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Help Selecting Long John Bottoms

I have a problem finding long johns with a long enough rise, which is the distance from the waist band to the crotch.  When I sit down, there isn't enough crotch and butt room, os part of my butt gets uncovered and it's super uncomfortable in the butt and crotch. For that reason, I've always HATED wearing long johns.  The problem is every time I go camping i freeze my butt off while my friends are sitting around in the cozy merino wool long johns.  The underlying problem is that i'm cursed with a big muscular butt, which is great for being a football player, but terrible for finding comfortable long johns.  I have a pair of ice breaker 200's I paid about 100 for and I barely wear them because they ride down my butt and squeeze my crotch.  I can't imagine I'm the only outdoor guy with this problem, so I'm reaching out for help finding a pair of long johns with extra room in the butt and crotch.  I'll pay whatever it costs to get a few pairs of comfortable long johns for camping and hiking trips.  Thanks Ahead, Chris

Is there anyone out there?

We do not have additional info that may help us help you: height, waist size and weight. 

It sounds like you have an exceptional situation.  Perhaps you can customize a bottom.  Here are two approaches:

  1. Buy an XXL size that has sufficient rise.  Have the waist tailored to fit your belt size, and if necessary hem the leg length to match your legs.
  2. Modify the pair you currently own.  Buy a top, and have a seamstress cut the lower part of the top off, and sew it onto the top of the  bottoms, effectively lengthening the rise on that pair.

I don't have that problem, my rise is normal; nevertheless my LJ bottoms do get pulled down by movement around camp.  I've devised suspenders that hold up the waist band of all of my lower body layers.  Problem solved.  You may need to also do this, in addition to the above suggestions.


Haven't found any  magical pants to solve that issue. Most of my base layers range from being slightly low to way too low. My solution has been to weave the top and bottom layers; Shorts, base shirt, base pants, shirt, pants. Squeezed together the layers hold the bottoms up and the shirts cover gaps as the bottoms sag. Good for keeping snow from falling in the "cracks".

Patagonia's Capilene Air fabric is very stretchy, so a pair of the bottoms might be worth a look. The fibers are a blend of merino and synthetic with an unusual knit - they market it as 'airblasting,' you really have to handle the fabric to get a sense of it.  functionally, they do virtually nothing to stop wind, they are almost absurdly breathable, and they are warmer than you would expect worn under a shell, they trap more air than you might expect.  

I wear them.  The top has a loose fit, it's great, I wear it a lot. The bottoms, the fabric is stretched pretty thin in the thigh area - i cycle a lot.  Also, the inner thighs are worn thin, they'll probably have holes in a year or two.  and, of course, they're more than anyone would like to spend for a base layer. 

alternatives? 1) running/workout pants or tights. Nike, Under Armour, etc. make gear for cold weather workouts that fit college and pro athletes. 2) get your warmth from something more roomy like polartec fleece pants. preferably with a drawstring that goes all the way around, not just an elastic waist or partial drawcord/belt, so they won't get dragged down if you're hiking in them with a backpack on.  

HH Lifa Pant | Lightweight Lifa Clothing Trousers | HH GB (

I've been wearing these a lot, lately, in sub-zero, snowy conditions.  They're very stretchy and have a stout, elastic waist band, which resists sliding down, during exercise.

Obviously, we each have a slightly different body shape....but you might like to give this design a look?

I find Merino underwear cosy- but I'd use HH, for a serious through hike or multi-day expedition.  So easy to wash and dry, tough as old boots.....

Are the HH pants you refer to like the old school, cold weather cycling tights from the 1980s, (warm), but heavier than polypro long johns, or like most tight fitting active wear you see nowadays, that are more about sun protection than serious insulation for the weight?


Big and Tall shop. 

whomeworry said:

Are the HH pants you refer to like the old school, cold weather cycling tights from the 1980s, (warm), but heavier than polypro long johns, or like most tight fitting active wear you see nowadays, that are more about sun protection than serious insulation for the weight?


 No....they aren't wind resistant and are made of light polypro fabric.  The stretchiness made me think the OP might want to consider them.  They're remarkably warm and tough, for such thin material.  HH make underwear in so many different styles and weights, that I had to look carefully at their catalogue, before finding the thin ones.  Sometimes the old ideas are the most functional....if somewhat lacking in the fashion stakes;-)

I have worn old pairs of '80s cycling tights for walking....but that's another story:-)

My Stoic merino bottoms are more droopy than I prefer, to get the crotch up where it can give some support I have to pull the waistband up over my hipbones. Kinda like grandpa with the waistband up around his navel. The inseam is also pretty long, but it’s not hard or uncomfortable to leave a few wrinkles to take up a couple inches. 

Welcome to Trailspace, Chris!

If you need more overall space in one area I'd consider 1) sizing up, 2) looking for base layers that comes in long, 3) and/or looking for baselayers marketed for big & tall.

All that said, it's extremely hard to find specific baselayers available for sale right now, and options are limited. So, you may need to wait until brands are restocked later this year to get what you need.

In the meantime though, hopefully some of the info above will come in handy.

Good luck! And please let us know what you end up using.

May 28, 2022
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