Gear Guy

Arc’teryx Gamma LT Pants     Photo: courtesy, REI

Q:

What are the most functional but stylish hiking pants?

What are the best pants for a hiking trip in Alaska? I’m looking for stylish, breathable, stain resistant, crease resistant, and quick drying. Thanks in advance of a helpful response. Jeffery Islington, NSW Australia

A:You’re welcome in advance.

But, I have a question. You’re going on a hiking trip. Why worry about crease/stain-resistant, stylish, etc.? You’re gonna get dirty, sweaty, and scratched up no matter what.

Also, a lot will depend on when you plan to be there, and exactly where you intend to go. If you anticipate some cool weather, then get a pair of Arc'teryx Gamma LT pants (US$150). They’re excellent hiking pants—tough, stretchable, breathable, and comfortable across a wide temperature range. They also look pretty good and can take some abuse and STILL look pretty good. I know there are some Australian dealers of Arc’teryx, so perhaps you can find some in advance.

For more of a light, summer-weight pant (although, keep in mind, summer is almost over in Alaska as autumn sets in during August), then I like ExOfficio’s Amphi Pant ($65). They’re a light nylon pant, great for warmer weather, and excellent for hiking and various other outdoor pursuits. They’re also wrinkle-resistant and have a Teflon treatment to repel stains. So after a week in the bush and a shake-off, they’ll be suitable for a civilized meal.

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