GearApparel
Gear Guy
Q:

What’s my best bet for a light backpacking pant in rainy conditions?

I hiking the West Coast Trail this June, which is typically a rainy season for the trail. What would you recommend for a good set of backpacking pants that can fend off at least a couple days worth of rain? Reagen Calgary, Alberta

A:

Yeah, rainy is right. As in, air that’s as much liquid as water. Are you sure you can’t wait a few weeks and make the trek in July? It’s much drier then. (For those of you not familiar with the West Coast Trail, it’s a lovely—albeit rugged—trail along the coast of Vancouver Island). But, June can have dry spells. And it is less crowded then, too.

Marmot’s Precip Full-Zip Pants

Precip Full-Zip Pants

I’d probably wear pants made with Pac-Lite, Gore’s lightweight waterproof/breathable laminate. They’re not the most rugged pants in the world, but they’re very light and packable, and they’ll keep you adequately dry. Arc’teryx makes a nice pair called the Alpha SL that sells for $199 (arcteryx.com). Mountain Hardwear makes something similar called the Typhoon Pant ($185; mountainhardwear.com). Both are pull-on style pants with short zippers at the ankle to help get them on and off over boots.

On the “bargain" front, Marmot’s Precip Full-Zip Pants ($90; marmot.com) use a polyurethane-coated material for waterproofing and add full-length zippers for really easy on-off. It’s not quite as breathable as the Gore material, but not bad. REI uses a similar material in its Ultralight Pants ($79; rei.com).

Be sure to take gaiters to keep rainwater or drips on vegetation from getting into your boots. Outdoor Research Rocky Gaiter ($30; outdoorresearch.com) would be fine.

Have a great trip!

The 2008 Winter Outside Buyer’s Guide is now online. From snow sports to trail-running to camping, get reviews of more than 300 new gear must-haves.

Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. In recent years, Outside Online has reported on groundbreaking research linking time in nature to improved mental and physical health, and we’ve kept you informed about the unprecedented threats to America’s public lands. Our rigorous coverage helps spark important debates about wellness and travel and adventure, and it provides readers an accessible gateway to new outdoor passions. Time outside is essential—and we can help you make the most of it. Making a financial contribution to Outside Online only takes a few minutes and will ensure we can continue supplying the trailblazing, informative journalism that readers like you depend on. We hope you’ll support us. Thank you.
Contribute to Outside
Filed To: Pants
Lead Photo: courtesy, Marmot
More Gear