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Thread: Best Wind Pants?

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    Senior Member Oldmanwinter's Avatar
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    Question Best Wind Pants?

    What are the best, above tree line, winter shell pants? I like full side zips for ease of entry but that's not absolutely necessary. I like to save money but I also know that "best" quite often means highest price. In the last three weeks we have hiked Adams and Washington and have seen some pretty impressive looking shell pants, so I may want to upgrade. Thanks for any input.

  2. #2
    Banned Kevin Rooney's Avatar
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    If you're just looking to block the wind, then you have lots of choices and it won't cost you a fortune. Any rainpant will do, because if they're waterproof, they'll surely block the wind.

    I'd look at Marmot's Precip pants with full side zips. I have a pair, and I also have a pair of Mountain Hardware's - I think they're called Conduit. They have side zips but they also have built-in suspenders - big plus. They also fit a bit better, and cost a few $$ more.

    I've found that unless it's subzero and windy that a pair of softshell pants made of Schoeller Drykin works in most winter conditions, and I put on the MH if I really need the extra wind block. In truly cold conditions I wear 3-ply Gortex bibs with polypro longjohns.

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    Senior Member J.Dub's Avatar
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    Cosmic, man...I have all the same pants Kevin does!

    I used the MH pants last year (I think the model name is Defiant) and, as Kevin noted, they are beefier/heavier than the Precips. I found them to be too warm for active hiking, even with the side zips wide open.

    For Christmas, Santa brought me a pair of REI Mistral softshell (Schoeller) pants, which I wore on Mt. Washington last weekend, and they were MUCH more comfortable, since they breathed a ton better than the MH's. I brought the PreCips to throw on above treeline, but ended up not needing to, since we turned round at Lion's Head.

    The other nice thing about the softshell plus windshell pants setup is that the PreCip's, being non-insulated, pack down pretty small in the backpack. Full side zips are key, though, to be able to put them on while wearing boots/crampons.
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    Senior Member marty's Avatar
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    Howdy,
    you may find this thread I started a while back of some value:

    http://www.vftt.org/forums/showthread.php?t=14388

    Good luck on your decision

    Marty
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    Senior Member nartreb's Avatar
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    Anything that blocks the wind and repels snow is fine. Additional features in order of descending priority:
    - large side zips (for ventilation)
    - multiple pockets with zippers (so you don't have to choose between losing your chapstick and digging for it in the pocket of the pants *under* your pants)
    - truly waterproof (for when you sit on an icy boulder during a belay or snack)
    - slim fit around the knee and below (less risk of crampon damage even without full gaiters)
    - ankle zips (so you can pull them on over boots if needed)
    - light and packable (in winter you'll basically just wear them all the time, so these last two are low priority)

    No reason for any of this to be expensive, though if you want really good waterproofing in a thin and light fabric you'll definitely pay more. Some folks stick with so-so waterproofing and carry a spare garbage bag for their sitting needs, others just live with a damp rear once in a while.

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    Senior Member Hikes4fun's Avatar
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    I've found that a good pair of softshells and long underwear is all I need for just about any winter conditions--I always carry a pair of Precips but have never used them...Everyone is different of course but all I have to do is think "hardshell" and I start to sweat... I'm more than comfy with a slight chill on my legs.

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    Senior Member adktyler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Rooney View Post

    I'd look at Marmot's Precip pants with full side zips. I have a pair, and I also have a pair of Mountain Hardware's - I think they're called Conduit. They have side zips but they also have built-in suspenders - big plus. They also fit a bit better, and cost a few $$ more.
    I have similar pants, the Marmot Oracle: http://marmot.com/spring_2009/mens/o...ls/oracle_pant
    I really like them, and use them for winter hiking as well. They're technically one of Marmot's nicest rainwear, but I also like them because they don't have the bulk of other winter shells, thus making them lighter and more breathable! The only thing that would make them perfect would be if they had the built-in gators, for added protection.
    Last edited by adktyler; 02-13-2009 at 04:35 PM.

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    Senior Member onestep's Avatar
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    I'm happy with my Marmot Precip pants with full side zips. I wear a pair of mid-weight capilene underneath and am good to go!

  9. #9
    Senior Member Neil's Avatar
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    Assuming you'll be working hard you'll probably want something breathable.

    I just switched from Gore-tex to eVent with a very big uptick in breathability.

    I have used the Rab Latok jacket for the past 6 weeks and based on its performance I just ordered the Latok pants. Prolite Gear carries them. The jacket weighs about a pound.

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    Senior Member adktyler's Avatar
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    Yea, Neil reminded me of his excellent, educational, and informative thread: http://www.adkhighpeaks.com/forums/s...ighlight=pants

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    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nartreb View Post
    No reason for any of this to be expensive, though if you want really good waterproofing in a thin and light fabric you'll definitely pay more. Some folks stick with so-so waterproofing and carry a spare garbage bag for their sitting needs, others just live with a damp rear once in a while.
    Disagree on the waterproofing--you need to dissipate moisture from your skin. (Waterproof-breathable is generally ok.)

    Sitting on your pack is much drier and warmer than sitting on the ground, a log, or a rock. (I pack stuffed down, fleece, spare clothing etc in the bottom of my pack so I can sit on it.)

    Doug

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    Senior Member Oldsmores's Avatar
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    Not sure if they still make them, but the Marmot Driclime pants are great in any conditions except full-out rain. If it's cold I'll wear a thin baselayer, otherwise they're fine by themselves. They wick, breath, and you can always open the side zips if it gets really warm.

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    Another feature that I find useful in the cold weather is a pant with a fly, especially if you are using suspenders.

  14. #14
    Banned Kevin Rooney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post
    Another feature that I find useful in the cold weather is a pant with a fly, especially if you are using suspenders.
    Good point, Mike. My MH one's do, another reason I like them.

  15. #15
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    Here's a good pair of basic wind pants. I usually just use my REI Adventures pants.

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