Help me pick a pair of hiking pants

9:57 p.m. on February 16, 2010 (EST)
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My old Columbia nylon zip-off hiking pants have had it after five years of duty, so I'm wondering about replacements.

I'll be hiking primarily in the Southeast U.S., with sticky, buggy summers, pleasant shoulder seasons and moderately cold winders. I hike mostly on-trail, but we seem to have an abundance of burrs, stickers, brambles and otherwise pointy plants, so snag resistance would be nice.

I prefer long pants over shorts because they keep crud out of my shoes and protect my legs from abuse.

All guidance appreciated.

1:50 a.m. on February 17, 2010 (EST)
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I jus bought a pair of these Mountain Hardware convertible pants and tho I have not a chance to wear them much they seem very nice. The sale price is good and I really like the fact that the shorts are longer than most other brands. The only negative thing for me is that the leg openings do not have zippers and you have to remove your boots to change from pants to shorts.

10:22 a.m. on February 17, 2010 (EST)
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i will probably be the odd-ball here. i use mountain khackis for most of what i do. yes, i know they are cotton. but there is something about their weave, they are stronger than jeans, do not seem to absorb water (i kneel down in snow and mud quite a bit) and are very tough. brambles and briar will not be a problem

10:26 a.m. on February 17, 2010 (EST)
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Just bought a pair of Tilley convertible pants last summer. Not cheap at 170$ CAN, but guaranteed for life against wear. Really the best pair of pants i ever had. I got tired of cheap, ill-fitting (usually too short) pants that lasted only a few months. These look great anywhere, dry fast, don't show dirt and are just the right thickness for all-season comfort. I wear them every single day, be it for rafting, ski touring, hiking, meetings, job interviews....They still look brand new after 200 days of hard wear. So far they might just be the cheapest on the long run too. I also have a hat from them that just won't quit.

1:03 a.m. on February 18, 2010 (EST)
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Campmore has some 2 in 1 (Campmore brand) hiking pants on sale for 20$ right now, my friend got a pair and they seem really nice. The materiel has good color and seems really rugged for long last, I have been considering getting a pair myself. Right now I have a pair of TNF 2 in 1 and they are good but kind of tight on my huge hamstrings.

1:31 p.m. on February 18, 2010 (EST)
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I love my REI Sahara shirts & pants.

shirts have good vent ability, pants good pocket designs.

6:33 p.m. on February 18, 2010 (EST)
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Being of average size and build,5ft 10in 160lbs, igo for what fits the best and is ON SALE.It is kind of funny but i have had almost every pair i have purchased last many years hiking.This includes much off trail and brush.Were they seem to fail is when i misplace them and never see them again.I fail to see a reason to spend very much on them and never buy for a life time.ymmv

10:06 a.m. on February 19, 2010 (EST)
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Don't have experience with these but REI's stuff is usually pretty good.

11:31 a.m. on February 19, 2010 (EST)
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241 forum posts

Lightweight long pants with full length side zippers for vents:

9:51 p.m. on February 19, 2010 (EST)
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3,956 forum posts

Lightweight long pants with full length side zippers for vents:

I like the looks of those rambler, I hadn't seen those before.

I usually use Columbia Titanium Zip Offs, or some thing very similar.

I like them because the are so packable, and dry so quick, but they're on the thin side. I am looking for something a little heavier as my primary pant and continue to pack the Titanium's as an extra pant.

I do like the Titanium's in winter with a pair of wool or microfleece underneath.

7:05 p.m. on February 20, 2010 (EST)
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I ended up getting the Columbia Silver Ridge II, mainly because it fit fine, had all the pockets I wanted and was available at a local outfitter vs. one of the Big Boxes.

I was tempted at both ends of the spectrum -- I looked at the cheapest ones at Campmor and the $170 Tilleys with the lifetime guarantee.

Finally decided to simplify my shopping life and reward Columbia, whose pants gave me five years of solid service, with a repeat buy.

12:43 a.m. on February 21, 2010 (EST)
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Very respectable choice, when you find something good stick with it.

11:03 p.m. on March 9, 2010 (EST)
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I have 2 pair of REI Sahara zip-off leg polyseter pants and they are nice, great for eastern backpacking where it's muggy, great for the Philippines where it's even muggier.

But now I live in Nevada and for desert and mountain hiking and backpacking I much prefer the heavier nylon canvas pants made by "5.11" . AT $50. they have more features than RailRiders nylon pants and are a lot less money. And 5.11's quality is exceptional.


8:22 p.m. on March 12, 2010 (EST)
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I started out hiking with a pair of Columbia zip-offs too. The problem I found with the pair I had was that the waist band was "scrunchy" and had a single cord drawstring. This left a somewhat uncomfortable band around my waist, especially where the backpack hip-strap put compression. I bought a pair of Mountain Hardware convertibles last year....the are 100 times better. They have a micro-fiber waistband liner and a 1inch (approx.) integrated belt. They never bunched up or left any "elastic/cord red marks" on many hikes. The ankles can be tightened or loosened which I though was a nice feature, which is good for keeping the crud out. Furthermore, there were two cargo pockets (one on each side) and two regular and two butt pockets. They are pretty light weight and do pretty well in cold weather without any base layer (at least until the low 40s--for me).

I don't know if you have any Blue Ridge Mountain Sports stores where you are, but they were having a pretty good sale on them last week--haven't checked since. Good luck!


1:36 p.m. on March 13, 2010 (EST)
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I've owned a couple pair of RailRiders (don't remember which ones though) and was very happy with them. They were both light weight and very durable.

1:45 p.m. on March 13, 2010 (EST)
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I started out hiking with a pair of Columbia zip-offs too. The problem I found with the pair I had was that the waist band was "scrunchy" and had a single cord drawstring.

Mine had nothing of this sort -- just a belt that is not sewn in, which is the way I prefer because you can use the belt for something else in a pinch, whereas a sewn-in belt has no alternative uses.

Word gets back to companies if they make stuff with flaws like the drawstring setup -- I wouldn't necessarily rule somebody out on account of a single glitch (unless, of course, the glitch has not been fixed in the model you're looking at).

Having said this, I read nothing but rave reviews for Mountain Hardwear's convertibles.

1:01 a.m. on March 19, 2010 (EDT)
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Well, needless to say, I have stopped using the Columbia's and that is why I got the Mountain Hardwears. I am thoroughly impressed with them and was a bit apprehensive about the price [at first, until I wore them on-trail] but am glad I spent the money. I recently put a review for the Mesas on here, if you want some details on that particular model.


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