EDT)
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Need a good pair of pants that breath and dry fast as well as a new pair of rain pants. What would you recommend?

May I recommend what I use: the Campmor Trekmor collection. http://www.campmor.com/outdoor/gear/Product___11220

They do hold up quite well and dry very quickly. Plus they are very affordable. I used them on my hike at Pikes Peak State Park last Fall. http://outdoors.webshots.com/album/568622583cTcRSW

As for rainpants, try the Campmor brand Storm Sphere pants:http://www.campmor.com/outdoor/gear/Product___75552

They do "breathe" plus they don't cost alot. Very waterproof too.

12:09 a.m. on March 24, 2009 (EDT)
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I was finally able to try on the medium MH Mesa convertible pants and liked them. Found them on sale for $34 each and bought 2 pair. Wore them on a 10 mile hike over the weekend and loved them. Thanks everyone for putting their 2 cents in.

1:24 a.m. on March 24, 2009 (EDT)
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Highly recommend Prana. Made for climbing so gusset crotch, nonrestrictive, dry way fast, super abrasion resistent, and far more comfotable and styley than any other maker. I'm not even an avid climber and they are all I wearevery day of the week.

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